Repo Man

IN THE MIDST of yet another great migration, it occurred to us that it might not be a good idea to drive over the border in a car that doesn’t even have dealer plates. The assurances of the excellent CBSA aside, we remained perhaps overly paranoid, and traded cars with none other than L. Nichols, shortly after reuniting as neighbors for the first time since we all had Brooklyn addresses. Secret Acres quietly made its way back to New York a couple weeks ago, albeit not to New York City, to Upstate New York, in the middle of nowhere, off a lake, but within walking distance of an opera house. All this continues to be a work in progress, with a ton of books yet to arrive before we hit the road for another family reunion, the Toronto Comic Arts Festival.



TCAF 2022 marks our tenth time in Toronto for the biggest show of the year. It should be a dozen, but Corona cut us short. You know what else got cut short? The promised grand finale of Koyama Press. Kickass Annie herself scheduled that wrap two years ago. Meanwhile, Koyama Press books continue to dominate our bookshelves and our minds. We figured we’d be writing a tearful farewell back then, but better late than never. (Annie, please skip to the next paragraph if you’re reading this.) You can only understate the incredible generosity and take-no-shit spirit of Annie Koyama. Through (damn near) fifteen years of doing Secret Acres, Annie stuck right by us, even through the dark, discouraging valleys, and when we saw only one set of footprints, it was because she carried us. We feel robbed of a fitting send-off, despite the fact that Annie is really, really bad at retiring. This woman is a force, or at least the very best kind of enabler, which we love because we don’t have to stalk her. Like everybody else, we owe you big time, and we plan on thanking the shit of you soon as we’re back up north.



Speaking of stalking and moments years in the making, we finally get to drop Gabriel Howell‘s Forget Me Not, our big TCAF 2022 debut. At least his books showed up on time. A long time ago, our very own Edie Fake brought Gabe’s comic, Father, back to our CAKE table, and that thing haunted us so hard, we proceeded to immediately haunt Gabe until we could get a book together. We clearly got the right book, considering all the stalking going on in Forget Me Not. To give credit where credit is due, here’s Edie’s take on Gabe’s book: “Like a cherished keepsake rebelling against the cruelties of an online auction, the wayward waifs of Howell’s porcelain landscape are forced to fight their way through splintered selfhood in a broken world. Vulnerable and scrappy, wistful and ferocious, Forget Me Not is a sharp pinch in a tender place.” Not bad, huh? However, words don’t do justice to the spot-glossing, embossing, flocking, and linen-tex graining – and that’s just on the cover. We promise the insides will haunt you, too.



Having Gabe behind our table for the first ever feels like a win. Joining Gabe at TCAF table 154, we have another winner, the Washington Post‘s Real Art D.C. Contest finalist, CAKE Cupcake Award and MoCCA Best of Show winner, Adam Griffiths, with his still-in-previews, first book of the Washington White trilogy. Alas, L. joins us in car and spirit only, as they’re still unpacking. And from the ICYMI files, here’s superhero Hazel Newlevant at the Portland Mercury with a round-up of comics by trans artists, including L.’s classic, Flocks. We hope to host some more guest stars this weekend, but we don’t want to over-promise and under-deliver. You’re just going to have to drop by and see. We do promise to return here with a rundown of our return to TCAF. See you in a few…

Your Pal,


We Are the Champions

WHOEVER SAID you can’t go home again? MoCCA, or more fully, the Museum of Comics and Cartoon Art Festival, gave us the best homecoming imaginable. Despite our fried nerves, everything went swimmingly from the minute the plane hit the tarmac. Shipping and supply chain issues notwithstanding, (almost) everything arrived on time. This might sound like an odd choice of thing to fry one’s nerves over, but these days, you never know. You know what we couldn’t deliver to MoCCA? Zak Sally, who wisely stuck to health and safety protocols, and stayed put in sunny Minneapolis. We still owe you one, Zak. We owe one to poor, old Barry Matthews (the former other Mr. Secret Acres), who hosted a warehouse worth of our gear for a week. It took an SUV and a willing stepfather to get everything to the lovely Metropolitan Pavilion, but we needed every last bit of what we had. God bless the kind folks at the Society of Illustrators for giving us all the time in the world to set up the day before. As it turned out, the turn out for the first MoCCA of this decade wrapped a line of beautiful, comics-starved people around the block.



