06 August 2015

[comics] What We Saw At The First Artist Alley Comics Fest

Southeast Portland can hide things, tuck nifty things behind other nifty things. These things are worth the effort in finding.

Comic-cons, for instance. Oh, they're there. Hidden behind awesome little comic-cafes. I give you the corner of SE Powell Boulevard and 59th Avenue, on the border of South Tabor and FoPo.

This is a building containing a hair salon (The Phix), our comix cafe (The Spritely Bean), a print shop, and a good-bad-for-you food cafe (the mighty Steakadelphia). Behind, there, you see a tent or two peeking out? Why, yes you do. Let's explore, shall we?

When we get cross the wide, wide demesne that is SE Powell Boulevard, this is what we see.

This is the First Annual Artist Alley Comics Fest, presented by The Spritely Bean and supported by some worthy supporters, one of which be +Muse Art and Design . The artist alley, as I understand it to be, is an area of a comic-con where artists set up to sell, see, be seen, and meet fans and interested people. Much goodness for sale there. Being that this is set up in the parking lot behind Spritely Bean's building, it's like being in an alley, making this a true artist alley.

Well played, SB, well played.

One of the sponsors, Muse, sent along one of their people to rep the shop. This is one of them:

The tie of the day.
… our friend Vaughn Barker.  I've told you about Vaughn, the alter-ego of Valentine Barker here: http://zehnkatzen.blogspot.com/2015/03/pdxart-illustrator-vaughn-barkers.html, where you can go to find about about his awesomeness and his art and his general Zenitude, so he's worth your time. But this time, it's kinda about the tie.

That is one hell of a tie, man. Straight up.

The hair salon has the delightful name of The Phix. They had a backdrop up and they were showing off some of their work. We almost missed all of that pageant, as we showed a bit more than halfway through the afternoon, but we did see this fellow …

Character? Yes. Comic? No.
… who was as rockstar with his attitude as he was with his hair. Damned affable, too, as far as that goes.

Being tucked away in Southeast like it was, I was worried that there was going to be a gentle response. Adam and Huynh were taking a bit of a chance, I thought, and since I love, so far, everything they do, I was a little anxious for them.

I shouldn't have worried.

A person who's become a dear friend to me, +Donna Barr , creator of Stinz and The Desert Peach, proved that the tiny-con could work, and work well, even out at the end of the road. The Clallam Bay Comic Con, a small event, was none the less energetic, complete with dealer's room, panels, and a party. See here for her result: http://donnabarr.blogspot.com/2015/07/small-but-fierce-2015-clallam-bay.html.  The micro-cons are a boon because you can have all the creator-awesome without all the corp-overhead, and this is the sort of place where the indies can be the stars of the show.  Linework NW proved that it could shine as a vibrant smaller-sized, creator focused and driven event.

And now, AACF proves that small can be beautiful, gorgeous, amazing, and that tiny can have a big attitude. And nothing but indies! I'm going to show off individually what I got perforce, but there were big and small productions, and if you didn't come on over with a huge budget there were nifties, small comics, and things to get at a whole range of prices. There was brilliance available for a $20 and awesomness available for a $2 bill.

I'm sorry to say that I didn't get as many pictures as I could. Seen and enjoyed but not pictured:

Coffee. The Spritely Bean is a coffeehouse, of course, and Adam and Huynh's fine wares were available. I enjoyed two of their divine cold brew iced coffees, bold, velvety and just the thing for the ├╝ber-humid afternoon. Also, macarons! I had heard about them, trendy as they are, but I'd never had any before then. EXQUISITE! Best cookie ever. Wife asked for a Italian soda, it was mint and came back Amalfi-style … it was like drinking a York peppermint pattie.

Jake Richmond. One of my more favorite recent discoveries is Modest Medusa, by Jake Richmond. Follow that link there for the skinny on the snake girl. I got to meet Jake and had the a great chat with him. He's part of a crew of SE Portland illustrators (Including Barry Deutsch and Ben Hsu) who were there en cartel, madly creative people who do work which tends to move into your mind and live there. He has a generous spirit and talked at length with me about his creation. There was also a Chocodile, which I consumed. Modest is right … they're quite tasty.

Brett Carville. I've also written about Brett, who is another recent favorite discovery of ours and just one of the nicest guys you'd want to meet. We'd seen him at Linework and it was amazing to see him here too. I got a look at something he's doing called Life of Craig, and I'll have more to write about that in another post in a few more days.

Donna Barr proved that you could have a comic-con anywhere. Linework NW proved that if you made it all about indies, it'll have meaning and velocity.

AACF proved that if you hold it … especially in Portland … they will come.

Hail, Eris.

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