BCGF Haul Reviews Part 2
manwithjewels
by Kevin Czap

Haul Review Part 2


Ok, round two, let’s do this! hoowah




Cinema #1: Monica et les fourmis, Julie Delporte — Delporte is one of the invigorating artists working in Montreal (or thereabouts). Her work weaves effortlessly between cartoony line drawings to more naturalistic renderings amid evidence of a cut-and-paste approach to collage. This particular mini was part of a series of three, each one related to a particular director (I chose the Ingmar Bergman). It’s exciting to flip back and forth through this (it’s all in French, so my comprehension of it as a whole is limited, unfortunately) and soak in the color. What Delporte has done with color here is relatively simple, line drawings that alternate between different colored pencils, but the effect is exciting in a quiet kind of way. The red, yellow, blue, purple and the occasional black all sing with each other beautifully. Another book I need to have translated for me, so I can enjoy it all the more.




Rav #5, Mickey Zacchilli — It was a year ago that I was last in Brooklyn and I had just started seeing Mickey Z‘s work. Rav #4 was high on my list of comics to seek out. Bursting with frenetic action to match the hyperactive linework, Rav won me over with how much visual power was packed into it. A year later, we find Juice in some sort of tight spot the details of which are kind of unclear (clarity continues to be less of a concern). Somewhat surprisingly, the action takes a backseat in this issue, and it focuses more on the confusing after effects of the previous events. Juice runs into his ex, Sally, who is acting pretty weird, to the point that the snake-faced monster she’s been seeing for a while doesn’t really know how to handle her anymore. The Snake Prince seems to have softened up over the past year, and is now really friendly towards Juice. Maybe he sympathizes now that they’ve both dated Sally?? The best part is at the end, when the mysterious antagonistic Ben shows his sweet side, cuddling up with his smiley-faced partner Buddy. Zacchilli’s work really needs to be experience firsthand, though, any explanation I could give just falls short. All in all, a real step forward for this series. What else will happen?!?!




“Trans Siberia,” Tom Kaczynski — Continuing where “Trans Alaska” left off, Kaczynski ponders on nostalgia. Despite the personal focus in these, this series is really getting at the defining elements of contemporary condition. One interesting aspect of the increasingly persistent feelings of nostalgia within our culture is the generational component. Being of an older generation, Tom K’s experiences are slightly different from the mutated form of nostalgia that grips my generation, it seems. The main difference would appear to be the “weaponization” of nostalgia – for those of us born in the mid 80s, marketing and consumerism has been perfected to a science and trained on us throughout our entire childhoods. As we grow into our late 20s, early 30s, we find that the fun and catering were conditional, and we’ve now been cut off. In this situation, the nostalgia becomes more like a drug addiction that’s left a large number of us emotionally stunted and drifting.


The other interesting thing for me is in terms of identity. As one look at my last can reveal, I’ve got some Polish blood in me. Aside from that fact, my knowledge about that side of my lineage is practically nonexistent. And yet, as I read Kaczynski talking about his real childhood in real Poland, I feel a bit of that kind of nostalgia. It’s coming from nowhere but this desire to connect with this unknown past somehow. Like, if only I knew about Cheburashka!






“How to Make a Bell Stand” and “L.A. Diary,” Gabrielle Bell — A brand new mini from Gabrielle Bell! Bell muses about expectations and putting pressure on yourself as she draws a picture of Steve Martin. When I was getting Bell to sign my copy of Kramers, I said something stupid like “it’s an honor to have you draw in my book!” which, had I read this before then, I would have known would make her feel pressured to draw something magnificent (she ended up drawing a magnificent basket of fruit). Behind door number 2, we have Bell’s “L.A. Diary,” another fine collection of strips from Uncivilized. Seriously, I will always cherish this stuff and the Diary books are so great because of the supplemental sketches, cluing you into just how thoughtful Gabrielle is at this comics thing. She makes it look easy, but damn.




Kid Mafia #1 and Open Country #2, Michael DeForge — I want to say two things about DeForge‘s new Kid Mafia mini. One, best depiction of a video game in comics since Huizenga’s various “Fight or Run” pieces (including the sublime sequence in Ganges #2). Two, and I quote, “NOT A DUPPY, NOT A DENTIST / NOT A POLICEMAN, NOT A JUROR / NOT A CONVICT / JUST A


PUPPY DOG.”




And finally, the second Open Country! I continue to have a very strong reaction to this series – it’s depiction of young artist types strikes really close to home and I can’t help but feel a deep fondness for them. More importantly though, I’m really intrigued by the ideas DeForge is putting forward about our relation to the body. By giving these characters the task of visually reconstructing their bodies, he gives us insight into whatever existential crises these kids might be going through. By placing it all within the context of art, DeForge puts a political spin on the ball, in my opinion (even if the artists in the comic are as far as we can tell fairly apolitical). Quite excited to follow this one forward, if only to see how the psychic avatar portion resolves itself. (Also of note is how I feel there’s a kinship between this and DeForge’s piece in Thickness #2, “College Girl by Night.”)




Obsolete, Mikkel Sommer — More body stuff. This book is just beautiful. From the fine folks at Nobrow, Sommer (much younger than I would have expected) does everything here exceptionally well. Color pulls a lot of the weight here, he scraggly, wrinkly lines providing volume and texture more than shape. The story kind of glides past you like the ghosts in the book, but this is what makes it all the more interesting to me – although the subject is high-octane action movie material, your pulse never rises above a steady beat, soothed by the beauty of the execution. The relatively short format aids in this, and Sommer handles the timing like an old hand.






BCGF Haul Reviews Part 1
manwithjewels
by Kevin Czap

Comics – I got quite a few of em with opinions to match. Here’s the first round of reviews based on things I picked up at this year’s Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival.



kuš! #9: Female Secrets, ed. by Ryan Sands — Just as I was suspecting, this collection ended up being the most impressive book from BCGF. As a comics magazine out of Latvia full of bold art comics from a number of the freshest young cartoonists from around the world (who, yeah, happen to be female), this book represents a healthy dose of what we need more of in comics discourse. The various pieces sing from their diversity and the theme of the anthology is loose enough that it never feels over-apparent. I’d been keeping the development of this project in my periphary for the past several months, excited to see a growing number of fantastic ladies become attached. For instance, the work of Inés Estrada, Lala Albert, Kris Mukai and Mickey Z has consistently been blowing up my spot, and the prospect of having new comics from them all in one place is always cause for celebration. Each makes good on the anticipation, especially Inés’ wonderful wrap around cover.


