November 25, 2006 / More →
Thanksgiving was swell. Drank Makers & Ginger all day, ate like a king, and FINALLY beat my sneaky little cousin-in-law Taylor at chess, after years of smack-downs. Sure she's only 17, but she's a real smarty-pants.
• Got this note from Matt Madden today. Recommended. Matt is one of North America's leading formalists in comics, and his work is a blast. I don't know if they are in print (i kind of doubt it), but Matt's Terrifying Steamboat Stories was one of my very favorite mini-comics back in the day. He also did the amazing Constructivist cover for Top Shelf Volume 6.
"Just a quick note to let you know that I have a new blog. I'll be regularly posting news about my projects, sketches, and the occasional other odd or end.
Bookmark it or subscribe and enjoy."
• On an entirely different note, i wanted to point out some props Jeffrey Brown received in the brand new Wizard mag. His book collection I Am Going to be Small, was given the Funniest Shit of the Year title. Staff writer Rickey A. Purdin says:
"As sad and introspective as Jeffrey Brown's auto-bio comics like Clumsy can be, this tiny 384-page bible of one-page gags guarantees uncontrollable giggles on the opposite side of the emotional spectrum. From killer babies to jerkwad siblings, these dumb jokes for smart people will have you peeing yourself with every turn of the page."
• Speaking of Wizard, i presume that my fanboy tendencies are made pretty clear on this blog? Yeah, i love spandex when done well. It's what i was weaned on, and even as i moved onto independent comics, my jones for the capes never waned.
So i found a used copy of the Spider-Woman collected hardcover titled Origin, by Brian Bendis and some other fiction writer (Brian Reed), and the Luna Bros. Now, i'd heard and read some disparaging comments on this book, ranging from simply, "it sucked," to "meh..."
Well i loved it. Having been a true-believing Marvel Zombie since the mid-70s, it was impossible for me not to have come across this character. When i did, it was usually with the attitude that she was a cash-in on Spider-MAN (which is obvious), and mostly boring. I do remember digging some funky issues of her solo title that i picked up because they had an X-Men tie-in, with crazy cool art. (Was it Steve Leialoha?) At the time i thought it was o.k, but still, i knew zippo about the character and her past.
Soooo, reading this Bendis book was less of a reboot per se for me, than my first real exposure. Granted, the series may not have lived up to the advance hype the book had behind it, but ultimately, i think it received derogatory reviews because it had the unfortunate timing to be released during a mainstream comics (Marvel and DC) glut of epic crossovers and myriad lame spin-offs, unparalleled since the Jim Shooter era at Marvel. In this type of environment of bigger than the biggest of all big lives tsunami storytelling (rapes, heroes vs. heroes, etc.), any of the smaller, character driven books will fall short by default. Every one is hopped up on crossover sugar highs, and just want more of the same.
Which is sad, because Spider-Woman: Origin is really freaking good stuff. Great premise, good dialogue, intrigue, Hydra, S.H.I.E.L.D., Nick Fury, and most importantly (and arguably why i bought the book in spite of less-than-stellar reviews), incredible luscious art by the Luna Brothers. These are the cats behind two great Image books, Ultra and Girls, and there work is just stunning to take in. (I happened to meet them this last Winter at the Emerald City Con in Seattle, and they are as nice as they are talented.)
Worth checking out, especially when it's released in trade paperback.
November 23, 2006 / More →
• I must say, i do love the Thanksgiving holiday. There's certainly been a lot to be thankful about here at Top Shelf. We've had a really good year, in no small part because of our entire league of amazing creators, designers, letterers, interns, and production staff. Hats off to you all. And big love to Alan and Melinda for allowing us to work together and bring Lost Girls finally into print. It's been a long slog, but i think well worth the wait.
And heaping mounds of thanks to Demeter, the Greek Goddess of The Bountiful Harvest. My family has always been pretty traditional with Thanksgiving, in bringing family and friends together to eat until our bellies bulge. Oh yeah... bring it!
• Finally, thanks to Chris Pitzer of AdHouse Books, a god among men, whose publishing skills are astounding. I just finished the last in his Project: Trilogy, three themed anthologies that just rule. The latest is Project: Romantic, and damn does it rock. If you can afford to kick down for the hardcover, it's worth the price alone for Jim Rugg's amazing endpapers, featuring none other than the ultra bad-ass, Afrodisiac. (See below.)
