Wednesday, March 11, 2015

"When the Dust Settles" Review at Jason's Zine Club

Cartoonist and zinester, Jason Martin wrote a nice review of my latest mini-comic, When the Dust Settles, on his Zine Club blog. Jason has always been a favorite writer of mine with his zines Laterborn and Black Tea and I'm honored to have my comic included in his zine club reading!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

2014 - Something to Remember

Happy New Year, everyone! Yes, I know it's already the end of January. I am a little late. Time definitely moves quickly. Last year alone went out like a light --so many events but little time to reflect on them. I had lofty ambitions to write recaps right after every show I attended last year, but got distracted with something or other. So then I had this wonderful idea to write a lengthy year-in-review during the last waning hours of New Years Eve but I again got sidetracked by other things (actually I fell asleep.) Needless to say there were many reminders in the news in 2014 that good things can be few and far between in this life, so here I am FINALLY taking a moment to stop and celebrate the positive moments of 2014 that I'm thankful to have been apart of in some way. Also, this gives me the perfect opportunity to write mini-recaps of all the comic shows I've exhibited in the last year. So heads up, this is a long post.

Praise for 'Hagelbarger' and 'Sky in Stereo' 
The year started with Yam Books' publications Hagelbarger and That Nightmare Goat and Sky In Stereo #2 getting into a couple of Best of 2013 lists. Later in the year, Sky in Stereo would be nominated for an Ignatz Award for Best Comic Series at the Small Press Expo. It is an understatement to say that I am very honored and grateful to have worked with talented folks Renee French and Sacha Mardou, and just hearing the positive feedback about their books is very gratifying. If you haven't bought a copy of either books, go to the Yam Books shop, You won't be disappointed!

Fast Times in February
LA Zine Fest marked Yam Books' first show of the 2014 season. It was also my chance to finally visit my friends Vanessa Davis and Trevor Alixopulos who moved from Santa Rosa to Los Angeles, a city I haven't set foot in in over 20 years. Vanessa knows I like to pig out, so right after I arrived at LAX, we got some unforgettable Cuban food at Versailles in Culver City. We later met Trevor at the Dresden to drink sophisticated cocktails and to mark my first L.A. celebrity sighting when Vanessa bumped into Lily Tomlin and her partner in the bathroom. We saw the two say goodnight to the maitre d'. Later, we met up with one of my favorite cartoonists, Steven Weissman and his family at Fred 62. Chris Diaz, comics aficionado, Niners fan and awesome photographer also joined us for dinner and shakes, as we were surrounded by inspiring Wayne White paintings on the walls. 

Tim Hensley and me. (Photo by chris anthony diaz and colored by graham willcox)

The next day, I headed with Chris to the Zine Fest back in Culver City at Helms Bakery where I gave a big hug to cartoonist and friend Tim Hensley. He was nice enough to hang out with me the entire day and sign copies of Ticket Stub at the Yam Books booth. We sold a few books even though the zine fest's main focus of course is mini-comics and zines which is always great. It was my chance to see artists and cartoonists who are now settled in LA such as Calvin Wong, Hellen Jo, David King, Rusty Jordan, Carrie McNinch (who I've been a huge fan of for a long time) and Esther Pearl Watson and Mark Todd who were the unofficial King and Queen of the show with their trailer pop-up shop. I got to see Jen Wang who was talking about a new show in LA that she was helping coordinate now known as Comic Art Los Angeles which launched just last month in December 2014. (Amazing how an idea comes to fruition so quickly and quite successfully as I've heard from all accounts) The highlight of the LA Zine Fest was its special guest Jaime Hernandez, who did a Q&A at the end of the show. He always has something inspiring to say and gives some great insight in the making of Love and Rockets.
That evening we went to dinner with Ben Catmull, Jason Leivian and Lisa Magnum at Canter's Deli, a place that I was excited about for a while. As we went inside, we saw Angelyne getting ready to drive off in her pink Corvette that had a huge Hello Kitty hobo bag on its dashboard. She waved at Trevor. I'm not the biggest sandwich fan, but I got teary-eyed and emotional while eating my Fairfax pastrami and corned beef sandwich. THEE best sandwich I have ever had. EVER. Imagine my emotions when I saw Mindy Kaling arrive and order the same sandwich. California Dreamin' indeed. The next day Vanessa and I woke up early and ate some pastries that we got from Canter's bakery the night before. I hopped on an early flight back home, thankful to have such wonderful and generous friends and missing their presence in the Bay Area.