What makes this anthology so important though is the amount of brand new talent it brings to my attention – artists I’d probably never hear of if not for this kind of vehicle. I’m thinking of people like the young Polish artist, Renata Gąsiorowska, who contributes a surprisingly moving look at a middle school crush on the bad girl in “I Love Lisa Lisek.” I love the strange anthropomorphic characters that Gąsiorowska draws here, each fully formed in their humanity. Sarah Mazetti, based in Bologna, left an impression with her stark, graphic drawings in “Hairdressing.” It’s easy to get lost forever in the painterly collages of Husmann and Tschäni. I was happy to see Dunja Janković‘s contribution in this, a rhymic exploration of the microcosmic secrets of “girl,” as I had almost picked it up from her in person as a separate mini-comic, but decided against it at the last minute. American Sophia Foster-Domino gives us a somewhat Wareian travel narrative with “I Wanna Go to the Beach.”


Of course, there is other great work by artists whose work is already more established on my radar, as well. Angie Wang plays up her strengths of eye-opening costume designs which provides the context of her narrative. Emily Carroll works her usual magic, notable in this for the rare occasion of telling a story set in a contemporary setting (it appears to star herself, but like her other work, the first person narration doesn’t necessarily identify as anyone but the character in the comic). All in all, this is a great book, perhaps only two lower notes (if only by comparison) amid a score of show-stoppers. I love the hand-held size and binding of the book, the colors are excellent and the sequencing is well-considered. Really, what more can I say? The entire crew put together something they can be truly proud of. Buy one for yourself.


Kramers Ergot 8, ed. by Sammy Harkham — Everyone else’s book-of-the-show, it seems, and not without good reason. The production of this book will make you drool if you have any saliva left after reading the list of contributors. There’s a lot – a lot – of strong work in here, but I have to say as a whole, it’s not as consistently great as something like kus #9. For one thing, which I’d touched on before, this isn’t a book I’d go to looking for surprises. The artist who were new to me were interesting, but I wasn’t knocked back, searching for a pencil and paper to write down any names. Leon Sadler, for instance, who all of a sudden I’m seeing pop up everywhere, puts in a couple of pieces that I think are charming and interesting, but I’ve got a harder time being too enamored with them. I’m willing to attribute that to differing tastes. As something of a product of the DC punk scene, I was pretty excited to see Ian Svenious writing the forward for the collection, although upon reading it, some of his proclamations are more suspect than others. But then again, he’s always been more of a rabble rousing preacher than straight academic.


It may sound as if I disliked the book much more than I actually did, so let’s move to the positives. The knockout pieces here are from the usual suspects, even if I wasn’t expecting to be as impressed with them as I was. Frank Santoro and Dash Shaw really got me sitting up in my seat with their collaboration on “Childhood Predators.” Shaw’s adaptations of TV reality shows has always caught my interest, and the pairing with Santoro’s deftness with color here is really a stand-out. The way the purple border shifts to red and then back over the course of the story is a nice touch. “Cody” gives us more reasons to love Gabrielle Bell, who is one of the best writers in comics in my opinion. She is able to inhabit the convention of autobio comics so well that we barely notice when she shifts the tracks on us, taking the reader just shy of plausibility. So good. Kevin Huizenga adapts one of those old “Twilight Zone”-like comic books in a way that shows younger readers like myself what the fuss was all about. Sammy Harkham gives the the superb silent strip “A Husband and Wife.” Oh, ok, there was one really pleasant surprise for me – the “Oh, Wicked Wanda” pages in the back. Cut, funny, sexy comics in that everlastingly good MAD magazine style, although these are from Penthouse. In the end, this is definately a book worth checking out. Depending on your tastes, you will probably find it more perfect than I did.


“Le Wagon Engourdi,” Vincent Giard — The newest from the unstoppable Giard. I can’t get enough of this expressive lines and his fearlessness in pushing the drawings farther than I’ve been able to dare. The cover alone is a partial summation of the things that are great about his work. The colors, the abstractions, the depiction of a mundane situation that elevates it into the psychological – it’s bold and showcases what it looks like when you work in the language of comics directly. Also, you gotta love the anti-punchline at the end (anti- only because there’s not really a joke preceding it). We (I) need more of your work, Vincent!


Study Group Magazine #1, ed. by Zack Soto and Milo George — A fresh start! This is an interesting book, because it almost makes you not want to get right into it – you’re held captive by Eleanor Davis‘ cover. Of course, when you finally crack the spine, you’re rewarded richly. Each artist takes to the two color printing like ducks. I’m happy to see more Aidan Koch work of this stripe – I love seeing what she does with color and paint. This mag gave me the opportunity to get into a few artists who I’ve heard about for a while but never checked out. For instance, this was my first introduction to David King‘s work, and I really dig the poetic quality of his piece. I also wasn’t expecting to be so into Trevor Alixopulos‘ work – I’m quite fond of his loose cartoony lines. The weirdness of Michael DeForge’s piece leaves you unprepared for how touching it is in the end. One of the things I like about DeForge is how he is able to totally own these iconic cartoon images (specifically newspaper funnies characters, in this case) and use them for transcendent ends. It’s cool that this thing is actually a magazine, with articles and everything, all while staying in the overall yellow-and-purple aesthetic. You can’t help but be enamored with Eleanor Davis after reading her sincere and self-effacing interview. I’ll admit, though, that I haven’t read all of the Craig Thompson piece, if for no other reason than it was making me stress out about the size of some of my own projects. This is a good one to snag, can’t wait for issue two. Can you subscribe?


You Will All Die in Pain #1 and “Born Again,” Derek M. Ballard — Finally, a Derek M. Ballard book! His mesmerizing work has been popping up in art comics anthologies for the past year, building up demand for this book to a boiling point. Derek’s got the kind of style that makes me put the page up to your face so you can try to absorb every detail of that wild line he lays down. You Will All Die in Pain is a collection of shorter pieces, all erotic, violent, disturbing in a dreamy kind of way. I mean, I’d be busting out laughing at all this stuff if it wasn’t so surrealy beautiful. My favorite piece is “Jonathan Livingston Fuck Y’all.” The geometric quality of his figures dovetails perfectly with Ballard’s overall sense of design. “Born Again” is a little accordian fold booklet of children’s dreams collected by Roger Omar and illustrated by Ballard. Given the origin of the texts, the drawings are much less sexual, but no less engrossing. The typography is excellent as well, making this quite a nice little piece of eye candy. Come on, you know were waiting for this stuff, go buy it. Give yourself a present.


“don’t follow me,” Jen Tong — Jen Tong gives us another gorgeous screenprinted comic starring a boy and girl and their lemonheaded astral bodies. This one is particularly heartwrenching. As with all of her stuff, highly recommended.


“Gah! Monstros!” Kat Fajardo — A little mini comic full of cutely gross illustrations by up-and-comer Kat Fajardo. Adjust your radars to track this one. Promise.