There's some great shit in here, including the fine introduction by Bill Boichel & Jim Rugg, and two standout strips; "Sewer Girls," another juicy post-apocalyptic tale by the inimitable Kaz Strzepek; and a twisted beauty, "The Fart of Love," by Mr. Rob Goodin.
November 21, 2006 / More →
Lots of good stuff i've been watching and reading.
But first, congrats to Jeffrey Brown and his lady Jennifer! Their wee little one, Oscar Thomas Brown, was born Friday November 17, at 7:10 p.m., weighing in at 7lbs 12oz, and 20.5" long.
Also, at the Faster Than Light radio show, a fabulous podcast with Eddie Campbell.
• Craig Thompson came over a few days ago, and we watched my very first film by French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard, called Masculin Feminin... wow, that's some crazy stuff. Reading up on him after watching the film itself, i found out this was a more documentary style film, as compared to his more well known films, like Breathless and Contempt. Still, as a snapshot of French youth in the mid-sixties, this is a delightful study.
• I'm finally done reading a giant pile of comics from SPX and Stumptown. It was all pretty damn good, but a few things really stood out for me. First, kudos to Christopher Baldwin for making a fantastic mini-masterpiece with his comic, I Am Hans Krunkel. I'm familiar with Christopher's more widely know strip, Bruno, a superbly crafted strip that has been running for a freaking decade. Impressive. But to be honest, Bruno just doesn't float my boat.
That said, I Am Hans Krunkel represents (for me) a monumental leap in his cartooning. The move from slice-of-life to a straight drama (in the independent auteur cinema vein), and from noodling cartooning to a more realistic, sketchy photo-referenced art style seems more convincing to me, and a better use of Baldwin's fine talents as both writer and artist.
• Bugbear #1. The two-person anthology, featuring Eleanor Davis and Drew Weing who together form Little House Comics. Damn, these two amazing cartoonists need to be much wider known than they currently are. From the beautiful and luscious silk-screened cover by Drew, to a string of hits inside, Bugbear is a must-read comic for any of you out there who consider yourselves part of the comics cognoscenti. Both artists have such an absolute command of their work, that each individual story employs a slightly different, yet consistently wonderful style. Davis' story "Camping Trip With My Dad and Sister c. 1997," is my favorite pick. Delicately drawn and sparsely written, this strip is infused with a naturalist's appreciation for the natural world, and includes some exquisite drawings of various flora and fauna.
Also, from Eleanor Davis, a comic called The Beast Mother. A neat spin combining the Russian Baba Yaga myth and the classic mercenary dragon-slayer story, this is super. Davis really knows how to tell a story. And her art is incredible. I want MORE!
• Speaking of Dragon-slayers, K. Thor Jensen's knew book, KSOFM is stuck squarely in an epic fantasy world, where the real men wear chainmail and swing a hefty sword. In this, the hero is sent to dispatch a gnarly, mutant giant; the self-proclaimed "King Shit of this particular Fuck Mountain." Drawn very fast and loose, it looks like Thor whipped this out in just a few hours. Nevertheless, it's a gem. Great great comics.
• Alec Longstreth takes a crazy left turn from his ongoing serial "Basewood," and tells us the autobiographical story of his own intense indoctrination into comics, and his big big love for the medium. Alec's passion is bordering on psychotic, and this tenth issue of his book Phase 7, is a blast. Most yawn-inducing "how i found comics" stories are usually hideous, but here Alec's writing and pacing is excellent. Take a bow, Alec.
• Got a glimpse of Lauren Weinstein's next book in a mini-comic called Becky and Friends. Drawn in b&w, her work here is just awesome. Riffing on a cartoony and yet simultaneously realistic style not unlike David Collier, her pages are much more densely packed than normal, and the story of a wallflower teen forced to attend a Christian sports camp is really fun. The story, called "Horse Camp," is set to run in a book scheduled for '07 called Stuck in the Middle, published by Viking.
