The Launch was attended by about 300 (mostly young) people and who were treated to an evening that had enough variety to hold the interest of anyone who may not have any interest in this medium. As it was, most of the attendees were devoted Fans (or seemed to be) of small press magazines, and let their enthusiasm be known with some of the activities at the Launch.
There was a "Scribble Slam" whereby two artists were given a topic to draw and had a limited time to come up with an illustration depicting that topic. The 'winner' was declared by 'vote' of public acclaim (yelling, clapping, wolf-whistles, you get the picture). I thought some of the work under such public scrutiny and time pressure was of a reasonably high standard. Not only were there two competing artists in the Scribble Slam, there were also competitions between teams of artists. A much harder feat, one would think, but one that brought out even better results. I have posted a couple of photos I took on the night. One of the team can be seen working on their artwork (based on the word "Mystery") that was judged not to have won, although I gave them my 'vote'.
The Golden Stapler Awards, "Australia's National Awards for Zine Excellence", were presented during the evening, and with the theme of the Launch, I felt it was a good idea to include it in the evening's activities. As an outsider (as I consider myself), I feel that one way of improving the presentation for next time could be by having some visuals in the background featuring an example of each nomination as they are announced. Somewhat similar to the Logies or Oscars, if you like. Not only would it be an introduction to the artists' works for dummies like me, but it makes the whole presentation look more polished and professional.
In summary, I came to the event not knowing what to expect. I didn't discover any artist that immediately needed signing up to Comicoz (a la Rob Feldman). I left - before the Bedroom Philosopher warmed to his set - fairly confident that the event was worthwhile (despite some of my critical thoughts on some aspects of it) and worthy of support in the future. I look forward to next year's Symposium, and just hope I can get the whole weekend off duty, so I can catch some of the Workshops and Panels, and maybe even man a table to sell some good Aussie Comics...
An aside (or Postscript, if you will): Earlier this month, I posted a frustrated 'Grumble' about the ZICS organisation. While I do not take back my comments, I have sought to reach a compromise mutually agreeable with the ZICS Collective. I have also invited all ZICS Supporters an opportunity to a special pre-order of Comicoz' books and an invitation to attend the Ned Kelly Launch (at a date yet to be confirmed). Here's some of my comments to the ZICS Team:
" I'm just as much an Independent Publisher, and I know the difficulty in getting the word out there; so ZICS was important for the local (and national) scene, and I was (and am) happy to support it. All in all, given a bit of space from the event (and my initial disappointment in not getting my ticket to attend the BWF), when I look at it objectively we are both working towards the same goal.