Friday, December 28, 2012

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thursday, November 15, 2012

New York, New York! One Helluva Town!

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Oh New York, you sure do take my breath away!

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You too, BCGF... literally. 

As someone who is deathly afraid of flying, I will always begin my con reports with details of my flight experience because the amount of agony and stress over flying equals the same amount of time and energy trying to plan for a comics show in another city.

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The San Francisco airport had an amusing exhibition on classic board games at my gate that did its best to calm my nerves before I had to board the plane. And, okay, the flight was fine, thanks to watching episodes of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and a ridiculous reality show about the glamorous life of young people in the Silicon Valley which according to this show is based only in the Pacific Heights neighborhood of San Francisco (Ai yi yi).

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Here's the view over the majestic island of Manhattan. You can't help but overcome your fears and fall in love. Anyway, right after I got off the plane, I got a nice welcoming text from Annie Koyama. It made my heart melt because I was dreading the thought being all alone in Manhattan which is silly because, hello, 10 gazillion billion people live in Manhattan and it's definitely true what Ol' Blue Eyes says: New York is a "city that NEVER sleeps." Driving from the airport through Long Island, I could see a few signs of damage caused by Hurricane Sandy. Trees were knocked down, taking huge chunks of the sidewalk with them. Flags and signs were ripped apart. However people were still out and about which was comforting to see.

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I met up with Lark Pien and her sister Jane who were hanging out near my hotel in the Garment District. They were looking for buttons. Jane had suggested going to the nearby Korean fast-food joint, Bon Chon. I enthusiastically accepted because it was one of the food suggestions that my friend Annie Yee told me about the day before, and, um, HOLY CRAP, the chicken there is amazing. Talk about CHICKEN JOY (Jollibee reference)! Anyway, it was nice seeing the Pien sisters together. They told me that they had volunteered the day before, giving away food and supplies to people in Red Hook. Really cool that they did that. Lark showed me the war wounds on her arm that she got from some National Guardsman trying to fling a bag of potatoes or something over her head, or wait, I think it was from a fist fight with one of the guards. Wow, Lark.

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Later on, because we are pigs, the three of us met up with Annie Koyama, Robin and Dan Nishio for MORE chicken at Torishin, a yakatoriya that Robin suggested. Robin's food suggestions are always A++ and this was no different! My favorite was the pork belly and the crispy skin, and I did manage to eat one or two pieces of vegetable because I'm on a diet. What?

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The next day, I ventured over to Williamsburg for the big show. I was there a little early and there was a funeral happening at Our Lady of Mount Carmel church, next to the show venue so I strolled around the neighborhood a bit. I stumbled upon Desert Island Comics! Cool! I eventually high-tailed it back to the show, and met up with Tim Hensley upstairs in the gymnasium who was already setting up the Yam Books table. What a guy! If you meet Tim on the street somewhere, ask him to show you his watch which is a LCD screen that scrolls out the time and the words "Ticket Stub". Here's the pic of the venue during the calm before the storm:

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The first official purchaser of Tim's book, "Ticket Stub" was Dan Nadel, Picturebox boss-man and co-organizer of BCGF. He managed to sneak over before the show opened and the crowds would be rolling in. And boy did they ever roll in! Hoards of people! Masses! Mobs! There was some talk before the show, that the aftermath from the hurricane and storm would keep people away, but that sentiment was quashed right from the start. I'm not sure if the show is always that crowded, but after such a crazy natural disaster, it was really uplifting to see. The BCGF Tumblr site's photo of the show demonstrates so accurately how crazy it was the ENTIRE day:

 

I kept looking around in amazement. The sea of people made me really happy! Lots of people compared the feeling of this show to this year's SPX which I did not go to. BCGF was just a great morale booster for the comics scene. I was physically hurting from the lack of ventilation due to the crowds (I'm really bad with hot weather, that's why I moved to the Bay Area), but the happiness of seeing so many people in one space, weaving through immense aisle traffic for comics made me forget how dehydrated and sweaty I was. (Also I really shouldn't have worn a sweater!). I do have one regret though which was not being able to venture out to see cartoonist heroes like Roz Chast and Richard MaGuire, or to get to purchase the awesome books from Bill Kartalopoulos' Rebus Books or Lilli Carre's debut book "Heads or Tails" -- or basically everyone's book because people who would visit our table would always be carrying something amazing. Luckily though, many were nice enough to come around to visit our table.

