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March 8 Midnight Ramblings

Copy This! #12 and Monster Nihilists

The latest edition of D. Blake Werts’ mini comix newzine, Copy This! #12 is out. This installment features a wonderful, free-ranging conversation with Werts and Vancouver’s own indie star, Colin Upton.

Somehow Werts also managed to include updates from the likes of David Miller, Joseph Tenney, Dennis Kininger, RC Harvey, Clifton Carroll, Charles Brubaker, Michael Littrell, Brian Leonard, Mission Mini Comix, Lara McCoy-Rolofson, R. Hendricks, Max Clotfelter, Jim Ryan, Jeff Zenick, Larry Blake and Bill McKay. All this plus a new cartoon from Brad Foster, and a bonus mini comic by Colin Upton. Hear me now and believe me later, this one is not to be missed!

Next issue will be part two of CT!’s all-artwork edition, which will be out very soon. If you haven’t already subscribed, get onboard now, there’s even more great interviews, comix and news coming. See ordering info in the sidebar of our home page.

A couple of nice reviews posted on The Digest Enthusiast book one. The first by Airship 27’s Ron Fortier on his popular Pulp Fiction Review blog, in which he concludes, “We recommend it highly to all our pulp readers.” A few days later Rod Lott shared his impressions on the book lover’s essential Bookgasm website, opening his review with “Cleary, The Digest Enthusiast is doing something right.” Thanks for the warm welcome on the publishing scene guys! Our second edition is already underway with more pages and a target of June 2015. For update subscribe to Larque Press email updates.

The Clay Geerdes Archives

David Miller wrote this week with an exciting announcement: “My friend, Michael Morton, and I have launched a blog that features the photography of Clay Geerdes (The Clay Geedes Archives). We will use Clay's writing to describe the events as much as possible. The blog is just started and only has the introduction. It will be posted in chapters covering different topics that Clay photographed in the 60s and 70s. The part on cartoonists will be longer and may include a photo of [folks like Michael Dowers, Tim Corrigan, Denis Kitchen, Brad Foster, Marc Myers, RC Harvey, Dan Taylor, Jim Valentino, JR Williams and Steve Willis to name a few]. Please pass the link onto anyone you think may be interested.”

David welcomes any comments or questions. Both Michael and David invites MF.com and Copy This! readers to check back in the months ahead to watch the site grow as more content is continually added. 

Retrofit ComicsRetrofit Comics is offering a full year of 12 Retrofit releases with free shipping within the United States for $75. Comics by:
Olivier Schrauwen - Mowgli's Mirror
Matt Madden - Drawn Onward
Laura Knetzger - Sea Urchin
Laura Lannes
Box Brown - An Entity Observes All Things
Kate Leth
Yumi Sakugawa
Steven Weissman - art book of his work
Sophie Franz
Future Shock anthology - edited by Josh Burggraf
Andrew Lorenzi
Maré Odomo

Subscribers will also receive a bonus PDF of each comic via the e-mail address you supply as the books are published—PLUS a free Retrofit Comics patch designed by Ben Sea—PLUS a free Retrofit Comics tote bag designed by Steven Weissman—PLUS a free gift for your friends. Retrofit is trying to let as many people as possible know about their line, so pick your favorite comic from a list posted at the Retrofit Storenvy and include your friend's name and address in the "Notes" section on your order, and they’ll send it to them for free. (This bonus is only available for US locations, since shipping is pricy. Other countries, must add $5 extra via PayPal.)

Paperback Parade #88Gary Lovisi’s wonderful Paperback Parade #88 is out. Here’s my review as posted on GoodReads:

Another stellar issue. The opening "Paperback Talk" column is a perfect mix of news, select correspondence from readers and enthusiasts, and editor Gary Lovisi’s latest musings on PBOs.

"Science Fiction and the War" (WWII) is a reprint from the October 1942, Astonishing Stories that highlights the effect of the great war on the SF community, as writers headed off to serve, no longer able to write for the magazines or their readers. A sobering reminder of the way the great war affected every aspect of life—even escapist life.

