Thursday, April 21, 2011

Stumptown Recap


i knew i was going to have an interesting trip when at 11am on friday morning i get a text from box telling me hes at the airport bar getting drunk....
all day friday i dealt with a huge hassle of getting stuck at the philadelphia airport for 5 hours, so i took a cue from box and spent those hours getting drunk at the airport bar, which luckily they had 24 ounce glasses! yeah! that was an interesting time, i talked to a girl from boston going to la about her job in the music industry and how she was going to work on a music video by a singer name jojo. getting drunk helped the plane ride to phoenix, i just passed out the entire time! had a quick 2 hour bar session at the phoenix airport and was off to Portland for stumptown! made it in town at 2am exhausted and coming down from gettin drunk and being in planes all day!

this was my first year at stumptown and from what i heard it was in a bigger venue (the place was fucking huge! same size if not bigger then MoCCA's venue) and i was also told that its been getting more mainstream.
mainstream indeed, there was a sprinkling of creator-owned super hero guys, comic store booths only selling marvel and dc fare, and dudes being promoted as 'the artist of spider-man!'
oh and costumes.
a lot of costumed folk.
some included zombie-star trekkers, rorschach, and an absurd amount of people wearing full on pirate outfits with all the trinkets that go with it like vintage guns, all those pirates had exhibitors badges but i didnt see any pirate comics or them hanging out behind a table. also a bunch of parents dressing there kids up too, including a kid with a spider-man cape, cmon kid spider-man doesn't wear a cape get it right.
and another thing i should mention is a lot of dudes wearing kilts, like casually wearing kilts, we spotted about 7 of them, and finally asked one of the kilt-wearing dudes whats up and he simply said 'its a northwest thing'.

aside from that, sales seemed a bit sluggish, but on both days, somewhat near the end, i had hour long pops wear i made a lot of money fast, that made up for the slowness of the days. Portland has a cool little scene going on though and is a very welcoming city. a lot of really NICE people, like genuinely nice and not assholes, which i guess is a big difference with east vs. west coast. i also noticed people seemed a bit more....reserved might be the best description... the week prior at mocca i had my black bart print, which depicts a black version of bart simpson ripping his face off, in NYC the common reaction was 'whoooa! sick dude, thats awesome!' and the common reaction in Portland was 'whooa! thats really disturbing and sickening, ick!' and i actually had a woman ask me 'why would you draw something like that? what does that mean? its gross!' well shit lady i just drew it cuz its cool to draw! another instance was some kid wanted to look at my 3d comic, he put the glasses on to check it out and i told him to open the book to see the 3d, which then his mother quickly put her hands on my books so he couldnt open them up and sternly says "NO, DONT LOOK." awkward!

the first night me, box brown, and liz baillie, went out for dinner at the Doug Fir, great food and great scheming for future comic happenings were had. followed by the after party with 40 minutes of free beer, it was crowded as hell but had time to talk to awesome owner of floating world comics Jason Leivian. Soon after the beer turned to $5(!!!) a bottle the party quickly dissipated. we got some homegrown portland goods and a 6 pack and trudged over to our motel 6 to watch a mel gibson movie and pass out.

the next night we got some shitty chinese food, did a little exploration of downtown portland where we saw the coin-operated art gallery, a great concept of a jumble of mix match stuff in a window front where you pop quarters in to see stuff happen, box had his fortune told by a smart ass computer head and i saw a bunch of barbie dolls work out on bike and rowing machines. the party this night was at the pony club, an amazing studio/gallery/zine/comic store space that had some amazing local talent art hanging up on the wall. this was more of a laid-back like-minded party, had long conversation with local Revival House press publisher David Nuss who was a former member of the pony club, explaining the co-op nature of it, saying at times they even share desks. other cool people that were around for stumptown that we talked to were ben marra, farel dalrymple, kaz strzepek, and tom neely. we ended the night by meeting our 2 new friends, gillian and vera, hanging out at the bar, game over, which was filled with all the best video games from the 80s and 90s including classics like xmen, the simpsons, double dragon, and ninja turtles. it also happened to be at the same time as the pinball championship, where we saw the very tail-end and the trophy handed to the winner.

over-all the sales from the show weren't really worth the cost of flying cross country but the people we met, and the great atmosphere portland peeps provided with there great parties made it worth it in that light.

as for what i picked up...which wasnt much...BUT

doppelganger by Tom Neely is amazing! this was one of those comics where box picked it up, i read it, then i knew i had to buy a copy for myself, just THAT GOOD. look at olive oils tits on the cover, i mean cmon! Tom Neely has some really great work goin on right now.