• Finally, the third issue of Papercutter solidifies editor/publisher Greg Means' stature as a go-to guy with his Tugboat Press, and one to keep your eye on. With all due respect the plethora of steroid-injected vanity anthologies out there stealing all the thunder (most of which i dig all the same), i nominate the humble Papercutter as The Best anthology in North American comics. Each issue features only two or three cartoonists, all of whom Means seems to be able to coax just right in order for them to produce some of their finest work ever. (Somewhere in these archives i've gushed about the first two issues.) In issue #3, we see two lengthier tales … "Untitled," by Elijah J. Brubaker, and "Burden," by Graham Annable … and a stunning one-pager by Lilli Carre. Exceptional work all around.
November 15, 2006 / More →
More Gregory Benton work for you to oogle.
"I've attached my paintings for that NY show: The fish one (titled "gah!!! they're nibbling!!") is 24" x 36", and the eyes are small at 5" x 5" each. Enamel on canvas & wood, respectively."
November 12, 2006 / More →
•Â First things first... let's all join hands and sing Kum Bah Ya, the Blue Wave on election day signaled massive dissatisfaction with the lock-step GOP. Now maybe we can set out to deal with Iraq, have some real checks & balances to government, and return some safeguards to the very fabric of our constitution. The netroots really proved their worth this election, and i can only hope that the Dems the people elected can grab their figurative cajones in their hands, and affect real change.
•Â Stellar short interview at Newsarama with Eric Stephenson from Image Comics.
•Â Following is a list of mini-comics, comics, graphic novels, art books and other sundry items from the two conventions i attended in October, SPX and the Stumptown Comics Fest. Now, normally i'd be providing boatloads of web-links to nifty things i like. This list ended up so long though, it'd take me a freaking week just to do this work. So if you have any interest in the items listed, by all means google said item, and you should be able to find almost everything here.
•Â Stuff i came home with from SPX:
Meerkats Among Us, by Alex Kim
Pomegranate #2, by Joseph Belden
The Mourningstar, by Kazimir Strzepek (Bodega)
Golden Herring, by Lilli Carre
Fifty-fifty, jam book by Lilli Carre and Jeremy Tinder
Girl Stories trading cards, by Lauren Weinstein
Simple Routines #5, The Other Side, and Unattached, by JP Coovert
The Aviary (galley), by Jamie Tanner
Power of 6 #1, and Local Stations, by Jon Lewis
Rabid Rabbit #4, anthology edited by C.M. Butzer
Folded Paper Assembly #2, by James Hindle
Husky #2, by Alex Robinson and Tony Consiglio
PulpHope.A, by Paul Pope (AdHouse)
Project Romantic, anthology edited by Chris Pitzer (AdHouse)
Survival of the Fittest, by Gregory Benton
Tales of the Unusual, by Joey Weiser
Gilded Lilies, by Jillian Tamaki
Double Yellow Line, by Hope Larson and JP Coovert
Meathaus #8, anthology edited by Farel Dalrymple
Fox Bunny Funny, by Andy Hartzell
The Mother's Mouth, by Dash Shaw (Alternative Comics)
Bugbear, self-published 2-person anthology, featuring Drew Weing and Eleanor Davis
The Beast Mother, by Eleanor Davis
Phase 7 #10, by Alec Longstreth
Becky and Friends, by Lauren Weinstein
The Drips, by Taylor McKimens (Picturebox)
Cold Heat #1 and 2, by BJ and Frank Santoro (Picturebox)
Craig Yoe's Weird But True Toon Factoids
Lucky, by Gabrielle Bell (Drawn & Quarterly)
Curses, by Kevin Huizenga (Drawn & Quarterly)
The Vagabonds #2, by Josh Neufeld (Alternative Comics)
Daybreak, by Brian Ralph (Bodega)
New Tales of Old Palomar, by Gilbert Hernandez (Fantagraphics)
KSOFM, by K. Thor Jensen
Venus magazine #29, with a Melinda Gebbie interview by Joe McCabe
•Â Stuff i came home with from Stumptown:
Mome: Winter 2007 (Fantagraphics)
Popeye Vol.1 (Fantagraphics)
Gene Deitch's Terr'ble Thompson!: Hero of Hist'ry! (Fantagraphics)
The Comics Journal Library: Harvey Kurtzman (Fantagraphics)
Mine Tonight, by Alixopolis (Sparkplug)
Four volumes of Kip Manley's short-story zine City of Roses. (AMAZING covers.)
