IT’S A DISASTER AREA, literally (and not in the way people who fry every other syllable say literally, but in the literal definition of the word), for several of the Acres gang after that motherfucker Sandy flew through here, and we don’t mean Duncan, for once. Our thoughts and prayers are with Mike Dawson and his clan. He’s been beset with desperate vibes at the Home Depot somewhere in the depths of New Jersey, but he has been brilliantly trained in the art of survival (see Troop 142). Anyhow, though we may be powerless, we are not exactly powerless. There’s a riot going on, so pay close attention. There will be a quiz.
First off, weather permitting, there is still a Short Run happening in sunny Seattle this weekend. We couldn’t get it together to attend the inaugural small press event, but it’s back, it’s bigger, it’s better and it’s got Sean Ford and Theo Ellsworth to boot. Those guys will have have Only Skin and the Understanding Monster and a host of our very finest books and things. Not to mention, Theo usually comes armed with irresistible prints and originals. You’ll count yourself lucky to get them even if you go broke at the Secret Acres table. But, really, spread the love, guys. Kill those cash machines. Like we did for MECAF, we will do our best to coerce our guys to write up the show on this here blog. (You did such a good job, Sean! Really!)
The following weekend, that’s November 10th, for those of you keeping up, is the big, bad Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival in, um, Brooklyn. The guest list is absurd. As usual, the programming is unbelievable. Just go click on that link and come back to us. Forget about Chris Ware, that guy is all over. Oliver Shrauwen is going to be there. Like that ever happens. Don’t forget we’ll be there, too, and we’re ganged up: Edie Fake, Sean Ford, Sam Gaskin, Joseph Lambert and, of course, Eamon Epsey will be at and around our setup.
More importantly, Eamon will be sporting his new book and our last book of the year, Songs of the Abyss. It’s a delightful tune of a book, featuring Santa Claus! It makes a wonderful holiday gift. Not only will this be the first book from Eamon since his much beloved Wormdye, it will be the first Secret Acres comic to have a live adaptation.
In collaboration with Lisa Krause, of Black Cherry Puppet Theatre (and Bread and Puppet) fame, Eamon’s brought his Songs of the Abyss story, “Ishi’s Brain,” into the third dimension, with an original score from Stephen Santillan, formerly of More Dogs (Thank You, Ghost Life). Playing host to such madness is none other than Matt Thurber, the god who birthed the legendary 1-800-MICE. Along with Lisa and Eamon’s performance, Dongery, the Norwegian comics collective, will be having a book release party, for a collection of their work. It’s 1,456 pages long. Yep. This all happens ahead of BCGF, this Friday the 9th at 8PM, at Matt Thurber’s gallery, Tomato House. We won’t say you have to go, because you’re not obligated, but if you miss this, you might never forgive yourself. Or us. But we warned you.
Meanwhile, there’s been a bunch of love going around for our crew. Ahead of the game, ahead of even the book itself, City Paper has the advanced word on Songs of the Abyss and the “Ishi’s Brain” show right here. The Understanding Monster has withstood and conquered the critical eyes of the Comics Journal (more to come from those guys), Bookslut (one of the more moving reviews ever written about one of our books, we thought), his hometown Missoula Independent, Page 45, Comics Books are Burning in Hell, Under the Radar (whose only complaint was the color being a tad dark, which you can hang right on us and consider this a review a 10/10) and Paste (who were iffy on the book but loved the color, which you can credit to Theo’s genius). Oh, and Theo had this rather phenomenal interview with Tom Spurgeon aka the Comics Reporter. Joe Lambert got his own interview from Robin McConnell, the man that is Inkstuds. There was a comics format review of Wayward Girls by Suzette Smith that we somehow missed the first time. We’re not even sure how to link to this, but one of our nation’s greatest writers, Victor LaValle tweeted this about Only Skin. We will never get over that one and we will never get over the loss of the Ink Panthers Show!, which: what the hell, guys? If you want to bring the show back, you need to write Alex Robinson an actual letter and send it to his actual home. We have his actual address and we will actually give it to you. Just ask us.
Okay, that’s enough. No, it isn’t. There’s new stuff in the Emporium from Brendan Leach, Dakota McFadzean and Sean Christensen among others. And we should tell you there are new Koyama Press books in there, too, from folks like Dustin Harbin. Have a look. We’re sure you’ll find something you like.
We know we promised a sneak at next year’s books, but the lawyers said we couldn’t. Really. See you next time, hopefully, for some guest blogging and a wrap-up of Short Run. That’s where all the dirt is, anyway.
Barry and Leon
@seanonlyskin But DUDE, it's CREATOR OWNED Thor with a PENIS, BRO!
- Wednesday Jul 23 - 10:22pm
@ryancecil PHEW. We're 2 old 2 code over here.
