Chicago-based comic group remembers ‘Forgotten History’



Chicago-based comic group remembers ‘Forgotten History’

By Kendrah Villiesse

Superheroes, horses riding humans and rabbits attacking Napoleon all come alive in the Let’s Make Comics collection “Forgotten History.”

The 48-page, black-and-white comic anthology consists of 10 stories that blend fact and fiction that were created by Chicago-based collective Let’s Make Comics. The group created a Kickstarter page—running from January to February—to raise funds for the printing costs and has already exceeded its $1,880 goal.

“I thought the idea of getting everybody to create actual history would be a little too dry and a little too limiting, so I encouraged everyone to expand on the idea,” said Melissa Sayen, founder of Let’s Make Comics. “We ended up with a 40-60 split, the majority being fictional stories, but we did have a couple of people that were super interested in telling the actual history.”

This will be Let’s Make Comics’ third annual anthology after “Mars” and “Mystery.” Sayen said she started the group in 2013 by posting on looking for locals to create comics with her.

“Many of the reasons I got involved with this group were because it didn’t focus on the superhero stuff,” said Patrick Cheng, an artist in Let’s Make Comics and a 2006 Columbia art & design alum. “I have a much higher interest in alternate stories that present a much different dynamic than what is expected.”

The indie comics group meets twice a month in the South Loop to work on comics and discuss new ideas for projects. The group came up with the idea of “Forgotten History” by drawing from a hat, according to Sayen. She said the team then split up in teams and went to work.

Kelly Miller, who contributed to the comic book, said she has seen a dramatic change in comics within the last 10 years. Indie comics are becoming more popular, and people are more daring and willing to create diverse comics geared toward a wider range of interest, she said.

“I wanted to get something different than what everybody else did,” Miller said. “It wasn’t just a repeat of something; it had its own tune to it.”

The group will be presenting the book at Chicago Zine Fest in May, a celebration of small press and independent publishers. Sayen added that it is easier now to find an audience than in the past; because the internet and festivals, comics have become more diverse and more interesting.

“There are probably a lot of stories out there that didn’t get pushed because people didn’t think that it would sell,” Miller said. “But now I feel like more people can have their stories told and see that wider range of interest.”