The new comics and arts convention Squatchcon returns for a second year to Port Angeles, with some homegrown professional and aspiring talent.
Slated for March 30-April 2 at Port Angeles venues, Squatchcon focuses on an array of interests from comics to cosplay to gaming, and staying true to its namesake, Sasquatch.
The event includes an all-ages cosplay contest, panels and workshops, a mini-arcade, a market with 60-plus artists and more, split between the Vern Burton Community Center, Red Lion Hotel and Studio Bob.
This year, Sequim natives Jenny Blenk, an associate editor for Dark Horse Comics, and Jon Schlaffman, specialty sales coordinator for Image Comics, are scheduled to attend and provide mentorship for student artists.
Blenk, born and raised in Sequim, went on to earn her Master of Arts and certificate in Comics Studies from Portland State University, and work as a freelance editor before being hired at Dark Horse Comics. She serves as internship coordinator, and works on titles such as “Critical Role,” “Avatar: The Last Airbender” and with creators like Mike Mignola (“Hellboy”).
Schlaffman also grew up in Sequim, and lived in Port Angeles while attending Peninsula College. After moving to Portland, Ore., in 2008, he eventually landed at Image Comics (“Invincible,” “Spawn,” “The Walking Dead”) in 2018. He and his coworkers founded Comic Book Workers United, the world’s first union for people working in the comics industry.
Blenk and Schlaffman will appear at the “Working in Comics” panel from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 1, at the Red Lion Port Angeles Harbor. They and other industry professionals will discuss every stage of comics’ development from the artists, editors and sales persons’ perspectives.
Additional guests include Cammry Lapka, comic book artist; Gareth Gaudin, comic book artist and shop owner Legends Comics and Books (Victoria, B.C.), and Drew Schwab, shop owner of Anime Kat.
This year, six students from Sequim and Port Angeles and Sequim high schools were selected to participate in Squatchcon’s Artist Alley and Vendor Market, running all four days in Vern Burton Community Center, with sponsorship by McPhee’s Grocery, Geek Girl Con, and Corey Labrie and Jeff Ohren.
Student artists include Anne Marie Barni, a Sequim High School junior; and Emily Boling, a Port Angeles High School freshman; Scarlett Fulton, PAHS junior; Abigail Jones, PAHS sophomore; Razelle Marshall, PAHS freshman, and Hayden Webber, PAHS junior.
“Our plan is to continue to open sponsored table space to students each year, and this year is essentially the pilot program,” convention organizer Jess Grello said.
Barni, recently crowned a Sequim Irrigation Festival princess, was a vendor at Squatchcon’s first year and helped inspire the student program, Grello said.
Students have also been offered a personalized pitch review with Blenk as an exercise to follow a publisher’s guidelines and receive feedback. They’ll have six months to prepare materials to submit for a review as professional development, not as an offer of publication, organizers said.
Squatchcon also sponsors two tables for Peninsula College welding club students on Friday, March 31.
Squatchcon’s four-day passes for adults 18 and up cost $25; $15 for ages 13-17, and free for children 12 and under accompanied by an adult. Day passes are not available.
For more event information and tickets, visit squatchconpa.com.
Squatchcon Port Angeles Comic and Arts Convention (March 30-April 2)
• Thursday, March 30: Opening night Cosplay Drink and Draw, 6:30 p.m. doors, 7 p.m. first pose; K-pop Dance Party, 9-11 p.m., Studio Bob, 118 1/2 E. Front St., Port Angeles (Port Angeles Community Players benefit)
• Friday, March 31: Cosplay and Costume Swap, 3:30-5:30 p.m., Vern Burton Community Center, 308 E. Fourth St., Port Angeles
• Saturday, April 1: Comic Book Swap, 3:30-5:30 p.m., Vern Burton Community Center
Cosplay Costume Party and Awards Ceremony, 7-10 p.m., Red Lion Port Angeles Harbor, 221 N. Lincoln St., Port Angeles
• Sunday, April 2: Kids Book Swap, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Vern Burton Community Center
Panels at Red Lion Hotel
• Friday, March 31: Working in the Arts as a Professional Artist, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
• Saturday, April 1: Communicating with Sasquatch, 9-10:30 a.m.
Working in Comics and Anime, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Costume and Cosplay, 3-4:30 p.m.
For more event information and tickets, visit https://www.squatchconpa.com/panels.