Comic Non-Sans: Super Art Fight 9

Super Art Fight is growing.  I mean, like, seriously so.

I’ve covered their origins in the past to the point that it doesn’t bear repeating.  Over the last couple years, the Fights have gone from an offshoot of a con event to a whole night out that’s so awesome it nearly broke the law.

My cohort and I had the opportunity to get ourselves up to Super Art Fight 9 at the Ottobar in Baltimore, MD — their usual stomping ground.  For those who have never been, the Ottobar is a basement-level club that features indie bands and other various badassery (my cohort was there a few years ago to witness Guitar Wolf).  Its max capacity is 450 people, and while it’s been packed in there before, there’s never exactly been any sort of fire hazard.

Friday night, the line to get in — ticketed or otherwise — was a fair bit of a way down the block.  And once in, there was so little room that the only salvation re: seeing at all was for me to volunteer to run some of the more foolproof tech (i.e., the Wheel of Death) so we could stand on a step and see over people’s heads.

Why is this?  At last count, there were 448 tickets sold.  That’s right, they squeaked in just under capacity.  I suppose SAF is getting a little popular.

We were unable to make the first bout, which I was looking forward to talking about because it featured a rookie battle between blogger/artist Brandon J. Carr and College Humor‘s Caldwell Tanner.  Carr won the bout, apparently, though I was unable to see the board for very long.

One of the things I tell people about SAF is that it’s as much about showmanship as it is about art.  And one of the artists now in the fold is a grand example of that.  I was unfamiliar with the fantastic work of artist (and apparently classy nice dude eye-arr-ell) Josh Taylor before the bout … and just as unfamiliar afterward.  It seems the Fights have found their “heel” in Taylor — in his battle with Bryan Prindiville he knocked back a beer, spun the Wheel of Death on his own schedule and then refused to follow the prompts, flipped the audience a wide variety of birds, and then left three minutes early because “that was all the time he needed.”

In point of fact, the whole night was about showmanship.  The two signed bands for SAF9 were local video game cover band Rare Candy (armed with Pokemon-themed costumes for their second set) and Japanese punk action comic band Peelander-Z.  As my cohort mentioned, just having either of those bands present would have been intense.  But the whole night was an exercise in full-on geekery and spectacle.

SAF is really setting their own bar very high.

SAFX (they’re going into Roman numerals for this one) will likely be even bigger, and I have no idea how they plan to top themselves.  I will, however, agree with Peelander Yellow: they need to move to a bigger location, provided they never forget their roots at the Ottobar.  I’m hoping that when the big 10 rolls around, I’ll be able to look back at this write-up and wonder how I ever thought they wouldn’t be able to top this most recent show.

Posted on January 25, 2011 at 01:36 by Kara Dennison · Permalink
In: Events · Tagged with: , ,