Cleveland Scene Comics

By | Wednesday, January 27, 2021 1 comment
Cleveland Scene
I had started playing drums when I was ten in school and, when I showed that it was something that I was legitimately interested in, my folks had me start taking formal lessons at the (sort of) local music store. It was a small place and it was a retail store first and foremost, so they didn't really have a place to sit or hang out while I was waiting for the previous kid's lesson to finish up. The first few times I inspected the various instruments on display while I waited, but it's not like they rotated stock on a weekly basis or anything so that got old real quick. What I did come across, though, was that they had a stack of Cleveland Scene on one of the counters which I would regularly pick up.

Cleveland Scene -- or, rather, just Scene as I knew it back then -- started in 1970 and is a free alternative weekly paper. It relies heavily on classified ads, which I would regularly scan for local drum equipment, but also had a lot of original articles on Cleveland-area arts and entertainment. At the time I was reading it weekly, there was a heavy focus on music, particularly big name bands whose tours came through the area, but they also had pieces on the local food scene and movies and such. After I stopped taking drum lessons (though I continued to play!) I didn't pick up Scene regularly, although I would grab a copy if I happened across one somewhere. After I graduated high school, I moved away from the area and haven't seen an issue "in the wild" since.

They're still around, though. My buddy Matt has been kind enough to send me their Comics Issue for the past few years. I believe they started in 2013 dedeciating one issue in January to local area indie comics creators. Their in-issue descriptions have been a little light the past few years, but in 2018, they introduced the section with this...
It's a celebration of the talented working comic artists in Cleveland, those who are carrying on the city's long and storied tradition in panels and pushing it in new directions.
I think the idea was started by John Greiner, an area creator himself, whose The Lake Erie Monster comics were how I first came across him. I don't know how he came to work with Scene though. In any event, despite his parting with the magazine in 2018, they've continued on with the annual Comics Issue, with the latest one coming out about a week ago. It was curated by Sequoia Bostick and Amaia DeGirolamo of Vagabond Comic, and features some original one page comics by Kelly Bahmer-Brouse, Matt Haberbusch, Grace LaPrade, Samantha Nunoo, Abriana Rosu, and Gabby Zematis.

The issue is still mostly dedicated to local stuff other than comics, but that they're willing to highlight several local creators every year and expose readers to their work is incredibly laudible. They do miss on including anything about "here's where you can find more of their work" so unless the creator includes their website or Facebook page or whatever, they're relying on readers doing a bit of digging on their own. But I believe the creators are paid for their work and I'm sure there's at least a handful of folks who become fans based on it, so I hope Scene continues this idea for years to come.

I believe, technically, the most recent Comics Issue is already off the "stands" (wherever it's distributed) but you can still access it -- and all the other comics issues -- digitally via their website.
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Matt K said...

This year's Scene comics issue was dated Jan. 13, so the new issue should replace any remaining copies in Scene's boxes today. (Scene has been every-other-week since resuming print publication after lockdown last year.) New issues can take up to a few days to reach all the boxes, so it's possible that there will still be some copies of the comics issue in the burbs through this week.

But of course for most people in the world just viewing the issue online is much more practical in any event. :-)