Due to some technical limitations at the time of writing this, I’m unable to include images of the work as I would like to. Thanks for understanding.






The Underground is Emptying My Wallet – BCGF 2011
manwithjewels
by Kevin Czap


Wrapping up this wonderful year we have the granddaddy of a show that is the Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Fest. Hopefully we can get L to talk about what it was like on the other side of the table soon, but I was just some guy who flew to New York to buy comic books. Given the pedigree of BCGF’s roster, there was a lot of spectacular work to pick up, to the point where I had a hard time singling out any for on-the-floor recommendations. I’d been looking forward to checking this show out for a while and I feel like it was a fitting end to 2011.



The last time I was in New York was last December, spending the week of New Year’s wandering around and reconnecting with friends. It was also the first time I’d been since surrendering my life to comics completely, so the memory I have of the city is basically this amazing place where you can buy any comic ever made easily, and where there’s a cartoonist around every corner. BCGF is the physical manifestation of that impression. So, like my last Brooklyn trip, and presumably every one to follow, this past weekend was marked by wonderful friends, serendipity and more comics than I could afford/fly home with.


Though a smaller show than something like TCAF, in a way there was way too much at Brooklyn to choose from (if that sounds like criticism, it isn’t). I was at the festival from open to close, roughly, and while I was aware that I didn’t look at every single thing at every single table, reading other blogs’ recaps I was surprised at how much cool stuff I managed to miss. I think I was undone by my tendency to overplan. See, I walked into that church with an extensive list of all the debuts and books that had been holding my attention. List in hand, I went around and crossed out line after line until it was all in my Koyama Press bag (nine hours of carrying all that weight on my shoulder was fun). After that, I had to become extra picky to survive. I think I ought to avoid this approach in the future, but then again, few other shows have so much wanna-get material.


One of the nice things was that this time it wasn’t all about me – I had a number of friends who were checking out the show as well. I like the challenge of trying to match what I know about comics to other people’s interests and tastes. It was pretty easy at this show, however, with Koyama, Adhouse, Secret Acres, Pizza Island, Retrofit, Collective Stench, Nobrow, Closed Caption Comics, Spit and a Half, etc etc on hand.


Aside from the cold hard realities of commerce, the show was great for meeting (and remeeting) cartoonists, critics and other personalities. Going hand in hand with BCGF being a magnet for stellar work, the show’s also a magnet for comics lovers of a particular stripe. There’s something kinda special about being around so many people that are on the same page about at least one little thing, and having skipped out on Thanksgiving, this communal gathering was just as good. It was also the third time ever that the entire staff of the Comix Cube was all in the same room (think Tri-Force).


I also got to check out the Gestural Aesthetics panel with Austin English, Dunja Jankovic and Frank Santoro, moderated by Bill Kartalopolous (thanks Derick for the heads-up). I get fired up whenever I hear or read Frank riffing out, and the argument put forth — that the dominant style of cartooning is a hold-over from the mechanical limitations of production that haven’t been applicable for years and that it is worth exploring different forms of mark/image making — is incredibly persuasive. I’m less familiar with Jankovic’s work but what I saw at the panel (and later her table) was compelling. I’m still resolving how I feel about Austin English’s work, but I do know that I appreciate his ideas in general.


All in all, despite consumerist anxieties of completionism, my experience at the Brooklyn Fest was largely positive. There is a lot of strong, interesting work being done in comics and while BCGF only represents a portion of it, that portion is a generous helping, loaded with vitamins and nutrients.


The Haul



After talking with my colleagues, I think I might do the Haul section a bit differently this time. Rather than go crazy and overwhelm you (and myself) with everything I picked up all at once, I’m going to spread out the love. Do several posts that cover fewer books with more depth. This will also give me more time to read and digest what I’ve got and write something worthwhile.



For now though, I’ll say a tiny bit about the books that I was most excited about grabbing. Kramers Ergot 8, like for many people, was one of the debuts that I really had to get my hands on. The list of contributors and the production design are extremely nice. Whereas Kramers is a fine showcase for the sure-bets, the stable of talent that Ryan Sands gathered together for kuš! #9, ‘Female Secrets’ is arguably fresher. 27 of the best young comics artists from around the world put their best feet forward in this gorgeous little book which is leading the polls for my “Best in Show.”



A surprise get was a brand new mini from the inimitable Vincent Giard, who I finally got to meet. He’s been previewing some of it on his blog recently, but of course the actual book is a greater whole than its parts. The stunning Eleanor Davis cover on the new Study Group Magazine is just the beginning of the good things about Zack Soto and Milo George’s revamped anthology, which is another collection featuring a read-em-and-weep full house of a roster. L Nichols has also released a number of new work in the past month or so that I had been dying to get a hold of. Oh, and of course, Michael DeForge‘s new work, including the next installment of Open Country, the first of which was one of the most powerful things I read this year.


Epilogue


I’m a tall man, and sometimes flying can be uncomfortable. On the way home, I somehow ended up with having to fly first class. The flight attendants treat you like a human being, and the leg room… The leg room was exquisite.





the title of this post comes from my favorite release of this past year (not comics)





Originally published at Encyclopedia Czapiewski


Cleveland’s Own – Genghis Con 2011
manwithjewels
by Kevin Czap

Genghis Con 2011 John G


For the third year in a row, comics invaded the Beachland Ballroom this past Saturday for Genghis Con, Cleveland’s underground and independent festival. From where I’m sitting, the show this year was an unparalleled success on all fronts. Moods were high, attendance was up, sales were great and the work on display was really something. Since the first show in 2009, the Genghis Con has represented for me the state of Cleveland’s comics scene, and this year I’m having a hard time getting over my excitement with where we’re at. I’ll do my best to reign in my biases, but just know I’m very damn proud of this town of ours.



Genghis Con 2011


I got to the Beachland way too early as I usually do to help set up, but for the second year in a row, the ballroom crew was on top of it, so we walked through the door to find everything in place and the show floor spotless. I was in go mood by the time other exhibitors started to fill in. Not only were Cleveland’s finest on hand (at those who weren’t away on holiday), but we also had a bunch of guests coming in from Toledo, Columbus, Pittsburgh, Philly and Chicago. One of the bigger accomplishments for me was having John Porcellino be there with Spit and a Half. It felt really important to have so much quality work from the wider world of comics available to Clevelanders, especially since, unlike previous years, Astound! (basically the only shop in town you can buy indie comics) wouldn’t be selling anything.


By the time everyone had arrived and set up, the space was packed. That being said, I think the size of this show is perfect – one of the smallest shows I’ve done, there’s enough to have it not feel empty or sparse, but not too crowded that it’s overwhelming for attendees (or exhibitors for that matter). Everything felt really casual, the open bar and complimentary donuts helped set the relaxed atmosphere the that Genghis Con prides itself on.


