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:
• Seattle, WA: Comics collective Intruder will be launching the fifth volume of their quarterly newspaper at Cairo, featuring a cover by our very own Tony Ong, with comics inside by staffer Jason T. Miles, freelancer David Lasky, and former staffer Alexa Koenings! (more info)
The Giant Robot Post-It Show 8 runs from December 8th through 16th at GR2 [ 2062 Sawtelle Blvd., Los Angeles, CA ] with an opening reception event on Saturday, December 8th from 6:00 - 10:00 PM. Come prepared to "cash-and-carry"!
• Seattle, WA: Join us at the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery for the book release party for The Last Vispo Anthology, edited by Northwest literary artists Nico Vassilakis and Crag Hill. Their work will be feted with an exhibition, readings, and a musical performance from Lori Goldston (former Nirvana and Earth cellist, and recent Stranger “Genius Award” recipient) performing with former Black Cat Orchestra bandmate Kyle Hanson. (more info)
Who says Halloween is the scariest holiday? When you can't bear the sight of dirty dishes and leftovers, when the parents have worn your last nerve, or when you can't seem to button your jeans anymore, it's time to head to the Horror Hangover in Vancouver, BC!
(Yeah, I know Canadians celebrated Thanksgiving in October -- it's been a helluva hangover.)
This group show was curated by Robin McConnell of Inkstuds, who explains, "Horror Hangover is a chance for cartoonists to work on some conceptual ideas for visions of times mostly terrible, some exhausting, with a couple of positive examples." Sounds perfect for the holidays to me!
The opening reception is this Friday, November 23rd, from 7:00 to 11:00 PM, and your last chance to see it is on Saturday, November 24th from Noon to 6:00 PM. Hot Art Wet City's Pop-Up Gallery is located at 752 E. Broadway.
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!
• Brooklyn, NY: Join Michael Kupperman at Littlefield for another fine edition of his monthly comedy series The Crime Stoppers Club, with special guests Julia Wertz, James Adomian, Matthew Thurber, Annie Lederman, and special guest Adam Warrock! (more info)
• New York City, NY: It's the launch party for Significant Objects, hosted by editors Joshua Glenn & Rob Walker at The Strand! Starting at 7:00 PM, writers Luc Sante, Matthew Sharpe, Mimi Lipson, Ben Greenman, Annie Nocenti, Shelley Jackson, Jason Grote, and more will share their extraordinary stories of ordinary things! (more info)
• San Diego, CA: Hurry! Quick, get to Booth #1718 at the San Diego Comic-Con and check out all our awesome debuts before they sell out! (more info)
• San Diego, CA: Mome-vet Malachi Ward is part of The Crazy Rattlesnake Treehouse Gang live comics reading at Space 4 Art [ 325 15th St ]! No badge required to attend! The fun starts at 8:00 PM! (more info)
• San Diego, CA: Dang, you guessed it! Booth #1718 at the San Diego Comic-Con! Patton, come by and see us! We love you! (more info)
Saturday, July 14th
• Seattle, WA: The Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery presents the opening reception for “The Massive World of Mini Comics,” an exhibition featuring art created by young students who attended an 826 Seattle workshop devoted to comic zines taught by Seattle cartoonists Max Clotfelter, Ben Horak and Tim Miller, and facilitated by Fantagraphics Books and Alex Bleecker, program coordinator for 826 Seattle! (more info)
• San Diego, CA: Swing by Booth #1718 at the San Diego Comic-Con to see which Fantagraphics employee has cracked from all the loud video game noises! (more info)
Sunday, July 15th
• San Diego, CA: It's your last chance to visit us at Booth #1718 at the San Diego Comic-Con! Will there be amazing deals? You better swing by and check. (more info)