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.