A few years ago, Alison Bechdel was a featured artist at Wordstock. Last year, political cartoonist Matt Bors joined a panel on war reporting. Craig Thompson is a guest at this year's festival, and Oni Press is doing an editorial workshop. All of this is to say that Wordstock KNOWS that graphic novels are "not just for geeks" (man, that phrase is hackneyed). And yet:


Moreover, panelist Darren Davis is publisher of the Vancouver-based Bluewater Productions, probably best known for those pandering Female Force comics (about "strong women in politics" like Sarah Palin, Michelle Obama, Martha Stewart, and the woman who invented the Barbie doll). It's an odd choice, especially considering that Portland has no shortage of publishers people actually respect—in addition to the goofy books they put out, Bluewater has come under fire from the comics press in the past for their business model, under which artists and writers are paid "if and when a property... becomes profitable."

Griping aside, the full Wordstock schedule is here, and as always there's plenty to look forward to. Stuff I'm excited about: Diana Abu-Jaber finally has a new book out; Steve Almond is always sharp and funny; I bet Michael Ondaatje is awesome live; Lauren Oliver's Before I Fall is the best YA book I've read in a while.