Thursday, April 22, 2010

Comic Book and Collectible Show.

If you ask any comic book enthusiast, they will tell you that part of the appeal of comics is the collecting aspect. They will tell you that seeing an entire series on their shelf gives them a sense of completion and pride. The folks at Twin Oaks Shows understands this and for the past 20 years have scheduled sports cards, comic book, and collectible shows throughout the year in Washington and Oregon. Twin Oak Shows provides vendors and customers an unconventional way to get together and share their common interest.

On Sunday April 25, 2010, the Comic Book and Collectible Show will be held at the Meridian Park School in Shoreline. The show will run from 10 AM - 3 PM and admission is free. Some of the items available at the show will be Bronze, Silver, and Golden Age Comics as well as newer comics. There will be Magic Cards and other non sport cards and other collectibles. Currently there are 30 table of merchandise for show goers to check out, however if you are interested in being one of the dealers at the show, there are still a few tables available for $25 each for the day. More information about the spaces available can be found by contacting Twin Oaks Show at 206-533-2009 or email at

Monday, April 19, 2010

Write Like I Do.

Seattle is a city with a little something for everyone. An example of this is 826 Seattle, a non profit writing and tutoring center that is dedicated towards helping children between the ages of 6 to 18 strengthen their creative and expository writing skills. But 826 Seattle isn't just for youngsters, starting in May, the organization will hold monthly workshops for adults called Write Like I Do. The talent teaching these classes are donating their time, but it will cost the workshop attendee $30.00 to learn a new craft. The proceeds will go towards filling the coffers so 826 Seattle can continue to help young writers.

The workshops will include a columnist a poet, a musician, and even a graphic novelist. On September 14, 2010 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM, two graphic novelist will share their insider knowledge of how to produce a graphic novel or comic book. The lay person may think that creating a comic book is child's play, but David Lasky, Cartoonists Northwest's "Cartoonist of the Year" for 2009, and Greg Stump will tell you other wise. The comic book medium aptly combines written and visual images to tell powerful stories that require thoughtful planning and consideration. David Lasky has 20 years experience in the comic book industry with titles to his name such as the series Boom Boom and Urban Hipster. Greg Stump has regular comics and illustrations published in Seattle's weekly paper The Stranger and is the creator of the weekly comic strip Dwarf Attack that he collaborates with David Lasky. He is also a contributing writing for The Comics Journal.

For anyone who ever wanted to know about the ins and outs of comic book writing, this class will be a true window into the world. Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased online at Brown Paper Tickets.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Female Force Graphic Novels

In Washington State, those who live in Seattle may think they live in the middle of everything, that they're at the center of the universe whether they live in Fremont or not, but a couple of hours south from the great city, is Vancouver, home to Bluewater Productions. Bluewater is a full service company specializing in publishing comic books, graphic novels, and other educational Multimedia.

The philosophy behind Bluewater Productions is to combine artistic work with creative storytelling in order to produce intellectual material that serve both a form of entertainment as well as a learning tool. In the last year, the company has published biographical graphic novels on Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, and Sarah Palin to name a few. This series known as "Female Force" gives an impartial account of these powerful women in a non traditional way that provides for a very interesting read.

Bluewater's current project, which was be first released this year in March and is having a second publishing in May, adds another household name to their "Female Force," Ellen DeGeneres. The story follows DeGeneres from her childhood in Louisiana and along her bumpy journey to stardom. Today she may have her own Emmy winning day time talk show, but her success didn't come over night, and this biography visually and literally depicts her ups and downs. Written by Sandra C. Ruckdeschel and penciled by Pedro Ponzo, the issue also covers her personal life as being openly gay and championing gay rights.

The suggested retail price of the trade paperback is $3.99 and can be found at comic book stores or through Amazon, although the pre-sale for the second printing has already sold out, so it might be awhile before you see it on the shelves in your neighborhood stores. Thirty percent of all sales will go to the Humane Society of the United States.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sev Shoon Arts Center.

