Posts Tagged ‘Ed Piskor’

PIX 2010 audio interviews


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Read Comments (14)

Hello and welcome to ComicsComics weekend edition. This week I am presenting a slew of interviews I conducted with a plethora of cartoonists who exhibited at this year’s Pittsburgh Indy Comics Expo. Some of the names may be well known to you while others may be appearing on your radar for the first time. I had a lot of fun doing these interviews. It felt very old world fandom or something. Thanks to everyone who participated for putting up with my antics. And if I missed you this year, look for me next year.

The marquee interview of the show – Kevin Huizenga and Jim Rugg – is archived here at Inkstuds. All other interviews are presented after the jump. Check it out! (more…)

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Canned Riff


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Read Comments (31)

I found this list written in my notebook. It was a cheat sheet for an interview on Inkstuds. We ran out of time before I could get to these riffs, so I am posting them here before they become too stale.

-Webcomics are good for gags only/contained stories for that screen, that day. They work like one pagers essentially; serialized stuff does work in theory but I’ve only read a few I actually like.

Jim Rugg discussion about imaginary audiences. Jim’s always talking about finding the audience who would read zombie comics or something popular and trying to devise schemes to get them to be his readers “How do you tap into these people cuz you know they would love this kind of story I’m doing” – Ed Piskor does same and finds that real/imaginary audience.

-Jesse Moynihan did the most amazing comic online but no one talks about it – if it was a book and laying around in the store, maybe people would write/talk about it more? (more…)

Labels: , , , , ,

Pittsburgh Scene Report


Monday, June 21, 2010

Read Comments (4)

*Copacetic Comics has moved to a new location. Here’s the local Pittsburgh Post Gazette article on the new store. I’ve been working on Sundays and it’s been awesome. So much room, literally up in the clouds, third floor of a building on a hill overlooking some of the most beautiful parts of this wacky town. I just love it. Bill Boichel, the owner and my hero, seems like he’s a new man. The customers are arriving in droves. Old and new. It’s like Bill’s old store back in the ’80s where we could all just hang out and shoot the shit. The coolest thing is watching the local kids come in and buy dollar comics. I sold 10 Iron Mans and ten Thors to two little kids the other day. Now that we have the room to put out all of Bill’s back stock we can really offer bargains. Lots of locals have been bringing in their own zines and comics to sell. It’s quickly turning into an “interzone” to be proud of, what with Mind Cure Records and a coffee shop in the same building.

*Bill Boichel gave a lecture at the Carnegie Library tonight in Pittsburgh. Tom Scioli, Ed Piskor, Jim Rugg, and I were in attendance. Bill gave the usual spiel about watching comics grow from obscurity to mainstream acceptance. And then I argued with him that we’ve been having the “comics aren’t just for kids” discussion for 20 years and I’m tired of it. Bill retorted that it’s “all gravy” as far as he’s concerned. “If you were running a comics shop like I was 25 years ago, you wouldn’t care that we’re still having that discussion.”

*Tom Scioli, the local self-publishing powerhouse, recently wrote me an email saying, “I’ve left the world of print behind (not really). Check out my new ongoing web comics, American Barbarian and 8-Opus.” Yes, check ’em out, True Believers, Tom’s idea of a short story is about 100 pages, so you hang on for a long ride.

*Ed Piskor, the other local self-publishing powerhouse, recently went to Denmark with heavies, R. Crumb, C. Ware, C. Burns, and D. Clowes. That’s right, you heard it here first, now Eddie is going by “E. Piskor” to reflect his new star status.

*Jim Rugg, I’m happy to report, is “not so intense” since Afrodisiac has been released and subsequently sold-out it’s first printing. Here’s Jim’s poster for new Copacetic Comics location.

*There was a Steve Niles signing here in Pittsburgh. I’ve never read his comics but I love pointing out that he was in Gray Matter! Scroll to the bottom of this page to see his recordings. One of my favorite bands out of the DC hardcore scene.

Labels: , , , , , ,



Saturday, October 3, 2009

Read Comment (1)

Last one. Very brief. Sort of like a comment in the comment section of the last post.

One of the best parts about SPX is the hang-out after the Ignatz Awards. I’ve never actually attended the awards, but I like the drinking afterward. Anyways, me and Ed Piskor were bullshittin’ for awhile. Girls Roller Derby was the subject. And then we made fun of Jim Rugg. A laff riot.

