Need someone to talk me down from this ledge. REALLY wanting to purchase a female Thor costume. Buycostumes.com dropped a lovely 25% off coupon in my inbox this morning and I’ve been agonizing over the decision ever since.
The Thor movie is one of my favorites, and I am tempted to start-up a subscription for X-Men and Thor comics. Just get back into comic books again period.
Therefore I need some input on a few things:
Or no? I have until the end of this business day before the coupon expires, and then it probably wouldn’t be worth it. What would be worth it? Stumbling around drunk in a wicked cool Norse god helmet.
A Lady Loki outfit is also quite tantalizing. But they don’t have anything pre-fabricated. And can you imagine those horns around drunk people? Dangerous, dangerous stuff. Even in a regular comic book convention, I would be afraid of knocking people over all the time.
2. Should I subscribe to superhero comic books again? I love my local comic book shop, but I’m just not getting out there often enough to empty my box properly. Then it expires and I feel guilty and never open a box at that shop again. To save all the embarrassment and heart-ache, why not just subscribe to the monthly shipping services? It’s around $30 bucks a title for the year. The whole year! I drop that much each time I enter the comic book store.
Attended the Bridge City Comics Stumptown Hard Cover Signing on Friday March 25th with a couple friends. We arrived there a bit later than expected due to some family issues on my part.
This was my first experience with Bridge City Comics and I’ll have to say it looks like a great store to service the North Portland area. The shop is a bit small and crammed, but it’s well lit and clean. Not at all like the dingy, spooky local shops of our imagination. All the staff seemed friendly enough – there were some ladies sprinkled in amongst the mens and even some parents with their kids.
Because it’s completely out of my territory, I probably won’t do a lot of repeat business at Bridge City unless there’s an event there. But I always make a habit of buying a book when I attend a free event. Baby’s gotta eat, ya know. BTW – we also bought two X-Factor trades, which I’m looking forward to reading in the next week.
It’s funny, I was chatting with a nerd friend yesterday about how comics is a struggling industry, and sometimes that’s such a difficult concept for me to grasp from this vantage point.
Portland is a city that is a complete outlier when it comes to comics. Instead of shops closing down left and right, we have new ones opening. Portland really does love comics, and that’s why it’s so strange to imagine that the industry could be struggling nationwide…because it seems to be growing in our city and the Pacific Northwest in general.
Especially the convention aspect. Stumptown Comics Fest is upgrading to a larger venue, Emerald City Comic Con has grown every year and it’s not even been around for a decade, and a new GeekGirlCon in Seattle is rising up this year to join the ranks. Conventions have almost become the hub on which most pop culture runs – sucking in the television, movie and even sometimes book publishing industries.
But comics, as an art form, may be dying. It’s tough for me to chat with folks who’ve been collecting longer than I have and hear them reminisce about the days when conventions were only for stocking their long boxes. We have something like that here in Portland – the Comic Book Show. We can purchase back issues, graphic novels and trade paperbacks tax free without having to drive three hours away. I like that it’s low-key. And honestly – it’s where I do most of my shopping.
This has kind of turned into rambling about the Portland scene in general, but I do feel like it’s hard to see where some of the comic book sages are coming from. The medium has been transformed in the last ten years and sometimes it feels like the publishers aren’t really completely on board with what is happening. Some people have stopped collecting floppies. Lots of folks are welcoming a digital comics revolution and/or reading webcomics. There are Kindles, Nooks and iPads roaming the streets consuming paper print media in their wake.
The comics industry IS struggling because of those things, but it need not be the end of the medium as we know it.
PICTURES AND VIDEO BELOW THE RANT
BEING HUMAN: WEREWOLF BATTLE BLUNDER
As a fan of the genre shows featuring vampires and werewolves, I’ve been watching the US version of Being Human on SyFy since it debuted in January and am relatively glad that I’ve stuck with it thus far. It’s been fairly uneven,
with some plot twists happening at rapid fire pace. This seems to be a recent television trend since the serial series Lost gained popularity. They run through story-lines in an effort to keep people hooked, when really it starts to grate on the watcher to have characters introduced and killed off within two episodes.
BH recently introduced a plot-line involving werewolves fighting in a steel cage death-match, ran through it within one episode and did not show the actual fight. So when the BH webpage posted this review and asked for responses today, I wasn’t surprised that other people were disappointed.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SHOW THUS FAR: The cast is all very attractive and watchable – especially Sam Witwer who carries the bulk of the drama and intensity. Meaghan Rath and Sam Huntington are equally charming, even though their characters clearly get the B and sometimes C stories in any given episode. The acting was a bit spottier towards the first half of the season, but they’ve warmed up to their roles and I now thoroughly enjoy their characters. Though I’m not exceptionally in love with the vampire Aidan getting the majority of the screen time. I’ve also been loving at least one song featured in every episode and am very happy with the playlist function on the SyFy website.
