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We Do It!

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.

Your Pals,

Barry and Leon

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Secret Acres
October 10, 2014 at 3:48 pm

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Secret Acres
Facebook IconOctober 9, 2014 at 4:43 pm

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!

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Bill Kartalopoulos | on-panel.com

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Contents and Notable Comics from The Best American Comics 2014, posted by Series Editor Bill Kartalopoulos

Secret Acres
Facebook IconSeptember 24, 2014 at 2:58 pm

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!

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The Understanding Monster – Book Two

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A review of Theo Ellsworth's "The Understanding Monster: Book Two."

Secret Acres
Facebook IconSeptember 17, 2014 at 2:15 pm

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...

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THE MOUTH of Tucker Stone damn near swallowed us whole on the ride down to this year’s Small Press Expo. We are hereby awarding him an Ignatz Brick for Outstanding Shit-Talking Comics Mule. Who knew Nobrow was so gangsta? We appreciate it, Tucker; you were the best consolation for us being down a ma…

Secret Acres
Facebook IconSeptember 10, 2014 at 12:38 pm

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...

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FIRST THINGS FIRST: Secret Acres had a grand old time at RIPE, the Rhode Island Independent Publishing Expo, which really should be RIIPE, but who’s counting? Dave Nuss, smooth operator of Revival House Press was our celebrity comics mule and neighbor at the show. We would like him to be our neighbo…

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