Hey Bartender! pg. 14

APE is looming large.

October 12, 2009 / More →

Top Shelfers Nate Powell, Grant Reynolds, and Jeremy Tinder will be on hand. Working the booth will be Leigh Walton and myself. And once again i'll be mixing cocktails at the Isotope Comics Lounge for APE Aftermath Party on Saturday night. I'm also one of the judges for the Seventh Annual Isotope Award for Excellence in Mini-Comics.

• Also at APE, i would highly recommend checking out the great R. Sikoryak's slideshow in support of the recently release Masterpiece Comics, from D&Q. And this ain't hyperbole, folks... the book is amazing.

• Yet another APE attendee this year, Scott Campbell sent out his newsletter, and as per usual, the guy blows my mind. He'll be exhibiting with Double Fine Comics. Plus, Gallery Nucleus has released limited edition prints of the Ninja House from his HOME SLICE show back in the earlier part of this year.

And finally, Mr. Campbell let it be known to me — a lifelong video-game non-layer, because of addictive personality traits — the release of THE video game which i fully intend to buy. Literally my first ever. Brutal Legend, with Jack Black, on which Scott has been working for five years, doing concept and production designs. Be still my beating metal-head heart.

• Here is Jeffrey Brown's stellar Mixtape [with custom art] at Ink Studs.

• And speaking of ink-studs, Matt Rota has a new blog. This kid can flat out draw!! Here is a piece he did for the New York Times, on the Anniversary of the Tet Offensive.

Tim Sivert has some new pages posted for an upcoming issue of Intrepideers, a fantasy comic he's been cooking up with Brett Von Schlosser.

You can purchase the first two ass-kicking volumes here.

• Go Keith, go! Keith Olbermann's hour-long Special Comment on Health Care is must-see t.v. (Or streaming internet.)

It's been a crazy busy movie-centric two weeks for this bartender.

October 3, 2009 / More →

First off was our trip to the red carpet outside El Capitan in Hollywood for the Surrogates premier. This was one of the most excellent nights of my entire life. Something i'll never forget. Also had a long overdue conversation with Top Shelf friend Louise Nemschoff. The premier was last Thursday night, and i had to wake up at 5:15 the next morning to get back home to Portland, where my collaborators (Mike Lay, Bill Kelter and Wayne Shellabarger) and myself spent three days doing pick-up shots for our own film, Road to Insignificance. This mockumentary is based on the actual book by Bill and Wayne, Veeps: Profiles in Insignificance. We also did some sound-recording, which was blast. And one of the voices was none less than Cherry Poppin' Daddies frontman Steve Perry! Cool.

(I will post my iPhone pics to our Flickr page asap.)

Jeff Lemire is interviewed by our good friend Andrea Warner for Vancouver B.C.s Westender. And make sure to check out Jeff's blog where Blair Butler gives the collected Essex County serious props on an embedded Attack of the Show link.

Jeff is an invited guest at next weekend's Wordstock Literary Festival here in Portland, and will also have a signing at Floating World Comics Friday, the 9th, at 6:00 p.m.

WHO: Jeff Lemire
WHAT: Artist reception and book signing
WHEN: Friday, Oct. 9th, 6-8pm
WHERE: Floating World Comics, 20 NW 5th Ave #101

• Inkstud Steve Lafler has self-published the excellent Self Employment for Bohemians. This is swell reading and well worth your time.

• Here's a pic of Jeffrey Brown and Noah Van Sciver at SPX. I missed the show this year for the first time since i started going in 1996 (except for the canceled 2001 show, of course)... For a slew of picture links check out the SPX Collected Memory section at The Comics Reporter. And speaking of Jeffrey, check out his blog, where he has a screen-grab of a recent episode of Heroes, featuring no less than his first graphic novel, Clumsy!!!

Matt Kindt has updated his blog and has all manner of cool shit available, including this bitchin' Giant Man mini-comic Spy Capsule. Sweet! Click on the "shop" link, and it's all yours for a mere six bones.

