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D-D-Don’t Don’t Stop the Beat

ALL NIGHT PASSION got us through the day. It was a race to the finish line for BCGF. We haven’t pulled so many all-nighters since the last time we had finals.  Secretly, we were learning a new trick, which kinda sucks for old dogs like us. After getting so-so quotes from printers for Curio Cabinet 5, we came to the conclusion that if you want something done right, you have to do it yourselves (or call a librarian). As the man says, printin’ ain’t easy. We had major production assists from our very own Sean Ford and Paint Bucket Studio to get to the end. All in all, we figure it’s a big improvement on our other stitched books. You printers worry not. We won’t be getting into the binding business. Like ever. But, boy, did it feel good to get our hands dirty. This digital world is fun and all, but actually making something with your hands is satisfying in ways that no amount of hours spent in the Adobe suite could ever be. We may expand this operation. We shall see.

We were relieved to be able to bring an actual copy of Curio Cabinet 5 to our dinner with Anne Koyama on the Thursday before the big, bad Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Fest.  If ever you are hungry, or sober, Annie is there with a solution. She fed Edie Fake, Gabby Schulz, Sean and us a shocking amount of fat and beer – though Annie is no beer guy. It’s truly impossible to see enough of her. Every time we do get to hang out, we get a little more of her story and a lot more encouragement. She would be dropping a whopping three debut comics on BCGF, because she has limitless energy. If we were tired, she was wired. (There’s advantages to each.)

Sometime the following night, while we were cutting another batch of comics, nearly the entire Secret Acres gang had arrived in Brooklyn. We were missing our beloved lady of the Acres, Minty Lewis, kind of evil genius, Eamon Espey and Theo Ellsworth. However, Joseph Lambert and Sean were off checking out Jack Davis at the Scott Eder Gallery. John Brodowski, man of the hour, had dropped Sam Gaskin off to work the Extreme Animals show, where he would wrestle with Edie. Mike Dawson was probably home with his family where he belonged. Who knows where the hell Gabby was. The point is that we were, nearly all of us, in the same place. Of course, not one of these people actually helped load the ride at three in the morning, but whatever.

There were two huge tables with our name on them. We have never had so much real estate at a show. It was a necessary thing, with seven artists and their wares, a debut and, of course, dozens of mini-comics. We were between Koyama Press and Drawn & Quarterly, which meant Peggy Burns. We should apologize to Peggy. A nine hour stretch is a tough thing and no one wanted to leave the table, so pizza, beer and the snack packs were being raided in front of god and everybody and Peggy. We have a hard time coming up with outfits to please the D&Q gang, but, yes, we deserved all the finger wagging for feasting at the table. Sorry, Peggy!

It was difficult to find a good time to explore, because the rhythm of the show was so strange. With the panels moved off-site to Union Pool and the downstairs opened up, it created an odd lightning attack style of sales. People were snatching up Curio Cabinet 5 in numbers that left us 3 copies shy of a sellout, and we sold a chunk of everything else, but there were several times when someone at the table asked if sales were bad. They weren’t. It felt as if someone were dropping off a bus of customers every half hour or so. We were swamped, and then relative crickets, and then swamped again. Was it because panels were letting out? Was it a problem with the L train? We have no clue. We did very well and this shouldn’t be taken as a complaint. Compared to last year’s compact floor space, it never felt overwhelmingly crowded. Maybe that was it? In any case, BCGF remains one of our strongest shows. It may also be the best place on the planet for a book like Curio Cabinet 5.

We missed picking up Kramer’s Ergot 8 and Nobrow 6 and Night Business 4, which all seemed to be gunning for Book of Show. We barely even had time to waive at our hero, Chris Pitzer, but we pretty much have all his books, anyhow. We did clean up at the Electric Ant/Press Gang table, picking up the very impressive Study Group Magazine 1 and an original drawing from Johnny Negron for twenty bucks, which seems completely insane. There was Rub the Blood and Skin, Deep and Free Ice Cream. We finally bagged the Wolf and Danger Country. We stole Comics Class, Rivers Forgotten and the World of Gloria Badcock from our neighbor. We were gifted The End of the Fucking World part 2 and Hey, Fag! and the fantastic Vacuum Horror by some guy named Max Morris. At any other show, we’d be okay with this. At BCGF, it’s an embarrassment.

After a brief pit stop for some wings, beer and mixed martial arts fighting, we went to Bill Kartolopoulos’ house because that’s always where the party’s at. Practically the entire Lambiek Comiclopedia was there. We somehow missed Jesse Moynihan and Josh Simmons, whom we’ve always wanted to see because his comics scare the bejesus out of us. We did not miss out on our annual post-BCGF gossip fest with the Beat. (Heidi MacDonald does indeed know everyone and everything.) We got to see our old pal, Randy Chang, who’d been all buddy-buddy with Zack Soto all day. It’s good to see Randy lurking. It means he’s not out of the comics game just yet. People must have been waiting for us old comics dads to leave, because it was Brooklyn Canoodle and Groping Fest the minute we left. Like Caligula or SDCC, but cuter. We’d spill the deets, but what happens at BCGF stays at BCGF.

The Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival is always a great way for us to end our comics year, but there was a lot of significance to this one for us. It was fitting that we were putting out Curio Cabinet 5, since the man behind it, John Brodowski, was the first person we ever talked to about Secret Acres. It was special because so many of the Secret Acres family were in the house. It really reminded us of how far we’ve come. Speaking of family, take a peek at Griffin Ellsworth. We missed you, Theo, but that’s a good excuse.

Your Pals,

Barry and Leon




  • I’m sure I’m not the only one who saw “mixed martial arts fighting” and immediately thought of Uncle Heidi. Sure enough, there she is. Wish I could have made it to this show. Thanks for the awesome round-up!



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