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Heart Stolen By Stumptown

I have to admit something: I love Portland. And I heart the Stumptown Comics festival. Though April was comics month in Portland, I think it may be this wonderful all the time there. A good omen for the weekend was when I opened up the two weeklies and saw full pages of comics reviews in anticipation of the weekend. Alison Hallet of the Portland Mercury reviewed Market Day and starts her review with A stomach-dropping parable crammed into a slim hardback graphic novel, James Sturm's Market Day distills anxieties about art and commerce, supporting a family, and how precarious life in a market economy can be.

Over at the Willamette Weekly, Casey Jarman reviewed Market Day calling it a A lyrical vignette; spotlighted Masterpiece Comics--book's catnip for comics-loving English majors; as well as Black Blizzard stating the Hitchcockian 1956 murder mystery novel holds up.

Speaking of Tatsumi, I was able to visit Powells, where I saw this great Manga display. How many D+Q books can you count? Love it.

If you do not know Powells, it is called the City of Books for a good reason, it takes up a full city block in downtown Portland. An amazing institution. And if you are there on Sunday May 16th, please be sure to stop by Dan Clowes' WILSON event.

So as I have called out before on this blog, Portland should be called the city of comics. It took me all day to visit four stores, and I didn't even make it to Guapo or Reading Frenzy. Apologies! Next year!

I made it to Bridge City Comics which has a gorgeous storefront and amazing windows.

I made it to Floating World which is on the edge of Chinatown and is like a little secret of all things awesome.

And I ended up at Cosmic Monkey and met the delightful proprietor Andy. See behind Andy, those clearly label shelves, oh how I love that!!!!

This piece of yellow and green kangaroo art that I spied at Cosmic has nothing to do with comics, except that I thought it was a little Moominesque and I wish I owned it. And here's the most amazing comics tidbit about Portland, not only does it have great comic shops, but get this --they all like each other!!!

Ok so on to the con. First off, special thanks to one of my best friends since middle school Krissy Pedersen, who helped me with the booth, so I didn't have to do it totally "chief style" and whose hospitality in PDX made the whole trip possible. Thanks KP!

OK, so for all the convention nerds keeping score out there, let's just get one thing straight. Stumptown the comics festival is AWESOME! The space is located on the ground level with wall to wall windows on all three sides, it is part of a Doubletree right on the East Side of Portland over the bridge from downtown, quite possibly the best location ever. Also, did I mention all the windows? One can never stress the importance of windows, light and air in comics enough.

And the convention was quite possibly the smoothest convention ever. No hiccups, sweet staff, great volunteers, and an operation that had their act together complete with this fellow who passed out trays of water to exhibitors.

And a staff photographer who came around to make sure he got a shot of each exhibitor. This is a thoughtful touch for posterity's sake that I thought was smart and sweet. Much better than a video camera in your face.

Different convention, different coast, different set of faces. Let's begin.

I showed up on Saturday to get my publicist feathers all riled up as who should be getting interviewed with camera and lights in front of my booth but my old coworker at DC Comics now copublisher of Secret Acres Leon Avelino! On Sunday, I was even able to have lunch with Leon and Barry in the park across from the hotel.

Leon then stopped by the booth to buy Wilson.

As did Mike Allred.

And it's not comics in Portland without a shot of Mayor of Milwaukie Mike Richardson.

But really, it's not comics in Portland or anywhere without the fantastic Diana Schutz. Seriously people, Diana may be the most awesome person in comics. I always love talking to her and special thanks to her and Michael Martens for giving me a tour of DHHQ.

With a pose like this, Douglas, I think I may just have to refer to you as "Wolkian" from now on.

Miss Chloe Eudaly.

So perhaps the best thing about Portland you ask? It was the contest to see who could be a nicer and sweeter host...

Zack Soto or

T Edward Bak (who is raising money for Alaska!!!) or

Brett Warnock

I also gabbed and gossiped with Jeremy of Little Otsu, who I forgot now lives in Portland. (or the better, nicer San Francisco, as I like to call it, just joking San Fran!, ok, maybe a little)

I saw Vanessa Davis of the soon to be MAKE ME A WOMAN fame with the adorable Dave Lasky, who I have never met before.

