First, there's the name.
The curators of Sunday's Autoptic festival — which will celebrate independent comics, music and art — say they're aiming for something different. As far as names go, mission accomplished.
"We've gotten a lot of people asking about the pronunciation," said co-organizer Tomasz Kaczynski. "It's been a good thing. Sometimes easier words are easier to forget."
Au·top·tic means "seeing with one's own eyes," which, Kaczynski says, is a hallmark of the indie comics movement (as well as indie music and indie art). These scenes will converge at Aria in downtown Minneapolis, which is a pretty swanky location for a comics-style expo.
More than 100 exhibitors are expected, ranging from local talent to internationally known pioneers such as "Love and Rockets" co-creator Jaime Hernandez. Jean-Christophe Menu (co-founder of French powerhouse publisher L'Association) is heading up a European contingent. Also on hand is Minneapolis artist Anders Nilsen, a quiet giant in the comic field, who's been published by the likes of Fantagraphics (the acclaimed publisher will also be in attendance).
The artists will sell their wares and speak on panels side-by-side with a mix of musicians and poster artists, including members from the Twin Cities biggest hip-hop label, Rhymesayers, as well as the Doomtree collective. On the poster front, look for Minneapolis stars Aesthetic Apparatus and Chicago's Sonnenzimmer.
Kaczynski, who is the publisher of Uncivilized Books, said he can't think of another national festival that mixes these scenes into one colorful cocktail.
"It's a mish-mash of sorts," he said, "but I think a fertile one where we can cross-pollinate." □