The Nerd Issue: Seattle’s Comics Craze

Pow! Bam! Kaboom! A growing number of comic book professionals (no, that’s not an oxymoron) are maki

By Mark Rahner January 26, 2011


This article originally appeared in the February 2011 issue of Seattle Magazine.

Applauded for his comic series “Hate” and “Apocalypse Nerd” (among others), the iconic Seattle comic writer has a new book due out this month from Fantagraphics. It’s a collection of his 1999–2000 comic book series Yeah!, which follows the triumphs and trials of an all-girl band that blows Josie and the Pussycats out of the water.


Nominated for several Eisner Awards and named a “Stranger Genius” by The Stranger in 2010, the renowned Seattle-based comic writer and artist is revered for his brilliantly surreal comic “Frank” and his wordless graphic collection Weathercraft (2010). He recently received funding to create a gigantic steel dip pen (of the old-school sort), with which he plans to do public performances.


One of the biggest and best writers of comics, Seattle-based Brubaker has amassed three Eisner Awards—the Oscars of the comics world—for best writer, and another for the best single issue (“Captain America,” No. 601). Brubaker’s run on the latter is notable for a) killing off Cap, b) resurrecting him and c) turning a cheesy title into a kick-ass espionage story. In addition to “Daredevil,” “Uncanny X-Men” and others, the crime buff’s noir comic “Criminal” is not to be missed, and his “Incognito” (about a supervillain in a witness-protection program) is in development as a feature film.


Genius idea: Buy the rights to a bunch of romance comics from defunct Charlton Comics for a song and replace the dialogue with wisecracks. Now the “Last Kiss” panel appears thrice weekly on his website and at Seattle-based Lustig also recently got Portland-based Dark Horse Comics to license a bunch of ridiculous “Last Kiss” swag—mugs, sticky notes, diapers. OK, not the diapers.


The Raymond, WA-based writer is revamping the iconic ’70s character Vampirella for Dynamite Entertainment, but with minor changes that include ditching the skimpy Speedo-style costume. Trautmann’s other work includes “Action Comics,” “Checkmate,” “The Mighty Crusaders” and “Red Sonja.” His wife Gabi owns Olympic Cards & Comics in Lacey. Guess what she stocks?


The Seattle cartoonist whose work has appeared regularly in The Stranger received an Eisner nomination for the 2007 collection I Love Led Zeppelin. Her other work includes “Lust: Kinky Online Personal Ads from Seattle’s The Stranger” and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which she illustrated for Sherman Alexie. She teaches comics at Cornish College of the Arts.


The award-winning Seattle comic artist/writer (married to cartoonist Jason Lutes) is known for her graphic short story collections, “Queen of the Black Black” and “The Squirrel Mother,” and her comic, “Girl Hero.” In 2006 she was tapped to write her serial comic “Watergate Sue” for The New York Times Magazine. Fantagraphics published her acclaimed graphic novel, Artichoke Tales, in 2010.


Formed in early 2010, this Puyallup startup publisher’s goal is to produce quality comics by local and independent writers and artists, with creators keeping the edge by owning 100 percent of their work. Its top titles are the horror anthology Nightmares of the Macabre, ZFW: Zombies of Foreign Wars and Jeff, about an average Joe who pops into a world with busty damsels and dragons.

So much has been written about this outstanding indie comics company that we’ll politely suggest that you go see for yourself at the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery in Georgetown. Suffice it to say that it’s home to such talents as Seattle-based Peter Bagge, Jim Woodring, Megan Kelso and Ellen Forney, former Seattleite Charles Burns and infamously gifted grouch Robert Crumb.


Behold, a few of our favorite local places for getting down and geeky

Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery
1201 S Vale St.

Comics Dungeon
250 NE 45th St.

Zanadu Comics
1923 Third Ave.
1307 NE 45th St.

Golden Age Collectables
Pike Place Market
1501 Pike Place Market
(lower level)

Image credits, from top:  “Hate,” written and illustrated by Peter Bagge; “Frank,” written and illustrated by Jim Woodring; “Incognito,” written by Ed Brubaker, © Icon/Marvel; “Last Kiss,” written by John Lustig; “Vampirella,” written by Eric Trautmann, art by Wagner Reis, © Dynamite Entertainment; “I Was Seven in ’75,” written and illustrated by Ellen Forney, published by Fantagraphics; “Watergate Sue,” written and illustrated by Megan Kelso 


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