Then James Kolchalka and I starting riffing on some of his old mini-comics. I couldn’t remember the name of my favorite one. It was Paradise Sucks. When was that? 1994? Then I just went off about how important John Porcellino’s Spit and a Half distro was to me and “the community” back then. And somehow, I was able to use that as a springboard for telling James that he “won the war” for us. Cuz, for me, when I saw James’ hardcover Sketchbook Diaries in New York City bookstores in 2002 2004, I felt like he had won. Meaning, he was able to carry his lo-fi personal vision to the mainstream venue without altering his voice.

Mr. Kolchalka reminded me that that big hardcover only sold so well, but that he appreciated what I was saying.

What am I saying? I’m saying that the lesson of the “small press” is that one can hone one’s personal voice within a support group of like-minded folks without making fatal concessions to the larger marketplace. And in these days of 500-page graphic novel debuts, it’s an important lesson. I could go on and on, but I think it would be like preaching to the choir.

The rest of the con was great. But since I think we’re all tired of SPX reports, I’m ending mine here. See you next year!

Labels: , , ,



Saturday, January 19, 2008

Read Comments (9)

The recent flare-up over the Direct Market regarding books sold at conventions before they appear in comic shops seems absurd. But since most Comics Comics readers already know that Diamond and their sales reps are doomed to some circle of Dante, I won’t bother getting into the fray. Instead I’d just like to use the subject as a springboard to talk briefly about more direct ways that cartoonists can reach their audience.

Imagine you’re a young cartoonist who’s worked with Harvey Pekar (on last year’s Macedonia) and, by virtue of that creative partnership, have a book out from a major publisher (Random House). Would you expect to be self-publishing your next book and hawking copies yourself at cons and on your website? Well, that’s what Ed Piskor’s doing these days.

“I can tell you right now,” Piskor told me the other night, “no one in comics has read WIZZYWIG yet. Only, like, computer hackers and people into that culture. I’ve been posting about my book on these message boards and like some kid with some influence in that circle of people will write about it, and I’ll get like a bunch of orders that night.”

You guessed it: the book is about computer hackers. It takes place in the early days of “phone phreaking”, when all it took to “seize phone lines” and make free calls was the right “bluebox” or a whistle with the right pitch and a little know-how. Rather than a documentary about that time and the figures involved, Piskor has created a single composite character who is emblematic of the period. Kevin Phenicle appears to be a middle-school kid living in late ’70s Steel Valley USA — who just happens to enjoy getting over on the system. Free bus rides, free video games, free long distance phone calls. But the system catches up with him. And then it’s “Free Kevin.”

So why did Piskor decide to publish it himself? “I showed it to a couple publishers and they were basically like, ‘Do you want us to print it for you?’ And I just thought I could do it myself and keep the loot. Why should I give them my book for free and MAAAYBE down the road see some cash? I mean, I just wanted to see if I could do it first. And if it didn’t work — then go round and take them up on their offer.”

I must admit I was pretty impressed when Ed told me this story. It was heartening to hear because I’ve heard a couple of stories recently about creators who have books with major publishers, who sell thousands of copies per issue, and who don’t see a dime in return. The artist is, I guess, supposed to feel that it’s an achievement in itself to have a book at all. The way the story usually goes is that the money spent on the printing and promotion hasn’t been recouped so, no, sorry, there’s no profit. “But make sure you get the next issue done on time and, gee, we’ll you give us something extra special cuz sales have been down.” I hear the same story when it’s a small publisher too. The publisher gets to look good (and makes a few bucks somewhere down the line) and the artist gets a couple free boxes of their comic.

Young cartoonists who get lucky early with big publishers might want to think about why Ed is choosing to self-publish. I think it’s important to stay connected on some level to one’s core audience. That means the convention circuit, hustling copies to cool stores, the same drill that got these young cartoonists in the position to get a deal with a publisher in the first place. Don’t get me wrong, I have every hope that Ed and other talented cartoonists like him can find permanent homes at fine publishing houses. Seriously. But if any one reading this seriously doesn’t believe that the bubble won’t burst someday, they are seriously deluding themselves.

“I just want to be realistic,” says Piskor. “At the end of the day who’s going to be looking out for my best interest? Me. It might suck to be on the phone and the computer hustling these books but at least I know what’s up, where my books are selling and to who. And when the right publisher comes along, I’ll be there. I can do both. Why not do both? The reality of the market is that I have to do both just to survive or else I’d be sight out of mind.”

Labels: , , , ,