IT FEELS LIKE it’s been a thousand years since we last spoke. This is probably because so much has been going on. Worlds have changed. Universes have collided. We’ve got a ton of stuff to tell you, so there won’t be much editorializing (since we kind of blew our bitchy wad on the last post). Besides, you know we’ll deliver the dirt after the Big Show.
Speaking of the Big Show, it’s the most wonderful time of the year for us artsy comics folk. Yes, it is the Small Press Expo once again. If you want to see what the comics community looks like, get yourself down to Bethesda this weekend. Bethesda is definitely not the most obvious locale for the spiritual pursuit of comics, but it is home to the Marriott, aka Comics Camp. Once you’re there, there is no escaping. This will be our fifth SPX. Our fourth was both our most glorious moment as publishers and our most harrowing. Who can say what this one will bring?
Well, we can say. We’re bringing The Understanding Monster, the new book from Theo Ellsworth. It’s a departure for just about everybody. If you’ve never experienced Theo’s work before, you’re in for a shock. You’re in for a shock even if you’ve read everything he’s done. This will be the first full-length fiction comic from Theo. It’s also the first volume of three. You’ll be getting one a year. We’re breaking new ground here, as well. It’s our first hardcover and our first full-color book. Did we mention how big this thing is? It’s big. It will take you a while to get everything that’s in it out of it. The Understanding Monster is a trip.
Also making the trip to SPX will be Wayward Girls 2. Michiel Budel has been pushing the limits with his comic since he got started. The first issue nearly got us jail time. In this second installment of Wayward Girls, the stories have gotten a little longer and more developed, but no less dangerous. We’re grateful that we don’t need to stop at customs to bring this to you.
While we did okay at SPX’s Ignatz Awards last year (meaning we cleaned the fuck up), we are extremely proud that our resident All-American Boy Scout, Mike Dawson, has gotten yet another nod, this time for Outstanding Graphic Novel, for his rightfully ubiquitous Troop 142. We need your vote, fellow countrymen. Stuff those ballot boxes. Vote early and often. Disenfranchise the competition if you have to, because if Mike wins this one, he has personally guaranteed he will cry. Okay, he didn’t cry the last time Troop 142 won an Ignatz, but we promise to wax his nipples if he fails to squirt a few on this go. Besides, this book deserves it. For full disclosure, our lady of the Acres, Minty Lewis, and our man with a plan, Edie Fake, were on the nominating committee. We’re extra proud of them, too, because all the nominations are pretty badass.
You can find the Acres gang on three different panels this year. Mike will be moderating “Drawing Out Childhood,” with guests (and old pals) Julia Wertz, Derf Backderf, John Porcellino and MariNaomi. Theo will be joined by Michael Deforge, Jim Rugg and Hellen Jo for “Drawing Energy.” Finally, yours truly will be under fire from Heidi MacDonald, aka the Beat, but at least we’ll be sitting with Box Brown, John Porcellino (he’s everywhere and all over) and the Greatest of All Time, Annie Koyama (she hates that kind of praise, but we love her, anyway) – and this thing is called “Publishing During the Apocalypse.” Not a joke.
There’s been plenty of other stuff happening in the meanwhile. Sean Ford has been feeling the love for his Only Skin from IndieReader‘s Sarah Morean (If you don’t know who she is, look her up. We’ll wait.). Edie got a shoutout from the awesome Bitch Magazine. Gabby Schulz, the former Ken Dahl, was the recipient of some seriously glowing praise from Comics Bulletin for Monsters (which has to be the longest wait for a review we’ve ever seen). Mike got in trouble with Trouble With Comics, and his Ink Panthers Show! had one of their best spots ever with episode 142 (no relation to Troop 142), “The Voyage Home.” Theo had himself a big exhibit at Giant Robot, an enormous interview at Newsarama, and you can even see a preview of the rather large The Understanding Monster on the Beat.
If you’re in New York City or somewhere else but have the means to get to Brooklyn, you owe it to yourself to make the trip this Thursday night. Theo’s going to be signing The Understanding Monster at Brooklyn’s own Bergen Street Comics. The beer and bubbly start flowing at 8PM, so make sure you eat first. Get there on time, and you just might get one of these Theo-drawn Cubeecraft dolls (Assembly required, but, come on, look at that thing.).
Here’s something we’ve been very quiet about: on September 7th, 2012, Secret Acres turned five years old. We owe all of you, badly, for carrying us this far. We will do our best to live up to your support for many more years to come.
Sometime before our fifth, we got the keys to our first office. Secret Acres, named after a house that is no longer with us, is a place again. We’ve got .00390266 acres to be precise. It’s nice to have a home. But we’ve got to hit the road. See you in a bit.
Barry and Leon
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...
ZOMG! It's Tim O'Neil for the Onion AV Club on Corinne Mucha's Get Over It! and it's a pretty darn good review, too. Tim's clearly on top of his comics game, name-dropping and comparing Corinne to none other than Kate Beaton, John Allison and Dylan Horrocks - pretty much a Mt. Rushmore of the medium. He gets it right; Corinne hits every bump on Heartbreak Road, ever stage of grief, but all told, it's actually kind of... ...fun? As Tim puts it, she "turns a book about three years of anguish into a page-turner." There IS something fun about being heartbroken, and not just the rebound. It's like a license to crazy. At least we think so. There's lots of other good stuff reviewed here, too, including Rocket Raccoon's latest, Superman and Roman Muradov (love that guy). Corinne's got some good company for Get Over It! Thank you, Tim, and thanks, AV Club, for the very kind words. You guys go read now at the link!