Monday, October 03, 2005

Stumptown Comics Fest – Swag

The second annual SCF was this last Saturday at the Portland State University Smith ballroom. SCF is a different breed of show, more in line with APE or SPX as an alternatevie/small press/indy showcase, with the promotion squarely on local creators. Building on a small start from the innagural outing, this years show featured 85 exhibitors, and easily outpaced last years attendance.

Now, I may be an independent/self-publisher, but my book is aimed more at a mainstream audience, so I suspected my throwing in with this lot would be a bit dicey, and it was. Really, no one at the show is much interested in mainstream fair, and even though my book reads more like an indy, it’s indeed a tough sell to that crowd. However, being a huge fan of all types of comics, I still much enjoyed getting a look at the other creators at the show. So, I’ll go ahead and share some of the cool things I picked up there.

As I said, there were a ton of local creators exhibiting at the show, and you can add to that list two of the area’s bigger publishers, TOP SHELF, and ONI PRESS. I actually was located right next to Top Shelf, who’s recent SuperFuckers is a highly recommended pick of mine if you haven’t tried it. I was glad to see Oni Press at the show too, because I’d been meaning to pick up a copy of Scott Pilgrim for some time (one of many small press sign-ups that never made it’s way to my shelf at my local shop). They were indeed there, and I grabbed a copy of SCOTT PILGRIM’s Precious Little Life, the first volume of the the buzz book from Bryan Lee O’Malley.

Now, as I said, I’d been meaning to get this book from the start, what with the fab cover design, cool artistic approach and fun subject matter, I was fairly confident I’d enjoy it. Turns out I was right, and then some. As I dug into the book later that night I quickly realized just how strong an effort it was. This book is a ton of fun. From the impeccable dialogue, to the incredible wholly unique art, cool characters, and perfectly staged finale, Scott Pilgrim volume one leaves me anxious for more. And luckily volume two is already out, with volume three on the way.

I urge any comics fan (especially those with manga, or indy sensibilities) to give this book a shot. It’s great!

Next up, Jack Spade & Tony Two-Fist from

Jack Spade was one of the offerings from Steve Rolston. Steve’s done a variety of work in the industry, including Pounded and Queen & Country with Oni, as well as Warren Ellis’s Mek to name a few, and Jack Spade is actually a collection of earlier web strips in comic form.

Jack Spade & Tony Two-Fist are a big bruiser and his penguin pal who like to throw down (drinks and fisticuffs) at the local watering hole, and features a few short stories with their exploits. While it’s not groundbreaking stuff, it does succeed with what it sets out to do, tell some short fun setups. Rolston’s art here is a touch more cartoony, but it’s deceptively simple as it demonsrates some great storytelling and comedic timing.

Jack & Tony is a great little read and recommended to any fans of Rolston, cartoons, or anthropomorphic characters. Just cruise to

A really nice mini-comic I picked up is FISTMAN from Say Uncle Comics and creator Joseph Bergin III.

Fistman is a delightful little tale, “Fistman Finds a Friend” to be precise. The titular character, a cute little dood with a giant fist meets up with Eyeman, and a series of events transpires as Eyeman proceeds to enrage Fistman with his selection of friends (including the likes of Buttman and Horribledisease man). Here the art is perfectly suited and builds on the crazy events with tones that illustrate the changing moods. A nice touch to the already appealing linework.

Fistman is #1 of 3, and is 8 pages for $1. I should have picked up the full run, it’s fun stuff, that had me laughing out loud. Check it out at

And last I thought I’d mention a postcard I picked up from a really cool illustrator at the show, Joshua Ellingson.

Joshua had several impressive prints and goodies at the show including this Godzilla vector drawing. Check out his website at

So next year, I believe around mid-June, if you're in the NW area make sure and attend the Stumptown Comics Fest, it's a solid event that's quickly on the upswing. It features solid local talent, programming, and even has an after party with free pizza, Red Bull, a DJ, and more (though I was too big a nerd to attend).
For more info, go to

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