The Bridge Project Volume One Ed. by Matt Leunig

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The Bridge Project Volume One
Ed. by Matt Leunig
Scraped Knee

bridgeprojectIt’s only natural for a cartoonist living in the middle of the country to glamorize life on the west or east coast of the U.S.  There, you’d always find someone to drink and draw with who could help you fix your bike or navigate public transportation.  Sounds great.

The Bridge Project, edited by Matt Leunig, is an anthology focused on west coast cartoonists.  Particularly, it demystifies a little about the dreams and lifestyles of 23 of cartoonists living in Portland, OR, and California’s San Francisco Bay Area.  I believe the core audience for this material is made up of the following people: those considering a move to these areas, and those current inhabitants who would like to contribute to volume two.

A team was assembled for each of the book’s 13 stories including one cartoonist from each region (so two artists on one story ideally), and the problem lay in how those collaborators would complete their contribution.  The result is an interesting display of temperament and cooperation from creative-types in two cities who are more accustommed to doing things solo AKA DIY.

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Comic Shop Focus: Floating World, Portland, OR

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“I feel really lucky to have this location,” Jason Leivian admits, adding that students, office workers, city officials, and lawyers all come in to buy comics. A young woman with green-rimmed glasses walks in Floating World Comics and says, “I had no idea you were here.” In July of 2006, Leivian opened downtown Portland’s only comics shop.

In 2005 my girlfriend brought me to her house. She lived in a shared house with two young artists from Phoenix; Leivian was at his computer working on music. The shelves of his room lined with books, art books, comic books. His demeanor and expression were gentle and open. In the basement they had set up a performance space with chairs for the audience. He played guitar in a rock band and he was busy, but we did play. And when I fell out of touch with my girlfriend, she said it was okay to come by the house to play music, but I didn’t.

I didn’t see Leivian again until the the fall of 2006. His picture in a local paper alongside an article about his comic book store. I never imagined it, but this fit: there he was surrounded by books. I went down to visit him that day; and two years later, he’s going strong.  “I think of my shop more like having the vibe of a record store, even though we mostly sell paper and books,” Leivian explains. “It’s like a combination of three stores: we carry mainstream books for Wednesday customers, indie and alternative like Reading Frenzy, and a good selection of international art books and magazines.”

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Chris Onstad The Great Outdoor Fight Book Release at Floating World Comics

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Standing behind the counter, Chris Onstad and his publicist Jacquelene talk with fans at Portland’s Floating World Comics about “The Great Outdoor Fight.” The Great Outdoor Fight? There’s posters taped to the counter reproduced from various decades–each marked by the era’s graphic design–and I’m thinking, did these fights happen?

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