I'm going into this hoping that less is more and that a little convention report goes a long way with most folks. I know that's true of myself. I have yet to meet a comic book convention that I want to read more about than, say, WWI, despite how many con reports endeavor to prove me wrong.
What I'm really saying is, I didn't take as many pics as I should, especially as the weekend wore on.
I flew down Friday afternoon, this time attended by my girls (wifey Rhea and 5YO child unit Clem), which was a rare treat for me. It wouldn't be APE without a kickoff party at the "offices" of the House that Ron Turner Built, a.k.a Last Gasp, so we began there. In a vast warehouse of thousands of filthy, filthy books (I mean that most affectionately), my little girl zoomed in on this book like she was a dog working for the DEA and this was a brick of high grade hash that someone abandoned hastily during a raid of the premises:
BOO: THE LIFE OF THE WORLD'S CUTEST DOG features back cover endorsements from Nicky Hilton, Khloé Kardashian, cuteoverload.com and "Facebook Fan." Of course we bought it for her. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if Gary Groth had had a daughter.
I could have spent the rest of the weekend taking pictures at Last Gasp. It is one of my favorite places in the world. It gives me MAJOR WORKPLACE ENVY. Fantagraphics is a wonderful place but we don't have Binky Brown's coffin on the wall (although our inventory manager, Martin Bland, has a very similar Jack-in-theBox):
Anyway, the always totally awesome Kristine Anstine showed Clem the toy section while Mommy and Daddy enjoyed the party a bit more...
Kristine, however, continued to take orders throughout the party because she's a PRO (take note: this will come up again later).
Before we took leave, the great Ron Turner himself gave us a tour of his "private stash". I love and respect Ron immensely and really admire the empire he's built. His collection of cool shit is nonpareil.
From Last Gasp, we kept on truckin' (hyuk) to Mission Comics for onetime MOME contributor Malachi Ward's exhibition. Which was great, but you'll have to take my word for it, because I'd had two IPAs by that point and forgot to take any more photographs.
APE kicked off on Saturday morning at 11AM after a couple hours of set up. This will be my own little "panic room" for the next 36 hours or so:
Here is our first customer of the day, Brian Herrick, a fine cartoonist in his own right, with equally exceptional taste. I believe he is the first person in the world to take home a copy of Julia Gfrörer's BLACK IS THE COLOR. With great power comes great responsibility, Brian. I was so excited for you I couldn't hold the camera straight.
Remember when I mentioned Kristine Anstine being a true PRO? Well, here's another. APE Special Guest Bill Griffith dutifully worked on not one but two ZIPPY dailies behind our booth all weekend, in those rare moments that no one was asking him if he was having fun yet. Now that's a pro. Always working. I asked Bill if he ever got tired of drawing (something I've heard more than once from cartoonists who have been at it a lot less time than him). He matter-of-factly and without missing a beat answered, "No."
Can you tell I'm running out of steam? I'm thinking of trying to get a blurb from cuteoverload.com for this one:
Here is a picture of Alec Longsteth, followed by a picture of Mario Hernandez. Excellent gentlemen, each. Mario is always one of the people I look forward to seeing most at APE. He had the prettiest fingernails at the show this year.
Here is my APE stash. I didn't get a chance to do any proper shopping this year, but thanks to generosity of many of my fellow exhibitors, I managed to come home with an impressive haul.
Which reminds me, did anyone else notice the spine of this month's issue of THE BELIEVER?:
There were so many old friends at APE that I didn't get a chance to take a photo of, like Jim Blanchard, J.R. Williams, Pat Moriarity, and Renée French. I was too busy closing deals. ABC! ALWAYS BE CLOSING. What can I say? I, too, am a PRO.
Anyway, let me leave you with this cuteoverload.com-worthy piece by Graham Chaffee:
Written, drawn, printed, collated, folded, and stapled the DIY way: self-published and self-distributed mini comics are the labor of an underground comics industry, a subculture that thrives and depends on the selling and trading of these handcrafted booklets. In this community, there are no barriers to entry, no profiteering, and no cookie-cutter normalcy; the only limits are what the hand can draw. For more than 40 years, these tiny tomes have been fueling the alternative comics scene, and Treasury of Mini Comics is a gigantic compendium of the world’s smallest comics from some of today’s biggest names. Experience a celebration of folded-paper creations from cartoonists such as Jim Woodring, John Porcellino, Leela Corman, David Lasky, Marc Bell, Roberta Gregory, Dylan Williams, Kelly Froh, and many more!
The Stranger, one of our local alt-weeklies that shares many ties with Fantagraphics throughout the ages ran a tribute to Kim Thompson written by former employee Robert Boyd. Giving context to the comics world as the more commercial spoke the art world wheel, Boyd touches on Kim's job as a creative enabler and rabid music fan.
"Kim encouraged and cajoled many cartoonists to produce art they never otherwise would have dreamed possible. I imagine that if Fantagraphics had not been there in 1982, Jaime Hernandez might have gone on to a successful, respectable career as a penciller for Marvel and DC."
