May 21, 2016

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Rob's Guide to Linework 2016


One of my favorite comics shows is happening this weekend, and not even a really busy week at the day job was going to keep me from filling you in on some of the people that should be on your must-visit list when you go to the show Saturday and Sunday.

And remember--that's the thing about Linework NW--it's two shows in one! Saturday and Sunday lineups are almost entirely different, so if you're able, make sure you go both days. It's well worth it.

Linework NW was started in 2014, as a one-day show. The following year, it expanded to two days, and instead of shutting out so many good people, the folks behind the event opted for a dual show, with rotating creators on each day. It's a brilliant solution to "How do we get so many cool people in one place?" and while I admit, the first time I saw it done--by the Brooklyn Zine Fest--I was a little unsure how it might work. Having seen it in person here in Portland, I've become a huge fan.

Unlike some shows, Linework NW is solidly about comics, not about trying to get a television deal, and while some creators are celebrities in my eyes, no one's going to be standing in line to ask about thirty year old television shows from actors who wish there were anywhere else. And this year, it's not just indie comics from everyone from Fantagraphics to Yeti Press. Frankenstein's Comic Swap, a local get-together for geeky collectibles and comics, will be haunting the basement of the show while panels happen in the upstairs room.

It's a wonderful show with a welcoming atmosphere and I really can't wait to get there myself in a few hours. Held at the Norse Hall (address in the graphic above), the show will be from 1pm to 8pm on Saturday and Sunday, with an after-show side event at the nearby IPRC, a comics and zines friendly creative workshop-class place, that's featuring readings from Suzette Smith, Panel Pal Virginia Paine, and more.

So, there will be a ton of great people to see, and of course, the show is curated so well that really, you can't go wrong buying stuff from anyone who's tabling there. That said, I of course have recommendations for you! Remember that I always try to find new favorites at these shows, but whenever I go to an indie show, I make sure that I see my favorite creators and publishers to find out what they're up to and buy from them. Consider this your "Mandatory Fun" er, Mandatory Stops on your Linework NW Tour:

Both Days:

Alternative Comics was returned to the world by Marc Arsenault a few years ago, and we're all better off for it. The home of an amazing array of creators, from Sam Henderson's absurd Magic Whistle to Derf Backderf's satirical nonfiction to the science fiction of Malachi Ward, along with classics from James Kochalka and others, Marc's got a simply amazing lineup that just keeps getting better every year. And because Marc understands the direct market due to his bookstore ties, he's teamed up with other small publishers, like Floating World and Press Gang, which means that all kinds of indie comics can get into places they might not otherwise reach. Don't miss Marc's table at the show!

Fantagraphics is one of the seminal indie publishers and is located just a few hundred miles away in Seattle. Running the gamut from Peanuts reprints to being the home of Robert Crumb for so long I don't think I even remember when they weren't his primary publisher, there's definitely something for everyone, especially if your taste in comics really runs to the classics, both mainstream and underground. For the show, they'll have a few new books for your reading pleasure, including Megg & Mogg in Amsterdam by Simon Hanselmann and the second volume of Jessica Farm(!!) by Josh Simmons, along with several others.

Oni Press has been around for a long time, and I think sometimes they don't get the attention they deserve as a publisher, being known primarily as the home of Scott Pilgrim. But there's so many other things, like Stumptown from Greg Rucka, Matthew Southworth, and Ryan Hill, Panel Pal Joey Weiser's Mermin, Panel Pal Jeff Parker and Sandy Jarrell's Meteor Men (still my favorite Parker book), Sixth Gun from Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt, and so many more. They really run the gamut in terms of comics, both for older and all-ages, and if you haven't checked in on them for awhile, make sure you do so today!

SATURDAY ONLY:

Elijah Brubaker has been doing Reich, about Wilheim Reich, at Sparkplug Comics for an impressive length of time. More recently, he's got a webcomic about the Biblical story Jezebel, and some other tricks up his sleeve.

