Fine, we'll call them graphic novels.
Three years ago, the Comics Creators Network threw a coming-out party called Sequence, which attempted to elevate the typically disdained comic book to the level of legitimate artwork. Ever since, the group has been bringing writers and artists together, providing support and pushing for the creation of more local comics -- fighting the geek fight in an effort to help the masses understand that comic books are a genre that's capable of artistic and literary excellence. To encourage more wannabe Stan Lees, the CCN hosts free comic-book days, graphic-novel club meetings, minicomics expositions, regular sketchbook drawing parties, writing workshops and an annual comic-book-creation marathon that involves no sleep and lots of improvisation. Membership is free through the Web site (www.comixclub.com), and the CCN monthly meeting is at 7 p.m. the second Wednesday of every month on the upper mezzanine of Union Station (30 West Pershing). There, creators talk shop with people who understand the pain of lettering a thought balloon. -- Christopher Sebela
He makes us say Gee
Experimental film, a genre much closer to conceptual art than to Hollywood movies, has been more visible in Kansas City lately, with well-received solo shows by artists such as Andrea Flamini and Rebecca Dolan and an impressive Urban Culture Project-sponsored group collaboration at the Boley Building. But just because a lot of people support it doesn't mean a lot of people get it. So the KC-based film group Unreel convinced Daven Gee, a filmmaker and UMKC professor, to host an evening of screenings and experimental explanation at 8 p.m. Tuesday at Westport Coffee House (4010 Pennsylvania, 816-756-3222). Admission is $3. -- Annie Fischer