Genghis Con 2011


From the time the doors opened until the end of the show, there was a steady stream of traffic that, again, wasn’t oppressive. Just right. One of the cool things about this show is each exhibitor is encouraged to make a little freebie that the attendees collect. That way people can go home with something for their $5 entry even if they don’t buy anything else. And since tables are free for exhibitors, there’s not as much stress involved with trying to recoup show costs. Also, I talked a bit about food in my previous show report – the Beachland Ballroom has a full service kitchen at the bar, so exhibitors were able to eat well without having to step foot outside the premises.


Genghis Con 2011


For me, as with most of these shows, the most rewarding part was the community aspect. Especially for a homebase show, where you don’t have to leave the city after it’s all over and pine away about all the new friends you might only get to see again after a year. The show this year represented a definitive step forward in bringing Cleveland cartoonists toward an active scene. After the show a bunch of us went out to the popular grilled cheese restaurant Melt, and everything felt right.


Of course, now the mission will be to make Genghis Con 2012 even better. Hope to see you then.


Genghis Con 2011


The Haul


Genghis Con 2011


clockwise


King Cat Classic,  John Porcellino — Collection of the first several years of the legendary King Cat. Coming into the world at the time and place I did, my interaction with this comic has tended toward the most recent issues, which have an accomplished simplicity to them. It’s interesting then to see some of the very first comics from over 20 years ago, and to see the progression from then to now. The earliest pages have a prototypical zine-comic look to them. If only every zinester had the fortitude to stick to it for so long. link


King Cat #72, John Porcellino — The new King Cat, which I believe debuted at this show. Beautiful and melancholy.


Dark Tomato, Sakura Maku — Out of all the intriguing books released through Austin English’s Domino Books, this one has stood out to me the most. I’d been putting off buying it for a while, finally resolving to pick it up when it made its way to Cleveland. Gorgeously fluid drawings mixed with collage elements and bold painting are set to the dreamlike story. Highly recommended (on Derik Badman’s Best of 2011 list!). link


“Who Am I?: A Monkey-Moonbeam Mystery,” John Porcellino


“Can Dance!,” Liz Valasco — A one-of-a-kind little comic Liz drew for me at the show. About the power of dance. link


The Condiment Squad, Keith Pakiz — The release I was most looking forward to at this show. In the works for quite some time, Pakiz was able to complete his food-based epic about a trio of condiment-costumed avengers just in time for Genghis Con. Drawing heavily from the style of Bill Watterson, the art is a joy to look at. Pakiz shows off his skill for visual humor and compositional balance with each page. I recommend picking up this hand-bound book if you ever have a chance, but you can also read the whole thing online for free. link


Spacefighter Z Part One: Final Report of Dolly Five, Jake Kelly — Pulpy sci-fi goodness from one of Cleveland’s most prominent cartoonists. link


The Lake Erie Monster #1, Jake Kelly and John G — Old fashioned horror comics by Cleveland’s finest. One of my other hotly anticipated debuts at the show this year. link


Shiner #1-2, ed. by John G and Kevin Fagan — Before I knew what was going on with comics in this city, there was Shiner. Recommended if you can track them down, they’re a bit rare by now.


“The Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run,” Joe Schorgl — Cool mini with nice cartooning about the Cleveland Torso murders, of all things. One of the seedier bits of the city’s history. link


“Quit It,” Liz Valasco — More great comics funnies from Liz V.


Romp #2, Aaron Lange — Brand new smutty smut from Philadelphia’s filthiest. link


Genghis Con 2011


The Plot #1, Neil Brideau — A cool new series from Neil Brideau. I wish I had more to say in general here, but I haven’t read most of this haul yet, The Plot included. Several flip-throughs reveal some nice cartooning and very cool character design. Especially looking forward to diving into this one. link


“These Yams are Delicious,” Sam Sharpe — Lovely cartooning and a pretty funny concept. Sam Sharpe is definitely one to watch. link


“Robot Mandalas,” Kevin Fagan — Sweet abstract comics from the Shiner co-editor. link


Nix #1-3, ed. by Ken Eppstein — I know the least about this set of comics, but scanning the pages reveals some interesting graphic styles, particularly in #3. Not sure how the stories will match up to my tastes but I’m grateful for the opportunity to expand them. link


Minis! — A story about a Lake Ness monster in Michigan; Dinosaur Mystery Comics #1-2 by Bernie Crowsheet; Euni the Unicorn #2, by Kris Lachowski; Tiny Yogi #2 by Angela Oster; “The McDougall Sampler 2011″ by George McDougall (whose daughter was dressed up as the killer doll on the cover, if I’m not mistaken).


Sundays vol. 4, ed. by Chuck Forsman, Alex Kim, Joseph Lambert and Sean Ford — Great anthology put together by CCS alums. Features work by favorites Mickey Z, Warren Craghead, Ed Piskor, Joe Lambert, Melissa Mendes, Dane Martin, Julie Delporte and Michael DeForge. Worth it. link


“Stormbringer: A Clevelyn Story,” John G — A prelude to John G’s upcoming graphic novel about an alternate take on this weather-beaten city of ours. Clevelyn prevails.





Originally published at Encyclopedia Czapiewski


NOVEMBRR
manwithjewels

Real Fast


Some really amazing stuff going on this week(end) that I just need to take a break from making comics to tell you about!


Kevin Fagan Genghis Con 2011


First, Saturday is Genghis Con in Cleveland! I’ve been stoked about this show for a while and it’s finally here. I think it’s going to be the best show yet – Cleveland’s amazing comics scene is coming out of the wordwork for this, and we’re going to have a bunch of special guests. Not least among them are the Andromeda crew from Pittsburgh as well as the great John Porcellino. It’s a big deal to me that all these folks were able to come out, so I want to make sure Cleveland treats them right.


John G Genghis Con 2011


I’ll be debuting a new 8-page mini that I’ll give away for free! Man, so excited. See a preview of the first page below:


Genghis Con 2011 Kevin Czap


Ok, so then, you may or may not have heard he talking about some secret project for the better part of the past year. Well, as of yesterday, it is no longer so secret! I’ve joined up with writer and critic Michael Peterson to make Project: Ballad, a new webcomic that will debut Spring 2012. The website is up right now, though, so get your bookmarks ready! Michael was written a ton of great stuff and it’s just sitting there, waiting to be read. Go!


Finally, today is my co-Cuber Darryl Ayo Brathwaite’s 30th birthday! Damn! Go wish a good one, eh?


