My Amazing Friends!

Tue 8/21/2018

Yeesh! This summer has just flown by. I had a great trip out to Vermont, and since I got back I've enjoyed just being at home, chipping away at my projects and spending a lot of time with my family.

It's going to be a while before I have anything new to share, so in the meantime, I thought I would alert everyone to some awesome books that my amazing friends made, which are all coming out this year. Some of these have been in the works for many years, so it is a super big deal that they are finally coming out! Please support these books in any way you can -- ask your library to carry them, order a copy, tell your friends!

1) Look Back and Laugh by Liz Prince! For the last few years I have been a subscriber to Liz's Patreon, where she creates a daily diary comic. At the end of every month she puts together an awesome little minicomic and mails it out to folks who support her campaign at a certain tier. Now the first year of those comics have been collected into a 416-page TOME, published by Top Shelf, which is currently available! If you've never read Liz's diary strips before, she does such an awesome job of documenting her life, finding funny and poignant moments while she tries to balance life, work, travel, friendships AND HER CATS.

2) The Unsinkable Walker Bean and the Knights of the Waxing Moon by Aaron Renier! (colored by me!). Oh man, Aaron and I worked on this book for a long time, and it's gonna be worth the wait! It comes out October 23rd, 2018 and it picks up where the first book left off. It's almost 100 pages longer than the first book, so it really covers a lot of ground. Aaron's skill as an artist and storyteller have continued to grow - there are jaw-dropping two-page spreads, plot twists aplenty and adventure bursting out of every page turn. I'm obviously biased, because I spent many years working on this book, but I think that it is really going to blow people away. Reread book 1 before October, so you're ready to jump into book two!!

3) Upgrade Soul by Ezra Claytan Daniels! Ezra is one of my oldest comics friends, and ever since I met him he has inspired me with his amazing talent, entrepreneurial spirit and combination of comics with other media. For years he has been working on a mind-bending science fiction story, Upgrade Soul, which has been picked up by Lion Forge, and comes out in comic shops September 5th and in books stores September 18th. I know there are going to be all these articles and reviews that say Ezra "came out of nowhere" or that this book as his "debut" but many of us know that Ezra has been working hard for years, and I hope that this book launches his career to a whole new level. He is one of the smartest writers I know, and his stories are always thought-provoking and a bit haunting. I know he's got some more amazing stuff in the pipeline, so keep an eye on his work!

ALLLSO: This is already a long post, but I wanted to quickly mention some other friends who have work coming out this year!

  • Bastard by Max de Radigu├Ęs! Max is having a big year here in North America! His book Weegee: Serial Photographer was released in May from Conundrum Press and now Fantagraphics is releasing an English translation of Bastard, which won a prize at Angoul├¬me in January (a super big deal!!). He'll be at SPX, which sadly I am going to miss this year, so pick up his book and give him a big hug for me!
  • Mr. Wolf's Class by Aron Nels Steinke! I loved these funny stories of Aron's teaching experiences when they were self-published minicomics, and now they have been picked up by Scholastic! There are more volumes on the way, so jump into this series!
  • Space Boy: Volume 1 by Stephen McCrainie! Stephen is a new friend that I've made since moving to New Mexico. He has a wildly popular online comic called Space Boy which has just been signed as a four-book series with Dark Horse. Volume 1 just came out this summer and Volume 2 is on the way. It's a great YA teen/high school story but set in the future with a sci-fi spin on it. Super fun!

All this stuff is highly recommended. I'm probably even missing some others, sorry if I'm leaving anyone out!!

Wendy!

Sun 4/29/2018

Hello, hello! Well, three months after my last post, our family has now grown by one member. My daughter Wendy was born on March 9th. She waited until well after Claire's due date, into the 41st week (just like her big sister Suzanne did) but then, on the night of her birth, she was ready! It was a dramatic, lightning-quick 20-minute labor. Our midwife had warned us that second births could be a bit faster, and with Suzanne's birth taking 8 hours, we were thinking like maybe 2 hours? Nope! 20 minutes from Claire's water breaking to holding the baby in her arms!

