Hey Bartender! pg. 13

James Kochalka needs your help!!

February 22, 2010 / More →

Acclaimed indy video game designers Pixeljam and award-winning cartoonist James Kochalka are making a video game together called Glorkian Warrior. They are trying to raise the necessary funds to complete the project through Kickstarter.com, and they've put together a really amazing set of awards for people who pledge money. Learn more about this exciting project.

Top Shelf 2.0 contributor Caryn A. Tate talks Red Plains on the Seattle Geekly podcast.

And if you haven't read them already, she's done some great interviews with Robot 6, Comics Bulletin, and Talking with Tim.

• Chris and myself received an email from the incredibly talented artist and manga-ka Akino Kondoh, who is currently living in New York. There's a chance we might meet her while we're there for MoCCA... oh wow. She did the cover for our first volume of collected manga, the AX Anthology, as well as some work inside the mammoth book as well.

Check out this interview with her, and make sure to stay to the end to see some of her exquisite animation.

Uploaded by gabriel-soucheyre. - Arts and animation videos.

• Here are a couple swanky cover designs for forthcoming books of ours, coming in 2011.

Here's a rough for Eric Skillman and Jhomar Soriano's crime noir thriller Liar's Kiss.

And a cover design for Eric Orchard's Maddy Kettle.

• Finally, i'm leaving the country on Tuesday. Off to Oaxaca with my son, my sister, and my niece... my first non-comics related trip in i don't know how long. Adios amigos!!

how much better can you get than Stephen Colbert teaming up with Shepard Fairey?

February 18, 2010 / More →

• Top Shelfer Rob Venditti has a terrific post on his blog about his granddad's First Moon Flights club membership. How do i join?!

• I got wind of this rad show coming up from Rob Goodin.
March 6, 8-10 pm
Secret Headquarters
Los Angeles, Ca

Artists from North America and Europe re-imagine old comic covers in their own style. Based on the Covered Blog and curated by blog editor, Robert Goodin.

Artists included are: Andrew Brandou, Jeffrey Brown, Albert Calleros, Coop, Ludovic Debeurme, Michael Deforge, Valerie Fletcher, Yoko Furusho, Robert Goodin, Lisa Hanawalt, Dustin Harbin, Sammy Harkham, Sam Henderson, Josh Holinaty, Patrick Kochakji, Joy Kolitsky, Joe Lambert, Bob London, Tom Neely, Ben Newman, Laura Park, Brian Ralph, Aaron Renier, M. Jason Robards, Johnny Ryan, Richard Sala, Genevieve Simms, Jeremy Tinder, Jon Vermilyea, Anthony Vukojevich, and Steven Weissman.

There will be drinks.

• And now for something TOTALLY NEW — something i've been wanting to do for a long long time. Introducing a fresh new voice on our blog in the form of guest-blogger Trevor Dodge. Trevor teaches literature and comics here in Portland at the Pacific Northwest College of Art. Hopefully we'll see more colorful commentary from him soon. Take it away, Trev!


PictureBook Pedagogy #1: Defining the Term(s)

My tenure on The Internet predates the World Wide Web (the fact I call the web the “World Wide Web,” and do so using capital “W”s should leave little doubt); hence, I’ve long known ye olde interweb-a-ma-bob prides itself on perfecting The Confession. It’s undoubtedly the oldest rhetorical trick in the book out here, but nonetheless a potent one. After all, how else can we really explain the fact that filmmaker and as-interested-as-he-wanna-be comics writer Kevin Smith not only is going on 20 years of gainful Hollywood employment in the post-Clerks multiverse, but commands large enough audiences on Twitter and Facebook to both develop and charge 99 cents for an official iPhone/iTouch app? Dude has been enjoying some pretty successful runs with The Batman as of late, too, in case you haven’t noticed.

So without further ado---and in the immortal words of Sir Austin Powers---please allow myself to introduce myself. And to probably do this effectively, there are simply some things you need to know.

