Jessica Gao, UCLA Campus Events Commission:, 310,994-3870
Gaston Dominguez-Letelier, co-owner,
Meltdown Comics & Collectibles:, 323,851-7223


The Independent Comic Arts Festival

LOS ANGELES - The UCLA Campus Events Commission, in
collaboration with the award-winning Meltdown Comics &
Collectibles superstore on Sunset Boulevard, are pleased to announce super*MARKET, returning the independent comics festival to Southern California.

The event will be held Nov. 7-9 in the Ackerman Grand Ballroom inside UCLA's Ackerman Union, 308 Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles. Event hours are Friday, 6:30 p.m.-10:30pm; Saturday, 11 a.m.- 6p.m.; Sunday, Noon-5 p.m.

"When we started this festival, we all agreed to focus on Comics as its foundation, to make the larger world aware of the power of comics, and that Los Angeles is a fertile comics city,” Gaston Dominguez-Letelier said.

Creators whose vision falls outside of the traditional 'mainstream' of the comics universe are at the heart of super*MARKET. Cartoonists specializing in the mini-comic form, creators who have devoted time and expense to create comics and graphic novels of particular vision, and pop iconists who celebrate the meticulous craft of silk screen are all part of the mix.

"It's a comic show focusing on the more artistically unique voice this particularly small world has to offer," Dominguez-Letelier said. "Not comics for the sake of pitching a movie, or getting an art show. It's a celebration of the one person comic, the hand made aspect, the guerilla feel."

Dominguez-Letelier’s vision was embraced by UCLA senior
Jessica Gao, an art major and member of the Campus Events Commission. Her efforts have been critical in bringing the idea to life.

In May 2002, Gao was wrapping up her first year on the
commission when she had the idea of adding a comics festival to the eclectic slate of film, concert and speaker programs offered. The idea was approved by Kenn Heller, associate director of student programming, and she got to work.

That first event, IPEX, was anchored by the participation of San Jose-based publisher Slave Labor Graphics. Publisher Dan Vado generously loaned the name of a festival his company hosted in the region years ago.

"I think it really helped that a lot of people remembered the Slave Labor IPEX," Gao said. "Just mentioning Slave Labor made it more legit."

Gao worked furiously through summer and in five months, through the power of word of mouth and her spectacular organizational skills, launched the first independent comics gathering Los Angeles had seen in a long time.

She wanted to do it again in 2003, only bigger, and approached Dominguez-Letelier for help and guidance.

"It's a completely different creature than it was," Gao said. "It's got a different focus, a different feel and a different aesthetic. It's folk art, meets LA art scene, meets community art."

Of course, the obvious question remains. Why super*MARKET?

"We thought the event would be a sort of marketplace where artists could come and hawk their own wares, show what they've been working on, for people to browse and find new things to become obsessed with," Gao said. "We also wanted to maintain that Mom and Pop, homegrown, neighborhood-specific feel to indy comics. Think of it as if all the little Mom and Pop markets got together to show what their little corner of life has that is special and specific
to their neighborhood."

Keeping with the do-it-yourself spirit behind super*MARKET,
programs will include workshops and seminars designed to help up and coming creators, as well as inform fans curious about how these works of art come to be. Panels will range through topics political and humorous, with a tribute to the underground masters who laid the foundation for today’s independent creators. Quite a few crowd pleasers are thrown into the mix, along with a slate of events for youth. Programming is coordinated by local fan Pam Noles.

"No one should be alienated," Gao said.

WHAT: super*MARKET: The Independent Comic Arts
WHEN: Nov. 7-9, 2003
Friday, Nov. 7: 6:30 p.m.-10:30p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 8: 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 9: Noon-5 p.m.
WHERE: Ackerman Grand Ballroom, located inside the
Ackerman Union. 308 Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles.