Saturday, December 31, 2022

Final 2022 Detention No. 2 Links


Original Cover Painting

Detention No. 2 appears on a few of TCJ's Best of 2022 lists:
https://www.tcj.com/the-best-comics-of-2022/

As great a review as anyone could hope for in The Comics Journal by Joe McCulloch:

2 bad reviews, where you can almost feel the reviewer’s frustration their compulsive review quota is going to be momentarily delayed by a release that doesn’t make any sense:

Video of the Zoom book launch in conversation with Kayla E.:

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Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Sir Alfred No. 3 In Shops (Again) Today



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Monday, October 31, 2022

Collages for Floating World




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Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Detention No. 2 Trailer by Roman Muradov and Dory Bavarsky

Roman Muradov and Dory Bavarsky have created a swell trailer for Detention No. 2, my new comic book that has just been released.

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Detention No. 2 In Shops Today


Well, to be fair, I only saw one copy in one shop.

I will be Zooming with the great Kayla E. on November 2nd at 3:00 p.m. PT, an event hosted by Floating World Comics on Fantagraphics' Facebook Live Page, to talk about it.

┐(´•_•`)┌

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Library Passes (circa 1981)


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Friday, September 23, 2022

Preorder Trading Cards

Preorders from Stuart Ng Books in Torrance of my comic books Detention No. 2 and Sir Alfred No. 3 will include an impromptu ink and wash sketch on a trading card (Bubble gum not included).





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Wednesday, August 17, 2022






Some poor to fair reviews from 2018. 


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Saturday, July 23, 2022

Esprit de Corpse Flower








My new comic book Detention No. 2 is now available for preorder 

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Monday, August 23, 2021

Shaggs Comic, Circa 1990s





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Urban Folklore, Circa 1990s



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Monday, May 11, 2020

(R.I.P. Richard Sala)


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Wednesday, January 22, 2020

(Flann O'Brien)

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Thursday, November 14, 2019

Tom Spurgeon


Way back in the late twentieth-century when I participated in that very not-nice cesspool known as “The Comics Journal Message Board,” Tom Spurgeon was the first comics professional to say nice things about my writing, even though all I’d produced were some dashed-off, ill-conceived posts.

That he bothered to take the time was surprising and encouraging. In the small, lonely world that is “comics criticism,” writers don’t get much love. When, at his essential Comics Reporter, he linked to one of my pieces and offered some praise, it helped me feel like I was part of the community and was doing worthwhile work, both of which I’ve often doubted.

There’s something Tom did in his writing that I rarely saw elsewhere. While it might seem minor, it influenced my writing deeply: he regularly acknowledged the limits of his own perspective. In a critical review he might say something like “though perhaps I’m just not the right reader for this” or “nevertheless, I hope this book find its audience and I’m glad it exists.”

He understood that every opinion was profoundly subjective. In this way, he was a comics-criticism oddity, the antithesis of those who treat their own judgments as objective truth and dismiss others who disagree as aesthetically or morally flawed.

Though I didn’t always agree with him, Tom was honest and told the truth as he saw it. He wasn’t an over-praiser or fake contrarian. He was bullshit’s foe. In the grand Fantagraphics tradition of Kim Thompson, he’d sometimes go after those types, and it was rewarding to see.

At SPX one year I went to dinner with Tom and a group of cartoonists. While driving him to the restaurant, I worried that I was going to say something dumb — and then felt bad about not being as engaging as I should, as engaging as he always was.

I’m glad that on several occasions I thanked Tom for his support. I doubt he knew just how much it meant to me, but I hope he understood how important he was to so very many.

Tom has left a profound legacy as a champion of the comics medium and, far more importantly, of the artists who make comics, the people who publish them, and those who write about them.

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Monday, September 9, 2019

Chris Ware SPX


Image

In Chris Ware’s exhibitor badge for the upcoming SPX convention, three exhibitors sit behind their tables, hawking their comics and trying, perhaps a little desperately (as their faces seem to suggest), to get the attention (and money) of a passer-by. On the table in front of each artist is three of their self-produced comics.

It makes sense that each person makes comics whose geometric shape is exactly the shape that forms their creator's body. The exhibitors’ comics literally reflect and embody their author - they are personal, perhaps autobiographical art (explicitly or implicitly). At its best, SPX is not about generic corporate product, but about a personal vision: art as self-expression. In the badge’s scene, each exhibitor holds up an art manifestation of themselves for public approval or rejection. That takes some courage, especially to do it over and over for two days . . . 

Sadly, these exhibitors’ comics are sometimes treated by attendees as garbage; in the image, one of each shape-type is already strewn on the floor with other bits of trash (no wonder the artists look kind of sad). If you’ve ever been to SPX or a similar festival, you often see people’s freebies or promo material discarded, dropped in a garbage can or left on one of those long tables outside the ballroom. It’s sad, but it happens.

In Ware’s scenario, the person who walks by the artists has no interest in this kind of personal work. In a thought balloon, the attendee imagines, not the old-fashioned kind of two-dimensional art the exhibitors offer, but something more exciting: she imagines a cube, which must be better than a flat square, right? (The cube contains all the three exhibitors' colors and more.) It seems that the attendee passes them because they want something figuratively – or perhaps literally – three-dimensional, cube-like. The humble comic just doesn't cut it. (Maybe consumers are conditioned to want something better, more expansive, like a video game, movie, VR?) These days, how can a little stapled picture pamphlet hope to compete?

It might be tempting to say that Ware mocks the exhibitors; but he, too, is a very personal – and highly geometrical – cartoonist. He most often works in one of two modes, both of which are more geometrical than is typical of most cartoonists. But one mode in particular – the mode of this illustration – is his 'hyper-geometrical' mode. Using this icon-based style, he's drawn many comics (often of the ‘sad joke’ type) about art, cartoonists, and himself (see below).

Though Ware's now one of America’s most celebrated cartoonists, this wasn’t always the case. He did his time at cons where no one paid any attention to alternative comics artists. Attendees quickly walked by in search of the Marvel Comics display or something similarly lacking a singular artistic vision. So it’s easy for me to imagine that he sympathizes with these exhibitors’ plight. I’d guess that many folks who have exhibited at small press shows can identify with this scene, too.




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