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APE announces 2013 special guests

APE

APE

This year will mark the 20th anniversary of the Bay Area’s Alternative Press Expo, and Comic-Con International has announced the special guests who will be in attendance when it returns to the Concourse Exhibition Center in San Francisco Oct. 12-13 for what will be its last show at the venue.

This year’s special guests are:

  • Colleen Coover, co-creator (with husband Paul Tobin) of Gingerbread Girl and the Eisner-nominated Bandette. She’s also the creator of Small Favors and Banana Sunday.
  • Bill Griffith, the legendary creator of the comic strip Zippy the Pinhead.
  • Anders Nilsen, creator of Big Questions, The End, Don’t Go Where I Can’t Follow and Dogs and Water.
  • Diane Noomin, creator of DiDi Glitz and editor of the Twisted Sisters anthologies of women cartoonists.
  • Raina Telgemeier, creator of the popular all-ages graphic novels Smile and Drama

APE was started in 1994 by SLG Publishing’s Dan Vado and was held in San Jose until 1999. It moved to San Francisco after that and has been held at the Concourse since 2004. But according to CCI, the show will be looking for a new home next year. “Sadly, we have been notified that this will be the last year for APE at that location,” a statement on the show’s website reads. “The Concourse is scheduled to be razed at some point in the future to make room for new condominiums.”

APE ’12 | Saturday at the show

APE!

The Alternative Press Expo, or APE, kicked off today in San Francisco, and I made the trek up north to partake in comic culture-dom. I missed the show last year, and in fact haven’t been to a comic convention since SDCC in 2010, so it was fun to get back into the con groove. And APE is just the place to do it, with its laid back vibe and focus on making, buying and talking about comics.

Like I said, I missed last year’s show, so I have no idea how the crowds compared or the size of the place compared. Since I first started attending the show in 2007, they’ve switched up the layout of the place, and it seemed much bigger, with more exhibitors, than it has in the past. There seemed to be a bunch of people there, many with kids, and the folks exhibiting who I talked to for the most part seemed to be happy with the turn out. The weather was beautiful, which can sometimes be a hindrance; San Francisco doesn’t have that many days per year where there’s lots of sunshine and it’s very warm outside, so you never know when someone might decide to hit the park instead of, say, a convention. It’ll be interesting to hear what the CCI folks say about attendance this year

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This weekend, it’s the Alternative Press Expo

The Alternative Press Expo, or APE, returns to the Concourse Exhibition Center in San Francisco this weekend. The show’s special guests are Groo creator Sergio Aragonés, Flood creator Eric Drooker, all three legendary Hernandez Brothers, The Cardboard Valise creator Ben Katchor, jobnik! creator Miriam Libicki, and Weathercraft creator and giant pen owner Jim Woodring, all of whom have spotlight panels over the course of the two days. In addition, other guests attending the show include Shannon Wheeler, Stan Mack, Justin Hall, Derek Kirk Kim, Jason Shiga, Thien Pham, Jamaica Dyer and many more.

In addition to the spotlight panels, the show has panels on politics and comics, censorship, queer cartoonists and a “Gigantes” meet-up with the Hernandez Bros. and Aragones. They also have workshop panels if you’re interested in making comics and a “creator connection” that allows aspiring creators to find writers or artists to work with.

The show is usually one of my favorites of the year, mainly because it’s so easy going and loaded with opportunities to discover something new and cool. Here’s a round-up of some of the folks you can see and buy cool stuff from at the show, as well as things to do inside and outside of the Concourse:

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Quote of the day #2 | How Daniel Clowes got the Ghost World girls right

I learned to blend in to the wallpaper so I was barely there. I found myself very often in the company of girls who were talking very freely and would say, ‘Oh, I forgot he was there!’ So I felt like I had this inner sense that they were closer to me and my friends than I could ever imagine.

Ghost World author Daniel Clowes, responding to an audience question on how he captured the voices of 16-year-old girls so well in his landmark graphic novel. Being invisible to the opposite sex has its benefits after all.

For more from Clowes and his fellow alternative comics titan Adrian Tomine, check out CBR’s report on the pair’s APE panel, from writer Karl Kiely.

Jemma Salume’s Captain Kitten debuts at APE

As if you didn’t have enough reason to go to the Alternative Press Expo this weekend in San Francisco, cartoonist Jemma Salume will be brandishing a new minicomic pairing pussycats with pirates.