Lookit this cute li'l guy! Treasury of Mini Comics Volume 1 collects a wild-n-wooly assortment of mini comics from the past 4 decades or so in the Newave tradition, with faves and rarities from the '70s through the '10s from a roster too big to list here. You got your Ron Regé, Jr. there on the cover (and inside) and the spread shows some mid-'90s action by Jim Blanchard & Chris Cilla. It's all lovingly assembled by editor Michael Dowers along with creator interviews spanning the history of the art form. 848 pages! It'll be out around late September or so — keep 'em peeled for more sneak peeks.
Let's face it, nothing says "I love you" like a Jim Blanchard t-shirt, and lucky for us, he's just launched a new design on Redbubble.com! Available in a multitude of colors and sizes, and on hoodies, girlie tees, baseball jerseys, and more.
So, this Valentine's Day, show someone you care with a psychedelic skull.
Short Run runs (heh) from 10:30 AM - 5:30 PM. A little advice, if I may: get there early! There is so much to do and see at Short Run, and this year's fest is even bigger, if you can believe it!
There's nearly 100 small press exhibitors offering their comics, zines, and art books, from $.50 to $50.00! Plus, enjoy local animation screening all day, featuring Seattle Experimental Animation Team (SEAT), Reel Grrls, and other independent filmmakers. Exhibitors will be showing off all the ways they blend genres, such as advice expert Nicole Georges, writer/professional barber Zach Mandeville who will be giving free haircuts, and puppet master Erin Tanner. You can participate in live silk-screening where you can screen print a comic drawn by local artists or print one of our designs onto clothes you bring yourself. And like last year, there will be another decadent bake sale with donated goodies from Macrina Bakery, Grand Central Bakery, The Bang Bang Cafe, Stumptown Coffee, and our exhibitors and supporters!
Thank you to everyone who came by our booth this past weekend at APE: the Alternative Press Expo in San Francisco, CA! Look at how happy you made our Marketing Director, Mike Baehr! We hope we were able to make you guys happy, too, with all our amazing debuts and wonderful guests.
Our good pal Daniel Clowes made an unofficial appearance, and braved the crowds for a visit with The Hernandez Bros! I think that lady to the right just realized who cut in front of her in line...
Jim Woodring delighted fans with sketches of his iconic characters, and he somehow did it with just a cheapie ballpoint pen! (His usual drawing pen decided to give up the ghost right before signings began.)
The great Mark Kalesniko was all-smiles as he signed copies of his books for fans! Mark also brought both an electronic slideshow and some originals, which was a wonderful lesson in cartooning for everyone who stopped by.
We didn't manage to snap a pic of the elusive Tim Hensley, but he was at APE, debuting his Ticket Stub collection with Rina Ayuyang's Yam Books! And, good lord, can I tell you people, it is a thing of freakin' beauty. Get one, seriously.
Speaking of elusive, the rumors were true: Zak Sally did make an unexpected secret appearance at the show! He snuck away before I could take a photo, though!
While I visited with Fanta-friends Tom Neely and Emily Nilsson of Sparkplug Comics, Mike had to contend with that line you see in the upper-righthand corner of this pic for the Love and Rockets signing! Yikes, sorry, Mike!
A quick run back to our own booth, and I was able to catch the adorable Brett Warnock of Top Shelf kanoodling with Rich Koslowski across the aisle!!!
Going through our photos, I was surprised that neither Mike nor I snapped any pictures of my birthday-buddy Tom Devlin of Drawn & Quarterly. (We both turned a year older on Saturday of the show.) But his v-neck sweater really did look great with the collared-shirt. Happy birthday, dear Tom!
Yay, that was fun! Let's do it again next year, San Francisco!
• Toronto, ON: It's your last chance to see Gabriella Giandelli: A Toronto Retrospective at the Italian Cultural Institute! This retrospective exhibition features over 80 original drawings from this prolific Italian illustrator and graphic novelist, including work from the celebrated series Interiorae. I'll be writing more about it on the FLOG later this week! (more info)
• Manzanita, OR:Steve Duin and Shannon Wheeler will be the special guests at the Manzanita Writers’ Series to discuss what happened after the Deepwater Horizon spill with a reading and discussion of the acclaimed graphic novel, Oil & Water! (more info)
• Portland, OR: Northwesterners should not miss the chance to see Tim Kreider while he's on our side of the coast! Tim will be doing a reading at 7:30 PM at the infamous Powell's Books! (more info)
Wednesday, August 1st
• Bothell, WA: And then, Tim Kreider will be doing a reading at 7:00 PM at Third Place Books! (more info)
• Snoqualmie, WA: And our own Jim Blanchard is launching his art show Primitiva at The Black Dog. Ten or so of his acrylic paintings will be adorning their walls through September 15th. Check it out if you're in the area! (more info)