Mercifully, we rolled in with a gang of five, counting Rob Sergel, Sean Ford, Brendan Leach, Adam Griffiths and Glynnis Fawkes, our girl (at the table) next door. Rob brought along the brand-spanking new issue of Eschew, leading us to our favorite stan moment of the show, a visit from Dean Haspiel, showing off his profound knowledge of Rob’s ouvre to his gang. Dino, please continue being our best seller. Brendan stocked us with his latest, the Ignatz Award nominee, “Slum Clearance Symphony” aka Ley Lines no.24. Glynnis pretty much took our stock of Persephone’s Garden away from us, but because she made it, we won’t call her a thief. Adam snuck in some ARC’s of Washington White, which we earmarked for critics and distributor-type people. This stopped absolutely no one from buying them up. The big shocker hit when the Society of Illustrators and the generous people at Wacom dropped some balloons on us, and a purple Best of Show ribbon on Washington White. All this made MoCCA 2022 our best MoCCA ever, in every respect, with enormous crowds, huge sales and flawless organization. We don’t know what the Society and the show organizers got up to these past two years, but MoCCA reminds us of the folks that walked out of lockdown looking ripped.



More importantly, and perhaps even more fun, we spent damn near as much money as we took home. Our table favorites included the massive Kent State from Derf Backderf, which we admit we’re still reading because it’s a big, fat book, and also beautiful and required reading. Enchanted Lion revived our favorite kid’s book ever, Alastair Reid’s Supposing, with new illustrations from JooHee Yoon, also definitely required reading, but you can’t have it yet, yet another excellent reason to show up for MoCCA. If you like waiting for things, Jordan Crane’s complete Keeping Two will ruin your day since that arrived at MoCCA after what feels like, and probably is, decades since we first read the minis. Ansis Puriņš’s Super! Magic Forest is a keeper, too, and you can read it to kids, but only if they’re very cool kids. Nick Offerman completed his heartbreaking Do Geese See God? with a fourth and final chapter, another stellar MoCCA debut. We picked up, at long last, the Eisner-nominated memoir, the Burning Hotels, which might be even more heartbreaking, so trigger warning on that one. And you guys can stop telling us about Matt Rota. We get it already. Yes, we agree, he’s very good.



Last time, we promised you would hear more about Gabe Howell, and there’s now an entire page for him on this (still wonky) site. If you scroll all the way back on this blog, you can see that we have been courting Gabe for years and years and now. For us, at least, the most wonderful thing to come out of these comatose two years and change would be Gabe’s debut graphic novel, Forget Me Not. Gabe (via four adorable little girls on the run from a pretty fucking terrifying Death) reels you right into the conflict between visibility and privacy. We share a lot with each other, and even with strangers, even in isolation. We all want to be seen, but the act of observing changes the observed. We promise this book will change you. You won’t have to wait too long for this book, either. Forget Me Not and Gabe himself are coming to the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, live and in person this June. If you missed MoCCA, you have to come TCAF. Those are the rules! We’ll be back here, we promise, before we hit the road. Meantime, thank you, everybody, for a great MoCCA weekend. It’s nice being alive again.

Your Pal,


The Beta Test

THE LAST TIME we posted to this blog, Sadiya filed her rundown of Comic Arts Brooklyn. She survived her first solo assignment as camp counselor for the Secret Acres table, wrapping up another comics year that saw us drop Joakim Drescher’s first installment of his Motel Universe trilogy, Sean Knickerbocker’s Rust Belt collection, Keren Katz’s sophmore graphic novel, the Backtstage of a Dishwashing Webshow, and Glyniss Fawkes’s memoir of everything, Persephone’s Garden. Sadiya dedicated the third act of her first Scuttlebutt to the then-upcoming Marchenoir Library from A. Degen, and the second installment of Motel Universe. She signed off with: ” See? The world ain’t so bad. Happy holidays, everybody (and many thanks for sticking with us through this year of total, global meltdown). And we are outta here like Brexit! See you in 2020…” So we ended our comics year of 2019.



Talk about famous last words. We really made ourselves into total liars, since, in fact, we did not see you at all in 2020. We admit to faking optimism back in 2019, and not just because people started whispering the word pandemic before the virus even had a name. A week after that last post, we lost our friend, Tom Spurgeon. A week after that, sometime during the fifth Democratic presidential debate, we started thinking it could be another four years of Trump rule, and it might be a really good idea to get the fuck out of America, so we got tickets. About forty-eight hours after landing in Germany, Trump closed the borders, for what was supposed to be six weeks. It took that long to get a safe flight home.