Confession #1: I Never Appreciated Sandman Back In The Day(TM),
b/w #1a: The First Time I Read Watchmen Was For Some Eggheady Class In Grad School

I worked in a comic book store in Moscow, ID in the early 1990s. The store, Safari Pearl, was then located in the attic of a now-defunct secondhand bookstore called Twice Sold Tales; my roommate and I begged and pleaded its owner for summer jobs, and we were grudgingly allowed to watch the counter on weekends for trade credit. In grade school, I grew up on Frank Miller’s runs with Spidey and Daredevil, but had already left comics before DC’s The Dark Knight Returns miniseries; in essence, I got out of superhero books just as shit was getting really interesting in them, and I hadn’t yet discovered Crumb (I was only 9, after all, and I did grow up in southern Idaho. I had however, perfected Smilin’ Stan’s smooth stylin’ “Nuff said!”, if that counts for anything).

So when I returned to comics again, Neil Gaiman’s run on Sandman was already underway, and I couldn’t figure out for the life of me how the DC universe I knew as a kid could have possibly arrived at the place in time it had. When I first started working at her comics store, I started asking its owner and patrons what I should be reading. The near-unanimous answer, of course, was “Sandman!! Are you fucking kidding me?!” And because I’ve always been quite sucked in by peer pressure and marketing hype (I was, after all, an only child spending my first full summer away from the dopey little town of barely 20,000 people I grew up in...), I began pulling monthly copies starting with issue 14. But I never made real attempts to read the series because, frankly, I just didn’t get it. Meaning: I couldn’t figure out how Sandman existed on Planet Spandex, and Dave McKean’s gorgeous mixed media work for the covers didn’t help matters at all.

And there certainly wasn’t any help waiting for me in academia when I returned to school later that fall. The only whisper I’d ever heard about comics in my undergraduate education involved Art Spiegelman’s Maus (which had been awarded the Pulitzer Prize only a year or so before I started taking classes and working at the comics shop), and was usually found on the supplemental/recommended reading lists for some of the history courses I was taking to round out my minor and elective credits. At the time, Maus was considered important because of its content; its medium was left largely undiscussed, if it was addressed at all. Literary scholars I studied with could (and occasionally did) discuss Spiegelman’s work within conventions of identity politics, confessional traditions (did you catch that by the way? The nod to the confession within an actual confession? Pretty clever, right? Most definitely you should be able to nail the exact date/time/picosecond I secured my undergraduate degree), and post-Lacanian psychoanalysis), but they would most likely ignore the medium in which Maus worked its magic.

When I finally did buckle in and read Watchmen, it was because my faculty advisor made me, when I took his graduate-level literature seminar titled “Postmodern Theory and Fiction.” The 12-part miniseries (quick snark here: I don’t care how it’s formatted, tracked and analyzed now by DC, The New York Times or bourgeois culture as a “graphic novel.” Watchmen was conceived, executed and published as a comics miniseries. Big difference.) was not merely the only work in comics we read for the course, but juxtaposed with prose novels written by the likes of Thomas Pynchon, Vladimir Nabokov, Ishmael Reed and Kathy Acker and social-historical theory by the likes of bell hooks, Frederic Jameson and Stephen Greenblatt. Needless to say, my introduction to Watchmen was at least a full step removed from the comics world that produced it; even though I’ve now taught the miniseries at least half a dozen times (including a full-blown literary analysis course which tackles Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ masterwork much the same way I might Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy), Watchmen still feels foreign to me, as if I’m playing from behind somehow or trying to fit the octagonal block into the square hole. And there’s more than a little bit of guilt buried in there, since I had ample opportunity to read the damn thing long before I had a head full of semiotic soup.

This leads me to:

Confession #2: I Am, More Or Less, A Bloodthirsty Colonizer

Quick tangent here: Espen Aarseth is a new media theorist who specializes in games studies. These days, academics can use terms like “games studies” and largely get away with it, and maybe even have people catch the gist of what they mean, but a fair amount of readers of even this nimble website could consider bringing pop cultural artifacts inside academia problematic at best. Aarseth argues that games and games culture are currently going through a stage of intense academic colonialism. This most often occurs when something historically ignored by The Ivory Tower(TM) is suddenly “discovered” by a bunch of competing disciplines within the humanities (social science, philosophy and literature departments are usually the ones on the bottom of the dogpile fighting over the bone, it seems).

