I started the Vortex Book Mini-Tour with a release party at Floating World Comics in Portland on Friday and Short Run in Seattle on Saturday. The tour ends with an Austin signing at Farewell Books tomorrow, Wednesday 11/9, from 7 to 9pm.
On Friday, 11/14, I got into Portland after lunch, took the light rail and bus to meet Virginia Paine (who runs my publisher Sparkplug Books). It was my first glimpse of the Vortex book – I was overwhelmed! I didn’t even want to flip through it at first. The metallic silver ink on the cover turned out just as I had visualized.
Vortex in good company on the shelves at Floating World Comics.
We took the bus downtown to drop a box of Vortex and Reich #12 at Floating World Comics and then went to Powell’s. I’ve been in Bookpeople here in Austin and Tattered Cover’s old downtown location in Denver but Powell’s beats them all! I could live in their sf section. We only had about a half hour but fortunately I have a list for whenever I’m in a used book store. I grabbed The Dark World by Henry Kuttner (and an uncredited CL Moore) and Sorcerer’s Legacy by Janny Wurts (I want to try a solo book by her before I dive into her unfinished epic fantasy series). I also saw Chronicles of Mavin Manyshaped by Sheri Tepper but it was $15 and I wanted to get more than one book.
I read this on the plane ride back (it’s only 126 pages). An inspiration for Zelazny’s Amber. I noticed some additional parallels to Lord of the Rings (evil beings who invest their energy in physical objects) and Wheel of Time (a glass sword of great power).
The signing was fun, I could spend all night at Floating World Comics. I’d gotten the impression it was small, like a big closet, but their current space is enormous and Jason Leivian has packed it to the gills with fantastic comics. It was good to meet Elijah Brubaker and hang out with him, Zack Soto, Virginia, and everyone who came by. I had an interesting conversation with Mike Getsiv about the boundaries of the abstract comics genre. Then after the signing Sera Stanton (who drew the awesome Sparkplug Books cat t-shirt for the Kickstarter) gave me and Virginia a ride to Seattle so I got to sleep most of the way.
Sparkplug Books table at Short Run. Photo by Virginia.
Saturday was Short Run. If you’re unfamiliar, it’s a free one-day show like CAB or LA Zine Fest. It’s in this old, beautiful brick building in downtown Seattle. Every glimpse I got of Seattle was beautiful. If I lived there, I couldn’t get over driving down a freeway, ice-crowned mountains on my left and a shining lake lapping at house-covered hills on my right.
Delicious fry bread tacos from a food truck at Short Run.
Short Run itself was great! Good energy; vegan treats and coffee by the clean, spacious bathroom; food trucks in the parking lot; and steady crowds all day. Vortex seemed to be selling well but I was still able to sneak away from the table to be a good consumer. It was my first time sitting at a publisher’s table at a con and it was exactly what I hoped for – All the interaction and none of the stress about sales. My #1 goal for the day was to meet Simon Hanselmann and get a personalized copy of Megahex so I did that within the first hour.
I did some drawings in Vortex as well. Jen Vaughn, Virginia and I’s gracious host, bought Vortex so of course, in thanks, I hexed her copy.
The inscription reads: “William Cardini curses anyone other than Jen Vaughn who owns this book.” Not sure what face I’m making – I guess it’s my witch grin? Photo by Jen.
Finally put faces to some names I know from the internet, such as Michael Litven of Ebbits, Rob Kirby, Brandon Lehmann AKA Bobby Mono, Shanna Matuszak, and Jack Hayden of Snakebomb. Austin was represented well – both the Rough House Comics crew and Monofonus Press were there. It was great to reconnect with other comics folk since I haven’t been to a show since TCAF 2013. At dinner I was missing my family so I showed Virginia and Yumi Sakugawa photos and videos of Ruby.
My haul from Short Run, Floating World, and Powell’s.
We came back for the after party at Washington Hall, but it was too loud to talk with the bands, so Virginia and I met back up with Jen and she gave us an after-hours tour of the Fantagraphics office. We saw an old Love and Rockets cover divided into Rubylith layers to prepare it for printing!
The Fantagraphics basement is filled with comics. Photo by Jen.
Now I’m back in Austin with my wife and daughter and pumped about comics. There won’t be a new Skew page this week because we’re going to divide it into multiple parts so it doesn’t take too long to load and I need to decide where the split should be and draw a cover for Part 2. If you’re in Austin and I didn’t see you at Short Run, I hope to see you tomorrow at Farewell, so you can say hello to Vortex!