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It was a great honor to have Matt Groening stop by to pick up a Ticket Stub. He talked to Tim about his contribution to the Treehouse of Horror, Issue #15.

 

This is a great pic taken by Lark of Charles Burns with Tim. I swore I saw Charles at Torishin the night before and when I asked him about his dining experience, he assured me that he wasn't actually there and that he has doppelgangers all over the world. One time, he found himself face to face with THREE doppelgangers or I guess that would be a dreimalganger? Anyway, I told him that "he" ate a lot of chicken skewers like a champ.

 

It was great to finally see some of the NYC dudes that rarely come to the West Coast shows, like cartoonist, photographer, book designer Jonathan Bennett! He has been working on some strips in The Believer, but he promised that he was in the process of making more comics hopefully for next year. I can't wait!

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Here's Matthew Thurber and Dash Shaw. Dash expressed his thanks for having a collection of Ticket Stub published. I remembered him writing about the minicomic on the ole Comics Comics blog and I was really glad to hear that many people shared the same love of the Ticket Stub minis as I did. Lots of people were never able to actually see them since Tim only printed about 20 copies of each issue.

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And, oh lord, Gary Panter! He and Tom Kaczynski were signing at the Fantagraphics table. I've been a major fan of Mr. Panter forever, especially because he says great things like this. I also got to see Tom K's new book with Fanta, "Beta Testing the Apocalypse". The colors look great and there is new stuff in there, folks! Got to get that and his latest offerings through Uncivilized Books. Post York and True Swamp, GEEZ!!

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Here's a blurry Chris Ware with a Ticket Stub! I kept hearing that his panel with Art Spiegelman and Richard MacGuire was off the charts. I hope to see video of it soon! I told Chris that it was refreshing to hear at his talk with Dan Clowes at the Oakland Museum of California that he can be self-depricating about his work and talent even though he is a complete and utter genius.

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It was nice to see Chris Cilla's face all the way from Portland. He had these great silkscreened t-shirts at his table. Just a great guy all around! Other Portland folks like Julia Gfrorer, Zack Soto, Aron Steinke and Jason Levian were also in attendance!

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Adrian Tomine was able to take a break from signing at the D+Q table to get a copy of Ticket Stub. I'm still trying to figure out what Tim drew in Adrian's copy. 

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As I was walking around, scrounging to break a 20 dollar bill for some ones or fives like a character in Walking Dead looking for food or a first aid kit, I ran into one of my favorite people, Tom Spurgeon. We talked first about sports, social media and then comics. We know our priorities. It was nice to finally meet him as it has been over 12 years since I've only known him through Comics Reporter, one of the best comics websites out there today. Tom moderated a panel with Tim, Charles Burns and Anouk Ricard. I can't wait to see video of that too! 

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I was so happy to finally meet Nick Abadzis in person too, whose book collection of his "Hugo Tate" comic just came out last Spring. We're going to have him on the Comix Claptrap soon, so make sure you stay tuned. Yes, Thien and I are still podcasting. Sorry.

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Also nice to see another West cartoonist, John Pham make it the show. John had these gorgeous video game zines printed on the Risograph, as well as stunning paintings that he exhibited at Giant Robot recently. The show had a really nice mix of cartoonists in this show! Veronica Graham, from Oakland-based Most Ancient, had a table and came over to say hi! She had these insane books made out of vellum! It was also a welcomed surprise to see Damien Jay, who traveled from LA to visit his family in New York. Chris Diaz from San Francisco showed us all the drawings he got from Gary Panter, Adrian Tomine and Charles Burns. He walked away with a nice piece of original art by Tim. I got to talk to Warren Bernard, Executive Director of the SPX show about the amazing guests he had at the show two months ago. Also, I was very honored to have Nine Antico, one of the featured guests of the show, pay us a visit. In general, BCGF was a huge success for Yam Books. I can't think of a better way to end the convention season. We sold a lot of Lollygags, and Ticket Stub did really well which made both Tim and I very happy especially since the show marked the end of his Transcontinental Ticket Stub Tour.
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After the show, Tim and I got to stop by Desert Island. They have the latest issue of Smoke Signals which Tim has a full page spread of Alfred Hitchcock strips. You need to definitely check that out! We dropped off some books and then met up for Thai food with the ole Artist With Problems (AWP) crew: Alex Holden, Karen Snider, Jon Lewis, Tom K, Robyn Chapman, Robin Enrico, and Sam Henderson. They are always so much fun and so welcoming. It was hard to leave those guys, and hard to leave NYC in general. 

