(Marvel Premier Featuring issue 45 from 1978. Cover art by George Perez and Bob McLeod. Image stolen from SellMyComics.)
Here are some things I found interesting in the world of minicomics, comic books, graphic novels, small press, self publishing, zines, webcomics, cartoons, digital comics, other, etc. during the
"Hear me, arisen Tyrk! In the name of my comrades Sashiel and Barq, I swear vengeance from this moment on... The Man-Wolf is out for your stinking blood!" - Col. John Jameson, The Man-Wolf.
- Hello sisters and brothers of teh intronets and welcome to another episode of your Other Comics News Parade-O-Links. My name is Shannon and I'll be your host. This is the first Parade-O-Links in quite some time. I know most of you are thinking, "Where has the Parade-O-Links been during this darkest time of my life when I had nothing to live for and teh intronets completely let me down and all my favorite comics were canceled and the antidepressants had bad side effects and my favorite sports teams lost and all of my pets pooped in places I didn't want to clean? Where was the Parade-O-Links when the world stopped turning?!?" Look, friends, pals, I'd love to tell you everything that has happened since the last Parade-O-Links but quite frankly Frank Quitely, I don't remember.
- So, let's start fresh. I feel like I have solid memories of life on Earth going back at least to June of 2016 so we'll star there. Fair enough? Good. I'm glad we agree. I appreciate your respect and understanding. And, might I add, you look great today. Fantastic choice of footwear. I'm digging it. Magnificent. I've always said that only the sexiest of the sexiest people read the Parade-O-Links and it's as true today as it was a few seconds ago when I made it up.
(The Jack Tales wall based on Charles Vess art at Southwest Virginia Community College.)
- At some point in the epic adventure that is my life, the powers that be in acedemia decided that I am not only a genius and that I smell great but that I am also a comics scholar. I was approached by the Appalachian Heritage Writers Symposium to present a workshop on writing for comics and graphic novels. I turned that opportunity yes and put together a powerpoint presentation focused on the differences between writing for prose and writing for comics.
Most of the writers at the symposium were pretty up on their plain old writin' words kinda' writin' but they needed to know how to write so that an artist could actually do something with it. A drawing is a hell of a thing to have to write. I bestowed upon them this great knowledge along with a little minicomic full of blank panels so that they could practice writing using thumbnails. I look forward to taking a sip of my cocktail and giving a knowing nod when they all thank me during their eventual Eisner acceptance speeches. I taught for two hours and met a lot of great folks. Sharyn McCrumb was they keynote speaker. I was able to attend her workshop and picked up a lot of neat ideas. Southwest Virginia Community College hosted the event and they have a lot of Charles Vess art on display including a huge brick sculpture based on his design. (I took some more photos of it that you can find on my instagram.) Also, we had lunch. It was a great experience and I'm grateful for the opportunity.
