Our October Bookstore of the Month is a special one, because it’s a bookstore that will only exist in the world for one day. The Short Run Comix & Arts Festival will take place this year on October 31st at Fisher Pavilion in the Seattle Center, and for that one day, it will be the largest bookseller of independent literature, zines, and comics in the Seattle area. Every week this month, we’ll highlight a different Short Run exhibitor, to give you a better idea of the scope and breadth of the festival.
This year, Short Run announced a new self-publishing grant called The Dash. One cartoonist would be given $250 to fund the publication of their book, a free half-table at Short Run to sell their work, mentoring from special guest cartoonist Chuck Forsman, and a space in the Short Run art show at Fantagraphics Bookstore and Gallery.
The winner of the first-ever Dash grant is Krish Raghav, a Beijing-based cartoonist. He put the money toward the publication of his newest comic, “a Mexico City travelogue called Estilo Hindu.” Raghav explains that the book is about “street-side electric shocks (for fun!), nightclubs named after globe-trotting radicals, and a 25-year old dance party.” Estilo Hindu will be available for sale at Raghav’s table at the festival, along with some older comics about traveling to Moscow and "60s pop music in Singapore.”
Short Run is Raghav’s very first comics festival. “I'm expecting to buy many, many comics and meet many, many cool people,” he says. He’ll also be at the Fantagraphics Gallery on Friday night, where his work will appear alongside comics luminaries like Jim Woodring. Not bad for a convention virgin.
Raghav admits that in the past he’s “had a lot of trouble getting my works to look decent in print.” Anyone who’s lost hours trying to force the photocopiers at FedEx Kinko’s to be better than they are understands how mini-comics can represent a real drain on resources. Raghav says the cash infusion from the Dash grant “has been fantastic in both addressing my ignorance and making me print-ready for anything I do in the future.” You don’t need to drop four-figure checks into artist’s laps to make a difference; even relatively small payouts like The Dash can transform an artist’s life.