Grant Reynolds and Jeremy Tinder are doing a show the weekend of APE at Giant Robot San Francisco, called CHIP BEEF, CHIPPED TOOTH. Ha! Grant will be on hand pimping his new Top Shelf comic called Comic Diorama.

Chip Beef, Chipped Tooth
Drawings and Painting by Jeremy Tinder and Grant Reynolds
622 Shrader St, San Francisco, CA 94117
6:30 PM, October 17

• Finally, here's what i'll be checking our from this month's Diamond Previews, for books scheduled to ship in a few months. (Which, i should add, on page 292 lists our new Jeffrey Brown documentary dvd Drawing Between the Lines, and James Kochalka's new cd James Kochalka Superstar: Digital Elf.

At the very very top of my wish list here is Brian Maruca and Jim Rugg's Afrodisiac HC. Much of this material has been sporadically published here and there. This is as close to a comic book equivalent as you can get to circa 1970s sexploitation / blacksploitation filmmaking. From AdHouse Books, i can pretty much guarantee this book will be in my short-list of favorite books from 2009. If you go NOW, AdHouse has a free PDF preview download, so check it out.

From Marvel Comics:
- Thor: Tales of Asgard, by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. (I think i might be one of a mere handful who actually loved the modern coloring when i was looking at the floppies on the rack.)

From Viz Media:
- Vagabond (VizBig Edition) Volume 6, by Takehiko Inoue. These fat collections are getting me to pick up manga series' i wasn't about to buy in tiny and too-numerous editions before.

From Simon & Schuster:
- Mercury, by Hope Larson. I'll be honest, i much preferred her magic realism stuff with AdHouse (Salamander Dreams) and Oni (Gray Horses) way more than her more recent book Chiggers, but then again, i don't think i was the target audience for that book. Hopefully Mercury will see a return to form, and that she'll be allowed to utilize her incredible skills.

From iDW:

  • The Complete Milt Gross, edited by Craig Yoe. I can say with utter conviction that if Craig Yoe is involved, it will be worth checking out. And having read an older edition of Gross' He Done Her Wrong i'm sure to pick this up.
  • Winterworld, by Chuck Dixon and Jorge Zaffino. Again, to be frank, i think there's waaaaay too much lame material (especially from the 80s) being dug up for repackaging and reprinting in an already glutted industry, but i've always wanted to read this. Zaffino is a bitchin' artist, way underrated in North America.

From Drawn & Quarterly:
- The John Stanley Library: Thirteen Going On Eighteen. D&Q — along with Fantagraphics, Sunday Press, and iDW among others— has been releasing some long lost gems these last few years. I can't wait to put my hands on this!

From DC Comics:

  • Preacher Book 2 HC, by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon. Ennis' masterpiece. 'Nuff said.
  • The Creeper, by Steve Ditko. Oh shit!! FINALLY (thanks in no small part to Blake Bell's excellent Strange and Stranger Ditko biography) we're seeing a resurgence of attention for Ditko on par with Kirby. This is some crazy mad work, folks.

From Dark Horse:
- Jet Scott, by Sheldon Stark and Jerry Robinson. Unfortunately Dark Horse has been a major disappointment with their treatment of archival materials. With the exception of their Harvey TPBs, Kubert's Tarzan, and the excellent Warren HCs, they seem to have decided that cheap and easy is their method of operation, yet they still charge a standard 50 bucks a pop for some of this. I don't mean too sound harsh, but their production on the Russ Manning Magnus Robot Fighter was atrocious. (I'd even sold some vintage back issues of these glorious comics, only to be horrified when the first "deluxe" HC rolled out.) Needless to say, with archival materials and Dark Horse, i play the wait-and-see game. Stay tuned, true believers.


September 21, 2009 / More →

Has it really been that long since the last blog post? O.k. here's a few nuggets for your perusal.

• A recent Jeff Lemire podcast interview rocks at Ink Studs.

• Check out Chris "Elio" Eliopoulos' awesome mini-comic Milky Way Shuffle. And if y'all haven't read his stellar strip "The Bravest Niño" at Top Shelf 2.0, then get to it!

