Meet Josh Simmons at Short Run. Bring Xanax.

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.

Josh Simmons has published three graphic novels — House, The Furry Trap, and Black River — with Fantagraphics Books. He’ll be selling the latter two books at his own table at this year’s Short Run, along with some black-light posters and original art. In addition, he’s debuting Habit #2, a collection of solo comics and collaborations with local comics contributors Tom Van Deusen, Eric Reynolds, and Ben Horak at the show. Simmons describes this issue of Habit as “52 pages of nutso horror comics.” (Oily Comics, the Massachusetts-based publisher of Habit, will also be exhibiting at Short Run this year.)

Simmons creates dreamlike horror comics that don’t fit the traditional horror narratives. In an interview with Paste magazine, he discusses why horror movies tend to be about women, and why women seem to make up a disproportionate amount of the audience for horror:

Is it something to do with owning or coming to terms with one’s place in a misogynistic society? Are women just more equipped to process dark, sexy, fucked up, fun shit, like horror movies? I’m not sure.

Simmons gave a very long interview with the Comics Journal about his process, his ambitions, and whether his work is nihilistic or not. He’s clearly a thoughtful artist, one who especially appreciates the elasticity of the comics medium for experiments in narrative storytelling.

This will be Simmons’s third Short Run. Ask him for a favorite Short Run memory and he’ll find it impossible to pick a single gem out of the “whirlwind mishmash of art shows” and the opportunities to meet other fans and creators. The “drinking, mania and exhaustion,” apparently, makes everything blur together. At this year’s Short Run, he’s especially looking forward to Jim Woodring’s new 3D comic, Frank in the 3d Dimension. Simmons’s advice for first-time Short Run attendees? “Bring snacks, cash, coffee, Xanax, a satchel and water.”