Short Run Comix and Arts Festival turns eight years old this year and, once again, it’s bigger than ever. You'll want to go to this. You should bring at least $50 cash to spend on art books, zines, buttons, and little strips of beautiful, screen-printed ephemera from more than 270 internationally/nationally/locally-renowned comics creators. (This year features artists from China, Taiwan, Sweden, Germany, France, and even Canada!) A path of hot pink and blue vinyl circles will lead you from Fisher Auditorium to the Vera Project, where you can attend some "experimental programming" events. Phyllis Fletcher's interview with Mimi Pond and Carol Tyler looks good, as does Colleen Louise Barry's literary performance showcase and the "Graphic Medicine" workshop led by cartoonists Whit Taylor and public health doc Meredith Li-Vollmer. Also, the Marathon Exhibition today at Fantagraphics will be a nice way to kick off the weekend.
To help you navigate the maze of exhibitors, I've compiled a list of publishers and artists you won't want to miss this year. Print it out, bookmark it, open up a tab, or do whatever you need to do to keep the info below handy. Oh! And are you one of those people who get very nervous about attending large events full of people who are ~very kewl~ and who also seem to be very nervous? Well then, please peruse my guide for how to walk the aisles with confidence.
Animation Tent by SEAT: The Seattle Experimental Animation Team will showcase Seattle animators of all different ages and backgrounds. The "loose collective" consists of geniuses like Clyde Petersen and Webster Crowell. I'm hoping to see some clips from Mari Ichimasu's upcoming project, Sanpomichi.
Jillian Barthold: Incredible illustrator and designer out of Portland. She runs an "unapologetically fun and silly" exhibition space down there with Libby Landauer called Fruit Salad Club. Be sure to sign up for a slow bouquet.
Tara Booth: Another great cartoonist and illustrator out of Portland. Very colorful, messy, funny stuff. Lots of drawings of women wearing different outfits with wild prints. Her month-long installation—Everybody Loves a Clown, So Why Don't You?—opens Nov. 1 at Mount Analogue. At Short Run, local risograph pusher Cold Cube Press has combined forces with Mount Analogue to publish a collab between Booth and Seattle artist Neon Saltwater called Spicy Metal 2: Future Rooms. Pick that up.
Marie Bouassi: Great Seattle cartoonist with a lot of hilarious drawings of healthy women taking baths and killing people. She's published all over, including strips and splash pages in The Seattle Weekly, Thick as Thieves, and others. Check out Negligee.
Breakdown Press: Cutting edge comics studio straight from the UK. Pick up Joe Kessler's Windowpane.
Catherine Bresner: Fine Seattle poet with a speciality in poetry comics. Pick up her book, The Empty Season, and catch her reading at the LIT showcase along with Richard Chiem (You Private Person, King of Joy) and Chelsea Werner-Jatzke.
Max Clotfelter: Documenting the grime of Seattle since... for a long time now.
Cold Cube Press: Lots on offer from the publisher of the Earth’s greatest cartoonists, most notably Cold Cube 4, an anthology of comics and literature. Beyond the jaw-dropping, luxurious foil stamp cover you'll find work from local and international illustrators (Taiwan, Spain, Columbia, Chile, Mexico, and even Canada!!), plus short stories and poems from all over the country. Tay Dow's comic in this is hilarious. Willie Fitzgerald has a short story in here that will knock your socks off. (Full disclosure: Fitzgerald is a friend, but his story is about a haunted promotional CD single of Bob Seger's 1976, "Night Moves," and if you don't like that I don't like you.) It's the best thing they've done yet. You'll also find Your Focus Chamber Awaits, a worthy collab by Sean Christensen and Theo Ellsworth.
DDOOGG: Publisher of amazing, avant-garde art comics from Vancouver, BC. The stuff they're selling will be very trendy in three years. They should have a copy of FreakerUNLTD6, which looks good.
Floss Editions: All-risograph press out of Oakland that publishes a lot of good comics working in the Bay Area. A lot of clean, bright surrealism.