Aarseth justifiably has a big problem with people like me (specifically, writers and scholars largely trained to see the world and all contained therein as little more than one big box of narrative tissue paper) discussing things called Games (that’s not just me capitalizing the word, by the way; I am talking about academia here, after all) within a larger thing called Games Studies (except he doesn’t call it that, he calls it Ludology, because going Greek on top of the capital letter thing definitely simplifies things, yeah?). And I don’t begrudge Aarseth a bit for this because his underlying concern isn’t as much about marking territory as it is asserting that an entire medium cannot and should not be boiled down to a single user function. In other words, a medium’s value isn’t exclusively found in its ability to buoy a narrative, even/especially when the narrative is actually compelling. Let’s face it, folks: novelist Gilbert Sorrentino was definitely on to something when he boldly declared “plots are absurd.” Because most of them are. Maybe you haven’t played its underwhelming videogame adaption just yet, but you’ve probably seen Avatar. Nuff said(?).

In his introductory essay to the McSweeney’s #13 anthology, Chris Ware declares, “without the critical language of fine art to surround it, comics are...perceived more clearly than any other art form.” What he means by this is that people like me tend to be ruinous polluters, for once we establish our base camps on the gentle slopes of a given medium’s mountain, it’s usually only a hop, skip and a jump from curious exploration to full-blown gentrification and gated communities. And who loves to throw around the phrase “gentrification” more than the academented?

That’s right. Nobody.

Confession #3: I’m 98.6% Convinced Warren Ellis Was Right

If you’ve read this far, I’d take 4:1 odds that you’ve also read Warren Ellis‘ “Old Bastard’s Manifesto,” a missive from those cheery days post-Y2K and pre-9/11, in which he lambastes the comics industry for stagnating on superheroes and refusing to grow up. In the event that I hit snake eyes on that bet, though, here’s the nitty of the gritty: “Comics are not habitual entertainment that need to remain static and require broadcasting regularly until death do us part,” Ellis declares. “Comics, like their related media of novels and cinema, must be allowed to tell complete stories...Those who support us will be rewarded...and given the gift of the Future.”

The “gift” Ellis refers to is not only that comics would tell “complete stories,” but (more importantly) that intelligent, invested, and--yes--mature readers could begin having more complete conversations about both the stories and the medium which buoys them than “Wolverine is really really cool” or “Maus is really really sad.” This isn’t difficult for us to imagine ourselves doing, by the way, at least not in theory anyway. But here in the United States, our capacity to talk about most things is modulated by our internal Like/Dislike barometers, which of course are plugged into the larger cultural-consumer matrix of Want And Desire that effectively stops conversation at the point of purchase. As a writer, reviewer and literature professor, I’ve found those barometers particularly tough to crack; it often feels to me that the anti-intellectual climate surrounding both the production and discussion of art here in the United States has effectively stopped with Roger Ebert. Gods help us if the man ever loses control over those golden thumbs.

Let me try saying this another way, and then we’ll get out of here for the day: we are routinely asked what we prefer, but rarely asked what we think. A preference can be indicated incredibly efficiently (a show of hands for who likes pancakes? Great! Now how about waffles? Awesome! Thanks!), but real-to-goodness thought takes time and often involves risk.

So what, then, about comics? To me, they might well be the purest artistic expression of time through risk. And I mean this with full cosmic bravado, too: capital-T time, capital-R risk. Anyone who has ever tried executing a simple page of sequential stickpeople (you remember Paul Giamatti playing Harvey Pekar in American Splendor, right? Snapping the lead off his #2 pencil, erasing furiously, pushing way too hard into the paper?) can attest to the staggering amount of time often involved laying one panel next to another, hoping the chemicals firing in her brain somehow spill onto the page in a coherent, orderly pattern that somehow resembles the synaptic original deep inside the skull. To attempt the translation process into not only words or not only images but both is a highwire act at best, sado-masochism at worst, and this is probably why the gulf between The Can and Cannot is appreciably wider in comics than in any other medium.

