Posts Tagged ‘SPX’

Right Thing The Wrong Way Pt. 1


Monday, September 27, 2010

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Greg Cook and TD Sidell were kind enough to offer us some excerpts from their catalog for “Right Thing The Wrong Way: The Story of Highwater Books“, opening October 1st at Fourth Wall Project in Boston. Greg did a great job on the oral history. So here’s one excerpt and there’ll be another on Friday. We pick up in 1997, as Highwater dude Tom Devlin published his first full book…

Coober Skeber 2: Marvel Benefit Issue debuts at San Diego Comic-Con in July 1997.

Tom Devlin: After I did that first anthology, and it was really kind of aggravating, and hard. But like anything, the sense of accomplishment once it was done was great. The harder something is, when you actually complete it and look at it and see that it worked out somewhat, there’s a bit of a rush. So I started to try to come up with what I’d do next.

I very specifically remember that I had three ideas. I remember talking to Ron and he said, “You should do superheroes.” Because my ideas were to do a children’s activity book and each cartoonist would do a page. It would be a puzzle page or a maze or all the typical stuff that would be in children’s activity books. The other one, actually the one that I kind of really wanted to do, was do an oversized Sunday newspaper and everybody would do sort of a classic strip or something they really liked in their style. Everybody would do a cover version. I remember partially the reason I picked that is that Ron was a really big Popeye fan and so I wanted Ron to do Popeye. I was a really big Pogo fan, so I was going to draw a version of Pogo. Then everybody else would just have to do whatever. And then the other one was superheroes.

I had done a bunch of signings at The Million Year Picnic. And it was a bunch of alternative people, like Tom Hart, Jason Lutes, Seth I think had been there by then. Just everybody you think of who’s still around who was doing alternative comics. There were like 15 people involved in five or six signings. We would just hang out and we’d always end up talking about superheroes. That was something I thought was funny and irritating. All these people who are trying to do something new still have these deep roots in superheroes. I wanted to do the superhero book to sort of be the end of that. Okay, you’ll all do your superheroes and that will be the end. Of course, it didn’t work out that way. (more…)

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SPX ’97 comic


Sunday, September 26, 2010

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SPX 1997 cover

Well, well, well, looky what I found in the quarter bin at the secret comics warehouse in western Pennsylvania. This is the first ever SPX anthology from 1997. Remember when they did these for each SPX from ’97 to, what, 2005? I remember when this book was being organized. I was living in San Francisco at the time. Out there we had APE, which had just started up a couple years earlier (still going as a Comic-Con event). Is the cover of this SPX comic making fun of APE? I thought that back then. I also remember that I wanted to go to SPX but it was too far – and being in the comic seemed weird if I wasn’t going to go. That was the year, 1997, when I really felt like SPX was taking off. It was exciting back then to think of like minded folks in comics getting together outside of San Diego and outside of longbox conventions. Boy, times have changed. I still get excited by small press fests, but now there’s one every month somewhere it seems, right? (more…)

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Sunday, September 19, 2010

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Hey there, True Believers! Welcome to Comics Comics Sunday edition. I need one more week to pull together a coherent continuation of my romance comics posts, so here’s some gossip from last week’s SPX. Well, not gossip, but some “thoughts” about the show one week later. I was going to skip posting a report cuz Dan’s pics and Tom’s pics basically tell the story. But I figured traditions exist for reasons, and it’s a tradition to do the SPX round-up. So here goes.

Really missed BC – Brian Chippendale – this year. An advance copy of If ‘n Oof was waiting for us at the hotel convention. It’s completely insane. Eight hundred pages of hammers dropping on my head. Brian just ripped it. Art comics – hardcore art comics – are alive and well. I think BC is gonna stun everyone with this new one. He was supposed to come down for the show but since the main shipment of books is still a couple weeks away it didn’t really make much sense to ask BC to come down and show off that one copy. Actually, that would have been fun to watch. (more…)




Friday, September 17, 2010

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THIS WEEK IN COMICS! (9/15/10 – SPX gave us ACME, Diamond gives us more.)


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

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Amazing the things you can find at a comics show like SPX. I mean, I hadn’t expected Mark Millar’s comics magazine to be so well designed! Or distributed by Drawn and Quarterly! “I hope the little girl cuts someone,” I grinned to Tom Devlin, who looked slightly more than halfway toward the verge of tears, and maybe vomiting, which was understandable. I was pretty upset they’d moved the Miss Maryland Teen USA preliminaries to another weekend too, leaving the official SPX hotel neighbor slot to be filled by some sort of medical conference (which later became a wedding reception, perhaps spontaneously).