At one time, Ballard was a sleepy little fisherman's town rich in it's Scandinavian heritage, today Ballard, while still holding onto its roots, is carving a new niche for itself as one of Seattle's hip neighborhoods for which art, music, and entertainment are thriving. One such place where this is evident is the Sev Shoon Arts Center. Located steps away from the Ballard Locks, Sev Shoon Arts Center is a place that is completely dedicated to the art of printmaking.

The Sev Shoon Arts Center was started in 1991 by Dionne Haroutunian a Swiss artist who created a space for other artist to create freely and openly and also have a place to showcase their work. The Sev Shoon Arts Center whose name means "Black Dog" in Armenian, offers studios for rent, hosts demonstrations of printmaking, and has monthly art exhibits. One artist that taught at the Sev Shoon Arts Center is Nate Stottrup who grew up in a farming town in Minnesota, but nurtured his artistic abilities through reading comic books. He found inspiration in the format with how images could come to life in such exaggerated ways with the simple stoke of a pen or the highlight of a certain color.

Besides teaching and creating print images, Stottrup was the mastermind behind a game based on the Dilbert comic called Dilbert: Escape from Cubeville that the company Screenlife made a reality. Screenlife, located in Seattle's Pioneer Square neighborhood, is popular for the Scene It? games, that provide a socially interactive formatting of DVD games with titles from movies, music, and TV shows such as Friends, Seinfeld, and The Simpson's.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Comics Journal.

There's the Wall Street Journal, the New England Journal of Medicine, and Literary Journals, but The Comics Journal? Indeed it is so, Seattle has it's very own investigative news magazine that is centered around comics.

The Comics Journal, located in Lake City, covers comics from a different perspective and is truly worthy of it's name as it has acquired a reputation for being a respected arts magazine that showcases the artistic work of comics while providing a well balanced mix of news about the comic industry, professional interviews and commentary, as well as classic and current comics. Gary Groth, the editor in chief of The Comics Journal, started out as a comic book editor, publisher, and critic and used this background to create the rigorous standards that the Journal applies to comic books. This is one of the reasons the Journal has gained the reputation and readership it has today. There are worldwide readers who subscribe to the Journal. The Journal has also been nominated for numerous awards including the 2009 Eisner Award Nominee for Best Comics Related Periodical/Journalism and the 2007 Harvey Award Nominee for Best Biographical, Historical or Journalist Presentation.

Rather than focusing on the superhero crime fighter type comics that the medium is popular for, The Comics Journal champions artists like Art Spiegelman, famous for his Pulitzer Prize winning memoir Maus and Robert Crumb who recently published a graphic novel version of The Book of Genesis.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Spider Man on Broadway!

Marvel Comics have never failed to dazzle and entertain readers with the adventures of character with incredible strength, keen scenes, and the ability to climb up walls and ceilings. These characters have made it off the pages of the comic book and onto a variety of other mediums, like the big screen, the small screen, video games, action figures, and lunch boxes. The one place they have not been is the Broadway stage where some of the most classic theatrical performances have called home like The Phantom of the Opera, The Producers, and Cats. In the upcoming year, a new neighbor will be moving to the neighborhood. Spider Man will join the ranks with a musical version of his story told on the Broadway Theater stage.

Spider-Man, Turn off the Dark puts a twist on the story of Peter Parker, a science geek that gets bitten by a genetically altered spider and wakes up the next morning with the uncanny abilities of a spider. The role of Peter Parker will be played by Reeve Carney, a relatively new actor, but a well known musician as the lead guitarist and front man of his rock band Carney. The role of Mary Jane, Spider Man's love interest is still being cast. Other roles are also in the casting phase, as the production is traveling the country looking for the perfect talent. The company came to Seattle last April for an open casting calls for various roles right at the Seattle Center on Harrison Street.

