Hey Bartender! pg. 7

James Kochalka writes in:

October 30, 2011 / More →

"This map will be handed out to kids who attend the Halloween party at my son Eli's school. It lists the various activities, some of them kinda abstractly...

For instance, 'silly winds' is a ping pong ball race where you blow the ping pong balls with a straw."

• Here's a sweet new piece from Gregory Benton!

• Snow pummeled New York as i write this, so Jennifer Hayden's UNDERWIRE launch party tonight at Bergen Street Comics in Park Slope has been postponed. The party has been rescheduled for Saturday, November 12, at 8:00 p.m.

Jennifer writes:
"Many thanks to hosts Tom and Amy Adams, whose beautiful store, Bergen Street Comics, is located at #470 Bergen Street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. Just steps away from the 2/3 Bergen Street subway stop. You can also take the 4/5/B/Q trains to Atlantic Avenue, or the D/M/N/R trains to Pacific Street.

"There'll be beer, bubbly, and books! And you can meet a couple of real-live characters from my comix: my husband Steve and my daughter Charlotte. We'll also be serving Charlotte's favorite drink: Shirley Temples! And live music will be provided by Steve Hayden on his electric guitar, with possible accompaniment by me on my electric fiddle..."

An Underwire review from Under the Radar magazine:
"Jennifer Hayden's Underwire is so fucking inspiring. If that naughty word put you off, avoid this web-comic collection. It is filled with salty language while relating the intimate observations of a woman in her late 40s. Hayden's drawings of flawed and wonderful characters from her life are naive, but so very sweet. If Underwire looks like it's drawn by someone who might also write and illustrate children's books, that's because it is. The central character is the author herself, and she's a joy. She's bawdy, messy, raucous, and entirely human — as likely to sit around with her friends, slamming wine and gossiping, as she is to lament over her son leaving for college. She draws and thanks goddesses a lot (you might too, if you were a cancer survivor!), but she's also a witty sweetheart who loves her kids and enjoys banging her husband. One criticism is that her end panels come too abruptly, but that adds to the realism a bit. Oh, messy life! Hayden is seriously fun, alive, and inspiring — as an artist, a writer, a woman, and a human being. Brava!" —Kate Mercier

• In other news, just wanted to point out that our friends at Sparkplug will be tabling at several festivals in the next couple months: MIX on November 5th and 6th, Short Run Small Press Fest on November 12th and Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Fest on December 3rd. Look for more updates about these events in the next couple weeks!

October 13, 2011

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From Hell is now available in digital form, ready to impress people looking over your shoulder as you peruse comics on your iPad, Kindle, or Nook. Check it out at iTunes and Comixology!

• Harkening back to yesteryear, Mark Arsenault returns to the comics fold with a newly minted Wow Cool!! No lie folks, there used to be a time before internet was widely used (gasp!), when the Wow Cool and (John Porcellino's) Spit and a Half catalogs were the only game in town where one could find and order mini-comics by your favorite comics creator or zinester. Self-publishers take note -- this could be huge.

• Oh how i love Naomi Klein... a gorgeous rabble-rouser...

Anyway, here she waxes eloquent about Occupy Wall Street, and how this might could possibly hopefully be a real game-changer. The super-elite in corporate and political power don't give a flying f*ck about you or me, people. Just sayin'...

October 8, 2011

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This bartender is back from a somewhat extended holiday, having traveled down into Southern Oregon and Northern/Central California for lots of camping, as well as my annual pilgrimage into San Francisco for APE. (Alternative Press Expo.) I won't lie, kids, traipsing through old-growth redwoods is hard to beat...

Anyway, i didn't get too much loot from the show this year, but i did happen across a few illustrators whose work is pretty damn fine, including Helen Chau, Marian Dilan, Aggie Cheung, and Kelsey Short.




And of course, big up to James and Kirsten at Isotope Comics for letting me do my margarita-mixin'... i think i finally figured out why i seem incapable of not getting blotto doing this, but i'm pretty sure i shouldn't write about it here. ; )

• Meanwhile, here's a little film Kagan McLeod put together for the Infinite Kung Fu Launch Party Featuring Hop Fu.

• Finally, with Craig Thompson's Habibi out now, and most likely breaking new sales records, Eddie Campbell trotted out this older review he wrote for Craig's outstanding Carnet de Voyage.

shannon wheeler, one-one-one-one!

September 17, 2011 / More →

burning building!

September 15, 2011 / More →

September 14, 2011

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• The wonderful David Lasky is trying to wrap up his gorgeous Dont' Forget This Song graphic novel and launched a Kickstarter campaign with writer Frank Young to finish it. I've been wanting to see this for years, people, so let's help him get it done!

• Here's a new trailer for Jennifer Hayden's terrific graphic novel Underwire!

UNDERWIRE: The Trailer from Jennifer Hayden on Vimeo.

• The new issue of Strapazin arrived in the post from Switzerland today, and it's another beauty. Maybe the most consistent and long-running international comics anthology running.

