At the weekend we experienced Winterthur’s first Comic Slam event which brought together nine of the city’s talented illustrators and cartoonists.
The stage was set in the atmospheric Alte Kaserne on Teknikumstrasse (why have I never come across this amazing place before) in the ‘heart of Winterthur’s comic scene.’ Cartoonists taking part were: Lilian Caprez, Schlorian, Daniel Bosshart, Zea Schaad, Caro Rutz, Rina Jost, Frida Bünzli, René Lehner, Beni Merk.
After first emailing the very nice Daniel Bosshart, president of the club behind the event, to check it was suitable for children and being assured it was, I took my 9-year-old daughter who is a huge comic fan (she became really interested in comics on our arrival here as the libraries have buckets of them and I now happily attribute this to her being an avid reader and picking up German so easily)
After paying our 15sfr entrance fee (10sfr adult, 5sfr child) we had out hands stamped and were given a red strip of paper each on which to write a word. This required thought – what word would give a cartoonist potential for a great cartoon? And, out of my fairly unsophisticated German vocabulary, which could I spell correctly with some degree of certainty? I finally settled on Überraschung – surprise – (but did have to check the spelling with my daughter) who spurned my suggestion of elefant – pretty self-explanatory - and instead chose geschenk (present)
We were early enough to bag a good table in front of the main stage and sat down with a glass of red wine and a coke purchased from the small, well stocked bar inside. A lovely lady artist from Henngart also sat at our table and told me lots of juicy facts, for instance, one of the artists taking part - Lilian Caprez – has recently won third place in the Fumetto International ComicFestival Competition in Luzern.
Just then the show started, ably and wittily compered by René Brügger & Andrew Wolfensberger. I only understood sections of the chat but that didn’t matter as it wasn’t too long before a word was being drawn out of the pot and the first three artists were busily sketching.
I think they had just three minutes to complete each drawing – and it wasn’t easy, as some members of the audience had submitted horrendous words such as ‘winter jacket’ ‘ahoy’ and ‘national anthem?’ And the comperes ended up chucking more than a handful away over their shoulder in disgust. But then, to our delight, my word was pulled out, along with the word ‘Eule’ (owl) and three very entertaining sketches ensued.
The atmosphere was buzzing and I especially loved the countdown music and clapping for the last seconds of each sketch. There were nine illustrators and graphic artists competing against each other in all (three rounds) And the audience voted for the best in each round, with much applause, and finally Caro Rutz, all the way from the French speaking part of Switzerland, was crowned the supreme winner.
There was a disco afterwards with a DJ but it was 11.15pm and it was time to take Poppy home although she was still amazingly upright and buzzing with the thrill of it all. On the way out, I spotted Beni Merk who had made one of the ‘owl surprise’ sketches and asked him if there was any chance I could have it as it featured my word. He said somebody had already taken it and on seeing my crestfallen face offered to redraw it just for me! How amazing is that? So I had a super fab entertaining night – the event was very well organised and ran extremely smoothly - and I came away with an original sketch to boot!
The Club Comic Panel Winterthur was established on 7th October, 2013, when eleven comic enthusiasts came together on the back of the city’s anniversary project which involved many of them sketching an illustrative street plan of Winterthur (which is available to buy) The association aims to promote comic art and provide a way for professionals and enthusiasts to network, as well as promoting their work to the public.
The next big event at the Alte Kaserne is an all hours marathon art session which begins on Thursday (26th) and lasts until Sunday (29th) After this, the exhibition of all the creations is on view until 8th June.