Ladies and gentlemen, Captain Kitten.

Described by the artist as “sixteen pages of feline piratical exploits,” the one-shot promises cats, jetpack pterodactyls and what could be my next catch-phrase, “Knives On His Face!”

Salume will be bringing 100 copies of this one-shot with her, along with her previous one-shot Unicorn Life Cycle and a number of stickers and other art. Look her up at table #450 this weekend at APE, and buy me a copy! Seriously!

Scott C’s Amazing Everything debuts this weekend

Scott Campbell (who goes by Scott C, presumably to avoid confusion with J. Scott Campbell) has completed an art book (his first collection of watercolor paintings) called Amazing Everything. If you’re familiar with Campbell’s work, you understand how appropriate that title is.  It debuts this weekend at APE, but there’s also a launch party Thursday at San Francisco’s 111 Minna Gallery from 7 – 10 p.m.

Among other things, Campbell promises:

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Inside the minds of Daniel Clowes and Johnny Ryan

Over on the CBR mothership, two potential “book of the year” candidates are talking about what makes them tick. First up is Daniel Clowes, author of Wilson. In a report on Clowes’s Dan Nadel-hosted spotlight panel at APE, CBR’s Karl Kelly reveals that Clowes thinks none too highly of the readability of classic comics even by artists he admires:

“I realized at a certain point that the thing that keeps me drawing comics and the thing that has always moved me along is that comics history is really disappointing,” Clowes responded. “It’s not the same as the history of novels, history of art, history of movies, the body of work is pretty spotty. The things we imagined don’t really exist. We imagine that Alex Toth did really amazing comics in the 50s that really worked, that were like Howard Hawk’s movies, but he didn’t do that. He never made a comic you could read. It’s terrible, and I say that thinking that he was one of the greatest geniuses of the 20th Century.”

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APE ’10 | AdHouse, Top Shelf, Fantagraphics, APE Aftermath and more

Alternative Press Expo

As Graeme mentioned earlier today, the Alternative Press Expo is coming up this weekend in San Francisco. The show runs Saturday and Sunday at the Concourse on 8th Street. This year’s special guests include Daniel Clowes, Lynda Barry, Renee French, Rich Koslowski and several more. In addition to an exhibitor’s room packed with comics, they also have a full programming slate and even a “speed dating” event to help writers find artists (and vice versa).

Over the next couple days, I’ll be posting what various companies and creators have planned for the show; you can find a few of them below. If you’d like to be included, email me the details on where you’ll be, what you’ll be selling and all that good stuff.

AdHouse Books

AdHouse returns to APE after a several year hiatus, bringing copies of Duncan the Wonder Dog, among others:

Duncan the Wonder Dog

We’ll be tabling with our good bud Scott Morse. So, look for us in the 33o area. Also, Adam Hines will be making his first APE appearance. Swing by and see why PWComicsWeek has said Duncan the Wonder Dog is their pick for book of the year.

We’ll have exactly ONE advance copy of the new Josh Cotter book Babs in the Sky with Neil Diamonds for people to peruse.

We’ll have just a few of the NoBrow editions with us. Our good bud’s at Last Gasp are also a distributor, so I’m sure they’ll have lots as well.

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Talking Comics with Tim | Dustin Harbin

Diary Comics 1

Diary Comics 1

Dustin Harbin is a cartoonist who considers his craft and the comics industry from a pragmatic vantage point. I say pragmatic, because, to be perfectly honest, the first few questions I fired at Harbin were skewed a tad negative, completely on my end. I think it’s to his credit that rather than going the easy, negative or defensive routes, he offered nuanced, yet candid responses to my questions. We dispensed with those questions fairly quickly and from there got into the meat of why I wanted to talk to him: his ongoing work as letterer of the relaunched Matt Fraction/Gabriel Ba & company’s Casanova (Icon/Issue 4 set to come out on October 13) as well as his own Diary Comics #1 (Koyama Press) [48 pgs | b&w w/ color covers, endpapers {$6 ($10 w/sketch)}], which premiered at SPX. Harbin describes Diary Comics 1 as “this–THIS!–is your opportunity to splash on in to six months of one dull dude’s life, as originally seen in the daily DHARBIN! diary comic. Covering topics including girls, dharbins, other girls, more dharbins, depressions, some conventions, more depressions, tons more dharbins, AND MUCH MORE!!” On the con front, Harbin will be at APE this month (October 16-17), then BCGF in Brooklyn in December. My thanks to Harbin for indulging my questions.