Nearly a decade ago, The Old Bastard, Mr. Ellis, wrote, “We might not be a grown-up medium yet, but if we dress like it, we might just bring it on.” Tell me what you really think, now: we currently occupy the Future he was hinting at back then, so what are we going to make of it? Not the Future, of course. The Present. ‘Cuz there simply aint no time like it.

One last question then. What’s another word for “Present”?

That’s right. “Gift.”

Bring it on, indeed.

February 12, 2010

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From James Kochalka: "I've got a fairly large part in this new animated movie called MARS that is premiering at SXSW in March. It was created using a computerized rotoscoping technique. Here's the trailer.

MARS - The Movie [HD Trailer] from Geoff Marslett on Vimeo.

"I'm in the very first scene in this trailer, and although I don't speak in this shot rest assured that I have plenty of lines in the actual movie. You also might notice that the font used in the trailer and throughout the movie is based on my own comics lettering style. It's the Kochalka Font."

Meanwhile, Troy Brownfield interviews James at Newsarama.

Cool CBR interview with Jeff Lemire on Sweet Tooth.

An interview with super ink-stud Grant Reynolds.

• For your visual enjoyment... more art from Gregory Benton.

• Portland artist Summer Hatfield is part of a group show opening tomorrow night at Olympic Mills Commerce Center. Makes sure to check out Summer's blog!

SUNDANCE has come on gone, and let me tell ya folks, what a treat this was...

February 3, 2010 / More →

...maybe one of the best trips Chris and myself have ever taken as part of this crazy gig called Top Shelf. We were there ostensibly to meet with one of our new investing partners the generous and affable Anthony (Likely Story) Bregman as well as his two terrific staffers Stephanie and Julia, but really (for me anyway), it was like out of a friggin' fairy tale!

Private parties, v.i.p. screening passes, great food, snow, hobnobbing, pressing flesh, and just all out good livin'. We were on hand for the premier of both of Anthony's new films, Please Give, and The Extra Man. Both outstanding films full of quirky charm and overflowing with humanity — which seems to be Ant's M.O.

Here's an interview with anthony at The Splash Page.

We also spent an evening with the lovely America Ferrera (she of Ugly Betty, and believe me, she's soooo NOT ugly), her fabulous assistant Julia, and her (i think?) boyfriend Ryan Piers Williams. Ryan premiered his first feature film this year at Sundance, The Dry Land, and let me tell ya, it's a brilliant debut. I literally wept like a baby two times during the film, and was choking back tears throughout.

I'm truly a blessed man, getting to publish comic books, and now diving into film. And how refreshing for my expectations of Hollywood snobbery to be completely unfounded.

• Will Dinski has a sweet new print out, called Total Destruction. Check it out at his website, Will Dinski.

Blu-Ray features for Surrogates.

DVD Talk interviews Surrogates director Jonathan Mostow.

• Finally, feast your eyes on the cover James Kochalka just turned in for the forthcoming American Elf collection.

• [Have i mentioned how much i LOVE MY JOB?!]

i love Troubletown!!

January 17, 2010 / More →

Lloyd Dangle is nothing less than a masterful cartoonist, and Troubletown is his masterpiece! Read his most recent newsletter and support his awesome work.

• Eleanor Davis and Katherine Guillen at have a show coming up at GR2 in L.A. The show opened last night and runs through February 10. Learn more here.

• Feast your eyes on Jeffrey Brown's bitchin' wraparound cover for the new volume of his Incredible Change-Bots franchise! Shipping to a comics shop near you in August. Until recently i've never seen a single episode of the classic original Transformers cartoon. But now that i have a five-year old son, i'm pretty much swimming in Transformers. I enjoyed the heck out of Change-Bots volume one, and now it's making even more sense!

Oh, and speaking of Jeffrey Brown, here is (in no particular order) developmental and finished art for the Jeffrey Brown documentary, Drawing Between The Lines. (Directed by Bruce Parsons, and art-directed/designed/screenprinted by Austin Petito.)

