Posts Tagged ‘stumptown’

stumptown 2010: a tale of love, betrayal and redemption

stumptown-2010 What you see here is my haul from this year’s Stumptown Comics Fest, the best darn comics convention this side of the Sandy River. Stumptown is my favorite comics festival because last year it was the first in which I exhibited. This year I was back with my new book See America First! and my first foray into the Five-Page Folded Comic (titled “A Special Message from Ernesto and the Cookie Monster”).

Unlike today, the weekend’s weather was beautiful: perfect comics weather. I was so happy to see the good people of Portland (and beyond) come out to see the plethora of comics available.

Of course the show would not have been the same without my talented table-mate Kenan Rubenstein. Aided by Girl Cate, Kenan showed us on the West Coast how comics are done Brooklyn Style (lightly grilled on one side, then tossed with leafy greens and cumin). He will someday be my editor, adviser, manager, agent, and lawyer, but for now we just split tables at comic conventions. His work is nuanced and pure, his foldies just keep getting better and better. One day he’ll put them all together and it will take hundreds of folds to open completely.

Kenan came to this show with new prints, which sell better than comics because you can hang them on your wall and you don’t have to suffer through some nincompoop’s egotistical manifesto.

Fortunately, the color schemes we each chose for our table halves match; we had a decidedly nifty-looking table. It’s hard to stand out in a crowded comics fest, especially when some of the comic creators are girls.

By now you’re probably wondering what to take away from the overflow of talent emanating from the Lloyd Center Doubletree Hotel. Locals included Reid Psaltis, whose foldies are superb and whose new comic Carry On, Carrion is a laugh-and-a-half about the death of a bird (no, seriously). Aron Nels Steinke, who turned me on to the good folks at Pinball Publishing, had his book Neptune as well as the addictive ongoing series Big Plans. Greg Means had his anthology series Papercutter, which never fails to impress (if Saturday Night Live had the guests Greg manages to get, it would be super-awesome instead of merely super). The impeccably-dressed Theo Ellsworth, who was responsible for this year’s Stumptown poster, had prints as well as the Secret Acres-published book Capacity.

What would Stumptown be if it were not for the out-of-towners? Neil Brideau, from Chicago, gave me a sad, beautiful story called “I am in Love with You.” We looked into each other’s eyes for a moment when our fingers touched, but totally not in a gay way. The living, beating heart of comics, Alec Longstreth, flew in from his current outpost in Vermont to bring Phase 7 (including the story of Basewood) to the yearning masses.

I consider all cartoonists my friend, but some of them may be slightly freaked out by that bit of intimacy. A few cartoonists I met at Stumptown of whose work I am staunchly a fan included Raina Telgemeier, Steve Lieber, Graham Annable, Craig Thompson, Scott C, and Joey Sayers (whose story about the strange and twisted life of a comic strip is brilliant – read it in Papercutter #12).

A big thanks to Joshin Yamada for taking so many great pictures of the event.

My big news was that I am now officially sold out of my very first Falling Rock collection, Owl and Other Comics. It seems there are a lot of fans of both owls and Allen Ginsberg. I have noted this for future reference. For those of you with copies, time to sell ’em on ebay and make a fortune. I updated my Buy Books page to reflect the change in status. From here on out my “first” Falling Rock collection will be the Great Wave of Falling Rock. The comics contained therein marked a transition of pens for me as well as a honing of the Falling Rock characters we all hold so dear.

I need to stop blogging now so I can read some comics, then I need to stop reading comics so I can draw comics!

spiegleman-hetero(Art Spiegelman knows comics)
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stumptown 2011

Last weekend I exhibited at the Stumptown Comics Fest right here in Portland.2011-stumptownThanks to all the fine folks who stopped by table C-13 1/2 to chat or buy books.  This being my third year as exhibitor, I saw some familiar faces which of course expanded my ego to an embarrassing size.  If this is a taste of fame, I’m going to need a bigger skull.

Where would I be without my convention comrades?  Kenan, Neil, Reid, and Matt all made the show feel like a weekend-long hangout.  The highlight of the show was a jam comic that we all drew for Matt’s birthday.  Not only did we each draw a page, but we got such luminaries as Farel Dalrymple and Brandon Graham to contribute.  It might be the best comic about a guy who gets locked out of his car and falls asleep, ever.

I met Portland mayor Sam Adams, who was wearing a faded flannel Columbia shirt – very appropriate, as Columbia Sportswear is proudly located here.  He neglected to buy any of my books, which means he has lost my vote next time.  Just kidding!  Forcing a politician to buy something in exchange for a vote is probably illegal.

Scenic Byways continues to sell, climbing up the charts all the way to number 4,465,987,098.  If you missed your chance to pick it up at the Oregon Convention Center, it’s still available online.

Thanks also for all the trades!  I’ve yet to begin my reading from Stumptown and MoCCA, but the pile of comics beckons me and I dare not resist much longer.

My next convention is none other than the San Diego Comic Con in July, where I hope to get my book into the dainty yet masculine hands of John Lasseter.

goodbye stumptown love fest for comics

stumptown stumpStumptown Comics Fest was the first comic convention I ever attended, way back in 2009. One year later, it was the first comic convention I tabled at. Located that year in the Lloyd Center Doubletree ballroom (really one floor of a parking garage with carpet installed), Stumptown set the tone for me for how comic conventions should be. It was packed with interesting people, some of whom I now proudly call my friends. It taught me about trading the comic I made for another comic somebody else made. I met famous cartoonists, who mingled with us self-published nobodies and didn’t even complain about our smell.stumptown comics festWas Stumptown perfect? Heck no! Cartoonists love to complain as much (if not more) as other people. But I’ve come to realize that the “faults” of a show can also give it character. Make it special, even. MoCCA is held in a century-old armory that is stuffy in even the best weather conditions. Emerald City promoted Patrick Stewart every day for nearly a year but failed to mention all the cool kids in Artist Alley. SPX’s website crashed the second it was open to the public. In the end, these bumps bring us together, or at least give us fodder for in-convention sketches to pass around.stumptown-table

The last few years it was pretty clear that the directors of Stumptown had lost interest in the show. I can’t blame them for wanting to move on. Organizing a comic convention every year can be sweaty thankless work. If you’re not 100% into it, you shouldn’t force yourself. Having the mantle of Stumptown hanging over your head, while dreading the angry tweets from indie cartoonists if it doesn’t go well, is no way to live your life. Better no Stumptown than a Stumptown everybody hates.

I’m sorry to see Stumptown go, but am forever grateful for the world it opened to me. My path in comics would be quite different had Stumptown not existed. To use a handy metaphor, Stumptown is my George Bailey.