Saturday, July 27, 2013

Clallam Bay Comicon...small town show...big time fun!!

I grew up in love with comic books, sci-fi, superheroes and such geekery. Everyone knows how long I've been working on comic book awareness here on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state, where I reside. My goal is to book our own Comic-Con right here in this area.

At first, I thought it was an unrealistic goal until I met Donna Barr. Donna is an indy comic writer/artist/publisher (might I mention award winning) from Clallam Bay, Wa, who over the last 2 years, hosted a comic-con practically in her back yard! The Clallam Bay Comicon!! Clallam Bay is a remote little town on the west coast...about as far west as you can go in the lower 48! Anyways, her convention has gotten bigger each year, and she has already announced a larger venue for next years show! To see the con double in size wayyyyy out there says a lot for the quality of vendors, artists, panels, and entertainment she is booking. Check Donna out at

Unfortunately I haven't been able to attend the first two events, but I was lucky enough to get a guest report from the show from another Comic lover, musician, blogger and performer at Clallam Bay Comicon, Dara Korra'ti, of the Crime and the Forces of Evil blog over at
Go check out what Dara has going on, and be sure to check out a shorter version of her convention report, WITH PICTURES, here>>> Check out what Dara has going on and connect with her! I hope to meet her at Clallam Bay Comicon next year!

Enough rambling from me! Lets check out Dara's report!!

Clallam Bay Comicon! It’s a tiny event, but this year they had a venue and everything! Last year, it had been basically a party at Donna's house; this year, the Lion's Club; next year, the entire peninsula! Or so goes the theory...

There were probably twice as many exhibitors at CBCC as last year. Aside from Donna, of course, there were a few people over from Seattle, not the least of whom being Roberta Gregory. A local Clallam Bay graffiti artist wanted to crash the party; that was surprising. Marcus Evenstar from Steve Jackson Games ran the gaming tables, and a couple of comic artists I'd never met before showed up from the Neah Bay side of the peninsula; I bought some art from Ann Koi, who was selling little playing-card-sized original drawings, along with larger art.

Plus, of course, I was there, selling CDs, and Anna's print book. I did substantially better in sales than last year, but I think I’m the only one. Honestly, I think being inside caused people to be hesitant about coming in and looking around; the additional room they'll have next year has large garage-style doors, so that'll be less of an impedance to the curious.

Friday's Opening Ceremonies was more beachwalk than anything else. But it’s a gorgeous bay, and the beach is entirely worth walking. Honestly, it's utterly lovely. For dinner, we went to the Clallam Bay Inn, which has the only cooked fish I'll eat in North America. No, I mean that literally. I've never had cooked fish in North America that I liked before; theirs is _perfect_ - caught the same day, often as not, panko breaded. Get the chips. Everybody wins.

Saturday morning, we went on a parade! The Comicon is scheduled to coincide with Clallam Fun Days, and we entered the parade as a group. Niall Townley did his cosplay Scotsman with flaming bagpipes on stilts; jokes about Scotsmen aside, he actually _did_ win first prize. The rest of us combined took third.

Then it was back to do our panels and such. Panel programming is new to Clallam Bay Comicon; panels and exhibitor space overlapped, causing a bit of a conflict, but everyone was agreeable about it - a pleasantly relaxed attitude really permeated the entire event. Niall talked about cosplay; Donna about running a comic book convention; I had a panel on sound equipment; Roberta Gregory had a panel on comics that... actually, I kind of missed, because I was getting ready for my show. Sorry, Roberta!

As for my concert - I lead with a new set called the Supervillain Origin Story. It consists of some of my hardest, angriest material, much of which will come out in _Din of Thieves_ - and to my surprise, they handled it just fine. I did much better in sales than last year, and I think that’s partly why.

After things closed down for the day, we had dinner then went and hung out near the bay for the illegal fireworks. It’s seriously Ten Finger Johnny time on the beach out there, particularly for the two hours before the official big fireworks display on the south side of the bay in Sekiu; then everybody settles down for the main event.

Sekiu put son a great display again this year; just like last year, there were cruise ships lined up out on the Salish to watch from a b/o/r/i/n/g/ safe distance. They have some seriously exotic fireworks and they launch them really high over the bay.

Sunday was pretty quiet; people had been up late the night before. But later in the morning, people started showing up; I sold another couple of CDs, and had seven or eight for my panel presentation on building a sound kit on a supremely tight budget. Folks seemed pretty interested, particularly for such a technical panel; that's always gratifying.

Then Donna rousted everybody to clean out the hall and shut down; Anna and I didn't stay for the dead dog, having to get back across the Sound for dinner, but there was one.

I'd have to say that in summary this year it felt a lot more like an actual, if very small, convention. Last year - Year One - felt mostly like a house party; this felt like a relaxacon. Donna's plans are pretty grand: the dream is to have a whole fleet of these things out in tiny Olympic Peninsula towns, maybe even on the same days, so you can have kind of a tour-the-peninsula-via-comic-conventions event. A lot of these towns have been in trouble since the logging companies ran out of fresh timberland to clearcut, and sports fishing and hikers will only carry you so far. Events and the arts might be a way out.

It's grand - but not, I think, unachievable. It'll be interesting watching, regardless, as she tries. And if nothing else, it's a pleasant weekend by the sea, and how much can be wrong with that?