View From Portland: It’s Comics Month!

by

MAYOR TOM POTTER SAID SO.

If this comes as news to you, you’ve already missed over a half dozen events and are nearly seven hours into missing another. There are dozens more through the month. These are heady times here in rainy Portland.

My own comics weekend began with a sneak peak at Nicholas Gurewitch (Perry Bible Fellowship)’s work over at Floating World Comics––the show continues through the month (along with Tony Millionaire art that I did not see), and Gurewitch himself will be at the store for a reception April 24th.

Next, I caught the new restaging of Shannon Wheeler’s Too Much Coffee Man: The Opera at the Portland Center for the Performing Arts Friday night. In addition to a smoother staging of the original one act show, a new second act (co-written by local cartoonist Carolyn Main) takes the cast to Mars for a wackier follow-up that’s closer in tone to the original comics. I had a great time, and the party afterwards featured all of the free Too Much Coffee Man coffee stout (with caffeine!) that one could drink. In between chatting up the opera stars and other attendees, I was able to do the circuit of “Meanwhile: An Exhibition of Comic Book Art,” a cool mix of alternative and mainstream comics original art displayed throughout the lobby. Later, everything moved to Suki’s Bar for karaoke, where the promise of opera singers making with the pop tunes went unfulfilled, though others from our group showed what they were made of.

Today began with a meeting of the committee setting up this month’s Stumptown Comics Fest, where I’m now an official sitter-inner, with perhaps a slightly bigger role in the future. Everything looks roughly on track, with all of the little details that go into planning panels, workshops, promotions, exhibitor space, etc. getting finalized and attention beginning to turn to next year.

Straight from the meeting, it was off to Cosmic Monkey Comics to check out the 24 Hour Comics Challenge, still in progress. In addition to seeing an old friend there and probably distracting him from his pages, I visited the “press box,” the balcony from which Top Shelf’s Leigh Walton was master of all he surveyed. A hardier soul than I, he’ll be there for the whole event, until 10AM tomorrow. His live-blogging continues over at Picture Poetry.

So already it’s a big month, with tons more to come. Next weekend sees the Portland Comic Book Show, with headliners Matt Wagner and Stan Saiki (who will be giving a “talk/demonstration”), Marjane Satrapi is in town for a talk Monday, TMCM: The Opera continues through the month and, biggest of all, April 26th and 27th will be this year’s Stumptown Comics Fest. Last year’s was my first real convention and I can’t wait for this year’s (though Con season actually starts for me the weekend before in New York).

If you live in Portland, or have always wanted to visit, be sure to check out the calendar of events for Comics Month. We’ll out-comics almost any town out there.

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