THE EARTH WILL MOVE, but that’s not going to stop SPX. There was some worry about the Bethesda Marriott, the hotel and event center that plays host to the Small Press Expo, otherwise known as Camp Comics. We’d been warned that they’d been hit hard by the earthquake and that the damage might have been bad enough to split the con up over two floors. This wouldn’t have been the end of the world, but there was even talk that the bar would be out of commission. If you’ve been deprived of an SPX experience, know that the bar and balconies are the hub of what is essentially a sleep-away camp for cartoonists. There’s plenty going on in the individual cabins, but you need the big campfire scene. A large cheer to all the Marriott folks for getting the job done and for quelling our qualms in advance. Apparently, Marriot Silver Elite status has its privileges, though we have no idea what that even means.
In addition to the earthquake, there was that whole hurricane thing. We were fine here in New York. Although we were disappointed that our local karaoke bar was closed, others had it even worse. In fact, the CCS Schulz Library was battered by a shipping container that went floating along the White River. While this was yet another weather-related comics catastrophe, the upshot of this story was pretty inspiring. Loads of volunteers saved every last book and mini. You can get more of the story here and you can donate to the library here.
If you want further evidence of comics people being the best people you can find, take a look at these Philip K. Dick cover illustrations here. Guided by Floating World Comics out in Portland, the proceeds from the sale of these guys (and two days’ worth of Floating World’s sales) will be headed toward paying off Dylan Williams’ medical bills. It’s amazing how easily bad news can turn into inspiration. We may be a silly bunch, but comics people should be proud.
Speaking of pride, we are sad to say that Mike Dawson was too shy to don his Boy Scout uniform for the Troop 142 release party at Bergen Street Comics. We also sold out of a couple dozen copies of Troop 142 in about as many minutes. That’s what we all get for being modest! However, we had a blast selling comics to people in an actual comics shop, which we haven’t had a chance to do in a while. Beyond our own books, we sold copies of Bulletproof Coffin, Wonton Soup, Ganges, Box Office Poison, the Incal and Zegas, to name a few. We even heard back from one reader that he had fallen in love with Stephen Gaedel (on page 354 of Box Office Poison, to be specific) and that Glenn Ganges had reduced him to tears.
The crowd included a chunk of the Dawson family who had previously appeared in Freddie & Me and who were nice enough to sign copies of the book. We got to talk to Tucker Stone about the new(ish) DC Comics, which would appear to be both a guaranteed flop and a huge success. We met Matt Seneca, who didn’t seem quite as bloody-minded as his writing sometimes suggests. We met Michel Fiffe and picked up a Zegas or two of our own. We got to chat with MK Reed, Matt Madden, Jessica Abel and Dean Haspiel. It was largely packed with people hanging out until about midnight. Several very lucky customers went home with Troop 142 patches.
The rest of the patches will be dispersed at SPX, where we will have Troop 142 in much larger quantities. We will be missing Edie Fake, who is too kind and has to cover for his Quimby’s co-worker while that guy is off at SPX. Edie has not forgotten you SPX folks. In celebration of its Ignatz Award nomination for Outstanding Mini-Comic, there will be a new batch of Gaylord Phoenix 5 on hand for SPX. This is a beautiful, handmade thing that was originally produced in very limited numbers for the NY Art Book Fair (Edie will be at that one, if you’re around). To celebrate Gaylord Phoenix‘s nomination for Outstanding Graphic Novel and to offer proof that he is worthy of the title of Outstanding Artist, Edie’s also made a five-layered silkscreen print. There’s only going to be 25 of them and they will look something like this. SPX is likely to be your only shot at picking up Edie’s print, Gaylord Phoenix 5 and a Troop 142 patch. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. If you’re not going to be there, check out Mike’s Troop 142 trailer. That ought to tide you over until the book makes it way to you.
Surely, you’ve been sweating out your voting choices for the Ignatz Awards, but we’re here to make it easy. Vote for Gaylord Phoenix 5 for Outstanding Mini-Comic! Vote for Gaylord Phoenix for Outstanding Graphic Novel! Vote for I Will Bite You! for Outstanding Anthology or Collection! As for Outstanding Artist, you really only have two options in Joseph Lambert or Edie Fake. Don’t look at us. You’re on your own with that one.
See you at the show! We’ll be back to re-cap on the other side.
Barry and Leon
@ryancecil Sorry, Ryan! There were issues galore with the site, but they appear to be resolved. Emphasis on appear.
- Tuesday Jul 22 - 3:09pm
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!