Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Comic artists help local shop celebrate Halloween


Batmans, Harley Quinns and Riddlers all stopped by Sho’nuff Comics on 15th Street Saturday to celebrate Halloween, snag some free comics and see the work of local artists.

“It’s not as big as free comic book day but it’s getting there,” said Jon Chandler, one of the managers of Sho’Nuff Comics. “It’s encouraging people to dress and cosplay and stuff like that which they normally do on Halloween anyway.”

Throughout the day, the store had a selection of free Halloween-themed comics and local artists on hand to display and sell their art.

“I genuinely like getting the artists here,” said Andy Holmes, another manager at the store. “When they’re all together it’s just a hoot because Rick [Johnson]’s just a natural storyteller and getting the rest of them to talk about art. The conversations you hear back there, because they will talk deep level about artists and art styles that I have no idea about, but it’s fun listening to them.”

Carlos Parker is an artist from Columbus, Mississippi, and a friend of the owner. He sees events like this as a way to give mutual support between sellers and artists as well. Parker has been drawing since he was 7 years old and has a particular love for this childhood favorite character, Thor. Parker said many of his friends now call him up asking for knowledge about the different characters on film and television.

“It’s like the rest of the world is finally catching up to us,” Parker said. “Now it’s like out there. Growing up, getting laughed at for reading comic books and drawing comic book characters, now it’s like the main thing.”

Rick Johnson has been drawing for as long as he can remember. A graduate of the Art Institute of Atlanta, Johnson learned to draw by copying newspaper strips and his older brothers’ comics as a kid. Now 53, he said he almost gave up drawing about 20 years ago.

“I stopped for three weeks,” Johnson said. “I was almost physically ill. People love to draw, I have to draw. I can’t not do it. I have a physical reaction if I don’t do it. Every hard time in my life this is what has gotten me through, because I get all the crazy out of my system.”

Johnson said he continues to do cons and shows because he sees it as a learning experience. He’s watched as the art industry has shifted from pen and paper to digital and said he learns from younger artists just as much as he teaches. He shows them how to ink with pen and brush, and they give him Photoshop pointers.

“It’s a circular argument,” he said. “I’m learning from kids what kids used to learn from me.”

Another artist was Elise Strong, who’s been drawing for as long as she can remember. She is drawn to comic book art because of the powerful characters and the chance to draw something that gets people’s attention.

“We’re a family of artists and basically a community that is just supporting each other through the arts and supporting each other through this business and whatever we can do the help each other is always important to us as a family,” Strong said.

The youngest artist on hand was 14-year-old Cody Barnes, who manager Eric Workman invited after seeing him at a small con at a local library. Barnes is a self taught artist who’s been drawing since he was in fourth grade. He learned his skills by watching YouTube artists and copying from references.

“It’s been real life experience because it’s my first day not the job of being a professional comic book artist and I’m proud of what I do,” said Barnes, who loves to draw Batman related pieces. “People at school can laugh at what I do because nothing can stop me from doing what I love.” 

More to Discover