Back in 2005 I was a guest speaker, along with cartoonists Gary and Glenn McCoy (The Flying McCoys, etc.), Jim Borgman (Zits, editorial cartoons) and Tom Wilson Jr. (Ziggy), animation critic Charles Solomon and Disney Imagineer Vice-President Tony Bancroft in a small town called Marceline, MO at an event called the Walt Disney Hometown Toonfest. Since Missouri is part of the large geographical area covered by our chapter of the National Cartoonist Society, the North Central Chapter, many of our chapter members have taken an interest in Toonfest and have helped organize and plan parts of the event. I haven’t been able to make it back to the annual Toonfest celebration since then due to constant conflicts with my schedule.
This year the North Central Chapter, of which I am currently the chairman, has decided to hold our annual fall meeting in Marceline in conjunction with Toonfest. It makes sense to do so, since the Toonfest folks have already lined up a great program of guest speakers, as they do every year, and so all we have to do is show up, drink our fair share of beers and enjoy the festivities.
What is Toonfest, and why in Marceline, MO, population 2,500? Perhaps their website or this post from my blog will explain it more fully, but for those with link-apathy here is the short version: Walt Disney and his family lived in Marceline from 1906 to 1911, when we has aged 4 to 9 years. In that short time a lot of the things that would later become staples of Disney’s vision were indelibly planted in his mind… anyone who has ever walked down Main Street in either Disneyland or in the Magic Kingdom will recognize Marceline’s influence when they see the same streets, lamppost clocks and storefront architecture looking back at them in this small Missouri town. Disney also reportedly developed his love of drawing during this time, as well as his love or railroads and trains. There are many more examples of Marceline’s influences on Disney.
Ten years ago the town decided to honor thier hometown hero with an annual celebration. Since then Toonfest has evolved into a celebration of cartooning itself, and they have had amazing success getting some pretty high profile cartoonists to come to this out-of-the-way place and speak.
This years guest speakers speakers include “Speedbump” creator Dave Coverly, “Stone Soup” cartoonist Jan Eliot, “Luanne” writer/artist Greg Evans and “The Norm” creator Michael Jantze. There is also an exhibit of original cartoon art at the local Masonic Temple right on Main Street that runs all of Toonfest weekend.
I will be there all weekend and will have a MAD piece in the art show. I won’t be speaking but just enjoying the event and soaking up the hometown hospitality. Hope to see some of you there. Check out the Toonfest website for more details and for a schedule.
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