Saturday, among other things, I went to the Windup Comics (“Comix”?) Fest[ival]. If that wrestling match with punctuation didn’t completely turn you off, you’ll now be entreated to a review of that experience:
I actually really liked it. Like DC Comic-con, it was pretty much a single room, i.e. The Windup Space on North Avenue in Baltimore. It had a completely different feel from that convention, though. More on that “feeling” thing later; first, location: fortunately for me, it was within walking distance (only about 6 or so blocks), so I didn’t have to worry about parking. Had that been a concern, it may have been less awesome because North Avenue isn’t always the nicest of streets. It was my first time at The Windup Space, and it seemed like a nice enough little bar. I can’t speak to the quality of drinks or service, though, cause I was mostly focusing on the comics (and I was poor that day).
As I said, this gathering had a completely different feel than my sole previous experience at a comics gathering. I think that’s because this event focused primarily on the artists, and not the retailers. There were a couple of retailers, but most of the people were actually local, independent, artists and writers. That can be attributed to the difference in who was the chief organizer: from what I understand, DC was organized by a retailer, and Windup was organized by an artist (in fact, one with whom I went to high school) and an art studio. Suffice it to say, without dragging out the comparisons much longer, I walked into DC Comic-con with a decent amount of money and nothing I wanted to spend it on, while I walked into this place and found plenty of stuff I wanted to buy but had almost no money with me.
The artists were all really friendly, and that was pretty great. I came in towards the end of the day, since it started about 1pm and closed at 7pm, and I wasn’t able to make it until after 5:30. In spite of what I heard was lower turnout than expected (maybe due to the rainy day and this being the first such event), everyone was pretty happy and readily willing to interact with me, explain what they were doing and selling, and just be generally quite congenial. I found a couple of things I really wanted to get, a couple of things I thought would be cool to check out, and a couple of things that were neat but not really my speed. Fortunately everyone had plenty of business cards and flyers, and I managed to get something from almost everyone so I could remember to check them out later.
Ultimately I had to whittle down my must-purchase list to one item, which was the Floppy Boy comic on the left. While many things caught my attention, as I said, I stuck with this one because I thought it’d be particularly cool to have something written by someone I know personally. I wound up with Volume 2 rather than Volume 1, though, so I’ll have to pick up the rest of the collection later. It’s a collection of former-webcomics (the server blew up, I think, and if I remember correctly I was told it was “a long story”), which Gavin admitted were pretty hit-or-miss with the comedy, but I thought were pretty entertaining.
I’ll try to remember to update this later with links to the artists, as was my original intent, as the picture of a stack of flyers is clearly not legible enough to make them out, but I don’t have the physical copies with me. Hopefully in the meantime this link to Interrobang’s page on the festival (with list of artists) will suffice.
In closing: it was really an awesome show, and I’m glad I went. From what I heard from the organizers, they’re going to try to do it at least annually, if not twice a year, and I’ll definitely head back for more. If they can keep the same positive energy going towards it, I think it has the potential to turn into a Pretty Big Deal.