The 2015 Festival Season winds down on the West Coast with Short Run, Seattle's ever-moving one-day festival of indie comix. This year, it's on Halloween, from 11am to 6pm, at the Fisher Pavilion at Seattle Center. Placed not too far from the Space Needle and a few other attractions, one of the Short Run organizers, Panel Pal Kelly Froh, tells me that the space will be nice and big, leaving plenty of room for a ton of exhibitors.
I had the distinct pleasure of going to Short Run last year, and I had a blast, hanging out most of the day with part-time Panel Patter-er, Lilith Wood. The show was in close quarters but featured a lot of great creators. This year is no exception, and it's also got some of my old favorites from the East Coast coming out for the show, including Box Brown (of Andre the Giant and Retrofit), Charles Forsman (Revenger, The End of the Fucking World), and Melissa Mendes (The Weight).
I'm really looking forward to going back, and because it is Halloween, there is a greater than 0 chance I will be in a Halloween Costume that's comic book-themed but a deep cut. My face will be uncovered, so it's not like I'm going all Adam Savage on you. Still, bonus points for anyone who nails it on the first try. Maybe I'll hand out candy to the winners.
In fact, the only part of this that's a little disappointing is that it is Halloween. Never fear, however, the Short Run gang has you covered! Some of the exhibitors at the show (listed here) will have special trick-or-treat comics for kids! What a great idea! Obviously, this should all be with parenta supervision, but I love that the show--and the creators involved--are getting into the spirit. I imagine some will be in costume themselves, too.
As with any show, I recommend you look around to ensure you don't run out of money. Bring cash, though cards are becoming more common. Grab something you wouldn't ordinarily, and be ready to be surprised. Short Run doesn't do panels at the show proper, but if you're local, there are satellite events happening across the week.
So, Rob, what creators might Panel Patter readers want to check out at the show? I'm glad you asked!
- Charles Forsman is the publisher of Oily comics, which used to do small minis and now is more into longer, larger minis, such as Forsman's own breakout hit, Revenger. He's sure to have single issues of that one for you, along with some other minis of his own and others. This is a chance to meet a great creator who doesn't often get out this way, so don't miss him.
- Colleen Frakes is a long-time Panel Pal and one of my favorite creators. She's been doing a lot of autobiographical work lately about growing up on a prison island, and it's been collected this year in, appropriately enough, Prison Island. She's also behind a jam session on Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Fury Road, and has a long-running fiction series, Tragic Relief. Lots of great stuff, and well worth your time and $$.
- Fantagraphics, one of the longest-running indie comix publishers, is based out of Seattle. They'll have a table here with their latest and greatest, along with favorites like Hip Hop Family Tree and some of their reprint work, ranging from Peanuts to Steve Ditko.
- Jim Woodring designed the poster above, and he'll have his collections on hand, along with, I'm guessing some prints of the poster to sign. No word on if he'll have his giant pen, though.
- Josh Simmons writes some of the bleakest horror comics you'll ever read. He hates his characters so much that he'll drag them through hell, let them out, and drag 'em back in again. Habit, Jessica Farm, and Black River are just a few of his titles that are amazingly well drawn--but are not for the faint of heart.
- Kelly Froh is one of the brains behind Short Run, so I don't know how much of her you'll see at her table, but her minis, which roam across all sorts of subjects in short bursts, are always of high quality and definitely recommended.
- Kevin Budnik has been a rare two-time interviewee on Panel Patter, and that's because he's a great guy who writes very personal comics. Be sure to see him when you go on Saturday.
- Kus is a Latvian comics anthology series that features creators from all over the world. Once, they did an entire issue about cats. It's a great chance to pick up international comics in person, and I've loved what comics of theirs I've been able to read.
- Linda Medley was a creator I read ages and ages ago, and immediately fell in love with thanks to Castle Waiting. I'm super-excited to finally get to meet her and see what she's been up to. Whatever it is, I'm sure it's great, and I look forward to reading it!
- Lisa Rosalie Eisenberg is another long-time Panel Pal, going back to my early trips to SPX. It's been great to reconnect with her here in Portland, where she lives and teaches art to kids across the area. Lisa's specialty is autobiographical works, including thoughts on turning 30 as well as other diary-style books.
- Melanie Gillman creates the webcomic As the Crow Flies about being a queer teen at a fervently Christian camp.
- Melissa Mendes is another special guest from the East, and she's currently putting out the best comic work of her career with The Weight, a webcomic with some heavy family drama. I'm not sure what Melissa will have at the show, but be sure to see her while you can.
- Robyn Chapman is a mini-comics creator and publisher who also publishes a short annual report about mini-comics.
- Press Gang is a collective that includes Panel Pal Francois Vignault and several other creators, often working in tandem with Study Group and Floating World Comics. I know Fancois will have Titan 1 and Titan 2, and I'm sure there will be other great comics there as well.
- Retrofit/Box Brown really knocked my socks off with their work. Started by Brown, who now has some partners involved, Retrofit began with a bang, featuring James Kochalka, Colleen Frakes, Noah Van Sciver, and many more. It's still going strong, and I'm looking forward to catching up when I see Box at the show. Brown himself is an amazing creator that uses almost geometrical work to create images. Andre the Giant really nailed him as a breakout star, and anyone who's not been introduced to his work yet has no idea what they're missing. Go fix that at Short Run on Saturday.
- Sparkplug Books was started by the late Dylan Williams, and now my friend Virginia Paine has the reigns, keeping the publisher's name afloat and keeping readers in great comics. She'll have more in the small mini-comix series, which includes The Anthropoligists by our own Whit Taylor, an honorable mention in this year's Best American Comics. My pick here is the incredibly strange--and fun--Vortex by William Cardini.
- Yeti Press is a small publisher in Seattle, specializing in books that are sometimes extremely gorgeous and sometimes just full of gore. It's an eclectic mix, in the tradition of Fantagraphics, and Panel Pal RJ Casey will steer you right to a strange new comic that could end up as your next favorite.
- Yumi Sakugawa rounds out this list. She'll have her new book, There is no Right Way to Meditate, along with minis and other things. Lilith Wood and Panel Pal Mari Naomi recommended me to her, and I've become a big fan. You will be, too, when you get one of her comics.
I'm sure I missed someone here--I always do when creating a round up--but as you can see, Short Run is jam-packed with amazing creators who deserve your money. If you live in the area, I hope you'll take some of your time on the best day of the year to go visit the show, and pick up some great comics!