Here's a choice interior page from P.Paetzel & S. Scholz. ALL of these stories can be read for free on their website!!

• This is just amazing.

A Timelapse Journey with Nature: 2009-2011 from Henry Jun Wah Lee on Vimeo.

• And as promised, more news from Jennifer Hayden!

"I'll be selling fresh, hot copies of UNDERWIRE at The Brooklyn Book Festival this Sunday, September 18, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the Brooklyn Borough Hall. If you can make it, come find me at table #118, where I'll be with Kevin Kobasic, New York City cartoonist and creator of the very funny book BEANBOTS. Along with UNDERWIRE, I'll be selling fine art prints of stand-alone art from UNDERWIRE, as well as UNDERWIRE Wearables--my new line of jewelry made with closeups of art from my book--and a new minicomic collecting the first ten strips from my new webcomic S'CRAPBOOK.

"At 1:00 I'll be speaking on a panel at the festival which should be seriously good called "Funny Ha-Ha: Comedy in Comics", moderated by Heidi MacDonald, with Michael Kupperman (Mark Twain's Autobiography: 1910-2010), Keith Knight (The Knight Life: Chivalry Ain't Dead), and superstar Kate Beaton (Hark! A Vagrant). The official press release for the festival is below.

"P.S.--To my fucking horror, SPX was videotaping the panel I participated in last weekend--"Images of The Body". Watch it, if you dare..."

SPX 2011 - Images of the Body from Small Press Expo on Vimeo.

September 11, 2011

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Dylan Williams is gone. I had a real good cry when i read the news a few hours ago, my 6-year old son Carter consoling me the while. Dylan's illness pretty much came up out of nowhere in the first place, at least for me. And now he's gone. We'd see each other several times a year, at parties, conventions, books stores, wherever — Portland's a small town — and while i'd heard he had some health issues, he himself certainly never let on about it or to what extent. I just participated on a comics panel with Dylan at the IPRC not long ago, and he was just as vital a comics intellect and crazy fanboy as ever. Part of the comics cognoscenti. I'd known Dylan since i began publishing; his activity in San Francisco with Puppy Toss was a huge influence on me, and was one of the catalysts that gave me the publishing bug. I featured some of his own comics in the Top Shelf anthology way back when. Wither Sparkplug, damnit? Shit crap damn. Dylan was a friend and a peer and he was one the good guys...

I'll miss you. I've no doubt you'll be kicking some ass wherever you are now...

everything priced to MOVE!!

September 8, 2011 / More →

jennifer hayden jennifer hayden jennifer hayden!!!

September 6, 2011 / More →

Just got this newsletter info from Jennifer Hayden. Her work is outstanding, so listen up close now, y'hear!!


Hey Friends--

UNDERWIRE is here! No shit! 100 copies are sitting in my living room right now!

Top Shelf did a beautiful job publishing this baby--softcover with French flaps, and a gorgeous book and cover design by Chris Ross. It's eighty pages, with twenty-two of the webcomic strips, plus seventeen new pages of comix and art made exclusively for this book.

UNDERWIRE debuts at Small Press Expo this weekend, September 10 & 11, in Bethesda, Maryland. I'll be there all weekend, so swing on by the Top Shelf table, and I'll deface a copy for ya.

On Sunday, if you're looking for trouble, come listen to a panel I'll be speaking on at 3:00 p.m. called "Images of The Body". Moderator Craig Fischer will talk with Robyn Chapman (Hey 4-Eyes!, Make), Gabby Schulz (Monsters), and Jen Vaughn (Don't Hate, Menstruate! Heavy Flow), and me about "the ethics, erotics and extremes involved in representing the external experience of the body." Should be pretty graphic...

I'm also bringing along a new minicomic you can pick up if you're at the show-a collection of strips from my new webcomic S'CRAPBOOK.

If you can't make it to SPX, you can always order a copy of UNDERWIRE.

And if you want to read a nice review of UNDERWIRE, try this.

Thanks for all of your support over the years! And if I've got someone on this mailing list who is just dying to get off it, I completely sympathize--just shoot me an email and I'll remove you from the list...

And thank the Goddess for all the books!


YIKES!... two weeks since my last update...

August 27, 2011 / More →

Hey, i've been busy doing domestic stuff; sanded and oiled my back patio picnic table; painted the entirety of my kitchen and breakfast nook; and have been working my garden and cooking up a storm. (Besides which, Twitter and Facebook take "some" of the pressure off of me with this blog gig, though that's no excuse.)

Anyhoo, lots to catch up on...

A benefit sale is being held at Floating World here in Portland this coming Monday, the 29th and Tuesday, the 30th to offset Sparkplug Comics publishing magnate Dylan Williams' medical bills as he battles cancer. If you aren't in Portland, Tom Spurgeon has a call-to-arms on the Comics Reporter encouraging you to buy Sparkplug Comics directly from the source as a means of support.

Floating World Comics is located in their (awesome new, spacious, light-filled) digs at 400 NW Couch, one block off Burnside at 4th & Couch. They are open from 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. every day.