- Wednesday Jul 23 - 5:48pm
The thing about Mike Dawson's newest graphic novel, Angie Bongiolatti, is that it's daunting at first glance but kind of impossible not to identify with its characters. Well, you could somehow not identify with them, and that's your right, but you'd probably be completely insane. Rob Kirby, writing for the Comics Journal, writes about Angie Biongiolatti so well, that he might just be the ideal reader for this one. He's sensitive, empathetic, politically conscious and he likes to party. He also nails Angie, the character, who can come across as enigmatic or aloof, but it's her faith and her clarity, as Rob puts it (and we're paraphrasing), that make her the best barometer ever for the most difficult of times and the craziest of people. The key, though, is Rob writing that he knows these folks and he's partied with them. It would have been a lot easier for Mike if he'd had an agenda when he drew these people. Yeah, we might have recognized the ideas, but maybe we wouldn't have recognized these people. Poor Rob! He's one of THEM! Thanks, TCJ, and Rob, especially. This was a really good one.
Well, folks, Edie Fake has arrived! This newest LA native gets a very warm welcome indeed from Joshua Michael Demaree at the LA Review of Books. It's both a full-blown interview, a complete history and in depth review of Memory Palaces, Edie's latest and our first ever art book. If you're worried about Edie going Hollywod, go ahead and worry since Demaree has christened him a "flourishing celebrity." At least, he's a flourishing celebrity in the queer art world. There's some stuff in here that rarely gets discussed, including Edie's background as a video artist and the influence of that medium on his comics work. We even get a mention in the story of how we met Edie, which almost didn't happen. Plus, and this was news to us as well, Edie's return to Chicago (after "going feral") coincided with the death of Michael Jackson. But was it a coincidence? Thank you, Joshua, for all your super thoughtful work here (and for making another dream come true and writing up a Secret Acres book for the LA Review of Books). Go and read this very funny and very serious career retrospective right now!
We do realize it's all Corinne Mucha and all Get Over It! all over all the time these days, but we just had to share our joy over this latest rave from Joseph Erbentraut at the Huffington Post! Yes, that Huffington Post. Complete with an actual excerpt, Joseph gives a brief rundown of the rules regarding breakup recovery times, citing scientific studies and How I Met Your Mother, no less. We're not entirely sold on the sciences here, mostly because the science of love seems to make everyone feel bad for being insane. Let's face it, love is not just blind, but very stupid. As for HIMYM, we're playing catch up with that one, but their rule seems to fit pretty well. However, if you want the real, straight up survival guide to heartbreak, look no further than our Ms. Mucha. SHE KNOWS. Thanks, Joseph and HuffPo! Have a look at the link below.
Hooo boy... WELL. Corinne Mucha is not shy with the Philadelphia Inquirer, it seems. Tirdad Derakhshani, talking about Corinne's new book, Get Over It!, asks the ever important question when it comes to autobiocomics: did that REALLY happen? And, to quote Corinne, "I didn't add or make up anything." Really, one would hope that in the making of comics, the finest medium there is, about one's actual life, that the cartoonist behind them would be brutally honest. Get Over It! is surely that. Let's face it, heartbreak is ugly as love is beautiful. And who the hell would be able to identify with a clean breakup? Does that even happen? Our favorite part of this Inquirer inquiry is the origin story that sneaks its way in. No, Corinne wasn't super into Wolverine as a kid. She wanted to be a REAL artist. The comics all started by accident, it seems, in Rome. Like Rome, Italy. Also, speaking of the other half of the (not in) love story of Get Over It! you can get That Guy's reaction to the book here, too. In other words, you pretty much have to read this.
ICYMI, as the kids say, here at last (after some more technical difficulties - and, yes, between this and our Friday night love-in at Bergen Street Comics being rained out, we are having technical difficulties galore) is Tom Spurgeon, aka the Comics Reporter, doing his Sunday Interview thing with Mike Dawson. As we can attest, these interviews are a lot of work, and require a ton of thought, so count yourself lucky that Mike is a thoughtful guy. There's plenty of shoptalk here, lots of stuff on process and the like. Angie Bongiolatti, Mike's latest graphic novel from us, was a long time in coming. There are plenty of ideas in this book, though, in a sense, it's about one thing and a certain time and place and age in post-9/11 New York. There was a lot of experimentation involved in finding a style that would both corral and express the ideas and move the narrative along, too. After all this, there was a lightning quick turnaround, with Mike finishing the book in January and us getting books printed by April. Angie Bongiolatti is catching up with its audience about now. Meanwhile, Mike has been all over the place, on tumblr, on Slate, on TCJ Talkies, and Tom has Mike talking about the future quite a bit, too. If you like Big Questions for cartoonists, this is a good place to be. As for Angie Bongiolatti, well, ask Mike says, " I think people just sort of have to read it." So go read it!