Much to my embarrassment, it was later explained to me that LINT is in fact the subtitle to ACME Novelty Library #20, while the Mark Millar comics magazine is titled CLiNT. This is so you might look at the title a certain way and mistakenly (hilariously) think the magazine is really titled CUNT. “But mom,” I said, “that’s an awful name for a magazine! And disrespectful to Rory Hayes! There really are no ideas left. Alan Moore was right.” I noticed then that she was softly weeping over the phone, as is her tendency. God, it’s not my fault the apple harvest festival isn’t until October!


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THIS WEEK IN COMICS! (9/9/10 – Another Thursday Trip)


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

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From "Balloon Vendor Comix"; art by Fred Schrier

Just a little end of summer traveling for your enjoyment; it was no doubt a pertinent theme for Schrier, whom I believe mailed in the issue’s final pages to Rip-Off Press from his work with the Peace Corps in Afghanistan circa 1971 or so.

Not much else to say, although hopefully I’ll have recovered some vocal function by this weekend’s Small Press eXpo, in which I and Tim will be participating in the Bill Kartalopoulos-moderated How We Judge comics critics panel with Johanna Draper Carlson, Gary Groth, Chris Mautner, Ken Parille and Caroline Small. That’s Saturday at 3:00; I’m told there will be a lot of added excitement this year with the addition of volunteers and/or Miss Maryland Teen USA hopefuls positioned under the floor to saw out holes around our seats if we aren’t sufficiently insightful. The rest of the weekend’s programming features Dan participating with Brian Ralph, Paul Lyons and Tom Devlin in discussing the Fort Thunder Legacy (again moderated by Bill K., Sat. 5:30) and Tim moderating a talk between Frank and Jim Rugg on “auteurial work that shows the influence of commercial comics” (Sun. 4:00), among other fine events. Come on down (up, over, through) and say hello.

As for new funnies:


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Double Festival Weekend


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

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PictureBox will be in two places at once this weekend: SPX in Bethesda, MD and the Brooklyn Book Festival in NYC!

First: We will be at SPX in Bethesda, MD, tables G5-G8. Frank will of course be occupying one table, foisting his epic back issue selection on you, the unsuspecting yet increasingly discerning consumer!

There will be many wonderful things at PBox for you to blow your cash on:

-We will be hosting Brian Ralph and Paul Lyons as they launch the new issue of Monster, featuring work by Brinkman, Chippendale, CF, Drain, Goldberg, and many others.

-Advance copies of Renee French’s H Day and Julie Doucet and Michel Gondry’s My New New York Diary for sale!

Karl Wirsum: Drawings 1967-70 – A deluxe oversize new catalog from the master accompanying the exhibition I curated at Derek Eller Gallery, NYC.

Garo Manga: The First Decade – Ryan Holmberg’s essential history

-A new zine by Matthew Thurber and Billy Grant

-Yuichi Yokoyama’s BABYBOOMFINAL – Yokoyama’s insane art/comics heavyweight tome

-Our full line of vintage Brazilian porn

-Deep and dark publications from the Paris house United Dead Artists, including Permagel by Charles Burns

-And because no one except Jason Miles asked for it: Complete runs of the early 1980s classic: New York City Outlaws!

-We will also have one, that’s right, ONE, copy of If ‘n Oof for you to ogle and be amazed by.

If that wasn’t enough, we will be at the Brooklyn Book Festival on Sunday, with all of the above, and more! Come see us in Suburban D.C. or downtown Brooklyn.

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A Conversation With Bryan Lee O’Malley – SPX 2008


Sunday, June 27, 2010

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From "Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour" (vol. 6); color by Dylan McCrae

On October 4, 2008, I had the pleasure of conducting a live q&a session with Bryan Lee O’Malley as part of the programming slate for the 2008 Small Press Expo. O’Malley is the creator of the popular Scott Pilgrim series of bookshelf-format comics, soon to see its sixth and final volume released on July 20, 2010, along with a motion picture adaptation directed by Edgar Wright, set to premiere in North America on August 13, 2010.

