Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

My FCBD on the Left Coast

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

This past Saturday was the 10th annual Free Comic Book Day, so I hope you took some time out of your weekend to visit your Local Comic Book Store to grab a few free goodies (or maybe even throw a few dollars their way). I wasn’t anywhere local this weekend, so I ended up settling for what San Francisco had to offer, which wasn’t so much settling since I got to visit the very famous, the very esteemed, the very awesome Isotope Comics.

The view when you walk in. Those guys in the middle are looking through the quarter bins.

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2011 Eisner Award Nominations

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

The 2011 Eisner Award nominations were just announced, with the following receiving nods for Best Reality-Based Work:

It Was the War of the Trenches, by Jacques Tardi (Fantagraphics)
Picture This: The Nearsighted Monkey Book, by Lynda Barry (Drawn & Quarterly)
Special Exits: A Graphic Memoir, by Joyce Farmer (Fantagraphics)
Treasury of XXth Century Murder: The Terrible Axe Man of New Orleans, by Rick Geary (NBM)
Two Generals, by Scott Chantler (McClelland & Stewart)
You’ll Never Know Book 2: Collateral Damage, by Carol Tyler (Fantagraphics)

Other nominations for these works include Best U.S. Edition of International Material for It Was the War of the Trenches, Best Painter/Multimedia Artist for Picture This, and Best Publication Design for both Two Generals and You’ll Never Know.

Other notable works that received nominations include Raina Telgemeier’s Smile in the Best Publication for Teens category and Zahra’s Paradise by Amir and Khalil for Best Digital Comic.

Voting for the Eisner nominations was conducted online and concluded March 24; the Eisner Award results will be announced on July 22 at San Diego Comic Con.

(via The Beat)

Out and About: April 5-8

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

MoCCA Fest takes place this Saturday and Sunday in New York, but the festivities aren’t waiting for 11am on Saturday to begin—there’s a number of comics events taking place around town all this week, even if they aren’t entirely related to MoCCA.

Tonight, April 5check out Frank Quietly in one of his “rare” stateside appearances, discussing his career with professor and artist Jose Villarrubia. Tickets to this event held at Cinema Village cost $15 (available online or in-person at Forbidden Planet) and proceeds go toward the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

On Friday, April 8, Strand Bookstore is doing their own “Strandicon,” featuring appearances/signings all day and a panel discussion with the staff of The Comics Journal. Artists in attendance include Ben Katchor, Jillian Tamaki, R. Sikoryak, and Dash Shaw. The appearances begin at 2:30pm, the panel starts at 7:30pm, and all events are free to the public.

Also this week are several release events for books being sold at the con. Bergen Street Comics will have the original art for Rabid Rabbit #13 / C’est Bon Kultur #14 (a flipbook) on display, with an opening reception on Friday starting at 8pm.

Desert Island is holding a release party from 7–9pm on Thursday, April 7, for the new issue of its own Smoke Signal newspaper, produced in collaboration with KUTI, a Finnish magazine. Contributors to the issue Gabrielle Bell, Lilli Carré, Keith Jones, and David Mazzucchelli.

Stop by Desert Island on Friday from 7–10pm for another book release party and signing, this time featuring Peter Bagge and Leslie Stein. Bagge has a few things to promote: a new issue of Hate Annual, a new collection of Yeah!, and a collection of the weekly Bat Boy comic strips Bagge created for Weekly World News. Leslie Stein will be promoting her first book, Eye of the Majestic Creature.

Tickets to MoCCA itself are still available—buy them while they’re still cheap. One-day passes are $10, weekend passes are $15. Those prices go up to $12 and $20 at the door, so take a look at the schedule to decide whether you want to stick around for both days.

The Con So Nice They Named It Twice

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

New York Comic Con  just wrapped up this past Sunday, the fifth edition of this quickly growing East Coast convention. Has it been five years already? It seems like only yesterday that crowds were swarming outside the Jacob Javits Center on a Saturday afternoon and I was stuck at home due to a sprained foot (lucky me?). Well, it’s technically only been four years, but the crowds are still swarming and there were two words on everyone’s lips:

San Diego

As in, how much this con was trying to be San Diego Comic Con, how much more this con focused on comics than San Diego (or how it didn’t focus on the right comics), and most of all, how much the crowds were like San Diego Comic Con, that is, crazy-crowded and hard-to-navigate. Getting from one end of the Javits Center to the other was a real pain; many found it easier to just exit the exhibit hall and re-enter close to their destinations…just like at San Diego.

