In preparation for my late February Stranger story on the Seattle comics community, i spoke to a number of observers and participants; I’m running my notes and transcriptions here for a few days. This entry features what I wrote down from my conversation with Portland’s Craig Thompson.
What can you tell me about the Seattle comics scene and how it’s changed and evolved? What kind of an influence has it been on you?
CT: I keep in touch with Jennifer Daydreamer. And uh, that’s about the only person I’m keeping in touch with lately. But the Seattle scene is one of my main reasons for moving to the Northwest; it’s sort of accidental that I ended up in Portland instead. At that time the scene was – it was Tom Hart, Ed Brubaker, Megan Kelso, Jennifer Daydreamer – all those folks are still friends of mine; it just happens that a lot of them have left Seattle.
Just yesterday, I randomly ran into Joe [Sacco] and at the other end of the spectrum, Greg Rucha. I think he writes Batman or something – he’s a big part of the mainstream world. It’s funny how we just all randomly ran into each other.
My last real job and probably the best day job I ever had was working as a graphic designer at Dark Horse. Dark Horse is a great opportunity.
In the creative department where I was at there was fifty people or so. And most of them had their own thing that they were doing too.
Is Portland a cheaper place to live than Seattle?
CT: That’s why it’s a great environment for artists.
Does Portland have a tight-knit comics community?
CT: I’d like to say ‘yeah,’ but probably ‘no.’ It’s a pretty broken-up scene. But there are smaller scenes, like the mini-comics kids and stuff that are a lot more tight-knit. Maybe it’s ’cause those other guys – like myself – I wouldn’t say burned out, but we work so much during the day that our social life isn’t. . . But I always meet comic kids who have like, jam sessions and stuff like that. Not just kids, but people more from the self-published world.
But I do hang out with other cartoonists. You know, we meet up, we have that connection.
Here in Seattle, there’s a comics-related multimedia performance thing called Slide Rule, where local creators read or perform their works as slide shows in front of a live audience. Do you have anything like that in Portland?
CT: There is actually. Nocturnal, this gallery in town, does regular animation-slash-slideshows. It definitely is a combination. Some stuff will be fully animated, some stuff will be kinda half-ass animation, where it’s like slowly morphing images. And then there’s full-on slideshow accompanied by live music. That’s Nocturnal. I can’t think of the name of the shows.
I did a little digging afterwards, and the Nocturnal shows are organized by Peter Sorfa , who has a website at www.sorfa.com.
In an earlier interview, Craig told me that a Blankets record is being recorded. In this conversation he told me it will be out in the summer.