• Peter Kuper's new book Diario de Oaxaca is forthcoming from PM Press. Peter's travel diaries are stunning to behold. (And i'm not just saying that because we published his sublime monograph Speechless.) He's touring quite a bit in support of the book... learn more here.

Caryn A. Tate's Red Plains is a mainstay on Top Shelf 2.0. She's interviewed by Jason Sacks at Comics Bulletin. (Art by Larry Watts.)

Will Dinski has a new mini-comic available now, called Covered In Confusion. Hoo-eee, i can't wait to read this puppy.

September 12, 2009

More →

No doubt Top Shelf's own Jeff Lemire is a rising star of the highest order, and to promote his new, high-profile series from Vertigo, Jeff has launched the Official Sweet Tooth Blog! Check it out!

Here's a bitchin' penciled page from the blog.

And if you haven't already (shame on you!) then you MUST read his epic Essex County Collected. This book is The Shit! (My powers of clairvoyance predict Eisner nomination for Best Collection of Previously Published Material.)

windy city fun fun fun

September 10, 2009 / More →

Well Chicago was a real hoot this past weekend, as Chris and myself met to attend Jeffrey Brown's wedding reception. It was a treat to meet and enjoy fine conversation, food, and beverages with Jeffrey's parents, brothers, friends, and of course his lovely new wife Jennifer. (I only wish wee lad Oscar could have been there.) Cartoonist Paul Hornschemeier was on hand to give the groom a toast, and it must have been one of the funniest i've ever witnessed. If he weren't such an amazing cartoonist, i'd suggest he do some stand-up comedy.

Also, the streets and billboards were littered with gigantic Surrogates images, and in fact, one could be seen out the window from the bar at the swanky restaurant Avec where Chris i had an amazing dinner. Thanks to Anders Nilsen's food writer wife Heather for the tip!

Here's Chris strolling through the restaurant after a sublime meal. Note the Matrix back wall, which is a lattice of empty backlit wine bottles.

And here's the huge billboard we could see from the bar.

We got to see lots of our cartoonist friends over the weekend, including Aaron Renier, Jeremy Tinder and his girlie Rachel, Laura Park, and Grant Reynolds. One night these cats and a boatload of friends rented a private karaoke room, wherein in popped my karaoke virginity, feebly attempting renditions of the Stones' "Jumping Jack Flash," and Earth, Wind and Fire's "September." (Which coincidentally was on the very first record album i ever bought with my own dough.) These kids were on FIRE i tell you! Here is Grant (on the right) getting the fuck down.

Finally, Chris and myself spent the entire last day sequestered in the hotel restaurant plotting and planning out the 2010 publishing schedule. This is no easy task i might add. Even in "good" years this takes loads of deliberation as we try to navigate the murky and unstable waters of small press publishing. But in a totally shit economy, even two or three consecutive bad months could potentially cause serious blows to the our company. All in all, i think we'll have some great stuff coming out. More later.

• My pals at Tender Loving Empire here in Portland have some great things happening. Here's some art to feast on and a url link you can follow to learn more.

• Shannon O'Leary is working on a new comics anthology called The Big Feminist BUT, and was recently interviewed in Bitch mag!

cool stuff abounds at Grass Hut!

September 2, 2009 / More →

This Friday, September 4th.

Kicking Ass and Taking Names

Le Merde, Itokin Park, Tim Biskup, Scrappers, Martin Ontiveros, Uglydolls, and Bwana Spoons
Original paintings, Exclusive GH Toy Release, Customized Figures, Laughter, Sugar, Sweet Titties, The Meaning of Life, and more…

summer winding down...

August 31, 2009 / More →

It's been pretty quiet here at the Top Shelf West Coast Headquarters. Intern Jen has departed back to Vermont and the CCS, and well... it's otherwise been pretty quiet. Weird for summertime. Like i'm sittin' in the eye of the hurricane. In any case, here's a few short news items, and some more art from the archives.

Breaking Benjamin have a music video for Surrogates... with new footage. Courtesy Brett Weldele, artiste extraordinaire of Surrogates.

