Smashing The Comic Book World Records In Arizona

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We reported that the Amazing Arizona Comic Con was looking to break the Kapow world records for the fastest comic in production with the most contributors. Well, that happened last year. And now the Guinness World Records folks signed off on it.

Shawn Demumbrum , who organised the record break with Jesse James of Jesse James Comics  told me,

A few days after Mark Millar set the records at Kapow! Comic Convention in London in April 2011, I had stopped Jesse James Comics for one of my visits to talk about the comic book industry. We talked about what an accomplishment it was, especially in the middle of the controlled chaos that any comic book convention was. America has very few original art forms that aren't coopted from other cultures. Jazz and comic books are two of the two truly American art forms. Jesse and I set into motion a plan to bring the records back to the birthplace of the comic book.

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Over the next few years, lots of things changed. A group from Brazil broke the record for the most creators on a comic book. We pitched the idea to several conventions and were rejected. We considered what it would take to host the event at Jesse's store. We contemplated how we could add complexity to the record so that it wouldn't be as easily replicable Having copies of the printed comic available for sale the next day with proceeds benefiting a comic book charity also became a priority.

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Jesse and I continued to work on breaking through the roadblocks. We found a convention that would give us space and access to their guests. Jimmy Jay of Amazing Arizona Comic Con worked with us to fit it into his programming and help us with the cover artist. We worked with Anthony Delany of Ready Comics to create a process to get a finished print ready file to him for overnight printing. Brian Pulido and Jim McLauchlin helped us to meet their guidelines to add the Hero Initiative as our comic book charity recipient. We applied for our record attempt and studied the guidelines and requirements. To avoid the additional cost of flying out an official Guinness witness, we opted to recruit our own witnesses, Andrew Heinrich and Kurt Kramer, who would be there for the entire event. The difference between the two meant that instead of instant certification when you make the record, it took several months (and in our case over a year) to certify the results of the record attempt. It also meant providing Guinness with extensive documentation including video footage, photographic evidence, witness statements, and other documentation. No matter how much you plan for an event, there is always a lot of improvisation that occurs. We arrive at the venue and couldn't get in as early as we thought we would be able to. Instead of two cameras for coverage, we were only able to get one. Jesse had to turn around at the last minute to pick up needed supplies, and arrived minutes before the show opened. The SD card for the camera only held 8 hours of footage, so we needed to switch out cards a little over halfway through the attempt to capture it all. All of our calculations for writing and drawing were off. Jesse had to adjust the times for people on the fly to accommodate the open spaces and progress on the script. Copies of the previous scripts had to be provided to writers before they could start writing so they could maintain some continuity. Every time a new character was created, we had to provide reference for any future artists, but the reference often times was being created by the artist sitting next to them. At one point, one of the scripts had accidently been spell checked and one of the characters names had been replaced. We spent time figuring out who this new character was since they didn't appear on previous pages or have a description in the script. Paul Jenkins and Marc Silvestri both stopped by the table to see how they could be part of the challenge. There was even about 30 minutes when we thought we might be able to get Robert Kirkman to write two pages for the story, which meant adding to the book length and recruiting more artists or displacing one of the writers who had agreed to work on the book. Slowly the script pages came in, panels were assigned to artists, and the finished artwork arrived to be scanned. The convention was winding down, but we didn't have our cover artist. Jesse approached Rob Liefeld about doing the cover. Rob said, "When do you need me?" Jesse told him he needed him now. Rob walked away from his table to help us complete the cover for the book. Time was ticking away as I lettered and formatted the panels into pages. After several attempts to print out the comic, we were able to finish it beating the previous record by exactly 3 minutes with 115 total contributors to the 23 page comic book. I sent the printer ready files to Anthony at Ready Comics. He spent the night printing out copies so we could have them for the next day at the convention. Attendees were able to purchase the book and get signatures from most of the contributors.

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You would think this would be the end of the story, but we spent several months putting the evidence and submission package together. We shipped it off to England for certification. After not hearing back for months, we started following up with the New York office. This continued until they realized that our record had been filed under a Beer Pong attempt. We resubmitted our submission package and gave them another few months to review it. As the anniversary of the attempt closed in, Jesse's calls to the New York office became daily calls as we hoped to make an announcement at Amazing Arizona Comic Con. The certification of the Guinness World Record for the fastest time to produce a comic and most contributors to a comic book was confirmed about a month ago, but we wanted to make sure we received the certificates in hand before we announced it. We are now able to announce it to the general public and plan for the next stage of this adventure. We will releasing a World Record Holder version of "Nobody Goes Down To Robotown" and auctioning off the original art to the book to benefit the Hero Initiative on May 3, 2015 (the day after Free Comic Book Day). For details follow the Facebook Fan Page for the World Record Attempt.

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Thank you to all of those who contributed their time and talent to help us break the records.

And here they all are:

Organizers and Editors:
Jesse James
Shawn Demumbrum ( and letterer)

Witnesses:
Andrew Heinrich
Kurt Kramer

Writers:
Kyle Higgins
Brian Buccellato
Pat Shand
Tom Hutchison
Eric M. Esquivel
Jacob Thomas
Radi Lewis
Thomax Green
Paul Jenkins
Ken Kristensen
Brian Pulido
Raven Gregory

Artists (listed by the log):
Jamie Tyndall
Ross Demma
Tim Vigil
Jason Pedersen
Tony Parker
Patrick Canter
Free Isabelo
Tony Fleecs
Eric Mengel
Derrick Tipton
Alfred Trujillo
Andy Bohn
Ryan M. Kincaid
Chris Morrill
Kevin Coulston
Jolene Houser
Al Sparrow
Eddie Nunez
Greg Scott Bailey
Crystal Ferguson
Kip Mussatt
Marat Mychaels
Sina Grace
Matt Goodall
Katelyn McCaigue
Scott P. "DOC" Vaughn
April Grady-Reyna
Chris Marzuola
Tim Champion
Denny Riccelli
Mark Dos Santos
Rob Hicks
John Chihak
Renee Meredith
Jenn Hopkins
Jason Worthington
JP Manzanares
Virva Peikko
Ruben Rosas
Diana Levin
Emily "Emma" Lysyk
Ashler G. Bate
Jim Hanna
Jonathan Hillmer
Travis Hanson
Bryanna Marie
Deryl Skelton
Jeff Pina
Daniel "Steamcrow" Davis
Jess Hurley
Johnny Segura
Sal Galindo
Eroll See
Norm Rapmund
Nancy Rose
Joel Gomez
Russ Kazmierczak
Mike Debalfo
Chris Crainey
Brandon James
Val Hochberg
Robert Elrod
Andy Perez
Autumn Fredrickson
Bill Andres
Michael Stewart
Chadwick Haverland
Heather Martin
Mike Vasquez
Jason Anthony Cazares
Marc Silvestri
Rob Osborne
Jon Goff
Dietrich Smith
Karl Alstaetter
Denae Frazier
Tony Donley
Dave Beaty
Bryan "BG" Graham
Alex Kotkin
Peter Steigerwald
"Big" Chris Wood
Steven E. Gordon
Luis Calderon
Shannon Eric Denton
John Layman
David Angelo Roman
Jeremy "JPool" Colwill
Joe Benitez
Josh C. Lyman
Vo Nguyen
Rebecca Hicks
Livio Ramondelli
Erik Arreaga
Mat Nastos
David K. Wong
John Stinsman
Casey Mike
Shelby Robertson
Srudhar Maduri
Matthew Weldon
Rob Liefeld (cover)




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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.

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