I just returned from Minneapolis and St. Paul, and a whirlwind of presentations to all kinds of friendly book lovers. The Twin Cities has joined the top ranks of America's "book towns" and I had been very eager to go there with our First Second roadshow...
In Minnesota I met a great many librarians, booksellers, writers and artists—and quickly became convinced the place is poised to take a key position in America's comics community.
I was very impressed with Brian Malloy of THE LOFT literary center, and Eric Lorberer, Editor of the RAIN TAXI Review of Books (indispensable, lovingly fashioned, and some of the best graphic novel reviews to boot). (Link at bottom of this post for more photos from Sarah Morean.)
(The Loft is a temple to the Gods of the book!)
Then there are terrific comics stores, like BIG BRAIN COMICS right in the heart of things, DREAMHAVEN, and SOURCE COMICS...
Big Brain's owner Michael Drivas, and below, Clarence—super friendly, knowledgeable staff—the kind you can send non-comics readers to and know they will be in good hands.
And the comics and graphic novels selection is impeccably curated—for every age and temperament.
Nice mural on the back of Dreamhaven books, another fine comics shop to find the best of the best.
Famous bookstores—like Magers & Quinn, and Common Good Books (owned by Garrison Keillor!) both with select, fine graphic novels, too.
Libraries in Minneapolis are to die for. Does your local branch include a drive-through café?
There are a couple of small Comic Cons in Minneapolis as well, but best of all the Minneapolis Indie Expo (MIX) run by Sarah Morean, of the excellent Daily Cross Hatch blog. MIX is appearing on many a radar these days, and should interest American comics authors and publishers.
And The Twin Cities are clearly bursting with talent. Besides the Neil Gaiman-Minneapolis connection, there are some exceptional creators like Sam Hiti, Zak Sally, and Tom Kaczynski, and a legion of students brewing a comics revolution of their own in schools like MCAD.
Speaking of the Daily Cross Hatch—special thanks to Sarah for this lovely write-up of my visit to Minnesota.
And more photos from her here.