• The comics team of writer Jeff Guarino and artist Dean Westerfield have a new website up. Check out their stuff! [This page is from their epic-length graphic novel, The Word.]

• And our awesome Top Shelf Submissions Editor Claire Siepser also has a new website!!

• Tom Spurgeon at the Comics Reporter interviews Ted Adams from iDW on The Sunday Interview. I really really like Ted and Robbie, and they put out some amazing work. Great to see Ted getting some well-deserved props.

The Swedish Invasion is coming!...

January 8, 2010 / More →

but let us not forget our friends from Slovenia, the great Strip Core collective, and purveyors of the long-running anthology Stripburger. The new all-English volume is called Greetings From Cartoonia: The Essential Guide of the Land of Comics. Maybe their best volume yet, and chock full of truly excellent comics.

• Renee French ROCKS! Here's a poster she did a few years ago as part of a show group show through Presspop in Tokyo, Japan. It's now part of a show called A Cry For Help, running at Thinkspace Gallery in L.A. It's for charity, and five of these posters are for sale.

• Billy Shire Fine Arts presents JUGGERNAUT. Here is a preview link.

New comic paintings and collage works on paper by Mark Todd.
Exhibition: January 16, 2010 - February 6, 2010
Opening reception: Saturday, January 16th, 7-10 PM

• The great Jeremy Eaton has rolled all of his myriad blogs into one.

• Long-time 2.0 contributor Lode Devroe unloads his 2010 best wishes.

• “My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama.” All New Artwork by SKINNER! Show opens Jan 8, 6-9pm. Grass Hut 811 E. Burnside. In Portland and Here in the Intertubeweb.

twenty-ten here we come!

January 3, 2010 / More →

Here we are in 2010 (Happy New Year everyone), and our first book of the year is off to press. I'm talking none other than James Kochalka's wickedly funny collected SuperF*ckers. Due in March, this book will make you laugh so hard you'll spew milk out your nose if you're not careful. Make sure you're not eating Oreo cookies with that milk! The collected edition includes all four previously published issues of the series, PLUS the unpublished Jack Krak solo issue!


• Some fine holiday greetings i received in my in-box these last couple of weeks.

Ulf K.

Sam Henderson

Gregory Benton

• A sneak peak at Mike Huddleston's stunning cover sketch for the upcoming Homeland Directive, written by Robert Venditti.

• Finally, read the recent King-Cat (#70) by the nothing less than sublimely talented John Porcellino today on the exercise bike, only to discover that this issue celebrates King-Cat's 20th Anniversary. Holy shit! Unbelievable. I did a little digging and found this recent article/interview with John at Newsarama. If you're unfamiliar with John's work and profess to love comics, then please check out and purchase some of his masterful work, either here at his own King-Cat website or from his collected editions publisher, our friends at Drawn & Quarterly.

December 22, 2009

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Here is another one of those "whoa" moments. The Known Universe.

[Tuesday update: Gregory Benton writes in, "Wow. That video of the known universe was incredible! Thank you for that. Enjoy the vacation. Chill and reflect on the universe, and the duality of our cosmic insignificance & the majesty of life..."]

Nate Powell provided three comic covers he did coming up: Papercutter #12 (with a story by Rachel Bormann and Nate) due out in March; We Will Bury You #2 by Brea and Zane Grant, due out in April on IDW; and Cometbus #53, written by the brilliant Aaron Cometbus, out now.

• Gregory Benton just finished up some drawings for a group show in the Philippines(!).

And here's the flyer for that show. (G. thinks it's by artist Louie Cordero.)

• My old University of Oregon professor and friend Ken O'Connell had a terrific write-up at Oregon Live a few weeks back, about his sketch journals, and is well worth a look.

• And speaking of the University of Oregon (no, i'm not going to talk about the Ducks football team appearing in the Rose Bowl on New Years Day!), another professor, Ben Saunders, curated an orginal art comics show that is one for the ages. There is so much amazing work by so many masters of the form, that it staggers the mind. No lie, this rivals similar shows i've seen around the world, including Angouleme.