• Check out this sweet art update by old Top Shelf-er Rick (Crust) Pinchera. But wait!... Rick just completed work illustrating the graphic for Top Shelf West's very first (15 years later) trade show banner display! I'll be debuting this at APE, so come on by and check it out in person!

Here for your edification are the work files that Rick sent my way as we worked together to find the final image. I have to say, it was huge fun working with Rick again on this as art director.

• From New Zealand's Ant Sang (whose Dharma Punks blew my mind years ago), comes his new graphic novel Shaolin Burning. Holy crap this looks awesome!

Here's the trailer.

• Former Top Shelf intern Andy Kettler has been one busy motherfucker, spending some time at SVA, and honing his wildly spectacular chops. Great shit, Andy!

• Check this out! Now you can get the Top Shelf Kids Club Sampler for FREE on iBooks.

Here's a trio of awesome Top Shelf reviews at The Daily Blam! Thanks to @nitamosquita for the heads-up on Twitter ; )

• The great Richmond Fontaine (lead by frontman Willy Vlautin) has this bitchin' scary new video out, promoting their awesome new record The High Country. It's directed by fellow Oregonian Gary Lundgren, who directed the excellent film Calvin Marshall a couple years ago. Coincidentally, my friend John Askew provided the music and score for Calvin Marshall, and produced The High Country. (And did the Blankets soundtrack several years back!)

• In non-comics news, you may have seen me Tweeting a lot about this Tar Sands bullshit, which the State Dept just told us is oh so fine and pretty for us all. Please, watch this, and you be the judge.

Tar Sands Action/ Josh Fox from JFOX on Vimeo.

• Also on the political front, let's review this guys' speeches from just a few short years ago. And imagine how much money we'd save as a nation if we could just kick our war habit; a nation that is threatening to end YOUR Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare because we're supposedly so broke. I've been paying in for a loooong time... i just hope the return is there when and if i choose to retire. (Though if the hard-right freaks get their way, it won't be.)

• O.k. I'm out. Until next time, my friends. This bartender says don't drink and drive!

we're running a BLANKETS contest!...

August 12, 2011 / More →

at Comics Alliance! Winner receives a copy of the book with an original sketch by Craig Thompson inside!! Contest runs until Tuesday, the 16th.

How cool is that?!

August 8, 2011

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James Kochalka will doing two appearances in Philadelphia on Labor Day weekend. Here's a poster Box Brown made for the event.

James also won the award for Best Cartoonist in Vermont, in the Seven Days paper.

• Here's a clip of one of my favorite local bands. And even though the dumb-ass interviewer calls it surf music, they're pretty much a straight-up roadhouse style blues band. I was there (in fact, if you close you can see me when they pan the audience) and danced my butt off.

• Finally, i have to gibe some props to one of the most under-rated cartoonists working in comics today, my old pal Chris Cilla. I recently read his feature-length mind-fuck of a book, The Heavy Hand, published by Sparkplug Comics. To be honest, i'd be hard pressed to tell you "what it's about." Needless to say, it left a lingering impression on me. Weird is the best way to put it. And gorgeously drawn too. Heard it from Chris himself just today that Zak Sally's La Mano will be releasing a collection of Chris' long out of print mini-comics run called The Diplomat. If you like indy comics, you owe yourself to check out the fine work of Chris Cilla.

eddie campbell is...

August 4, 2011 / More →

blogging again!! (Thanks to Tom at The Comics Reporter for the heads up.)

Seriously comics-lovers, Eddie is one of the smartest, most erudite raconteurs about art, literature and comics that our beloved medium has. He's always worth reading.

And if you've never read his work (besides Shame On You!), we've got some gems right here for you.

Alec: The Years Have Pants.
This is arguably the most sublime autobiographical comics ever created.

The Playwright. (With Daren White.)
Witty and poignent, with perhaps Eddie's best art to date.

And of course, the inimitable From Hell. (With Alan Moore.)
Who the heck is Alan Moore, anyway. Of course, i kid... From Hell is without question one of the highest achievements in the history of comics. A transcendental masterpiece.

just back from some camping...

August 1, 2011 / More →

and now, back to the day-to-day, Sigh...

This little blog update is all-Kochalka.

Here's the beautiful little piece James drew that was made into a bookplate give-away at ComicCon last weekend. His entire family was in attendance.

And here's a little number James dug up on Comic Art Fans. From a joint appearance with James and Craig Thompson at ComicCon in 2004, and drawn on the title page of the anthology they each appeared in, Happy Endings, edited by the great Diana Schutz.

Gregory Benton, stud artist, cartoonist and friend of Top Shelf

July 27, 2011 / More →

has started a new art blog called The Daily Pocket Book on Facebook. I'm a huge admirer of Gregory's work, and it's awesome to see a place online where i can check his stuff out. Big ups, G!!

• David Walker and the guys at the Cort and Fatboy podcast spill some Top Shelf love!