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Monday, April 30, 2012

Notes from Stumptown Comics Fest 2012

Posted by Courtney Ferguson on Mon, Apr 30, 2012 at 1:29 PM

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  • Joelle Jones
Who else is cash poor after wandering around Stumptown Comics Fest all weekend? It was a land of milk and honey and paneled pulchritude at the Oregon Convention Center for the ninth annual hullabaloo. Here's some stuff I saw!

I stopped by the Spell Checkers panel on Saturday with writer Jamie S. Rich (who has been known to write for the Mercury—and look, everything's coming up Rich today) and artist Joëlle Jones. As true to the program prediction that they would bicker for 45 minutes, Rich and Jones did indeed grump at each other in a jovial manner as they showcased some new pages from the 2013-dropping third volume in their fun teenage bitch witch series from Oni Press. We also got a glimpse of Jones' new book The Girl Who Owned a City—which I totally missed my chance on buying as Jones sold out by the time I strolled up to her booth on Sunday. And there were some beautiful pin-up teasers to a new collaboration by Rich and Jones from Oni that features a Mad Men-esque housewife in retro ads for Pepsodent (and murder). Can't wait to learn more about that.

Stan Sakai's panel about his nearly 30-year-long career creating Usagi Yojimbo comics was adorable—mostly because Sakai is adorable. He presided over a wobbling artists' tablet and drew on an easel in front of the room while answering questions from the moderator and audience, tearing off drawings as he went. He talked about his fortuitous beginnings with Usagi Yojimbo—how it coincided with the rising popularity of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles—and his work process—TV when drawing, absolute quiet when writing.

On the holy day of hangover Sunday (how was that afterparty at the Jupiter, fest fiends?), I picnicked in the back row of the "Beyond the Cape: Genre Fiction in Comics" panel with a whole host of fantastic comics creators: Brian Churilla, Vera Brosgol, Brian Hurtt, Lukas Ketner, Brandon Seifert, Dylan Meconis, Steve Lieber, Batton Lash, and Ron Randall. It was not the most interesting of discussions (yes, superheroes dominate the mainstream comic book world, and yes, women and minorities are not super represented in this cape-y landscape—these things we can agree on). But each panelist had great stuff to throw into the mix. Lash was aesthetically pleasing, as he looked very much like what I imagine Siefert and Ketner's Witch Doctor to look like in real life. At one point, moderator Christian Lipski said, "[When creating, you should] follow what makes you happy." And Churilla, creator of the trippy The Secret History of D.B. Cooper, said, "For a long time, drugs made me happy, so that's why I'm working on what I'm working on." Meconis was engaging and captivating about her love of history and how it's a "free pile" of endless ideas. And it looks like I'm going to have to start buying Hurtt's The Sixth Gun series. God, my wallet hurts.

Then I may have won Sarah Mirk's history trivia quiz in a huge morassy conflict of interest. Okay truthfully, professional history buff and friendly Mercury TV correspondent Joe Streckert and his gang might've won Sarah Mirk's trivia quiz, while I sat quietly, contributing little. But, still... WIN!

And that wraps up my little corner of participation at Stumptown.

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