Play Overlord by Theo Ellsworth, Sean Christensen, and Amy S. Kuttab
this is the best kind of collab jam comic, the kind that DOESNT SUCK! very surreal, and filled with a ton of different characters interacting on there way to a party, all there styles melt together in one cohesive style of all their own, great work from these portland heroes. was also cool to meet Theo in person, ive been a fan of his work for awhile and have befriended the secret acres dudes through all the east coast shows i do but this was the first time meeting him in person.

The Ratnest #2 by P. Keck
great find of the show, theres a community comic school in portland and Patrick Keck is their star student! i got this and vulture heck off their table and im blown away by the sick detailed brushwork inside. lots of weird monster guys with layers being ripped off and panels borders blurring away, great stuff.

420 DRE anthology edited by Dan Quayl
Great FREE anthology featuring Jason Overby, Jesse McManus, Blaise Larmee (the comets comets dudes, who i thought would have had some sort of presence at the show, but i failed to see any of them??) and Amy Kuttab.
i never heard of Amy Kuttab before but i must declare i am now a fan, shes got great dreamy inkwash comics with little or no borders going on. also the cool thing about this antho is all the comics kinda flow into each other from artist to artist, lots of artsy weirdness here. good stuff.

i also picked up the new issue of Diamond, its on my studio desk, cover by Paul Pope, look it up.
Diamond of course is what most tabloid strive to be like, amazing artists, amazing comics, full color, beautiful beautiful work. I especially was shocked at the Jim Rugg comic that left me depressed and sad over a dead mouse. it also has a comic by one of my all-time favorite comic guys ever, Paul Pope, so i of course had to get it.

then on monday i spent all day on the plane and im back in philadelphia. so long portland, you were great!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

MoCCA Recap

Sooooo MoCCA was this past weekend, so the 555 crew drove up to table and sell our wares. One of the best things about comic conventions is the drive there, this time no exception, with conversations about robocop, 90's comics, talking about new projects and riffing off each other and getting hyped about what we expect the show to be like and what we want to buy.

I tabled again with Peter Lazarski and Mike Turzanski, the partners in slime. When doing comic cons, it might just be me and the type of east coast cynical/sarcastic take on life i'm used too, but its always a day long game of cracking jokes at attendees. You just HAVE to rip on someone when they spend 10 minutes reading all your books and not buying anything followed by the awkward
'thank you' and walk onto the next table. Mike Turzanski is the most quick-witted zinger-bringer i have ever tabled with, he had me cracking up all day on his observations of passer-bys. As for the art pete and mike killed it yet again with there own line of t-shirts and posters, and of course the 'what the fuck, is this serious?' art-object book zine comic thing, last year it was a screen printed found record with mikes band, a xeroxed zine of weird drippy drawings, and a poster, THIS YEAR they had a collaborative, extremely weird and trippy stream-of-conscious comic that each had a unique one-of-a-kind cover by them, with a neon sticker of a facial part, i of course picked the best out of the bunch titled 'look whos eating cream part IV'.
me n mike

and they also premiered to the greater-comic-region Hope Mountain the Rochester NY based free comic tabloid which i'm also in. making it the table comic that relates us all.

and of course philly has secret prison 4 which we all know and love here at 555-COMX.
and Smoke Signal (brooklyn) and Kuti (finland) joined forces and blew us all out of the water with a partial full color split, giant unfolded tabloid. I love them all and i must say that i think that every city and group of artist-friends should have a free tabloid to distribute, it raises awareness of the kind of awesome shit thats going on in comix to the general public as well as being the best type of comic stock to collect, newsprint! The paper changes color after periods of time!
This year i deliberatley didn't buy anything (i got bills to pay!) which made me miss out on a ton of great artists, i didn't even get a chance to meet peter bagge, and i was sitting across from the fanta table! oh well. i did however manage to procure a lot of trades.
The best stuff i had handed to me was all from the RISD table, apparently there was 9 of them all sharing a space, and at seperate times between the 2 days i had 4 of them come over and give me some of the best and weirdest screen printed comics ive seen in a while.
i especially love heather benjamins hardcore hairy porn comics she has, great shit! as well as thomas toye with a completely 2-color screenprint throughout the whole book story of puking on geometric shapes to make pizza.

another amazing feet of craftsmanship is 3 mini-comics held together by a cardboard monster head called the monster town books by Pranas t. Naujokaitis

a great international encounter was with Cynthia B. that publishes Golden Shower magazine, a great dirty sex humor comic rag in portugese, i can't read it understand the words but reading the images theres some great talent there.