Touchfood, by Jen Wang (Favorite comic of the year)
Home Portrait, also by Jen Wang (Second favorite comic of the year)
I Am Hans Krunkle, by Chris Baldwin
The Fish Keeper, by Georgine Goodwin
Papercutter #3, featuring Elijah Brubaker, Lille Carre, and Graham Annable (Tugboat)
Empire Builder, jam book by Lilli Carre and Jeremy Tinder
Swell, by Lillie Carre
Meat Beaters, by Sean Bieri
Guapo, anthology for an event at Guapo Comics
Jesusland, by David Chelsea
Personal Mission, by Carolyn Main
Pet Noir, anthology edited by Shannon O'Leary (Manic D Press)
BadAzz MoFo, edited by David Walker.... whoo hoo!! It's been too long!
Pandora's Garage, featuring work by Alan Bennett.
I didn't buy any of his print,s but a guy named Chris Turnham had some of THE coolest art prints i've ever seen. In the Bruce Tim, Darwyne Cooke school.
November 6, 2006 / More →
I still have three huge piles of comics picked up at SPX and Stumptown that i want to list, for your edification, and i still will... i promise. But i just haven't had the opportunity to start.
Meanwhile, here's a press release from my pal David (Less Than Heroes) Yurkovich, and a pet project, fund-raising book he's producing, on the life and work of Bill Mantlo.
But before that, i wanted to ask any readers if they know anything about a possible rerelease of the classic 90's noir film L.A. Confidential. I just watched that tonight on the big screen at local pub-theater The Laurelhurst Theater. I haven't seen this since it came out almost a decade ago, and it blew me away just like it did the first time. Holy shit! what a great movie. This is certainly a film that truly deserves a super-deluxe dvd upgrade. Any news along these lines would be welcome.
For Immediate Release
BILL MANTLO BENEFIT PROJECT: An Appeal to Fan, Pros, and Retailers
With 54 of its 64 pages finished, MANTLO: A LIFE IN COMICS (aka, The Bill Mantlo Benefit Project) nears completion. The project, initiated by David Yurkovich (LESS THAN HEROES, DEATH BY CHOCOALTE: REDUX) in May 2006 is planned for a spring 2007 release through his Sleeping Giant imprint. It features a retrospective of Bill’s extensive career at Marvel, which included lengthy runs on INCREDIBLE HULK, ROM, MICRONAUTS, and PETER PARKER, THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN. Also covered are Mantlo’s co-creations, such as CLOAK AND DAGGER, JACK OF HEARTS, ROCKET RACCOON, and SWORDS OF THE SWASHBUCKLERS. The benefit project includes rare photos as well as interviews with many of Bill’s fellow industry professionals like George Pérez, Mike Mignola, Marv Wolfman, Tony Isabella, Al Milgrom, Herb Trimpe, Ed Hannigan, Roger Stern, and Jackson Guice, as well as insights from Mike Mantlo and from Bill’s daughter, Corinna. Additionally, the project features previously unpublished fiction by Mantlo, including Bill’s bittersweet character study, AFTERMATH, which Yurkovich has adapted into a six-page sequential format color story.
All proceeds from MANTLO: A LIFE IN COMICS are being donated to Bill’s caregiver and brother, Mike Mantlo. Yurkovich has created a special web site portal and is appealing to fans, pros, and retails for their assistance. “I commenced this project because I had to,” Yurkovich noted. “Bill is one of the main reasons I got hooked on comics in my youth. As a life-long fan of his work, I think a tribute of this nature is long overdue. As more and more fans are exposed to Bill’s work for the first time (through back issues and Marvel’s reprint collections), I think Bill’s story should be told. Because Bill’s tragic accident has left him cognitively incapacitated, I’m working to tell that story from interviews with his writer/artist/ editor colleagues at Marvel, archival footage, and interviews with Bill’s family. Unfortunately, I’m producing this book at the same time that my wife and I undergo a costly international adoption, leaving me with literally no funding. Thus, I’m appealing to fans, pros, and retailers to help.”
