What’s Happening in the South Sound
The Olympia Comics Festival is an annual celebration of alternative comics and the artists who create them.
The 19th festival, set for Saturday, will include another kind of celebration: the marriage of Danger Room Comics co-owner Casey Bruce and fellow comics enthusiast Marisha Kay.
The couple — who met through comics and got together with the unwitting assistance of The Olympian — will take their vows in the middle of the festival’s stage show.
“When we got engaged last year, we were struggling to think of what to do,” Kay told The Olympian. “This is both of our second marriages, and we really didn’t want to have a giant wedding. Since comics have always been a major thing in our lives, I was like, ‘Why don’t we do it at Comics Fest?’ ”
Officiating will be Emil Ferris, a guest of honor at the festival whose 2017 graphic novel debut, “My Favorite Thing Is Monsters,” has won many awards and been hailed as the best graphic novel of the decade. Ferris of Chicago befriended Bruce and Kay, who’d just begun dating when she came to town as guest of honor for the 2017 festival.
“They’re a beautiful couple, and I’m so glad they found each other,” Ferris told The Olympian. “They had a lot of false starts in life, as so many of us do, and then they came to realize they were meant to be together, and I think that’s wonderful.”
Before they began dating two years ago, Bruce and Kay had been kind of circling around one another for years, seeing one another at comics events but never quite connecting.
“We did kind of meet at Danger Room,” Bruce said, recalling a day in 2016 when Kay was there buying comics.
“I was ringing up this really pretty young woman, and I realized, ‘Oh, this is that Marisha girl that I’ve never met,’ ” he said. “We kind of knew who each other was. I wanted to introduce myself, but I was too intimidated, so I just asked if she wanted a bag for the comics she was buying.
“That was my brilliant line: ‘Do you need a bag?’ ”
He obviously made an impression, though.
A year later, Kay read Olympian reporter Rolf Boone’s article about Danger Room.
“I saw his name in the article,” she said. “I hadn’t learned his name before. I sent him a Facebook friend request. and he messaged me right away. He said, ‘Do you remember when I rang you up last year and I was really awkward? That was because I thought you were really pretty.’ ”
With a line like that — and the love that’s clear in both their voices now — it’s no surprise they’ve come to this happy occasion.
Ferris was surprised when they asked her to do the ceremony — “I’ve never done anything like this,” she said — and wanted it to be known that she is not licensed to perform weddings. (The couple will have a private ceremony by a licensed officiant in addition to the very public one at the stage show.)
“I have no official status, other than I made a book,” Ferris said. “Making a book is bringing together things that don’t necessarily go together, and nobody kind of goes with anybody. I think it’s a miracle when two people come together and decide to become one thing together.”
She said Tuesday that she wasn’t quite sure yet how the ceremony — which will happen at 6 p.m., in between festival’s showcase of unintentionally funny comics and a panel discussion involving Ferris and fellow honored guests Benjamin Dewey and Craig Thompson — would proceed.
“We’re finding our way in the dark,” she said. “I want to keep the focus on them and get them to talk a little bit about their experience of love.
“It’s going to be fairly brief,” Bruce said. “We’ll talk about our history and about how comics can bring people together in ways they wouldn’t expect.”
Olympia Comics Festival
- What: The 19th annual festival celebrates alternative comic artists with an expo, panel discussions and entertainment — and, this year, the wedding of two comics lovers. This year’s guests of honor are Benjamin Dewey, known for his work on “The Autumnlands” and “The Tragedy Series”; Emil Ferris, author of the widely celebrated “My Favorite Thing is Monsters”; and Craig Thompson, author of the Eisner-winning “Blankets” and “Habibi.”
- When: Saturday, June 15 — except for The Olympia Timberland Library’s Comics Festival preview with Dewey and Thompson from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Friday at the library, 313 Eighth Ave. SE. Free. trl.org
- Expo: 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. at The Olympia Center, 222 Columbia St. NW. Free.
- Stage show (with wedding): 5-7 p.m. at the Capitol Theater, 206 Fifth Ave. SE, Olympia. $6.
- Book signing and sketching with Dewey, Ferris and Thompson: 7-8:30 p.m. at Danger Room Comics, 201 Fourth Ave. SE, Olympia. Free.
- More information: 360-705-3050, olympiacomicsfestival.org