• Here's a swell billbaord drawn by Aaron Renier, from back when he still lived in Portland.

Van Jensen is doing a contest for this Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer book. Check it out!

Jeff Lemire talks Sweet Tooth at CBR. Oh, and issue #3 of this very same series is featured in the new Diamond Previews. Order it today!

• I'm not sure why this is in my archives, but it's one of my favorite pieces by the superb Martin Ontiveros.

oh, jeffrey brown...

August 22, 2009 / More →

Here is possibly the greatest Hulk [tm] vs Wolverine [tm] comic i've ever read. Clocking in at a whopping five panels.

• Andy Hartzell was just interviewed in the SF Examiner, in the lead-up to the SF Zine Fest this weekend.

• This Comic Design Competition sounds pretty sweet... the winner's work will be include in a specially commissioned comic alongside works by Dave McKean, Dan Goldman, Aleksander Zograf, Dylan Horrocks, Fredrik Stromberg, Peter Kuper, Coco Wang and Bryan Talbot, amongst others!!

[Updated, with pictures!] let's reach back, my friends. april, in fact...

August 18, 2009 / More →

That's when my co-hort Chris flew to Stockholm, Sweden, guests of publisher Galago, to attend the wonderful Small Press Expo. Jeffrey Brown had flown in ahead of us to lecture in southern Sweden at the Comic School of Malmö. To say that we were treated like royalty would be a giant understatement. And Jeffrey Brown is literally revered as a god in the burgeoning comics scene.

Note: Top Shelf now has a Flickr page, where you can browse all of the photos i took on my phone in Stockholm, Sweden, as well as some choice pages from the sketchbook from the trip.

I met lots of new people, as well as people i've known via email only for the first time, like Top Shelf alum Mawil (Beach Safari), who was manning the German publisher Reprodukt table, with Christian Malwald. And also Top Shelf 2.0 contributor Lizz Lunney, in from the UK and sharing a table with Adam Cadwell, Marc Ellerby (art on Jamie Rich's Love The Way You Love) and Anna Petterson. I learned about one of the greatest sweets ever, called Dammsugare, which translates as Vacuum Cleaner, because of its shape. Marzipan and chocolate that explodes on the palette. I drank so much beer i'm amazed i'm alive to tell the tale. The city is absolutely beautiful! (And the girls are too.) Scattered throughout are a few of the photos i snapped on my phone. I was lucky to have a recent intern Jen Vaughn from The Center for Cartoon Studies) scan the sketchbook i bought on the trip and which was subsequently filled by scads of Scandinavian (and German and British and American) cartoonists. (But mostly Swedes.) Again, these are up at the new Top Shelf Flickr account.

Anneli Furmark's sketchbook contribution, featuring Dammsugare!

Here is Kristiina Kolehmainen, head of Serieteket (the Swedish Comics Library) at The Kulturhuset. Oh, and the dorky one on the right is me.

And here's Kristiina's right hand man Anders Lundgren (on the right) with Staros. Anders is works with Klubb Super 8. (Specializing in some crazy rare Swedish films!)

I was thrilled to meet Fredrik Strömberg, part of the world cognoscenti in comics. If you dig into the April posts at his website, you'll be treated to a wellspring of material about the show. Fredrik also penned a swell little book i picked up titled Swedish Comics History. It's in English and it's awesome! (In fact, in an ideal world we might have copies of this available here in the U.S. for when we roll out The Swedish Invasion in 2010.)

The Fins were out in force at the show, and though they were as nice as the Swedes, their language is even more difficult to decipher... so while this website seems chock full of information, sadly, i can't transcribe a single word. Still, just browsing this site is an adventure in itself.

Part of the Finnish contingent of the show was cartoonist and publisher Marko Turunen of Daada Books. This guy had some great chops, and his style ran all over the place and it is all good, as witnessed by his chunky comics collection Supernormal.

Sitting next to Marko was super-duper cartoonist extraordinaire Kaisa Leka, who's book On The Outside Looking In i picked up and wow!, this is some incredible comics. (In English!) I'm not quite sure how to get this book, but i officially nominate this in my Top Ten Books of the Year thus far for 2009. It's that smart and that well drawn.

