I had a blast at the Boston Comic Con a few weeks ago. It was the first big con I ever attended, I got to meet some great new friends, and I spent hours happily wandering among comic creators and bin upon bin of comic books. However, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t even more excited for the Maine Comics Arts Festival on May 23rd.
After a successful inaugural event last year, Rick Lowell and the rest of the crew at Casablanca Comics are coming back even bigger and better. The 2010 MECAF will feature a full day of panels and workshops before the show floor opens, and some serious heavy hitters of the comics world – Skottie Young, Brian Wood and Jeff Lemire – are among the 100+ guests at the Sunday show on Portland’s waterfront.
On Saturday the 22nd, the newly renovated Portland Public Library will be hosting panels, workshops and educational seminars related to comics, cartoons and graphic novels. These sessions are totally free to the public, whether you’re attending the festival or not. So far, one session has been announced, and more will surely be added as we get closer to the event.
The second annual Comics Arts Festival will be at the Ocean Gateway in Portland on May 23, from 10 to 5. Admission is only 5 bucks, and the festival is totally free for kids age 12 and under. The fest differs a traditional con in that there won’t be any dealers setting up shop – so no bins to dive in for back issues or cheap trades. The creators and publishers at the show will be selling books (along with commissions and other cool swag) at their tables, so there will still be plenty of stuff to spend your money on. With over 100 different guests with tables, the trades and back issues probably won’t even be missed. Of course, MCAF presenters Casablanca Comics will have their shop on Middle Street open if you gotta scratch your Marvel and DC itch.
I could not be more excited for this event. The educational events on Saturday should be fantastic, and the Sunday show will give me a chance to get art from Young and Quinones, and meet Wood, Lemire and all the other exhibitors. The setup, schedule and even name of the event really show that this is a festival focused on the creators of comics (instead of just selling old stock), and hopefully will draw at least as many young and old fans as last year.
One more thing worth mentioning; one of the major sponsors of MECAF is local favorite brewery Shipyard Brewing Company. Hopefully, the two-day event will give some of the creators in attendance a chance to taste the awesome beer brewed here in Maine.