We made it back home, and back to this blog, and now, finally, we’re back at MoCCA this weekend, two years late. These last two years took a lot out of us. They took a lot of our friends, parents and grandparents, our jobs, marriages and homes, our peace and supposed democracy, our health and sanity, our sense of history and community. Like everyone and everything, we are back at square one. It fits, being back in our hometown, and heading into MoCCA for our first show, with no idea of what we’re doing, of what to expect, of what this community feels like, or what community feels like, period. We did exactly this, fourteen years ago, at MoCCA, our first show ever, and now we’re making rookie mistakes again. At least something feels familiar.



We owe too many apologies to too many people to make them all here. We want to make good on those promises from the old world, back in 2019. We do indeed have Motel Universe 2: Faschion Empire and the Marchenoir Library for you this weekend, after releasing them into the ether of lockdown. We have Zak Sally’s astonishing Recidivist IV, after releasing that one accidentally. We have a sneak peak of Adam Griffith’s Washington White, which you can actually pick up and hold at the MoCCA table. We even have a new addition to the Secret Acres gang, Gabe Howell, but our site’s operating in beta, so you’ll hear more about him when we get back from MoCCA. You will hear from us when we get back from MoCCA, that we promise you. Meantime, please forgive us, and if you’re in New York this weekend, please come by and say hello because we’d love to see your faces. We really missed you.

Your Pals,

Leon and Sadiya

So Long, Farewell

WE SHOOK off the childhood trauma of gym class and ventured early in the morning to Comic Arts Brooklyn, held at Pratt’s ARC, meaning Athletic and Recreation Center. This means there were 41,000 square feet of space filled with empty tables when we arrived. We unloaded our wares and set up. This being our first show as a solo op since Sadiya made Secret Acres a duo once more, we took the opportunity to set up the table exactly as we liked (and you can eat it, Leon). And then we reset it. And then we reset it. And we reset it once again. Special thanks to the wonderful Rob Sergel for showing up early and playing therapist to our table setting neuroses.



The table was staffed by a band of brilliant misfits, including Rob, Keren Katz, and Glynnis Fawkes. Within two hours of the doors opening, we heard at least five people ask Rob when his new comic would be out. We couldn’t give you a solid ETA, but if you’re just as big of a fan of his work as we are, you can visit him here. Keren made a scene, of course. Like the pied piper she is, she led a parade of cartoonists back to our table to trade comics. Keren gave us the distinct pleasure of meeting Natalie Wardlaw who gifted us a beautiful Mermaid comic we are still fawning over.



During a brief lull in the show, we spied someone wearing an I LOVE OTTERS tee. This prompted Rob to share some horrible facts about otters that had us reconsidering our love of nature, let alone these horrible, adorable animals. Go ahead and Google it; it’s all true. However, we were left wondering whether the love of otters referred to actual otters or gay otters. We can only hope gay otters are less evil, but you never know. A mysterious man came and told us bad jokes because he thought we looked “too serious,” and Kyle, the wandering book hoarder, let us in on the secret of his good cheer (Weed. It was just weed. He was just high.). We marveled at the sight of a holy trinity before our table, in the form Spiegelman, Ware and McGuire (and we were sober, and apparently very serious). All in all, we felt very Brooklyn.



Thank you, all you beautiful people in the aisles, behind the tables and behind the scenes of our hometown show. CAB sends us into our winter hibernation in style. Yep, this will be our last Scuttlebutt until the big thaw. However, as promised, here’s some things to look forward to in the spring of 2020…



Prepare your return to Joakim Drescher‘s Motel Universe with Faschion Empire: Motel Universe 2! The action picks up (and never stops) after the Skins’ slave rebellion and the assassination of tycoon dictator, Barton Flump. A lone bounty hunter, Clara Constellation, searches for Captain Littlehead and the ghost of Caligula. From Planet Pear, where screentime is all the time, to the Adonis Nebula, an empire where the Faschion Police rule with an actual iron fist, the adventure continues with the second installment of the Motel Universe trilogy. MU2 is 2x the size and 2x the fun (and you know, the second part of a trilogy is always the best one)!



Enter A. Degen‘s Marchenoir Library, a gallery of the most beautiful covers from the beloved (and completely fictional, as in it doesn’t exit (yet)), sci-fi romance series, Marchenoir. Unfortunately, the covers are all that’s left of the mystery of the titular Marchenoir, an ex-celebrity singer/songwriter working as a superheroine to pay off her debts, and defend our dreams and reality, as she searches for a terrestrial paradise. Can you read a book by its covers? SPOILER ALERT: Yes. Yes, you can. Degen won’t leave you completely in the dark, though, because there will be one, randomly selected issue of Marchenoir heading your way, too.

See? The world ain’t so bad. Happy holidays, everybody (and many thanks for sticking with us through this year of total, global meltdown). And we are outta here like Brexit! See you in 2020…

Your Pals,

Sadiya and Leon

Before Sunrise

GREETINGS to you, this Halloween Eve. We love Halloween and not just because it means it’s time for CAB, aka Comic Arts Brooklyn. We take great pride in the fact that Secret Acres has never missed its hometown show, going all the way back to when it was BCGF, the Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival. What once happened in a church basement is now an all-week affair and housed (mostly) at Pratt’s ARC, which we imagine is about one thousand times the size of that old, wet basement. CAB starts the holiday season in style. Many thanks to the CAB folks for keeping us on the guest list.



Our own guest list is quite the thing. Identical twins Glynnis Fawkes and Keren Katz will be cuddled up at the Secret Acres table. They will of course be signing and sketching out their respective latests and greatests (if we do say so ourselves), Persephone’s Garden and the Backstage of a Dishwashing Webshow. We figure the seasonal walk down memory lane of Persephone’s Garden coupled with the failed attempts at escaping one’s past in the Backstage of a Dishwashing Webshow makes for great holiday reading. Making a trio of things, is none other than CAB driver, Robert Sergel, with Bald Knobber, everything Eschew and Joe Bonaparte in tow. We can’t say this for a fact, but we can’t remember Rob ever missing a CAB, either. Look around and you might just spy some more of the Secret Acres gang. Nobody wants to miss this one.

You can’t miss it, either, we have decided. While you are in New York, you are also obligated, should you have any regard for us or for art or for life or for love, to go to the Drawing Center. Edie Fake, the Gaylord Phoenix himself, spent a couple weeks at the Drawing Center recently, and he has completed his Labyrinth. What is  Labyrinth, you ask? Why, this:



As usual, CAB is the capper on comics year. We need that sense of accomplishment as much as anyone else! This means we’re going to do our usual look ahead to next year when we return to this here Scuttlelbutt. We also promise a rundown of all things CAB. See you in Brooklyn this very Saturday, and see you here back here in a few…

Your Pals,

Sadiya and Leon



WE PROUDLY now sport a dozen SPXs under our belt, and we feel like champs. We also feel like calling everyone to set up a sleepover, wracked by separation anxiety. Speaking of, all apologies to L. Nichols for inappropriate snuggling and a shipping SNAFU. Our weekend started with a terrifying discovery during setup: our box of Flocks ended up goin’ back to Cali. We called every store in driving range and found three. We kept count of the times someone came asking for Flocks to a total thirteen. We blame acclaimed dungeon mistress, MK Reed, for cursing us on SPX eve. At least Keren Katz consoled us with some unlicensed, homebrewed Flocks merch. Nonetheless, the wonderful, beautiful people of SPX severely depleted our stocks of all but Flocks by closing time.



We split the gang Saturday night, heading to both the Ignatz Awards and an intimate dinner with everyone’s heroes, Chris Pitzer and Annie Koyama. Doubtless, you know this is Annie’s last SPX with Koyama Press. We needed and appreciated some real one-on-one time. Annie, like she does with everyone, stands behind us, keeping us going year after year and we expect that will never change. Naturally, we thought about the comics lifecycle, which seems to be about eight years. Every eight years, the folks on the scene collectively consider and reconsider their lives and their spots in the game. This being the twenty-fifth SPX, we expected to hear, and indeed heard, from a lot of people who were joining Annie in declaring this their last SPX. This sucks, for us. If it were up to us, no one would be allowed to bounce. As for us, despite rumors (which we heard for the first time this SPX) that Secret Acres was going to fold after Barry called it quits (at SPX 2018, no less), once again: we’re not going anywhere.



On the way back from dinner, our phones blew up. Keren, asked last-minute to present this year’s Outstanding Graphic Novel Ignatz Award, crushed it. We promise to get you video proof of what we already know, specifically that Keren is an amateur cartographer, and should never be allowed to run with scissors. In celebration of the Keren Moment, we took turns trying on her hat, with Sean Knickerbocker clearly the winner. We tried on a pretty pro tank top we got from Carta Monir. We stayed up late reading Hazel Newlevant’s No Ivy League, Eleanor Davis’s the Hard Tomorrow and Emma Jayne’s Ignatz Award-Winning Trans Girls Hit the Town.



Packing up, we realized that our shopping haul was pretty much all we had left. Sean Knickerbocker managed a total sellout of Rust Belt, anti-capitalist or not. Glynnis ditched all her copies of Persephone’s Garden, leaving her no choice but to check in at chez Acres. We counted a whopping one copy of Keren’s Backstage of a Dishwashing Webshow among the leftovers. All in all, Secret Acres hasn’t done numbers like this since SPX opened up the whole room. Don’t call it a comeback! Or call it a comeback, if you must. We cannot thank enough the good people walking the floor, manning the tables, running the show. Here’s to another twenty-five years of SPX.



We’re off to roll around in our huge pile of cash,  Indecent Proposal-style, but we’ll be back here in a bit for all things Comic Arts Brooklyn. See you in a few (unless you’re down for a slumber party right now (in a pile of cash))…

Your Pals,

Sadiya and Leon

Daddy’s Home

SINCE RELOCATING to the California desert valley, the thought of breaking out so much as a jean jacket fills us with glee. After a long, ludicrously, incomprehensibly hot summer, we gear up for the comics fall, which, of course, means the Small Press Expo. If you live by the comics calendar, there is nothing more autumnal than SPX. If you see comics as a spiritual pursuit, you know SPX is like church: you have to go. Nobody misses an SPX. So, if you want to wipe out all of comicsdom in one shot, you know where to aim.



We’re bombing SPX with a stunning pair of debut books. First up is Keren Katz‘s follow-up to her SPX Ignatz Award nominated book, the Academic Hour, namely, the Backstage of a Dishwashing Webshow. Keren takes us back to school with this one, though it’s a very different school. At Mount Scopus Academy, everyone becomes who they always were. Ever wonder why you might sometimes feel like you’re dating your dad? Ever try to escape your past? Ever try to find what you’ve been missing? Keren’s got a map for that. You may need one, since it’s easy to get lost in the exquisite beauty and movement of her art, and there’s a lot of seltzer, too.



Or! You could take a walk through Persephone’s Garden, a collection of comics by Glynnis Fawkes, another Ignatz Award nominee. We must warn you, this book will make you cry. Persephone’s Garden is a deeply personal story and an inventive study of girlhood, womanhood and motherhood, through memory, history and mythology. Glynnis doesn’t leave a stone in this garden unturned. She is, after all, an archeaological illusrator by trade. Lest you think this is some kind of tearjerker, we promise you will also laugh yourself silly. Try yoga with Charlotte Brontë. Speaking of, come to the show and you might get sneak peek at Glyniss’s other book, Charlotte Brontë Before Jane Eyre.



We know, you want more. And there’s more! Sean Knickerbocker takes his Rust Belt tour outta the rust belt and to the nation’s capitol (or close enough) to make one helluva anti-capitalist statement. L. Nichols returns to the scene of the crime, and his SPX 2018 debut, Flocks. We swear everyone will have lots of new stuff. Plus, believe it or not, SPX is turning 25 this year. Still age inappropriate for the likes of us, but not bad at all! If you just cannot make it to the biggest show of the year, well, we feel for you, but you can pick up your own Persephone’s Garden and Backstage of a Dishwashing Webshow in our Emporium right now. Or you can read about Keren’s German show in German or English. See? You have options. You always have options.

We’ll be back in a bit with all our SPX happenings and whatever dirt we can dig up, promise.

Your Pals,

Sadiya and Leon

Come Back to Me

SWEET JESUS, what a rush! So, first of all, we must thank the lovely legions of the legendary Quimby’s for hosting our guy, Sean Knickerbocker. Sean kicked off his big Rust Belt tour on Friday night, following up Aaron Renier and Alex Nall for the Quimby’s special CAKE (that’s the Chicago Alternative (K)omics Expo) edition of Drink n’ Draw. Please forgive us, as we were hauling ass to Chicago by car from New York and had no books on hand for the folks at the shop. Sean must have made one helluva impression since a good number of you people came out and got yours at CAKE. Even if the books didn’t make it, L. Nichols and Flocks and the rest of the gang all made it to the city in one piece(s), so we are counting our blessings (after rubbernecking a traumatizing accident that caused, and lent an aura of horror to, our lateness).



And then we had CAKE. We expect a lot from the Chicago Alternative (K)omics Expo, and it delivered on all expectations. The Center on Halsted remains our favorite show space, period, for the bathrooms (when they’re working), the light, the food, the everybody-is-welcome thing. CAKE’s organizers and volunteers continue their groove, and they are groovy as all get out. Everything on the floor is AKNF. New to us was Jasyot Sing Hans and his guide to those apps, Baby Let’s Cruise. We picked up the new Van Deusen from Killgore, eerie, since he was sitting right behind us the whole time and he really is his avatar. We scored the new Marian Runk book and record set. We found new Grant Reynolds right next to new Jessica Campbell. We stalked/courted Gabe Howell (again) and JJ McLuckie. One of L’s Ley Lines gang, Diana H. Chu, took home the big Cupcake Award. The big surprise of the show for us was La Mano 21‘s Ski Mask Jerry by C. Haack, and whoever that is, we are in love with you.



But all that’s to be expected. CAKE, of course, loves to defy expectations. This year, on day one, we got all settled in and on time for complete crickets. Like nothing happened beyond vegan donuts. Then Sunday, right after, say, brunch time, we sold literally everything and made out just fine overall, thank you. Everyone we spoke to, with a single exception, had similarly schizo sales in radically different ways. We find this fascinating and unique to this show. It usually makes for weird nights out after, but we kept our clothes on and managed a pinball bar crawl with our hero, Adam Griffiths, while Sean took his sweetheart out for her birthday – and, wow, she spent her birthday at a comics show; now that is true love.



Sean is still on the road, and, by the time you read this, he will have rocked out at Two Dollar Radio‘s HQ in Columbus. You can still catch him, though! You will see Sean again, this September, at the very least, when we will doing double damage at SPX with a pair of debuts. The Backstage of a Dishwashing Webshow will take the stage as Keren Katz debuts her latest, and greatest, graphic novel. Glynnis Fawkes will be getting lost in Persephone’s Garden, but there are certainly less beautiful places to be. Don’tcha just love to watch the leaves turn?

Until then, it’s summer break for us. See you in September…

…also, we hung out a bit with Simon Moreton.

Your Pal,


Missing in Action

FIRST OF ALL, we must thank Desert Island and Gabe Fowler in particular for hosting Joakim Drescher‘s Motel Universe coming out party. We should also thank L. Nichols for tag-teaming with Joakim and bringing his Flocks home to Brooklyn. We even need to thank Sadiya Abjani, now an official Secret Acres henchperson, for playing runner all night. As usual, a good time was had by all, and per the Desert Island usual, a couple legends showed up, including Mark Newgarden, J. Otto Seibold and papa Drescher, Henrik. Thank you legends and other beautiful people for joining us in sending Motel Universe and Joakim off in style.



Now let’s address a more urgent matter: it’s time for CAKE! Yes, the Chicago Alternative (K)omics Expo happens this very weekend. Secret Acres looks to be fully armed and operational for the Windy City party. At long last, we present the debut of Rust Belt by Sean Knickerbocker. This book took forever to happen, like the better part of a decade. We’ve been reading and loving Rust Belt and Sean too long, frankly, but here we are at last. Rust Belt is all about the people no one wants to talk about, the people some of us have to sit next to at Thanksgiving dinners, the doomed and the dreamers in the cold places of post-industrial America. In Sean’s hands, we get to see them live and breathe. You know these people, and you may want to forget them, but you won’t forget Rust Belt anytime soon.



This Friday night, you can see Sean at Chicago’s iconic Quimby’s, right after their big Drink ‘n Draw spectacular featuring Aaron Renier and Alex Nall. Sean will be at CAKE bright and early on Saturday with none other than L. Nichols, who is just crashing every shindig we got. Of course, it’s CAKE, so everyone in comics, or at least the comics worth caring about, will be there, especially Simon Moreton. Oh, and we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention our TCAF sneaky tablemate, Adam Griffiths. CAKE jumpstarts Sean on what will be a whirlwind Rust Belt tour of not exactly the rust belt, but more like comics meccas. Have a look-see…



ICYMI, and in case you don’t want to take our word for it, here’s the Beat on Rust Belt. Want more? Here’s Four Color Apocalypse counting the last installment of Rust Belt among the best single issues of anything of all of last year. If you can’t make it to the show, we pity you, but we offer solace in the form of pre-ordering your own Rust Belt right here in our Emporium. We have a lot of packing to do, like a lot, but all the legs and cars are working, so that’s a step in the right direction. We will return here in a week with all the gossip fit for print, so you can see who wound naked, especially Simon Moreton. See you in a few…

Your Pal,


Right Here Waiting

ROUGH STARTS happen. Our troubles began with the car that wouldn’t start. The night before, we packed for the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, while Joakim Drescher flew through space and time, from Denmark. We were locked, loaded and ready to head for the North with Motel Universe in the boot. Then crickets. We tried one of those portable battery charger things and failed miserably. We gave up and called AAA to give us a jump, but got an F- on the battery test. We wheeled over to the dealership, since no one else in their right mind would have the batteries we needed. And we waited. And waited. And fell asleep. Four hours later, we picked up Sadiya, our TCAF comics mule three years running, and crossed the border at midnight. Most problems disappear once you’re in Canada and ours were not exceptional.



Joakim fit right in with our gang. We had another semi-surprise rookie behind the Secret Acres table in none other than Adam Griffiths. We told you about Adam when we met him at CAKE, but you oughtta get used to seeing him in these parts. We like that guy a lot. We adore Joakim, too, and while we dropped a ton of comics on Saturday, Motel Universe especially, the real star of the show was probably Joakim’s fucking disgusting Danish candy. Our crew gets husky with the eating, so we put strange things in our mouths on the regular, but the Danes have problems. We still have some of these things, if you’re curious.



Major props go to L. Nichols and Aaron Costain, not only for slinging and signing Flocks and Entropy and a bunch of prints, but for eating many of those Danish sewer candies on purpose and spreading the wealth. Edie Fake held his own at his remote site in the Wowee Zonk room, where we spent a fortune, particularly on Eli Howey‘s and Carta Monir‘s everything. We also broke a sweat (because it’s hot AF in the WZ room) to hang with our favorite, Eric Kostiuk Williams, who had a ton of great stuff as well as a three part name. Next door to us sat Mikal from Centrala which is Polish but based in London and wins our Most Beautiful Overall Spread Award, and triggered some serious book image issues for us. Kitty corner we found Kevin Czap, who remains ever present but who refused to eat that vile candy, and his Czap Books imprint took our money in exchange for new Cathy G. Johnson and Liz Suburbia books, plus a new Ley Lines and a new Four Years by Kevin himself, because there is nowhere Kevin is not. Also, Kevin has hair now. We caught a sneak peak at Georgia Webber‘s upcoming and expectedly brilliant and so fucking depressing Vivian’s Image (and brace yourself). Floating World dropped the new Carlos Gonzalez (YES! FINALLY!) so we could get our weird on, and there was some debate as to whether the new, collected Joe Decie stories are funnier than Kelsey Wroten‘s Cannonball, but everyone’s a winner. So, yeah, comics are alive and well all over the world and TCAF, in case you were wondering.



We could discuss our haul, dumplings, and Kid Koala all day, but we know you want the dirt. Yes, Sunday night, after the Tranzac party, which gave us the opportunity to thank everyone who makes TCAF happen every year, a bunch of us went naked clubbing (and no, not all of us, if any of you Secret Acres spouses are reading this). Oddly, at closing time, we had just been talking to the Beat herself, Heidi McDonald, about how sex-positive, queer-positive, trans-positive and all-around inclusive things have become on our side of the comics fence. As Secret Acres is queer-made and generally pretty queer, we take some great delight in this. For the record, Sunday was not a free-for-all (loving these hyphens). Instead, we got a drag show, a heated pool, respectful flirting, and people of all ages, races, genders, orientations, shapes and sizes. As for yours truly, well, after wobbling around on a busted leg all weekend, those squishy rubber beds upstairs were great for taking a load off. No pun intended, but it’s a free country up there, so go ahead and infer all you want.



Now that we are back stateside, we have other things on our minds. We demand you join Joakim and L. both, on Thursday the 23rd at Desert Island. The fun starts at 7PM sharp, plus FREE BEER. Joakim and L. both will have other new stuff, in addition to Motel Universe and Flocks, and who knows when you’ll see that stuff again? You will see us again, and sooner than you’d think as we have CAKE to serve up and another shiny new book: Rust Belt by Sean Knickerbocker. That one should come with warning labels.



Back in a few…

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