Happy New Year. Here are some photos and notes from some of the comic-book events I attended in 2010.
In January I managed to catch the last day of the show "Faster Than a Speeding Bullet: The Art of the Superhero" at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum in Eugene. This amazing show featured original comic artwork from the 40's to the present day. Seeing original art gives you the chance to appreciate how comics are put together and revised during the creation process, as well as an opportunity to admire the artistry of the creators in a context-free setting. Also, I especially liked being able to read an entire issue of Spider-Man as rendered by Steve Ditko.
In March I geeked out at the Emerald City Comic Con. Caught talks by legends such as Leonard Nimoy and Stan Lee, and chatted with Brian Michael Bendis and Aaron Douglas. Meeting Hal Sutherland, who helped start Filmation and create Star Trek: The Animated Series was especially meaningful to me, since I'd watched the show as a kid.
April brought rain, and also the Stumptown Comics Fest, where I got to see Mr. Bendis again on a panel about teaching comics. I also listened enthralled to Paul Pope on his treatise on re-branding Batman, heard from Craig Thompson about his work in progress "Habibi," and browsed the lush ecosystem of independent comics.
In May the Pearl Room was packed at Powell's as Daniel Clowes introduced his new book "Wilson" to the Portland audience. "Wilson" is a darkly humorous graphic novel told in seventy five six-panel strips. Clowes was generous enough to talk with each person who stood in line, and also hailed his favorite book of the year "Wally Gropius" by Tim Hensley.
You had to get there early in July when Atomic Arts present "The Space Seed" episode of their series Trek in the Park. It's not every day you get to sweat through a live fight sequence of Captain Kirk in hand-to-hand combat with the superman Khan. Next summer they plan to stage "Mirror, Mirror."
True to form, I waited until September and the the last day of R. Crumb's Genesis show at the Portland Art Museum to see it. Although I've seen the book and read excerpts, it was stunning to see the original work laid end-to-end through the halls of the museum. It gives a new meaning to a work of biblical proportion.
Speaking of inspiring works, in October I was fortunate enough to hear Lynda Barry on her tour promoting her book "Picture This: The Nearsighted Monkey Book." During her talk she not only gave a spiel that encompassed her philosophy of "image" and how drawing or expressing your image is a therapeutic biological change that occurs in your body and makes you say "ah!", but she also started the evening by singing a song, and finished with a dirty joke she heard from her 70-year-old neighbor. In the course of the talk she admitted her admiration for Bil Keane (she broke out weeping when meeting him in person for the first time), and during the signing generously made enough time to talk with each and every person who attended the talk.