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06 May 2010 @ 08:53 pm
I figger it's about time I wrote about the good time I had at the last Stumptown Comics Fest in Portland, Oregon. It happened on the weekend of April 24th & 25th, and it was my first time at the show. It was also the best effort I've made when it comes to exhibiting. I've had space at cons before, and lord knows I'm familiar with how conventions work, but this time I had a display I put a lot of thought into and a nice selection of comics to show. It was all print-on-demand floppies and handmade mini-comics, sure, but it was decent for an early effort.

I guess my point is that I'm still very new to having a "presence" at conventions, and I'm just trying to figure things out.


(Note to self: get a new face.)

As is traditional before a convention, I didn't get any sleep the night before I left for Portland. There were too many loose ends to tie up and a lot of last-minute assembly. I'm glad I got some really nice people to make me some guest comics for Girlbot, or else I would have gone totally bonkers.

I stayed at a nice hostel in the SE Hawthorne part of town, along with webcomics buddy Dave Shabet, who had a hell of a time getting from the airport to where we were staying. I won't tell the whole thing here, but it involves a car wreck, a dash for freedom, and getting lost in Chinatown. Ask Dave to tell you about it some time.

Unfortunately, I ended up missing the Drink 'n' Draw Like a Lady get-together because of my getting my arrival time wrong by a couple of hours and just being exhausted in general. Hopefully I can make it next year when I'm a little better prepared.

Oh, and did I mention that the airline lost my luggage? Because they did. Thankfully they recovered it and delivered it to the hostel in the wee hours of the morning, but that was scary, considering that all my convention stuff had been checked. Of course, this meant that I had to stay up late to make sure my things arrived safely and still get up early to get to the convention hall to set up my display.

So, the convention itself! I arrived Saturday morning half-delirious from continued lack of sleep and running on not much else but stimulants, a little bit of food, and sheer force of will. I tried to be optimistic.

It helped a lot that I started the convention off with the support of other comics-making friends, including the aforementioned Dave Shabet, Kel McDonald (who gave me and Dave rides to and from the con), and Angela Melick. Angela basically donated a few feet of table space to me so that I could be at the show, so she's pretty much the best. Also, she's Canadian and brought Canadian snacks with her, which she shared with me. Two things Canada does better than the U.S.: healthcare and snacks.

Imagine my surprise when Stumptown turned out to be really, really great! There were never any dead moments. There was a constant trickle of people coming through the aisle -- just enough to feel "busy" but not enough to be too crowded -- many of whom were actually curious about what I had on my table and interested in trying new things. I sold a lot of mini-comics, mostly the Girlbot minis #1 & #2 bundle I had. I made up a bunch of second volume Girlbot minis right before the con, so I guess this was their debut or whatever.

I was so busy at my table that I didn't even go get lunch. I didn't get a real meal until after the show when I got some Thai food with a bunch of the other Stumptown refugees, after which I got the opportunity to stand around uncomfortably at a Webcomic People Party. There were quite a few of what people might consider Big Names in Webcomics there, and since I'm very much a small fry and was still exhausted, I wasn't exactly in social butterfly mode. Still, it was a good time, and I dropped out at around 11:30 and got a ride back to the hostel.

(I skipped out on the Trophy Award Ceremony that night, where Girlbot was in the running for Outstanding Webcomic, but it's fine since I lost anyway.)

After another night of not enough sleep, it was Stumptown: day 2! Sunday went much like Saturday had, but was a little more laid-back. There was enough business that I didn't get to go have lunch, once again, but I'd prepared myself with a sandwich and some snacks of my own that morning, so it wasn't a big deal. I did allow myself to walk around most of the floor and see what people were up to. I didn't get to see everyone I wanted, but ah well.

I got to talk/hang out with a bunch of cool comics people over the course of the show, including (but not limited to) Dave Shabet (already mentioned), Kel McDonald (ditto), Angela Melick (ditto ditto), KC Green, Evan Dahm, EK Weaver, Aaron Diaz, Chickensnack, David McGuire, Barry Deutsch, Dave Roman, Raina Telgemeier, Becky 'n' Frank, Dylan Meconis, Dan Dunlap, and Jonathon Dalton.

I also got to engage some with some people I consider my comic-making heroes: Carla Speed McNeil, Craig Thompson, and Patrick Farley. Patrick was the only one I hadn't met in person before, and it was a nice surprise when he came up to me towards the end of the show and introduced himself. One day I hope I can be as awesome at making comics as they all are. (Fat chance.)

After the show ended on Sunday, I and some others went to a teeny little gallery exhibition with art in it by some of the Stumptown folks, got some dinner, and fooled around at the Barcade (exactly what it sounds like: a combination bar/arcade) before I headed back to the hostel to prepare to fly out in the morning to visit my family.

Overall, I think Stumptown was worth every inconvenience and bit of frustration leading up to it. It was a fun show with a great crowd, and every one of the organizers I talked to in person was as friendly as you could wish for. I even had a few people recognize me and call themselves fans of my work. Thanks a lot to the people who sought me out at the show. It was very gratifying.

Hey, I even made some money!

I'll definitely be making Stumptown a yearly habit from now on. You should go, too. EVERYONE SHOULD GO.

My biggest regret is that my friend and comrade-in-arms Spike got sick and wasn't able to come. It would have been even better with her there. Next year. There's always next year.
d-rex-8: going outseserakh on May 7th, 2010 03:58 am (UTC)
Man that sounds awesome. I've wanted to go to Stumptown since I heard about it... two or three years ago? But it's always at a bad time of year for me. I will definitely try to go if you have a table next year.
Diana Nockjinxville on May 12th, 2010 05:38 am (UTC)
You should totally come. I may even be on a panel next year!
Breelancharissespieces on May 7th, 2010 04:02 am (UTC)
Ground Kontrol is the best! It was fun talking to you at the festival, meeting you was my favorite part :D
Diana Nockjinxville on May 12th, 2010 05:38 am (UTC)
Aw, thanks!
dragon dan: beardjoydragon_dan on May 7th, 2010 06:29 am (UTC)
Oh goodness, thanks for the mention! I don't think I've ever been name-dropped in a con report before, I'm practically giddy!

Yes, Stumptown every year forever.
Diana Nockjinxville on May 12th, 2010 05:39 am (UTC)
It was fun meeting you, and thanks for the minis!
(Anonymous) on February 15th, 2011 07:25 am (UTC)
How can i ask you for more details? Great post needda know more...
(Anonymous) on March 20th, 2011 06:25 am (UTC)
How can i ask you for more details? Great post needda know more...
(Anonymous) on April 13th, 2011 07:27 pm (UTC)
Can't wait to get involved
Hi - I am definitely delighted to find this. great job!