STAPLE! The Independent Media Expo is back on March 3 and 4 at Marchesa Hall and Theater. According to their website, this event promotes independent artists whether it’s comics, art, animation or self-published literature. Guess you could say STAPLE! features the little guys, figuratively.
“STAPLE! is a great event, because it’s my audience,” said exhibitor David Hopkins in an email. “If I went to San Diego Comic-Con, sure, it’s a big event, but guys dressed as Stormtroopers aren’t interested in my work. People attend smaller, independent shows to find something new, to try something out.”
This year, there are 150 exhibitors, including Hopkins, who will showcase their work as well as sell merchandise. Hopkins said that it makes sense that STAPLE! is a better investment of his time and has participated in all seven STAPLE! expos in the past.
“Also, I have a lot of respect for the organizers,” said Hopkins. “They do a great job every year. It’s a fun event and a sincere celebration of non-corporate creativity.”
Filmmaker, writer and artist Paul Hanley said he looks forward to seeing the people he usually sees at STAPLE! and is coming back for a third year selling original art in poster form.
“That’s where most of my business is. It’s selling posters of various work,” said Hanley, who graduated from University of Texas in Austin in 2001.
Along with the exhibitors, there will also be guest speakers and panels. Guest speakers include Kevin Eastman, the co-creator of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” for those children of the ’80s and ’90s, as well as Austin’s Jason Neulander.
Neulander is the director, writer and producer of Intergalactic Nemesis, the self-proclaimed live-action graphic novel. The show, which debuted in 2010, features comic book panels that are projected behind a Foley artist, a musician and three actors who perform the story live and has since toured around the world. Most recently, Neulander and company were featured on NPR’s “All Things Considered” and performed a short segment of Intergalatic Nemesis with Conan O’Brien and Andy Richter on “Conan Tonight.”
Neulander said that he was told Conan wanted to be in the show after he was shown a video of the show. The performance with Conan can be watched online after a quick Google search.
“That was crazy,” said Neulander. “That was amazing.”
He said he never thought that performance would happen when he first wrote the show, but the response he has seen on tour has been incredible.
“I have to say, for someone who got his start doing experimental theater where he was glad if 35 people showed up to see a show on any given night to have thousands and thousands of people come out and take a chance on something they never really heard of before and then really like it is just incredibly gratifying,” said Neulander. “It’s been amazing.”
Neulander will speak at STAPLE! about the history of the project and what the experience has been like for him as well as share the progress and the artwork. He’s currently working on the sequel that will have two rough cut performances at 7 PM on March 3 and at 2 PM on March 4 at the Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar.
The sequel, which premieres June 8 at The Long Center, picks up two weeks where the first story left off but will have a different approach. Neulander said that it will be a little more darker, a little more complicated and definitely different.
“I could not be happier with where we are on the show,” said Neulander.
As for Hopkins, he said people can expect real diverse subject matter in his comics as he uses the medium to experiment at his table. According to his website, he will debut “Astronaut Dad,” which he collaborated with Brent Schoonover. He also promises to interact with people when they stop at his table.
“I’m a fairly friendly person,” said Hopkins. “I promise I won’t be grumpy. I’ll talk to you, and I
won’t flip out if you don’t buy my books… even though you should.”