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 I could go on and on about how the next day I visited the Ripley's Believe it or Not Museum with my high school friend Becky and her family, and being mesmorized by Pierpoint Morgan's amazing library, but I will save you the trouble. I will say though that New York was really great to me. I'm still crushing on the city big time.

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JP Morgan had three copies of the Guttenberg Bible. That jerk!
 

Thank you to all the people who visited and supported Yam Books at the show! Thank you to Robyn Chapman for helping and hanging out with us at our table. Huge props (can we still say that?) to Gabe Fowler, Bill Kartaupolos, Dan Nadel enough for putting together a well-curated show in the midst of chaos the past couple of weeks. And lastly thank you to Lark Pien and to Tim Hensley for making each show that Yam Books has attended this year such a success. We'll see ya guys soon at a show near you in 2013!

 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

APE Times!

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Still a little woozy from all the craziness that was the Alternative Press Expo (APE) last weekend, but wanted to write a quick recap since, as I've been saying for weeks now, the show marked Yam Books' eagerly-anticipated debut of its first planned book "Ticket Stub" by Tim Hensley. Here's Tim and I at our table. The only thing missing was our bud and table mate, Lark Pien who was hanging out with cartoonists Megan Kelso and Ellen Forney down in Florida for a cartoonist residency for the week.

Me, Tim and Ticket Stub

It was super duper having Tim at the show to finally celebrate the fruits of our labor. All of our hard work and all the emails back and forth paid off with a beautifully-designed book that we are really proud of. The last time I saw Tim in person was at APE a couple of years ago when he was a part of the gigantic Kramers Ergot 8 book tour. He's a funny, VERY humble and talented guy. My only regret is that I didn't rescue him from staying at a hotel called the Vagabond Inn right next to The Stud bar. Don't look at me! I didn't book Tim's travel arrangements! Needless to say, lesson learned for both of us! Anyway, it was really heart-warming to hear all the nice things about Ticket Stub at the show. And despite it being a pretty slow APE this year, many actually bought the book. See! Dan Clowes even bought TWO!

Tim took the time to sign and draw in everyone's books with his blue ink and crowquill pen which he would run away every 5 minutes to clean in the Concourse Exhibition Center bathroom. If you saw a gross, blue-stained sink -- that was Tim and his vampire blood. Here's Roman Muradov in awe of Tim's inking skills.

Tim signs Wally Gropius for Roman Muradov

Later that day, Jim Woodring came over to praise Tim on his stellar book, Wally Gropius. He came over twice wanting Tim to sign his copy, and each time, Tim was off cleaning his ink nib to which Jim would say "What the hell?!? Where's my drawing?" or something like that. The second time, Jim managed to shame Tim from afar as he was walking with Mike Baehr:

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Friday night before the APE show, I caught the tail-end of Adrian Tomine's signing at Pegasus Books. I have never seen that place so packed to the gills in my life. I also got the chance to attend Gabrielle Bell's reading at Escapist Comics. Gabrielle's storytelling is hilarious and thoughtful. She is one of my favorite cartoonists, stretching the boundaries of autobio comics. She talked about her painstaking process, the real life experiences and people that inspire her stories. At the event, I talked to illustrator/designer Brian Kaas and Tom Kaczynski who is doing a bang-up job with Uncivilized Books. Here he is describing how much of a bossy publisher he is, as Ben Katchor brings up the depressing topic of e-books replacing printed books, to which Tom reassured that the future for us is bright. Oh Tom, it's okay. I have my emergency survival kit near me at all times.

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The show picked up at the end of both days, and we managed to sell a good amount of Ticket Stubs, Lollygags, and mini-comics. We also sold out of a couple of titles from our pals at Koyama Press. Michael DeForge, the West Coast people demand your presence ASAP, so please table next year. Also many were blown away by Jesse Jacobs' "By This You Shall Know Him". Tim also had some stunning original art for sale. Chance Press' Jordan Hurdler made out like a bandit with a sweet piece of original Ticket Stub art -- the cover art for Ticket Stub, Issue #9 which doubled as the first page of the book collection. I am still weeping that that isn't hanging on my wall.