Moreover, O’Malley is perhaps the most visible face of a young comics-making generation liable to draw considerable influence from international comics art, and pursue means of distribution outside of the classical comic book format – his background is in webcomics, and his print-format career, est. 2001, traces the meteoric growth of manga as a presence in English-language North American comics reading. Even if we set visual qualities aside, it is striking that so many of O’Malley’s cited influences are comics and animation material targeted at women and girls; just one reading generation prior, this would have been almost unthinkable, as American comics had by and large abandoned that demographic as insignificant.

Yet O’Malley also keenly distinguishes between manga traditions — boys’ comics, girls’ comics, ’70s Golden Age traits, anime-adapted tropes — and applies them to a grander, evolutionary metaphor in Scott Pilgrim, a romance comic (and so much more!) about leveling yourself up by understanding your lover’s (possibly storied) romantic history, and confronting the negative traits “evil” ex-boyfriends might represent. Gaming action hangs over everything as a looser, atmospheric metaphor for personal myth-making; video games don’t function as ‘literature,’ not like books, but they are eminently applicable in their social role-playing capacity.

What follows is a record of our live q&a, transcribed by me, and edited to remove ums and ahs and hanging sentences. Keep in mind, this was 2008, so the currently most-recent book of the series, Scott Pilgrim vs. the Universe, had not yet been released. Many thanks to Chris Mautner, aka “Audience #8,” for recording the panel (his own thoughts on Scott Pilgrim are hereby commended to your attention), and Bill Kartalopoulos, for shepherding the event into reality.


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Saturday, October 3, 2009

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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!

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Thursday, October 1, 2009

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We were in the back this year. Unusual, but not bad. A flowing artery within the event. The big seller was the Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror. The question on everybody’s lips was, “How did Ben do it?”

Monster Men sold well. That thing sells at shows. New Anya Davidson wowed the kids early. New 1-800-MICE awed them later. New Cold Heat platters moved at an even clip. Dan wasn’t grumpy. All was well.

It was a quiet year in a good way. We didn’t have a big new book out. It was a little different than it’s been in the past. Like maybe we just enjoyed being there instead of feeling the “we need to do well at this show” kind of pressure.

Right at the outset of the show, the con’s lasting image was burned in my brain: Kim Thompson and Gary Groth carrying a wooden palette piled high with empty boxes to the exit door by our table. They weren’t fucking around. No interns, no “assistants.” Now that’s what I call, “Keeping it Real” (Dave Chapelle voice).

Jon Vermilyea had his new silkscreen comic and a bunch of prints for sale. Jon’s like a rock star now. The Simpsons comic has sealed his reputation! (Mr. Burns voice)

And next to Jon V was John P! The man himself, John Porcellino. I have actually never met my Midwestern pen-pal of 16 years. So I hugged him. Always a charge to meet one’s heroes.

Meanwhile, Dan Zettwoch and Kevin Huizenga laffed at me while I set up one of my back issue boxes. I thought I’d make a killing off my stash of old Zettwoch zines. But he had reprinted the ones I was selling! Foiled! Still, I sold an original mini-comic edition of Glorianna (Super-Monster #14). According to Bill Boichel, it’s the “greatest mini-comic of all time.” I think Kevin sold like a thousand of those things a few years back.

Does Mr. Oliveros really know how hard Jessica and Allison work during this con? They move a lot of books. It’s like a science. A warship. They sail in and take no prisoners.

Back at the stealth submarine that is PictureBox, I was pleasantly surprised to see my “back issues” were being perused by the usual disaffected con attendee. “I have this” was the oft repeated exclamation. Sold a bunch of Brendan McCarthy and Kevin Nowlan. Still surprised how many folks ain’t hep to Mazzucchelli’s “Angel story” in Marvel Fanfare. Seeds of Rubber Blanket.

Rolling deep this year, the Jog/Mautner/Tucker posse scattered the crowd as their trained Terminator-critic eyes scoured the tables. Look out Loretta! These guys were causing trouble everywhere they went. I saw most of the now infamous critics’ panel where Tucker walked out to use the bathroom. Instant classic.

Sean Collins’ “New Action” panel was a lot of fun. An insightful and enjoyable panel. And I thought the audience was into it. I hope I didn’t repeat myself too much. I think it went really well, tho. Check it out here.

Then I was starving. Ah, good ol’ Tasty Diner. Milkshakes and veggie burgers. And Kevin talking about Little Lulu. Instant classic.

[More soon. Just wanted to get something up during the work week.]