Celebrate Hellboy Day On March 22nd

hellboy dayHell(boy) is coming to Portland, so it is time to celebrate!

Celebrate 20 years of comics’ favorite paranormal detective during Hellboy Day March 22 from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Portland TFAW!

This can’t-miss event kicks off with a Q&A with Scott Allie, Hellboy editor for 20 years and writer of Abe Sapien; Dave Stewart, Eisner Award-winning Hellboy colorist; and Tyler Crook, Eisner Award-winning B.P.R.D. artist; a signing will follow.

Attendees will enjoy Hellboy Day exclusives from Dark Horse, raffle prizes–including items signed by Hellboy creator Mike Mignola–a photo op with “Hellboy” himself, portrayed by Kyle Yount, and free food and beer (21+ with valid ID).

The fine folks at Things From Another World always put on a fantastic party, so be sure to put this on your calendar!

What: Hellboy Day
Who: Scott Allie, Dave Stewart, Tyler Crook
Where:Portland Things From Another World, 2916 NE Broadway Street
When: March 22nd, 7 – 10pm


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Tonight The Shadow Meets The Mage!

WEFF_WEW2014_Poster_72Looking for something fun to do on a Friday night?  In Portland?  Then get down to Floating World  Comics for something truly amazing!

Continuing the celebration of the annual Will Eisner Week, comic book Legend, MATT (MAGE/GRENDEL) Wagner, will be reading a tale excerpted from Will Eisner’s acclaimed INVISIBLE PEOPLE graphic novel. The event will be presented with accompanying slides of the story. Wagner will then talk about Eisner’s work and its impact on the industry and Matt’s own career. Matt will also be doing a live B&W drawing inspired by Mr. Eisner’s work, which will be given to one lucky attendee, randomly chosen from among the first 50 people attending the event.

WHO: Matt Wagner
WHAT: Invisible People reading
WHEN: Friday March 7th, 7:30-9pm
WHERE: Floating World Comics, 400 NW Couch St


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Lots of Work Behind the Scenes

You may or may not have noticed that things have been pretty quiet here at STR for the past few months.

It was not intentional.  A little bit of time to refocus has turned into an extended leave of absence. Instead of spending time here, we have been off on other projects. But, while we have been away, we have not been idle.  So, without further ado, let us give you a little tour of what we have been up to.

Kilted Comics
First up is our new publishing endeavor, Kilted Comics. For a while now we have been looking for a way to bring together disparate self-publishing projects under a single umbrella. With Paris in the 20th Century published in September (written by Brian Gardes and art by Keri Grassl), and the next volume (Ana DuPre and the Eye of the Kraken) being serialized as we speak, we wanted a place where they could shine. So we created Kilted Comics. In addition to the ongoing adventures of Ana DuPre, Kilted Comics also features previews of upcoming books written by Brian with art by Vaughn Barker. The first book from the pair is Shelby Stone and the Tomb of Ta’aroa. So, head over to Kilted Comics and check out this exciting new publishing venture!

Emerald City Panel
Each year we strive to find new ways to become more connected to the comics we love. What began as a love of comics turned into a podcast where we talked about comics. Then we started to talk with creators about their comics. This led to more interviews and hours spent on the con floor, the pub, and in studios in search of the best in the business. Then we started making our own comics, tabling at shows, and making even more connections.

It was the time spent at the conventions that made us think about what kind of panels we wanted to see. One thing led to another, proposals were made, emails exchanged, prayers answered, and we are now proud to announce that Brian will be hosting a panel at this year’s Emerald City Comic Con!

Based on the tagline in Becky Cloonan’s Eisner award winning book, The Mire, this panel features creators who have risen to prominence via self-publishing, had the opportunity to work for the Big Guys, and have chosen to stay with self-publishing. Panelists include Becky Cloonan, Wendy & Richard Pini, Chris Roberson and Jeff Smith.

Program date and time: Saturday, March 29, 5:40pm, Hall D, (Room 602-603)

So stop by, say hello, and support the self-publishing movement!

More Comic Posts Coming
Over the past few weeks we have been working on a series of posts which highlight different independent and self-published comics. We will be rolling them out over the next few weeks and can’t wait to get back in the swing of things. It has been a long, strange winter, but spring is around the corner (groundhog be damned!) and with it comes an invigorated STR!