And next to Kaisa was sitting cartoonist and scenester, the ever-jubilant Johanna Rojola and the cutest girl of the festival and exquisite cartoonist, Mari Ahokoivu. These two were great conversation at the big official party.

Here's the cover for Mari's new graphic novel, which she tells me she'll be sending to me for my perusal. Whoo hoo!

Digging on the work of Marcus Ivarsson. Publisher Optimal Press has two of his books in print, including Intro and Deluxe.

Also from Optimal Press is a stunning anthology by edited by publisher Ingemar Bengtsson called Allt för Konsten #7.

Our table was set up across the isle from Swedish indy comics stalwart and Galago co-founder Olle Berg. It's kind of a mystery to me why this guy's work isn't more well known over here. His work is as solid as any of most our own underground legends, with hints of Mariscall or Max for the almost cubist stylings.

Another trick anthology, published by Kartago, is the one-writer anthology Allt Jag Rör Vid Försvinner, with stories by Henrik Bromander and illustrated by a plethora of fabulous Swedish cartoonists.

I scored many books from our friends at Galago, including Liv Stromquist's Einsteins Fru, Kolbeinn Karlsson's Trollkungen (which we'll be publishing next year!), and the most recent issue of their eponymous anthology Galago, a sort of Scandinavian cousin to anthology magazine Stripburger, from Slovenia.

MK Reed posted this great report at Publishers Weekly, Lauren Weinstein does as well on her own blog, here is the Reprodukt report (for you German speakers), and Shannon O'Leary filed her own report at Daily Cross Hatch.

isotope award for excellence in mini-comics

August 14, 2009 / More →

It so happens that besides having a world class comics shop Isotope Comics, James Simes' store also hosts the annual Isotope Awards ceremony, the Saturday night of APE. (That's Alternative Press Expo, y'all.) It's a fucking hoot of a party. In fact, for several years running i've been a guest bartender during the first couple hours of the event [usually too hammered to mix a decent cocktail after that] with my beautiful mix-master cohorts Kirsten Baldock and Adrienne Rappaport.

AND it also so happens that i've been chosen to be one of this year's judges, alongside the aforementioned Kirsten Baldock, as well as Tom Spurgeon, and Eva Volen. What an honor.

Again, submissions are open, kids!! So send your mini-comics in pronto!

• Also, in case you may not have heard, our graphic novel Surrogates [by Robert Venditti and Brett Weldele] was made into a movie, which is coming our forthright!

Posters are starting to make the rounds. Whoo hoo! This one was snapped by my buddy Gregory Benton.

And here are the assortment of ads in full.

well this is wicked cool on Wired...

August 11, 2009 / More →

The Science-Fact Behind 'Surrogates'

• Eddie Campbell has a dedicated link for all things Alec.

• So-many-cool-new-books/minis/comics/etc-no-time-for-lengthy-reviews: San Diego edition.

  • J. Chris' Fat Pack. Wow, what a stellar gift this was, from the enormously talented J. Chris Campbell. Comics, zines, buttons, wooden tokens, fiction, trading cards... you name it, it's here and it is awesome.
  • Atom-Bomb Bikini, by Robert Ullman. Rob draws the sexiest girls in comics. Hands-down my favorite, anyway.
  • Fluke 20009 Anthology, from Wide Awake Press. (Gifted to me by J. Chris Campbell.) A swell all-around anthology showcasing a lot of talented cartoonists you've probably never heard of. So check it out. Brad McGinty's strip pretty much blows my mind. Superb cartooning. You can read it here.

To learn more watch this, Making of the FLUKE 2009 anthology movie!!

  • The Ancient Age, Wide Awake Press. (Also from J. Chris.) Yet another bitchin' anthology well worth your time.
  • From "the other" Bud Plant, rare comics dealer i picked up an old education book called Meet The North American Indians (Random House, 1965). Fully illustrated by the great Jack Davis. Unbelievably choice stuff. I only wish i could have purchased the other Davis history book on Teddy Rosevelt and one (can't remember the title) by another favorite, John Severin.