- Did you guys know that not only am I a comics scholar but I am also a professional comic book writer? This is a true and well established fact. Human beings have paid me to deliver to them words which have then been printed in comic books. Perhaps you've read some of the comics? Perhaps you are a fan? And who isn't? But how hardcore are you? Do you have my earliest work? Did you know that I did some work for the Glorp Gum Company back in the 90s? Hah! You didn't know that did you Mr. Fancypants? It's true. Way back in 1991 the Glorp Gum Company hired me to do some scripting on a new comic book they had in the works. I remember it like yesterday. I was sitting there in my dorm room, freshman year, smelling like teen spirit, listening to my favorite Bronze Vestal Virgin cassette tape ("Double Dead Again 2: Tokyo One Night Only") when the RA came a knockin' on my door to let me know that I had a phone call. I figured it was the usual, some band wanting me to replace their guitar player or whatever, but when I answered the phone it was none other than comics legend John Sourcup. (RIP) I thought the guy was already dead but here he is on the phone offering me a job. Turns out he had read some of my Megaforce fan fiction in Slasher magazine and I thought I was just the guy to help him out with some last minute scripting on the revival of Glorp's comics line. I worked out some dialog for a little eight page skateboarding story called "Safety First Skater Later" that was printed up in the back of Glorp Comics and Stories. Now, most of you are probably familiar with the story of how Glorp debuted the comic at a big skateboarding event and about how all those people and vee jays died. I don't really want to get into all of that. I don't really like to talk about it. I was a big fan of a lot of the pro skaters that died that day... Anyway, as I'm sure you all know from the various TV documentaries, all of the comics were destroyed in the fire. Or so we thought! Friends, life is strange. Years ago, there I am writing for the Glorp Gum Company and then one day, decades later, my pal Brad McGinty buys the Glorp Gum Company! Can you believe that expletive? Sure enough, my friend and yours, Brad McGinty buys the Glorp Gum Company and what does he find when he's digging through the vaults? You guessed it, the only remaining copy of Glorp Comics and Stories on the planet. But wait, it gets better. My man, Brad McGinty, recently fired up the Glorp presses, pulled the lever down from the t-shirt setting to the comic book setting and knocked out a fat stack of Glorp comics that you my friend can pay for and read with your own damned eyeballs. It's a damned hot boiled miracle. I've got to pause for a moment and just let it roll over me...
- Whew. I'm back. Ain't that somethin'?
- Friends, this is real talk right now. This is serious business. You, and not the collective internet you, but YOU, you right there, with your elbows and other unique characteristics, you can click this link right now and buy Glorp comics. And not just Glorp Comics and Stories! No! Other comics as well! McGinty and fine people of the Glorp Gum Factory have printed up long lost copies of the legendary Moss Rot and Twin Cities Freakout. These are two of the craziest comics I've ever witnessed. Did you even ever imagine you'd have a chance to buy these legendary comics!? On newsprint!?! McGinty printed them on newsprint! Do you guys understand the gravity of the opportunity that Brad McGinty is giving you here? These comics will dunk your donut! You can buy Glorp Comics, Moss Rot and Twin Cities Freakout all for one low price! Or, for multiple individual low prices but that would be kinda stupid.
- McGinty done did it again.
- Santa Claus is crying himself to sleep wishing he could do for the children what McGinty has done for all of mankind.
- Just let it roll over ya.
- Another thing I did this summer was take the kids to America's most beloved comic book convention, HeroesCon. I've been going to HeroesCon fairly consistently since about 2004 but this was the first time I went as a regular old customer and not as an Indie Island guest or Artist Alley exhibitor. I just went for good ol' fun and boy oh boy was some good ol' fun had. The show has become enormous but, to its credit, it remains a comics show. Sure, like every other show, it has become infected by the prints epidemic but at least most of the prints at HeroesCon are comics related and on Indie Island the prints are actual original creations and not just sexy Harley Quinn. It's a still a show where you can shop for comics of pretty much any kind. The kind I shop for are the kind that cost 25 cents or less. I bought about as many comics as a grocery store bag could hold for $11. And boy do they smell terrible. Sweet, sweet, mildew how I love you. Pretty sure most of the comics I picked up had bong water spilled on them at least once. Glorious! I love it.
The only new books I picked up were on Indie Island. Rich Tommaso was there with the first issue of She Wolf. I've been a huge fan of Rich's stuff forever and this might be his best work yet. I love this comic. I got the new Atomic Elbow, the latest J. Chris Campbell mini, all of the Glorp comics (have I mentioned the Glorp comics?) and an original Blue Snaggletooth drawing by Patrick Dean. And that's pretty much it. There were a lot of folks there I would have liked to have talked to and picked up their latest stuff but they had solid lines or crowds around them and I ran out of time. And that's cool. I'll pick up their stuff online or at the next show. I'm happy to see their audiences growing. I was just on the convention floor on Saturday and honestly it was a bit overwhelming for me as a customer. There was just so much to look at. My usual con strategy is to walk the floor once before I spend money but by the time I walked HeroesCon I was ready to lie down. My kids picked up some cool stuff. My nine year old got a hand made sword because why not. My fourteen year old picked up some Gravity Falls stuff and some rad buttons and stickers. Thankfully, comics is currently in a place where there are some fantastic female creators working on books accessible to teens and some of my daughter's favorite lady creators were at the show. I think it's the first show where my daughter had specific artists she wanted to seek out. She left the show inspired and literally knocked out a new minicomic in the month following. (More on that in a future post.)