LOWLIGHTS OF THE SHOW THUS FAR: So much emo! It treads the rather shallow waters of emosity, but manages to imbue enough comedic material to keep it from being excessively weepy. Unfortunately, weeping rarely occurs on my end (and believe me, when a show is that good, I can shed a few at least once every few episodes). There is nothing soul grabbing about what’s going on with the characters aside from Aidan (Sally and Josh do get at least one or two dramas an episode) so that’s what causes the emotional intensity to drag. There is an underlying examination of how “monsters” mingle with humans and what commonalities and differences there are between people, vampires, werewolves and ghosts. So while it is easing nicely into the first season, it still has freshman hurdles to jump over. The emo 20-something vibe being just one of those hurdles.
BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: BLOOD & CHROME FAN MADE TRAILER
I’ve already mentioned the elation this promising new series has inspired for someone who is pretty in love with the world and characters created around BSG. This delightful fan-made trailer was posted today, and it’s definitely made me ravenous for the ACTUAL Blood & Chrome series premiere.
ALSO: There will be a panel discussion with former BSG costumer at the Science Fiction Museum in Seattle THIS Saturday, March 26th at 2pm. You can purchase tickets and get more information here. Unfortunately there is no way for me to attend. *tears* but peeps in the area who are truly fanatical should check it out.
STUMPTOWN PDX SIGNING EVENT: SPECIAL $5 PRINT
Bridge City Comics released the special made print image for the Stumptown Comics hardcover book release and Matthew Southworth and Greg Rucka will be signing them for $5 at the store on Friday, March 25th. You know we will be there. And if you love comics and Portland, you’ll probably be there too. Especially when you see the print:
DAY THREE RECAP: DARK HORSE PANEL, STUMPTOWN SIGNING, GEEKS AND GOOD WORKS PANEL AND TONY HARRIS SKETCH
We woke up fairly early on Sunday to grab breakfast and doughnuts before Smalls had to board her train back to PDX. After discovering only crazy
expensive breakfast places within walking distance, hampered by my jacked up knees slowing down any further searching, we decided on breakfast sandwiches and coffee at Starbucks which is totes appropriate cause we were in Seattle. Grabbing the sandwiches also left us plenty of time to hit up the real treat of the morning – Top Pot Doughnuts.
HELLO PEOPLE OF SEATTLE – THESE DOUGHNUTS ARE FRAKKIN’ DELICIOUS!!! Why there wasn’t a line out the door and snaking down the sidewalk is beyond me. The only one I could stuff in my already fairly-stuffed maw was the Raspberry. RASPBERRY DOUGHNUT. With no nasty creme or berry filling. So heavenly I’m imagining how long it will be before my next trip to Seattle and thinking…not that long. 😀
Everyone snacked on and enjoyed at least one doughnut (my ma purchased a dozen) before we moseyed on back to the hotel, packed, loaded up the car, checked out and hit the Con floor.
Just in time for…
THE DARK HORSE PANEL
Since we’d missed the BPRD Panel the previous day where they announced Guy Davis leaving, we thought it would be appropriate to drop in and see if one of our favorite local publishers had anything exceptionally interesting to say about their books, aside from the news that exceptionally interesting people are leaving.
Turns out – the lovely Ms. Felicia Day was sitting in on the opening of THIS panel as well to chat about The Guild comic book series. Looks like each character will be getting their own one-shot origin via Dark Horse -Vork’s was released on December 22nd, 2010. According to Felicia Day – Bladezz will be released next (within two months or so) and then one can only assume that Tinkerballa’s will be out after that, given the signed prints that were being offered up at their booth this weekend.
Zaboo’s book will be co-written by nerd hunk and scribe Sandeep Parikh and drawn by the lovely Becky Cloonan, whom I follow on the Twitter because I like her drawerings and because she’s funny. She also did the art for DEMO.
Felicia also mentioned she has decided NOT to pilot for anything this season that is not Science Fiction related. Or I suppose she could have meant “SyFy” – either way she hasn’t piloted YET so one can either assume that there is a small market for scifi this year or that SyFy isn’t producing any new shows.
My vote would be for her to appear on BSG: Blood and Chrome (which sounds eerily similar to Spartacus: Blood and Sand). People of Syfy, make it happen! Though she is so funny and sweetly charming I’m not sure how well she could fair on the intense drama of the BSG Verse. Balls.
