December 1, 2014

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Linework NW Talks 2015 Plans

Despite it being only their first year, Linework NW 2014 was an amazing success. I raved about it in my convention report, and have been ceaselessly promoting it to others, both fans and creators alike, urging people to apply and/or attend the 2015 edition. Everyone I've spoken to who went to the show had positive vibes, and quite honestly, that's rare.

The only disappointment? That it was hard to get in as an exhibitor. Well, it's still not going to be easy, but the show's organizers definitely made it a little less hard by first expanding the show to two days and then rotating exhibitors each day.

In an announcement released today, Linework NW opted instead of increasing the size of the venue (which adds costs), they'd increase the table space by having a different lineup for Saturday and Sunday. Certain "anchors" will be around both days, such as indie comics heavy-hitter Fantagraphics, local publishers Oni Press and Dark Horse, and local creator collective Periscope Studios.

I really like co-founder Zack Soto's description of this set up as "a music festival" or "two one-day shows." I also think that co-founder Francois Vigneault's comment that this will allow exhibitors more freedom to appreciate the show as a spectator by giving them a table-free day is also a good point. I know at SPX especially this can be tricky, as you don't want to lose sales but you also have a desire to explore. From a spectator's perspective, while I will need to be careful to "buy that day" I'm happy to have a big reason to go to the show both days. It sucks for anyone who can only come Saturday or Sunday, but at the same time, opening things up so that over 100 exhibitors can participate is really awesome.

I first heard of this style at the Brooklyn Zine Fest, and the more I think about it, the more it seems like the best way to handle the insatiable need for table space at small press shows. Grow too large and you end up making it impossible for people to buy enough stuff to have the exhibitors get their table money back. Hold too many shows, and people may get event fatigue (though I think Portland, at least, has room to probably take on one additional small-press themed show). Hold your show as something that's got a few special guests and vendors who will be at both days, then open the rest to one-day only slots? Probably the best way to go. If this works for Linework in 2015, don't be shocked to see the similarly-in-demand and awesome show Short Run consider doing the same in 2016, if not next year as well.

If you're a comics reader who loves indie stuff and lives in the Pacific Northwest (or who is planning to come see Portland), then make sure you schedule Linework NW into your calendar.

If you're a small press or self-published comics creator, I urge you to apply for this show right away. You may not get in, but if you do, I can just about guarantee it will be worth you time and expense. The deadline is December 31st!

We'll keep you posted on new details from the show as they're announced. Hope to see you there in April!