Tim O’Shea: Is it me, or judging by recent tweets, are you pulling the kid gloves off in terms of your opinions since you are no longer a HeroesCon official?

Dustin Harbin: Haha, well while not being part of the public face of something besides myself DOES free me a little bit opinion-wise, I think I’ve always been fairly vocal about my disgust with some of the crappier blog sites out there. Not working for HeroesCon just means that I don’t have to worry about it reflecting on Shelton Drum. That dude is super-friendly, he would never publicly run something down, he’s too classy, unlike me.

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Upcoming project takes comics ‘All Over The Map’

Page from 'All Over The Map' by St. Germain & Worsley

Road trips are a unique experience and your first is often a rite of passage in many ways. It’s popular in fiction as well, from movies, comics, prose and even classic texts like The Canterbury Tales. At California’s annual APE convention in October, two cartoonists are partnering together for a unique multimedia project.

All Over The Map is described by co-creator Star St. Germain as a “multimedia project based around the idea of a cross-country road trip.” A collaboration with artist John C Worsley, the project documents the trip between Oregon and Massachusetts, with each page representing a state on the way there. One of its more unique aspects is that the book can be read in either direction – the pages will be divided by the path of the road, with Germain going from Massachusetts to Oregon and Worsley traveling the opposite direction. The multimedia project lives up to its name by doing not just comics but accompanying music. Both Germain and Worsley have made an album, recording a song for each state they traverse.

Look for more on this project at APE Oct. 16-17 in San Francisco.

UPDATE: The creators have emailed us to inform them that they have a website for this project, along with a custom player previewing tracks from these soundtracks. Goto http://wearegivingup.com/

Quote of the day | Dustin Harbin vs. small-press comic cons

Don't mess with Dharbin

Don't mess with Dharbin

“I can’t BELIEVE MoCCA’s table prices. They are drinking the same hubris Kool-Aid as SPX. Why are the charity shows always the cheekiest? I saw it and I was like *slaps head*. Although to be fair, I’ve never exhibited there, just been a crowded hot attendee. (I read some interviews with them after the super hot year, they were all like ‘hey listen, it’s summer, it gets hot.’) Not to mention how expensive NYC is in general! Just makes it easier to skip. Also today I got my acceptance letter (???) for APE, after applying 3 months ago. Due date for payment: 1 week from now. I had always heard about how well-run HeroesCon is from guests, but now I see why. Indie shows are organized like block parties. Except the kind of block parties where they charge you like $50 to come in, then charge you for beer too. ‘Dude it’s for charity!’ SPX is pretty fun, but TCAF is the best one easily–plus Toronto = my favorite city! Wait, please exclude TCAF from that mini-rant. TCAF is a dream, a dreammmm. Other shows take note! Okay back to lettering, sorry.”

Cartoonist, Casanova letterer, and “nicest guy in comics” candidate Dustin Harbin has an uncharacteristically grumpy moment on Twitter over the prices that the MoCCA Art Festival is charging exhibitors, and the administration of indie/alt-comics shows generally (except TCAF, of course). It’s hard out there for a minicomics creator.

Talking Comics with Tim: Dan Vado

San Jose Comics Festival

San Jose Comics Festival

The comic book industry is populated with a vast array of good people–and Dan Vado, head of SLG Publishing is one of them. When I heard about this Saturday’s San Jose Comics Festival (January 16 from 12 to 5 PM–for the reasonable price of FREE), I sought out Vado for an email interview. We also discussed the SLG Radio podcast (my current favorite comics podcast at present) for a bit.

Tim O’Shea: In discussing the festival recently with CBR’s Kiel Phegley you described how successful the San Jose area in terms of festivals, noting that with a past event SLG “managed to get over 1,500 people to come out to downtown San Jose on a Wednesday night”. What is it about San Jose that makes it tend to so strongly support festivals/gatherings of this type?

Dan Vado: The snide answer is that there really isn’t much going on here, but that would not be the truth. There actually is a lot going on, but not enough that covers the middle ground of people who have slightly older kids to teens and the older music and bar scene. The 1,500 number was in reference to a zombie crawl we sponsored. While we put it together as a pub crawl, the sheer number of people with families that came out was astounding.

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