It didn’t help that the Javits Center is currently undergoing major reconstruction, which when completed, will probably alleviate a lot of the major crowd control problems that this year’s show had. The exhibit hall was split in two, with the small press area, the artists’ alley, podcast arena, autographs, and Intel on the south side of the blockage, and everything else on the north side. The two areas were connected by passageways at the front and back of the hall. There were complaints that the south was too isolated, but in practice all this meant was that it didn’t become as insanely packed as the other side. The aisles were mostly wide and walkable, though it was a bit of a pain to make it through the small press area to the artists’ alley; they need bigger aisles.

My biggest problem with the floor layout was how the big stuff is always placed directly in the middle…just like at San Diego. The problem with this is that you have a heavy-traffic area sandwiched between two low-traffic areas, and if someone wanted to stay away from the big crowded booths and just walk the low key booths…they can’t. At some point they will have to either walk through or walk around the crowded area. I think it would be healthier for traffic flow if these points of blockage were placed at the far end of the hall, and a person will only have to go there if they want to be there. I doubt that these larger booths will suffer in any way; people still want to see their movie and television and video game releases.

Speaking of non-comic media, one of the biggest praises of New York Comic Con was how little non-comic media was there. Oh, there were a good number of video game booths like Nintendo and Ubisoft, and a large booth promoting the Alien Anthology, but they were not overwhelming, and this breakdown was also reflected in the programming selection. The programming was still very heavily comics, and the programming that wasn’t was mostly animation (comics’ younger and more popular sibling) or genre-related, like the Unbreakable panel on Sunday.

New York Comic Con 2010 also had a strange flip side in that New York Anime Festival was also taking place in the building, under the same general admission (as indicated on the badges) but for the most part, isolated downstairs with their own programming area and artist alley. Apparently ReedPop offered them a separate dealers’ room as well but they turned it down, probably a wise decision given the amount of traffic the main hall was getting. People were complaining that NYAF was shunted off to the side, but it’s also possible that had it been more integrated into the main NYCC show, people would be complaining that the Japanese stuff was “getting lost,” or that “American and Japanese stuff shouldn’t be mixed.” Whatever. Anime and manga are just animation and comics to me anyway, but I do think they struck a good balance for the two shows.

I had to head down to Philadelphia on Sunday for a wedding so I missed the last day of the show, and that kind of truncated the whole experience for me. I didn’t get to see as many panels as I would have wanted; I couldn’t spend as much time on the floor as I wanted. I usually explore the floor on the last day, when the crowds have lessened and there’s more bargains to be had. Despite that, I managed to accrue a decent swag list, and I did go into total sensory overload… in my first five minutes on the floor. It was pretty amazing.

I’m actually proud that this is my “hometown con.” Now, if only they could finish that extension, then we’ll start seeing some real San Diego-like action…

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New York Comic Con Goings On

Friday, October 8th, 2010

Just a friendly reminder that I’ll be set up at New York Comic Con in the Podcast Arena, along with a bunch of my fellow podcasters, such as Comic Geek Speak, Raging Bullets and Indie Spinner Rack. My booth number is 524, so if you’d like to stop on by and talk some comics, pimp your book, or simply say hello, I’ll be there all day Friday and Saturday.

Also, on Friday, I’ll be participating in A Geek’s Guide to Podcasting and Blogging at 6:30PM in Room 1A17. It’s going a general discussion on podcasting with a bit of blogging thrown in for good measure, so if you have any questions or would like to learn a bit more about things, give it a shot. Finally, earlier in the day at 4:45 there’s Anime Parliament ®, which is run by a buddy of ours. It involves anime characters putting other anime characters on trial. Hilarity ensues. Thus concludes the advertising portion of the evening.

Big Apple, not New York

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

There’s been a lot of confusion in the New York area lately; when you say “Comic Con,” do you mean New York or Big Apple?

Aren’t they the same thing?

No.

Big Apple Comic Con is kind of a long-standing, low-rent stalwart, a biannual collection of dealers housed in an empty church or on a pier or like this year’s edition, at the Penn Plaza Pavilion. It wasn’t anything spectacular—maybe a special guest or two signing autographs—but it was what it was, a place to pick up back issues at low cost and a lot of other media product, like toys and posters, at possibly inflated cost. A standard convention mix, though I’d be hard-pressed to call it a proper “convention” despite the name; it wasn’t really a social event.

