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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:
If you couldn’t make it to MorrisonCon over the weekend and are looking to experience aspects of the event beyond Comic Book Resources’ panel reports, British musician Akira the Don offers his take on the first day, which included lounging in “Suite Le Morrison to drink fine boozes, pore over immensely incredible art pages from Grant and Frank’s upcoming Multiversity comic and chatter excitedly about Jilted John and bath salt zombies and the new age of Horus whilst being filmed for a documentary.”
Even better, he has a slew of photos, some featuring Morrison (glowing and not), Gerard Way and retailer/convention organizer James Sime. You can see a couple of those images below, along with video of Morrison’s spoken-word performance with Way and James Dewees of My Chemical Romance.
Conventions | Coming up this weekend: Stan Lee’s Comikaze in Los Angeles, featuring special guests Todd McFarlane, Neal Adams and Marv Wolfman. Attendance is expected to reach 60,000, which is a pretty big number for such a convention that’s only in its second year. [Hero Complex]
Conventions | James Sime, owner of Isotope Comics and one of the organizers of MorrisonCon, talks about, well, Isotope Comics and MorrisonCon, and what it was like translating the world of writer Grant Morrison into a comics event: “The *promise* of MorrisonCon is this crazy, life-altering weekend where you’re plugged directly into this swirling world of brilliant ideas, offbeat interests, mad obsessions, and personalities who fire Grant’s creativity. We had to make that promise real, to translate as many improbable concepts and even random off the cuff Morrison riffs as possible into the tangible world. To render all that into nightclubs and hotel rooms and meeting space chairs and places for awesome humans to meet and mingle. We all agreed, it just wasn’t worth doing unless we could live up to that promise, to truly make something worthy of the name MorrisonCon… and go far beyond it.” [Three If By Space]
Now available On Demand, the documentary Comic Book Independents by director Chris Brandt receives wider distribution at an interesting time. In the midst of a migration of comic book creators from work-for-hire to creator-owned projects, and just as a renewed discussion about creator rights gains momentum, this documentary offers fascinating insight on what it means to go it alone in comics.
It’s not your usual comics documentary, and if you’re a creative type yourself, or are interested by those who are, you’ll probably find yourself inspired. Framed by information from cognitive psychologist Dr. James Kaufman, the human process of creativity as it is realized in comics is broken down and explored by some of the art form’s most interesting thinkers and voices.
It’s fast becoming Jamaica Dyer week here at Robot 6. Yesterday she contributed to the weekly What Are You Reading column, and today she is the subject of an interview. Dyer joined me in this email interview mostly to discuss the serialization of her graphic novel, Fox Head Stew (at MTV Geek), the tale of two twentysomethings–Dee and Sam (aka Bunny Boy)–making their way through life. But she was also enthused to discuss the Isotope Comics-arranged Live Art Show as part of San Francisco’s Noise Pop Music Festival 20th Anniversary. My thanks to Dyer for her time.
Tim O’Shea: While Fox Head Stew is being serialized at MTV Geek, I am curious are you looking to release it through a traditional publisher at some point?
Jamaica Dyer: Yes, I would love to see Fox Head Stew printed as a book. I don’t have a publisher for it yet but I’m definitely on the market! I did some print-on-demand copies last year and it looks amazing on paper. Finding a publisher for it is difficult, because while it’s the sort of story that indie publishers like, they typically only print black and white books, and I have to insist on having it printed in color. It’s my own fault for insisting on painting the whole thing!
My hope is that through exposure on MTV Geek, the audience might decide that a book about girls experimenting in college, glam rock bands, and psychedelic fantasy sequences rendered in watercolor are the sort of stories they want to read in comics! There’s a definite perception in mainstream comics of superheros and action stories, but this is an exciting opportunity to change that perception and expose new genres to the MTV audience.
Passings | Classic comics artist Sheldon Moldoff, who co-created Poison Ivy, Mr. Freeze, Bat-Mite and Ace the Bat Hound, passed away Wednesday. He was 91. Moldoff broke into comics at the age of 17 with a sports filler that appeared on the inside back cover of Action Comics #1. He went on to become a prolific cover artist, drawing the first cover image of the Golden Age Flash for Flash Comics #1 and the Golden Age Green Lantern for All-American Comics #16. He also worked on comics featuring Hawkman, Kid Eternityand Black Pirate. He also was one of the pioneers of horror comics in the late 1940s and worked as a “ghost artist” for Bob Kane on Batman from 1953 to 1967. After being let go by DC Comics in 1967, he went on to work in animation. [News from ME]
Conventions | Badges for Comic-Con International sold out Saturday morning within an hour and a half, a record for the annual pop-culture extravaganza. Last year it took about seven hours for badges to disappear. [U-T San Diego]
Comics retailer Isotope Comics in San Francisco is once again hosting their annual mini-comics award competition, and — AHHHH!!! — entries are due Monday by midnight!