March Reunions in the Burgh
I braved the winter weather in March, and made my triumphant return (ha!) to my hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for the Pittsburgh Indy Comics Expo (PIX Expo). I also had a piece in the Women in Comics show at ToonSeum as a part of comics historian, Trina Robbin's tour for her new book, Pretty in Ink. ToonSeum holds a special place in my heart. It is 1 of only 3 comics museums in the nation.

The one and only Rob Rogers

At the PIX Expo, I caught a snapshot of the Pittsburgh comics scene with cartoonists Jim Rugg, Ed Piskor, Tom Scioli, Wayno, Rachel Masilamani, Jessica Heberle, Jim Pena, Frank Santoro and Bill Boichel, owner of one of the best comics shops Copacetic Comics. Imagine my excitement seeing award-winning editorial cartoonist Rob Rogers exhibiting at his own table at the show as well! He was patient with my fangirl hysterics and gladly signed a print for my mom and dad!

Sparky's Spot on Route 8

It's always great to go back to The Burgh. I get to hibernate in my childhood home where it's always relaxing and peaceful-- a great place to decompress and to do nothing really. This time around I felt a bit more anxious than usual though because I had plans to reconnect with old buddies from grade school and high school who I hadn't really seen since those times. My twentieth high school reunion was going to be held that May. I was in no way going to attend it, so it was great having these smaller reunions instead. Oh, and how can I forget the experiences with my dad as a trusty travel companion, dining at Eat-n-Park, driving through the windy roads of Glenshaw, having foot-long fish sandwiches at Sparky's Spot and watching random movies from my dad's "eclectic" DVD movie collection?!? To say that this trip conjured up so many emotions and nostalgic feelings is a complete understatement.

Francois Vigneault and Zack Soto, The founders of Linework NW

A New (Excellent) Show in Portland
In April, I traveled up north to Portland, Oregon to rep for both Yam Books and Koyama Press at the new and much anticipated Linework NW. This was its first year in a comics town that has been desperately trying to find a nice show to live up to the old Stumptown shows. Suffice it say, I think they found it in Linework NW. Kudos to Zack Soto and Francois Vigneault with help from Jason Leivian for putting it together. It's in a beautiful space, in a prime location and has an enthusiastic audience. I was on a Q&A panel with fellow micro-pressers Walker Mettling (Providence Comics Consortium) and Josh Burgraff (Future Shock.) The panel took place in the bar area of the venue which made the presentation all the more lively. It's always fun to see Portland comics pals. It's been about 10 years since my last visit, and I feel like everyone has grown up and has settled down a little, or maybe I'm just making that up. Well, whatever, you all look great, Portland pals!  As usual it was a treat to team up with my buddy Lark Pien, tabling for both Yam Books and the ALL-POWERFUL Koyama Press! Boom! We were among good company, situated between Sparkplug Comic Books and the comics wunderkind and karaoke megastar Michael DeForge showing off the his Ant Colony collection. Last but not least, I cannot thank my beautiful hosts Michelle Overby and her two amazing daughters Rita and Maggie for taking care of me during that unseasonably warm Spring weekend. They let me stay with them, took me around their beautiful neighborhood and introduced me to the best coffee ever

The End of Baby Times
During my stay with the Overby ladies, I was thinking about my own family a lot. It's hard traveling on your own and not have your two closest buddies next to you to experience everything. I started to question whether traveling to shows was really worth the separation from them. During the summer, I tried my best to focus on my son who would be graduating from preschool. Yea, I know, I know. It's not huge deal as high school or college graduations, but it's a major milestone for our family. When you only have one child, you know that every single memory/event is important and to be cherished because you know that you WILL NEVER GO THROUGH IT AGAIN (unless you accidentally get knocked up, sure, but let's move on.) It also marked the end of "babyhood" and the beginning of the kid growing up and becoming influenced by the "outside world." So I drew a comic about all that called "Beginning's End" for Mutha Magazine. It took about 6 months to complete it mainly because I was afraid to even start it. The idea came to me in November 2013 but I really didn't work on it until the Spring 2014 as half of the comic's events were happening. So it was very cathartic experience. The first two months/years of my son's birth were very intense time in my life (surprise, surprise) and drawing this comic about it brought back all of those emotions and fears, but I'm happy I got through it, and the comic maybe turned out okay? Anyway, you can read it at this link:

Pinoy Komiks Anthology
Adam Passion, cartoonist and publisher based in Japan put together the Pinoy Komiks anthology, a beautiful, full-color survey of Indie Filipino and Filipino American cartoonists. I, along with artists such as Manix Abrera, Emiliana Kampilan, Steph Bravo, Martin Cendreda and the one and only Lynda Barry contributed a short story to this amazing book. My story documented my family's history of disco dancing, of course. Actually there's more to it than that, but you'll just have to read it yourself. Pinoy Komiks is available for sale in print and digital format. Proceeds of the anthology go to the Typhoon Haiyan relief effort. Buy it at:

Renee French and Josh Frankel, F1 Racing forever!