The name of the show is The Art of the Superhero, so don't expect otherwise. But heck, how can you argue with checking out the original art for AN ENTIRE ISSUE OF DITKO-DRAWN SPIDER-MAN!!

Learn more here. It runs through January 3rd.

Here is Ben himself talking it up.

• I love Naomi Klein. AND she's crazy smart!

"For Obama, No Opportunity Too Big To Blow"

• Here's a rough sketch for the forthcoming new Hutch Owen: Let's Get Serious! book (due in 2011), by the incomparable Tom Hart.

• A swanky holiday card from Jon Adams.

His Birth of Stan Lee postcard is one of the funniest things i've ever seen. Buy it here!

• Cover art for the Dutch edition of Second Thoughts, by Niklas Asker.

And check out this link at his blog, featuring art in a series called Things You See When You Close Your Eyes. Wow! Beautiful...

• O.k., kids, i'm outta here. Off to the coast for a wee little holiday break. Middle of know where. Mobile phone spotty. Peace. Brett

December 13, 2009

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Eric Skillman's process on developing Eddie Campbell's Alec: The Years Have Pants cover. Oh, and here's his process for the forthcoming AX: Alternative Manga compendium.

And since we're at it, an earlier version of the cover for next Summer's The Playwright, by Daren White and Eddie Campbell.

A better link to video of James Kochalka singing iPod Operator.

• Some cover roughs by the incredible Mike Huddleston for the forthcoming Homeland Directive, drawn by Mike and written by Rob Venditti.

• Illustration stuff Matt Rota writes to mention he's working on a new website, and that in the meantime you can see new work posted on his blog. The guy is amazing.

• Matt Taibbi literally just wrote about what's been stewing inside me for months now, in the new Rolling Stone:

Obama's Big Sellout
The president has packed his economic team with Wall Street insiders intent on turning the bailout into an all-out giveaway

There's a counter-point here at American Prospect arguing some details, which is a good thing to see, but i think misses the big picture.

December 5, 2009

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Jeff Lemire has revamped his website!

• Hot damn, we're almost ready to send James Kochalka's magnificent SuperF*ckers collected edition off to the printer. This sucker is gonna rock out with its cock out!!

• I just can't get over this awesome headline:

Barack Obama Names Alan Moore Official White House Biographer

• An interview with Staros and myself (from 2007), by Quinn Johnson, is running for the first time as a podcast. Check it out!

[Quinn Johnson is a freelance comics writer. His credits include 'Tales of the Ninja Turtles' and his own creation 'Elders of the RuneStone.' He is also one of the Pantyhose Ninjas that host the Darkhan City Awesome Comics Culture Podcast, and is known for his awkward dance moves.]

• So, all three readers out there know that i've been remiss staying consistent with updates on this blog as of late. I'm entertaining adding some guest-writers to the blog,if anyone out there has an ideas. Reviews, short interviews, essays, etc. Write me at: brett@topshelfcomix.com

• Friends of Top Shelf Carlos Hernandez Fisher and Andrea Warner were recently wed. Carlos took these awesome snaps while they were on in honeymoon in Spain.

• And finally, just to tease Eddie Campbell fans, here's an early cover concept for his forthcoming book with Daren White, The Playwright. Art by Eddie, design by Eric Skillman.

November 20, 2009

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Last couple of weeks have been busy busy busy for this bartender. My son, his mom, and myself all trekked to Disneyland and, of course, had a mind-blowing time. The only ride that freaked Carter out was Space Mountain. It was pitch black, fast, and jerky, and he said he'd "never ever ride that again." I do suspect though that had we taken him on some (relatively) mellower roller-coasters first, he'd have been o.k. Oh well. One superb lunch was spent with Chris' parents Mr. and Mrs. Staros, his new nephew troy, and his delightfully precocious niece Sophia. As these photos will attest, they got along smashingly, and are pretty damn cute. Carter was seriously smitten.

Here's Carter and Lisa on the classic tea-cup ride.

And here's a self-portrait of me geeking out at the Star Wars: Holiday to Endor simulator ride. I could do this every day of my life and never tire of it.

