Comix It Up at Maker House Celebrates Comics Fandom & Artistry

August 12, 2014

Your first sign that this is indeed a home for geeks of all striped should be the Space Invaders in the window.

Your first sign that Maker House is indeed a home for geeks of all stripes should be the Space Invaders in the window. The outdoor stage will soon be rockin’ with much live music, too.

by James J. Jefferies

Comics are an old, old art form in America, from the endless litany of beloved newspaper comic strips such as Bloom County & Calvin and Hobbes, to the near century’s worth of superhero offerings from DC and Marvel. There’s a really stunning range of expression possible, from the well-known mega-franchises to subtle, emotionally-driven work from independent artists such as Lynda Barry, Daniel Clowes, and Bryan Lee O’Malley. While enormous summer films such as Guardians of the Galaxy tear it up at the box office, it is important to remain mindful of the medium that birthed all of those colossal comic-book blockbusters (not to mention the contributions of one Mr. Jack ‘King’ Kirby).

Of course, one terrific way you can embrace your love of comics is to get together with a whole bunch of like-minded fans who spend way too much time with their faces buried in some sort of comic book anthology or graphic novel, and thankfully for you, the fine folks at Maker House have teamed up with the organizers of Tucson Comic-Con to bring you a monthly shindig where you can let your fan flag fly, and it’s called Comix It Up. Comix It Up began this past May, and has steadily seen a rise in attendance every month since.

Cosplay is big at Comix It Up, and few do it better than the 501st Legion, who celebrates Star Wars fandom and benefits worthy causes all with one swift stroke.

Cosplay is big at Comix It Up, and few do it better than the 501st Legion, who celebrates Star Wars fandom and benefits worthy causes all with one swift stroke.

“This will be the fourth month of Comix It Up, and every month since May, we’ve had more and more people coming in, and staying the entire day,” said Matt ‘Ratchet’ Rios, Program Manager for Maker House. Rios actually went to high school with Tucson Comic-Con organizer Mike Olivares, and after Maker House opened its doors late last year, it would seem that an alliance between the two old friends was inevitable. “Mike wanted a way to continue promoting Tucson Comic-Con throughout the year, and thought we had an awesome space, and we all thought people would really enjoy such a regular event,” said Rios.

The proof is definitely in the attendance, so much so that last month, when Rios was pressed for time and only able to promote that month’s Comix It Up about ten days in advance instead of the customary month worth of lead time, Maker House still saw a solid increase in the number of attendees. And most who come are arriving early in the day and staying the entire time! For the August edition of Comix It Up, Maker House also saw the vendor tables sell out in an astounding two hours. In short, comic-book lovers and geeks of all stripes have really taken to this unique and flexible venue.

Lots of aspiring artists and storytellers come out to Comix It Up, and if you've got ideas for your own work, these are awesome people willing to offer their own insight on just how to get started!

Lots of aspiring artists and storytellers come out to Comix It Up, and if you’ve got ideas for your own work, these are awesome people willing to offer their own insight on just how to get started!

“The great thing about Comix It Up is that it offers all the goodies and atmosphere of a convention, but it feels much more like a social mixer,” said Rios. The entire place just hums with excited participants sporting their best makeup or faux plasteel armor and everyone just seems out to have a great time, ready to celebrate whatever giant franchise or favorite story and/or characters they’re passionate about. Of course, having a space crawling with scores of board games, retro video game consoles, and arcade machines set to FREE PLAY certainly helps advance that entire cause. (Three words: Marvel VS. Capcom.)

This 4th Comix It Up will have panels all day long, artists at their own tables ready to both show off their wares and trade artistic and storytelling expertise, countless giveaways and raffles, and a Cosplay Fashion Show at 8pm! Not to mention the fact that Maker House has excellent air-conditioning and a wide variety of beverages for sale to keep you cool and refreshed. You can drop in right at 11am and make an entire epic day of it, or come by later in the evening – no matter what, the entire thing is completely FREE, and going down this Saturday, August 16th. It’ll be another awesome time, true believers, and the whole thing will keep crackin’ until midnight!

Maker House is located at 283 N. Stone Avenue, on the southwest corner of Stone and the underpass. Check the event out on the web here.

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