The Portland Comic Books Examiner continues coverage of Portland comic artists at the 2010 Alternative Press Expo. Start with Part One of this story.
Cartoonist Shannon Wheeler (New Yorker, Too Much Coffee Man) had copies of his collection of rejected New Yorker cartoons, I Thought You Would Be Funnier. In addition to the book, Wheeler also had preliminary art from Oil and Sand, a record of the PDX 2 Gulf Coast trip he made to New Orleans along with a group of Portland volunteers. Since last week’s Wordstock festival, the artist reports completing “a couple more pages” for the project, about which Seattle publisher Fantagraphics is said to be “excited and interested.” Wheeler hopes to have more news when Fantagraphics’ Eric Reynolds returns from vacation.
Periscope Studio member Cat Farris shared a table with artists Sean Kelley and Ashley Burke. Farris is a freelance cartoonist and illustrator, and the creator of the mini-comic series Flaccid Badger, which she had copies of at the table. It was Farris’ first time at APE, and “first time in San Francisco in twelve years,” according to the artist. Farris, along with other artists from across the country, has created original art for auction on Wonder Woman Day Oct 24th.
Sean Kelley, at his second APE show, noted that his sales were better than the previous year. The artist of webcomic Roy’s Boys and mini-comic The Quite Tame Times of Sir Fluffington McKitty attributed this improvement to better location at the convention. He went through a personal change of location himself, having recently moved from New York to Portland. “I really love Portland and the comics community,” he said, “but I’d also like to find people who aren’t in comics!”
Illustrator and animator Ashley Burke had been exhibiting her work for less than a year. She started by setting up a table on Alberta Street during a Last Thursday street fair, then moved to a table at this year’s Stumptown Comics Fest. “It was great to have direct contact with the public,” she said. When asked at her first show outside of Portland what prompted her to make the leap from hobby to profession, Burke replied, “It was Portland.” She found the city to be very supportive of independent artists, with shops agreeing to sell her prints and cards without entanglement. It may have taken her a while to figure out the production side of her art, but now she has her situation well in hand.
Artists Zack Soto and Jason JFish Fischer manned the Studio JFish table, and Soto talked about his recent projects. After editing an issue of the Studygroup 12 comics anthology, he moved on to his own series called Secret Voice. Formerly a member of the Pony Club collective, Soto collaborated with Floating World Comics’ Jason Leivian to release issue #4 of Studygroup 12. Calling himself “a cartoonist who does anthologies,” Soto plans to continue Secret Voice as a webcomic.
Bowler Hat Comics’ flagship title, Kid Beowulf, had a table at the Expo and writer/artist Alexis Fajardo was on hand to sign and sketch for visitors, and held a character design workshop on Sunday. Fajardo revealed that after Kid Beowulf vs. El Cid, the fourth book of the series will take place in Italy and deal with the legendary foundation of Rome by the twins Romulus and Remus. It will be during this book that Beowulf and Grendel will begin to be told their destiny. “In the second trilogy, the kids will be separated and begin to grow apart,” Fajardo said. “It’s challenging to make them become enemies.” The series is based on the epic poems and legends of countries around the world, so the pair’s adventures are “all there waiting to be discovered,” as their chronicler puts it.
The Stumptown Underground zine collective’s table was filled with their monthly issues, including their recent one-year-anniversary edition. Editors Christina “Blue” Crow and Katy Ellis O’Brien and Andy Johnson drove to San Francisco to host a table and take in the many talks and workshops being given during the weekend. According to Johnson, Crow rarely likes to be away from her table at conventions, but APE’s spotlight on Daniel Clowes was too good for her to miss.
Next year’s Alternative Press Expo will be held on October 15 & 16 2011 at San Francisco’s Concourse Exhibition Center.