The Bill Mantlo portal offers fans, pros, and retailers the opportunity to help make this project a success and a lasting tribute. Yurkovich is appealing to Bill’s friends and enthusiasts to contribute directly to the project. A donation will help to offset the printing and advertising costs of the book. Additionally, donors who contribute $20 or more will receive a copy of the completed book, and will be listed in a special thank-you section. “This is going to be a good project, and with the support of the comics community it’ll be a great project. I’ve been working on this for nearly seven months. I’m pleased to have contributed my time assembling, designing, and coordinating this project. I really wish I could also fund it as well. Since I can’t, I’m hoping that Bill’s legions of fans and friends will lend a hand.”
Donations can be made via Paypal or via check. To date, nearly four-dozen donations have been received from fans in the US and abroad, and from pros including Tony Isabella, Sean McKeever, and Phil Hester. “I’m hopeful that more fans, pros, and retailers will offer their financial support to this benefit book. Mike and I are extremely grateful to those who have already donated to the project. I’m posting all comments from contributors on the web site, and I’ve added contact information for anyone wishing to send a note to Mike. Incidentally, Bill celebrates his 55th birthday this week (on November 9), and I know that Mike would love to hear from anyone wishing to send along a note of good cheer to Bill.”
MANTLO: A LIFE IN COMICS is a non-profit benefit book scheduled for a spring 2007 release. The 64-page, magazine-sized (8.5 x 11”) project is being produced in black-and-white, and features a special color section with previously unpublished material by Bill Mantlo. The book is written, edited, and designed by David Yurkovich, and is being published by Sleeping Giant. Retail price is undetermined, but will likely be in the $5 to $6 range.
Additional information: www.sleepinggiantcreations.com
November 2, 2006 / More →
Well this year's Stumptown Comics Fest has come and gone, and while there were some issues with filling seats (so to speak), it was yet another fun show in the ever growing Portland Comics scene. Huge props to festival organizer Indigo Kelleigh once again, for another fine effort. I'll certainly be back next year.
I had a house full of guests in town this year for Stumptown, and a good time was had by all. My great friend Rob (Robot Publishing) Goodin and his wife Georgine stayed with us for four nights. In addition to the comics thing, we had some great meals during their stay, including dinner at the new Southern style restaurant in our 'hood called Screen Door (recommended drink …Â the Rhett Butler... Maker's Mark, ginger ale, and actual muddled ginger), breakfast at the all-mighty Cadillac Cafe, and of course, dinner at Taqueria Nueve.
I've know Rob for a decade now, and it was wonderful to have him and Georgine crash at Casa De Warnock for a long weekend.
On Thursday night, i hosted a small cocktail party of mostly Top Shelfers. The drink of the night was jalapeno margaritas. Here's a pic of myself and The Kid, as snapped that night by webmaster Nate Beaty.
Mr. CBLDF himself, Charles Brownstein also crashed here for a couple nights, and although he wasn't around the house much, it was nice to see Charles NOT working for a change, seeing old friends, and catching up on a little deserved R&R. (Plug for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. If you're not a member, you should be. Learn more here.)
At the show itself we had Aaron Renier, Liz Prince, Lille Carre, and Jeremy Tinder all in from out of town. (These four, along with Kaz, were the "away team" in Ezra Claytan Daniels' epic Comix Apocalypse …Â see the Flicker photo site listed below to catch some great pics of this.) Craig Thompson and Brett Weldele hung out at the table for a while, too, singing books and what have you.
(Check out Brett's kick-ass new poster for this year's Grindhouse Film Fest, taking place this very weekend.)
Also on hand were three generations of Top Shelf interns: Carlos Hernandez Fisher, Chris Ross, and (current intern) Jacquelene Cohen.
I had the esteemed pleasure to sit on a panel about comics anthologies with some fine industry folks, including Dylan (Sparkplug) Williams, Diana (Dark Horse) Schutz, Shannon (Pet Noir) O'Leary, Greg (Papercutter) Means, and Kazu (Flight) Kibuishi. It was quite fun. In the end, we all agreed that Kazu's incredible Flight anthology is truly an anomaly, in that it is quite possibly the only profitable anthology in the history of English-language comics.