New York Comic Con is a lot newer, and it started out with grand ambitions—to be an East Coast Comic-Con International. They rented out the Jacob Javits Convention Center, filled out the programming slate with tons of programming, and got lots of major companies from various media to exhibit in their “exhibition hall.” And for the most part, it’s worked—the first year broke fire codes and led to a near-riot outside the convention center as people who had pre-registered and people who had not tried to crowd their way into the at-fire-capacity building.

When things started to get really interesting is when Wizard World decided to expand its convention empire to New York City. They had decent success running conventions in Chicago and Philadelphia, buying already-existing conventions in those cities and re-branding them with the “Wizard World” name. Gareb Shamus has been on a real tear lately, buying up shows across the country in places like Connecticut, New Jersey, Nashville, and Cleveland.

When Wizard bought Big Apple Comic Con, it promised to lend a new veneer of respectability to the show. The location was moved to a larger venue at Pier 94, the guest lineup was expanded greatly, and actual programming was added, taking a wider view on pop culture. Last year’s edition might have had its bumps, including bad weather, a hard-to-reach location, and a slate of guests that really only appealed to a small subsection of fandom, but it wasn’t outright bad. At the least, the shopping selection was good, with aisles and aisles of back issue bins at fantastic prices.

What did the greatest service to last year’s Big Apple was that New York Comic Con was in state of dormancy, with 19 months to wait between their last convention in February 2009 and this coming weekend in October 2010. Not only was there no competition, but there was actually a need for something to keep fans occupied in the interim. But then came the shocking announcement, listed on the Big Apple Comic Con program book: the 2010 show was scheduled for the same weekend as New York Comic Con #5. Everyone was stunned, as it was kind of obvious which convention would win the big showdown. Eventually Wizard blinked, and a new date was announced, along with a new location.

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Reading in the Rain

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

Despite the rain, a decent crowd turned out for the Brooklyn Book Festival, filling up the indoor spaces but still staking out spots for outdoor events like the talk with Sarah Silverman and even the graphic novel panels. The “International Graphic Novel” panel also had a special guest in form of a crazy lady who started shouting at the stage, though due to the crowds and weather it was hard for us in the audience to make out what she was saying, but Jessica Abel did her best on stage to hear the woman out.

The “Cabaret BBF Style” I mentioned was a bit of a bust; while I wondered whether they meant “comic” as in funny or as in the medium, it turned out to be neither. Perhaps the lack of a crowd in front of the Main Stage threw off their nerve a bit.

More enjoyable was the “Finding the Funny: The Humor of the Everyday” panel, which took place inside the Borough Hall Courtroom and featured John Hodgman, Sloane Crosley, Kristen Schaal, and Rich Blomquist. It really has nothing to do with comics, but I mention it so that you don’t think we were totally down on the festival.

Further images below the cut.

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Prices Drawn & Quartered

Monday, September 13th, 2010

Maybe it’s just the post-SPX glow, but the small press deals continue as Drawn & Quarterly kicks off their annual warehouse sale. Some of the nonfiction titles for sale:

  • Louis Riel: A Comic-Strip Biography by Chester Brown – $10.77
  • Just the Facts: A Decade of Comics Essays by David Collier – $5.97
  • The Frank Ritza Papers by David Collier – $9.97
  • Burma Chronicles by Guy Delisle – $11.97
  • Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea by Guy Delisle – $11.97
  • Shenzhen: A Travelogue From China by Guy Delisle – $11.97
  • Maybe Later by Dupuy & Berberian – $8.47
  • Nicolas by Pascal Girard – $5.97
  • We Are On Our Own by Miriam Katin – $9.97
  • A Drifting Life by Yoshihiro Tatsumi – $17.98

They’re no $3 comics, but these are unique to Drawn & Quarterly, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find better deals on some of these titles elsewhere.

(via Robot 6)

Top Shelf at Rock Bottom Prices

Sunday, September 12th, 2010

Top Shelf Productions, publisher of titles such as Owly, Lost Girls, and The Surrogates, is having a massive ten-day sale on graphic novels, with tons of trades on sale for as low as $3.00. The sale lasts through Friday, September 24th.

Some of the nonfiction titles on sale:

  • Carnet de Voyage by Craig Thompson – $3
  • Regards from Serbia by Sasa Rakezic and Aleksandar Zograf – $3
  • Sketchbook Diaries volumes 1–4 by James Kochalka – $3 each
  • Undeleted Scenes by Jeffrey Brown – $10
  • Veeps by Bill Kelter and Wayne Shellabarger – $10
  • Yearbook Stories: 1976-1978 by Chris Staros – $3

Check out the full list over on the Top Shelf site; the list also has hardcovers on sale for $25 and single issues available for $1.

(via Warren Ellis)