A few drawings of NYC for Popeye mag this month!! Can you spot your block?
A few drawings of NYC for Popeye mag this month!! Can you spot your block?
I love being at my table at SPX all day but I feel like I didn’t “grow” my knowledge of what’s new. Lil sad about it. I love being at the table selling work that I love, but this is the first year I literally didn’t take a walk on the show floor at all. Honestly feeling a lot of pressure to make money from this convention, which I did. But, SPX is a great convention for the spirit, for
"the community" the great atmosphere of all kinds of cartoonists in one place for one weekend, and I really missed out on seeing them at their tables and buying their books. So this year I accomplished “sell books the whole time,” I’m glad I did it, I can scratch it off my bucket list and never do it again. Next year I look forward to planning lunches off the table, exploring what’s new, and appreciating cartoonists’ work in person, in front of them, beaming over their great work.
One of my favorite parts of SPX is Friday night at the bar, as cartoonists check in and are excited to see each other. Cartoonists or whoever. I met a lot of people whose names I see on Paypal orders, and this is a joy. This time I had great evenings with Dustin, John Martz, Condor Stechschulte and Noel Old Man Freibert. Adam Buttrick and I had a weird conversation with a 21 year old guy where I think he couldn’t tell if we were trying to convince him to make comics or not to. We were very passionate about both. There are good parties and meet ups across the hotel, too. There’s just not enough time to hang out with everyone who is important to me, I think this is the same for everyone, so we enjoy the weekend as much as we can in the ways that we do.
Simon Hanselmann’s wedding to Comics on Saturday night was the best. Truly moving and inspiring. His vows:
I, Simon Hanselmann, take you, comics, to be my lawfully wedded art form, in the presence of our family friends, vague acquaintances, feckless ding dongs, and the almighty Groth. It’s been 26 years now of unbridled bliss with you as long as I can remember, through obscurity and low-level internet infamy, a whirlwind romance through the ages. I’ll be with you through sickness, tedious commercial gigs, profound sadness, delirious highs, crippling insecurity, epic personal fuckups, and the inevitable critical backlash, ‘til death do us part, which realistically may be in about 5 years. I fucking love you, you cheap bastard. You continuously screw me over and undervalue me but I just can’t stop wanting you. I want you to ravage my body, I want you to make a mess of me, and I know that you see a lot of other people, but it’s cool. I am a modern woman, smiley face, xoxo, hashtag forever.
Yeah this ruled. Thanks Simon and thanks to everyone who helped make this happen.
Do you know my buddy Conor Stechschulte’s work? He and I are buddies from college, and we’re finally tabling at SPX together again this year. This summer Fantagraphics released his book “The Amateurs” - a weird horror comic about amnesiac butchers in the countryside. For SPX he’s debuting “Mountain Comic.” I don’t know anything about it! - but I hope it’s similar to his tesseract-mapped walk through the forest "Silence Country."
Important note! Conor, Noel Freibert, & I (& more??) will do a panel discussion about our college cohort “Closed Caption Comics.” It’ll be on Saturday, 2:30PM in the White Flint auditorium.
We started CCC because we wanted to make physical work, get it into people’s hands, engage some audience besides art school crits. Here’s our blog back in 2006. It was a great thing. Better launching off point for our “careers” than “just” “being art students.” We encouraged each other, competed with each other, and pushed ourselves to do more interesting work. Brian Nicholson is running the talk. I guess the first issue will be: “No, we aren’t a ‘collective,’ whatever that is supposed to mean!” (we are just… friends… who make things together!)
Wow! I’m going to have FOUR - or is it FIVE? books that are new this year at SPX.
Two Eyes of the Beautiful I and II in “prestige format” - weird suspense horror about beautiful women and girls (I can’t remember if part one was available at SPX last year…? Well they make a good pairing, now)
BLOCKS books - my weird 3-color risograph infinitely looping book ‘bout building.
SPACE FLEET versus PIRATE NATION: space fighting and verbal play novelty, printed in black and red.
S.F.: Liquid Planet BETA-14, an action story starring Duke the Duck, in amazing 4-color risograph… this shit you gotta see to believe. I am very proud of all my work but this one is really neat.
I will have a bunch of other books too, including S.F. #1 through #3, and some crazy book of punch-out messenger toys that I made in 2008.
If you want the last laugh, order the books from my online store now. You’ll get ‘em til after SPX but at least I won’t have run out.