Another one of my better trades of the weekend was ROM (yes, that ROM) by Josh Bayer. Josh is a new contributor to Secret Prison, which was the first place i saw his work, which im in love with! He's got such a raw, just throw the ink on the paper, dont give a fuck, type style, at least thats how i read it. great stuff.

Saturday was spent mostly behind my table, i only briskly walked through the floor trying to stop and chat with some of my comic-peers i only see at this show. Lunch consisted of a Modello tall-boy across the street with Ian Harker, Lance Hansen, and Sindre Goksoyr (of Dongery fame). MoCCA is always good to see whats new in the world of some of some of the euro-comic scene and Dongery always has the best new comics on display representing Norway. Rest of the day was a grind of sales pitches and making fun of people, at the end of the day me Box, his lovely lady Sarah, and Lance went to the hog pit and got some meat to eat with a bucket of pbr. always fun to go out with cartoonist friends however i do see the irony of travelling to another city just to hang out with the same cartoonists i usually eat and drink with in Philly, oh well, we GET each other, dig?

Sunday at MoCCA seemed like the usual hung-over cartoonist fest sharing stories of the night before. Again i tended to stay put most the day and only venturing out to talk to friends and try to approach people about PACC. i got this lovely watercolor portrait of myself done by Sally Bloodbath, who, for the record moved to NYC from Philly, just to realize Philly is better and now shes moving back. you heard it here first, finer cartoonists prefer the taste of Philadelphia over New York City!

i also got 2 baby mini-comics from Kate Fajardo, some funny stuff from the future of cartooning.

MoCCA this year for me however was more about spreading the word about PACC then anything else, which i believe i successfully did, i even sold a few tables. I see a lot of people complaining about the steep prices and the difficulty of making money or even breaking even, and i do 100% agree, if it wasn't for me selling tables for my own show i would have just maybe made table money, but no way make travelling, eating and drinking in NYC money however. Will the surge of cartoonists bitching about the prices make MoCCA lower them? probably not, it'll probably just crop up with newer and fresher faces more willing to lose money as the years go on. i will of course be there next year.

The drive back to philly was another great time, spent with Jake Alvarez and Lance Hansen having very detailed conversations about weird-sex stories and different types of shit and shitting. As i walk the streets of Philly a lot of the times i think 'wow this city is such a shithole dirty crime infested hell hole', but after a weekend in giant ass new york its always good to be home. although i must say new york is waaaaay cleaner of a city then philly, its weird to see streets not completely littered with trash.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

now a word from our sponsors...

I like the onamonapia for hitting a gold ball is ZAP.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Leftover Comics

Brute Force #1
Just take a moment and look at that cover. who could pass up a dolphin in a land-walking suit holding an uzi for 25 cents?
I sure as shit couldn't pass this up when i saw it in the quarter bin at Fat Jacks

We start things off with a bang in Brute Force, with a group of clown terrorists breaking into the lab of Dr. Pierce! In the middle of a delicate operation at that!
These clowns then successfully kidnap the gorilla patient for a mysterious reason...
the pace of this comic is incredibly fast, so much so that it seems almost like a spoof of itself. The above panels set the plot up, his son comes into the room eating a Tastee Burger and the clown mascot were the same clowns that kidnapped his gorilla, put into account that tastee burger is owned by the evil Flex corporation that burns down rain forests, that means thats were the gorilla must be! DUH, how simple!
Dr. Pierce is a doctor in Cyborg Robotics. The gorilla they stole has a special suit that makes him smart and super strong...he also has a bunch of other animals laying around the lab....

His son made the obvious opinion of telling his the doc to suit up the rest of his animals and go in search of the gorilla in an unnamed rainforest!

The animals may have special abilities in their new cyborg outfits but they are still a bunch of stupid animals, and they seem to be constantly throwing deadpan humor at you like the one above, with the perfect rolling of the eyes and sighing panel.

First read that panel out of context.

Once the newly formed BRUTE FORCE lands in the amazon rainforest the kangaroo who was just happening to be sticking his head out the window, wearing his stylin ray-bans and rocking out to his walkman, sees the gorilla being taken away by evil military looking men. c'mon BRUTE FORCE! everyone out of the plane and get them!