The Top Shelf / ONI Press party, Comic Tonic was a raging success. Heaps of thanks to everyone who helped, the Oni guys for co-sponsoring, Corey Lewis for the awesome poster, Pinball Publishing for printing it, Jason (Floating World) Leivian for spinning records, and especially Jacq for making it all happen in the first place.
The crazy weekend ended with some karaoke at Chopsticks. The highlight … Zack Soto's truly inspired rendition of Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive." It was so fucking awesome i just had to get up and dance my ass off to that one!
•Â Here's some Flickr photo sets of Stumptown, including some amazing photography by Renaissance Man Joshin Yamada.
•Â And here's a few pics by Chris Ross.
•Â My only problem with comics is that there's just too much great stuff coming out anymore, that i simply don't think i'll ever be able to read them all. Next installment of the blog, i'll list the stuff i came home with from both SPX and Stumptown. Tons and tons of fabulous stuff, but hands down my favorite discoveries are by two girls working primarily in animation: I picked up Jen Wang's Touchfood, easily my favorite mini of the last several years.. It's truly an astoundingly beautiful piece of work. And my favorite t-shirt in as many years was given to my by the delightfully talented Vera Brosgol.
•Â Renee French has been announced as a guest at San Diego ComiCon 2007.
•Â Here's some info on David Yurkovich's Bill Mantlo tribute book.
•Â Kochalka gets more props in Spin!
From Spin magazine, here's "The Spin Mix: Songs you need to download now!"
They describe Britney's Silver Can as "An indie rock heart-pounder that envisions Brit dejectedly playing Game Boy in bed and saying Justin's name more than 100 times."
Oh, and here's his cover for the next issue of SuperF*ckers!!
October 25, 2006 / More →
•Â First, Paw Mathiasen sent me a link to the killer anthology BLAEK that i blogged about last week. It's really fine work, though i'm still not quite sure how to go about purchasing this, with the site and prices all in Danish.
•Â And speaking of anthologies, i picked up the second edition of You Ain't No Dancer (theme: YOUTH) at SPX, and read it last night in a bit of a sick-with-a-cold daze. Published by New Reliable Press, Y.A.N.D. is pretty damn good. Front and back covers by Jeffrey Brown certainly get things off to a fine start. Inside, there's a fair share of meh... material, but a few strips do stand out. Mainly, the work of Hope Larson, Meg Hunt (her website is AMAZING), Patrick Murphy, Jeffrey Brown, K. Thor Jensen, Blaise Laramee, Grant Reynolds, Lilli Carre, Phil McAndrew, Dalton Sharp, Dalton Webb, Jon Sukarangsan, and Neil Babra. (The last three of which are clearly influenced by Craig Thompson, and yet all three look and read fabulous to me nonetheless.)
Kudos to the editor(s) for a job well done.
October 21, 2006 / More →
•Â Addendum to the fun at SPX. The Sunday picnic was canceled this year, because no parks could be found that had toilets. Clearly, this is problematic. So the organizers used the budget to rent out space and food at a place called (I think?) Dave & Busters, sort of a Chucky Cheese without the seizure-inducing lights and colors, and with a full sports bar for the grown-ups. Personally, i REALLY hope SPX will be in September again next year (as it usually is), and will have the picnic & softball game on Sunday.
That said, Chris, Jacq, and myself walked over to Dave & Busters, and ended up having a blast in the arcade. We met up with Chris (AdHouse) Pitzer, and cartoonists Scott Morse and Rob Ullman. Just when i thought i was the King of the air-hockey table (with a sore arm for days to prove it), along came Pitzer to put me in my place. Damn you, Chris! Standouts for me were the basketball game (i loves me the hoops), the shooting gallery, and the snowmobile race.
•Â I also forgot to mention a stunning art/comix coffee-table book called BLAEK (in league with the likes of the recent volumes of Kramer's Ergot), given to me by Paw Mathiasen, a Danish publisher, and editor of the anthology Farenheit. This is a real gem, which may or may not be available in the States, so if you stumble across a copy, it's truly worth picking up. (Paw, coincidentally, will be publishing the Danish version of Blankets soon.)