Ok, and now a post script. Next weekend I will be traveling to New York to visit some fams and to check out the Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Fest. It feels like it’s going to be a reprise of TCAF so I am very excited. Especially since my other Cube-mate, L Nichols, will have a table! She’s got a lot a lot a lot of really exciting new stuff so you would be wise to do like me and pick it up. There’s also a bunch of other cool debuts, but I’m out of time! Be sure to check out my show report after the fact to see what I get.


Ok love you guys. See you tomorrow, yes? AWESOME.





MIX 2011
manwithjewels
by Kevin Czap


By the grace of show organizer Sarah Morean, I’m still basking in the warmth of this past weekend’s Minneapolis Indie Expo. When I discovered how far the drive was from Cleveland to Minneapolis earlier this summer, I had to scratch MIX off of my list of shows to check out. Then, right after the highs of SPX, I return home to an email from Sarah, effectively pulling me off of the waiting list and into the show. I’m really glad it worked out, because MIX ended up being as wonderful an experience as I was hoping it would be. Family, friends and comics – here’s how it went down.




The Minneapolis scene is a lot more stacked than one might think initially. Besides claiming heavies like Tom Kaczynski, Zak Sally and Sam Hiti as residents, there’s also a remarkably strong arts and hand-crafting culture in general that permeates the comics landscape. These Minnesotans on a whole seem to be masters of book arts and screen printing – almost every local cartoonist I met either worked in a screen printing studio or at had something silkscreened at their table. That being said, MIX had a very diverse group of exhibitors, featuring equally strong representation from the webcomics world, like Anthony Clark, Spike Trotman, Josh Lesnik and native Paul Taylor. There’s also no escaping the fact that a show that pulls Koyama Press (!), Adhouse, 2D Cloud, Uncivilized Books, Grimalkin Press, Cloudy Collection, Kevin Huizenga, Spit and a Half, La Mano, Sparkplug, etc, etc all together for one weekend is going to be a crackerjack event.



Other ways that MIX shone: an ATM on the premises. I felt that, for a show of its size, this was really unprecedented. Well done. The most amazing lunches. Most indie shows (actually, most shows in general) leave feeding yourself in your hands, which can prove difficult when you’re going solo at your table. Not only did MIX have a concession stand, with water, coffee and muffins available throughout the whole weekend, they also gave everyone donuts on the first day (this was thanks to a generous donation by the Midwest Comic Book Association). But the crowning achievement was wheeling a food truck up the door during the lunch hours. Now, I’ve been to shows that do provide food for the exhibitors, and while I don’t want to seem ungrateful, the choices have been just ok, generally. The MIX food truck, on the other hand, was so damn good. Veggie curry. Oh my goodness. Space had a lot of character. The Soap Factory was just a cool venue, that’s all. Sweet after-party. The Honey Lounge was another good choice of locale for the Saturday night mixer. Free pens! Pink ones, at that.



I was only able to catch one panel, but it was pretty swell – Annie Koyama, Joe Biel of Microcosm Publishing1, Tom K and Zak Sally all talking about being small publishers with moderator Robyn Chapman. As someone who’s always felt drawn to that area, it was particularly interesting for me, if not a bit somber, given the realities of the job. One of the main take-aways, in that sense, was that it’s critical to be realistic about the whole thing – do right by your artists any way you can, but know your limits – both in terms of finances as well as what your skill-sets are. Another important message from the panel was that there’s no one right way of doing it, as the varying experiences of all four speakers testified to.



This was a good show. Got to catch up with some familiar faces, met a bunch of other good folk/people I admire, and had a home-cooked meal with family. It’s a shame that it won’t be back next year (or ever again), but of course no one can blame Morean for taking care of herself. From what I was gathering, there’s already at least one other great show lined up for next year, so it’s not like the good people of Minneapolis will be wanting for comics events. Of course, that’s not to say it’s replacing (or even could replace) MIX, which has been one of the best run shows I’ve been to. I can’t recall a single problem coming up for myself or anyone else I spoke with, so kudos to Morean and Andy Krueger, the whole team of volunteers and everyone else who helped make this a damn fine weekend.


The Haul



clockwise


Study Group 12 #4, ed. by Zack Soto — This is one of those grand-daddy dream books that collects a large group of my favorite cartoonists. This issue contains work by Eleanor Davis, Steve Weissman, Michael DeForge, Jim Rugg, Blaise Larmee, Aidan Koch, Vanessa Davis, Tom Neely, Corey Lewis, Nick Gazin, Richard Hahn, Angie Wang, Farel Dalrymple and series editor Zack Soto. All printed in gorgeous purple ink (some with a second pink added in the mix). Everyone delivers great material – a really great book. link


CCS Guidebook, Kevin Huizenga and James Sturm — As someone who chose their college based on their admissions catalog, I can appreciate the a-bomb promotional material that this Center for Cartoon Studies mailer is. I’ve long admired the contents digitally (featuring one of my favorite images – the waltzing duck, ghost of carefree days!) and now I’ve got a physical copy! Very cool. Also at the CCS table I got to catch up with old buds Lena Chandhok and Paul Swartz, who I haven’t seen since we met at last year’s PIX. Swell folk indeed. link


Cartoon Dialectics Vol. 1, Tom Kaczynski — Not only does Tom K construct beautiful book objects through his Uncivilized Books press, he is also one of the most intellectual cartoonists working. His comics are illustrated critical essays, addressing important political and existential concerns. With so much of the funny book world tending towards centrism and the apolitical, it’s refreshing to have something so engaged in these kinds of issues, handled so thoughtfully. I recommend checking out his talk with Mike Dawson on TCJ Talkies for a taste.


“Easy Metaphors,” Hannah Blumenreich — Collection of cute autobio strips that scratches my Jules Fieffer itch, in terms of the loose, ropey drawing style. Hannah’s got a strength for facial expressions here, and at times the art really sings – capturing that perfect space between economy of line and feeling of completeness. link


Viewotron #1, Sam Sharpe and David Goodrich — Sam Sharpe is an artist we’re lucky enough to have coming to Genghis Con this year, and this book, a MIX debut, is a testament to his talents. His brushy cartooning is paired with friend David Goodrich, who has a Derek M. Ballard geometry to his drawings that I like quite a bit. Sharpe’s longer piece in this is a funny Brunetti-style strip with some nice use of typography. Really recommend picking this one up. link


Scooter Patrol in the Ghost House #1,  Curtis Square-Briggs — This mini by Curtie Pie, finished just a few hours before the expo started on Saturday, ended up being the book of the show, I think. I remember seeing waves of attendees pass my table with this tucked under their arms, and when my table-mates showed me their copy, I was blown away. Commanding a strong sense of design, the art is rendered beautifully, depicting a bunch of weird stuff that grabs you by the back of your brain. The first page of the story proper, we’re treated to a detective of sorts whose face and office are all over the place with an almost cubist energy. Things continue to get weird from there, and it all ends up with pizza. link


“Monster,” britt c. H. — Cool mini about a little deer creature with a massive chip on his shoulder. Great cartoon style, nice use of solid blacks, and I really dig the character designs, especially of the deer, with its boxy antlers and floating crown. link


Infinite Chest: An Infinity Wall Compendium,  Nick Straight and Cory Speets — I got to share my table with Nick and Cory who make the webcomic Infinity Wall. Done in a Marvel-Method-type arrangement, Straight draws the weekly strip and then hands it to Speets who comes up with the text and design to accompany it. The pair had already won me over at the start with their production design, but of course the content is good stuff too. link



Koyama Extravaganza!