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The best part of these shows for me is getting the change to talk to cartoonist heroes and friends who inspire me: Got to see Emily Nilsson and Greg Means tabling for Sparkplug Comic Books and Tugboat Press. I love them so much! Visited with the Press Gang guys comprised of Jason Levian (Floating World), Francois Vigneault (Family Style), and Zack Soto (Studygroup12). I'm really happy for those Portland guys hosting The Projects show this weekend too. I didn't get a lot of chances to leave my table (I couldn't even go to the panel I was a part of on Sunday!) so thank you to the comics dudes who stopped by to chat like Eli Bishop, Jeff Roysdon, Tyler Cohen, Geoff Vasile, Mark Todd, Eric Haven, Chris Diaz, Jonas Madden-Conner, Alvin Buenaventura, Mats Stromberg, Kyle Peterson, Jesse Reklaw, Sam Spina, and Fred Noland who is back at making comics -- Thanks God! And it was really special to meet Janice Headley and Mike Baehr who did a good job at keeping crazy Los Bros fangirls like me at bay! Oh look, here's Ben Catmull showing us pictures of the set design he created for an upcoming film project.

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Yoo hoo! Jason Shigaaa! "You'll be a daddy sooooon!" (Hi Ken!) Oh, here's Drawn and Quarterly trouble-maker, Tom Devlin. He kept going on and on about Facebook and El Chavo cocktails. Then suddenly like some ghost outta Minneapolis, Zak Sally decided to scare the crap out of us. He happened to be vacationing in the Bay Area. Man, talk about another reminder to keep making good comics. We hear ya, Zak. No need to haunt us, dude.

All weekend long, I managed to stop myself from fainting when I saw Los Bros Hernandez walking into the joint to sign every Love and Rockets book in the galaxy and greet their adoring fans. It was pretty much their weekend and why not! They were everywhere! If not in our heads and hearts, but next to us at Henry's Hunan for dinner. We are pretty lucky to have such dudes to look up to in our craft. These guys never stop reminding you that you can do your comics on your own terms. Thus, Jaime gave me his blessing (sort of) to continue my embarrassing Dancing With the Stars comic. Every year I keep saying I will travel down to Comic Con to meet the Los Bros in person, and it never happens. I can't ask for a better way to finally meet them, right here, at my local comic show on the last stop of their 30th Anniversary Tour. Shit is crazy! Anyway, can't wait to go to their exhibit at the Cartoon Art Museum which, by all accounts of course, sounds freaking amazing.

All in all, APE 2012 was a special time for me. Thanks to everyone who stopped by and gave your support for Yam Books. A special thank you to Ken McCarty for helping me set up the table and figure out addition and subtraction -- You are the best!! Now onward to BCGF!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

APE 2012: Ticket Stub Debuts and Other Awesome News!


Whoa, you guys, this year has really flown by! I still have yet to write con reports for the previous shows that I've attended this year, which were amazing, but now another show is starting up: The 2012 Alternative Press Expo (APE) this weekend right across the bay in San Francisco, CA! Woot, woot! Check out that flyer above created by Gilbert Hernandez! As my 3-year old nephew says, "What the?!?"

I will be exhibiting at the show for my new publishing project, Yam Books and Lark Pien's Little Bird Books. Lark is currently at the Graphic Novel Residency at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in Florida, but I will represent her as professionally as I can at the show. I will have our Yam Books/Lark Pien collaboration, Lollygag, a sketchbook anthology that Lark edited featuring the compulsive doodles of some of the innovative and exciting cartoonists today such as Dan Zettwoch, Vanessa Davis, Renee French, Dylan Horrocks, and many more.




ALSO, I am very glad to announce that the show will mark the west coast debut of Yam Books' first bound book, TICKET STUB! The book collects the beloved mini-comic zine series of the same name by Tim Hensley. Tim will be with me at the show (can you believe that?!), signing books and talking about captioning work, from the sublime to the profane. We are both very happy and proud about this book and can't wait to share it with you guys.

We will also have our own mini-comics and original art as well as the latest titles from Koyama Press such as Michael DeForge's Lose #4, Julia Wertz' The Infinite Wait, Jesse Jacobs' By This Shall You Know Him and many others.