Music lovers will also be interested to know that Bono will be doing the musical score for this show. The dates for this show is pending the completion of the cast.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Penny Arcade of TIME magazine's top 100 list

For four years now TIME magazine puts out a list of the 100 most 'influential leaders, artists, innovators and icons of the the year'. From now until April 29th when the winners are announced, people can vote on who they think merit a spot on the magazine's coveted list. This year two Washington natives made it on the poll list and according to the votes so far, they are more influential than Jon Stewart, Beyonce, and even our president, Barack Obama.

Spokane natives, Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik, the creators of Penny Arcade, a web comic that centers around video games and the gaming culture are holding steady at the number 11 spot of the list. Penny Arcade made it's debut in 1998 as a simple web comic written by Holkins and illustrated by Krahulik. It has since exploded into a phenomenon that dominates the web comic industry as the longest running and most popular series to date. There are new comics that come out every Monday, Wednesday and Friday but the cherry on the cake is PAX, the Penny Arcade Expo which is a three day long festival of gaming that takes place in September. This year PAX will be held in Seattle from September 3-5 at the Washington State Convention Center.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Marvel App for the iPad

The release of the iPad last Saturday flooded Apple stores around the country with eager customers anxious to get their hand on the latest creation from the masterful mind of Steve Jobs. Here in Seattle was no different as excited University Village Apple Store employees ran and cheered past the throngs of customers standing in line, just moments before opening their doors to release the iPad with all its promises to be a magical and revolutionary product.

The iPad is a different way to experience the web by providing a new device for checking email, looking at photos, watching videos, and using apps. There are over 150,000 apps for the iPhone and the iTouch all of which will be available on the iPad. There are also new apps developed specifically with the iPad in mind. One such app is Marvel Comic's app for the iPad that will include digital copies of some of Marvel's classic titles like the Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, and, of course Spider Man. Each new title would cost $1.99. The iPad and all it's glory aside, this is a big move for comic books. Since it's advent, the form has stayed the same, but with the iPad, comic books are finally made it's debut in the digital age.

With a product as new as the iPad, many people are still finding uses for their devices and learning how to use it. The University Village Apple store has daily classes in which they teach you about some of the major features of the iPad as well as showing you how to set up your iPad for optimal use.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Graphic Novels at the Seattle Public Library.

The Seattle Public Library has undergone tremendous budget cut backs in the past couple of months forcing many branches around the city to reduce their hours of operation. The irony of the situation is recently the library system has seen an increase in the number patrons utilizing services like computers to access to the Internet. Even though some libraries have reduced their hours, they have not reduced the selection of comic books, or graphic novels, available to borrow. While many interested in comic books are attracted the collection aspect as well as the stories, but for those new to reading comics the library is the perfect place to nurture a budding interest.

The Seattle Public Library has a wide selection of graphic novels, everything from Maus: A Survivor's Tale, an account of a Jewish Holocaust survivor who has a difficult time relating to his son because of his wartime experiences to Alan Moore's Watchmen that tells the story of superheroes who come out of retirement because one of their own gets murdered.

Also available is Buddy Does Seattle by local writer Peter Bagge. The story follows a cynical Buddy Bradley as he makes his way through Seattle during the early 1990's.

The Central Library is located at 1000 Fourth Avenue in Seattle, their hours are as follows:

10 am - 8 pm
10 am - 8 pm
10 am - 8 pm
10 am - 8 pm
10 am - 6 pm
10 am - 6 pm
Noon - 6 pm

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Comic Evolution Artist Signing

Saturday afternoons are the perfect time to get out of the city and take a trip to the country and if you live in Seattle this Saturday would be a nice time to drive out to Puyallup to visit Comic Evolution. On April 03, 2010 from 4 PM to 7 PM Comic Evolution will have three artists in store to sign their recently released work.

Randy Kintz of Red 5's Drone fame will be there to sign the concluding issue of the comic that was released on March 31st. Clayton Crain, known for this work with Garth Ennis on Ghost Rider: Road to Damnation, will be there to sign the last chapter of the necrosha story in the X factor series which was also release on March 31st. Finally, Jason Metcalf, who has a penchant for drawing wings, will be signing another March 31st release, Eternal Descent.