OOPS! oh BRUTE FORCE, your nothing but a bunch of dumb animals! you can't give a dolphin legs! let alone an uzi! no where in this issue do they explain how the doctor trained the animals in proper weapons use.


BRUTE FORCE ends up beating down a bunch of mercenaries at the airport but they still manage to elude the rescue of there gorilla comrade!
somehow and without explanation BRUTE FORCE then have there own personalized vehicles for the chase to save the gorilla!

above is another example of the deadpan humor sprinkled throughout BRUTE FORCE, the dolphin comes up with the perfect plan just to have the eagle tell him he's wrong and that he's the leader who should make plans, he then repeats the same exact plan the dolphin rolls his eyes and says 'BRILLIANT.'

They then try to save the gorilla, who instead doesn't want to be saved and fights them, above is a great LAZER EYE panel.
The gorilla then gets taken away again, BRUTE FORCE FAIL.
Where is the gorilla being taken too??

OH SHIT! ITS THE MORE EVIL MULTI-CORP THATS IN CHARGE! and whats that? they're putting together there own cyborg-animal team?? HOLY SHIT! As many plot-holes, continuity errors, cheesy jokes and dialog this comic has, it does its job and make me want to pick up the next issue! look at the Octopus with tank wheels! and a shark with razor-blade wheels!! A CYBORG TEAM OF ANIMALS NAMED HEAVY METAL! FUCK YEAH!!

Next up:

Heavy Hitters- LAW DOG #2

That cover reminds me of something Bald Eagles would come up with, just a complete BADASSSS, don't give a fuck, big guns and grenades, 5 oclock shadow, big as fuck, vein bulging, chain wearing, MOTHERFUCKER
give notice to the butcher knife sticking out of his leg.

and thats exactly what LAWDOG is. He's also a dimension-hopping cop of some sorts. In this dimension, a slutty blond is being sacrificed to a gigantic million mouthed demon monster by an even bigger gang of devil worshipers.
LAWDOG teams up with his own gang of CHRISTIAN WORSHIPERS.

He just jumps right in shooting, at first glance it looked to me like his cock was a giant gun which would make this comic all the more better.
While LAWDOG kills all the satanist he send his Christian soldiers to save the damsel in distress.

LAWDOG then shoots some more, fucking more shit up, and ends up stealing a giant crane, packs it with an explosive and...

we get a big-ass-explosion splash page!
It looks completely abstract if you don't know thats an exploding monster your looking at.

LAWDOG Then finds a highway to another dimension INSIDE the monster they just blew up. Ya'see LAWDOG roams from dimension to dimension, keeping things in line, and only he can see the DIMENSIONAL HIGHWAY.

He can't control what dimension he goes too, unfortunately he ends up in a dimension with disgusting flying monster things that spit acid on his car. he luckily drives off a cliff that of course is a DIMENSIONAL HIGHWAY he can only see. So if LAWDOG is some sort of nomadic dimensional peacekeeper, what dimension is he from?

yeah hes a lone anti-hero alright.
they seem to be in a 'normal' dimension now right? lets go grab something to eat and see whats up.

oh shit, NAZIS.
yeah this is the world where NAZIS rule the WORLD.
let's just kick some ass and get out of here alright?

UH OH. Another awesome last page that makes me crave some more! he's going to fight a giant nazi robot death machine! LAWDOG!!!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

now a word from out sponsors...

A) Who was supposed to have written that note in panel one?? did the F4 Just find it pinned to there door? was it DOOM??
B) Mr. Fantastic should be smart enough not to use a calculator, or at least have a cooler futuristic looking one
C) Johnny Storm would burn the comic he is reading
D) That child (Sue and Reed's kid, i forget his name) is entirely too young to even know how to read

Sunday, February 6, 2011

A Fine Mess

My fiance picked up this book on one of her vintage trips.  It's basically retellings of Laurel and Hardy movies.  Essentially, they're photo comics:

But, I found it interesting the way the author laid out the pages.  Seems like someone from a film or photography background would keep the layouts simple as in the image above (though it does make use of "bleeds").  I found it remarkable though that the author laid out the pages using various comic-like lay outs.  

I'd be surprised if the author wasn't informed by comic layouts.  It's what keeps the book interesting visually.  

In this photo you can see that there isn't much in the way of dialogue or description so the varying page layouts really aid the storytelling.  

More photos: