CCS Panel: How Do I Fold Paper by David Anderson

On Saturday I attended the panel being hosted by the Center for Cartoon Studies, which is an art school in White River Junction, Vermont, not much more than an hour away from my alma mater. Like last time the discussion was done mostly by Alec Longstreth, along with Josh Bayer from the Sequential Artists' Workshop.

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SPX 2013; or I've Never Done A Convention Report Before And Now You All Have To Deal With It by Patrick Smith

This was my second time attending the Small Press Expo in just as many years, which to be honest is a pretty impressive level of consistency on my part. My general relationship with conventions is that once I go it's usually enough exposure to my comic bookin' brethren to last me a couple of years. And yet, I came to SPX again more-or-less under my own volition.

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THE Star Wars by Spandexless

George Lucas has never been accused of being an eloquent wordsmith, nor Star Wars ever hailed as the 20th century equivalent of Hamlet (though the focal father-son dynamic does warrant a few comparisons). And though the Star Wars saga has been criticized for its stiff dialogue and awkward direction, it does stand as a one of the most popular and influential franchises in media history. But Star Wars was once very different from the enduring epic we all know and love, and not necessarily for the better. Thanks to J.W. Rinzler and Mike Mayhew, we get a glimpse at what could have been in the first issue of Dark Horse’s comic adaptation of the first draft of The Star Wars.

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Boston Comic Con: Please Stop Touching My Face by David Anderson


Ah, Boston. Land of people whose accent I always confuse with Brooklyn accents. I tried to visit the Bunker Hill monument while I was there, but couldn't figure out a good parking situation, so I settled for visiting Comic Con. UGH. Kidding, I was in the area specifically for Boston Comic Con. It was my first one and I went alone, not even in a press capacity, so I didn't really get too crazy with panels or extra stuff. Didn't really have a plan besides showing up and doing whatever my heart's soul's brain told me to do.

So I only have a couple of pictures of BCC. I mean, once you've seen one thronging mob of people you've seen them all. So here's a picture of my friends' roommate's cat, which I petted during my stay.*

Cool cat

Turns out my heart was telling me to drop 200 dollars on swag, so that's what I did. Cons are mostly just giant stores after all. Giant stores where interesting people show up to sign autographs and hock their latest books and talk about whatever the panel organizers want to talk about. I sat in on a panel where some writers talked about how they got into writing comic books- I'm pretty sure the story of those panels is the same in every con. Dudes talk about their personal experiences, tell everyone in the audience to write all the time, talk about how different things are now compared to before, etc etc. I mean, if you want something, you find out what you need to do, then you take the steps to get it. Pretty simple. I mean, simple if economic factors don't throw too many roadblocks in your way. And it helps to live in a place that isn't North Korea. I mean, over there, if your dad was a farmer, you get his job when he dies. Them's the breaks. Don't mess up in North Korea. Place sucks.

BCC, in very un-Juche fashion, had some hiccups in their operational capacities. I've never had it happen where the line for pre-paid tickets was way longer than the line to buy tickets at the door. That's how I spent my first two hours. It wasn't too bad, I talked a little with some people dressed as Adventure Time characters. But they definitely had some kind of issue with admittance because of how long the wait was. But I am a patient man so it was no big D.

What a dork amiright (kidding I took this because he pretty much nailed the look)

I bought some gifts for family, and I got to meet some writers of the Adventure Time comic books and get an issue signed by them. They were pretty neat. I also picked up some review material. There was a book writer who thought I might have been waiting to see him at his empty booth so he let me know he hadn't abandoned his post but was mingling with fans nearby. I didn't know any of his works though so it was kind of awkward. Sorry dude! You seemed pretty chill though!

Anyway I noticed a bunch of people doing some amusing cosplays and I wish I could have gotten pictures of some of them. There's that one guy who seems to be a staple of conventions now, stomping around in a Bumblebee getup that makes him eight or nine feet tall and has lights and a voice modulator and all that. I've seen him a few times in the past. I'm 90% confident that someone was cosplaying not as Batman but as the random vigilante from The Dark Knight film that tries to attack the Scarecrow with a shotgun. Otherwise his chest armor was too effing huge.

