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
Hello! Are you in New Jersey or have you escaped? If you are still in Jersey or anywhere near it, you ought to stop by the Asbury Park Comic Con, which is right along the historic boardwalk, which is the site of some terrible goings on in Brendan Leach's Iron Bound. Of course, Brendan will be there, and we promise it's much safer than you would think after reading his book. If you don't have a copy of Iron Bound handy, you can pick one up from Brendan at the show. If you do have a copy, you might want to wait to read it until after the show. You can still play pinball at the Silver Ball Museum, though. Even more ridiculous, Jersey boy Mike Dawson is crashing the party. He's back living in Jersey now, but his latest book, Angie Bongiolatti, is all about life in New York post 9/11. His other books, Troop 142 and Freddie & Me will give you all the non-scary Jersey you need. Get over there and get some comics and take a little stroll along the beach, where the "Jedi" play "Tatoine," as the kids say. We actually saw that last year. It was HILARIOUS.
HEY! Are you in Portlandia or something? Because Edie Fake is in Portland, Oregon, doing some Linework. Linework NW, kinda like Edie himself, is blurring the line between comics, fine art and illustration work. They have Jim Woodring and Michael Deforge and some pretty killer events planned for the show, including an evening of Edie at the legendary Floating World Comics. We'd tell you what Edie is doing there, but the Lineworkers say it best, "Fake will be giving a short and colorful experimental lecture on the sexuality of patterns that weaves together fabric, the tarot, the concept of individuality and jeggings." Yes, sexy fabric and jeggings. Now you have to go! Read all about it here...
Hi! Are you in Ohio someplace? Because Sean Ford is in Columbus, Ohio, aka SPACE, the Small Press and Alternative Comics Expo. Sean's got the brand new edition of Only Skin and a brand new issue of Shadow Hills, which is the third of that series (!). There's lots of fun programming, but you can also double dip and go check out the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum right next door. It's probably the largest collection of comics anywhere and, in conjunction with the SPACE Jam (that's a thing), they're opening up the Bill Watterson (Calvin & Hobbes, duh) and Richard Thompson (Cul de Sac, duh) exhibits, too! Now that's worth the trip. Make sure you get Sean to sketch your books out. That guy acts like every day is Angouleme. Deets at the link!
Well, well, well! It's Paste Magazine's Hillary Brown on Mike Dawson's Angie Bongiolatti, which is a lot of names. It's also a very thoughtful review. Angie Bongiolatti is indeed a macro, holistic view of a group of people at a particular moment. The book is not so much about the people themselves, but more a book of ideas. That ain't easy. Hillary is too smart to take the bait on the politics of Angie Bongiolatti, of course. As she writes, it's a story of ideals and idealization, and how they distort our view of some very flawed thinking and very flawed people. Hillary is one of the best critics out there, so stop reading this and go read her. Go on...
And we're back on our Scuttlebutt blog with a rundown of all things MoCCA. Even as steering committee members, we were skeptical that a year's worth of planning would make much difference between last year's show and this one, but it turns out we were wrong, or we were "haters" as the kids like to say. A big balloon, a new layout, a Comics Week worth of events all over New York, some killer programming and a drop in admission prices really brought this show to life. And it WAS dead, Jim. We should have given the Society of Illustrators, and ourselves, a little more credit for learning on the fly. You can also check out the early bird reviews of Angie Bongiolatti and Memory Palaces, AND you can see where everyone is heading next, since both Sean Ford and Edie Fake will be at shows this very weekend, while Mike Dawson and Brendan Leach will be heading back to Asbury Park. We're staying put until TCAF time, but we'll return to warn you about that one and Corinne Mucha and Get Over It! we promise. Thanks, everyone, who came to MoCCA and to the Bureau of General Services - Queer Division and to Bergen Street Comics. We do it all for you!