How the Prairie Comics Festival shows off the work of local comic creators

Winnipeg’s independent comic creators got together this weekend to showcase their work and celebrate the world of indie comics.

The Prairie Comics Festival took place at the West End Cultural Centre, celebrating independent, creator-owned comics made by some of the province’s most prolific artists and writers.

Festival co-organizer Samantha Beiko says it’s like a smaller, more intimate comic con, “All of the work represented here is creator-owned,” she said. “So the folks who are behind the tables are the artists, the writers of the work.”

The annual exhibition is an avenue for content creators to sell their work, and for fans to scoop up comics, graphic novels, and other comics-themed work.

“Everyone is from Manitoba this year, so you can actually see how robust our comics community is here,” said Beiko, “and how busy it actually is, which a lot of folks don’t know about.”

The weekend event included workshops and panels, including ones talking about how aspiring comic creators can get into the industry themselves.

“A lot of the folks here are independently published, so that means that they self-publish everything on their own, using their own funds,” said Beiko. “They get the books and then they come to festivals like this and hand-sell them.”

Among the featured guests at this year’s festival was Scott B. Henderson, whose work was recently featured in Marvel Comics’ “Marvel Voices: Pride #1” which tells LGBTQ+-themed stories.

Beiko says the local indie comics scene is very inclusive, “The content is also really representative of how just incredible this community is, there’s a lot of LGBTQ+ voices, a lot of BIPOC creators and stories here. Not a lot of what you would see in mainstream comics,” she said.

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