so, in a last minute frenzy, i decided to go to this years’ SPX.
i’ll be signing copies of Sammy The Mouse Book 2 at the Uncivilized table, and also doing “PORTRAITS OF YOU, INCREDIBLY UGLY” for $10 (not guaranteed to look anything like you). how can you pass that up.
i’ll be seeing a lot of old pals, so i’ll probably be wandering and table hopping the whole time. come on down if you’re…on the east coast.
speaking of old pals though, it was during SPX 2 years ago that my friend Dylan Williams passed away. like a lot of others, i still miss him, both as a presence in the small press world, and as a person.
my pals/ great publisher/ AUTOPTIC cohorts 2D Cloud did a video interview with myself and Dylan some time ago. previously, small parts of it were available to be seen, but they have relaunched their website (and it looks AWESOME), and with it, they put up the conversation in full.
i started watching it, but had to stop. it was like he was still here. which is a real sad thing and a really great thing– seeing Dylan alive and being Dylan…i’ll take that wherever i can get it. i’ll watch the whole thing one of these days soon. but you should watch it right now. he was quite a guy.
here’s a nice little interview (conducted by local hero Ezra) at Basement Show Girls. i really like the fact that the visuals are all these cool collages, instead of images of my comics (i’m not being sarcastic, either). be warned, i say really bad things about “2 And a Half Men”, a show i have never actually watched the whole way through.
because it is garbage. whoops.
still waiting for my PFC/ AUTOPTIC posts? yeah, me too. i’ll do it though.
WHEN YOU LEAST EXPECT IT.
i started on a new issue of Recidivist. i just couldn’t stop myself.
(and i didn’t want to)
i’m planning on writing about each of these events individually sometime this week, but in the meantime here’s Rob Clough’s overview of the weekend.
as some of you might know, these past few weeks i’ve been busier than i can even make sense of. the Jaime Hernadez show, PFC4, and AUTOPTIC all deserve their own posts (and i’m going to try and do that sooner than later), but leading up to all that i’ve barely had time to breathe. tonight was the first “free” time i’ve had in quite a while, so, finally, i banged them out:
yellow and maroon (inadvertently the colors of the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers, about whom i do not give a rip) , on the offset press (i tried them on the Risograph a couple weeks ago and it was nothing but headache). so, i’ll sign these up and hopefully get a bunch of them out in the mail next week. to all of you who did the presale deal(s): THANK YOU. both for the order, and your patience.
it’ll be there soon.
also, some other people. but busy with good things. T minus 3.
i’ll keep it brief.
first, thanks to all of you who responded to the Sammy Book 2 pre-sale offer. we got about half of the print bill covered at present, and that is a wonderful thing.
i’m writing for 2 reasons:
1) there’s THREE DAYS left on this thing– it ends on July 31, so if you still want to do it but haven’t done it yet, or were going to tell someone about it or whatever… well, you know. tick tick. it’s right here:
2) the limited edition print is done (i mean, it’s drawn anyway), so here’s what you’ll be getting along with your book (well, the rough, lo-res version):
looks like i’m going to do them on the Risograph, and i’m going to see what color drums i can borrow from pals, so the actual 2 colors will most likely differ from what you see here. size of the print is 6″ x 8″, on this real nice cream colored watercolor-paper-looking stuff (with deckled edges!) that i came up with. i’ll print these up as soon as the offer ends and get the books sent out quick as hell. i promise.
thanks again and my best,
any sane person with a rudimentary grasp of the concept of “promotion” would have posted about this weeks ago, but there you go: say everyone, i’m having a Sammy book 2 release party.
when? funny you should ask: it’s TODAY. in about 10 hours, actually.
i’ll be signing books and…well, signing books at Minneapolis’ own Magers and Quinn Booksellers, from 7 til 8.
then i’m going to burn ass down to Grumpy’s downtown and hopefully Pretty Ladies will play (their first show) somewhere around 8:30 (fair warning: it is very loud) and sign more books and whatever happens after that is probably fine with me.
so, there you go.
so, a couple years ago i had the opportunity (and honor) to do illustrations for my friend –and one of my favorite living writers– Brian Evenson‘s collection of short stories, Fugue State.
i’m now putting some of the original art from that book up for sale.
these include the title illustrations and the lettering (but in different configuration than in the book, where they were reformatted). each piece measures around 10 x 7.5 inches, and is pen and ink on paper (exceptions are the illustration for “Desire With Digressions”, which is 15 x 7.5, and “Fugue State”, which is manipulated photocopies. also note, some have rubber cement/ pasteup cuts).
each is $150 (plus postage and handling), shipped to you flat (i’ll sign them if you’d like).
here’s a couple examples:
preferred payment is paypal, but i can make whatever work.
