By a strange quirk, two big meetings are taking place today that reflect the two branches of the comics industry as it’s evolving.

Up in Easthampton, MA, the New England Webcomics Weekend is taking place, a Woodstock like gathering of webcomickers from around the nation that we’re sure will plot a course to take comics to the 22nd century and beyond in no time flat. If we didn’t have all this other crap going on, we’d be up there for sure, plotting away with everyone else, but in the meantime, we welcome all reports. The Boston Phoenix had a nice preview:

Fans will gather at the New England Webcomics Weekend on March 20 through 22. Originally planned as a small, informal gathering, the event has snowballed into a sort of Web-comics Woodstock — but in Easthampton, Massachusetts.

“We wanted to have a few of our friends who did Web comics come out for the weekend, show them the area, and tell them how we organize our business,” says Meredith Gran, one of the show’s instigators. “But . . . the response was massive.”

In fact, registration has been officially closed because of parking restrictions, so chances of getting in at this point are dicey. (Gran promises, though: “This will definitely be a yearly thing.”) At press time, more than 700 artists and fans are scheduled to descend on the Eastworks Building, a converted factory at 116 Pleasant Street in Easthampton, where they’ll buy and sell merchandise and attend panels and a Web comics award show.

MEANWHILE, down in Memphis, the annual ComicsPRO meeting is winding up, as DC makes lots of announcements (see separate post) and forward thinking comics retailers plan THEIR 22nd Century futures. Matt Price is regularly reporting on the goings on:

Not all was rosy, however. The overall economic slump had affected some locations. Furthermore, logistic problems with a large supplier have become more pronounced in recent weeks. And, something on many stores’ minds is the question of how digital content will impact the comic book industry.

More as it develops.


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