Speaking of Stumptown, we were recently alerted to a local brouhaha, namely, last week’s preview of Stumptown in The Portland Mercury. Shockingly, despite the mayor declaring Comics Month and Portland generally being Cartoon-town, USA, the Mercury ended up running this weird “comics are for losers” comic by Carolyn Main and Riley Michael Parker, apprently as an attempt to do something more clever than the “Comics Are For Everyone!” message we’ve been seeing for the last few years. However, it backfired big time, as the comment section erupted with comments from folks at Dark Horse, local cartooners like Erika Moen, Paul Guinan and Sarah Oleksyk and the artists and editors of the Mercury, including editor Alison Hallett defending the Mercury’s comics-loving bona fides::
Our entire books section is devoted to comics this week. (It was last week, too—and I’m just about positive we run more comics coverage throughout the year than any other local paper.) And while you might object to the cover, it was commissioned and conceived by an artist appearing at Stumptown (as was the feature, for that matter). We also listed Stumptown as a pick in our My, What a Busy Week! section, and we’ve covered it every year since it began.
If you don’t like the comic, you don’t like the comic—but that hardly constitutes grounds for concluding that the Mercury has a bias against Stumptown. Also, I’m not sure what original drafts Carol posted on her Facebook page, but our #1 concern about their first draft was its mean-spiritedness. The final draft was tempered considerably.
Hallett’s later blog post on the subject drew more ire from insulted cartoon-types.
We’ll add one more piece of evidence to the “comics hating” side of things: the online version of the strip is posted so small that you can’t even read it. Perhaps a good thing all around.
The moral of the story: Don’t mess with the comics!
UPDATE: Wow, here’s the cover of this week’s issue, comparing a comedy festival going on the same weekend to Stumptown…seems even more misguided from where we sit. Now The Beat is offended!
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.