A very special weekend followed with a friend, and here i am busting my balls to catch up after a great deal of fun.

Many people can't really wrap their brains around this, but at this moment in mid-November, before Thanksgiving, i'm more or less freaking out over a giant workload for books scheduled to come out in March, April, and May. Yikes!

Moving right along:

• T. Edward Bak is coming into his own and has a new website. I really dig this guy and his work. Check it out!

• Christopher Diaz sent me this Flickr video of James Kochalka performing at GRSF.

James Kochalka Super Star, baby!!

This is why we hired Leigh Walton!

• Nice promo for the Brazilian edition of Box Office Poison!

• Matt Kindt makes another ridiculous "free art with purchase" offer!

"From now until December 11th for every 3 Story: The Secret History of the Giant Man book order I will make an original 5x7 ink and water color piece of art and include it for free with your book. So, if you already have a copy, order one for a gift and keep the art for yourself, or order the book for yourself and gift the art to a friend.

"The cut-off for orders will be December 11th so that I can guarantee delivery before December 25th. The quantity is limited to the first 300 orders (there are only 300 copies left).

"Help 3 Story sell out -- get the last of the 1st printing -- and get free art to go with it! Click here to get it."

By the way, i read this on my Disneyland trip and it's outstanding. It's really really really awesome to see Matt kicking ass, and his star on the rise, after paying his dues for a long long time.

November 4, 2009

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Scott Morse turned me onto this, and it's pretty much bending my brain.

This dovetails nicely with these incredible images from NASA's Hubble Telescope.

• Floating World Comics is hosting yet another bitchin' First Thursday event tomorrow, November 5th. This time around: NEGATIVE BULGE – ART & ZINES BY ISLANDS FOLD

"Luke Ramsey came down for the Zine Symposium this past July to represent the Islands Fold art collective that he started in Pender Island, British Columbia. One night after the fest he was hanging out and participated in a drawing session with local artists: Blaise Larmee, Kinoko (from Seattle), Sean Christensen & Theo Ellsworth. Little did they know, the collaborative jam session would result in a zine of ultimate greatness, Negative Bulge! We are very pleased to present original art from the legendary jam session as well as the new zines from Islands fold."

WHO: Islands Fold, Blaise Larmee, Kinoko, Luke Ramsey, Sean Christensen & Theo Ellsworth
WHAT: Negative Bulge zine release + art exhibit
WHEN: Thursday, Nov. 5th, 6-10pm
WHERE: Floating World Comics, 20 NW 5th Ave #101

• James Kochalka has two Little Paintings gallery shows coming up.

- Monastiraki Gallery in Montreal, opening Friday, November 6
- Giant Robot in San Francisco (GRSF), opening Saturday, November 14

Barack Obama Names Alan Moore Official White House Biographer!!

i love halloween

November 2, 2009 / More →

Here's a picture of my own little Superkid. He really loves superheroes. Go figure, right?

And here's me. Only one person all night knew who i was (Eddie Riggs, aka JAck Black from new video game Brutal Legend), but that's o.k., it was my best costume in years. Several girls were petting my hair and couldn't believe it wasn't real. And damn, if my scruffly face could manage it for real, i think i'd grow mutton chops in a heartbeat. (Note: that little belly you might see is a "prop." I wish.)

i'm not one to bring attention to myself,

October 30, 2009 / More →

but this short film by Sarah Morean at Daily Cross Hatch is pretty awesome. It shows me making a scratch margarita at the Isotope APE After party last weekend. Yummy...

hey, bartender! with Brett Warnock from Sarah Morean on Vimeo.

• Steve Lafler gets the Mixtape Treatment at Inkstuds!

Dean Haspiel serves up his Top 5 non-comics influences at Graphic NYC. Good stuff all.

• We asked James Kochalka to write a brief intro to his collected SuperF*ckers, which kicks off our 2010 schedule in the Spring. It's so fucking awesome i just wanted to run it here.

• I don't think Jeremy Eaton sleeps. Or else he's created a clone. He now has a new blog of, as he says "pop-infused psycho-babble," called Popular Madness.