- Storm Clouds, by Jeff Soto. Published by Murphy. One of my favorite of the contemporary hipster fine artists. Really really beautiful and dreamy stuff.

- Scott Morse's Red Window publishing label does very few books in a year, but they are all worth having. And this summer, he follows last year's stunning Ancient Book of Myth and War, with the exquisite Ancient Book of Sex and Science. It's by the same four genius artists who happen to work at Pixar, Scott Morse, Lou Romano, Don Shank, and Nate Wragg. I can not recommend this book highly enough. Get it now because it won't last long.

Every one of these four powerhouse artists deserve their own, feature-length, lush coffee-table art books. Some day?...

Art by Lou Romano.

Art by Don Shank.

Art by Nate Wragg.

- Major haul from John Flesk's super high-end outfit Flesk Publications. With a slow and steady release schedule, Flesk has in short order become one of the more important archival comic strip / artist monograph publishers in this new Golden Age of reprints. This time around: Mark Schultz Various Drawings #3 & 4; Al Williamson's Flash Gordon; Major Thrill's Adventure Book, by Gary Gianni; The Prince Valiant Page (Gianni); and William Stout's Prehistoric Life Murals. This company has nary a single dud in its entire line.

san diego has now come and gone again. sigh...

August 4, 2009 / More →

In spite of cries about how we're losing the comics-end of things to the big film studios and the industry is on it's death bed, and the sky is falling, Top Shelf did positively o.k. and i personally had an absolute blast. The Eisner's specifically were truly awesome. I sat at the Top Shelf table with our man Leigh Walton, cartoonist Jeffrey Brown, long time friend and embedded comics journalist Heidi MacDonald, Nate Powell (who was nominated for no less than three awards) and his swell parents. AND, while i was making trips to the hotel bar for new frequent rounds of cocktails, i had a nice chat with industry legend Jim Shooter. AND, after Nate won the most prestigious award in the comics medium (the Eisner for Best Original Graphic Novel) for his book Swallow Me Whole, Nate's mom officially adopted me!! Oh, and for dinner before the ceremony i supped at a restaurant called the Yardhouse, which had 113 beers on draught!! Heeaavven. Post-Eisner's chatting with Denis Kitchen, Tom Devlin, Josh Dysart, Schreck and so many many more. Truly a beautiful evening.

Heidi and Brett

My table-mates

Nate, his righteous-cool folks, and the Eisner for Best Original Graphic Novel

Me and Schreck

Me and Shooter

At San Diego for the first time ever and manning the booth was Kevin Cannon, promoting his rollicking adventure story Far Arden. Here's a link to his photo set!

I mentioned that Kevin's book may just get nominated NEXT year for the award Nate just won, and Nate got a little protective of his new baby.

This here is my (former?) intern Emi Lenox, helping out at the Top Shelf booth.

Matt Kindt draws and watercolors Iron Man and Black Widow.

Here's Top Shelf's own Rob Venditti, and... some, uh, dude, who's gonna be in, some... movie i think?

Also had a swell time at Jah Furrie's party, co-hosted (i think) by Devil's Due. Hanging with Staros and Patrick Jodoin, watching Jim Mahfood, Scott Morse and Mike Huddleston rocking out live-art jams while Paul Pope was spinning records. Yeah. Catching up with pals like Henry Chamberlin and Jen Daydreamer, and Douglas (Oni) Sherwood and Kiel Phegley. Then, discovering the secret room back behind the separate downstairs club.


Jim Mahfood

Huddleston and Morse

Douglas and Kiel

• Moving on, Eddie Campbell (who we really missed in San Diego) recently wrote in with his itinerary for the next few months.

"...this has come about very quickly. Trip to italy for the Lucca festival, at the expense of my publisher there.

"This is nuts, but i've just discovered i've got three books out at once, final volume of Bacchus due in August from Edizioni BD, Black Diamond which has just turned up from Magic Press, and unknown to me, Disease of Language has been out since march or April. Add to that the perennial From Hell...