A lovely lady who had Seth's Strand tote bag.

And I was charmed to meet Carla Speed McNeil who excitedly came over on Sunday to buy whatever we had of our John Stanley Library. Carla was a guest and flew in from Maryland, so when you are willing to take home not only a Melvin Monster but a 13 Going on 18 in valuable carry-on luggage, that is a sale with a lot of heart.

I met superstar Rina Ayuyang, who is adorable and I feel like I have known her for years.

Oh and it wouldn't be a con without at least one costume would it? This is Danger Man, I think, and I think the only thing dangerous was his Sunday funk from two days in the same costume. Cruel, I know, but the minute one puts on a costume it's fair game.

But really I wouldn't have been to survive the weekend with the superstar pairing of James Sturm and R. Sikoryak who were champs.

Portlanders were genuinely excited to see them both, it was great. Both Bob and James had spotlights panels and came back raving about them.

I brought "MoCCA quantities" of each of their books, thinking that if we didn't sell them there would be enough stores to sell them to on Sunday. Well, no need to think about that. I sold out of both their books mid-Sunday afternoon. This is James with one book left.

And speaking of "selling out", I SOLD OUT OF ALL OF MY BOOKS, at about 4:45 PM, with the con ending at 6. In fact, Shannon thought I packed up early and was angry.

Maybe Shannon had heard my early bitching about the show starting at 10 AM. 10 AM! I thought, what kind of small press show starts at 10 AM?! Well, I can admit when I am wrong, this joint was hopping by 10:15 AM. And 10-2 was the busiest part of Saturday.

This is my "Yes, my second show in a row of selling out of stock" pose. Maybe only my fellow publishers can really understand the pure joy one feels when they realize they have nothing to pack, ship or carry at the of a con.

So when I saw Shannon, I assured him that I was nothing less than absolutely thrilled with all of Stumptown and would be doing it again in 2011. Shannon and James doing their best Frank Miller.

Thanks everyone! Until the next time!

Attn New Hampshirites!

Fresh from his glowing New York Times review of Market Day, James Sturm hits the Granite State tomorrow to do TWO events at the Toadstool Bookshops. He will be in Keene, NH at 11 (222 West Street) and (12 Depot Street) Peterborough at 2 PM.

Interestingly, the Toadstool Bookstores are close to where James did his residency at the MacDowell Colony. It was here that James created most of Market Day, and that the seeds of an-internet-free-existence took place, as he had no internet access in his studio leaving him amazed with how much work he could get done.

Speaking of which if you haven't read James' second Slate.com entry of quitting the net, do so now!

Let us celebrate the trees (for it is Arbor Day.)

Arbor Day. A day to celebrate the mighty tree. Does anyone celebrate Arbor Day anymore? Maybe Earth Day has stolen all the glory. That Earth Day is too general for me. Let us celebrate the TREE!!

Here's a gag page from our forthcoming Tubby book. Not so much a tree gag as it is a boy-that-Tubby-sure-is-a-pig gag.

And there are more reasons to celebrate the tree in D+Q's future. Like Leanne Shapton's forthcoming petit livre called The Native Trees of Canada. We'll talk about this book some more in the future but for now here are some rough scans of the cover and a couple of pages. Leanne made a sketchbook and worked right in it causing some smudging and bleeding to wonderful effect.

Hang tight, Trees. Print is almost dead and then you shall once again rule this earth. Patience, O Noble Trees.

Farewell Kees

I was saddened to hear about the death, earlier this week, of the great Kees Kousemaker, the founder and owner of the legendary Dutch comic store/gallery Lambiek. Kees was years ahead of his time, opening a world-class comic store in 1968 at least a decade before any such thing existed. When I first visited Lambiek in 1989, I was impressed by the scope and depth of their stock (and by the fact that they carried books in several languages). I formally met Kees in 1996 when Lambiek hosted a Drawn & Quarterly exhibit in their gallery and, as anyone else who has met can attest, he was a man who exuded kindness, enthusiasm, and generosity in his very particular high-spirited manner. He was truly "one of a kind" and I'm still having a really hard time imagining the streets of Amsterdam without his passionate and exuberant presence.