The Last Alternative Press Expo in San Francisco
In October, I repped for Koyama Press and Yam Books at the Alternative Press Expo (APE). Renee French played special guest at the table, debuting the amazing Baby Bjornstrand. If you don't have that book, get it today! It's always fun hanging out with Renee. She was a real trooper, dealing with a crazy allergic reaction to a flu shot that formed a huge welt on her drawing arm. She managed to sign all her books though. I love her. The show itself was bittersweet because 2014 would mark the last year it would be in San Francisco as Comic Con International decided to stop running it.  For decades, APE was the West Coast version of SPX. Everyone was excited about debuting their books there and seeing their friends, but in the last couple of years many cartoonists who usually exhibited lost interest because of the expensive table costs, low attendance, bad sales and the show's lack of focus. Comics is so much a part of San Francisco's history and to not have a comics show in this city is a downright shame. I sincerely hope someone can come up with a new amazing comics show that follows the same template as BCGF, Linework NW or TCAF. 

Belting it Out At Litcrawl
Also in October, I joined Bay Area super star cartoonists Tessa Brunton, Ed Luce and Thien Pham in a lively comics reading and slideshow event for Litcrawl San Francisco where writers, artists and poets read/showcase their work at bars, cafes, bookstores, galleries and restaurants all around the Mission District. We read in front of a packed house at The Marsh theater space. I have done a few comics readings in my day but this was the first time I felt that all four readings flowed into each other quite seamlessly despite how diverse the stories were. Coincidentally, some of our readings required us to break into song. I did a rendition of Filipino standard "Dahil Sa'Yo", Thien sang Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" and Ed Luce did a nice Elvis rendition. Tessa played the tambourine (no she didn't.) It made for an unforgettable evening. Thanks to Angela and Vanessa who coordinated the event for the Graphic Narrative Project!

(Nori Fries and Katsu Burgers)

I Heart Seattle
One more show to go! Short Run Seattle! As much as I was ready for my convention season to be over, I was super excited to go to this show and to the city of Seattle because I have never been to either. I had heard only good things about Short Run from those who have attended in the past. Janice Headley, co-founder of Short Run, picked me up from the airport and, just like Vanessa in LA, knew I liked to pig out on food, so she took me straight to Katsu Burger so I can indulge in breaded chicken and nori fries heaven. (The nori fries had at least 8 different dipping sauces to choose from). Then we rolled our stuffed carcasses to the Fantagraphics Bookstore where there was an art show and reading. The first person we saw there was Ed Piskor who was on tour for his comic series, Hip Hop Family Tree and was one of the special guests of the party. The bookstore is really fun. It shares space with Georgetown Records. At the party, I was entangled in conversation with these ladies: 

Fawn Gehweiler, Gabrielle Gamboa, Kelly Froh and Janelle Hessig
in the Fantagraphics Damaged Books Room/Makeshift V.I.P Lounge

Short Run was set in this stately historic brick building called Washington Hall. It was packed to the gills and included some interesting panels and interactive animation installations. It was so great to reconnect with Seattle cartoonists like David Lasky and Megan Kelso. Megan and I talked about our kids, their schools and juggling all of that with comics-making. She debuted her new comic Cats in Service which is one of the best comics I've read in 2014. Get it here now:
Megan Kelso and John Porcellino, I bow to you!

I can't think of a better way to end the 2014 convention season for me.  I came away more motivated  than ever to work on my own comics seeing work from and talking with comics folk like Rob Kirby, Jason Martin, Robyn Jordan, Leo Lopez, Lisa Maslowe, Chris Cilla, Andrice Arp, Virginia Paine, Kristy Valenti, Jennifer Daydreamer, Aaron Mew, Kaz Strepezek, Greg Means and so many others! Thanks to MariNaomi and Yumi Sakugawa for driving me all around town and being my roomies. And again, a big thank you to Janice Headley who was nice enough to let me stay at her place. She is seriously one of the most generous, kind-hearted people ever! (She also has an amazing comics and art collection. Whoa!) And OH SEATTLE! I love this town! I love the people in it! Such beautiful neighborhoods and views! I didn't get the chance to take advantage of all the sights like eating at Pike's Market our going to the Seattle Museum of Flight, though we did keep passing the Space Needle every night, but I'll definitely come back with my family to check it all out!