NOT FOR SALE are the illustrations for “The Adjudicator”, “Younger”, “Mudder Tongue”, “Life Without Father”, and the comics pages for the “Dread” collaboration (which remain in Brian’s personal collection, or my own).
all the rest are first claim. email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and please name the one you are interested in.
for those of you who have no idea what i’m talking about, i would urge you to run out and pick up one of Brian’s books immediately (his most recent is Immobility, which i really, really loved– but his short stories are masterful, and any collection you pick up will be a winner. TRUST ME).
i told you something was up. go to this link to read my long, rambling thing on what the pre-order is and why we’re (and by “we” i mean myself and Uncivilized Books, who published the new volume) doing this, and what you get (signed book, special print). oh alright here’s the url too:
but, yeah: i want people to get the new book FROM ME. i like that. i always have. if you like it too, spread the word.
there’s some signings and events and all that stuff in the works, but for now– Sammy is halfway done. 98 all new pages in a 104 page book. this one just about did me in (i know i know, don’t they ALL?) but you don’t want to hear about all that and besides, now it’s done. this pre sale thing lasts through this month (july 2013).
thanks, all of you.
6 months without a post? what kind of site is THAT!?! man, how do you expect to compete in this world?
well, i don’t.
but there’s some stuff coming up, so i’m back on the beam.
(shouting begins tomorrow)
or dropping off the face of the earth.
pulling a 12-hour day on Sammy today; it’s going to get me real close, if not all the way. look out.
but then, Rob Clough writes about comics in a way that i like very, very much. in this case it happens to be about MY comic.
note to all: Sammy Vol 2 is still coming along. it’s gonna need the giant, concerted push real soon to get it done (which, after all, is always the hardest part of ANYTHING, right?), but i’m going to give it whatever it needs. i’m really excited to give people a big huge slice of this story at once, rather than the “32 pages every year or 2″ pace it’s (unfortunately) been at since i began. i’ll always miss old-school comic books, but these 96 page chunks really suit the Sammy stuff.
and also– it’s real good.
you heard it here first: the special guest star of Sammy volume 2 is The Goon On The Moon (with full clearance from Pete Bagge…actually i think he said “sure, i don’t give a shit– you can HAVE him for $50.” and then i offered him $50).
if you don’t know who the Goon On the Moon is, then who ARE you.
you know that incredibly elusive, all too rare thing when everything is firing on all cylinders and you feel like things are coming so quickly that you can’t get it down quick enough, and when you DO get it down, it’s like water out of a spigot and you feel totally unstoppable and think “DAMN, THIS is why i LOVE DOING THIS” and all the endless days of scratching away at $0.36 (hah! i WISH!!) an hour and shitty sales seems totally irrelevant? yeah, THAT? well, i got that right now, and it’s pretty fucking great. writing this could very well put the jinx in, but i got that thing right now.
maybe if i ask it nicely it’ll stay for a while.
well, the INKSTUDS interview is up and running. i like this show a lot, and am always happy to talk comics with Robin, the host. check it out.
when i did the interview, afterwards i immediately felt like i had not done very good job expressing my feelings about the ongoing Jack Kirby/ Marvel/ Avengers situation, and began typing out what you see below. so i’ve been typing this over the course of the week–some of it is redundant, and i go off on some tangents, but skip to the bold type half-way down for the crux of the thing. also, for clarity’s sake– in the interview, at around 51 minutes, i’m talking about the Hero Initiative, and stop my sentence and say “I don’t want to give them a DIME of my money”. to be clear, my brain misfired and i am now talking about MARVEL, not the Hero Initiative, that i “don’t want to give a dime” to. i DO want to give the Hero Initiative a dime, and i would like them to receive a great many dimes, now and in the future, from me and many other people. anyway, here goes.
