ALL THEOLOGICAL ARGUMENTS ASIDE, ever get the feeling somebody up there doesn’t like you? Our PACC trip had a crappy moment of foreshadowing when it was obvious Gabby Schulz aka Ken Dahl wasn’t going to make it. This was perfectly clear when there were panicked e-mails about coloring for web vs. print headed our way into the wee hours of the night, with us having to hit the road at dawn. The latest installment of “Sick” did go live on time at the very least, which was some consolation. The remaining three of us, Sean Ford included, were all ready to face the day. Mad genius Eamon Espey was on his way from points south. PACC was happening.
The forecast did call for rain, true. It may have called for the kind of blinding, driving torrents which sidelined several cars on the highway, but we missed that. Secret Acres fears not rain. We kept our chins up and played with our iPad, giggling over Dan Nadel’s TCJ blog post and arguing with each other over MK Reed’s Beat post and the value of Kickstarter. Then we saw Tom Spurgeon’s “All Of These Things That Have Made Us” and that ground us to a halt for a while. If you have no idea what we’re talking about, go read it. We’ll wait here.
We made good time. We got set up. We hardly even got wet. PACC did not get off so easily. The rain kept falling, outside and inside. The PACC gang are some hardcore troopers. Leaks on your table? Up and move. Walls falling down? Brush it off. We were on stage with AdHouse, and we mean on stage, looking out over the rest of the show. This was fun, because it gave us plenty of quality time with Chris Pitzer. It was a little odd, too. Like an out of body experience, we watched everything happen on the floor. We may have gone a bit bonkers as well, since both the Acres gang and the Pitzers (two of them, Mr. and Mrs.) were sitting on a loudspeaker each, emphasis on loud. This was cool when it was McLusky or the Muffs playing. Other times, it felt like a test. Was it too loud or were we too old? The best answer is both.
Attendance (and our take) was about a third of what it was last year, if we had to guess. This isn’t anything to cry about. It was impressive that people made it out in record rainfall at all. Not to mention that behind those tables, it was the strongest group of cartoonists we’ve seen in a while. If you don’t know Collective Stench, get to know them. We were already crushing on Zejian Shen (who is so gangsta, she made the trip from California), but her fellow Stench peeps in the Dimensions anthology are nothing at which to be sneezed. Another dope anthology, Puppyteeth, finally made it into our mitts after some near misses and we got chatty with Kevin Czapiewski, the Puppyteeth steward himself, while picking up his nasty/beautiful Waffle. Waffle is highly recommended for those who like ladies and men who may be suffering with erectile dysfunction issues. Kevin’s Comix Cube-mate, L. Nichols was on hand with an all new Jumbly Junkery, which is on issue 10 (!) and which we have been enjoying for quite some time even though “L.” will not give us a damn name. We got to talk to Ben Marra about Gary Panter and some other stuff, which was a real treat for us, if not Ben. We spent almost as much money as we did at BCGF. All told, PACC managed to squeak out another win.
Others were not so lucky. While we were plowing our way back home through some deep waters (thank heaven for tall cars) and having a measured, irony-free discussion of the worldwide apocalypse at hand, Hanley’s on Staten Island was drowning. Hanley’s is a comics mecca in Manhattan. It is the place that has everything for comics people. It’s where employees at the Big Two go after work and it’s where we found Capacity, Wormdye and Curio Cabinet in the mini-comics section. They were not having a good time before their sister store got soaked. If you happen to be around, go buy a comic from Hanley’s. You’d be doing comics a favor.
The rain and the bad news kept rolling into Monday. In the middle of drying our tears over Spurge’s essay, we got word that Dylan Williams wasn’t doing so well, either. To quote Tom Neely, Dylan is the toughest guy we know. He probably doesn’t need our positive thoughts, but please send some his way, anyway. As the Sparkplug captain, Dylan is the moral compass of indie comics. The guy does everything the right way even when it’s a pain in the ass. Plus he gave us Asthma, among many other beautiful things.
Finally, the sun came out. “Sick” was, as usual, great and getting better with each installment, but if you’re still greedy, there’s some of Ken Dahl’s Gordon Smalls comics on Jordan Crane’s What Things Do. Troop 142 got a nice, almost age appropriate shoutout from UGO. Mike Dawson made a lovely little invite to his Troop 142 party at Bergen, which you can see below. He’s also got a TCJ Talkies with Lisa Hanawalt and an Ink Panthers spot with Laura Park, both of whom the Acres worships. Graphic Eye put together an enormous interview with Joseph Lambert. The Comics Journal‘s Rob Clough got thoughtful on Joe’s I Will Bite You!
If you’re waiting for a happy ending to all this, you win: Joseph Lambert continued his efforts at world domination by snagging not one, but two Ignatz nominations for I Will Bite You! including Outstanding Anthology or Collection AND Outstanding Artist! He truly is an outstanding artist in every respect. But it does not stop there! In case you somehow missed it in the link, Edie Fake got three, count ‘em, three Ignatz nominations for Outstanding Mini-Comic, Outstanding Graphic Novel and Outstanding Artist. We are floored, so we can’t even say how Joe and Edie are feeling. We were proud of Edie and Gaylord Phoenix before, and we’ve beaming about Joe and I Will Bite You! for a while. This is like being hit by lightning five times if lightning were just awesome and not lethal.
So turn off the dark, it’s time to celebrate all things comics and all comics people. Join us at Bergen Street. We’ll be the guys with the big smiles.
Barry and Leon
@ryancecil Sorry, Ryan! There were issues galore with the site, but they appear to be resolved. Emphasis on appear.
- Tuesday Jul 22 - 3:09pm
The thing about Mike Dawson's newest graphic novel, Angie Bongiolatti, is that it's daunting at first glance but kind of impossible not to identify with its characters. Well, you could somehow not identify with them, and that's your right, but you'd probably be completely insane. Rob Kirby, writing for the Comics Journal, writes about Angie Biongiolatti so well, that he might just be the ideal reader for this one. He's sensitive, empathetic, politically conscious and he likes to party. He also nails Angie, the character, who can come across as enigmatic or aloof, but it's her faith and her clarity, as Rob puts it (and we're paraphrasing), that make her the best barometer ever for the most difficult of times and the craziest of people. The key, though, is Rob writing that he knows these folks and he's partied with them. It would have been a lot easier for Mike if he'd had an agenda when he drew these people. Yeah, we might have recognized the ideas, but maybe we wouldn't have recognized these people. Poor Rob! He's one of THEM! Thanks, TCJ, and Rob, especially. This was a really good one.
Well, folks, Edie Fake has arrived! This newest LA native gets a very warm welcome indeed from Joshua Michael Demaree at the LA Review of Books. It's both a full-blown interview, a complete history and in depth review of Memory Palaces, Edie's latest and our first ever art book. If you're worried about Edie going Hollywod, go ahead and worry since Demaree has christened him a "flourishing celebrity." At least, he's a flourishing celebrity in the queer art world. There's some stuff in here that rarely gets discussed, including Edie's background as a video artist and the influence of that medium on his comics work. We even get a mention in the story of how we met Edie, which almost didn't happen. Plus, and this was news to us as well, Edie's return to Chicago (after "going feral") coincided with the death of Michael Jackson. But was it a coincidence? Thank you, Joshua, for all your super thoughtful work here (and for making another dream come true and writing up a Secret Acres book for the LA Review of Books). Go and read this very funny and very serious career retrospective right now!
We do realize it's all Corinne Mucha and all Get Over It! all over all the time these days, but we just had to share our joy over this latest rave from Joseph Erbentraut at the Huffington Post! Yes, that Huffington Post. Complete with an actual excerpt, Joseph gives a brief rundown of the rules regarding breakup recovery times, citing scientific studies and How I Met Your Mother, no less. We're not entirely sold on the sciences here, mostly because the science of love seems to make everyone feel bad for being insane. Let's face it, love is not just blind, but very stupid. As for HIMYM, we're playing catch up with that one, but their rule seems to fit pretty well. However, if you want the real, straight up survival guide to heartbreak, look no further than our Ms. Mucha. SHE KNOWS. Thanks, Joseph and HuffPo! Have a look at the link below.
Hooo boy... WELL. Corinne Mucha is not shy with the Philadelphia Inquirer, it seems. Tirdad Derakhshani, talking about Corinne's new book, Get Over It!, asks the ever important question when it comes to autobiocomics: did that REALLY happen? And, to quote Corinne, "I didn't add or make up anything." Really, one would hope that in the making of comics, the finest medium there is, about one's actual life, that the cartoonist behind them would be brutally honest. Get Over It! is surely that. Let's face it, heartbreak is ugly as love is beautiful. And who the hell would be able to identify with a clean breakup? Does that even happen? Our favorite part of this Inquirer inquiry is the origin story that sneaks its way in. No, Corinne wasn't super into Wolverine as a kid. She wanted to be a REAL artist. The comics all started by accident, it seems, in Rome. Like Rome, Italy. Also, speaking of the other half of the (not in) love story of Get Over It! you can get That Guy's reaction to the book here, too. In other words, you pretty much have to read this.
ICYMI, as the kids say, here at last (after some more technical difficulties - and, yes, between this and our Friday night love-in at Bergen Street Comics being rained out, we are having technical difficulties galore) is Tom Spurgeon, aka the Comics Reporter, doing his Sunday Interview thing with Mike Dawson. As we can attest, these interviews are a lot of work, and require a ton of thought, so count yourself lucky that Mike is a thoughtful guy. There's plenty of shoptalk here, lots of stuff on process and the like. Angie Bongiolatti, Mike's latest graphic novel from us, was a long time in coming. There are plenty of ideas in this book, though, in a sense, it's about one thing and a certain time and place and age in post-9/11 New York. There was a lot of experimentation involved in finding a style that would both corral and express the ideas and move the narrative along, too. After all this, there was a lightning quick turnaround, with Mike finishing the book in January and us getting books printed by April. Angie Bongiolatti is catching up with its audience about now. Meanwhile, Mike has been all over the place, on tumblr, on Slate, on TCJ Talkies, and Tom has Mike talking about the future quite a bit, too. If you like Big Questions for cartoonists, this is a good place to be. As for Angie Bongiolatti, well, ask Mike says, " I think people just sort of have to read it." So go read it!