Welcome to the Twelve Tacoma Artist Gifts of Christmas! Inspired by both the “Twelve Days of Christmas” song and fellow features writer Sue Kidd, who’s offering you her own “Twelve Tacoma Foodie Gifts of Christmas” on her TNT Diner blog, I’ve come up with 12 alternative gifts for Christmas: no partridges in pear trees, but something a lot more uniquely local. (See older posts for the other days.)
So here’s Day 11:
On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Eleven quirky comics, ten movie tickets, nine local poets, eight letterpress posters, seven concert tickets, six sumi paintings, five gothic rings…Four pottery bowls, three CDs, two baby heads and a deck of Tacoma playing cards.
Comics for Christmas? You bet. Not every true love wants highbrow poetry or opera, and the gritty city has a posse of excellent cartoonists who meet regularly and put out graphic novels, blog entries, posters and T-shirts that scream “Tacoma!” in attitude and style. They’re the members of C.L.A.W. (Cartoonists’ League of Absurd Washingtonians) and they all wear fezzes at comic events, which says it all, really.
What to buy? Well, if you have the money you can start with Foundation of Art Award nominee R.R. Anderson’s grid of framed original “History of Tacoma” comics from feedtacoma.com, for sale now at B2 Gallery for $400. Have a smaller budget? “Robotic Overlords Love You” T-shirts (they glow in the dark), the C.L.A.W. steamroller print from last year’s Wayzgoose festival, are just $20 from King’s Books (218 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma; 253-272-8801, kingsbookstore.com); you can also find Mark Monlux’s book “Comic Critic Presents Seldom Seem Films” for $10 (also on sale at Tacoma Art Museum) and possibly a giant squid poster for $1. Mark Brill’s anti-bullying graphic novel sells for $4.99 at Atomic Comics (4020 S. Steele St., Tacoma; 253-472-1908, atomiccomicsonline.com) or at Nerdy Stuffs (115 176th St. S, Spanaway; 253-267-1850); and Nick Butler sells his Riot Grrl and vampire-inspired graphic novels ($7) and “Don’t Worry Be Happy” T-shirts ($15) online at turtledustmedia.com.
And keep an eye out for the C.L.A.W. at an event near you. They’re the guys wearing robot T-shirts and fezzes and drawing obsessively – hard to miss.