NATE POWELL’S ‘CROSS SECTIONS’
5 p.m. Historic Arkansas Museum. Free.
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When I first met Nate Powell, it was on a sweaty summer night back in nineteen-ninety-something, at one of those plug-in-and-play concerts at Belvedere Pavilion. I’m pretty sure most of those shows weren’t officially sanctioned by The Man, which made them that much more fun.
Nate’s old band, Soophie Nun Squad, was the product of a group of bright, enthusiastic, hyperactive kids who all had a million projects going on at any given time: other bands, zines, comics, activism, art projects, sketch comedy shows, you name it. I can’t remember the specifics of what Soophie’s songs were about, but I’m pretty sure some of the major themes were: having fun, doing what you love and not letting the awful, gray burden of workaday life grind your dreams into a bitter dust.
As much as anyone I can think of, Nate has embodied that ideal, still playing in bands and making comics long after so many of our peers abandoned their erstwhile obsessions. The interesting thing is that when you work on something you love for a long time, you’ll often become really, really good at it. And Nate is really, really good at what he does. Over countless pages – Xeroxed and stapled in the early days, offset printed and bound in beautiful hardback editions lately – Nate has strengthened and refined his craft, creating an instantly recognizable style.
His graphic novels “Swallow Me Whole” and “Any Empire” have earned glowing praise from critics both within the comics world and from more mainstream publications such as Booklist and the Los Angeles Times. The awards he’s won – Eisner, Ignatz – are some of the most prestigious in the field. By living his ideals, working hard and doing what he loves, Nate has realized enormous success. That’s about as inspiring as it gets, friends.
At this show, he’ll be exhibiting and selling works from his graphic novels from the last five years and will also have copies of his books. There will be music from Isaac Alexander and soup from Sharea Soup. Nate will sign books at The Comic Book Store at noon on Saturday.