Review: SF: Liquid Planet Beta-14 by Ryan Cecil Smith
Rarely do I use the word “joy” to describe a comic. Certainly there is satisfaction in reading a well-constructed comic, and there’s a certain joy in reading good literature, but rarely are comics joyful. The major exception is Ryan Cecil Smith’s SF series. I featured SF #3 in a write up earlier this year, and now Smith has released a new book in the series, SF: Liquid Planet Beta-14, which recently came in the mail.
SF: Liquid Planet Beta-14 is an 8cm x 11cm book with 43 single panel pages risographed in a faux-CMYK. The printing style using a large variety of risograph inks is indicative of Smith’s care and level of craft – it’s clear that Smith has spent a lot of time on the printing of this book, making sure everything worked out exactly right, and the result is stunning. Vibrant colors, really great registration, and an eye for the smallest details, as far down as printing on the packaging the book comes in. I’m still trying to wrap my mind on how much time this book must have taken to get exactly right.
SF: Liquid Planet Beta-14 is a supplement to this year’s snazzy SF lapel pin, a metal and magenta cloisonné that you can wear to show your allegiance to the Space Fleet Scientific Foundation Special Forces (SFSFSF). This is the second lapel pin that Smith has made, and I love the idea of a physical reminder of the series that isn’t a comic book. It makes Smith’s comics feel more like a cultural institution, something you talk with friends about over a beer.
SF: Liquid Planet Beta-14 features one of SF’s more exotic characters Duke the Duck on a solo mission to Liquid Planet Beta-14 which the Space Fleet thinks has fallen under Pirate Nation influence. Duke attempts to fly his small spaceship to the surface without attracting pirate attention, and ends up in a tricky spot.
This is the world of science fiction at its most exuberant – Smith has a clear love for the genre. But in SF, the general tropes of science fiction are really the set upon which the emotions of shonen battle manga are at play. The ‘give it your best shot!’ ‘Never give up!’ and ‘Fight hard and make friends!’ attitude of series like Dragon Ball are really evident in the ebb and flow of Smith’s work, even if SF looks more like Star Wars than One Piece.
I think I’m reminded of these Japanese comics for multiple reasons, but the major comparator is how fun these comics are. SF shares in the soul of the Dragon Ball, Toriko, and One Piece, comics that care about craft and storytelling, but primarily about whether the reader is having fun.
SF: Liquid Planet Beta-14 is a great addition to the SF universe and a gorgeous comic book. More importantly, this latest release should be a nudge to read the rest of Smith’s SF line – SF#1-3 and various supplements are available at his website, and also likely available this weekend at SPX. If you are looking for fun comics, look no further.
Review: Mr. Wolf
I really like this minicomic series by Aron Nels Steinke. There are three zines available, each one covering one year at his job at a charter school teaching 2nd and 3rd graders. It’s mostly 1-page/6-panel gags where he catches these sweet and surprising moments with kids/parents/other teachers/himself.
This is really gonna do it for you if you’ve worked with kids (like I have) or are a parent. Each minicomic (#1 through #3) covers one school year. You can see him change: he learns a lot about them and he learns about the job. Through it all the kids are surprising, and it’s clear that he cares about ‘em.
The strips are good but the format would get old if not for that slow and steady progression in Mr. Wolf/Steinke. As much as this is sorta structured as a collection of stand-alone gags, the comic is about growth and development. That’s the heart behind these great comics, and I hope Steinke is keeping that in mind as he keeps the strip going.
S.F.: Liquid Planet Beta 14 is my new book. Only $9.99! I recommend getting it with a risographed poster pack cuz… they look good together! Both are risographed in 4 colors in a kind of faux-CMYK. The book of course is the supplementary file to the 2014 S.F. Lapel Pin Badge, which will be available at SPX and online shortly thereafter. Oh btw - you can read a big excerpt HERE.
Satisfied readers say!::
Two Eyes of the Beautiful II, in 8 risograph colors including a special shiny GOLD cover. Around 50 pages in “prestige formtat size.” Get it at SPX or BUY ONLINE. Printed in Osaka Japan and Grand Rapids, USA.
S.F. LIQUID PLANET “BETA-14”, 44 pages, 4-color risograph, 7cmx9cm, available for purchase HERE
I can’t believe I made this amazing weird thing. If you preordered it, it’s already in the mail to you. Can’t wait for you to see it! I don’t think I did a great job scanning the colors here…!