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November 15, 2012


The Never-Ending, Four-Color Festival: Cons, Shows, Events

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By Tom Spurgeon

* so BCGF signaled another sort-of end to the major/notable convention season. That doesn't mean there aren't shows remaining -- I'm going to end this column with a poster for one! -- and Comica is ongoing, of course, with Thought Bubble coming to a head this weekend, and there's no bigger overlapping series of events than those two things. But unless you're right there already, there's nothing forthcoming that the bulk of the readers of this site would likely make an effort to attend. An emptier convention calendar period these days isn't what it used to be. There should be a number of fine holiday-period signings, and I'd do a Comiket in a second were I anywhere near one. Still, I think a lot of folks have adjusted their thinking to some date next year when they'll go to a convention or festival again. It was the best year yet for such shows, and I'm hopeful that they'll lock into place in the next few years as a calendar of sustainable events in all the great comics towns across North America and several such places around the world.

* speaking of events for 2013, CAKE announced for two days in mid-June. That's the Chicago one that launched this year. Chicago is a great, great city to visit and has a strong comics community that exists on a variety of levels and with strong representation from a number of traditional comics camps. You could spend a day in Chicago just visiting traditional comics shops and have a good comics day, or spend one in the company of cartoonists just visiting bars and restaurants and have a good comics day. I'm dying to go.

* that one has moved from its southern loop location downtown to the Center On Halsted near Wrigley Field, right smack in kind of a traditional first-place-you-might-move cool neighborhood for the last 30 years in that city (also one of the nation's great gay and lesbian neighborhoods). It's probably more gentrified now, though, come to think of it. At any rate, that should yield some interesting results. Chicago Comics is like a 15-minute walk from there. And you can eat a giant sticky roll at Ann Sather for breakfast both days. My Chicago tourism fetishism aside, thinking about potential trips like that is fun, and should be, as much as they're also important given the current sales and cultural landscape. I wish the CAKE people luck moving forward.

* the Cubs are out of town that weekend, by the way, which is good news for moving around that neighborhood or grabbing one of the hotel rooms right nearby. It's bad news if you want to see the Cubs, unless you go to Chicago a couple of days early.

* this PDF indicates two of this year's Angouleme exhibitions: one revolving around Uderzo and the traditional one focused on last year's Grand Prix winner. I have this hunch, and I'm not sure if it's anything more than hunch plus all my hunches about Angouleme are usually wrong, that this year's Angouleme will be about the emerging general strengths of the show than anything that's lightning-in-a-bottle oriented. That sounds terrible, I know, and I don't mean it that way. I think the future of all the comics festivals is that they be strong year-to-year as opposed to amazing one year and less amazing the next, if that makes any sense.

* Baltimore Comic-Con announced its first round of guests for the 2013 show: Frank Cho, Barry Kitson, Mike Mignola, Chris Samnee and Mark Waid.

* finally, I like the posters I've seen for the alternative comics show in Leeds this December 8th.

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