FORGE. Art Magazine: Matthew James-Wilson runs this high quality quarterly magazine out of New York City. The magazine has published comics and interviews with artists like Tommi Parrish, Anna Haifisch, and it looks like trillions of others. A clearinghouse of cool stuff. You'll likely find some gems at this table.
Simon Hanselmann: Link.
Elaine Lin: Good, bright mix of slice-of-life stuff and emo auto-bio stuff. Whatever genre Strawberry Dog fits into is my favorite genre. Lin has done a cover for us (maybe more than one?) and several illustrations. Top-notch talent.
Mount Analogue: Colleen Louise Barry's art and publishing haus will feature Spicy Metal 2: Future Rooms, a collaboration between Tara Booth and Neon Saltwater printed by Cold Cube Press. The Spicy Metal series features two female or female-identifying artists who create work based on a central theme. The theme for this issue is "future rooms," and both Booth and Neon Saltwater deliver some very strong rooms here. Booth's messy, ornate work features women in rooms with crazy-amazing patterns. My favorite page shows a woman lying on a couch, despondent in a Chewbacca sweatshirt. Neon Saltwater presents spaces that you might find in a shopping mall from 40 years ago.
Gramma Books: These hometown heroes will be hocking their latest book, Mouth Guard by Sadie Dupuis, who you might know better as the lead singer for Speedy Ortiz. They're currently on tour with Liz Phair. The poems are full of Massachusetts witchiness, travel angst, lost loves, and equal helpings of humor and sweetness.
Yusuke Nagaoka + Chou Yi: A pair of artists working out of Taipei, Taiwan. Yusuke Nagaoka makes cool, subdued watercolors. Chou Yi uses lots of clean lines with lush colors. Its the kind of stuff you want to be 30 times larger so you can hang it on your wall. They're traveling from far away, so if you don't get their stuff at Short Run, you'll have a hard time finding elsewhere.
Tommi Parrish: One of the stars of the festival this year. Parrish is from Australia but lives in Montreal. The Lie and How We Told It is out now from Fantagraphics. Gorgeous painted comics about missed connections, queer love, overcoming suicide, family issues, but still real fun to read. Punk as fuck with a heart of gold.
Ben Passmore: Story-driven comic out of New Orleans who's been published widely. He's recently been featured by Fantagraphics. Check out Daygloayhole and Your Black Friend, which is about being a black guy in predominantly white scenes.
Perfectly Acceptable: Based out of Chicago, Perfectly Acceptable is the best risograph press in the country. Scoop up The Mouse Glass and Drifter from Anna Haifisch, if they have them.
Justin Quinlan Paper Press Punch: Maybe 50 percent of the 'zines you’ll see at Short Run will be printed by this local press. Quinlan and Jessica Hoffman keep the blood flowing through the veins of Seattle's comic scene, and you're sure to find some good stuff scattered all over their table.
Karissa Sakumoto: My vote for comic with the best handle on Instagram: cop_fucker. Deeply weird 'zine maker from Portland. She employs a lot of distorted clip art, found images, and left-field humor, all in service of asking big questions such as, "Will your job be replaced by a fuck machine?"
Suzette Smith: She's the arts editor for The Merc and she deserves your respect!!!! Her comics are funny and good and watercolor-y.
Olivier Schrauwen: The other top dog at the festival this year. Incredibly detailed, surreal, transportive, lots of weird sexuality, absolutely gorgeous. Art Spiegelman called him "the most original cartoonist I’ve fallen onto since Chris Ware or Ben Katchor." The new book is Parallel Lives, but if they don't have that pick up Arsène Schrauwen.
Sophie Yanow: Queer cartoonist out of Vermont, published by The Guardian and The Nib. Lots of good storytelling with clean, bold lines that look like a cross between Georges Remi (TinTin) and Crocket Johnson (Harold and the Purple Crayon).
Wave Books: Duh.
Melek Zertal: Beautiful watercolor comics about queer women of color trying to get over heartbreak. She comes to us from Oakland by way of France. Pick up Fragile from Colorama.