"Popular Madness, appearing every Monday through Friday, will utilize a vast collection of old comic book panels, acting as springboards for my stream-of-consciousness contemplations, ruminations and cultural criticism – all spiked liberally with touchstones from our shared popular culture."

• My neighbor and friend Vanessa Veselka (who also has a cameo in my film Road To Insignificance) is serializing her novel Zazen on the Arthur Magazine website.

From Jay Babcock:
The Story: It’s the very near-future, somewhere in the Pacific Northwest—or a neighborhood near you. 27-year-old Della Mylinek has suffered some kind of breakdown after failing to stop the construction of a local Wal-Mart. In an attempt to regain psychological, financial and emotional stability, she’s moved in with her brother and his pregnant wife and taken a job waiting tables at a vegan restaurant. But her anger remains, and one thing leads to another…

Zazen” Keywords: geology, veganism, the apocalypse, urban planning, yoga, sex parties, bombs, anarchism, aging new-left revolutionaries, strip malls, paleontology, dark hippies, transcendentalism, lavender hair dye.

The Author: Vanessa Veselka is a writer and musician living in Portland, Oregon. She has been, at various times, a teenage runaway, a sex-worker, a union organizer, a student of paleontology, an expatriate, an independent record label owner, a train-hopper, a waitress and a mother. Her work has appeared in Bust, Bitch, Maxmum Rock ’n’ Roll, Yeti Magazine and Tin House. Zazen is her first novel.

APE came and went in a flash!

October 23, 2009 / More →

Super amounts of fun were had, in spite of a low turnout.

Here's a swell Flickr set of the APE Aftermath Party at Isotope. Will Dinski won the award for Best Mini with his excellent, Covered in Confusion.

Sarah Morean at Daily Cross Hatch made a terrific short film of the event. (In addition to her chronicle of the entire weekend.)

• Speaking of APE, it was a pleasure (as always) to speak with the dynamic duo of Mark Todd and Esther Pearl Watson. I finally picked up Esther's massive Unloveable book. I'd previously only read a handful of the original mini-comics. In any case, the pair will each have a piece in a galley event tomorrow night: True Self, a group exhibition at Jonathan Levine Gallery in NY this Saturday, October 24th.

Esther Pearl Watson:
"Gene Watson Walked Home (with Dreams of Ion Force-Field Motors and Visions of the Future.")
Acrylic, enamel and glitter on panel

Mark todd:
"Civilizations Most Iconic Collective Wisdom."
Mixed media on panel. 12"x16"

• Bill Kelter has a new piece up on the Veeps Blog!!

Dodgem Logic, Alan Moore's new underground newspaper, sounds pretty rad. Here's an excellent short interview with Alan on the subject and other items at Mustard Magazine.

Kristi Turnquist profiles Ben Saunders and his Superhero exhibit at Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at my alma mater University of Oregon.

"Faster than a Speeding Bullet: The Art of the Superhero" runs through January 3rd.

• Jesse Reklaw's band Fun Yeti is playing here in Portland on Saturday, with:
The Tagalongs & the Punk Rock Collective
Tonic Lounge, 3100 NE Sandy Blvd.
Rock starts around 9pm, $5, 21 and over.

• Sweet! Mike Dawson and Chris Radtke's hilariously funny comic series Gabagool! is now entirely available online... for free! This shit is awesome. If Judd Apatow fucked Kevin Smith and their love-child made comics, this is what they would be like.

• Hells yeah... this might be the most anticipated comic i've been jonesin' for in the last decade. Now with a funky YouTube trailer! Afrodisiac In The House!

• And yet another ingenious short film, Principal Skeleton, drops from Graham Annable. Links to his other macabre short films abound. Every one of them a little gem

• Dame Darcy has some wicked cool dolls like this for sale online.

She's also playing a gig next week here in Portland.
10/29 /09 THURSDAY
DXD at the Woods
6637 Milwalkie Ave in PDX
Doors open at 8:00 $5

Food for thought, from the great Greg Palast. On Health Care.