This sort of thing seems to be epidemic in media coverage of pop culture conventions. The inaugural year of a sci-fi and anime convention in Madison, WI, the local rag (technically the "newspaper of record" for the entire state) published a terribly drawn comic above the fold that insinuated similar things, and included what we could only assume was a furry standing in the background of one panel. Making fun of nerds is good copy, I guess.
That the Mercury has been otherwise supportive of the comics fest is part of what makes this so bewildering. It's the tonal equivalent of yelling "Fuck you!" in the middle of an otherwise friendly conversation.
Hey Alison, I just wanted to say that I really have appreciated how supportive of comics and the Fest that the Mercury has been in the past. Please don't take it too personally that people are lashing out at the vessel (your paper) because they're offended by the content (that piece of trash comic). Please do keep up the good work and know that it really is appreciated, even if people have been riled up because of one turd. (Oh, and maybe don't bring back this particular "creative" team in the future ;)
From Ms. Main's Facebook: "Don't even get me started on the friction. They can cry themselves to the "bank for babies" for all I care. Yes, You heard me right."
Really? That's the angle you're choosing? Many of these people who were subject to a beating in the comic are my friends, and ALL of them treat Stumptown as one of the biggest moments of the year to display their hard work and achievements in what they do. It doesn't help having such a mindless attack published to our fair city. Not sure who should take the blame, but whoever does should be ashamed of themselves. That was a mindless sucker punch.
@ Paul, and everyone else who has decided the Merc is anti-Stumptown:
Our entire books section is devoted to comics this week. (It was last week, too—and I'm just about positive we run more comics coverage throughout the year than any other local paper.) And while you might object to the cover, it was commissioned and conceived by an artist appearing at Stumptown (as was the feature, for that matter). We also listed Stumptown as a pick in our My, What a Busy Week! section, and we've covered it every year since it began. If you don't like the comic, you don't like the comic—but that hardly constitutes grounds for concluding that the Mercury has a bias against Stumptown.
Also, I'm not sure what original drafts Carol posted on her Facebook page, but our #1 concern about their first draft was its mean-spiritedness. The final draft was tempered considerably.
C'mon. It IS a nerd-prom. For losers.
Meh, I'm going anyway.
This doesn't read as an "in-joke." It would have to contain something funny in order for it to be a joke.
A video for Bridgetown Comedy:
An unfortunate waste of an opportunity to present the comics communities' biggest event to the greater Portland community. This doesn't sell Stumptown at all, or make it seem welcoming... and it reads as a giant in-joke to those already attending.
Wow. I was really bummed I was unable to get out of working this weekend to head to Stumptown. I am a lot less bummed to know that my working my day job will prevent me from possibly having to socially interact with the likes of Mz. Maine and Mr. Parker.
That comic was childish and rude.
If it's intent was to turn artists and fans away from this festival... well, it was a success. Kudos to the "writer" and "artist".
There's a reason I don't read the Mercury.
This... actually isn't it. This is a low I hadn't seen you folks hit before. As offended as I am, as a comics fan and a member of the local comics community, I'm most of all perplexed on who on earth thought this was a good idea. I have friends on your staff... including a published comics writer... and this just seems bizarre.
And that cover. Man. You usually run some ugly crap that has nothing to do with your content. Why did you chose this week to have the ugly crap be a topical insult?
You guys confuse me.
I agree with Les, Samantha and Booster Gold. Well said, guys.
I'm sure this is going to be redundant at this point, but I fumed for two days and can't just keep quiet.
I'm sure the "talent" and editors working on this project thought they had some grand Wildean satire on their hands. However, the final product is neither clever, cheeky, fun nor cute. (All things I get the feeling Ms. Maine and Mr. Parker strive for, but frankly fail at.)
All it manages to come across as is vain, juvenile bathroom trash-talk.
The creators present themselves as stylish social creatures who are stooping to grace the Fest with their presence. The egoism involved is astonishing and the implications held in several lines (especially the afore mentioned "nerd prom", also conveniently the title) are downright degrading.
Though the art has some technical merit, the content is appalling. The writing is flat, boring, and cruel.
The real question is, what do the creators gain from trashing an event that -they will be present at- (and presumably attempting to sell their wares)? I can't see a point other than some masturbatory self-vindication of a superiority complex.
And what does the Mercury stand to gain from running such a derogatory piece other than alienating a large and well-loved Portland community?
I guess it's clear from their choices that they aren't concerned with that alienation. Paired with the disgrace of a cover (1/3 of the comic industry lives in their city and this is the best they can do?) this weeks issue is nothing short of insulting.
And though I do accept that editors change things to suit their aim, and that contributors don't have the pull the probably should, by accepting the edits and running this comic Ms. Maine and Mr. Parker have effectively given a big old middle finger to their own community.
Another "pro" here. I agree: if you're asked to write/draw a comic pimping a local comics festival, you're probably better off not creating a strip that takes weird jabs at the talent hosted at said event (what's up with the Craig Thompson panel?) and mocking the crowd most likely to show up at the event, even if what you're writing is supposed to be ironic.
When paired with the sloppy art, the strip doesn't come off as funny or ironic, it just comes off as lazy, self-indulgent, and annoyingly too-cool-for-school. The Stumptown Comics Fest (and it's associated staff, exhibitors and attendees) deserve a little better.
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?
I concur as one of those "Pros". In the past the your publication laureled the attempts of this con. Who did Stumptown piss off at the Mercury? I can write a better article than they did!
"Nerd-Prom. For Losers."
Les, I couldn't agree with you more. I dig tongue-in-cheek humor as much as the next sassy, martini-swingin' gal, but a shout-out about the fest through the Mercury is an incredible opportunity to reach out to loads of folks who aren't aware that Portland is home to an incredibly vibrant comics community full of folks who are not only talented, but also warm, friendly, approachable, and down to earth. Way to spread the good word about our industry and our hometown show, you two: Stumptown Comics Fest! Come for the attitude. Stay for the snark.
Andy Kaufman. Andy Kaufman. Andy Kaufman.
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.
It's a shame that with the huge number of talented, professional cartoonists in this city, Main and Parker were the best the Mercury could find.
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