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I Can See Clearly Now

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.

Your Pals,

Barry and Leon

 

 

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Secret Acres
October 10, 2014 at 3:48 pm

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Secret Acres
Facebook IconOctober 9, 2014 at 4:43 pm

It's that time of year again! The Best American Comics 2014 edition is out there and there are plenty of folks, like the Comics Reporter's Tom Spurgeon and the Stranger's Paul Constant calling this book the best of the series so far. It's the first time out for new series editor, Bill Kartalopoulos, and it has a new format of sorts, devised by edition editor, Scott McCloud, of Understanding Comics and Zot fame. McCloud groups the main selections, making a map of the current comics landscape. Broader than previous installments, it includes specific instructions to read the entire book, rather than browse through it - and you should do just that. Our very own Theo Ellsworth's the Understanding Monster Book One is included in the section titled EVEN STRANGER ADVENTURES (of course), and there are FOUR Secret Acres artists in the BAC Notable Comics section: Eamon Espey's Songs of the Abyss, Edie Fake's story from Monster Vol. 1, Robert Sergel's Eschew 3 and Sar Shahar's Sequential Vacation 2. Not bad, huh? We've got Bill K's blog post below, but you'll want to sit and read this one cover to cover. Thanks, Bill and Scott for all your hard work and congratulations on putting a great anthology together!

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Bill Kartalopoulos | on-panel.com

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Contents and Notable Comics from The Best American Comics 2014, posted by Series Editor Bill Kartalopoulos

Secret Acres
Facebook IconSeptember 24, 2014 at 2:58 pm

And Theo Ellsworth's the Understanding Monster Book Two has its very first ever review, from RE:Views Media's Max Szyc! It's a rare thing that a review makes us laugh out loud, or LOL, as the kids say. If you've read the first book of the Understanding Monster, you'll understand that reading doesn't begin to describe the experience of this story. The logic of this world, like most psychedelics, takes a minute to kick in. Like Max says, "A few more pages and then I think my mind may have reached some sort of subconscious arrangement with the material, meaning I think I 'got it'. Perhaps the book is so futuristic that it actually has the psychic power to make me think I’m understanding it." Cue us giggling. It is a long, strange trip indeed for toy mouse-bodied Izadore and his consciousness, but the sheer force of Theo's art will move you along with him. You may even start to identify with him. You can thank Max for capturing these feelings so well by reading his review. Thanks, Max!

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The Understanding Monster – Book Two

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A review of Theo Ellsworth's "The Understanding Monster: Book Two."

Secret Acres
Facebook IconSeptember 17, 2014 at 2:15 pm

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...

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THE MOUTH of Tucker Stone damn near swallowed us whole on the ride down to this year’s Small Press Expo. We are hereby awarding him an Ignatz Brick for Outstanding Shit-Talking Comics Mule. Who knew Nobrow was so gangsta? We appreciate it, Tucker; you were the best consolation for us being down a ma…

Secret Acres
Facebook IconSeptember 10, 2014 at 12:38 pm

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...

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FIRST THINGS FIRST: Secret Acres had a grand old time at RIPE, the Rhode Island Independent Publishing Expo, which really should be RIIPE, but who’s counting? Dave Nuss, smooth operator of Revival House Press was our celebrity comics mule and neighbor at the show. We would like him to be our neighbo…

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