it’s old news now, but the Avengers movie has cracked a billion dollars. far past what anyone expected, apparently, and people expected quite a bit. the thing is huge , and it’s only just begun. as all you nerd readers know full well, there’s been a bunch of controversy in our little world about all this of late, mostly centering around one man– Jack Kirby.
we all know who Jack Kirby is: how he is responsible for (at the very least) half of the creation of a majority of the characters in this movie, and lets face it: much of the American Comics industry as we know it. i could go on about Kirby at great length (and someday i might), but for now lets just say– NOBODY is denying that Jack Kirby had a critical part in establishing and creating the foundational framework (both visually and otherwise) that all these characters rest upon. NOBODY. i’m not saying Stan Lee didn’t have his part in that, but come on. and all you nerds will also know the incredibly shitty treatment Kirby got while he was alive from Marvel, and that continues almost 20 years past his death. however you cut it, this man has had a hand in earning Marvel BILLIONS of dollars in revenue; that is not a made-up, inflated-for-effect number. Avengers movie aside, you’ve got the Hulk movies. and Thor. and the X-Men. and…that’s just movies– not comics, not licensing, not lunchboxes or underoos or Comic Books, for that matter.
and what did he get in return? in the 80′s, Marvel refusing to return his original art to him, on top of a bunch of other egregious, insulting BS. these days, just constant legal stonewalling and a near-total denial of his legacy; no credit beyond some intermittent lip service, and certainly not a damn bit of money. and that, everyone, is plain wrong. it’s been wrong for a long time but this new wrinkle makes it even uglier. a billion dollars.
there’s been a slew of different ideas in the comics community regarding how to deal with this– from all-out boycotts of Marvel, to creators leaving in protest, to giving to worthy comics creator advocacy groups like The Hero Initiative and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.
i hate to say it, but with this thing hitting a billion dollars in 19 days, “hitting them where it counts– in the pocketbook!” makes sense, but in this case…well, too late. they’ve got a BILLION DOLLARS in said pocketbook, and the whole problem here is that that really is all they give a shit about in the first place (this, of course, has nothing to do with what each individual’s conscience might dictate). and the response to the Hero Initiative has been just over $2000 as of this writing. which– don’t get me wrong– is great; it’s $2k that wasn’t there before the movie, that’ll go towards a good cause. but in the face of the other number, it’s rough.
between this and the recent “Before Watchmen” stink, all i know of the world of mainstream comics is this: you all SUCK. i’ve been WAY out of that loop for a good long time and seeing the reaction to this stuff is pretty horrifying and unbelievable. someone comes out and says “there’s a moral point to all this, beyond the (dubious) legal point” and the fanboys descend like flies on a not-quite dead corpse. Alan Moore saying “this is terrible. i don’t want money, i want this to not happen”? the faithful legions respond with “well, it’s nobody’s fault but their own if they signed a shitty contract” and “why can’t those cranky, bitter old hacks just be quiet?”. and it’s not just that, it’s delivered with a sort of righteous indignation that makes me fear for the future– it’s as if they DESERVE to not take any of these issues into account whatsoever, and HOW DARE anyone intrude upon their little world.
why? because they want to enjoy their arrested development entertainment with a clear conscience, and all this other stuff muddies the water in a way that makes them uncomfortable.
but this whole attitude also extends to the “creative” types who RUN these 2 companies, which is unbelievable to me; to a certain extent, it can be expected from the top of these heaps– the controlling entities of Disney and…what, is it Warner Brothers? all they know or care about is that Marvel and DC are holdings, and this is the numbers these various holdings are yielding– they don’t care if it’s superheroes or belly bongos, as long as it’s paying. but the OTHER guys, it just boggles the mind– i mean, Jim Lee is/ was a cartoonist, correct?! some of the quotes from the dudes involved in the Watchmen knockoffs (J Michael somethingorother, i have to admit i know virtually nothing about this guy except that he’s a) popular and b) said some extraordinarily heinous shit regarding his involvement in Before Watchmen…and i don’t know about Darwyn Cooke, but i liked his Parker stuff…you really don’t give a rip? classy.) are displaying an astounding disregard for the concept of “shitting where you live”. you guys are supposedly in comics because you LIKE COMICS, right? have fun with your cash, folks. and do NOT come bitching when that beast comes and bites you on the ass; you are perpetuating this behavior.