Comic Evolution is located at 20 South Merdian in Puyallup.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Comic Frenzy!

Today marks a very special day for writers in Seattle, especially those writers wanting to break into the script, screen play, or comic book writing industries. April 1st is the beginning of Script Frenzy the month long challenge for writers who want to test their limits and creativity to see if they can write 100 pages of script in 30 days. Script Frenzy is a non profit, donor funded contest that provides an avenue for writers to try something they might not ordinarily do and to push themselves to accomplish what can be seemingly impossible.

Script Frenzy provides an introduction to the comic book writing style and the basic format that most comics follow. They explain that a 'splash page' conveys a big action sequence or a major turning point in the comic and such pages can be placed any point in the book. There is also instruction on how to use bold font and capitalized letters when introducing a new character. While Script Frenzy is about crafting a certain style of writing, they also acknowledge that the comic book form relies heavily on the artwork and one of the guidelines emphasizes respect of the artist as the drawings are what really tell a story in a comic.

Although Script Frenzy is an individual project, cities take the initiative to organize writing groups where participating writers can meet up to write together or bounce ideas off each other or just talk about the madness they are undertaking and how they coping with the delightful, self induced stresses of the project. Currently Seattle has a Capitol Hill Write In Group, a Queen Anne/Fremont/South Lake Union/Magnolia/Belltown/Downtown Seattle Writing Group and a North Seattle/Lake City/U District/Shoreline Writers Group.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Arcane Comics and More

Driving along 15th Avenue NW through Seattle's Ballard neighborhood, there is a sign on the side of the road near 58th street. The occasional passerby may not notice it, but those familiar with the area, know that the sandwich board advertising Arcane Comics braves the rain and even the sporadic sunshine 365 days a year. Tucked into an office building next to a dental clinic, Arcane Comics and More is home to a vast selection of comic books, everything from the mainstream, well known titles, to the more obscure, lesser known books like Alan Moore's A Disease of Language. While the quantity may seem overwhelming, it's a joy to spend an afternoon in a place that has such well stocked shelves you're guaranteed to find exactly what you're looking for or discover something new.

In addition to comics, the store is home to apparel, toys, and manga, but what sets them apart from other local stores is their subscription service. There is no initial fee to start a service and no minimum number of titles you have to subscribe. An added bonus of the service is receiving 10% off other store merchandise. While their selection and services are great, what truly makes the store a gem is the knowledgeable and friendly staff always ready to greet customers with a welcoming smile. Arcane comics is open seven days a week from 10 am to 8pm, with another location in West Seattle.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


There is a section in every local comic book store that is dedicated to a very specific type of comic, it is not the Marvel heroes or the DC crime fighter, or even to the lessor known Wildstorm sidekicks; this is a section focused on a certain style of art called anime. Anime is a Japanese drawing style whose characters can be identified by their exaggerated expressions, wide, innocent looking eyes, and long legs and arms. While anime has it's roots in Japan, there is a strong following here in the US that began in the early 1990's with the introduction of cartoons such as Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball Z. A combination of these shows, along with video games and comic books catapulted the anime industry in the US to be the 4 billion dollar market that it is today. The popularity has grown tremendously over the years, so much so that there are conventions held around the country that celebrate the anime industry. Seattle is host to the eighth largest anime convention in North America called Sakura-Con. It is a three day event held at the Washington State Convention center and it is happening this weekend April 2-4. The convention will have discussion panels and anime artists and cosplay participants. On Saturday April 2, the Seattle Women's Anime Meet up with have a panel from 10:00 - 11:00 AM to introduce themselves to the larger community and to hopefully recruit more members for their fan base. Another local group attending the convention is a Soul Candy, a Seattle based band that combine their love for anime with music. For anyone with a passion for anime or just a budding curiosity, Sakura-Con is definitely the place to be this weekend.