The first Clallam Bay Comicon will be held during Clallam Bay/Sekiu Fun Days, July 13-15.
Comicons start - and often stay - small, but they can grow into a major summer event. The annual summer San Diego Comicon began in 1972, when 300 fans crowded into the basement of San Diego's U.S. Grant Hotel.
At 40 years, the Con is one of the largest trade shows in the western hemisphere, and now includes authors, writers, artists, actors and other representatives of much of the entertainment industry. For almost a week every summer, the Con takes over San Diego's entire downtown, and has driven the gradual growth and extension of the convention center. Attendance has been frozen at the 125,000 attendees expected to buy tickets and fill the downtown and neighborhood hotels. Restaurant- and store-owners look forward to the literary and media crowd of artists, actors and fans.
The Clallam Bay Comicon will have an even more modest launch. The first CBCC offers nothing more than a gazebo in Forks Forum stringer Donna Barr's front yard, with access to the nearby beach (surfboards optional).
However, after the CBCC got its own Facebook page and the first flyers were distributed at Seattle's Emerald City Comicon, more people from around the west coast and even the world began to talk about attending. Appearances might include drawn book professionals and fans, as well musicians and other performers. Held during Clallam Bay/Sekiu Fundays, CBCC comes with fireworks.
With no illusions about the travel distances involved - it's easier to get to Alaska from Seattle - Barr added the tag, "Oh, like you could get here," to promotional cards distributed at Emerald City and the sci-fi convention Norwescon. She now realizes she's only issued a challenge to the kind of people who would take it.
Barr has been an artist, writer and publisher in the drawn book industry since 1986, is the author of the long-running classic series "The Desert Peach," and has attended dozens of national and international conventions, so has a lot of background in the industry.
However, knowing the heavy lifting required to get a show off the ground, she says, "We're starting with baby steps."
Dara Korra'ti, of the band "Crime and the Forces of Evil," is scheduled to perform; her site says: "We do rage-driven acoustic elfmetal. Also some traditional songs about piracy, drinking, and revolution. But mostly the elfmetal thing." Recorded music will include CDs of geek-rock masters "Kirby Krackle."
Authors include Kevin Boze, who will offer his groundbreaking book, "The Virgin Project," narrating and illustrating the true stories of first sexual experiences submitted by readers. Mark Monlux, the Comic Critic, known for his illustrated movie reviews, will also attend. Both are members of Seattle's Cartoonists Northwest, whose Dave Lasky recently lectured at the Forks branch of the North Olympic Library System.
Port Angeles''s AnimeKat - "The only dedicated anime and manga store on the Olympic Peninsula" - will act as the gateway to the CBCC, offering the Con t-shirts up to and during the show.
AnimeKat owner Drew Schwab has long wanted to put on Opnecon: "Olympic Peninsula Nerd Convention."
Schwab envisions a general show like Emerald City, where everyone -- cosplay (gaming character costumes), magic, animation, poets, local gallery artists and prose authors, steampunk -- will be welcome to show off and sell.
Schwab says he wants "Everything you can think of in some form of organized chaos."
Small towns don't have the populations needed for the volunteers to run a comicon, but the Clallam Bay event will offer the first "ComicSans" structure ("comic without" after Comics Sans Serif, the font commonly used for digital lettering.), where only display space is offered, and all individual artists, writers and fans will run their own section of the convention. This year, there is no admission fee.
Barr has long thought of a large comicon as resembling a small city, where each section in the show has its own "zipcode."
In a small community, such zipcodes could organize their own display equipment, access, refreshments and carrier services, while the organizer handles only show space, municipal licenses and electricity.
Schwab, who has called himself "a committee of one," said, "I like that idea."
He will be watching the Clallam Bay convention to see what the interest is for a larger show. Once a community has a comicion, it becomes a permanent and growing source of tourism profits. The people involved are a low-problem, self-sufficient population; these are book people and artists, after all.
Trade shows usually take at least two years to get off the ground, so expenses are being held to a minimum.
All local bands and musicians are welcome to CBCC. But this first con is on a party level in a neighborhood, so musicians are asked to stick to acoustic instruments. Neighbors welcome, too, at 610 Frontier Street in Clallam Bay. Parking will be limited in the immediate area, but there is more parking access in the town itself, a half mile away.
Barr has warned all out-of-area attendees to book space early in the season and to be prepared to find camping. The Facebook site offers links to area accommodations and restaurants at http://www.sekiu.com
Only until this year's event is over, high-quality hoodies printed with the comicon logo will be available at www.zazzle.com/TheDesertPeach A new design will go up for 2013, once dates are secured.
Barr has contacted Bill Drath, of the Clallam Bay/Sekiu Chamber of Commerce about possibly organizing space, taking tickets at and sharing proceeds for next year's admission-fee show. Other possibilities are also being discussed.
Come see what happens.
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