Kees and Julie Doucet at the Drawn & Quarterly opening at Lambiek, June 1996.

Kees toasts a pre-L.A. Joe Matt

Kees and Maurice Vellekoop

Adrian Tomine was kind enough to write the following note about Kees:

When I had the privilege of visiting Holland with Drawn & Quarterly back in 1996, I remember being acutely aware of my neophyte status. Not only was I considerably younger than the rest of the gang, the work that I had published at that point was clearly deficient in both quantity and quality. I felt like I'd been allowed to tag along with the real cartoonists, ride their coattails for a bit, and hopefully no one would notice. I'll never forget the fact that Kees made all these neuroses evaporate the minute I met him, treating every one of us exactly the same, which is to say, like we were all geniuses, celebrities, and dear old friends. In my mind, he would've been perfectly within his rights to say, "This apartment above the shop is for cartoonists. So Joe, Seth, Chester, Maurice, and Julie...you're in. Adrian, let me point you in the direction of a nice youth hostel." I got the sense that, for whatever reason, he just loved cartoonists, all of them.

Adrian Tomine's sketch of the famed cartoonists' apartment above Lambiek (yes, that's a giant cut-out of The Spirit in the back, along with a life-size Tintin model in front). For more on the Lambiek apartment and on Kees, read Eric Reynold's tribute from yesterday, as well as Tom Spurgeon's article from The Comics Reporter.


This Saturday May 1st, follow the smell of fresh ink to your local comic book shop for FREE COMIC BOOK DAY! This year, for the first time, Drawn & Quarterly's FREE COMIC BOOK will be available in ALL participating stores! For FREE!

This year's free comic book, YOW!: A John Stanley Library Grab-Bag, features 6 stories written and (mostly) drawn by the brilliant kid's comics creator John Stanley. Plucked from throughout Stanley's illustrious career, these stories will have you dreaming up fantasy Dell crossovers... like, who wouldn't want to read "Tubby and Sluggo"? Or "Thirteen Going On Monster"? How about a Stanley-Toth collaboration, "Tubborro"?

So be sure to pick up your copy of YOW! this Saturday...and keep your eyes peeled for a fantastic dynastic inside-back-cover bonus...

WILSON in stores now: East Coast Tour Starts Monday!

What a week it is, all three of our North American distributors, as well as ourselves, have shipped the most anticipated book of the year to stores -- WILSON by Daniel Clowes. Today, WILSON is available everywhere in North America, at a finer store near you.

As if that isn't the best news ever, Dan embarks on his tour next week. So new Clowes book and the chance to see him in person? Oh wait, did I mention a slide show, because we just put it together and it is fantastic! What could be better, well if you live in Boston you get to see Ghost World after the event, which Dan will introduce!!!

05/03/10 | 7 PM
Washington DC
With Dan Kois

05/04/10 | 6 PM
With Hillary Chute

05/05/10 | 7 PM
With David Hajdu

05/07/10 | 7 PM
Toronto TCAF & TPL
With Mark Medley

Toronto TCAF & TPL

05/13/10 | 7:30 PM
With Glen David Gold

05/14/10 | 7:30 PM
With Dana Gould

05/16/10 | 7:30 PM
Portland POWELLS
With Greg Netzer, Director of Wordstock

06/03/10 | 7 PM
Oakland DIESEL
With Eli Horowitz

06/12/10 | 7 PM
Chicago QUIMBY'S (signing only)

06/13/10 | TBA
With Ray Pride

Discovering America

Market Day gets the NYT treatment

Fresh off a successful Northwest tour stint, James Sturm returns home to this--a very nice book feature by George Gustines in the New York Times.

Here's a nice Amazon interview as a chaser.


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