And nowadays whenever I see someone in a Flash costume that doesn't look quite right I just assume they're actually Rainn Wilson's character from Super. I hope that doesn't sound like a dick thing to say, I just mean that the only difference between the Flash and Crimson Bolt is the number of pouches and the fit of the costume itself. Plus it just makes things funnier to me.

I did pick up a couple comics for our site to review, as well. I didn't really have a plan for doing Spandexless work considering I was flying solo but still, you can expect reviews of Return to Rander, Man-Gull, Forever Winter and Broken Legacy.

It's gonna be a good three days or something

I guess this comic con was larger than the previous one, which seems to be the trend these days; I know NYCC was in the same position as Boston only a few years ago. Build a con and they will come, I suppose. I only wish I had enough money for that Mobius art book. And the Joe Sacco book about the Balkans War (the one I didn't review). And the schematics of the X-Wing and B-Wing they had on display. And the Gravity Gun and Portal Gun replicas they were selling.

I guess my next financial objective will be a 3D printer I can use to print new money for myself. Kidding, FBI! Put the guns down, I was kidding. Anyway, it was a good time, even by myself. Next year hopefully I'll have a better itinerary.

Well, more comics anyway.

 *EDITOR'S NOTE: The cat's name is Ling and she's the coolest! Most important Editor's Note ever.

All the conventions all the time by Beth Scorzato

Well. Here we are. Now I know this is not the first time we've fallen off the face of the Earth for a while, and I can only apologize for it so many times. The fact of the matter is that this website is a labor of love so sometimes that's just going to happen. Thankfully most of you have been really cool about that.

But this time it happened for a reason I totally hadn't expected and I want to talk about it for a second: Conventions.

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HYPER TOAST #5 by Vik Gill

Justin Decarlo’s Hyper Toast #5 is a 32 page A5-sized minicomic that is just pleasing to hold and look at. That the book’s cover has texture—that those silhouetted shapes and yellow outlines are raised—should be enough to warrant the book some consideration. The effort Decarlo has put into this cover surely reflects the effort he’s put into the rest of the comic.

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Fantastic Life is Really, Really Real—or Is It? by Spandexless

by Jake Grubman Marc Sobel of the Graphic Eye did an interview with Kevin Mutch a few months before Mutch’s Fantastic Life was printed with a Xeric Grant in early 2012. It came just after the book was selected for Alison Bechdel’s edition of the Best American Comics, and it is about as wide-ranging and interesting as these kinds of interviews get, for my money.

Mutch hasn’t hit the big time yet, but in that interview and on the pages of Fantastic Life and its sequel The Rough Pearl, you get a glimpse of a guy who is thinking and producing the way good artists do. These are both strong books, and they have me really looking forward to what he produces in the future.

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Seth Kushner’s Forcefield Fotocomix Vol. 01 by Spandexless

by Brandon Beck Forcefield Fotocomix Vol. 01 is a great idea executed extremely well. A collection of short vignettes involving the crime fighting Costumed Characters, futuristic space DJs and Kushner himself, Forcefield is a vibrant, exceedingly well-shot, and inventive collection of photographic comics. Primarily a portrait photographer (his portraits of The Beastie Boys, Jonathan Ames and Michael Moore, among others, sprinkled throughout the book are gorgeous and evocative), Kushner turned his eye towards bridging his two loves: comics and photography.

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Flightless Birds Compilation: Attack of the Sads by David Anderson

Mental health was always one of those things where people would ascribe moral weakness to describe a mental condition that might have complex or unexplained origins. People used to think sin caused schizophrenia or homosexuality, then they blamed it on masturbation or whatever else made them feel morally superior to people with different mentalities. Depression still gets that kind of treatment. "Stop being so depressed, you're such a whiner!"—for its part, depression is typically thought of as a temporary sadness that only miserable losers prolong by dwelling on problems. It's a lot more complex than that, obviously. There are some people who just have a bad day, and then there's others whose brains are literally a different shape because of depression, leading to a chronic diagnosis. It's a spectrum, really, not an either/or deal. Still, even the guys who need medication just to get out of bed get tagged as people who just need to man up and stop being a "pussy".

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