Figuring out which comics to buy is hard. Let me help!
Figuring out which comics to buy is hard. Let the Stranger help! ALEX STONEHILL

Short Run is back! On Saturday, November 5, 270 cartoonists, artists, and drawers of all kinds will crowd into the Fisher Pavilion at Seattle Center to sell their zines, comics, poems, buttons, shirts and jean jacket accoutrements of all kinds. Now in its 6th year, the festival is bigger than ever, and it has easily become one of the most anticipated comics events on the west coast.

Aimlessly roaming from table to table and getting all touchy-feely with comic books that catch your eye is a good, funtimes way to discover stuff you like, but if the thought of confronting a sea of comics and comic artists paralyzes you, then allow me to make a few suggestions that might help guide you on your journey.

Suggestion One: If this is your first time navigating the tables at Short Run, read this handy guide for tips on how to have the least socially awkward festival experience possible.

Suggestion Two: Print out this shopping list (or open up this page on your phone) and check out the following artists.

Dash Shaw: He's the big deal comic at the festival this year. He received lots of acclaim from his mumblecore family drama, Bottomless Belly Button and his mega-twee animated feature, My Entire High School Sinking into the Sea. David Goyer plans to turn Shaw's graphic novel, Doctors, into a film. His painterly, abstract backgrounds are gorgeous, and they provide a welcome contrast to his realistic figure drawings.

Cold Cube Press: This Seattle-based risograph press is out with its second anthology, and it's incredible. Perfect bound, seven colors, and full of good work from local writers and comics artists. Look for the Simon Hanselmann strip, real strong love poems from Imani Jackson and CL Young, a beautifully understated story by Richard Chiem, and funny/sad/bad drawings from Jon-Michael Frank.

Short Run Anthology 2016: While we're in anthology land, be sure to pick up this beaut with work by E.T. Russian, Michelle Peñaloza, Willie Fitzgerald, and Michael Heck.

2dcloud: High art comics. Poets, painters, and other heady types should spend time at this table.

Taylor Dow: Read Abruption and Apocalypse Dad and then just try to look me in the eye and tell me you don't want to see every single thing Dow ever draws forever.

Mita Mahato: You can stare at Mahato's dark, gorgeous, cut-up comics for a long time. Her new book, Patterns, is inspired by the Henry Art Gallery's Katagami stencil collection.

Suzette Smith: Smith (no relation) tells me she just finished up a "REALLY STUPID" comic about the redemption of Donald Trump based on the plot of Mighty Ducks, which she's never seen. If you can't tell by that sentence, she's fucking hilarious and you should say hi.

Gridlords: Portland-based surreal weirdness.

Vanessa Davis: Smudgy, watercolory autobiographical excellence. Buy Make Me a Woman.

C.M. Ruiz: Loud, psychedelic, very drawn illustrations you'll probably want to hang up in your studio.

Elaine Lin: She has a comic called Strawberry Dog and it's a dog with a strawberry for a head. Get that.

Kelly Froh: Boss! She's the cofounder of Short Run, and I've been loving her latest project, Senior Time.

kuš!: Latvian awesomeness. Pick up Tara Booth's Unwell, if they have it!

Mend My Dress: riot grrrl zines and books from Tacoma.

Wave Books: Stranger Genius Nominees for literature this year. If any of you art comic folk are looking for a good read, or if you want to ogle incredible book design, start here. Highly recommend: Tyehimba Jess's Olio, Don Mee Choi's Hardly War, and Mary Ruefle's My Private Property.

APRIL Festival: The Stranger Genius Nominee independent press lit fest will probably have tons of ephemera full of of great, short, local literature.

Perfectly Acceptable: Matt Davis's risograph press. I like the look of Inés Estrada's Sixth Mass Extinction and Anna Haifisch's Don't Worry.

All the Intruder dudes: Check out new work from Aidan Fitzgerald, Marc Palm, Ben Horak, and Max Clotfelter.

After the festival, drop off your tote at the house and run over to Washington Hall for the after party to catch DoNormaal and Nail Polish, probably the best rapper in town and the best punk band in town, respectively.

Oh! And! To mitigate any post-festival malaise, take comfort in the fact that Short Run organizes cool events and educational workshops throughout the year. Go to them and learn and be happy.