IN A CITY with an insatiable hunger for comics conventions—Portland already has the pop-culture focused Rose City Comic Con, the indie haven of Linework NW, and the cynical corporatism of the Wizard World Portland Comic Con—another show is about to join the fray. This weekend, Frankenstein's Comicbook Swap offers a return to the flea market-style comics shows of the past, where people could buy, sell, and trade comics without coughing up $50 admission fees or sharing a urinal with Steampunk Wolverine.
Organized by Cosmic Monkey Comics co-owner Andy Johnson and Teenage Dinosaur publisher Tim Goodyear, admission to Frankenstein's Comicbook Swap will cost one goddamn dollar—a solid indicator of what Johnson and Goodyear hope will set the show apart from the rest.
"Even though Portland has lots of other shows, we felt there was a need for a show focusing on cheap comics that would be accessible to everyone while also keeping in tune with comics' sense of history and wonder," Johnson says. "Most of my favorite moments at comic shows have been digging through quarter bin boxes. Most dealers can't afford to sell comics that cheap anymore, but we thought it would be great if we could do a whole show just focused on those cheap, forgotten comic orphans."
It's a deliberately welcoming attitude. "We're hoping to attract everyone," Johnson says. "From people who have never read comics before but are curious, to old diehards who want to wax nostalgic about their favorite back issues, to everyone in between."
With the Eagles' Lodge as the event's home base, Johnson says they're aiming for "a nice, laidback show, with some groovy tunes in the background"—the natural environment for those "who enjoy looking, talking, reminiscing, drinking, and the hunt for hidden, inexpensive treasures." And if Saturday is a success, the show will become a regular, thrice-yearly event. Like its namesake, Frankenstein's Comicbook Swap could trudge on indefinitely. "We came up with the 'Frankenstein' in our name because we loved the old, recycled feeling of that misunderstood monster," Johnson says. "The 'Comicbook Swap' part came about because we wanted the show to have a funky sort of record-show vibe."