The Comic Queen

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Saturday, September 04, 2004

I'm a Fan of the ICAA

The International Comic Arts Association (ICAA) has received quite a bit of press since its inception earlier this year. From the Comic Book Resources website to The Comics Journal, the word is out about this non-profit trade organization and promotional board that is “dedicated to the preservation and further advancement of the comic arts,” to use their trademarked phrase.

While the comics industry has seen its fair share of industry organizations start up and often fold, the ICAA, in my estimation is significantly different. The biggest difference is the man in charge, Founder, President, and Executive Director Erik Enervold. From all that I’ve seen of the ICAA, there are few people who have the organization, professionalism, and finesse of Enervold. And that’s exactly what a project like the ICAA absolutely has to have and an industry like the comics industry needs. Some people can make things happen by sheer will and hard work, and Enervold appears to be one of those people.

From website to promotional materials, the ICAA’s presentation is incredibly slick and professional. The vision and scope of this organization is wide. It includes, but certainly is not limited to:

* ComicArts AdCouncil
* ICAA Media Council
* Comics Outreach Program
* Comic Arts Research and Reference Library
* Comics Kids Club
* C.L.A.S.S. Project – Comics: Learning and Advanced Student Strategies
* ICAA Press – their own, original publications department
* Resources for retailers, libraries, and teachers

Each of the program areas are in various stages of implementation, but they each have their goals clearly outlined and logos in place. There are so many projected services and programs that it nearly boggles the mind. I can only imagine how Enervold must feel!

Many have described Enervold’s appearance on the scene as coming out of nowhere. And others question how such an ambitious organization can survive with just the efforts of him and a few other dedicated volunteers. But here’s the thing: you can be a part of the ICAA’s survival and growth – whether you are a fan, a retailer, an artist or writer (or both), or a company. And there are special benefits for each of these groups.

I absolutely love that the ICAA has a place for fans. When I heard about the organization and saw what it was about, I joined right away. I’m not usually the first to join a group, but I know quality when I see it, and I understand the power that individual purchases have, so I had to join. There are several levels of membership, but here’s a glimpse into what you’ll get if you join as a Fan/Collector.

First off, you get great communication. Press releases of interest to members are distributed via email and you are automatically entered into each giveaway they have. In fact, I’ve already won a free comic, and I just got my raffle ticket for the Spiderman giveaway going on now. You also receive a subscription to the organization’s official journal, ComicArts Illustrated. And what would a membership be without a membership packet. I mean really.

Here’s what mine contained:
* A welcome letter and a copy of the press release announcing their debut along with copies of articles on the organization from CBR and Broken Frontier
* My very own membership card #F1005 (told you I joined right away!)
* A Fan/Collector membership handbook
* An ICAA logo cling sticker (now on my car’s rear window)
* A couple ICAA bumper stickers
* A membership certificate (with a real seal on it!)
* A volunteer application and an ad rate sheet (members get 25% off list prices)

And the best part is the annual membership fee for a Fan/Collector is only $35. This is a bargain. Yes, there will be naysayers and doubters for any organization such as this. But I maintain that nasaying and doubting is pointless. An organization such as the ICAA can only benefit the industry. A few bucks spent now may just ensure that later there are quality comics still being put out – or even better that there are more quality comics being put out. This is an investment, people.

These are just my opinions, but here are the facts: success won’t happen overnight, and it won’t happen without your support and action. Share your love of comics by helping this non-profit organization to bloom and grow – become a member!


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