(Press) Budding Artists Display Their Talents At Comic Book Convention (2007)

Staff Writer, Albany Times Union Newspaper (The article appeared after the show in 2007)

(LEFT): TYLER VITALLO, 9, center, of Ballston Spa and Mike Andrews, 10, of Saratoga Springs dig for action figures.

SARATOGA SPRINGS - Some kids read comics. These kids went a step further. Six Saratoga-area comic book lovers got the chance to see their strips in "Crunchy Comics," a full-blown comic book produced by the Saratoga County Arts Council and were on hand to autograph them at the first Saratoga Comic Con on Saturday.

Ranging in age from 11 to 17, the students met for six weeks last autumn under the supervision of artist Joe St. Pierre. They developed plot lines, conceived characters and just drew. "I learned a lot of things about the actual process and constructing and making of a comic book," said Joey Dolan, 12, who will be a seventh grader at Maple Avenue Middle School this fall. He said his comic, titled Penmanship, is about a comic book writer who "falls into another dimension and encounters strange and miraculous things." Most of the young artists are collectors themselves, like 10-year-old Alex Holodook, of Wilton, whose father got him interested in comics and who hopes to grow up to be a comic book artist. On Saturday he was pencil-sketching a portrait of Judge Dredd, one of his favorite characters.

Josh Porter, 16, wants to be a graphic designer. He said he has been doodling for as long as he can remember, and now in high school "sitting in class hones the skills." The convention was organized by Chuck Brouillette, 44, a Saratoga artist who grew up in Albany, and his brother, Ed. They expected as many as 700 people - some clad in shirts and hats with their favorite characters - to check out vendors and local artists selling comic books and other memorabilia at the Saratoga Springs City Center. The convention also featured a silent auction and let fans meet several prominent retired comic artists. Chuck Brouillette said it was the first comic convention in the Capital District in 20 years. "A lot of people tell me I'm not the typical comic book guy - I am a nerd - and I love to hear that," he said. "It's just great to be in an environment where I have my art all around me."

Crunchy Comics sells for $5 at Spa City Comics on Phila Street, Saratoga Springs.