In the past few years as I’ve gotten really into comics and graphic novels, I’ve been frustrated that there are no big comic conventions here in northern New England. While there are some small cons in nearby cities like Boston, the closest “big” convention is the New York Comicon, a five-and-a-half hour drive away. Hopefully my convention “itch” will be scratched by the recently announced Maine Comics Arts Festival, taking place May 17 at the Ocean Gateway Building here in Portland.
Presented by Rick Lowell and the always-awesome Casablanca Comics, the festival is “a celebration of … the wonderful world of comic books, comic strips, graphic novels, web comics and more.” In addition to the traditional show floor of a convention where attendees can meet writers, artists and creators, “workshops, panels, gallery showings and other events will be held throughout Portland as part of this event.” Guests and exhibitors include a slew of Portland locals, along with folks from further away – cities like Chicago, Toronto and New York are represented (among others). Over 100 exhibitors are expected in total.
The focus of the show is on creators and smaller press, in the tradition of shows like APE and SPX. While I’d love to eventually go to a huge show with all the big publishers represented, I couldn’t be more excited for the Maine Comic Arts Festival. I wish Rick and Casablanca the best of luck, and can’t wait to meet Becky Cloonan, Ben Bishop, and some of my other favorite (or soon-to-be favorite) creators.