“Monster Party,” Chris Eliopoulos — Eliopoulos has a style like none other, and reading anything of his is just fun by definition. Everything wiggles and it’s all super cute. I’m consistently impressed with the unity of the artwork here, everything is drawn with the same language. While it seems obvious enough, it’s not something we see as often as you’d think, at least not with this consistency. link


Grey Supreme 1, Mark Laliberte — Gorgeously designed art book, featuring drowning and rainbows. Speaks to you deeply in a silent, wholly visual way. link


“Cat Rackham Loses It!,” Steve Wolfhard — Steve Wolfhard’s Cat Rackham strips are a feat of cartooning, combinations of great lines, the adorable, the bizarre, the depressing, the dark and, at times, the profound. That it does all this equally well and without pretension is admirable. There’s no question the unified front of praise for this book is well deserved. link


“Can’t You Draw Me?” Kickass Annie practice pad — Annie’s tough love on each page is the perfect motivation for nailing your own rendition of the Kickass Annie logo. Very cool idea.


“Wowee Zonk: Pobody’s Nurfect,” Ginette Lapalme, Patrick Kyle, Chris Kuzma — A thin little volume of work by this stellar art group. I’ve been admiring what each of these guys have been doing individually, and this book is a great sampler of the wild creative energy that they share. link


“Jesse Wars Here,”  Jesse Harris — When I picked this up at the Koyama Press table and it all but melted into my hands, I was knocked flat. Printed on the softest newsprint I’ve ever held and filled with arresting imagery in yellow, magenta and black, it doesn’t take long to be hypnotized by Harris’ work here. There’s a kind of contemporary Barbara Kruger thing going on in this book, turning up the luminosity and scrambling the broadcast. Recommended for you visual carnivores.  link


“Lepos,” Diego Bergia — Really cool book documenting the multimedia/graffiti/street art work of Diego Bergia. I have a special place in my heart for this kind of wide-ranging conceptual storytelling.  link


“Island Brat,” Colleen Frakes — Frakes telling the true story of her youth spent on a prison island. link



Arabesque, ed. by An Nguyen — Very cool zine with production values through the roof. Featuring work by favorites Jordyn Bochon, Kris Mukai, Jane Mai and Anthony Cudahy. link


Brew Ha Ha #1, Ryan Maticka — A comic all about beer! Those who know me will know this isn’t a subject that would interest me in the slightest, but this is a cool book, very nicely designed, by MCAD art student Ryan Maticka. Let’s just say it’s done well enough to invest me in the topic at hand. link


“Return Me to the Sea,” Sam Sharpe — Another beautiful, beautiful book from Sharpe. If I’m remembering right, he said he was pretty much biting the style of his friend David Goodrich in this, but that’s totally fine by me. This is cartooning that will make you weep if it catches you in just the right mood.


WunderKammer #1, Nicholas Di Genova — This should have been included in my Koyama Extravaganza above, but poor planning and all that… Anyway, really striking inky drawings of members of the animal kingdom that always find a way to veer off into the unfamiliar. There’s something about the style that keeps making me think of origami. Anyway, this book is almost a testament to biological diversity and the unpredictable paths evolution can take. link


“Relation,” Cathy G. Johnson — Very nice little book filled with sexual imagery of twisted male bodies and snippets of text that pack quite a punch (for example: “The things I want to say to you are few and far between”). Cathy had a lot of great stuff at her table, including a couple beautiful prints that stopped just about everyone who passed by. She’s got a versatile drawing style – ranging from highly naturalistic to sketchy, Quentin Blake looseness. More on her work in a bit. link


Sketchbook that came with Arabesque


“Finnegan Strappe is Never Satisfied,”  Jordyn Bochon — A reformatted version of the Finnegan Strappe book that Jordyn debuted at TCAF earlier this year, with a custom drawing on the cover. Read more about it herelink


King Cat #s 68-70, John Porcellino — You can never go wrong with King Catlink


“It was their first spring,” Cathy G. Johnson and Tessa — Really touching vignette of young romantic punks. It makes my brain sweat a bit seeing that the front and back covers are part of the story, the title being the first few words. Basically, this is really smart book design, using the iconography and pacing of comics to deliver the emotional impact.


“Going Back,” Cathy G. Johnson — And finally, we’ve got this. Johnson was advertising herself more as a book artist, and this piece, essentially a travel diary, does a lot to back up that claim. I died a little when I saw the light blue set type inside, punctuated with lovely zen ink wash paintings of scenery that she encountered on her journeys. What’s kind of cool is how the events in this book coincide with my brief meeting of Cathy at the Atomic Books reading that preceded SPX back in September. All in all, a beautiful collection of personal musings, right up my alley.


Breathers sampler, Justin Madson — Breathers was this thick book that caught my attention, drawn in a blocky kind of style. I wouldn’t have had room to take it back on the plane with me, so I’m glad I got this sampler to investigate further. link


“Trans Alaska,” Tom Kaczynski — The first of Tom’s travel musings. Once you try one, you need to get the rest.


Killer Patch below — A gift from my uncle. Don’t mess around.





While I was away, a scene report I wrote for Cleveland went up on The Comics Journal. This is pretty exciting for me – go check it out. Thanks, Frank.


1 I’ll try and leave as much political ideology out of this con report, but for those interested, I’m just going to leave this link here and hope that, if you choose to read it, it doesn’t dominate the overall positive atmosphere of this post.






A Tribute to Harvey Pekar – Cleveland Heights, 10/25/11
manwithjewels
by Kevin Czap


Last night I spent the evening at the Dobama Theater, a part of the Cleveland Public Library, to join in a celebratory memorial service for Harvey Pekar. I hope all of you reading this know how significant a figure Harvey is, but if not, I wrote a bit about what him and his work means to me at my other blog shortly after he passed last July. For more information, there’s no shortage of writing about (and written by) him. Anyway, the purpose of this event Tuesday night was to get together with a portion of the community that knew and supported Harvey throughout his life. Some folks had come up through grade school with him, some had only known him tangentially as a part of the culture of Coventry Road. My big take away from the event is that one of the most important things Pekar’s work did was to highlight real people, real lives, and in that little community theater it was all right there.




