Ah! Things have been really quiet here the last month or so, but not because I haven’t been busy! A bunch of Americus events have been going on back to back and I haven’t really had a lot of downtime in between. So I’m going to take some time now to catch everyone up and let you know how the events went.
Note: Since I’m catching up on like a month of stuff, the post is pretty long.
Eek! Sorry I didn’t do an SPX recap sooner. It’s been like a month, right? In short: SPX was great! Americus and our special SPX project, the Lorian Gendarme Guide to Adventuring Standards, were both well received and sold well. It was also seeing a lot of people that I had never met face-to-face before, [Joey Weiser and David Yoder], people that I just hadn’t seen in a long time [Ted Stearn and Jeremy Massie], and then new people [Jeremy Nguyen and Tyler Chin-Tanner].
I would also like to add that the first convention I ever tabled at was SPX back in 2003. I didn’t know what to expect, and it totally kicked my ass. I had two minis and they sent us to the back corner of the dark room. I got sick, we didn’t sell anything… it was horrible. So it was pretty satisfying to return with a completely different experience.
ACLU Banned Book Week Event – This was a total blast! Here’s a good recap from the ACLU’s website:
“In Portland, we kicked off the week with a Banned Books reading at Powell’s City of Books (the world’s largest bookstore as well as a defender of the freedom to read !). Bitch magazine’s Andi Zeisler emceed the event which featured local authors and artists speaking out against censorship. Illustrator Jonathan Hill shared panels from his graphic novel, Americus , about a community that tries to ban a fantasy series and the plucky teen that saves them. Local radio host, Courtenay Hameister , reimagined Judy Blume’s oft challenged, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, and interspersed it with plenty of content that is frequently cited as reasons for challenges — “inappropriate for the age group,” “violence” “homosexuality,” and “sexually explicit material.” Her new racy version of the beloved story about a young girl who struggles with her religious beliefs — and puberty — brought lots of laughs from the audience!”
And I have to say, that Courtenay’s re-imagined Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret made me laugh so hard I was crying.
NW Bookfest –
This was a mixed bag. The event was really, really unorganized. I think that this was the first year that the festival was going on after a long hiatus, which cuts some slack, but it was still pretty ridiculous. After Gina hounding them for months, I basically was given no information on what I would be doing. A reading? A workshop? They finally let me know that they wanted me to do a workshop the week of the event, which was good, but then they didn’t tell us what they wanted me to do it on, what kind of resources I would need to bring, what kind of space we would have, etc.
Check-in to the event consisted of them giving me my name tag and that was it. When it came time for the actual workshop, I was a little nervous. I wasn’t sure if anyone would show and what they would be expecting. It ended up being a small group of about 10-12, which was actually worked out really well because I could just ask them what they wanted me to talk about. I ended up taking about Americus for a bit and talked a lot about the process of making comics. They were a really great crowd and everyone had questions and since it was such a small group, I could pass copies of MK’s Americus scripts and sketchbooks around so they could see firsthand how I work.
Wordstock – The weekend started out with Jonathan Liu over at Wired’s Geek Dad doing an interview on Friday. He was going to be so busy trying to catch up with people at the festival that he wanted to try to get some local authors and artists before or after the show. You can check it out here.
The festival itself was pretty fun, even if I didn’t stay long. It was really, really organized, bonus points that it was in town and I didn’t have to travel, and then super bonus points for getting to read and panel with some really amazing authors/artists. My first event was a joint reading with the awesome Vera Brosgol from her book Anya’s Ghost. She did a great presentation on process [that you can actually read on her website here] and then read a bit, and then I read some pages from Neil’s first day of high school. It was a smaller crowd than I expected, and there weren’t a whole lot of questions, but I kind of just wanted to sit there and interview Vera. I loved Anya’s Ghost and wanted to pick her brain about her and her work. We got to hang out for a bit when we had to sign books, which was great, but I hope we get to hang out all proper-like real soon.
My second event was a Banned Books panel was with Ellen Hopkins and Nancy Sullivan, a librarian from Madison High School here in Portland. It was a great turnout [I think we can all thank Ellen Hopkins for that] and there was a lot of great questions and great answers. I felt weird because Nancy and Ellen especially have dealt more with censorship and book banning than I had. I just drew a book on censorship, so I wasn’t sure how much I would actually be able to contribute. The moderator, Mary Rechner, did a great job to include everyone and encourage discussion by asking questions herself.
Now that the dust is settling and I’m done with the big Americus promotion stuff this fall, I should be able to start posting some art!