It would seem we've stepped in it with the local comics community. This week's feature about the Stumptown Comics Fest has lots of local comics professionals riled up.
A sampling of the comments the feature has already elicited:
Les McClaine: This is just awful. I can't imagine a piece more insulting to the show and the local comics community in general. I am offended on both a personal and a professional basis.
Paul Guinan: Ms. Main posted on her Facebook pages draft versions of dialog balloons, as well as whole panels, that were rejected or changed by the Mercury. The earlier versions were funnier and much less mean-spirited that what was printed. Combine that fact with the cover of this week's issue, which is a clear and direct insult to the comics community, and it sure looks like the Mercury has an anti-Stumptown agenda. What gives?
Bill Mudron: Jesus, if all the Mercury wanted to shit out a terrible comic about the Stumptown Comics Fest designed to alienate comic book professionals and potential attendees alike, I would've done it for free:
So. This is clearly an issue.
I'm not going to apologize for the strip's content. We've run glowing previews of Stumptown every year since it began. This year, I wanted to run something other than "Portland is a hotbed of comics talent"—I'm sure that's nice to read if you're a comics professional, but it's boring to write and I can only imagine it's boring for the general reader, too. So we went with a strip that we thought was funny, written by a Future Tense-published author and drawn by a Dark Horse-published artist. If people hate it, that's fine, but what's not fine is the implication that the Mercury is "out to get" Stumptown or that we don't support and respect our local comics community. We do, whether it's choosing Stumptown as a My, What a Busy Week! pick this week, blowing out our books section on comics coverage both this week and last, or doing our best to cover comics events and releases year round. It should also be noted that the feature (and the cover, which has also attracted some ire) were created by artists who will be appearing at Stumptown.
So that. Is what I have to say about that. I'll be at Drink and Draw Like a Lady tonight, wearing a blue shirt and feeling deeply awkward, if anyone wants to talk about this in the real. For a complete list of Stumptown stuff, minus nerds yelling at each other, go here. I'd also be curious to hear what the general, non-comics fan reader thinks—my sense of reality has been a little shaken up by the outrage over this. Drop a comment, or chime in over on the feature itself.