The Comic Queen

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Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Comix & Stories Comicon Report

Now that you've read Kerry's report on her recent experience at Bumbershoot, let's travel back in time and take a look at the Comix & Stories Comicon held just more than a week ago in Vancouver, BC.

The venue was a historic building in downtown Vancouver, with the artists and vendors in one large room—Heritage Hall. According to organizer Leonard Wong, around 300 attendees showed up to check out the 30 creators/self-publishers and five dealers.

There was a laid-back feel to the event; everyone that I ran into was courteous to those around them. So, in other words, no one was hogging a creator's time, and it wasn’t crowded, so there was still plenty of time to shoot the breeze with creators.

Speaking of shooting the breeze, one the highlights for me was laughing it up with Greg Stump and Smell of Steve, Inc. (SOS) who were at adjacent tables. These guys were a riot – we had an especially hearty laugh at posters SOS was selling of his character "Ziggy-with-a-Hat."

We discovered the character when we overheard this conversation:
Woman: "Um, I don’t get it – who’s Ziggy-with-a-Hat"
SOS – covering up the "with-a-Hat" part: "Well, you see there’s the cartoon Ziggy -- " [reveals the "with-a-Hat"] "and this is Ziggy-with-a-Hat."
Woman: "Uh, o.k."

In the meantime my significant other and I are tearing up with laughter. Check out Ziggy-with-a-Hat here, and see what all the joy is about. Too funny.

Other highlights included meeting Jim Mahfood (Stupid Comics, Grrrl Scouts, 40oz. Comics) and Steve Rolston (Queen & Country, Pounded, One Bad Day). Both of these guys were very cool and approachable.

I have to admit I'd never seen more than a snipet of Mahfood's work, so it was great to not only pick up more of his work, but also get to see him sketch and interact with fans. These are things you just can’t get at home and what makes a con like this so invaluable.

The other great thing about an indie con is all the mini-comics. I went in with the equivalent of $45USD and, including admission, left with a thick stack of mini-comics and small publisher stuff right from the creators themselves. And this often included the creators' John Hancock.

Among the highlights of what I picked up:
Older stuff:
Stupid Comics #2
By Jim Mahfood; Image; 2003

40oz Collected
By Jim Mahfood; Image; 2003
40oz Collected is compilation of Mahfood’s mini-comics from 1997 through 2003. While Stupid Comics is a "regular"-sized comic containing a variety of one- and two-page comic "strips" covering subjects anywhere from politics to a day-in-the-life of Mahfood. I think one of my favorites was titled "the cool persons baby-making movement" which encourages cool people to procreate thereby ensuring future generations of "creative bad asses." Stupid Comics is a must have as far as I’m concerned.

Urban Hipster #1 & #2
By Greg Stump & David Lasky; Alternative Comics; 1998 & 2003
Both of these comics were a real mix of styles, subject matter, and storytelling. Chloe and Natasha were reoccurring characters in both issues; these two are in the vein of Clowes’s Ghost World. I think my favorites were: "Slob" following the trials of a total slob or as the character describes himself "a serious thinker;" the Garfunk strips, and "Four Twenty Five" which tells the tale an unemployed man who becomes addicted to "The Addams Family" pinball game.

Forever and a Day and Sob Story mini-comic
By Ed Brisson; unsure of the date
This collects a series of strips called "Forever and a Day" and "Sob Story." This very funny strip is difficult to describe and best speaks for itself. So check it out here (check out the links on this page as well. It goes to some other good web-comic finds).

Newer stuff
Lost Souls in Love
By Steve Rolston; mini-comic – Pharoh Eye Studios; 2004
Rolston explains that this comic was intended to be a 24-hour comic experiment in 2003; however at the end of the 24 hours the story still needed most of the pages inked. So this comic is the entire completed story finished specifically for the 2004 San Diego Comicon as a limited edition of 100 copies. It's a charming story with Rolston’s signature clean, beautiful art.

On the Rocks
By Ken Boesem; mini-comic – Barking Raven Press; August 2004
Boesem describes On the Rocks as a "'comix noir' adaptation of a Classical Greek myth [that] tells the story of a young factory worker who learns the dire consequences that can result from brutal honesty." This short tale is told in an attractively designed format not to mention the immaculate artwork. I’ll have to pick up more from Boesem.

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