I'll admit. I'm spoiled by living in a comic book town. "Oh, another Stumptown? Sure. I guess I'll show up for an hour or two."
All photos taken from the Stumptown 2008 Pool on Flickr
Which I did. And it looks like the show is only getting bigger and better. I know a lot of the folks who have gotten involved with the programming and were part of the move from fall to spring, and it looked like it was an idea that paid off. Good weather, good crowds, and lots of excellent guests. As I said before, I skipped this time just because I was feeling overexposed in my place of residence, and felt it was good to take a break while I wait for new material to come out. Still, I wasn't going to pass up doing some browsing, shaking hands, and kissing babies.
The weekend actually started on Thursday. The Get Graphic! event in support of comics in libraries went very well, with speeches from Charles Brownstein of the CBLDF and Douglas Wolk, and a raffle in which I won copies of the books I had donated. Ooops! I gave the books to one of the librarians and divvied up the add-ons. I had really wanted to win the 12 Reasons Why I Love Her art Joëlle Jones had donated, which was easily the best prize of the evening (only one cartoonist gave art? for shame!), but it was not to be. It did go to a good home, though.
That night shifted from the event to a bar and then to Oni publisher Joe Nozemack's house. I learned at least one new lesson that evening: if you're out with Farel Dalrymple, make sure you map out the spill zone in proximity to where you are sitting in regards to him. Otherwise you end up with a Singapore Sling up your sleeve--and not in the sneaky "Have I got a trick for you!" sense of being up your sleeve.
Thursday ended relatively early in comparison to Friday. A small private gathering with lots of cartoonists and local publishing folk spilled over to Guapo Comics for their annual event. I got to meet and/or say hi to Craig Thompson, Lark Pien, Derek Kirk Kim, Landry Walker, Jason Shiga, Shannon Wheeler, and a variety of the Oni, Dark Horse, and Top Shelf crews. In fact, there are probably some people at Dark Horse who are annoyed with me this morning as I'm sure the tales I told out of school trickled back to them now that the work week has begun. I left their employ in 1998, and I carry with me plenty of anecdotes about the old days that the newer employees always love to hear. "Hey, did you hear about the time me and your supervisor went to a Spice Girls concert? And his mom picked us up in her car?"
Getting home at 4:30 that morning was not the best way to transition into the real show. I had promised my friend Mason I'd meet him at around 11:00 so he could have my extra pass, and I was the worse for wear, I must say. I carried on conversations, but in the sense an ant carries a bread crumb that is five times his size--it didn't come without some effort. This is part of why I only lasted a couple of hours, but it also comes down to the fact that I just don't know what to do with myself at comic book shows anymore. I'm not that compelled to go to most industry panels, and the socializing is usually better afterwards than on the con floor. On the floor, to talk to someone who is exhibiting, you generally have to block their customer path. It can be good, because it makes it look like there is interest and shoppers tend to follow one another, thinking if someone else likes it, maybe there is something good over there. Yet, you don't want to be that guy who keeps standing there and doesn't go away and doesn't move for the real business to take place.
Yes, that's Jeff Parker in wig and glasses hosting the Art Battle.
I do like to look at stuff, but I tend not to spend much money, and I feel tremendously guilty looking and then moving on. I think it comes from knowing the really weird, unintentional ways shoppers at conventions can say "no" without saying no. You'd be surprised how disheartening it can be when someone looks at your book, makes a sour face, and then bails.
So, what with trying to avoid spending a lot of money, and also not wanting to be a jerk, I was being careful to browse from afar, zoom in when I felt interested If I were more egotastic, I'm sure I could maybe try to trade on my name, but that's not right. Even if the people hawking the books know who I am for whatever reason, I'm not an editor anymore.
By 2:30, I was home with a handful of acquisitions, most of which I haven't broken into yet. I did read the minicomic Stuffed Afterlife by Angela Melick (http://www.spikecomix.com). Done as part of last October's 24-Hour Comic Book Day, Stuffed Afterlife is the sweet tale of a stuffed toy cat who has lived with the same owner on through childhood and into adulthood. The cat, Dotty, is attacked by her owner's dog, and when her stuffing is torn out, she finds herself in stuffed animal heaven. There she is told that she carries a piece of her owner's soul with her, and if she can solve the riddle of what ails this person, she can be restored. What follows is a Wizard of Oz-style journey where Dotty and several other lost toys searching for the missing questions that plague their beloved humans.
The comic has a surprisingly effective emotional core. It's not a very complicated story, but it manages to hit the buttons Melick is searching for. The art has its ups and downs, but I'm surprised to find that, as a cartoonist, Melick shows more sophistication in her storytelling than she does in the actual draftsmanship. Young artists so often focus first on style and let the building blocks of story only come after. Not true here. My complaint would be that the stuffed animal characters show more personality and artistic confidence than the human beings and the backgrounds, which is also strangely backwards. The less real it is, the more real it feels.
Saturday night, after a nap, I went to the Comic Art Battle at Cosmic Monkey. I can't believe it was my first time at their Sandy location. The store is huge! Check out the Monkey gallery on their site. They have all of them on the wall, too, including ones not online. They have a Joëlle original that actually has the monkey saying a line of dialogue I wrote. I want a scan of that!
The event was also very well attended. Even Brian Bendis was there, very graciously allowing fans to corner him and talk about Skrulls. I didn't see much of the battle, it was a little loud inside the store, but from my understanding, regardless of what Corey Lewis was challenged to draw, he drew Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Can I get a chorus of, "Oh, Corey"?
Sunday I stayed home and worked on some stuff I had deadlines for. I needed to get ahead on Daring Students' Association vol. 2 before heading to Dallas this weekend, and Mike Allred was also sending pages from Madman Atomic Comics #9 throughout the day. The goal was to turn it into Image today, and so we were putting everything into making that happen. You guys are in for a real treat. It's another issue where Mike will make you entirely rethink what is possible in a stapled, printed comic book.
Current Soundtrack: Ennio Morricone, Underworld, My Little Airport, Sister Vanilla, White Rabbits, Cardigans
Current Mood: heh
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All text (c) 2008 Jamie S. Rich