•Â Meanwhile, i recently wrapped up a zine that had been sitting on my bedside table since Carter was born almost two years ago, called Journal Song #6, by a Portlander named Steve Gevurtz. His writing is extremely personal, quite infectious, and REALLY good. I'd rank this guy's writing style up there near the prowess even of the almighty Aaron Cometbus. (Though i'd love to see him try some longer form work in the future, as each pice here is anywhere from 2 - 6 pages on average.) Journal Song was published by punk-rock distro juggernaut Microcosm.
•Â We got Corey Lewis' Stumptown poster back from the printer, and it looks sweet! Thanks to Randy at Oni for scanning this.
• If you get my blog (god help you) on an RSS feed, then make sure you check out the new comics that are up. There's some great shot by Gregory Benton, Brecht Evens, Lode Devroe, James Hindle and Will Dinski. Oh, and there's also a big-ass sale going on at the Top Shelf website as well.
•Â Finally, i saw Tom Galambos at SPX (Tom did a phenomenal comic years ago called All the Wrong Places), and he told me about a piece he did that sounded pretty kick-ass, so i asked him to send me a link or a photo... and viola! I don't know much behind this, but it certainly looks interesting. Thanks, Tom!
October 19, 2006 / More →
• SPX found itself in a brand new location this year, at one of the several Marriotte Hotels in the burbs of Bethesda. And except for the fact that this newish hotel had some of the most appalling decor in the history of the world, and that getting a cab was next to impossible (literally... what the fuck?!), by the end of the day, i'd say the show was a success.
Kudos to outgoing administrator Steve Conley and incoming administrator Karen Flage, Ignatz Awards maestro Jeff Alexander, and the man on the ground, Warren Bernard.
Fun things. 1) Attending the Jules Feiffer panel, moderated by Tim Kreider. Feiffer is still razor sharp, and his tales were inspiring. Props too to Tim for excellent questions. 2) The bar scene was pretty hopping. In fact there were two bars. The booze was flowing. 3) Staying two nights at Greg and Laura Bennett's house. Their generosity is beyond reproach. 4) Hanging out with Bob Schreck and Paul Pope at Chez Bennett the night before leaving for home. 5) Seeing our intern Jacquelene really rock at the table. She was definitely our best earner. 6) Winning more Ignatz Awards. Congrats to Andy Runton (Outstanding Series) and Alex Robinson (Outstanding Graphic Novel) for two big wins. 7) Fancy Chinese food at P.F. Chang's with Lilli Carré, Jeremy Tinder, and intern Jacq. 8) Being on a panel on the State of Distribution in Comics, with Gary (Fantagrahics) Groth, Dan (Picture Box) Nadel, and guest panelist Lauren Weinstein. Thanks to Bill Kartalopoulos for inviting me onto the panel in the first place. 9) Selling out of all 100 copies of Nate Powell's new Top Shelf book, Please Release. 10) Wide Awake 666, the new horror anthology edited by madman J. Chris Campbell, from Wide Awake Press. 11) New books by Brian Ralph (Daybreak) and Kaz (The Mourning Star) at Bodega Books. 12) Yet more insanely beautiful books from Drawn & Quarterly, including the new Kevin Huizenga (Curses) and Gabrielle Bell (Lucky). 13) D&Q employee Rebecca's super kick-ass, rock & roll haircut.
• And on a different note. Word out for a killer cause, as Portland's own Excalibur Comics hosts an event on Sunday, October 29th, the day after the Stumptown Comix Fest, and coinciding with "Wonder Woman Day," the proceeds of which go to two shelters for women and children. They're doing a silent auction with some incredible original art, including the likes of Alex Robinson, John Romita, Colleen Coover, Ryan Sook, Mike Allred, and many many more. The event runs from 2 - 6:00 p.m. If you're in Portland that weekend, check it out.
October 9, 2006 / More →
•Â Off to Small Press Expo in just a few days, and getting fired up. This is hands-down my favorite con of all the cons. It'll be interesting to see what the vibe is like at the new hotel. It's been such an interesting year in comics, i have a feeling it'll be jumpin'.
•Â Corey Lewis, mastermind behind the Oni books Sharknife and Peng!, just completed the poster for the first ever Top Shelf/Oni Press co-hosted party for Stumptown Comics Fest, which we are calling (thanks to intern Jacq), Comic Tonic. (An official announcement will hopefully be on both our sites soon.)