We also checked out the art auction. I was a bit underwhelmed by the art on display. Most of it appeared to be work done on the floor that day as opposed to some of the bigger more ambitious works I've seen there in the past. That said, Jared Cullum's giant Fantastic Four at HeroesCon painting was amazing and as good as anything I've ever seen at the show. It went for around $7,000 bucks if I remember correctly. A lot of my pals are friends with Jared so there were a lot of proud beaming faces in the Westin lobby and bar that Saturday night.
Speaking of which, the main attraction of HeroesCon for me is getting to hang out with all my pals.
It was super great to see my former Atlanta bro doggers Brad McGinty and Josh Latta (and Erin of course, Hi Erin!). Brad helped me with my first minicomic in 2002 and I've been sharing table space and hotel rooms with Brad and Josh for years now. We all lived in the Atlanta area back in those days but have since all moved to different states so Heroes Con is about the only time we end up under the same roof now.
Also super great to see all my other pals that I see slightly more frequently, Patrick Dean, Robert Newsome, Rich Tommaso, J. Chris Campbell, Duane Ballenger, Rob Ullman, Adam and Shawn Daughhetee, all the Dollar Bin bros, Heather and Seth Peagler and all the HeroesCon staff, my man Jeremy Massie (who I live about 30 minutes from but see at comics shows more than I do in the wild), Matt Smith, all the folks I'm too lazy to list, all the folks I saw but didn't get to speak to but just waved and said "hey man!" to... everyone. Everyone that has every lived. I was super happy to see them and/or missed them terribly.
- I was a guest a RobCon at Viking Hall in Bristol TN, this summer. The show was nice and packed with vendors and cosplayers but suffered some for being scheduled on the same weekend as neighboring Abingdon, VA's big summer festival. I did well enough. Sold original art and comics and my daughter Kassidy sold some art and her new minicomic Idea Box. I'll talk about Idea Box more on file under other once we print up more copies.
- Because I'm a super successful and popular comics creator in high demand, I had another apperance on the same weekend as RobCon. I was a guest at Saint Paul, VA's Friends of the Library Cooks and Books event. This is an annual fundraiser where area authors and area cooks are set up outside to sell books, eat food and drink wine and beer. It's pretty great. The music was mostly Huey Lewis and the News so that's a major win for any getogether. I did well and the library picked up some of our comics for their shelves.
- So, at this point in the post I've typed about a half million words about myself and my friends. It's fine. But maybe you want news? Maybe you want the hard hitting critical analysis of the state of the comics industry at this exact moment? Maybe I'll do that next week. This post was essentially a housekeeping post, we'll get back to the real nitty gritty soon. But before I do I do have to acknowledge the redcent birthdays of comics titans Jack Kirby and Gene Colan. August 26th was also the birthdy of my father David Smith. He would have been 67. He's with me ever day.
- And finally... Let's check in on our old pal Francis. Gotta catch 'em all Francis.
- Remember pals, life is hard. Read comics every day, chew Glorp every day and you'll keep on livin' until your dead.
Your best pal ever,
p.s. Say you want a leader but you can't seem to make up your mind. I think you'd better close it and let me guide you to my twitter feed.
p.p.s. Let's pretend we went to high school together on facebook.
p.p.p.s. Google + is another place you can read the same thing I posted here.
p.p.p.p.s. I'll tumblr for ya.
p.p.p.p.p.s. Yeah, I do Instagram too. I guess it's a law or something.