ON A WING and a prayer, we are flying to the inaugural Chicago Alternative Comics Expo, aka CAKE. This marks the first occasion that Secret Acres has gone airborne since Stumptown of 2010, which seems both difficult to believe and fitting, considering the very nature of our CAKE debut, Weather. It’s a swift, beautiful, existentialist poop joke of a comic from Gabby Schulz, the artist formerly known as Ken Dahl, mostly taking place at 40,000 feet above the earth. It’s the return (and possibly end) of Gabby’s premier avatar, Gordon Smalls, and it’s the first print comic from Mr. Schulz since Monsters (which has won or been nominated for more awards than we care to count since its release way back in 2009).
Ironically, Gabby himself will be making the CAKE trip by car, while Sean Ford will flying in along with his Only Skin. Only Skin has been feeling the love lately, from Bleeding Cool, the Mindhut, Graphic Eye, Paste Magazine and kinda sorta (but mostly sorta) Dave Ex Machina. Not a bad haul at all. Believe it or not, Mike Dawson and his Troop 142 have gotten some shoutouts lately, from our favorite Optical Sloth and the monolith of comics criticism, the Comics Journal.
Speaking of the TCJ review, we had a little fun on Twitter telling everyone that the book was demolished by Rob Clough. For the record, Mike started it. People clicked on those links hard enough to break them. What is it about a fight that gets everyone running? A little while back on this here Scuttlebutt blog, we went after MoCCA a bit and got like a million hits from all over the world. We sang the praises of TCAF and got crickets. Perhaps it’s the Big Two fanning the troll flames with enormous, deformed tits, or maybe it’s big budget prequels messing with the fanboy canon, but boy are folks touchy these days! While there’s been lots of fun and valuable talk about creator rights sneaking into these flame wars, it’s making publisher into a dirty word. We’re on your side, we swear. Maybe we’ll we tear CAKE a new one in the wrap-up just to get your attention.
For full disclosure, our man, Mr. Gaylord Phoenix himself, Edie Fake is one of the folks running CAKE (Yes, there’s no k in comics. No, they did not call it the Chicago ACE. Yes, there might be cake there.). He’s got some new books, too, in a manner of speaking. Edie’s showing up in Fantagraphics’ No Straight Lines, which sounds fantastic and includes some stuff straight out of Gaylord Phoenix, and Seven Stories Press will have more Edie in The Graphic Canon. Though he will probably be too busy being the host with the most to hang out at the Acres CAKE table (number 36 on the map), Edie will be moderating the Comics in Chicago panel on Sunday.
We really have no idea what to expect of CAKE, but looking at the programming and guest list, it’s shaping up to be a monster. If you can’t make CAKE, we have some surprises in the Emporium for you. Now on the digital shelves is the latest from Jon Allen, Vactionland, new-ish pal Sean K.‘s Rust Belt, Jumbly Junkery issues 9 and 10 from superstar L. Nichols, the second issue of the awesome Genus from Anuj Shrestha, The Complete Talamaroo by Alabaster (published by that upstart Hic & Hoc gang) and, if you just have to have more Edie, Gay Genius, from our friends at Sparkplug and Annie Murphy. See, that’s practically a con in itself.
We’ll be right back with a CAKE report, gunz blazin’ and knives out!
Barry and Leon
@dankois Eagle or Golden Eagle.
- Wednesday Oct 15 - 4:20pm
It's that time of year again! The Best American Comics 2014 edition is out there and there are plenty of folks, like the Comics Reporter's Tom Spurgeon and the Stranger's Paul Constant calling this book the best of the series so far. It's the first time out for new series editor, Bill Kartalopoulos, and it has a new format of sorts, devised by edition editor, Scott McCloud, of Understanding Comics and Zot fame. McCloud groups the main selections, making a map of the current comics landscape. Broader than previous installments, it includes specific instructions to read the entire book, rather than browse through it - and you should do just that. Our very own Theo Ellsworth's the Understanding Monster Book One is included in the section titled EVEN STRANGER ADVENTURES (of course), and there are FOUR Secret Acres artists in the BAC Notable Comics section: Eamon Espey's Songs of the Abyss, Edie Fake's story from Monster Vol. 1, Robert Sergel's Eschew 3 and Sar Shahar's Sequential Vacation 2. Not bad, huh? We've got Bill K's blog post below, but you'll want to sit and read this one cover to cover. Thanks, Bill and Scott for all your hard work and congratulations on putting a great anthology together!
And Theo Ellsworth's the Understanding Monster Book Two has its very first ever review, from RE:Views Media's Max Szyc! It's a rare thing that a review makes us laugh out loud, or LOL, as the kids say. If you've read the first book of the Understanding Monster, you'll understand that reading doesn't begin to describe the experience of this story. The logic of this world, like most psychedelics, takes a minute to kick in. Like Max says, "A few more pages and then I think my mind may have reached some sort of subconscious arrangement with the material, meaning I think I 'got it'. Perhaps the book is so futuristic that it actually has the psychic power to make me think I’m understanding it." Cue us giggling. It is a long, strange trip indeed for toy mouse-bodied Izadore and his consciousness, but the sheer force of Theo's art will move you along with him. You may even start to identify with him. You can thank Max for capturing these feelings so well by reading his review. Thanks, Max!
We survived yet another Small Press Expo. This is no mean feat. Between the thousand deep gang of exhibitors and the crush of so many attendees, it's a wonder we're still standing. Credit Corrinne Mucha for pulling us through. In the absence of Theo Ellsworth (DNP - Fatherhood), Mike Dawson (DNP - Bachelor Party) and Brendan Leach (DNP - Get well soon!), Corinne sketched out everybody's books. We mean everybody's. Even Sean Ford's books. And Sean was there. Secret Acres made bank, yes, but we hardly got to see anybody, or so it felt. This might explain how we escaped the con crud which is laying so many folks out after SPX. This year's show was really all about the Breeders, meaning the band, not folks making babies. Corinne, you see, had not heard of the Breeders. We can see not having heard of, say, U2. But the BREEDERS? COME ON. Also, fair warning, we don't dare dish on our SPX 2014 Celebrity Comics Mule, Tucker Stone. In fact, we're terrified of what he must be saying about us right now. Check out the blog, and you can also get some details on this Sunday's event, the Brooklyn Book Festival! It's going to be a star-studded affair at the Secret Acres-Koyama Press megatable...
OKAY. Summer's over and we're heading back to school, or at least back to our Scuttlebutt blog. It's been a while and a half, but we've been busy, sitting by the pool, giggling, eating watermelon. Included in this post is a rundown of our trip to RIPE, our first ever internet kerfuffle, SPX news and switcheroos, and one rather ridiculous Secret Acres baby boom. Boy, oh, boy are we looking forward to SPX. We know we promised you the second volume of Theo Ellsworth's the Understanding Monster. The good news is that the book WILL be at the show and it will be beautifully sketched and signed. The bad news is that Theo is skipping out - but he'll be coming out to Comics Art Brooklyn to officially debut his new book. He has a a good reason (note the mention of a baby boom above). We do, however, have Sean Ford, Eamon Espey and Corinne Mucha coming to comics camp with us and they will armed with new minis, prints and even little paintings. Our guest comics mule for the road trip will be Tucker Stone, so we'lll have plenty of gossip to dish when we get back. You get yourself to SPX! See you this weekend...