In the meantime, here is Corey's first rough sketch, followed by the first treatment of the finished poster. Cool stuff.
October 6, 2006 / More →
Went out to Pushdot Studio (generally a photography studio), to see a group show called ONE SHOT, featuring cartoonists showcasing a single panel, culled from a longer narrative. The intent being to show the power that even a single panel might have, whether it be in context, or separated from the narrative, on its own level. The results were mixed, formally (a few examples simply didn't hold water on their own merit), but the artwork itself was for the most part, really gorgeous. Jenn Manley-Lee curated, to nice effect, and Colleen Coover's piece for the show, was also used as the promo art.
Graham Annable and his studio-mate John (with whom he worked, at gazillionairre Phil Knight's new animation studio, whose name i forget), were the first guys i bumped into, and it was just fun from there on out. I has some good conversation with folks like Steve Lieber (and his lovely wife Sara), Kip Manley (husband of the curator), Jesse Hamm, and Zack Soto. My intern Jacq showed up too, bit about 20 minutes late, so we and her roommate Bowen walked across the street to legendary brewpub, Bridgeport Brewery for some suds. On tap tonight? First their award-winning IPA (literally my favorite beer in the world) and a seasonal Belgian-style summer lager call SÅ«pris that kicked ass.
September 30, 2006 / More →
September 25, 2006 / More →
John Weeks lets fly with another fine addition of Comics Lifestyle.
Also, here's the cover for one of Jeffrey Brown's forthcoming books with Top Shelf, Feeble Attempts. Nice work, Jeffrey.
September 18, 2006 / More →
Jesus mama, it's been over a week since i blogged. Sadly, it looks like my dream of writing lengthy, thought-provoking essays on comics business and culture …Â ala the likes of Steven Grant or Tom Spurgeon …Â is really just a pipe dream. I have no idea how these guys have the time to write such insightful and considered work, but huge props to them and their ilk.
Oh well, i can still point the magic wand towards some really cool stuff written by other people, and i can still post fabulous art from various sources, a lot of which you might not see anywhere else! So yeah, put that in your blog and smoke it!
•Â From Cambodia, Mr. Comics International John Weeks writes:
Happy birthday! And there's presents for all! After six months a surprise package from Top Shelf arrived via seamail! (Maybe someone was busy reading the books before it got to us?)
Artist Soeung Makara (holding Owly), Lim Santepheap, Sim Sisuvathara, John Weeks.
Pic 02: Superfast sketch artist Moeu Diyadaravuth and Photoshop whiz Try Samphos check out the goodies.
Carnet de voyage went to Khmer filmmaker Rithy Panh, and the other books are circulating pretty fast. Interesting to note the different reactions. For most the English is tricky, that doesn't stop 'em.
Proper site to follow in another few weeks. You're welcome to repost the photos. We are busting a hump on an anticorruption/teen romance comic, due mid-November! Artist is Nhek Sophaleap."
Meanwhile, after raving about Tim Leong's smashing Comic Foundry web magazine, i hit their archives and checked out the few issues i had yet to read, to find not one but two Top Shelf cartoonists interviewed in their pages. Who hoo!
(Lilli's beautiful cover for the forthcoming Best American Comics anthology.)
Lilli Carre’ plays 10 Questions with Tim, and Brett Weldele (artist of The Surrogates) talks with Andrew Avery about his gorgeous work on the prequel graphic novel series to Richard (Donnie Darko) Kelley's new film, Southland Tales.
(One of Brett's insanely fucking cool freelance pieces … this one for the Portland Grindhouse Film Fest.)
• Heaps of praise to Alex Robinson and James Kochalka for their recent victories at the Harveys!
•Â Jason at Floating World Comics here in Portland turned me onto an incredible Spanish magazine called Rojo, which fans of the old school Fort Thunder crew, or the newer Buenaventura gang, would go apeshit for. It's essentially a collective of work by artists in various mediums, but it shares a sensibility for that loose new school of hipster art. The magazines are pretty pricey at $30, and hard to find as well, but oh my, what amazing work is to be had therein.
•Â Finally, if comics are starting to bore you right now, go read this interesting article in Market Watch, called "Ten big news stories you aren't hearing
Traditional media ignore or downplay significant events." It's great to see this in a decidedly capitalistic publication.