Organizers of STAPLE! The Independent Media Expo have provided ROBOT 6 with an exclusive first look at the details for their ninth annual event, held March 2-3 at the Marchesa Hall & Theater in Austin, Texas. Billed as the premier indie-comics convention in the Southwest, STAPLE! showcases a range of performers, exhibitors and artists, with an emphasis this year on independent table-top gaming, web TV, animation and pop-culture podcasting.
The announced panelists are: comics creators James O’Barr, Steve Niles and Bernie Wrightson; veteran game designers Jason Morningstar, Jeff Dee and Marc Majcher; web TV icons Danni Danger, Sara Reihani and Jessica Mills; animators Dax Norman, Kyle Sullivan, Bill Byrne and Mongrel Studio Productions; and podcasters Geek Bombast, Chris Cox, Martin Thomas, The League of Extremely Ordinary Gentlemen and The Random Access Web TV Podcast. See the panelist biographies below. A full list of exhibitors can be found on the STAPLE! website.
The event, and its official “Live Art Show” after-party, also will feature performances by the macabre musical troupe After Midnight, nerdcore hip-hop artist Bad Barry, DJ LD and chiptune artist Run/DMG.
Two-day passes can be purchased for $15 from the Marchesa Hall & Theater website, or at the door.
I’ll tell you what else… I’m actually seeing things in [work for hire] comics now that I was doing seven or eight years ago. Not just techniques, but actual ideas. I love me some Fraction, but seeing that Tony Stark wants to “change the world” by manufacturing a car that isn’t dependent on gasoline and runs on a possibly limitless energy source that only he can provide… where have I seen that before? Grant Morrison, of all people, had the confidence and the grace to name check me in a Wired magazine interview when it comes to whatever minor contribution I’ve made to the “corporate” angle in modern comics, but he seems to be the only one. And there are other little things I see here and there that I recognize as having done myself, ten years ago. Things that are so specific, I know where they came from, I know it’s not just coincidence. Now before certain people go crazy because I dared say that… no one should read this as me being at all bitter, because I actually think it’s fine. Let ‘em all pick at the bones of the carcasses I chased down and slaughtered in the field… I’m on to the next kill. I certainly did it with the creators that I dug when I was a newbie. It’s just weird to be on the other side of it. Any creators out there who don’t think we all share the same ideaspace are deluding themselves.
Full-scale warfare between convention promoters isn’t universal, believe it or not — some are giving peace a chance. In addition to the recent arrangement worked out by Heroes Con and Supercon to avoid a date conflict, Emerald City ComiCon‘s Jim Demonakos tells Robot 6 that following an unavoidable conflict with Orlando’s MegaCon the weekend of March 13, 2010, he and MegaCon’s Beth Widera collaborated on choosing dates for 2011 so that future overlap could be avoided. “We ended up on the same dates for 2010 and neither of us could move, but we’ve talked and coordinated and our mutual 2011 dates will not be on each other’s dates at all,” says Demonakos. “Con planning, always an adventure.”
What’s Webcomics Weekend? It’s not really a convention, organizers say; it’s more a gathering — a free one, at that. It will feature panels, livedraw events, book signings, and guests such as Gene Ambaum and Bill Barnes (Unshelved), Danielle Corsetto (Girls With Slingshots), Rene Engstrom (Anders Loves Maria), Meredith Gran (Octopus Pie), Scott Kurtz (PvP), Ryan North (Dinosaur Comics) and R. Stevens (Diesel Sweeties).
E-devices | At Gearlog, Brian Heater tries out Bone, Jimmy Corrigan, New X-Men and Watchmen on Amazon’s new Kindle: “In my humble opinion, the best device for reading comics at the moment (besides, you know, old-timey comics themselves) is the iPhone.”
Webcomics | The Floating Lightbulb and The Comic Chronicles’ John Jackson Miller try to figure out what to make of GoogleTrends data showing a steady decline of unique visitors for many of the most-popular webcomics.
E-devices | Jason Ankeny lays out why mobile devices are the future of comic strips: “Few forms of creative expression are better suited to that kind of brief consumer engagement than comic strips. Life in Hell — a crudely illustrated but consistently sharp and insightful black-and-white strip — would seem like a natural on a Kindle or on an iPhone, as would any number of classic daily efforts including Calvin & Hobbes, The Far Side, Krazy Kat or Doonesbury.”
Podcasting | The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette profiles local comics podcasters.