Appearances/ Comics/ Photos/ Portland

Stumptown 2008

Hey didn’t we just do this? Yes we did. (Relatively speaking.) Here we go…

Cannot believe how many people managed to cram into Cosmic Monkey for the trophy awards & Comic Art Battle. I was happy to meet Matt Silady and Kirsten Baldock (comics writer, librarian, and bartender — I knew we’d get along) and Jason McNamara, and to get a few minutes to chat with Jemiah Jefferson and Katie Moody, whom I don’t see nearly often enough.

Crowd at Cosmic Monkey

Credit to John Aegard for the observation that Stumptown attendees are so polite that when you accost someone passing your table with a pitch for your comics, books, & assorted ephemera, and they don’t quite catch what you’ve said because it’s a loud, busy room, they’ll actually lean in and say, “Pardon me?”

photo by grayaenigma

Several ladies’ Technicolor hair coordinated beautifully with their outfits.

On Saturday, I suggested that we resolve the Inevitable Con Dinner Dilemma by getting takeout and going back to the studio. Worked out nicely. The group sorted itself into artists in one room, writers and programmers in the other, in the dark. People kept asking if we wanted the lights on. No, we like it this way. Talk of using the Periscope model for programmers. Discussion of the digital nomads report in the Economist and what kinds of work are best suited to space-sharing collectives. Then I saw that Matt Maxwell, who’d been feeling increasingly under the weather, looked as though he might actually be on the point of expiring, so I excused myself to deliver him to the place he was staying.

Thank you, nice lady whose name I did not learn who had KATIE BEATON MAY I SHAKE YOUR HAND written on your shirt with a Sharpie. Your noble gesture meant that I was able to meet and enthuse at Kate Beaton! And then she gave me a Napoleon.

Kate Beaton Napoleon

Since I’ve been doing cons, I’ve been increasingly aware of the need for a “close” indicator for the non-transactional conversations that happen across the table. You know, when you’re talking to other exhibitors and/or friends without the expectation of money changing hands. Lately, I’ve been giving folks a not-very-military-style salute. I don’t know when I started doing it, but it’s become automatic.
I sat next to Carla Speed McNeil and this led to any number of cool interactions. One of them: getting to flip through Marian Churchland‘s sketchbook. Keen!

Rat by Marian Churchland

Most appropriate pairing of item purchased with purchaser: a copy of Einbahnstrasse Waltz to an Austrian-born illustrator who’s also a musician. She bought it for her friend the concert violinist.

I told Kevin Moore he should put his sketches of conventiongoers on Flickr and he did!

Talked to a girl who’d done a reconstruction of the Empress cover for a school project. (Yikes, that book’s been out a while.)

Awesome: people approaching your table all eager & excited because they’ve liked your stuff in the past. Less awesome: not having anything new on offer. note to self: get cracking on next Flytrap script, stat!

I did have one new thing: buttons. Yes, Empress has been out for seven years and I only just now made them.


End of show: we’ve got our stuff and Carla’s stuff and John’s stuff and Kevin is helping and gosh there are a lot of boxes (although we all sold a bunch, too) and the trunk is totally full and we drive off to have a decompressing dinner at Yuki, which is delicious, and after that we get back to the house and unload and…wait, what happened to the other box? You know, the old laptop box, with all the books in it? Back to the Doubletree. View the post-con carnage:


Box nowhere to be found. Back home. Make some phone calls. Box located! Stumptown founder Indigo Kelleigh has it, bringing us full circle. Whew.

…And Emerald City is in two weeks. Yikes.

** not actually the scene of the comics convention.

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  • Heidi
    April 29, 2008 at 2:28 am

    yes! looking forward to that Flytrap!

  • Jason McNamara
    April 30, 2008 at 2:06 pm


    It was awesome to meet you as well. Matt, Kirsten and I had such a great time up at Stumptown this past weekend. Thanks for making us feel so at home.

  • Annie
    May 22, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    Wow, good job! That, uhm, convention looked like lots of fun. Great artists too!

    Aw, those buttons look so cute! I totally want one. I screamed when I was reading this. Especially when I acually saw the pictures of the buttons.

    Haha! I’m such an “Empress of the World” freak. But I love your books, they’re great. :D
    Even though I just purchased “The Rules for Hearts” today, still great anyways.

    Also, are you going to actually sell the buttons elsewhere besides the conventions? I was just wondering since I’m probably never going to go to Portland any time soon.

    Keep up the good work, Mrs. Ryan!
    — Annie

  • Sara
    May 23, 2008 at 11:23 am

    Hey Annie — Thanks! I think I might make it possible to buy the buttons from this website, since you’re not the first person who’s asked… :)