|The Norse Hall. No Grendels allowed, not even Matt Wagner.|
More recently, though I didn't get a chance to write them up, I went to two signings in Portland when I was here to sign a lease. Both were great times with a good group of comics creators and publishers.
My official first con as a Portland resident, however, was the first-ever LineworkNW show, held on April 12 inside the comfy Norse Hall, in Southeast Portland. If the size of the crowd, quality of the participants, and large number of purchases by attendees is any indication, this won't be the last we see of this particular comics show.
|A view looking into the crowd. Note the lack of garish banners!|
Best of all, they weren't just looking around--they were buying things. I think this is a severely underrated part of small press comics conventions. Sure, it's awesome to get the gang together, find an excuse to hang out and drink, share each other's work, and have a general good time. But unless you are local to the area--and granted, a lot of folks at the show were Portlanders--traveling to a con costs money. Perhaps more importantly, it also costs time. Every minute you are in a plane or a car or behind a table is time lost to create more comics. If that time doesn't net you sales, it's about as useful as playing Candy Crush Saga, and (probably) more expensive.
|Jim Woodring and his giant pen.|
I really liked the construction of the show. The biggest names were given spaces that were maybe a little larger than those around them, but they did not dominate. No huge "HEY LOOK AT US WE QUALIFY FOR PREVIEWS" status symbols were in evidence. Dark Horse and Oni, the two biggest local pubs, had nice layouts, don't get me wrong, but they were appropriate for the venue. They were a part of the gang, as it were, not the superstars who suck the air out of the room from everyone else. I liked the equality of the arrangement, and I hope that even as the show grows inevitably bigger that the organizers will stick to this plan.
Similarly, it was nice to see the focus on two guests only: Mr. DeForge and Mr. Woodring. Over time, I'm sure the feature guest list will increase, but as with the placement of the big names, it helped to show that "we're all artists here" by not over-emphasizing the guests at the expense of the other creators. This reminded me quite a bit of Locust Moon or a zine fest in that regard, and I for reacted extremely positively to it.
|Anyone got to try the pen, for a small donation.|
Before I left, I caught up with Zack and Francois and both agreed the show had been a huge success. I am very happy for both of them and for Portland as a creative community. This was a pitch-perfect opening for a new endeavor, one that, while not a Stumptown replacement, definitely fills a similar need. I will miss my East Coast shows, knowing there's bound to be another LineworkNW in 2015 makes me very happy for my future convention-going here in my new city. Especially since I expect to have money to spend by that time, and can fully participate in what I hope will be the second of many, many great shows in LineworkNW's future.
For more of my pictures from LineworkNW, click here.
*With the transition to a new city, until we get settled, I have to watch how much I spend on anything that's not rent, food, or the internet.