"... anyway, from there to London where i have a signing at Gosh on Saturday, November 7, and an interview at The ICA in the evening as part of Paul Gravett's Comica Festival."

I wish i could go to the Comica Festival!! And in case i haven't posted these exquisite covers enough times, check out these brilliant Alec cover designs by Eric Skillman.

• And speaking of Eddie Campbell's Alec, we recently printed a fancy little promotional chapbook at Portland indy powerhouse printer Pinball Publishing, and they gave the booklet a showcase on their blog! Check it out. If you email me at brett@topshelfcomix.com i'll send ya one.

• Here's a terrific essay by Frank Santoro on the Comics Comics site. Tastey food for thought.

I'm really digging on his comics history tree here.

Inkstuds has a Renee French Playlist (Mix Tape). Tres chic.

• How cool is this ad Grant Reynold's made for the next issue of Diamond Previews, which will be listing his awesome book Comic Diorama.

• Comic soon: My list of San Diego loot. My months-late scene report from Sweden. (Seriously. It's entirely written. I just need to start a Flickr account so i can post the massive amount of photos i took.)

san diego looms large, and i'm stoked!!

July 17, 2009 / More →

I can't wait to get finally rest my peepers on copies of Jeff Lemire's brilliant Essex County omnibus collections, both in softcover and hardcover!!

• Gregory Benton sent me the links-of-the-year. Part of a group show at GRNY called Dime Bag 3, Gregory writes, "Each artist was given a 3x3 inch baggie to do art in. I wanted to give a nod to the original notion of the bag's meaning, so I filled the bags with nice green rocks found at the beach & made labels for the flavors."

• So-many-cool-new-books/minis/comics/etc-no-time-for-lengthy-reviews Episode #69

If it appears here, it has my absolute stamp of approval. And i do recommend at least checking this stuff out.

- Comics retailer and convention organizer Dustin Harbin can now officially add "kick-ass cartoonists" to his resume. I just read issue #2 of his mini-comic Dharbin, and Zounds!, this guy has the goods. Kind of like a hillbilly Ivan Brunetti / Steven (Ribs!) Weissman / Charles Schultz love child. His comics can be purchased at DHARBIN.

- One year later, i finally pulled volume 3 of You Ain't No Dancer out of my massive to-read pile. Snuggled inside a righteous wraparound cover by Kazimir Strzepek, this choice anthology took a literal giant leap forward since the first two volumes, quadrupling in size and girth. It's got some misses, but plenty of hits, including standouts by the aforementioned Kazimir, Lucy Knisley, Ken Dahl, Phil McAndrew, Patrick Murphy, Dalton Webb, and Grant Reynolds.

- Zinester and scenester Esther Pearl Watson just blew my mind with Hero Land #4. Yet another indy cartoonist playing with super-heroes... i just can't get enough!

• If you're not reading Emi Town, you should be.

• So i'm reading last weeks Entertainment Weekly, they're talking tv with the Television Must List, and asking celebs what's on their "must list"... Stephen Meyer (Bill on True Blood) called out my awesome friend and writer Willy Vlautin and his novel The Motel Life. That's pretty cool. (And BTW... The Motel Life is fucking outstanding literature, with cover art and illustrations by Nate Beaty. Very highly recommended.)

• Feast on this spiffy trailer for Rich Koslowski's Três Dedos: Um Escândalo Animado. That is, his Spanish translation of Three Fingers, by the publisher Gal Editora.

come one come all to one hella cool book release party!! (well, if you live in portland.)

July 10, 2009 / More →

Welcome to Forest Island. A book about the artwork of Bwana Spoons, published by Top Shelf.

Portland Release Party: July 11, 6-9pm
Book Signing, Pencil Fighting, Fart Knocking!!!

Grass Hut, 811 E. Burnside, Portland, Oregon.