After a reception of donuts and orange “pop,” everyone gathered into the theater to listen to each other share stories and poems and blog posts about their memories of Harvey. A lot of tearjerkers, a lot of little anecdotes that highlighted new aspects of Pekar’s life (one old friend, after speaking about how she knew him, was revealed to have been the unwitting unrequited crush, portrayed by the curly-haired redhead in the movie version of American Splendor), all keeping to the spirit of Harvey’s honest take on life. At one point we were treated to a special reading of an excerpt of the forthcoming book Harvey Pekar’s Cleveland, coming out sometime early next year from Top Shelf. That book has been high on my list of anticipated releases since it was announced – I think it’s some of the best artwork we’ve seen Pekar paired with in a while (which is really saying something) and it’s a full-on account of this city I’ve adopted that he stayed true to for so long.




I’ve been harping a lot about scenes for about as long as I’ve been writing for the Comix Cube, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. But I want to be clear that it’s not coming from some urge to validate comics or to project some kind of image. It’s simply that I see a healthy, personal community of people working together in the flesh is the best way to have a society. I get such an amazing feeling when I interact with others – I get the same feeling when I can see the results of such a community in a place like Cleveland, brought together in whatever small ways by the consistency of Harvey Pekar. What makes Harvey such an inspiration for me is that this is a big part of what his comics are about.



One of the major points of the evening last night was Joyce Brabner’s (Harvey’s wife, co-author on several projects and writer in her own right) reading. Through it, she conveyed that the couple was, at least in part, driven by the conviction that great things are not the sole dominion of the gifted few. As great and as one-of-a-kind as Harvey was, part of his whole point was that anyone can do what he did. Anyone can find something to write about if they feel so inclined. Anyone can self-publish a comic. As Darryl calls them in his recent posts, “normal comics” are the domain of everyone, since everyone lives a normal life. Part of what Pekar and Brabner are highlighting is that these so-called normal lives are significantly more interesting than a lot of us give them credit. For me, this idea is still revolutionary, and is major fuel for the work I do.



Finally, as part of a mission to spread this idea, Joyce is beginning a kickstarter campaign to fund a statue of Harvey and comics to be built at the library. This would be a really important landmark to have in Cleveland, and so I hope you can donate or help spread the word. Check out this facebook page for more info and updates. According to Brabner, the plan is begin the fundraiser on November 1st.






Where My Eyes Can See
manwithjewels
by Kevin Czap

Frank Santoro


It was quite a coincidence that Darryl made the post he did on Friday about poster-sized one-pagers, since it’s in line with something I’ve been thinking about recently. One of my bigger concerns when I was at school was to try and figure out how comics could work in a gallery context. I was never satisfied with just sticking pages up on the wall – they’re designed to be held in your hands and engaged with on a personal level. My self-righteousness on this subject has cooled over the years, but I still hold to that basic concept. I stopped worrying about trying to fit comics into a gallery and just focused on making my books (or websites). Needless to say, I never figured out the answer, which left me unprepared for when I was asked to have my first solo show.




Eleanor Davis


So all of this brought me back to that question – how do you present comics in a gallery setting? One of the things I thought of was to make comics work that is large enough to be understood from a certain distance. Very much like what Darryl was talking about – I’d like to see more poster comics. Have there been wall-sized comics? Eleanor Davis has done some jaw-dropping large scale work in collaboration with David Mack (see above).


Olly Moss


When I was in Pittsburgh I was able to talk about this a bit with Jim Rugg, who’s got some fascinating ideas of his own for solving this issue (not sure how much of a surprise they’re supposed to be, so I’ll leave it there). Still, he told me to check out a recent show of the amazing designer Olly Moss‘ work. It’s impressive set up, and it only helped to spur my mind to thinking, could a Salon-style hanging arrangement be used to make a comic? I guess my question isn’t so much could it be done (of course it could), but more has someone done it before?


Olly Moss


That’s about all I have time for today, got a lot to do to get ready for this show (opening is tomorrow night). But I’m curious what thoughts you guys have about this. Something you’ve thought about before? Hit me up.


Talk to you kids when it’s a little less crazy.



Image credits: Frank Santoro, Eleanor Davis and David Mack, Olly Moss</p>





PIX 2011
manwithjewels
by Kevin Czap


Ah, it’s autumn. Time for a trip to our sister city for the second annual Pittsburgh Independent Expo. This trip marks a year that I’ve been tabling at comics shows, and it’s nice to celebrate the occasion in such a great place. (For those interested in reading a long and enthusiastic report of last year’s show, check out this post. Everyone else, let’s move one.)




We were back in the stunning Guardian Storage facility again this year, after some back and forth uncertainty. At one point the organizers had been outbid on the space, and we were told we’d need to be moving to another part of the city where we’d be in the midst of a series of cultural events taking place that weekend. In the end, we were able to secure the original location, but now I’m left here wondering things might have been like if we’d moved.



The deal was, there were like three other shows running simultaneously, including some record thing, a small press expo and something for zinesters (though that might have been the same thing as the small press expo). The sense I got was that all of these events were a much bigger deal to the citizens of Pittsburgh than our independent comics show. There’s no way for me to know definitively, but I can tell you that wherever the people were over the weekend, the majority of them weren’t with us.



It’s easy to be negative about the lack of foot traffic (for instance, on Saturday, I don’t think anyone came in off the street until about 1pm). It was my least successful show in terms of sales, without a doubt. However, with all that out on the table, I’ll go ahead and say that I had an amazing time, as did most of the folks I spoke with, and in the grand scheme of things, I’d rank this as one of up there with the best of them.



I can attribute this largely to the stellar lineup of guests and attendees who were there. Pittsburgh has one of my favorite scenes, from Copacetic to Jim Rugg to Ed Piskor to Tom Scioli, to the guys behind Andromeda, to my buddies at Cupcakes and Comics. And then of course good dudes like Jessi Zabarsky and Rafer Roberts were there, as well as other greats like John Porcellino, Dave Kiersh, Jason Little and Nate Marsh. How many other great entities can I name drop? Unicorn Mountain, the folks behind the Kindlin’ Quarterly, Pat Aulisio, Jo-Jo Sherrow, Mike Madsen and Fred Frances, Jasen Lex, Dave Wachter, Bob Corby… Sales may have been slow, but the con quickly established itself as an “information sharing conference,” as Ed Piskor put it.