“It’s my favorite time of year, when we get an opportunity to help spotlight a creator who is toiling in the underground making something magical that almost no one has seen yet… seriously, what could be more exciting?!” said Isotope retailer James Sime, “I consider the winner to be the comic industry’s Miss America for the year, it’s the Isotope’s job to get their work out there to the comics press and reviewers. And I’m proud to say that winning this award has helped some amazingly talented folks get noticed and published by some of the best and coolest comic publishers in our industry. So don’t be shy… I know that many of you out there are hand-crafting some mini-comics brilliance, let us help share your work with the world!”
Past winners of the award include Joshua W. Cotter, Max Riffner, Daniel Merlin Goodbrey and Danica Novgorodoff, among many others. To enter this competition, simply send five copies of your mini-comic to Isotope’s address (326 Fell St. San Francisco, CA 94102) before the Sept. 26 deadline.
With fans chomping at the bit to see J.H. Williams III return in the new Batwoman series this September, you might get your fix first in your local record store iTunes. Last week it was announced that the California-based artist is working with legendary post-punk band Blondie for artwork on an upcoming album.
This matchmaking was done by San Francisco comic store owner James Sime of Isotope Comics. Sime is a regular on the Bay Area music scene, and finagled himself and Williams backstage at a recent Blondie show. Sime tells a heartwarming story on the Isotope blog of a impromptu moment of mutual admiration between Williams and the band members of Blondie. That chance meeting turned into business, as their full-on collaboration was announced for a deluxe edition of Blondie’s new album Panic Of Girls. No word yet on when this will see the light of day, but now you have one more reason to tune in to Blondie.
Go over to Williams’ own site to read his thoughts.
Kirkman will be heading up a bar crawl of drinking establishments in the Bay Area. Intended for those of legal drinking age and up (21 in California), this event will feature a San Francisco tour bus to the various hotspots in San Francisco. On board will be Kirkman, as well as Isotope proprietor James Sime as well as iFanboy co-founders Conor Kilpatrick and Ron Richards.
For the price of a $50 ticket, people will get “VIP transport” to every stop on the crawl, an exclusive Walking Dead SF Bar Crawl Survival Guide, as well as the chance to rub shoulders with zombie impresario Robert Kirkman.
“Wear your best zombie gear, indulge in one of the many of The Walking Dead drink specials the bars will be serving all night, and get a personal introduction to Robert Kirkman from yours truly! What could be better!?” stated Sime in a press release.
Tickets are limited, so go to Isotopecomics.com or iFanboy.com by today to secure tickets when they go on sale at 3 p.m. Eastern / Noon Pacific today. For those that don’t get tickets before they sell out, Image will be hosting a raffle at their booth at WonderCon this weekend.
This weekend’s sellout of the San Diego Comic-Con was a disappointment for many and ultimately satisfying for some — but no doubt everyone got tired of seeing the TicketLeap frog when they refreshed their browser.
Now Isotope Comics in San Francisco is commemorating the occasion with a free pin, featuring the newly coined “Fail Frog.”
“Because I know you’ve all been looking at this frog for what seems like forever, we’ve decided to brighten your day a little and bring a great big smile to your face,” writes storeowner James Sime. “The Isotope is going to hook you up with your very own San Diego Comic Con 2011 Registration Disaster commemorative Fail Frog button absolutely free of charge! Why? Because we’re just such huge sweethearts! Send a letter to the Isotope address with a self addressed stamped return envelope and I will personally send you one of these Fail Frog pinback beauties while our supplies last.”
Isotope is located at 26 Fell Street, San Francisco, CA 94102.
Legal | The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments today on a California law banning the sale or rental of violent video games to minors. The statute, which was struck down in February 2009 by a federal appeals court, is opposed by the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, among other organizations. [CNET]
Awards | The Joe Shuster Canadian Comic Book Creator Awards will move next year from Toronto Comicon to the Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo. The seventh annual awards will be presented on June 18, 2011. [Joe Shuster Awards]
Conventions | Exhibitor tables have gone on sale for MoCCA Festival 2011, set for April 9-10 at the 69th Regiment Armory in New York City. [MoCCA Festival]
Conventions | The student newspaper at California State University Long Beach reports on last weekend’s Long Beach Comic Con. [Daily 49er]
Retailing | Peter Hartlaub profiles James Sime, owner of Isotope comic book lounge in San Francisco: “Nobody made a comic store for women. They just didn’t exist. I think women love comics just as much as men do, maybe even more. And there’s so many great comics out there for everybody that I had to try. Isn’t San Francisco the city that’s all about just trying new things?” [San Francisco Chronicle]
Mini-comickers, ready your pens — San Francisco’s Isotope comics store is once again opening submissions for its annual Isotope Award for Excellence in Mini-Comics.
Entries will be accepted until Oct. 1, with the winner receiving not only the shiny post-modern piece of metal as seen on our right, but also the full support of comics retailer, musician and PR maven James Sime.
Previous winners include Joshua W. Cotter (Skyscrapers of the Midwest), Danica Novgorodoff (Slow Storm, Refresh Refresh) and Will Dinski (Fingerprints). Winners have gone on to be published by independent comic publishers like AiT-PlanetLar, AdHouse Books and Top Shelf Productions, as well as major book publishing houses like First Second Books.
Full details, and a healthy press release, can be found after the break: