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
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We're back on our Scuttlebutt blog with our Comic Arts Brooklyn report, and our Brooklyn Ale House party report and our Grumpy Bert show report and our year-end report and a tiny, little look ahead to next year. CAB is, for us and lots of other comics people, the start of the holiday season, so we're a little Auld Lang Syne-ish about the show. There were hiccups this time around, and no Cartoon House (see the post for an explanation of that) but CAB still has the best exhibitors at any show, making Brooklyn proud. Speaking of heart-warming, many thanks to the folks at Grumpy Bert. Someone came all the way from Philadelphia just to see Theo and the brand new second book of his Understanding Monster trilogy. That's the kind of amazing that made 2014 our best year ever. We owe everyone a big thank you for reading our books and, really, for reading. You guys are the best. Normally, in our last post of the year, we babble about all the new stuff coming your way. We can't do that anymore. We're joining the likes of Koyama Press and Uncivilized Books and Nobrow at the good distributorship, Consortium. Sure, that's business stuff, but it's a big deal for Secret Acres. Still, we did manage to sneak at least one 2015 comic into this final blathering. Read on...
Comic Arts Brooklyn is today! I'll be signing at the Secret Secret Acres table!
Join us and Theo Ellsworth and everybody else tonight for a gallery show and some Comic Arts Brookyln pre-gaming at Brooklyn’s own Grumpy Bert! You can beat the CAB crowd to the punch and get your very own signed and sketched copy of Theo’s latest, the Understanding Monster Book Two. Book Two picks up where Book One left off, following Pharoah Tellitome, Inspector Gimble, Turtletree, Master Sponko and Minnow on their collective quest to awaken Izadore and re-establish his identity and memory. Get to Grump Bert early enough and you can really lord it over folks: the first ten to arrive get a limited edition Theo print made just for tonight’s show. Of course, there will be free beer and bubbly, too. What more is there to life?