Linework NW is the Portland branch of the Comic arts festival (or CAF) movement that has been growing over the last decade or so It launched in 2014, and had shows in 2016 before announcing that it would take 2017 off.
And now, organizers have announced that it will not be coming back anytime soon, or probably ever:
It’s been over a year and a half since we wrapped up our third Linework NW festival back in May of 2016. When that show closed, we announced that we would be putting LWNW on hiatus for 2017, with the intention of returning in 2018. However, after much consideration, the LWNW Crew has decided to extend our sabbatical indefinitely. There will be no Linework NW festival next year or anytime in the near future.
As we mentioned last year, LWNW is a volunteer-run organization, and it takes a tremendous amount of energy to put on the festival each year. All of the organizers have had major creative, professional, and personal business to take care of in the last year, and and taking some time off from putting on the festival has honestly been a welcome break for all of us. While we love and cherish the incredible warmth and energy of the festival and the Linework NW community, we hope you’ll also understand that we’ve decided to take more time off. If and when we decide to return, Linework NW will be better than ever. And you’ll hear about it here first.
As always, all of our thanks, love, and appreciation to the creators, volunteers, sponsors, and attendees who have made Linework NW such and incredible, moving, and vibrant nexus for our creative community in Portland and beyond.
While many people helped put on Linework, the most visible members of the community were creator/publishers Zack Soto and Francois Vingeualt.
In a post at Comics Reporter (where I first saw the news) Tom Spurgeon writes that the show seemed to have a fundraising shortfall.
What Linework seemed to lack in this initial iteration was second-stage investment cash, making it very dependent on its community of volunteers and its organizers. Linework NW also, and I could be wrong about this, but in its first run of years Linework never quite seemed to evince that special extra 10 percent of need from its attendees or pros. That could just be laid-back Portland, but it just sort of seemed when the show was touch and go that the community could deal with “go,” without it being there. The loss of similar shows in other cities might take that place off of the alt-comics map, period, but not comics-rich Portland. That’s a hunch; I could be wrong.
My hope is that someone might step in for 2018 or 2019 with a little bit of cash and/or a whole lot of time and/or a plan that gets that city’s comics culture and can take the show to the next level both organizationally and in terms of separating it conceptually from others, like the Rose City show where the other half of the old Stumptown festival community found root, or Seattle’s Short Run up the road, whose dissolution would seem a greater loss to individual cartoonists in that great comics city. I’m not waiting up at night. I know how fragile these shows can be, how tough it is to sustain things past the initial magical weekend.
Linework NW was the second stab at a CAF for Portland; the previous show, Stumptown, also ended its run becuase of the time and energy drain on organizers. Rose City Comic Con is coming up Sept.8-10, and its been acquired by con runner Leftfield Media, and has a Doctor Who and Weird Al, so I’m sure this show will manage just fine.
At the same time, Portland is Comics Town, USA and has more indie cartoonsits per square inch than any other place on earth. Having only been thre briefly, I’m not sure how the community affects the difficulty of an alt.comix show catching on there.
What do you say, Portlanders? Are the slacker jokes true?
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.