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.
September 9, 2006 / More →
Renée sent me a link to an Aussie (rhymes with Ozzy) podcast all about Rabbits, on which she also appears. It also features the amazing art duo known as Kozyndan.
Renée also sent me these drawings to run. (I think i may have ran these before. Oh well. Can't get enough Renée.)
September 2, 2006 / More →
...well, actually ME in just a few hours. But i started this post to mention the one year anniversary of swanky new comics retailer Secret Headquarters, in L.A. I've met one of the two Davids who run the place, but big heaping congrats to both of you cats. The world desperately needs fine retail establishments like this. Here's to a long healthy career. Cheers!
Rama Hughes did this fancy flyer for the event.
Meanwhile, i'm still plowing through the Ulana Zahajkewycz sketchbook. Ulana will be doing out main Top Shelf Ten Year Anniversary poster for next Summer, so keep your eyes peeled. It's gonna be sweeeeet!
I'm off to my mom-in-law's lakehouse in the morning for holiday. Y'all have a good one, and be safe!!
September 1, 2006 / More →
After much delay, Lost Girls FINALLY landed in stores yesterday, and today we just placed a RUSH order on the THIRD printing!! That's because we're all but wiped out of the second printing. At one point yesterday, i found it listed at #27 on the amazon.com rankings. Do, no doubt in part, from props in Wired, Village Voice, and USA Today.
One day after the book hit stands.
O.k. Enough glee.
Aaron Renier wrapped up his work on the poster for this year's Stumptown Comics Fest, here in Portland in late October. (With a sublime color palette by Alec Longstreth.)
This is one to frame. I can't believe how cool this is. Great work, Aaron.
Also, more Ulana
August 26, 2006 / More →
Tim also designed these "simple" throwaway promotional efforts, and the results are two of my favorite printed mags in comics over the last year plus. (What with our own lack of a new CBA, or the absence of new issues of Robert Young's fine Comics Interpreter.)
The contents of these two issues of Comic Foundry had so much to offer, including features on: James Jean; R. Kikuo Johnson & Pablo Rivera; Ex Machina art team Tony Harris, Tom Feister, and JD Mettler; Kevin Huizenga; Arthur Suydam; Joe Quesada; and Japanese Import publisher Vertical. Plus crazy shit like an interview with a plastic surgeon on how realistic the body types of super-heroes may or may not be.
Thus inspired, i headed to their website, only to find the "cover" feature on Lost Girls. This cover rocks! Brilliant, in fact!
Do check this out.
And meanwhile, for your pleasure, more Ulana Zahajkewycz.