Fans of comic books and graphic novels in Boston now have a place to gather monthly to hear from successful authors and artists about their work.
The first Picture + Panel event was hosted on Monday night by the Boston Comic Arts Foundation, where comics readers got to interact with creators of some of their favorite works.
The 90-person capacity of the room at Aeronaut Brewery in Somerville was filled. The first iteration of the series featured local artist Rosemary Mosco, author of “A Pocket Guide to Pigeon Watching” along with Vermont-based Dan Nott, author of “Hidden Systems.”
BCAF’s board president, Zach Clemente, is the moderator for the panels, which are held at Aeronaut on the first Monday of every month.
“We’re getting people excited about making and reading comics and recognizing comics as a beautiful medium that should be respected and elevating that practice slowly but surely, in the New England area and hopefully beyond,” Clemente said. “The goal of this program is to persist and continue and have people show up each first Monday of the month, head over to Aeronaut, grab a drink, and listen to a cool conversation.”
He said while many think of comics as being geared towards children, there is a large audience of adult readers across the full range of comic arts and illustrated storytelling, and an event with beers and conversation is the perfect setting to bring enthusiasts together.
“We need to meet adults where they're at, we need to create events that would attract a 'Camber-ville' audience, events that cultivate interesting, meaty, theme-driven and subject-matter driven conversations," Clemente said.
While Monday's event featured two New England-based artists, Clemente said they plan to also invite authors from around the country and hope to make Boston a more regular destination for those promoting their work.
The topic of conversation for this first event was hidden worlds and all the things people can overlook in their lives — from birds to sewer systems. While the first installment of the series focused on infrastructure and nature, March’s event will cover how comics explore themes of love and obsession.
Books by the authors were available to purchase at the event through a partnership with Porter Square Books.
The audience was filled with local comics enthusiasts — including artists who were excited to meet other people in their industry.
“As a cartoonist living in Boston, any opportunity for more community is great and, like, hearing how other cartoonists approach their work ... it's really exciting. I thought it was awesome,” said Mac Maclean of Watertown.
David Gould said he liked the exposure local artists will get from the event series.
“I'm getting to understand and realize that as a new Bostonian, I didn't realize that some of these folks are local,” he said. “I get to meet them and see their perspective. It was really great.”
“I just always love hearing the behind-the-scenes of somebody's process," said Sam Musher of Somerville. “They’re cool people and I was excited to hear more about their projects.”
Maya Escobar of Belmont said she plans on coming back to more of the monthly Picture + Panel events.
“The Boston Comics Arts Foundation is such a cool organization and they have so many wonderful events and support the community in so many great ways,” she said. “I was really excited that they started this up.”