By NED HAYES
Olympia’s Comics Festival returns on Saturday, June 15. This free exposition was created in 2001 by Danger Room proprietor Frank Hussey and has grown tremendously over the past 19 years. This year’s day-long festival expo will feature more than 50 tables with 80 comics exhibitors, including Eisner-winning cartoonists as well as a special comics evening stage show at the Capital Theater.
“While the Festival has grown, what is most important is how we haven’t changed,” said Festival founder Hussey. “We’ve continued to get Guests of Honor who are the best in the field. We’ve stuck to our principles of honoring diversity and focusing on creator owned work.”
When the festival began, it was a unique experience. Over time, other fan events such as Emerald City Comic Con and PAX have begun to charge high fees and feature dealers and merchandise over creators. Olympia Comic Festival continues to be a free and open family-friendly event at which all exhibitors are actual comics creators.
The unique focus on comics creators has helped the festival to continue to attract nationally renowned artists and writers. “We’re honoring creators who are making potent work that is rich and memorable and worth talking about,” said Hussey. “I hope that more people can read their work and show appreciation for what they’ve made.”
Featured this year are Craig Thompson, author of Space Dumplins and Benjamin Dewey, creator of Hereville, as two of the Guests of Honor. The festival is also welcoming back for the second time as a Guest of Honor Emil Ferris, creator of My Favorite Thing Is Monsters. Ferris has been interviewed by Terry Gross and other national journalists. Her work has won the Eisner, Ignatz and Lynd Ward prizes and has been praised by comic luminaries as Art Spiegelman and Alison Bechdel.
Ferris has the unique honor of officiating at the Olympia Comics Festival’s first-ever wedding, the union of Olympia native Marisha Kay to Festival co-producer Casey Bruce. “Comics have been a big part of our relationship in so many ways. We first met, awkwardly, at Danger Room a few years back,” explained Bruce. “We decided to ask Emil Ferris if she would return to OCF as a Guest of Honor and officiate our wedding, since other than being an amazing person and cartoonist, she was also somebody that we as a couple strongly bonded with at the 2017 Fest. We were delighted when she said yes!”
The wedding is happening at the Festival stage show, which takes place at the Capital Theater in the evening. Various comics-related acts and speakers will entertain the audience before the wedding. Attendees at the wedding will receive free hand-drawn “Morty Comix” cartoons drawn by local cartooning legend Steve Willis.
The day of comics fun will conclude with signing and sketching by artists and comics creators at Danger Room Comics.
WHAT: Olympia Comics Festival 2019
WHERE: Expo – The Olympia Center, 222 Columbia St NW, Olympia WA 98501
Stage Show – Capital Theater 206 5th Ave SE, Olympia WA 98501
WHEN: Expo June 15, 11 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Stage Show June 15, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
HOW MUCH: Expo is FREE
Stage show (+ wedding!) $6.00
FIND OUT MORE: www.olympiacomicsfestival.org
Frank Hussey and Casey Bruce / 360-705-3050 / OlympiaComicsFestival@gmail.com