by Daniel Wolf
“Whether Clevelanders know it or not, this city is a comic book town,” says Cleveland comic book artist Jim Giar.
Giar is one of the founding members of Cleveland's chapter of the Drink and Draw Social Club. The club brings local comic book artists and writers, tasty beverages and social interactions together based on the simple concept of being fans of comics and art. It has been in Cleveland for several years now and its origin started on MySpace.
“Back in the days of MySpace I came across the Original Drink and Draw Social Clubs page while looking for an artist,” says Giar. “I liked the idea and going through the chapter list and I came across the Cleveland's page, started by local artist CHOD. I attended a few but unfortunately it never seemed to grow legs—social media hadn't quite peaked yet.
“A few years later fellow Rust Belt Monster Collective [artist] Randy Crider and I talked about starting a Cleveland chapter again. It was important to me to get the actual blessing of the original founding members—artists Dan Panosian, Dave Johnson and Jeff Johnson. I reached out to Dan through Facebook and here we are.”
For Giar, and other founding members of the Drink and Draw Social Club, these meetings have shown them the growth of Cleveland's comic artist community.
“The amount of creators, writers and artists who have come from this area have been pivotal in the advancement of comics as an entertainment vessel and an art form,” says Giar. “And judging from our turn outs, we're not the only one who believe this. It's a chance to network with fellow enthusiasts, fans, writers, artists and a social experience. Sharing ideas, tips...family recipes.”
The Drink and Draw Social Club gatherings occur twice each month and are open to the public so local artists and writers can talk with current comic professionals and meet fellow amateurs, all who are local. The first Wednesday of each month the club meets on the second floor of the Great Lakes Brewery and the third Thursday of each month are held on the second floor at Lava Lounge. Each gathering is usually from 7-11 p.m.
For more information about the Drink and Draw Social Club, visit their Facebook page by searching 'Drink and Draw Social Club Cleveland.' And for info about other local comic book professionals of the Rust Belt Monster Collective, check out their website at RustBeltMonster.com.