We hope you share in the excitement of all of these great books, and visit us at TABLE 306, Little Bird Books + Yam Books.

APE is going to be great this year with all the publishers, artists and special guests. What's even more fantastic is that the Cartoon Art Museum will be having their art opening for the Love and Rockets: A 30th Anniversary Celebration exhibit on Saturday night. Special guests Jaime, Gilbert and Mario Hernandez will be there! Oh, MAN!! To get advanced tickets and a limited exhibition print, visit the link below! Do it now!
http://cartoonart.org/2012/10/3037/

Oh and one more thing, Thien Pham, my friend and co-host of our comics podcast, The Comix Claptrap will be moderating a panel about the Bay Area comics scene. It's the last panel of the show on Sunday. Thien will be interrogating guests Andrew Farago, Jason Shiga, myself and other local crazy comickers. You should also visit his table at the show to see an advance copy of his new graphic novel with First Second, Sumo! Here's more info on the panel:

Sunday, 4:45pm Bay Area Comics: Past, Present, and FutureThien Pham (Level Up, Sumo), Jason Shiga (Meanwhile, Empire State), Andrew Farago (Cartoon Art Museum), and other past and present cartoonists from the Bay Area discuss one of the world's most dynamic and important comics scenes. Whether you're a lifelong San Francisco resident, a new arrival, or just visiting, this panel promises to tell you everything you ever wanted to know about comics by the Bay.

Anyway, this weekend is going to be jam-packed with great events and stuff to buy! So see ya there at Table 306!

http://www.comic-con.org/ape/


Comics-related events you should also go to this weekend besides APE:


Monday, October 1, 2012

The Barkleys of Broadway

The Barkleys of Broadway

For the DWTS comic, whenever the hell that gets done. (Click on the image for a bigger glimpse.)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Bobot again

Bobot again

Monday, July 16, 2012

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

"Chicagooo! Chicagooo! That Toddlin' Town"


It's been about 15 years since the last time I've been to Chicago, and I'm happy to be exhibiting with Lark Pien at the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo this weekend. See us at Table 39! To kick off  Yam Books, we will be debuting Lollygag, a mesmerizing drawing anthology edited by Lark, showcasing the obsessive doodles of some of the most exciting cartoonists and artists out there today: Nick Abadzis, Trevor Alixopulos, Rina Ayuyang, Nick Bertozzi, Lille CarrĂ©, Martin Cendreda, Capucine Delouis, Eleanor Davis, Vanessa Davis, Renee French, Shaenon Garrity, Tom Gauld, John Hankiewicz, Tom Hart, Dylan Horrocks, Tom Kaczynski, Megan Kelso, Dave Kiersh, Larry Marder, MarĂ© Odomo, Lark Pien, Jesse Reklaw, Jim Rugg, Daria Tessler, Angie Wang, Malachi Ward, and Dan Zettwoch.

Includes "easter egg" fold outs and debossed/letterpressed cover  -- all hand-bound! And man were these hard to hand-bind! Check Lark's hands if you are at the show!









Also at our table, Lark will have artwork, prints and some minis. I'll have copies of my latest mini "Outta This Comes the Crazy" and copies of "Whirlwind Wonderland". We'll have some promo postcards for Yam Book's collection of Tim Hensley's "Ticket Stub" coming out this Fall. The post card displays a page from the mini-comic series that Tim decided not to put in the book, but that I loved so much so I had to at least share it in postcard form! FREE FREE!

OH AND WAIT! I'll be on a panel on Saturday with 5 talented female autobio cartoonists where they will talk about their comics, and I will listen and nod. No, I'll talk too, maybe!

12:30pm – 1:30pm, 1st Floor Conaway Stage
Real Life

A Round Table on Women and Graphic Autobiography

with Rina Ayuyang, Julia Wertz, Leslie Stein, Marian Runk, Keiler Roberts and Lucy Knisley

Autobiography has pushed the boundaries of what comics can be and how memoir can be embodied. Real life recounted in comics form is often capable of finding places that are the most funny, relatable and true. This roundtable conversation examines the challenges and rewards of working (and playing) with your own life as subject matter.


Come visit us at TABLE 39!! We are so eager to eat big hearty meals, see the sights,  brave the heat, share comics and ALLL THAT JAZZZZZZ!  (God, I love that musical, don't you?)


Thursday, June 7, 2012