Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wow, that was kind of amazing.

The thing at Lula was really wonderful. More so than I could have even hoped. I don't think I got to talk to half the people I wanted to, because it was packed like sardines. There was already a line outside before the doors opened. Huge all encompassing thanks to the folks that made it possible: Jason and Lea and Susannah at Lula (and the servers and cooks who all made it seamless), John and Zak for making fun of each other in public, The Kyles (O and B) for their lovely meditations on fatherhood and that pesky generational gap, Liz from Quimby's who had the job of writing out everyone's credit card information and fending off angry fans when the book was gone. Amy Honchell who let me take half her work down for a night. Aleks for hooking up the sound system. Who else...? It's hard to say because it almost felt like everyone I know in this damn town was there. Kind of choked me up for a second. Y'all rule. For real. THANK YOU.

Monday, August 29, 2011



Come down to Lula Cafe in Logan Square  7-10 and let's toast the big fat book. And I'll draw a picture in one for you. It's going to be awesome. Everyone's going to be there. Original art, slide shows, literature. Rock and Roll. Food. MC'd by the fantastic Mr. Kyle Obriot.

Awesome. Stupendous. Outrageous. Super Fun.

And a portion of the proceeds will go to support Sara Drake's Independent Media Project with Arts Network Asia--that is comics and women's literacy in Cambodia. So it's even for a good cause!

Oh, and here's a little window display I just installed at Quimby's yesterday.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

For a Limited Time

I'm doing a little experiment. In addition to readings, music and food at the Lula event on Tuesday, there will also be an impromptu, one day show of originals from Big Questions. I'm putting up a number of the featured pieces on my picture store. Sales will go live Tuesday--both to locals who can come out to the show and to internet browsers who can't – at about the same time. There are 12 pieces listed now – full pages and a few individual panels as well. More to come.

It may be worth noting that Big Questions originals haven't been available since around 2005 when I realized I needed to hold onto them in anticipation of the editing for the book. I'm making these few available now only in conjunction with the tour.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Recent Happenings in the Press

I made a sidebar (see right) with links to some of the reviews and other articles that have come out in the last few weeks regarding Big Questions. The interviews at Publisher's Weekly and Comic Book Resources, and the article in the Chicago Tribune are the most extensive and wide ranging. I just read over the one from the CBR site and was really pleasantly surprised--I did the interview while driving the rental car, between Portland and Seattle, and I remember feeling a bit distracted. But I don't think I come across that way. Alex Dueben had some really good questions and did his homework. A sample:

If we looked back at your sketchbooks as a kid, what would we see? Would we see a lot of nature studies and animal drawings?
Probably not. I remember there's a lot of Dungeons and Dragons characters. There's a lot of kids skateboarding and skate parks. In high school I started drawing skulls a lot. [Laughs] I definitely had that phase. I would draw these hot rods with giant engines and flames coming out of them and weird troll creatures driving them. Whatever came across my path I would draw.

Also discussed:
–whether the landscape of North Dakota is bleak
–comics and democracy
–how the Xeric Grant is like a golden egg
–lulling your reader into complacency and then sticking a knife in their ribs

James Romberger's piece at PW and Christopher Borelli's in the Trib are equally attentive and thoughtful readings (even if Borelli did say I was a server at Lula. Blasphemy--I was a cook). The press so far has been gratifying and humbling.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Toronto Sketchbook

Including a stop at the Royal Ontario Museum to draw dead animals.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Some of the hairstyles I wore as a punk kid in Minneapolis in the eighties:

1) skater bangs
2) long stringy hippy hair with Axel Rose bandanna
3) flopped over mohawk
4) flopped over mohawk, dreaded
5) big fire-engine red mess

Come to Magers & Quinn in Uptown tomorrow (Thursday) at 7:30 for my reading. I'll bring pictures.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Next Stop: Toronto

I'll be at the Beguiling in Toronto on Saturday, reading from the book and signing copies.
Come on out!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sara goes to Cambodia

The inimitable Sara Drake is going to Cambodia this Fall to teach comics, literacy, and a DIY ethic to young women there who have historically been left out of the educational system. And to drink a lot of coconut water. She's doing comics about the project as well, and is raising money on Kickstarter. She rules. Give her a hand.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Just to reiterate

The Lula Big Questions release party is NOT TONIGHT. It's on the 30th. Three weeks from now. Awesome. Oh and by the way, John Porcellino and Kyle Beachy are reading and Zak Sally is playing songs.
Here are some pictures from Genevieve Castree and Phil Elverum's house and church/studio in Anacortes, Washington. I stayed there on my way from Seattle to Vancouver, and it was awesome. Genevieve gave me a little jar of the most delicious tart cherry jam she'd made, gave me a tour of town, and told me the craziest story about Phil's great grandmother adopting a chimpanzee. Anacortes is great. I liked it there.

Collage of photographs of clouds and trees.
Spider Webs for Halloween, by Genevieve.
A small sample of Genevieve's studio. The one original page she had out (she's working on a book for D&Q) was kind of mind bogglingly beautiful. Nobody has such a thin, delicate yet confident line. And she pencils in orange.

The house reminded me a little of people's deceptively small, but liveable houses in New Hampshire, where my Dad lives. It might have partly been the residual smell of wood smoke.
Their flat files are nicer than mine.
Readying for a show the next day.
Some Croatian Neighbors had commissioned this painting of a seaside Village in Croatia, and then didn't like it. So they gave it to Genevieve and Phil. They have so far resisted the urge to paint a sea monster attacking the town.
My studio is smaller than this.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Chicago Multi-Media Comixplosion, Lula Cafe, Tuesday August 30, 7-10

Contrary to what got printed on the poster, the Chicago Big Questions Release Party and Comix-plosion is not next week. There were issues – a few of which had to do with me being better at drawing pictures of birds than I am at event planning – that forced a switch. The event is still taking shape, but there will be several special guests doing readings, some music, finger food (we're working on, among other things, doughnuts, in honor of everyone's favorite bird food), cheap beer, slightly pricier cocktails, original art on the walls, and Quimby's will be there selling books. It'll be at Lula Cafe off Logan Square. Details to follow. Here's the announcement on Quimby's site.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Home. Next Stop: Toronto

I'm back home. The first leg of the tour was amazing. Sold some books, sold some art, drove a thousand miles and managed to get a bit of skating in at pretty much every stop. Props to Portland and Vancouver for a couple of super good little skate plazas. One thing I was bad about was documenting the events... but I swear, people came out. Here's a shot from Needles and Pens site. They were better about it.

By the way, they mention on their site that they plan to make the work from the show available online in the next week. I'll try to keep tabs and make a note here as well.

I didn't document the events, or the skating for that matter, but I did get some photos of some of the places I stayed. In Portland that was at Nate's house. He's a friend of my brother-in-law from way back, he's in Witch Mountain and has a rad roommate named Matt who does kind of amazing metal cover art. Here's some stuff from Nate's house:

He also had an amazing super-old poster in his room, a sort of pinup style painting of the "women of the X-Men" with Rogue, the mohawked Storm and Kitty hanging out by the pool. from the late 80's probably. Amazing. And apparently super rare as the image doesn't seem to be anywhere on the web.

Lastly, I should probably mention Brian Ralph's diary comics from ComicCon. They're awesome. And not just because I'm in them.

Lastly, huge thank yous to all the shops that hooked me up: Family, Needles & Pens, Pegasus, Floating World, Fantagraphics and Lucky's.