Whatever you do, don’t call New Comic Book Day a comedy showcase.
“We are a comic-book event that happens to have some great standup comedy in the mix,” says Grace Thomas, one of the producers of New Comic Book Day. [Editor's note: Thomas is also an occasional contributor to City Pages' music blog.]
The weekly celebration of comic books and comedy launched back in December at Day Block Brewing, and has quickly managed to find its footing as one of the most popular and unique shows in the Twin Cities.
“New Comic Book Day isn’t just another show where you see 10 performers do standup in succession,” she continues. “It’s a show about comic books and the people who love them.”
Thomas, along with co-host Eliot Rahal, began back in May on Free Comic Book Day.
“[Rahal] was selling books at the Source,” Thomas explains. “I was working there, and we’d already been friends for a while and talked about doing a standup show inside of a comic-book story. We ended up with a comic-book show inside of a brewery, and we couldn’t be happier to be at Day Block.”
The layout of the show is unique in and of itself: Before it kicks off, people are invited to come have drinks and chat with the artists selling their books. Then, around 8:30 p.m. the celebration begins, with Thomas and Rahal chatting about what they loved that week, riffing on the featured character of the week (past honorees have included Wonder Woman and the entire cast of Star Trek inside of the USS Enterprise), and interviewing comic-book artists.
Oh, but there is comedy too.
Past shows have included local heavyweights like Mary Mack and Rana May, as well as nationally touring comedians like Shane Torres and Geoff Asmus. While there is some crossover audience from other comedy shows, Thomas says that New Comic Book Day has created an audience of its own.
“We’re filling a niche that didn’t have anywhere to go every week before,” she says. “New Comic Book Day is a weekly mini comic con; a party with people like you and drinks named after your favorite characters. It’s a place to go where, if you love comics or if you’re interested in learning about comics, you’re a friend of ours.”
The show has managed to find such a strong following in such a short time, in fact, that Thomas and Rahal have begun releasing the show as a weekly podcast.
“We want there to be a comic-book podcast that isn’t for the purpose of reviewing books or gossiping about the state of the industry, but simply to celebrate comic books and the community and have a few laughs while we’re doing it.”
As for the future of the show, Thomas says that she has a list of dream guests, but has already been fortunate enough to snag one of them early on.
“My favorite writer, Scott Snyder -- writer of Batman and American Vampire and The Wake -- did our show, and was actually in the first issue of our podcast,” she says. “In the future, I would love to have on Mark Waid, Noelle Stevenson, and Chip Zdarsky.”
But for now, Thomas says her goals are pretty simple.
“I hope the party just keeps growing every week.”
IF YOU GO:
New Comic Book Day
8 p.m. every Wednesday.
Day Block Brewing Co.
1150 Washington Ave. S., Minneapolis
This week's installment includes AFC Comics' Jesse Hedman. They'll be talking about Tank Girl. Comedians Chloe Radcliffe, Robert Fones, Caroline Skoog, and Drew Janda are also scheduled to stop by.