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24 Hour Comic Book Day

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On Oct. 20, people in 18 countries will sit down and make their own comics. None are likely to be masterpieces, but that's not the point.

24 Hour Comic Book Day, which will be held in the Triangle at Chapel Hill Comics, challenges would-be creators to put their money where their mouths are and create a complete work over the course of a marathon 24-hour session.

Chapel Hill Comics first participated in the event last year, and according to store owner Andrew Neal, almost everyone from last year has signed up again. "There is a certain amount of pressure to just get something out," Neal says. "Knowing the goal is quantity, not quality, frees a lot of people up and sometimes accidentally leads to a creation of quality."

The event is based on a concept from Understanding Comics author Scott McCloud, and participants have included bestselling author Neil Gaiman and The Crow creator James O'Barr. In 2004, the idea became an annual event; last year saw 1,200 participants in the United States, Canada, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, England, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Portugal.

For those willing to brave the challenge, Chapel Hill Comics will provide this year's participants with food and art supplies to sustain them through their long artistic trek. Both Neal and his wife Vanessa participated in last year's event, though Neal says he's still deciding if he wants to take on the challenge again. He's tempted: "I was glad for the opportunity to finish something," Neal says. "I have an art degree, and I haven't really used it."

Doors open for this year's challenge at 10 a.m., with the event officially commencing at 10:30 a.m. For more information, visit www.24hourcomics.com or www.chapelhillcomics.com online.

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