Stumptown didn't offer press passes to the Mercury this year—or send out a press release, for that matter—but apparently they did see fit to put up one of comics journalism's hotshots. (Cough, bitter? Not us!)

Over at the Comics Reporter, Tom Spurgeon has a massive recap of his Stumptown Comics Fest experience—in addition to a detailed breakdown of his day-by-day encounters, he identifies what is really the show's fundamental identity crisis: Does it want to be an indie, creator-focused small press show, like it was in the early days, or does it want to move in a bigger, more pop-culture oriented direction a la Emerald City or the Rose City Comic-Con?

Of all the shows that I've been to in the last year or so, this seemed the one where a natural direction doesn't present itself, where some basic identity issues, some primary elements of execution and even a general energy boost might be more at issue as opposed to "how do we maximize and channel what's special here?" the way other shows seems to be straining at any and all restraints.

He goes on to offer some suggestions for the festival—things like focusing their mission statement, refining the guest list, and streamlining the Stumptown awards (amen—far too much energy is invested in those things).

I wrote my own piece offering advice for the fest, and subsequently had some very interesting, very constructive off-the-record conversations with folks involved in organizing it. It's very clear to me that they're paying attention to this sort of feedback, and taking a hard look at how Stumptown should function moving forward. I'm really interested to see what happens in the next couple of years.

(h/t to theonetruebix.)