what this all amounts to is, frankly, what’s wrong with the whole damn world (so it should be no surprise that it occurs in comics as well, i guess) and it’s this: “fuck you jack; i’m getting mine.” only in this case it’s a literal “Jack”.
and–Stan Lee is Stan Lee. my opinion of him changed considerably after reading Tom Spurgeon and Jordan Raphael’s excellent bio of him– in the comics world, he’s usually reviled or tolerated; to the rest of the world, he is the face of Marvel and comics in general and in a bigger way, comics as a whole (and another long piece that i’ll maybe never write someday is how damaging it’s been to have “Stan The Man!” as the public face of the artform here in the good old USA for 60 years; i mean, Tezuka was an intelligent, thoughtful humanitarian. Herge was an elegant, refined dude. Stan is, and always has been, the carnival barker in the goddamn geek tent.)
but with matters such as these, Stan Lee is a transparent opportunist at best, and at its worst a fucking coward. look at this guy: he’s reveling in it– he goes on to mention NEW and DIFFERENT superhero movies he’d love to see, that were ALSO created by Jack Kirby. and Stan Lee has made obscene amounts of money off of what he co-created (and before you ask– NO; i don’t begrudge him that money on that basis; as i said, he DID have his part. the problem with Stan is that he takes THE WHOLE PART. and yeah, the many people/ freelance writers and artists along the way who added to the Marvel mythos along the way, why aren’t THEY getting a cut as well? i don’t know. i mean, Capitol Records sure did write and record a lot of great Beatles songs. hell, we wouldn’t even KNOW about the Beatles if it weren’t for Capitol Records, am i right? and furthermore, it’s a damn good thing those 4 guys don’t get anything when anybody plays their songs on the radio or wherever; i mean, some of them have been dead for YEARS. same goes for, say, someone who covers one of their songs, records it and puts a new spin on it. those people shouldn’t and don’t get paid either, right? that’d be stupid.)
so, i don’t have any answers here. other than this: the world is the world and some things never change; there are people who have a gift for creating things and there are people who are very good at making money. very rarely do those 2 things coincide. and that whole– “well, there’s no excuse for stupidity and signing a bad contract– that’s YOUR OWN FAULT.” argument…yeah, fine. so that makes Marvel as a corporation– what, completely entitled to this, because they were able to pull this shit off for numerous decades? because they were SMARTER? i don’t know if that’s what i would call “smart”, necessarily. and in the end, i don’t care about what contracts Jack Kirby and Alan Moore signed– call me naive (and i probably am…) the legal system was supposedly set up as a means to determine and enforce what was “right” in society. thousands of people and numerous corporations making buckets of money off of this movie and the Kirby Estate not seeing a dime? that’s just wrong. where are all the Hollywood actors and their “real men don’t buy Marvel” signs now? more than one person has brought up the fact that all these untold millions have been made in a genre whose entire deal is creating hyper-moral characters who “uphold justice” and stand for “doing what is right”.
actually, over the course of writing this, i think i DO have an answer– not THE answer, but an idea anyway: it’s somewhat presumptive on my part, and it is NOT what “should” happen, but it falls under the category of “the least you could do”.
i think Marvel comics should pay for the Jack Kirby Museum. they should fund the thing in its entirety, right now– and not a temporary, pop-up (which would still be awesome), but a permanent, brick and mortar space. what is that– 10, 20 million bucks to do it right? that’s a drop in the bucket. and all profit from the museum in perpetuity could go to the Kirby estate.