ANYWHO – back to comics world. We then sat through about 20 minutes (or 2 hours) of Axe Cop panel which boasted a 6 year old making crazy bird screeching noises, eating candy and offering it to everyone in sight. It was cute bordering on annoying but I really love the concept of the book and the collaboration between the brothers, as I imagine it would be difficult to find something to bond over when your sibling is 25 years younger than you are. The book is probably a bit too ridiculous and comedic for me…but the folks involved seem successful and happy with the work they are doing so props to them. If you like the random imagination of five year olds, you should check it out.
Scott Allie revealed he WILL continue to edit the work of Joss Whedon who signed on to write Buffy The Vampire Slayer through Season 10. Whoot to BTVS fans everywhere!! I dropped out in about the middle of Season 8. Hopefully a collection will be published soon so I can catch up before the next season hits the shelves.
Allie clarified there will now only be 25 books per season (maybe he meant 24?) to keep them at two years versus four. Everyone involved recognized that was far too long a “season” for even the most die hard fans.
Apparently there’s some other big news in store for Buffy that Allie is waiting to reveal at Wondercon, so keep your ear to the ground if this book is your cup of tea. Change is a-comin’.
We arrived at the Portland Hollywood District Things From Another World store around noon, and were greeted by a herd of pirates. They had muskets, maces and one was even sporting a whip (pretty sure it was real). A father with his daughter dressed as a princess and son as a storm trooper wandered out of the store clutching their Free Comic Books.
We entered and picked up a couple of the free books for our nephews – they didn’t have any of the adult books (sounds so naughty) I’d scoped out. Ah well, this was more about getting out to the stores to show support, and nab some freebies for the nephews.
Then lots of browsing occurred – they were selling a whole folding table full of trade paperbacks for 60% off, along with some Alex Ross posters and a couple Darth Vader backpacks. Not sure if Dan and I will ever be nerdy enough to sport that kind of look. We purchased Whiteout: Melt to score a Steve Lieber autograph on that copy. Later on, we can get Greg Rucka to sign it and have the complete set.
Around 2pm Mr. Lieber showed up, and we descended on him with the Greg Rucka signed Whiteout book. He ASKED US if he could do a sketch in it. Are you freaking kidding me? Yes please!
Of course, he was another cool and laid back dude who was totally willing to chat while he drew. He spent a little time pimping Underground (though I asked him to) and dropped a hint about a Vertigo project he’s attached to, but couldn’t release any information just yet.
He’s part of the 22 person Periscope artist studio here in Portland, and really enjoys the supportive arts community that the Pacific Northwest has to offer.
After he finished up the awesome sketch of Carrie Stetko:
he politely posed for a picture:
Then we stopped over at Cosmic Monkey Comics (it was just up the street) and picked up six issues of Madame Xanadu. We ran into the stunning Carolyn Main, and a few other comic book friends we’d met at Stumptown Comics Fest. It was great to see so many folks out supporting the art form and the event – and all the kids!
– Hang over this morning caused us to get a slower start to the day. We arrived around 11:30am, and immediately hit up Matthew Southworth‘s booth to get two copies of Stumptown #1 signed. He DID remember us from last night (he asked what time we finally left). Uh-oh. I need to seriously curtail the drinking next year. We hung out for about an hour or so while he inked and colored a couple prints. Here’s a short video of the one he made of Dex.
– Next up was a Q&A Panel with Craig Thompson. It was very informal – he had a friend hosting and asking him questions. The audience members could also chime in at any point with questions of their own. I was consistently surprised and pleased with the depth, intelligence and respect that went into each question (as with the Saturday panel). Not that I don’t think Comic Book fans can be intellectuals, it’s just that I’ve never experienced such a large group of folks taking the art of comic books so seriously.
– After that – Craig Thompson was signing books. We picked up a ticket earlier, and were among the first five or so people in line to chat with him and HE DID A SKETCH. Ah! Wonderful, lovely sketch. Having the signing immediately following the Q&A was awesome, because it didn’t feel awkward at all to engage in conversation with him. Something that frustrates me about cons or interacting with celebrities/famous folks is how artificial the space can feel. This wasn’t my experience at this fest – ever. Everyone was very approachable, friendly and willing to talk about their work, themselves, and other randomness.
Posts regarding the Stumptown Comics Fest 2010 will be dominating this blog for the weekend – I’ll also be doing a lot of tweeting with pics and some footage from the different events I attend, so prepare for some uniquely Portland, Oregon content gracing these walls. The agenda breaks down in the following days.
Celebrate the start of the Stumptown Comics Fest in style! Featuring a book release party, slide rule comic strip slideshow, $450 in prizes. Art exhibit by Graham Kahler.
– Arrive at the Fest at 10am to get volunteer badge and schmooze a bit
– Enjoying the Fest until our volunteer gig starts 4pm-6pm
- Scoring a signed copy of Spell Checkers from Joelle Jones and Jamie S. Rich
- Visiting with Natalie Sept and Matt Howard (HS friends who are exhibiting)
- Hitting up the Dark Horse Comics booth for some promised free goodies
Other than that – just soaking up the atmosphere of Portland’s Big-Little Comic Book event. I’ll try and do as much live blogging as is humanly possible!
Let me know if there’s something I’m missing folks. 😉
Hoping to return with more reviews and other kinds of love next week.
It’s about ten times easier to write a review of a new comic book series when you’ve read Issue #1. Who knew?
To make a long story short: picked up what I thought was issue #1 of Stumptown published by Oni Press, written by Greg Rucka and inked by Matthew Southworth, only to realize it was actually #2. Having the entire story skewed can really effect your perspective, so I’ve had to re-adjust my opinions of the book based on all the new information about the main character and story. It was a good adjustment, by the way.
Dexedrine Callisto Parios – better known as “Dex” is a private investigator on the mean streets of Portland, Oregon. Which elicits a bit of a chuckle from me – I get that Portland has a criminal element, but it contrasts a bit with our image as the cleanest, greenest city in America. Whatever the prevailing ideas about the city are – Dex is a woman who knows how to find trouble wherever she goes, or at least encourages trouble to come find her.
It’s a classic hard-boiled detective, crime environment – not usually my style but my affinity for Rucka, Portland and resilient comic book heroines make this book a shoe-in, right? Sort of – I wasn’t really in love with this book by the end of Issue #2.
What I took for false machismo in the second issue really fleshed itself out in the first, and my initial trepidations about embracing her started to fall away. There was more background in Issue #1 – a closer examination of her faults, a better definition of her relationship with her mentally handicapped brother, and further defining of her sexuality.
Why do tough chicks always have to be gay? Or viewed by other characters as being gay? Is it impossible for a woman to have typically masculine qualities (strength, intelligence, strong opinions) and not be labeled as homosexual? I was disappointed when Rucka went that route with Whiteout, and was feeling doubly irritated when I opened up my first issue (Issue #2) and Dex is loving up on men and women. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with representing homosexuality or bi-sexuality in comic books, but making a tough female character a lesbian is a straight cop-out, indicating that women cannot be strong, independent and heterosexual. *sigh*
Rucka’s ability to write women has evolved since Whiteout, and after only a few issues, Dex already seems like a person who is defined more by her choices, behaviors and attitudes than by her sexuality or gender. She’s got less intensity than Carrie Stetko – Rucka peppers Dex’s conversations with humor and gives her tough persona a nice balance with her devotion to her brother.
Don’t get me wrong, she is still defined by her sexual preference (we all are), but I’m hoping the need to assert it so prominently will drop into the background as the series progress and lets the stories, personalities and relationships take center stage.
Cynicism and disgruntled feminism aside – I’ve got to give props to Rucka for writing strong women characters and putting them in books with a low sleaze factor.
And more props to Matthew Southworth for working diligently to capture the true Portland feel. While the rough, scratchy inks are not my preferred comic style – it pairs very well with the cloudy Portland atmosphere and the detective-noir feel of the book. The darker earth toned coloring by Lee Loughride works nicely with the art and it’s compelling to flip through the book and see the individual scenes mapped out with a different color scheme. It’s like a new lens applied to each part of the story – quite effective.
And who wouldn’t love seeing their city displayed on a comic book page with such attention to detail? Seriously – from the Craftsman style homes – you know Dex lives somewhere in North Portland. The sequences with the St. Johns bridge featured prominently are particularly stunning.
It’s especially exciting to read the commentary by Southworth on the back pages, as he describes his process of cataloging the unique visual elements of Portland and translating them to the pages of Stumptown.
The plot itself – the case Dex is working to solve over the first few issues features many Oregon elements as well. Dex gets the case from a Native American casino owner and those involved with it ending up taking her all the way to the beloved Oregon Coast. She survives a beating on what looks like the SE Portland streets, and then takes two gun shots down at the base of the aforementioned St. John’s bridge.
She’s a hard woman to kill. My hope is that this series survives long enough to fully develop her, and it’s story into something that surpasses merely a genre piece. And becomes a great piece of fiction. It has promise.