Sunday kicked off at a far more merciful hour (noon), which was a smart bit of planning that accounted for the late hour everyone wandered out of the Eastworks complex the previous night. After requesting some sketches for my new, themed sketchbook (more on that later), I was able to catch the second screening of “Nerdcore Rising,” the recently released documentary about the rise of “Nerdcore” hip-hop.
The film follows MC Frontalot on his first nationwide tour, and while it gets a bit stale midway through the running time, it really peaks about 2/3 of the way through the film. It hits an especially poignant note when the filmmakers manage to weave together a series of interviews with Frontalot’s fans, who discuss the isolation of their daily lives and the sense of community they find at “Nerdcore” shows. The grand finale of the film unfolds at Penny Arcade Expo in front of hundreds of screaming fans (a far cry from the groups of a dozen or so that populated most of their tour stops), the last stop on Frontalot’s tour, and the performance really does seem the culmination of all the hard times and rough patches that preceded the band’s arrival — both in their current tour and much of their lives.
It felt right to watch “Nerdcore Rising” on the final day of the show, as there was a similar sense of accomplishment throughout the weekend — like the weekend’s events were a goal long in the making for many of the people there. What a lot of print publishers don’t seem to grasp is that webcomic creators tend to operate with the belief that one doesn’t need publishers or marketing departments or anything but a good sense of wit, creativity and dedication to find success in the comics world — and that DIY philosophy seemed to fuel Webcomics Weekend, too.
Late Sunday afternoon, everyone still around at the show — fans and creators alike — assembled in one of the large panel rooms for the Webcomics Weekend Awards. In front of a large crowd seated on the studio floor, Meredith Gran (Octopus Pie), Jeph Jacques (Questionable Content), Rich Stevens (Diesel Sweeties) and various other creators offered up a list of honors that spoofed the typical convention award ceremony in all but one category. The “Superstar” award was given to everyone who attended the show, and it was awarded with a genuine sense of appreciation from the creators present.
At the end of the event, Gran and the event’s organizers received a round of applause that morphed into a standing ovation encompassing not only the organizers, but the show itself and, in many ways, the sense shared by many of those in the room that they were there at a very important moment in webcomic history.
Click on any of the photos below for a gallery of images from Webcomics Weekend 2009: