GUESS WHAT? (What?) We’re holding copies of Troop 142 in our fat little fingers right now. See? It looks fantastic. If you’re one of those people on our press list, you, too, will be holding a copy some time next month. The rest of the world will have to wait for SPX. Don’t worry, we can’t wait for SPX, either. If you’ve never been, you should find a way. It’s pretty much a weekend sleep-away camp for indie cartoonists.
This blog has been awful quiet for a while, but we haven’t managed to shut up on Twitter. In fact, we had one tweet about something so stupid it made the Twitter homepage. Thanks, folks, for the honor of your furious re-tweeting.
Otherwise, we have been very busy bees. Our surprise TCAF debut, Samuel C. Gaskin‘s 2012 is now available in unlimited quantities in the Emporium and in finer comic shops (hopefully) near you. There’s been some love for Joseph Lambert and his I Will Bite You! here and here, and he even makes an appearance on Mike Dawson‘s TCJ Talkies here (which is a little meta for us, really, what with it being about CCS as well). Speaking of podcasts, make sure you give a listen to the always entertaining Robin McConnell giving our own Edie Fake the royal Inkstuds treatment here. Ken Dahl managed to recover from TCAFever long enough to get a Spanish language Monsters together (hitting shelves all over Spain this fall from europowerhouse Ponent Mon) and he even started a new webcomic detailing his tragic illness here. Not to be outdone, Mike Dawson has been posting his new comic Ain’t No Power on his site here, and Sean Ford has his nose to the grindstone of the complete Only Skin (which might as well be Only Skin Redux with everything he has planned for it). So there’s that.
Though it’s not Acres related per se, there are many Acres pals involved in the Retrofit project. This is a long overdue plan to get saddle stitched, comic book type comics from indie creators back into bookstores. This was very much on the decline a few years back, as thoughtful comics by sole creators take a while to make. It’s been pretty much non-existent since Diamond implemented their order cut-offs, prompting even the larger indie comics houses to pull out of the game. The star-studded rotating cast of creators and the network of retailers that have signed on to Retrofit make this a no-lose proposition. Though we at Secret Acres have issues with Kickstarter, you might want to drop some money on this one. Think of it like a subscription.
Not to pat ourselves on the back, but we’ve done a good enough job of moving comic book type comics with Sleeper Car and 2012 to prove there’s a market out there. Nor have we forgotten our mini-comic roots. We’ve been going through a staggering number of mini-comic submissions of late. This has been a trying process. There are a lot of good comics out there, maybe too many. As is our duty, we will be distributing a boatload of them. Right now, you can pick up minis from Jon Allen, Max Mose, Andrew James Christensen and Sar Shahar. We’ve got Ryan Cecil Smith on deck, and over the next days and weeks and there will be many more. It wouldn’t surprise us if we crack a hundred titles in the Emporium before the year is up.
Regarding the rest of our publishing plans, we mentioned in our year-end wrap up for 2010 that we had a book market distributor, which we do (that’s Baker & Taylor for all you bookstore buyers), and we said we had a plan for digital distribution. The digital plans are evolving, but are still a bit of a moving target, like the digital book market itself. We still think we can get it up and running by the end of the year. We may be late, but we will be awesome. More on that soon.
The next full Acres appearance will be at the Philadelphia Alternative Comic Con, aka PACC. We had a grand old time last year, but this year figures to destroy last. Take a look at the guest list, and very nice poster, here. You can practically sit and watch this show grow and evolve.
Speaking of shows, we’ve got an addition to our schedule of MoCCA, Stumptown, TCAF, PACC, SPX, APE, King Con and BCGF (if they let us in!). We will be splitting up the Acres for one weekend in November. While half the gang covers the local bases at King Con, Mike Dawson and Eamon Espey will be doing their thing over in Minny at the Minneapolis Indie Expo, better known as MIX. You Minny people better be nice to them! Don’t make us come down there! Or maybe make us come down there. It does sound like a lot fun.
We’ll be back with more PACC details once we have our attendees nailed down. Though summer Fridays do rock, we miss you guys. Seriously, when does school start again?
Barry and Leon
What happens when Bigfoot meets the Breeders? Why, our Scuttlebutt TCAF wrap-up, of course! You'd think we were kidding, but we're not. If it weren't for Bigfoot, we'd never had gotten to meet the Breeders and see them play Last Splash front to back way up in Toronto. This has nothing to do with comics, but then most of what happens at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival has nothing to do with comics. It's really about the dancing. And the singing. And the topless singing. Worry not, we did get Capacity 8 unboxed and there were no border issues for anyone (except for Casey). We even made it to our panel, first thing Saturday morning. That may have been perfect timing, because it was something like Between Two Ferns meets group therapy. We're lucky bastards, for sure, but we missed the Comics Reporter, Tom Spurgeon, singing Bette Midler's the Rose (and, no, he was not topless). If any of you have video of this, or pictures of Drawn and Quarterly's jean vests, please, oh, please get back to us. Read on...
Finally, we are hitting the asphalt for our first road trip of the year. It's a long drive to the Toronto Comics Arts Festival and we are carrying some precious cargo as usual. Theo Ellsworth is being delivered via airmail, with fellow Acres Brendan Leach, Joe Lambert and Edie Fake meeting us there. Sean Ford has called shotgun, and Capacity 8 is in the boot. Capacity 8 is one of those surprise births with which we are regularly blessed here at Secret Acres. It's also the first time anyone in our gang has dropped a new story for a series that we've collected. Capacity, Theo's big, fat book, is a complete thing, for sure. The eighth issue is all new territory, but it's still all true. In a way. In that Capacity way. Oh, and we'll be kicking off first thing Saturday with a small press panel featuring pals and heroes, Koyama Press, Rebus Books and Grimalkin Press, too. This year's Acresmobile comic mule is the legendary Dash Shaw. Alas, last year's hitcher, MK Reed, is too lazy to make it to TCAF. Everyone else better be heading up - or catching Eamon Espey's Ishi's Brain show in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Yeah, we're looking at you. We're standing right behind you. No, the other way. Anyhow, there's explicit instructions up on Scuttlebutt.
PEOPLE OF THE SEATTLE: Tonight's the night! Go watch Eamon Espey and Lisa Krause as they bring their show, Ishi's Brain, to Hugo House. Which is in Seattle. Ishi's Brain is based on Eamon's story of the same name from his Secret Acres collection, Songs of the Abyss. Lisa Krause is an artist and puppeteer of Bread and Puppet fame, among other things. It's quite a unique experience and pretty much beats the hell of out any old, regular reading. They are on tour all over the country, but there's something fitting about performing Ishi in Seattle. You know, because Seattle is strange and dark and there are scary woodlands and coffee. The Richard Hugo House is also something to see in itself. They have a writers' residence for zinesters (currently held by ZAPP), classes on seemingly everything, a focus on a local writing community and, of course, performances. Go. Have fun. Report back to us. Even the Stranger says to check it out. See...
Stranger things have certainly happened, but it would appear our man, Theo Ellsworth, will have not one, but two debuts at the Toronto Comics Arts Festival. Yes, we will have the eighth issue of his ongoing Capacity (the first since our enormous collection of that title), but we'll tell you more about that later. Meanwhile, we knew Theo was working on a comic for an anthology, but we didn't realize it was the fourth Alternative Comics anthology. You may or may not be aware, but Alternative Comics published some truly amazing things, like Jeff Lewis' True Swamp and Steven Weissman's Yikes (yes, this was before Fantagraphics took over). Then they took some time off. Now they're back. Also included in this anthology are Alternative Comics graduate James Kochalka, this guy named Craig Thompson, the adorable Noah Van Sciver and #cybergang leader, Alex Schubert, to name a few. Get up to TCAF because it's amazing, and Theo and most of the Alternative Comics crew will be there to sign the thing. Collect them all!
On a more important note than usual: 282 Broadway is where the party has been for, well, seems like forever now. What the hell is that, you ask? It's the home address for Domino Books and Revival House and Rebus. It's known sometimes as Bill K's Place, as in Bill Kartalopoulos. Just about everyone who has ever attended or exhibited at a comics event in New York City or, hell, ever drawn a comic while in city limits, has been exhausted, high, drunk or lost in that apartment while rubbing elbows with their heroes. We've written plenty on our blog, about their comics and their parties, too. Now they're moving out. We're telling you this because these guys need a new home. Go buy some comics from them. Forget the good cause, their books are amazing and we've been seethingly jealous of their good work, so if you like us, help them and get some great stuff for yourself. Everybody wins!