When the Dust Settles
Oh, I forgot! Also at Short Run, I debuted my latest mini-comic "When the Dust Settles". It's a 60-page collection of comic strips that I made from 2011 to 2014 documenting ridiculous dads, well-meaning moms, frustrating sports teams, curious kids and mind-numbing reflective moments. It's funny but for the last couple of years I felt very unproductive with my own comics-making, and easily forgot all the comic strips I had been posting online in random places for years! It was nice to see all of them collected in one single mini-comic which is now available for your viewing enjoyment! You can buy a copy at the Yam Books shop:

What's New in 2015
I feel very thankful for all the positive moments and proud of the accomplishments and collaborations through Yam Books in 2014, but I'm very anxious to start work on a bunch of new comics projects this year. One of the items on the agenda is to finally experience an official sophomore slump and finish my second graphic novel (the one I've been saying I'd finish for the past 4 years.) Well hopefully same time next year, it won't just be talk. Anyway, I thank all the people who have helped me this past year and continued to support Yam Books and the comics world in general! Here's to a healthy and happy 2015 for all of us!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

New Mini-Comic!

My new mini-comic is now available for sale at the Yam Books web shop.

It's called When the Dust Settles and it's 60 pages of comics collected from my various blog and tumblr posts from 2011 to 2014. Buy it at the link below!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Push You Out

Push You Out

Yesterday. and drawn on the bus.
(Click on the image to get a bigger glimpse.)

Monday, September 1, 2014


 Click on the image for a bigger glimpse.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


I found a new sketchbook that doesn't weigh my bag down because it's about the size of a slab of Spam which is the perfect size for my "art".

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Throwback for Thursday: A New Place of Worship

Hey remember this comic of yore? No? Oh good, well let's pretend it's new work and that I just regressed in my drawing style! Also this is back in the day when I made my own font. Check it out.
(Thanks to Rob Clough for publishing it for me back in the day.)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Thursday, June 19, 2014

NEW (yes, New!) Comic on Mutha Magazine

I'm really excited to write that I have finally finished a NEW COMIC which is now posted on Mutha Magazine. It's called Beginning's End and explored my journey of becoming a mother. It took forever to finish, mainly because it was hard putting the emotions aside and I found myself going through old photos, old emails and blog posts to really grasp the feeling of insanity in those first couple of years of my son's life.  I want to thank Mutha magazine editor, Meg Lemke for her patience. I hope it was worth the wait, and boy does time go soooo fast! Hope you enjoy it.

Here's the link:  

Beginning's End

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Ask me how I'm feeling in 2 months.

Ask me how I'm feeling in 2 months. I'll probably have a better answer by then.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Pittsburgh Indie Comics Expo and stuff I'm working on

This weekend I'll be making my way back to my hometown, Pittsburgh, PA to exhibit at the Pittsburgh Indie Comics Expo (PIX) on Saturday, March 22 from 10am-5pm. Stop by and buy some Yam Books titles and comics from yours truly. The show will be followed by a slate of panels from 7pm-11pm as a part of the programming portion of the show. I'm excited about being in the Burgh again, eating all my favorite comfort food, hanging out with friends, and seeing old haunts. Hopefully the snow doesn't get the best of me!

Also, I know I haven't posted some doodles in a while, but here is something I've just finished which will be a part of the Pinoy Komiks anthology, a collection of comics by Filipino cartoonists edited by Adam Pasion. Proceeds will go to the continued effort to rebuild the areas affected by Typhoon Haiyan. So I'm really happy to be a part of this book and this cause. There are so many talented Filipino cartoonists that are showcased in this anthology! On another note, I'm personally (extremely) relieved that I finally was able to finish at least one comic this year!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Monday, March 3, 2014

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

I Always Come Back to You

Click to get a better glimpse.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

I got a haircut too

 Click on the image for a bigger glimpse

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

House of Horrors, Page 1

Recently I took out my box of original art to pick a page for an exhibit that I was invited to be in. I was pretty scared of what I'd find because my originals are horrible. That's the good thing about having low expectations about things, you usually discover something that in your mind is so terrifically awesome. Anyway, I found my originals from my first mini-comic that I did about 13 years ago. It felt both like yesterday and a thousand years since the first time I made it. When I released it, I wasn't very happy with it, mainly because of how it reproduced. Back in the day (I can't believe I said that) it was expensive to do any offset printing, you had to go to the copy shop to make your own comic (again, I can't believe I'm saying this, I sound like I made my first comic in the stone age when it was just 13 years ago).. anyway, you had to go to the copy shop. You would paste up your art and make a master, and the only options I had for tweaking how your art looked was with the brightness button on the photocopy machine. I remember that day in the copy shop -- it was frustrating, and maybe that showed in the final product. Anyway, I'm posting one of the stories that gave me photocopy hell which I can now present on the web in way better quality, I think, for you to read. (At least you can see the title panel better.) Here goes. Enjoy.


