Now Boarding: Hector and the Search for Happiness
It's generally terrifying and unwise to meet internet strangers in the real world, but comic conventions are terrifying and unwise to begin with.
I kid, I kid. Comics are fun! Smaller conventions like Stumptown are pretty low key and a great way to meet fellow fans and generally interesting people. Webcomics provide a particularly easy access route, as they're free and easy to come by (you are reading this on a computer, I remind you). And conventions are particularly well suited to webcomics creators, as they don't always have their books and merchandise in stores, and being accessible to their readers is usually how they got big in the first place.
After the jump: I have deduced for you list of some great webcomics you can check out in the meatspace this weekend.
Family Man B-15
Dylan Meconis's Family Man is a long running intensely detailed historical fiction. If that sounds dry, well, it’s absolutely not. The character drama is rich and fully fleshed out, and the art style is slavishly detailed and intriguingly stylized. Dylan is a local gem, and this is a great opportunity to see her in action. Stay tuned for a more in depth look at this comic, and probably some more on this list.
Bucko- Table B-8
Erika is probably best known for her long running diary comic Dar, which wrapped up in 2009. But she’s also just completed a Portland based serial adventure Bucko with Jeff Parker, which I covered... yesterday, if you missed it. Her art is highly energetic and cartoonish (in the good way) and her subject matter is consistently surprising. Sexy octopus ladies anyone?. (Jeff Parker is probably best known for a billion great Big Two comics, so I'll let you investigate those on your own.)
Sorcery 101 - B-25
Dicebox and Sorcery 101 are unrelated other than that they’re the two comics people consistently recommend to me. I haven’t gotten as far back into their archives as I’d like, but they’re two solidly well produced webcomics with a large following and critical acclaim. Check them out for me, will you?
Boxer Hockey- E-14
Boxer Hockey feels like a great 1970’s action sitcom that you just stumbled into the middle of. Creator Tyson Hesse is a talented animator and it shows in his comic. The character design is extremely fluid and the action scenes are efficiently paced. Better still Tyson is a recent arrival to our fair state, so this is a good opportunity to extend some of our famous Portland hospitality (please do not make fun of his pants).
Buttersafe - 100
Raynato Castro and Alex Culang's Buttersafe is the communal refuge for fans still going through Perry Bible Fellowship withdrawal (a common enough condition, ask anyone at the con). They’re not identical comics, but Buttersafe has a comparable talent for ingenious sight gags and dry anti-humor. The art is simple, accessible, and would probably be your favorite newspaper strip if the comics syndicates had any sack.
Roy's Boys C-2
Comics Underground alumni Ron Chan and Sean Kelley have threaded a difficult needle in creating a (loosely) autobiographical newspaper style strip comic. While most autobio comics are knee deep in continuity and in-jokes, you can generally jump into Roy’s Boys and get why it's funny. It's got a quick and simple style, and better still: Ron is really, really good at drawing Admiral Ackbar.
Sabertooth Vampire C-11
How or why local gadabout Mike Russle created Sabertooth Vampire is probably lost to the mists of time. Regardless, a single (admittedly inspired) visual gag has turned into one of the most consistently amusing comics on the internet. Rendered in Russle’s characteristic squiggly style, Sabrtooth Vampire is a dracua of few words but many adventures.
The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal (Extra NSFW) E-20
I've only just started reading TJ & Amal, but so far it's a congenial down and out road-trip story about two hot dudes who take a lot of showers. That is either going to sound great or not great to you, depending, but it's worth checking out for the spare, sketchy style and the remarkably expressive main characters.
O Human Star E-8
O Human Star is another comic I'm skimming through as Stumptown prep. I'm honestly a little hurt that no one's recommended it to me. It has a vintage drafting table aesthetic that I for one adore, and the story takes a hard left turn into surrealist mystery pretty much from the get go. I'm pleased with this development.
Conflict of Interest Section
Bold Riley 303
Leia Weathington’s Gilgameshian epic Bold Riley just got one of those fancy book deals you hear about sometimes. Like embossment fancy. I know this because we are working on a comic together, so consider this your Blogtown flagrant conflict of interest for the day. All the same, Bold Riley is a great example of long-form story telling in a webcomic format and Leia can and will drink you under the table at comic conventions.
Not a webcomic per-say, but Lucy Bellwood has plenty of comics on the web and I feel that that counts, more or less. Her work covers diverse topics like sailing and polyamory, and she recently launched a Kickstarter to self publish some more. If these are the sorts of things that interest you (and why wouldn't they?), I feel comfortable in saying you can do no better at the con.
Monster Bones E-7
Artist Kory Bing has a few irons in the fire. There's her collaboration Monster Bones, another comic Skin Deep, and recently a Kickstarted card game Borogrove. The internet may have rendered anthropomorphic animal-people into a potentially terrifying red flag, but trust me when I say that Kory covers the subject matter in a very cool and very non-creepy manner.
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