True Stories: Volume 1 is being pushed hard by the fine folks at Diamond, which is the entity that supplies the comix stock to virtually every comic book shop in the US. Its general release is coming soon, and it's the biggest pre-order book Alternative Comics has ever had. This is all very gratifying. A nice way to send The City, where these true stories first appeared, off to that great comics page in the sky.
What about The Baron of Prospect Ave. webcomic? Well, I'm afraid Otto and Co. are on hiatus for the rest of 2014. I am blasted away on Trashed seven days a week. I simply don't have time for anything else. So, naturally, I've been getting lots of intriguing offers, all of which I've had to turn down. Trashed is due at Christmas. I'll have some edits and other bullshit to punch out, then I'm off to Angouleme at the end of January. When I return, I'll be completely free until Trashed is released in the Fall. I'll pick up The Baron again then.
Didn't anticipate this hard schedule, sorry. Writing Trashed took longer than expected and the penciling was excruciatingly slow. This is complicated drawing: lots of landscapes, lots of machinary. But I think it's a very strong book.
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
This year's theme was a celebration of the alt-weekly cartoons, from Jules Feiffer to the end, which I believe was reached sometime last week. It's something that is long overdue. The peak of the genre, from 1985 to 2000, produced, in my opinion, the finest, most original comix of the time. Discounting hacks like me, of course. But we were always kind of the bastard stepchildren of both the mainstream comic strip community and the indy comix community. I always felt like an outsider to both. Now I'm a B-minus Indy Comix Star, so those days are behind me, as are comic strips, but it's nice to see the genre finally get it's due.
It's hard to believe the weekly comix genre is over. Those that are still at it have morphed into the web model. What still blows me away is that monumental talents like Lynda Barry and Matt Groening, etc were chased out of weekly papers. That's right, they were basically told, sorry, we have no use for you. Good gawd, what were those chowderheads that ran those rags thinking? Well, they weren't thinking, and that explains those rags' (those that survive) current irrelevancy and fast-fading fortunes. Tom Tomorrow told me The Village Voice, once the headquarters of great weekly comix and currently home to none, is maybe 20 pages thick and rots, ignored and unread, in news boxes on the streets of Manhattan. This would have been unimaginable when I started my strip in 1990 with dreams of someday making it into the Voice, then the gold standard of weekly papers. Back then, it was 200 pages every week and wasn't free. You had to buy it! Two or three bucks, as I recall. That's how good it was. Outside of a couple 6 month stints, I never did make it into the Voice. I ran instead in the NY Press for a decade, which was a weird libertarian weekly– high on nasty snark– but had a fabulous selection of comix, better than any other weekly in fact. It closed several years ago, after a long period of decline. Pretty much sums yup the whole weekly biz.
For me, who was toiling in the wrong genre anyways, the incompetent groupthink of weekly editors was a huge favor, because it chased me to graphic novels. I'm sure Alison Bechdel would agree. Arr. I get mad just thinking about it. But here at SPX, it was all good, because it was about the work and the legacy.
How good? This group shot of the featured guests says it all. Front row L-R: some douchebag who looks awfully pleased with himself, Jules Feiffer, Lynda Barry, Ben Katchor, Jen Sorenson. Back row L-R: Shannon Wheeler, Tom Tomorrow, Charles Burns, Mimi Pond, Keith Knight.
Above: A signed, limited-edition poster of the SPX badges. Mine-- starring Otto!-- is upper left. Allegedly, I'll be receiving one of these, which gets framed and slapped up on the studio wall in short order.
And now, a selfie bonanza!
With old pal Ruben Bolling.
With Keith Knight and Lynda Barry.
With Tom Tomorrow and Jen Sorenson
With Dean Haspiel and Christa Cassano.
With Josh Bayer.
With Mimi Pond.
With Frank Santaro, one of my éditions çà et là colleagues.
In the bar, with Ruben Bolling, Tom Tomorrow (obliterated by my giant head).... and Jules Feiffer! Jules regaled us with great tales of the early days of the Village Voice and hanging out with Hefner and the literati at the Playboy mansion! I just listened. What a fabulous evening.
Who's this creep?
The awesomeness that is SPX.
Here's Noah Van Sciver modeling my badge.
And Shannon Wheeler, modeling my Joey shirt (available here in the Derf Store.... hint hint).
Thursday, September 11, 2014
If you're anywhere near DC, this is a show that is NOT to be missed. Hell, it's well wortrh a road trip! It's always been great, but SPX has now become THE indy comix fest. This year they'll be twice as many tablers, and the guest list is astounding. Jules Feiffer, Lynda Barry, Charles Burns, Tom Tomorrow, Drew Friedman, Mimi Pond, Ben Katchor, and virtually every indy creator in the biz.
I was asked to draw one of the badges, for those nominated for Ignatz Awards, obviously. here's the rest of them. Who else would I feature but Otto? I have no business sharing the assignment with the likes of Lynda, Burns and Katchor, of course, but I'm happy with my badge.
And I'll be debuting True Stories: Volume 1 at the show! Yep, it's here, although not officially released for another month.
So come on down! I'll have all my books, tons of original art, plus some other goodies. I'm in the main ballroom. Section I (as in "eye"), Table 13.