and there’s where the presumption comes on my part– what SHOULD happen is that Kirby is given some credit on all his creations and a commensurate slice of the action. but i don’t think that’s going to happen; do you? so, this would be a simple, classy way to honor the man and his contribution, without endangering their precious legal status as “creators” of the work in question (and, again, as i write this– all of you who are yelling about “well, they did it under a work-for hire contract”, which, yes, is legally binding– what you are then saying is that THE CORPORATION IS THE CREATOR OF THE WORK AND CHARACTERS, both morally and legally. that, effectively, NO ONE CREATED the stuff, just this amorphous, profit yielding, non-human entity. you’re ok with that, as an ongoing and seemingly perpetual situation? HAVE FUN.)
from what i know of Jack Kirby, he would want his creations to help take care of his family, and that he would want a place his grandkids could go to see his life and work celebrated. if Marvel (or DC for that matter) would’ve ever just said, at ANY point; “this guy has been incredibly important in our success; let’s take care of him” (in the same way that a guy working at a Ford plant gets a pension) — not to the tune of millions of dollars (which, after all, is what Stan got), just taken care of the guy as a valued piece of their ongoing success– someone who shaped this thing at the outset, and set the template for what’s going on right now (which is, essentially, “making money hand over fist”), i don’t think you would’ve ever heard a peep from the Kirbys, the creators, anyone. that is, of course, just conjecture on my part, but i do think we’d be looking at a different thing than we are now. i mean, how much have they spent in legal defense on these issues?
what they probably want on the corporate level is for Jack Kirby to disappear. and more than boycotting the Avengers movie, i think that’s the most important thing here; not forgetting what this guy did, or allowing those people to forget. and obviously, this little community is where we keep that respect alive and vital– the general populace does not know who Jack Kirby was, and how it relates to taking the family out to a popcorn flick on Sunday. people IN comics are the ones who know the story, and care.
i actually believe that, framed in a less rant-fueled, angry setting, a campaign to get Marvel (and Kirby did no small amount of work/ creation for DC, either) to pony up for the museum is a pretty damn good idea, and i would urge saner, more reasonable minds who agree with this idea to put it forth in whatever way they deem fit.
look– i’m not even a superhero guy. i’m a fringe cartoonist who makes comics with funny animals yelling at each other. but Jack Kirby was a force of nature; the breadth of his ideas is incalculable, and that goes double for his VISUAL ideas. my respect and love for Kirby, and my appreciation of what he did with the art form i love, is absolutely without bounds. he was pure comics.
and i’ll tell you this: Herge hasn’t disappeared. nor has Tezuka. and Jack Kirby won’t, either.
here we go again: tonight, my favorite event in minneapolis begins– the mighty Heliotrope. if you live in town and don’t check this out, well…what’s wrong with you? a ton of great bands this year, but the jewel in the crown is TVBC (!!!) closing out day 3. i’ll be there, hanging out and probably selling La Mano books on and off the whole weekend. also: White Map will do our thing at some point that is a secret to you.
i’m no fan of comics “jams” in general. but when you’re in a hostel in toronto and it’s 2AM in a hostel, it’s time to THROW DOWN!!
(ps– everyone go buy Noah’s new short story/ zine “1999″. great, great work.)
i’m packing up the car LATE tomorrow evening and driving to South Beloit to pick up John Porcellino and Noah Van Sciver, and together we will then drive like maniacs for the next 14 hours until we arrive in Toronto in order to attend TCAF. last year was pretty fantastic, and this year will be as well: in addition to the aforementioned pals, La Mano will also be seeing old pals like Tom Neely/ I Will Destroy You, Sparkplug Comic Books, 2D Cloud, Koyama Press, and many, many more. i’m excited.
i’ve also neglected to update with some great press La Mano has garnered lately, for Sammy the Mouse vol 1 (by yrs truly): here’s one from the San Francisco Weekly, another from the Onion, a long interview (which i’m very proud of) at Robot 6, and a nice one from Canada’s Daily Mail.
maybe more that i’m forgetting, but forget it.
recent sketchbook drawing.
sort of recent, anyway.
my son isaac, hard at work on the next issue of Sammy, furthering the extensive borders of my ever-expanding empire.
that’s right, he’s a southpaw. handsome, eh? and that’s a brush pen. and here’s his first page ever:
look out, all you “i draw like a child” faux-naifs out there, my boy’s got the REAL THING; he REALLY DOES DRAW LIKE A CHILD.