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
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We're back on our Scuttlebutt blog with our Comic Arts Brooklyn report, and our Brooklyn Ale House party report and our Grumpy Bert show report and our year-end report and a tiny, little look ahead to next year. CAB is, for us and lots of other comics people, the start of the holiday season, so we're a little Auld Lang Syne-ish about the show. There were hiccups this time around, and no Cartoon House (see the post for an explanation of that) but CAB still has the best exhibitors at any show, making Brooklyn proud. Speaking of heart-warming, many thanks to the folks at Grumpy Bert. Someone came all the way from Philadelphia just to see Theo and the brand new second book of his Understanding Monster trilogy. That's the kind of amazing that made 2014 our best year ever. We owe everyone a big thank you for reading our books and, really, for reading. You guys are the best. Normally, in our last post of the year, we babble about all the new stuff coming your way. We can't do that anymore. We're joining the likes of Koyama Press and Uncivilized Books and Nobrow at the good distributorship, Consortium. Sure, that's business stuff, but it's a big deal for Secret Acres. Still, we did manage to sneak at least one 2015 comic into this final blathering. Read on...
Comic Arts Brooklyn is today! I'll be signing at the Secret Secret Acres table!
Join us and Theo Ellsworth and everybody else tonight for a gallery show and some Comic Arts Brookyln pre-gaming at Brooklyn’s own Grumpy Bert! You can beat the CAB crowd to the punch and get your very own signed and sketched copy of Theo’s latest, the Understanding Monster Book Two. Book Two picks up where Book One left off, following Pharoah Tellitome, Inspector Gimble, Turtletree, Master Sponko and Minnow on their collective quest to awaken Izadore and re-establish his identity and memory. Get to Grump Bert early enough and you can really lord it over folks: the first ten to arrive get a limited edition Theo print made just for tonight’s show. Of course, there will be free beer and bubbly, too. What more is there to life?