Theo Ellsworth draws intricately and strange. That's a winning combo in my book, and speaking of books, Theo has a new mini-comic debuting, well, basically as you read this! Go have a look. This is one of the things on my planned purchase list for today.

Dylan Meconis is one of the Mighty Members of Helioscope Studio, aka the greatest collection of creators since the Marvel Bullpen in its heyday. She specializes in comics capturing a cool historical vibe, such as the excellent Bite Me!, and is currently doing the ongoing webcomic Family Man.

Revival House Press is part of Marc's group of small publishers, and it's where Malachi Ward perches his many creative ideas. Ward will also be at the show, so be sure to check all three booths out to maximize your chances for great comics!

Ben Sears draws cool things. You like cool things. Go see his work today, and then buy cool things.

SUNDAY ONLY:

So if this seems a little lopsided, I apologize. I know and read a lot more of the Sunday only folks.

Kevin Czap and Czap Books is run by John Rhys-Davies Kevin Czap, and I'm looking forward to catching up with him and his press, because I haven't really done as much with Kevin's work as I'd to have. In addition to Kevin and his brother Matt's comics (and I still want to review Matt's book Eat That Toast, which I highly recommend!), he's also got Cathy G Johnson, one of indie comics's rising stars, Laura Knetzger, who will be at the show Sunday as well, Liz Suburbia, and many more. There's also the Ley Lines series, available by subscription, and, I hope, at the show, too!

Kinoko Evans has a comic called Magical Character Rabbit Comic Zine. Do I have to say any more than that? Didn't think so.

Meg Hunt draws awesome illustrations that feature bold brush strokes and vibrant colors. I'm not sure what she'll have at the show today, but it's going to be gorgeous. This much is true.

I mentioned the IPRC above, and if you want to learn more about what kinds of creative outlets this excellent collective resource can offer you--including a Zine/Mini-Comic library (that has a fair number of donations from Erica and I over the years)--make sure you stop by their table.

David Lasky varies from autobiog comics to nonfiction to little, strange things, drawn in a tight style with a ton of lines and inks. I dig his work, and you should see if you do, too.

Press Gang/Floating World/Study Group are the lovely combination of some of the best people in comics. This is where you'll find Zack Soto and Francois Vigneault, two of Linework's Organizers. It's also more of Marc's publisher collective, it's where you can grab Bartika (in a new edition, I hear), the new Terra Flats, the Sun Bakery anthology, Titan, and so much more. Do not miss this table, or you will regret it!

Josh Simmons is one of the best at horror comics creating right now. And not, say, retro-horror like Richard Sala. This is full on, keep you up at night, mess up your mind horror. Go visit him, but only if you have a strong stomach.

Sparkplug Comics sadly, is on its farewell tour. But I'm sure that Panel Pal Virginia Paine will stay with us in the comics world for a long time to come. Make sure you grab some things from Sparkplug while you still can, and be sure to also see Suzette Smith and of course, Virginia's own comics.

Tugboat Press is the home of the long-running split zine Clutch and Invincible Summer. It's always a great read, and if there's a new issue, we'll be picking it up for the McSatifka household.

Wuvable Oaf is Ed Luce's long-running series, and one of the shining lights of the LGBT comics scene. Make sure you stop by and pick up a comic or two.

Yeti Press is one of those small press publishers that I remember seeing from the start, and I'm super excited that they're still going, years later! RJ Casey, one of our Panel Pals, is the face of the franchise out here on the West Coast, and he'll be at the show, with comics old and new. Combining the pretty and the profane, Yeti Press is a publisher you should be following--and buying from--if you aren't already!

Whew! That's a long list!

I'll see you at the show! If you haven't met me and want to say "hi," I'm the person with a pony tail, bright blue glasses, bright red shoes, and either a Jim Woodrig Short Run OR Amelia Cole t-shirt, depending on the day. Don't miss Linework NW!