Eliza makes comics and she’s just published her first book of short stories, Regalia, stories from the past four or five years, and one of the stories was nominated for an Eisner in 2009. She funded this book with a Kickstarter campaign that was so successful she could do a hard back print run. I bought a copy and as I was reading it at the hotel that night, it stopped time for me, which made me very happy. The art is gorgeous and the stories dark and broody. Not usually my kind of book, but I was swept away. This is Eliza’s first Comic Con and although she’s feeling a little overwhelmed (you’re not human if you don’t feel a little overwhelmed at SDCC) it’s going well for her, except for some logistical disorganization on the SDCC’s part that made setting up very stressful. Eliza attended CalArts for animation and fell into comics there. Her first comic was a concept piece for her second year film. Then she put it online and that’s the one, The Lady’s Murder, that was nominated for an Eisner. So she changed her focus to comics because you finish the storyboard phase, you’re done, but in animation you finish the storyboard phase and you start. Eliza didn’t graduate from CalArts in animation, but she did graduate from UCLA with a Bachelors degree in Japanese literature in 2004. She loves the sense melancholy in Japanese literature. She said it’s was a very indulgent undergraduate degree, but I feel that if you can get a degree in Japanese literature from UCLA (or anywhere) you should do that. She said getting the degree was fun and that it influences her work in a subconscious way, on the story level, and even though I don’t have a degree in Japanese literature, after reading Regalia, I completely agree with that. Eliza got me hip to something I didn’t know about SDCC this year, and apparently last year: Comic Con is no longer offering free tables working artists, they want to sell the space to more media companies or whoever. So last year and this year DeviantArt.com bought the space (and it was probably very expensive) and offered it to the artists for free. So, thank you, DeviantArt.com, for still supporting the artists. If not for Artists Alley I would never have found Eliza Frye’s wonderful book and all the other wonderful comics and artwork I got this year. Eliza has another web comic in the works and is planning a Kickstarter campaign for another collection of short stories with stories by Omar Salza and will be in beautiful Kickstarter hard cover next year. So there IS something to look forward to.
For more SDCC 2012 coverage, here’s Comic Con all in one big post.