See you in the funny pages!

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Why We Need Geek Girl Con

130304-geekgirlcon-logo-01I was going to write about our weekend at Geek Girl Con.

I was going to write about how exciting it was to be at our second convention; to share our excitement about Paris in the 20th Century and introduce the world to the gangster platypus. I was going to write about reconnecting with friends, making professional connections, and the excitement of tabling next to Egypt Urnash.

But I can’t.

I have tried time many times over the past three years to explain why I love Geek Girl Con so much. I have talked rhapsodized about the plethora of panel options which are some of the most varied and entertaining ever found at a convention. I have talked about meeting the likes of Scott Westerfeld, Jill Thompson, and Renae DeLiz. I have told people that there are things for everyone in the family to do, and that you don’t have to be a girl to enjoy them. In short, Geek Girl Con is a great show.

But that’s not enough.

There is another, far more important reason why I can, do, and will continue to support Geek Girl Con. It is because GGC is the kind of place where this would never happen.

Geek Girl Con is a completely different experience than any other con I have ever attended. When I visit comic cons (or car shows, or tech shows), between the “booth babes” and the people just looking for attention, more skin is on display than at a Victoria’s Secret fashion show. All the women parading around and posing provocatively only re-enforces the stereotype that comics (or cars, or tech) is for men and women are for decoration. And when people believe that is true, they begin to act accordingly. That is why this group of jackasses thought it was just fine to be inappropriate with the cosplayers.

Geek Girl Con puts it right out in the open that this is a convention where girls (and women) are welcome. They are not at the convention to be decoration. This convention is for them to express who they are, explore their interests, and enjoy the company of like-minded individuals. This is a convention where they can see a wide range of professionals, creators, and community members who represent, inspire, and believe in women of all ages. It is the kind of convention where Kelly Sue DeConnick can talk about creating comic books and not be “Smurfette”. It is the convention where all people can go and expect to be treated like people, not an afterthought.

People like my daughters.

So that is why I love Geek Girl Con. I love it because on the three hour car ride home, my daughters talked about all the exciting panels they saw, the amazing cosplays, the games they learneds, the concerts they saw, and the friends they made. They talked about how their eyes were been opened to new possibilities. And they talked about how they can’t wait to go back next year.

Those are the things we should talk about after every con. Hopefully other conventions will take a cue from Geek Girl Con and start to look at ways to make everyone feel like everyone belongs and that everyone should be able to have a fun and safe time.

Until then, Geek Girl Con 2014 is just a year away. I’m already in line.

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Geek Girl Con Here We Come!

130304-geekgirlcon-logo-01This weekend is the third annual Geek Girl Con in Seattle! This has become my favorite convention of the year. filled with fantastic people, AMAZING panels, and a myriad of activities for all ages, Geek Girl Con is THE place to be this weekend!


For the first time ever, we will have a table there!

Stop by Artist’s Alley table 615 to pick up your own copy of Paris in the 20th Century, or one of the amazing new prints Keri has cooked up for the con!

Keri will be accepting commissions, and I will be handing out BINGO cards, so stop by, say hello, and have some fun!

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Order Your Own Copy of Paris in the 20th Century Now!

After a successful Rose City Comic Con debut, we are excited to announce that we have copies of Paris in the 20th Century available for order!

Click on this link ————> Order Paris In the 20th Century <——————-Click here!

This comic could be yours!

This comic could be yours!

We will sign it, seal it, and deliver it right to your doorstep!

In other exciting news:  The Paris in the 20th Century crew will be at Geek Girl Con next weekend!  Come see us in Artists Alley (table 605).  Say hello.  Check out Keri’s amazing art.  Play BINGO!


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Rose City Comic Con: A Report From the Other Side

Rose-City-Comic-ConStanding behind the table at Rose City Comic Con this weekend was my High Fidelity moment. I had finally bridged the gap from critic to creator. With the sale of the first copy of my creator-owned book, Paris in the 20th Century, I became a part of the industry I have loved and admired for thirty years.

