The 2016 Short Run Comix and Arts Festival is coming up on Saturday November 5 and we’re bringing 270 artists and writers to Fisher Pavilion at Seattle Center! Maybe you’ve been to a Comic Con or an art fair but you’re not quite sure what to expect from Short Run. As the organization’s Creative Director, I’m here to help with tips and etiquette.
What kinda items can I get at the book expo?
Short Run focuses on the medium of comics as a coalescence of art and literature. We believe in the intimate experience of holding a book in your hands. That’s why we highlight artists from the Pacific Northwest and around the world who make indie comix and self-published, small press, and handmade books of all kinds. You can find minicomics, graphic novels, zines, art books, small press lit, kids books, posters, prints, pins, tees, and more. It’s a great place to get unique gifts.
Can’t I just find all this stuff on the internet or at a bookstore?
Short Run is the place to discover new work and get your favorite author to sign your book. How do you find their work on the internet if you haven’t been exposed to it yet? Some of the items for sale–especially graphic novels and work published by major publishers–you can buy on the internet, but the vast majority will be limited edition items that are self-published or published by a small press. Plus there will be international artists carrying as many copies of their books as they can so you don’t have to spend $40 on shipping to get an $8 book.
Who are all these people?
You will recognize some familiar faces of local artists – please support them, but also take a chance on artists you do not know because it’s likely they have traveled to be at the show. Short Run is a curated festival, which means we reviewed work from all of the artists before they were accepted. Our festival presents work of great diversity, with over half the show consisting of female and LGBTQA artists.
What are minicomics?
Most well-known comics artists like Dan Clowes, Vanessa Davis, and Dash Shaw started out making minicomics. These are generally smaller comics and shorter stories that are photocopied and stapled together (or silkscreened with sewn binding–the possibilities are endless)! They are easy to share with friends and get out into the hands of fans. Some people only make minicomics at the beginning of their careers while others will continue to make limited edition special books till the day they die. It’s not just something you do because you can’t get published, it’s a choice by the artist to make work this way.
Do I have to bring cash?
Yes and no. Many artists will have a credit card reader but some are old school and just take bills so we recommend you come prepared with some cash. Exhibitors will also be able to keep more of the money if you pay in cash because of the transaction fees, so that is always the preferred method.
What do I do if I just wanna browse?
Exhibitors are used to people browsing. We understand that you need to spend time with the work in order to determine if you like it. I acknowledge the artist with a quick nod then look at everything and ask questions when I have them. Artists will not be offended if you pick up a book and then put it down. That’s the system. As a festival we have something for everyone which also means that everything does not appeal to everyone.
Besides buying books-what can I do?
You could technically spend hours at the festival without ever even buying a 50 cent zine (though we don’t recommend it). We have programming during the expo, but we also have satellite events at other venues which include art shows at Fantagraphics Bookstore and Gallery on November 4 at 6pm and Joe Bar on November 10 at 6pm. We’ll have workshops in English and Spanish, and International Comics Night at the Central Library on November 2 at 7pm. Check out our website for the full details.
At the book expo on November 5 we will have a tactile graphic novel on display by Ilan Manouach, Seattle Experimental Animation Team curates a selection of new animation, Kundiman Poets create a collaborative living lineage with the audience, Arrington De Dionyso will be painting on site, and China Faith Star facilitates a community coloring project. We will even have an epic bake sale put together by The Seattle Globalist!
I wanna meet my idol-what do I say?
Comics folk are a pretty gentle people who truly appreciate our fans. If you have questions for an artist–ask away! This festival is place where you get to actually meet artists and writers face to face and you should take advantage of that. You also get to buy directly from them so each dollar you spend goes into their pocket and you can get your book signed on the spot. If you notice people piling up behind you or trying to buy books from the exhibitor–give them some space and let them talk to the next person.
I hate books but I like dancing
Come to the after-party! If you like books it’s even better because you can shake your tail feathers with a ton of the exhibitors. This is the only event that is 21+ and costs money (but it’s only $7)! Comics folk also love it when you buy them a drink and it’s a great place to chat with them for more than 5 minutes.
Attend the 6th annual Short Run Comix & Arts Festival:
When: Saturday, Nov. 5th from 11 am- 6 pm
Where: Fisher Pavilion in the heart of Seattle Center, across from the International Fountain.
Also: Swag bags filled with small press goodies will be handed out to the first 50 attendees!
This post was written & edited by our sponsor.