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
@CorinneMucha But you hate babies.
- Wednesday Sep 17 - 3:04pm
@kevinczap We do seem to have a Breeders problem...
- Wednesday Sep 17 - 2:32pm
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...
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...
ZOMG! It's Tim O'Neil for the Onion AV Club on Corinne Mucha's Get Over It! and it's a pretty darn good review, too. Tim's clearly on top of his comics game, name-dropping and comparing Corinne to none other than Kate Beaton, John Allison and Dylan Horrocks - pretty much a Mt. Rushmore of the medium. He gets it right; Corinne hits every bump on Heartbreak Road, ever stage of grief, but all told, it's actually kind of... ...fun? As Tim puts it, she "turns a book about three years of anguish into a page-turner." There IS something fun about being heartbroken, and not just the rebound. It's like a license to crazy. At least we think so. There's lots of other good stuff reviewed here, too, including Rocket Raccoon's latest, Superman and Roman Muradov (love that guy). Corinne's got some good company for Get Over It! Thank you, Tim, and thanks, AV Club, for the very kind words. You guys go read now at the link!
We are outta here! Or at least will we be in the morning. Actually, the very early morning. Sigh. But we're going to the Rhode Island Independent Publishing Expo aka RIPE! This is our first time at the show. It's also the first time FOR the show. RIPE is brand new and the brainchild of some folks we truly adore, like Mickey Z, who roped us into going way back when at the last Comic Arts Brooklyn. Yes, it is suspicious that there's a comic show in the dead of summer called RIPE. We've stopped showering and wiping for the occasion. Kidding. At our table will be Brendan Leach, of Iron Bound fame, and Sean Ford, he who has brought you Only Skin. Not only will Sean have the new and improved edition of Only Skin, he will have the fourth, yes, FOURTH issue of his new series, Shadow Hills. Playing the role of Secret Acres comics mule on the ride up will be Dave Nuss of Revival House Press, home of folks like Malachi Ward. It's a star-studded event and we don't even have to worry about crossing any borders! Doors are at noon and details are at the link below. If you're in Providence now, there's all kinds of stuff happening tonight, too. We will see you tomorrow...