Wendy is thriving and Claire made a speedy recovery - she's already back on her bike zipping around town and this week she started to get back to work. Suzanne has been great with Wendy so far. The only way Wendy's arrival seems to be disrupting Suzanne's routine is that she hasn't been sleeping as well since Wendy was born. We're all pretty tired these days, and trying to just make it through this first rough stretch. Hopefully things will be a bit more calm in the fall.

The Spring semester at the Center for Cartoon Studies wraps up this week. I have been thesis advising two MFA-canidates, so now that they are done I am shifting gears to begin preparing for my Beginning Animation workshop which runs from July 9-13. I am really excited to teach that class again! If you have ever wanted to try your hand at traditional 2D animation, come join me in Vermont! It will be a lot of fun.

Other than that, it's just trying to put in an hour a day at the drawing table to keep up with my comics projects, get a little sleep when I can, and spending a lot of time with all my girls. Onwards!

Pre-Birth Project Roundup!

Sat 2/3/2018

We're only about a week away from the beginning of the month-long "window" where Claire will most likely deliver our baby, so I have been frantically trying to finish off projects and attempting to get my ducks in a row. My goal is to have as few obligations as possible on my plate during the first few difficult weeks of raising a newborn.

I have been working on so many various things, and have not been doing a great job of posting updates about them, so I thought I'd group them all here, in one final post before I lay low for a while.

So without further ado, here is all the stuff I've been working on:

1) I finally finished my 2017 Blog Archive image, which you can see here. I had a whopping 12 posts last year - the fewest I've ever written since this blog's inception in 2004. We'll see if 2018 is any better!

2) The Drop Target Omnibus is now publicly available for ordering! Jon and I finished up all our Kickstarter obligations, so the book is now available for any other pinball enthusiasts who are looking for a copy.

3) All of my Phase Seven Comics eBooks are now $0+ pay what you want! If you would like to check out any of my books, you can now do so (digitally) for free. If you like what you read, consider chipping in a few bucks, or just tell your friends about it.

4) Speaking of eBooks, I finally posted an eBook of Gabby Schulz's A Process of Drastically Reducing One's Expectations which is also $0+ pay what you want. 50+ pages of the book are presented in full color, which was not possible in the print edition.

5) I created a paperback second edition of Basewood! The hardback first edition of the book is out of print, so I created this new edition which reincorporates all of the old Phase 7 covers, introductions, letters columns and 16 pages of Basewood fan art by a bunch of rad cartoonists. If you are interested in checking this out, but don't want to buy yet another version of Basewood, you can get the eBook for free (see how handy that is?).

6) I also released the latest Phase 7 collection: The Ballads and Beards of Basewood which brings together issues #020 and #021. This book is the same format (8.5" x 11") and has the same color palette as the new Basewood paperback, so they make a nice little pair together.

7) I finished up the second chapter of Isle of Elsi (a 9-page short story) and have begun unlocking one Patreon Backer Blog post per month, so that people can see what kind of content is going on in there.

8) Speaking of the Isle of Elsi Patreon, I started recording a podcast for my Patrons, which has been a lot of fun. I've been interviewing friends and family members, talking about the creative process, favorite books, and brainstorming various ideas for the webcomic.

9) I have been doing a lot of free internet video class visits in colleges around the country as part of my day job as Director of Academic Outreach for the Center for Cartoon Studies.

10) I have also been busy around the house, working on various little "nesting" projects to try and eliminate chaos and to make things brighter and safer and homier. Claire's dad has very generously been doing a ton of work for us too. I have been posting photos of these projects in my Instagram (most of which then repost into my Flickr).

11) Lastly, I joined the Santa Fe Concert Band???!? Playing my trumpet again has provided a lot of much-needed stress relief. I'm obviously going to have to take some time off when "Claire Jr." arrives, but hopefully I can stick with this moving forward! I find that I am a happier, more productive person when I am regularly making music.

There are other projects developing in the background, but I'm going to wait until they are closer to completion before I start talking about them. Everything is going to slow wayyy down when the baby arrives, and it's hard to even comprehend what my schedule is going to look like after things settle down again... IF they ever settle down again!

Anyway, wish us luck....

 
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