Chris Walsh (chris_walsh) wrote,
Chris Walsh
chris_walsh

Stumptown Comics Fest: Part Three!

Good news: You can’t shiv someone with a Sharpie.

(Better news: That sentence ends here, used only once.)

Did Saturday night’s Comic Art Battle after Stumptown Comics Fest get heated? Oh my yes, in the most entertaining and happifying way possible. Cosmic Monkey Comics up on NE Sandy was the site of the squared circle no, the Wheel of Pain no, not quite, Thunderdome OK, actually I really mean two large drawing pads, set up at one end of the long store. (Sports writing is so melodramatic.) The crowd that was crowded in there ’round 8 p.m. was loud but well-behaved, getting their drink on and their snack on – bite-sized sandwiches over here, beverages (adult and otherwise) over there – with donations for said libations going to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, so we were drinking for good. I wandered, managing not to run into my camera-wielding LJ acquaintance greyaenigma but getting to meet “Fatboy” Roberts of Cort and Fatboy and Aaron “Geek in the City” Duran. I voiced approval of Duran’s T-shirt, Elliott from E.T. carrying an H.R. Giger Alien in the basket. (When I first saw Duran at the theater for Snakes on a Plane, he was wearing a “Porkins Is My Co-Pilot” T-shirt.) We all spoke fluent Geek for a few minutes, and then my wanderings recommenced, as I kept enjoying the crowd.

The ceremonial part of the party took longer to start, but finally Mike Russell – nattily dressed in a blazer – got that part seriously started by announcing the winners of the First Annual Stumptown Comics Fest Trophy Awards. Then he signaled the battle’s start when he removed the blazer to reveal his Achewood “Great Outdoor Fight” T-shirt, the one that commemorates two months where that web comic featured a huge fight. (The slogan: “Three Days, Three Acres, Three Thousand Men.” Hey, can that be what the next Comic Art Battle is like? Actual battle! Real blood drawn, not marker blood drawn! …or not.) (But hey, see the double meaning of “drawn” I used? Very clever, as Oingo Boingo sang! I win at language!)

Russell called his fellow artists forward to the giant drawing pads, each equipped with many different-colored markers, then pulled challenges out of another bucket. A guy came forward from the audience to pose for the first challenge, which turned out to be draw him as if he were fishing. In a dance hall. And the challenge music was The Ride of the Valkryies, not right for a dance hall but perfect for motivating an over-dramatic contest like this. One resulting sketch showed him fishing with fish already in his pants; the other found the guy with the fish pole hooking “the world’s most badly-practiced drag queen!”

(The challenge music was sometimes foreign to this writer’s ears, so I can’t identify many of the songs – and I kept wanting “Swing On A Star” as sung in Hudson Hawk to be a challenge song, so I got used to disappointment – but I was happy to hear “The Final Countdown” by Europe used in the contest. Made me think of Daria O’Neill, who would’ve been REALLY happy to hear it.)

Other challenges involved interpreting a scene from Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator – the only time the battle was G-rated – drawing a hand-to-hand battle between the Lord of the Rings Uruk-Hai and the Smurfs (overheard then: “Only TWO Uruk-Hai??!” “Two Uruk-Hai is all, we, need!” “Pounded into blue Smurf goo!” And, when challenged about the dearth of Uruk-Hai: “The skulls! They count!”), six-panel comics conceived and drawn by teams in 10 minutes featuring gerbils and breast cancer (and which led to the creation of the word “Gerboobs!”), creating new art to go with dialogue from a frickin’ Mary Worth comic strip, and drawing separately the upper and lower halves of a corpse dead of, um, a misadventure of the audience’s choosing. (I’ll say no more.)

And then there was a winner. And that winner was ALL OF US THERE.

We geeks had fun. And that is good.

Want photo proof this whole Stumptown thing happened? greyaenigma was good enough to give us a Stumptown Comics Fest 2007 photo page on Flickr! Browse and be amazed!
Tags: books, portland
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