Bwana Spoons has been making art, zines, comics, toys, shoes, t-shirts, cards, and pretty much anything you could imagine for a long long time. He's inspired a lot of us art-makers to take things to the next level. It's been a long time coming, but now he's got a book "Welcome to Forest Island". It's pretty awesome and you should totally have is in your library of eye candy

• Andy Runton has a boatload of new Owly merch available! This stuff WILL be available at San Diego. Oh yeah, and the official animated Owly trailer debuts there too!

• Here a fun link to Kevin Cannon on KFAI Radio, featuring snippets of his book Far Arden in radioplay form.

• Finally, how cool is Matt Kindt's cover for the French edition of Super Spy, for Futuropolis.

really really cool comics events abound during the summer, and here are just a couple...

July 2, 2009 / More →

• An art show of new work by my long-time pal Garret Izumi? Count me in! This is tonight here in Portland.

• And don't forget Jeremy Eaton's brilliant Cartoon Jumbles art show which opens tomorrow at Secret Headquarters.

• Meanwhile, Will Dinski is serializing his new work-in-progress "Covered In Confusion" on his website. (And keep your eyes peeled in early 2010 for his Top Shelf debut Finger Prints.) Will's comics are amazing, as well a world class designer and one of the medium's foremost practitioners of exquisite hand-crafted comics and mini-comics.

• Comics historian Craig Yoe has launched a new site dedicated to his hella cool release Secret Identity: The Fetish Art of Superman's Co-Creator Joe Shuster. I can't overstate how delicious this book is.

• Gareth Brookes from Appalling Nonsense recently gifted me a trio of stellar books: The Manly Boys Annual, a very creative, very witty and VERY British two-man anthology; The Banal Pig Landscape Anthology, a truly exquisite collection of comics; and J. Homersham's Musetopia, a series of delightful one-panel gags. Cheers!

• Well i finally read the new issue of World War 3 (#39), the wordless issue. It's a fat 120 pages in length and it is, as always, hard-hitting and superb. Dig that Drooker cover and order it here.

• So-many-cool-new-books/minis/comics/etc-no-time-for-lengthy-reviews Episode #44

If it appears here, it has my absolute stamp of approval. And i do recommend at least checking this stuff out.

- Birds in the City: Exploring the Wildlife of Crissy Field. One of comics' finest naturalists Tammy Stellanova delivers another gorgeous comic. In an ideal world kids would be reading her comics in classrooms across the nation.

- Paper Cutter #10. Editor Greg Means of Tugboat Press continues his choice run of the best comics anthology running. This issue features new work by Damien Jay, Jesse Reklaw, and Minty Lewis.

- James Hindle continues to produce little mini-comic gems. His new Come Back might be his best work to date. Terrific chops and storytelling, and as always, a bittersweet and effecting story. I'm a BIG fan of his work, and you should be too! (Note, this image is not from said comic. I just pulled it off his site because it's pretty sweet.)

- Matinée, by the lovely Christine Norrie. This lush little mini combines two great things: Christine's beautiful artwork interpreting classic Hollywood films.

- The Girls' Guide to Rocking, published by Workman. Not comics. It is just what it says it is, with the subtitle, "How to Start a Band and Get Rolling to Rock Stardom." This baby rocks, chock full of useful information, from setting up a practice space, to song structure, to booking and promoting. Very very cool!

- Taddle Creek is an anthology of Toronto-based artists i picked up at TCAF. It's strong all around, but three pieces really rocked, by Michael (we can never see enough of his comics) Cho, J. Bone (set loose with an outstanding digitally-rendered wordless comic, and Fiona (i didn't even know she was still making comics) Smyth. A very very fine comic worth looking for. I'm not sure where it's available, but i'd wager it can be procured at Toronto's epic comics shop The Beguiling.

• And speaking of TCAF, here's a few snaps i took while i was in Toronto.
- Two great portraits by the aforementioned Michael Cho. I think these were originals, painted on a wooden sandwich board for Pages bookstore.

- Jeff Lemire starting his contribution to my Twin Peaks sketchbook. (This is the giant from Agent Dale Coopers dreams.)

- Here's Matt Kindt and Jeff Lemire, comics cognoscenti, talking shop in Jeff's luxurious basement office.