I don’t go to very many conventions. Most of them are cost-prohibitive to me, and I’m amazed I can make PAX every year. I almost didn’t make PAX this year thanks to tickets selling out in record time, but was able to get the last few tickets. However, I’m always on board for local conventions in Portland, because it means less travel costs and is very convenient, which is always a good thing.

Earlier this month, I found out that an artist I like (Amanda Lafrenais of Love Me Nice fame) was going to be at a local comics con here in Portland – the Stumptown Comics Fest. I couldn’t resist having the opportunity to meet her in person, and get all awkward and nerdy about stuff because that’s how I usually act around people I like.

I’m not big on comics, or books in general. I don’t hate them, I just don’t have a drive to read them. I still got a copy of Ken Jennings’ Because I Said So that I got back in January when he stopped in Portland for a book signing, and got plenty of other books I never got around to reading. However, I didn’t have to necessarily be a comic book nerd to appreciate what I saw at the main show floor. (My apologies, there won’t be any con pictures in this one, didn’t bother to take any while I was there.)

In addition to meeting Lafrenais and her cohort/comic friend Lin “Ovens” Visel – whom their art styles are so similar that people frequently confuse the two – I saw several comic book artists, a few indie comics, the typical booth that sells comics at ridiculously inflated prices (Scott Pilgrim collectors editions for $100! OH BOY) and a few publications pimping their wares. Dark Horse Comics was also there, which makes since considering that they’re pretty local.

I also spotted a guy named Bill Mudron, who was selling his Hyrule and Castlevania world map posters there. They were pretty, but I’d have trouble putting them on my walls as they’re covered in shelves. Even Greg Rucka was there, writer of the Perfect Dark Zero novels (which he says are actually pretty good) and Syphon Filter: Logan’s Shadow (which was not so good).

At one point I saw political cartoonist Matt Bors at the con. I had a conversation with Bors about political cartoons and mocking certain artists, like he mentions in his book Life Begins at Incorporation. I also feel bad because I said I was gonna buy his book at the show, even got money so I could do that, and then I didn’t buy it. I should buy it online just to keep my promise.

You may say this is only tangentially related to video games, and you are right. Dark Horse was selling books and issues of comics based on games like The Last of Us, and there were some artists who were selling fanart of The Legend of Zelda and Sonic the Hedgehog. One of the comics I got — The Devastator — seems to be tangentially referencing video games. However, the convention itself was more general comic book malarkey, and I’m okay with that. It’s always good for people like me to get out of my comfort zone and check out things I may be missing out on.

It’s weird, but it gave me this weird creative spark about wanting to write/draw a story. Alas, my story-writing skills aren’t up to snuff, but it’s a dream I might consider sometime. It was great to see some famous artists and some cool comic stuff I might actually look into. Stumptown was pretty cool, and I might check it out again next year.