This Spring semester I took a self-imposed, unpaid paternity leave from my teaching job at the California College of the Arts Comics MFA program. I'm really glad I did, because it has been great giving my undivided attention to Claire during her recovery from the birth, and to my daughter Suzanne during these first few months of her life. It has been amazing watching Suzanne slowing coming "online" - going from a little lump that can't do anything to a real, live baby that is grabbing things, looking around, smiling and cooing.
During this quiet, family time, there were two great releases that I have been enjoying immensely. Weezer's 10th studio album (and 4th self-titled album, now known as "The White Album") was released on April 1st and I have been listening to it ever since. Of course, I'm completely biased, but it is one of their best albums ever. I feel like they really walked through fire with EWBAITE and now they can do anything. Listening to it for the first time reminded me of listening to The Blue Album early on. It's got a fun, upbeat pop vibe while still rocking hard, and it wears its Beach Boys influence proudly on its sleeve. The new track "L.A. Girlz" is one of my all-time favorite weezer songs, from any era. I wish I could send it back in time to myself when I was depressed and lonely, living in L.A. in 2002. Anyway, you can listen to the whole album for free on YouTube, or you can buy it anywhere music is sold. Highly recommended.
Also in early April, Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens came out on Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital and Claire and I had an absolute blast going through all of the bonus features about the creation of this latest installment of the Star Wars saga. I've already watched the movie again once and will probably do so a few more times before summer gets here. If you've got this movie in your home, keep an eye out for Yolo Ziff!
New trailers were also released for the Star Wars spin-off movie Rogue One which comes out this December AND for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I'm really excited about both of these films, so that has put a little bounce in my step.
During this time I have been working on lots of projects: Phase 7 #022, which should be out this summer, Isle of Elsi which updates every Thursday, I built a new illustration portfolio site and I'm also building a new website for Phase Seven Comics, because the comics page of this site is getting a bit unwieldy. There's some other top-secret projects I have been working on too, but it's too early to talk about them yet...
As April comes to a close, my teaching duties are slowly starting to ramp up again, with faculty meetings and course prep work. I will be teaching two weeks of summer workshops at The Center for Cartoon Studies from June 20th - July 1st. There is still some space available if you would like to come learn about comics in Vermont this summer with me and Jon Chad. Then from July 11th - 29th I will be teaching five days a week in San Francisco at The California College of the Arts Comics MFA program. I've also got a few weddings to attend in August, so it is going to be quite the busy summer! All the more reason it has been great to stay so close to home these past few months.
This weekend I am heading to New York City for the 2016 MoCCA Arts Fest, a show I have been tabling at since 2005. It will be my first comics show in more than a year so I am very excited to get back out there.
It's going to be a busy weekend! MoCCA is now run by The Society of Illustrators and in conjunction with MoCCA this year, they also have an exhibit up in one of their galleries called The Center for Cartoon Studies: Ten Years of Fellowship which runs from February 23 - April 30. I've got some rare Basewood originals up in the exhibit along with work by the other amazing CCS Fellows. There will be an party for the exhibit on Friday April 1 at 8pm, which is open to the public. I will be there with bells on!
As part of the CCS exhibit, I drew a brand new, 12-page minicomic called "Location, Location, Location" which every single person who comes to MoCCA will get a copy of... for FREE! It's about the difference between trying to draw comics in New York City (which I did for four years) and trying to draw comics in Vermont (which I also did for four years).
Saturday and Sunday I will be at the MoCCA Fest, exhibiting at Table E-176 along with Greg Means of Tugboat Press. I will have copies of my new Weezer Fan collection and Basewood, along with issues of Phase 7 and Drop Target Zine. If you are in New York City this weekend, please swing by!
On Sunday at 3:30pm in the Helvetica Room I will be moderating the Center for Cartoon Studies: Ten Years of Fellowship panel, which will include fellows: T. Edward Bak, Julie Delporte, Chris Wright, Sophie Yanow, Connor Willumsen and Max de Radiguès.
Coincidentally, weezer will also be in New York City this weekend, promoting their new album which comes out on April 1. They've got appearances lined up on the Today Show and on Jimmy Kimmel. I won't be able to catch any of these, but it will be cool to know they are in the area. If you see me with my headphones on behind my table at MoCCA, you'll know what I'm listening to!
Anyway, LOTS of cool stuff happening in New York this weekend! I hope to see some of you out there!!!
Tomorrow I'm heading over to Huntsville, Texas to teach a comics workshop for the graphic novel class at Sam Houston State University.
Afterwards I'll be giving a talk about the creation of my book Basewood, which will be open to the public. The local bookstore will have some copies of Basewoood for sale, which I will be signing. If you are in the area, it will be at 4:00pm on Monday, March 14th in Evans 105. Maybe I'll see some of you there!
Thanks to CCS and SHSU Professor Michael Demson for helping to organize this event!