CAKE had us at hello. CAKE means never having to say you’re sorry. Here’s lookin’ at you, CAKE. To ruin the suspense off the bat, Secret Acres had a great show at CAKE this year. Sales-wise, it was magnitudes better than our 2013 CAKE (like by 300%, for those of you looking for a number). It was also the first show, ever, where we ran out of stock of damn near everything. We do tend to overpack, yes, but for CAKE 2014, we sold out of almost every title that we brought. We ran out of Memory Palaces so fast, we ended up begging local retailers for copies to sell. This never happens. We don’t get high on our own supply.
Obviously, it helps to have two new books from two hometown heroes, meaning Memory Palaces by Edie Fake and Get Over It! by Corinne Mucha, obviously. Edie, a Special Guest of the Show, had a sliver of table space next to us, so we had two full days of access to him and his hillbilly thermos. Corinne had her own table, too, but once she sold out of her Get Over It!s, she came over and burned through our copies like a true show pro. Mike Dawson didn’t even join us at the table, but he was carving out his own space, hawking Angie Bongiolatti, Troop 142, Freddie & Me and a small army of Heroclix. In short, we were running all the corners in the hood.
Only three of our four boxes made it all the way to Chicago (and our table banners arrived… …yesterday), but all three boxes were waiting on our table when we rolled in Saturday morning, and the CAKE bakers threw in a swag bag, a sharpie and a sketchbook! There were house snacks and water and actual frosted cake. BOTH DAYS. Like our friends in the north beyond the Wall, meaning TCAF, CAKE helped us get our leftover books to local shops so we could skip the hassle carting everything back. The CAKE posse came up with some stuff we’d never seen before, like a CAKE Rewards Program. All the exhibitors got stickers, all the attendees got cards. Buy a comic, get a sticker. Fill the card, win a prize (a CAKE poster)! Great idea. It was new and innovative (and strange) for both the attendees and exhibitors, but maybe it’ll become commonplace. Like at MoCCA or something. (Are you listening, steering committee?) Kinda like MoCCA, CAKE is also sponsoring a self-publishing award called the Cupcake Award, and it’s being guest judged by the ever amazing Annie Koyama. Speaking of amazing, Neil Brideau deserves special thanks for being so stupidly great and mailing us back our banners that we never got to use. Who even does that? Really, who does that? THANK YOU, NEIL BRIDEAU.
Of all the conventions we’ve attended thus far, CAKE 2014 was probably the friendliest crowd. People seemed far less shy about stopping and chatting and asking about our books, our philosophy, our button downs. We are especially happy that Chad, an ardent Theo Ellsworth fan, stopped and chatted with us. Hi, Chad! Sadly, we were not so friendly outdoors in Chicago. We were terrible shut-ins for most of the convention. We’re old, with muscle pains and cardiac woes, but mostly we were just tuckered out from the travel, comics-slinging and day job drama. It’s three shows in eight weeks in two nations and two different time zones and we’re down one Casey Gonzalez. Remember when the Comics Year started in June? Of course not. You’re too young. Or maybe it was because were without Annie, Chris or Matt, our usual compadres, keeping us out, tearing the bark off the trees, howling at the dawn.
We did, however, get to spend some quality time with Tucker Stone, our favorite fashionista, and we got to say hi to other publishing distro peeps like Tom K, Zak Sally, Raighne Hogan, Ed Kanerva and John P. Zak Sally even gave us a rad print he made and is selling here. We scored the 2D collection of the Holden brothers’ zines, Detrimental Information, purchased solely on the basis of its excellent cover image. Brian Cremins’ panel, “Majikomix, Queer Comics and Visionary Cartooning” with our man Edie, Elisha Lim and Eric Kostiuk Williams was a genial, well-attended affair, and genuinely fascinating. It was revealing to see the intersection of symbols, iconography and subject matter of all three cartoonists, but we’re still not sure what “hungry bottom” means (but LOLjk, srsly, we know). We caught up with internet sensation, Canadian exile and recent MFA graduate, Jessica Campbell, who remains one of the funniest people alive – and how did we not know that she shared a house with Corinne Mucha?!? Comics people collect in dark corners, like dust bunnies or lost change. We made new friends (Elisha Lim!) and talked shop with grizzled veterans like L. Nichols, Grace Tran, Kevin Czap (<3 that Czap), Michael DeForge, Greg Means, Sean T. Collins, Sean Christensen, MariNoami, Caitlin McGurk and Marian Runk (who has a supercute new haircut, btw). We copped zines from Anna Bongiovanni, new Koyamas Cat Person and 100 Crushes, and “Don’t Try to Save Me” by Grant Reynolds. Speaking of cats, it’s not an indie comics show without gratuitous expressions of feline admiration, and holy shit, they’re not kidding with the Windy City Kitties. And when it was all over, we gathered on the breezy terrace for cocktails.
As much as we love Chicago, we do think it’s weird that men in Chicago think it’s okay to wear flip-flops everywhere. It is not okay to wear flip flops everywhere. Also, why is every bar a sports bar? Also, why do Chicago dog owners put their dogs inside the fenced green areas with fences meant specifically to keep dogs out? We saw this occur more than five times over the course of our stay. Cognitive lapse or arrogant disregard? We’re just curious. But make no mistake, Chicago understands cinnamon rolls.
Meanwhile, back in the real world, at Bergen Street Comics in Brooklyn this very Friday, Corinne Mucha arrives in New York City on her Get Over It! book tour. Let’s review for a minute, what Bergen Street had to say about our parties…
“As it’s a Secret Acres party, you can rest assured that the evening will be fun for most, embarrassing for some, and doused in the throes of romance for one lucky couple. (Every single Secret Acres party we’ve ever had has resulted in at least one loving relationship, even if said relationship was relatively short termed. Numbers don’t lie!)”
Considering the above, and the subject of Corinne’s book, namely, heartbreak and the long road out of it, we’d like to encourage some comics loving. If you are the lucky two who find one another while pouring the bubbly and pouring over Get Over It! and saying clever, impressive things and blushing this Friday, both of you can have your pick of a book or a print or a mini. We’ll hand one over to each of the first couplers to write us, so if it doesn’t last, there’s no fighting over who got what – and, yeah, pics or GTFO.
While you make yourself all pretty, give a listen to Comics for Grownups where they discuss Angie Bongiolatti then you can just ape everything they say so you seem like you’re seriously plugged into our fine comics world. We’ll back here in a bit with plenty in store for you; don’t worry. As a special treat, here is the glorious cover to Theo Ellsworth’s forthcoming Understanding Monster Book Two:
Barry and Leon
@dankois Eagle or Golden Eagle.
- Wednesday Oct 15 - 4:20pm
RT @PhantomOakland: Indie artists James Kochalka and Theo Ellsworth-Thought Cloud Factory both have stories in the new Sponge Bob... http:/…
- Thursday Oct 9 - 6:50pm
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...