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Till now

Click on the image for a bigger glimpse.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013, let's get outta here!

Yeah yeah, you're saying, "Oh sure! Wait till the end of the year to finally update your blog!" Though, then again, seriously who is even keeping score when everyone is having a party over at Tumblr. Anyway, 2013 was pretty exhausting in every aspect of my life and a tad bit stressful, and let's face it, a lot of shitty stuff happened in the world. However there were some brighter moments and accomplishments in 2013 that I am proud of such as seeing my kid go to Pre-K and having fun with his new friends. He'll be starting "real" school next year so I know that these times are precious. He's the best dude ever, and when life gets me really down, I just have to look at his face and remember what's really important.

One of my huge accomplishments this year for sure was raising over $6,000 for the American Red Cross's typhoon relief effort in the Philippines. I was blown away by the outpouring of cartoonists and fan support. Cartoonists like Jaime Hernandez, Carol Tyler, Dan Clowes, Souther Salazar, Kevin Huizenga, Eleanor Davis, Dan Zettwoch, and SO MANY others took time out of their busy schedules to send art and books. I was speechless. And I have to thank all of the comics fans who bidded and were patient with shipping their winning items during the holidays when sending stuff through the post is the craziest. Most of all, I am hopeful that the money raised will help those in Tacloban and other cities affected by the typhoon. I hope that 2014 is an easier time for everyone.

In Yam Books news, I got to publish work by two of my favorite cartoonists doing exciting things in comics these today -- Sacha Mardou's "Sky in Stereo #2" and Renee French's "Hagelbarger and That Nightmare Goat". Both are available to purchase at the Yam Books web shop. Sacha was able to debut Sky in Stereo at the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo (CAKE) this past Spring and Renee was able to debut Hagelbarger at this year's Alternative Press Expo (APE) in San Francisco. Working with these two phenomenal women was unforgettable and I hope a fun experience for them too. Both of these works made it to some Best of 2013 lists which I'm very happy about. I want to thank both of them for placing their trust in Yam Books. I hope to be collaborating with them down the road!

I got to travel to Brooklyn to promote these two new books at the Comics Arts Brooklyn show, which was very successful for Yam and where I finally got to see another inspiring woman who I have looked up to, Miriam Katin. She is such a warm, funny, talented and smart person. It was such an honor to be talking to her about her life experiences and her creative passions. It was one of the most unforgettable moments in my life.

And there were many other great comics that came out in 2013 that I have to list here, but before I do, let's talk about the fun times of 2013 for me. I got to see with my pal Vanessa Davis, a cabaret performance by the one and only Sutton Foster (the Broadway musical powerhouse also aka Michelle from "Bunheads," the best show on ABC Family since re-runs of Gilmore Girls which inexplicably was canceled). When she sang "Nice n' Easy", I almost passed out. And we totally would have had a drink with her except we are very respectful of celebrities' privacy (No, we are not. NO, yes we are!!)

Okay, so before I end with my Best of 2013 comics list, I must share my all-time favorite-FAVORITE moment of 2013, albeit maybe ridiculous and pathetic to some, but after 20 years of dismal season after season, you will understand. Please just watch:

Have a great new year everyone! We can definitely use a good one!

My favorite 2013 comics (not published by Yam Books, heh)

I was going to write why I liked each one but I am too busy playing that video clip on loop.

  • When David Lost His Voice by Judith Vanistendael
  • LOVF New York by Jesse Reklaw
  • Men's Feelings by Ted May
  • Island of Memory, Vol 1 by T Edward Bak
  • The Trading Tortoise zine #1 by Souther Salazar and Monica Choy
  • Susceptible by Genevieve Castree
  • Sunday Night Movies by Leanne Shapton
  • Lose #5 by Michael DeForge
  • Ghosts and Ruins by Ben Catmull
  • World Map Room by Yuichi Yokoyama
  • Do Not Disturb My Waking Dream (Autoptic edition) by Laura Park
  • New School by Dash Shaw
  • Redbird #2 by Dan Zettwoch
  • The Half Men by Kevin Huizenga
  • Optic Nerve by Adrian Tomine