ICE CREAM Fair offers space for cartoonists, zinesters

Fair Cartoonists and ‘zinesters’ had their space to showcase work during Mission Creek at the Iowa City Expo for Comics and Real Eclectic Media Fair.

Concertgoers+wait+between+sets+at+Gabe%E2%80%99s+in+Iowa+City+on+Wednesday%2C+April+4%2C+2018.+The+show+was+one+of+a+variety+of+events+during+the+second+day+of+the+Mission+Creek+festival.+%28Nick+Rohlman%2FThe+Daily+Iowan%29
Back to Article
Back to Article

ICE CREAM Fair offers space for cartoonists, zinesters

Concertgoers wait between sets at Gabe’s in Iowa City on Wednesday, April 4, 2018. The show was one of a variety of events during the second day of the Mission Creek festival. (Nick Rohlman/The Daily Iowan)

Concertgoers wait between sets at Gabe’s in Iowa City on Wednesday, April 4, 2018. The show was one of a variety of events during the second day of the Mission Creek festival. (Nick Rohlman/The Daily Iowan)

NICK ROHLMAN

Concertgoers wait between sets at Gabe’s in Iowa City on Wednesday, April 4, 2018. The show was one of a variety of events during the second day of the Mission Creek festival. (Nick Rohlman/The Daily Iowan)

NICK ROHLMAN

NICK ROHLMAN

Concertgoers wait between sets at Gabe’s in Iowa City on Wednesday, April 4, 2018. The show was one of a variety of events during the second day of the Mission Creek festival. (Nick Rohlman/The Daily Iowan)

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






There is more to literature than novels and poetry, and a comic fair showcased a lesser-known genre of literature at Mission Creek on April 7.

Part of this weekend’s Mission Creek events, the Iowa City Expo for Comics and Real Eclectic Alternative Media Fair showcased the work of cartoonists, “zinesters,” and handmade book artists on both floors of Public Space One. The ICE CREAM Fair is a fairly new addition to Mission Creek, started only three years ago by Iowa City cartoonist Dave Dugan.

Dugan, who said he’s been drawing comics since he was a kid, noticed literary events in the festival catered to more mainstream, curated works, so he spoke to Andre Perry, one of the founders of Mission Creek in Iowa City, and the ICE CREAM Fair was born.

“There are a lot of people who don’t have an outlet to sell their artwork, so we’re creating a meeting place for artists for come together,” Dugan said.

Similar comic fairs can be found in Chicago and on the West Coast, he said, but nothing similar that was around Iowa City. Those large events also have large waiting lists, so artists can apply to the ICE CREAM Fair and have a higher chance of getting in.

In its first year, Dugan said, the fair hosted around 30 artists and took up the bottom floor of Public Space One. The number of artists and amount of fair space has doubled since then.

Comic artist Kate Larson, who has sold her LGBT+ comics at the ICE CREAM Fair since it started, has witnessed what she called the amazing growth and connections in the local comic community.

“I’ve seen it grow pretty significantly in the past three years, and it’s been exciting to see how many independent artists it’s attracted,” she said. “It’s really wonderful.”

RELATED: Mission Creek eliminates boundaries between music, literature

Larson, who has drawn comics for 16 years, brought her siblings this year to show off their illustrations.

Now that the fair is more established and vendors have been able to spread out, Dugan said, they started using the stage in the lower level of Public Space One to do demos. This year, he collaborated with the STEAM Fab Lab in Iowa City, a fabrication laboratory that provides the community with the tools and tech people needed to make just about anything.

“I’m trying to do fun little activities, something different from just people sitting at tables, selling stuff,” he said.

Fab Lab Director Kirk Cheyney said his people were provided with a comic, which they uploaded onto a computer connected to a laser cutter. They used the laser to burn the image into a block of wood, then used a tabletop printing press to print it on paper.

Cheyney said they weren’t at the fair to sell any comics or zines, but they still had fun and got to meet people in the community who might be interested in using tools the Fab Lab provides.

“We’re a community center, so we’re reaching out to people … people who are creative and always striving to make new things, better things, are exactly who we’re looking for,” he said.

Dugan said they want to continue doing demos like this one in the years to come, and he noted maybe having KRUI do a live show from the fair. Larson said she loves the more intimate fair, and she plans on coming back for as long as she can.

“It’s really been an amazing little comics festival, and I really hope it continues for a long time,” she said.

Facebook Comments