Friday night was the kick-off party hosted by Things From Another World and Dark Horse Comics. It was a rollicking good time with food, beverages, a DJ, and hundreds of happy fans and pros. I met up with my table-mate, Keri, who had gone to the convention center earlier to set up our space with our other table-mate, Vaughn. I got the low-down on the arrangement, our location, and the delicate balance between having too much and not enough on the table. Somehow I lucked out and just had to show up and bring my smile and sales pitch the next morning! We chatted, danced, laughed nervously, and crossed our fingers that we would sell at least one book over the weekend.

Saturday morning arrived and I was up before dawn, nervously pacing. I was full of energy was ready to go go go! I thought a bout going out for a run, but figured I should save my legs for the ten-hours I would be standing on the con floor. I loaded up my bag with snacks, drinks, and charging cables for electronics and then paced some more. Due to badge allocations, I could not get on the floor before the show opened, so I had to wait until the doors opened at ten.

While I was waiting in the lobby, I caught up with some friends and got some words of encouragement from Pete and Rebecca Woods. I must have looked nervous because they assured me that everything would be just fine.

When the doors opened I bolted for the table. Vaughn and Keri were there, patiently waiting. Vaughn was sharpening his pencils to start the first of many large-scale sketches he would do over the course of the weekend, and Keri was doodling what would become Harley Quinn holding a Portal gun. I dropped my bag behind the table and waited for the crowds to arrive.

And waited.

And waited.

It wasn’t that people were ignoring us. It was more like people did not know who we were and what we were doing. I had never given

Keri sketching a robotic fairy selling chocolate commission.

Keri sketching a robotic fairy selling chocolate commission.

much thought to the destination shopping aspect of comic cons, but after watching people queue up at Matt Fraction and Kelly Sue DecConnick’s table long before they arrived I began to give it more thought. People came to the show with creators and comics in mind. There were people they wanted to see and books they wanted to buy. These were creators who had years of experience and books which had taken time to find an audience.

And here we were, veritable babes in the woods. We had our one little self-published book, some prints, and a bright pink table cloth. People rushed by with their checklists and long-boxes and I wanted to shout, “Wait! Stop! Take a look at our book too!”

Eventually people started to filter by and stop to take a look. We chatted. We pitched. We sold to family and friends. And then it happened. A complete stranger bought a copy of our book. Our book! Keri and I stood there dumbfounded as the man tried to give us money. We couldn’t believe that it was actually happening!

We quickly snapped out of it, made change, signed his book, and wished him well. We waited for him to turn the corner before breaking into our happy dance.

The rest of the day went along in much the same manner. We chatted with the curious. We tinkered with our display. We tried to figure out some of the more questionable and obscure cosplay that walked past the table. We set up a BINGO game to track some of the more interesting sights.

But he time the con closed at 7pm, we were all a little loopy. While I am sure that some pros hit the bars and were out all night whooping it up, this little band of self-publishers went home and passed out. I vaguely remember giving my credit card to my room mate and asking him to take my kids out for dinner. I was passed out by the time he got home.

Sunday morning came a lot sooner than expected. The nervous energy was back, but it was confined to my brain. My body was explaining to me that it did not like the idea of going back and standing on concrete floors for another seven hours. (I had made a conscious decision not to sit during the con in order to present a more energetic and positive demeanor).

I got to the table to find Keri and Vaughn already there, raring to go for another day. I slid in behind them and we waited for day two to begin.

Vaughn sketching for the crowd

Vaughn sketching for the crowd

Day two went much the same as day one, punctuated by visits from friends, students, and my parents. We also had a woman come to our table who had purchased out book the day before, read it that night, and was back to tell us that she enjoyed it! Our fist review!

We pushed hard for the rest of the day and managed to move a few more books. Keri sold two commissions as well as her Harley Quinn sketch, and Vaughn made plenty of people happy with his sketches. As the lights went down, a cheer erupted from the con faithful. The second annual Rose City Comic Con was in the bag.

That night we all sat around the table at my house, eating curry and swapping con stories. Our friends, families, and spouses laughed at our stories and forgave our mental lapses as two days of convention selling had fried our brains. As I slipped into bed, I did so with a smile on my face. I had finally crossed the threshold. I had moved from fan to creator. From one side of the table to the other. From one con experience to another.

I cannot wait to do it again!

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