Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

March 31, 2011

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

imageBy Tom Spurgeon

* this weekend is WonderCon, a fine and sizable show in the wonderful city of San Francisco. I went last year and enjoyed it quite a bit. This is probably the last show on the calendar that can be construed as a "beginning" of the calendar year for a lot of folks, and is by any measure one of the half-dozen biggies in the North American year. I had a blast at 2010's show just sort of walking around and seeing small panels and eating out and sleeping in and shopping for funnybooks.

* as for what to do at the show, please pay special attention to publisher and distributor Last Gasp -- their presence and any social activities they have planned. They think I shortchanged their efforts in my show reports last year, and it's entirely possible I did. If you need an excuse to hit their table, maybe track down any and all issues of the anthology Papercutter they have on hand -- that's a fun series, and I know it's one they distribute. Also remember that San Francisco a great walking city but there are hills involved once you move in any direction out of the immediate range of the convention. More advice: 1) eat well, including one high-end meal if you can afford it, 2) visit cartoonist and con warrior Keith Knight's booth and buy something if you can, 3) Seth is a really good con guest, so go see anything he's doing, 4) ditto Sergio Aragones, 5) support CAM, perhaps by hitting their Saturday night party.

* as always, please visit the CBLDF. If you have time outside of the show, or on either end, there are bunch of stores in San Francisco worth visiting. I can attest to the fact that Comix Experience and Isotope are within walking distance. Long walking distance, but still.

* I keep forgetting to mention it, but famed NYC bookstore The Strand is holding a comics event on April 8 called The Strandicon. I'm guessing it's important in a couple of ways. First, it looks like a fine event, with a lot to offer art-comics fans, including the first public appearance together of The Comics Journal's generations Now and Prime. Second, like the conferences held in front of the Reed and CCI shows, it's something being done in close physical and temporal proximity to an anchor event -- in this case, the well-liked MoCCA Festival. That's something I think is going to become a bigger and bigger trend over the next few years if conventions remain as viable as they seem to be right now.

* another thing I keep forgetting to do is post a link to this article about the expansion of Leeds Thought Bubble.

* last weekend was MegaCon, and I think it's part of that show's particular virtues that there's very little fuss, muss and/or drama about its latest iteration. Its strengths should be obvious: a place where comics and genre-media people already live/a place where comics and genre-media people wouldn't mind visiting.

* while I got the Jim Woodring part of this from a second source, it's worth noting that the Small Press Expo is beginning to fill out its guest list for the September show: Ann Telnaes and Jim Rugg are fine additions.

* linking to almost 20 separate posts for a single con report is a bit beyond my "Four-Color Festival" time allotment this week, but if you go through the "older posts" buttons here you'll eventually find a bunch of comments and posts from Steve Willis on this year's SPACE.

* finally, TCAF has added another alt-comics heavy hitter to its line-up: the Flemish cartoonist Brecht Evens, whose remarkable Night Animals and The Wrong Place have wowed North American audiences in their English-language versions.
posted 5:31 am PST | Permalink

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