The lack of attendees gave all the exhibitors plenty of time to shoot the shit, and the small size presented everyone veteran to up-and-comer equal access to each other’s attention. Unlike overrun shows like SPX and TCAF, there was plenty of time to look around, spend time at people’s tables, especially the side of the room devoted to Copacetic’s boxes and boxes of comics gold. Dave Kiersh was also getting rid of some gems at his table, including 20 year old Drawn & Quarterly pamphlets, an early Steve Weissman floppy, and a host of other eye-popping wonders. And of course next to him was John Porcellino’s Spit and a Half offerings – literally, everything there is worth buying.




On Saturday night the Toonseum hosted an after party, which felt nice and intimate with the small number of exhibitors. The next day picked up a bit, thanks to the lack of competing events. The whole show really seemed to culminate with the panel discussion on Sunday. Bill Boichel got Jason Little, Tom Scioli, John P, Jim Rugg and Ed Piskor all together to talk about one of my favorite topics – building a comics community.





As I’ve made no secret of here on the Cube, I’m always thinking about community, and this panel was really super valuable. Pittsburgh was really my first example of a city where the cartoonists were all supportive of each other and had outstanding work to show for it. Getting to hear some insight on the history of this scene (as well as the Denver scene and Seattle scene from Porcellino and Little, respectively) was eye-opening, as were the panels’ insistence that nothing can happen for you unless you’re willing to put the work in and get it for yourself.


To round everything out, I got to spend time with great friends, connect with artists I admire in ways I haven’t before, I saw and walked away with a bunch of inspiring comics. So yeah, I’m feeling amped.


The Haul



clockwise


A stack of newsprint freebies — Some cool stuff here: Pork is a weirdo punk mag filled with meat, chubby babes and favorites like Heather Jewett and the real Janelle Blarg. ISRA is an anthology put out by Tom Hart and the Sequential Artists Workshop. Entirely fresh faces for me, so I’m looking forward to diving in. Seriously Comics is another SAW production, although this is more of a Weekly World News type deal, as I think it’s full of lies. Has an interview with Dash Shaw.


Virus — This here is quite the find. A vintage French language mag that I got from Dave Kiersh that’s filled with tons of great cartooning. The reason I had to have it, though, was the ten color pages of Guy Peelaert’s Pravda, a strip I’ve been obsessed with mildly for a time. I think this is from 1981.


Neverland, Dave Kiersh — Dave K’s beautiful white, yellow and black book on nostalgia, fantasy and love.


The Chronicles of Captain Cupcake, Kerry and Dan Tallarico — The first chapter of Cupcakes and Comics’ confectionary epic was completed just in time for the show, so I needed to complete my collection.


Captcha #1 and “How to Be Lolita”, Jo-Jo Sherrow — I really like the Sailor Moon meets Lady Gaga vibe of these Captcha comics. And the Lolita comic is handy if you’ve ever been interested in understanding what Jane Mai is all about. Good stuff!


“C’mon Man”, Pat Aulisio — A recent mini from Aulisio mixing his energetic, scrawling genre action with a 100% true story of the cool chick who got away. I always appreciate realistically voiced dialogue, and Pat’s authentic voice is a nice match for the subject matter of the drawings, an alien warrior dude and his three-eyed chimera beast battling a horde of demons. Even though clearly the text is incongruous, in a way it sort of works in the given context, aided by the timing and the overall casual feeling of Aulisio’s work. The drawings are quick and messy as always, but there’s a nice control over the distribution of lights and darks here.


Andromeda #12, ed by Andy Scott — I’m really impressed by the younger set of Pittsburgh cartoonists who are able to put out a monthly anthology as great as Andromeda. Highlights of this full color issue are the contributions by Scott, Nate McDonough, Pat Kain and Christina Lee. Lizze Solomon takes the cake, though, with her unreal “Dicky Go Bye-Bye.” Wow. Gross. I love it.


“Old Shoes,” M. Young — A touching little comic that nails the colors and lettering.


“Apology,” Megan StantonPictured below. A surprise highlight of the show was getting to trade for this little guy. Wrapped in a envelope cover, Stanton’s comic is adorable on the outside and really quite amazing on the inside. Even though the pages are a bit small, they impress instantly, the layouts, greyscale colors, mixture of techniques and expressive drawing all teeming with life and energy. I want to see more comics from this woman.



And then I got a whole bunch of beautiful prints from Jessi, Jim and Ed.







State of the Encyclopedia – Octobie 2011
manwithjewels


Hey guys, I’ve got a show coming up.



The wonderful folks at the Blackbird Baking Company in Lakewood asked me if I wanted to show my comics and well, I was just so flattered. Of course, this forced me to confront my internal conflicts over showing comics work in a gallery setting. I think it’s going to be good though, I picked work to hang that either benefits from the large size and being read on a wall. I’ve also been hard at work on making a brand new piece which will come in two parts. Kind of a multimedia affair. The second part is a limited edition mini-comic “7 inch,” a preview of which I will show you here:


Kevin Czap The Velvet Ants


But this is misleading, the rest of the comic is drastically different. Guess you’ll just have to come by to see it. Here’s the cover:


Kevin Czap The Velvet Ants


The show opening is the night of Thursday, October 20th. I hope you all can make it, I’d love to see you.


BUT FIRST


PIX


We’ve got a couple of comics conventions to get to in the meantime. This weekend, I’ll have a table at the second annual Pittsburgh Independent Expo (PIX). This is exciting, as last year’s show was the first convention I ever had a table at. It’s been a whirlwind year and I’m so grateful for all the experiences I’ve had. I’m also super excited to get to span time with my dear friend Veronica again.


MIX 2011


After that (well, my show, of course, see above, but besides that) I’ll be heading north to the Minneapolis Indie Xpo (MIX). I had originally planned on just visiting this show, but then decided against it. I guess a table opened up, though, and with the likes of Chris Pitzer, Anne Koyama, Jordyn Bochon and many other of my favorites, how could I refuse? Should be a lot of fun.


Genghis Con 2011


And finally, most important of all, will be Cleveland’s own Genghis Con. This one’s mandatory. Be there or be square, as I’m sure the kids are still saying.


ELSEWHERE


My family is all Living The Dream.


Matt Czap is interning at Sirius and has been endearing himself to longtime favorites Ron and Fez. He’s also been endangering our bandwidth with his sudden surge in popularity. Oh and also also, he’s got a final performance for his UCB class coming up. All you New York dudes go check it out.


Liz Suburbia gets interviewed by the Real Janelle at the Maximum Rocknroll website (!)


Niki Smith just released the final issue of her collaborative, Zuda-winning digital comic, In Maps and Legends.


My dear brother Justin Davey’s studio, Snap Sound, won a fucking Emmy.




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