Several articles and tributes to E. E. “Doc” Smith, author of the Skylark and Lensmen series, present fond memories, checklists, comparisons and reflections on his place in the SF universe. Contributors include Lovisi, Philip Harbottle, Richard L. Kellogg, Jon D. Swartz, Ph.D. and Richard A. Lupoff.

Richard Greene reports on the highly collectable Lion Matchbooks used to promote Frank Di Felita’s Audrey Rose books.

Gary Lovisi explores the exploitive, graphic cover images of torture, bondage and murder used to attract and repel readers from the ‘50s EQMM shockers thru the ‘70s naked crime scenes.

Odie Hawkins recalls Holloway House Publishing’s exploitation of African-American authors like Iceberg Slim, Donald Goines, Joseph Naze and Hawkins himself in the ‘70s. Lovisi highlights one of Hawkins’ 28 novels in particular, Hollow Daze, “a fictional account of an imaginary publishing house and the shenanigans [sic] that occur between the publishers and the writers whose books have been published by this publishing house.”

Airship 27’s Ron Fortier reminisces about Gregory Kern’s (E.C.Tubb) Cap Kennedy space operas, which is followed by a worldwide bibliography compiled by Philip Harbottle with assistance by Sean Wallace.

And Gary Lovisi wraps things up with a recap of The Big Blackout, a knockout noir novel, by Don Tracy from 1959.

It’s all packaged in neat page layouts by Richard Greene and lavishly illustrated with dozens of full color cover images from the original PB editions. Eye candy with substantive prose: a 5-star combo. From Gryphon Books.

Baltic Comics Magazine #20Yes, MF.com’s favorite comics digest, Baltic Comics Magazine issue 20 is out. You can read all about this 164-page, full color gem—and preview 10 images—on the komikss blog. Likewise, the KushKomikss Shop provides all the deets plus a full catalog of past editions and mini komiks to keep your reading pile overflowing. BTW, each edition include the best bookmarks ever, plus bonus postcards and stickers. If you’d like a taste of the international indie comics scene there is no better place and Kus!

WEE Elliott created a video roundup of comics and zines. The February edition includes new and old entries by Charles Brubaker, Maximum Traffic, Paul Steven Frosdick, tukasz Kowalczuk, Grant Thomas, Kel Crum, John T. Howard, Betty Black, Dan Lennard, Eric M. Esquivel & Ander Sarabia, Josh Dahl & Shawn Langley, GE Gallas, Jaime “Jimmy” Portillo, Flynn Ryan, D. Blake Werts and Colin Upton. To add your books to the mix contact WEE Elliot through Almost Normal Comics.

2D Cloud is anticipating the new season with The Spring Collection, four provocative new works by some of the most adventurous authors working today.
3 Books by Blaise Larmee (288-page paperback)
Qviet by Andy Burkholder (248-page paperback)
Salz and Pfeffer by Emilie Gleason (76-page paperback)
Big Pussy by Gina Wynbrandt (20-page minicomic)
The Spring Collection is available for $55 + $5 postage, in the US.


The Digest EnthusiastFebruary 8 Midnight Ramblings

The Digest Enthusiast book one is out. Interviews with editors Gordon Van Gelder (F&SF), Phyllis Galde (Fate) and Matthew Turcotte. Contributors include Joe Wehrle, Jr., D. Blake Werts, Tom Brinkmann, Rob Imes, Larry Johnson, Bob Vojtko, Michael Neno, Lesann Berry, Richard Krauss and more. Available in print for $5.99 from CreateSpace and Amazon and on Kindle for $1.99 from Amazon.

A little late with this news about Copy This! #11, but if you haven’t gotten yours yet, there’s still time. See the sidebar on our home page for ordering details. This one is the first All Art edition and it’s packed full of comix and illustrations by John Howard (cover), Daniel Elisii, Bob Vojtko, Howard Cruse, Brian Payne, Tom Brinkmann, Jaime Crespo, Joseph Tenney, Bob X, Maximum Traffic, Andrew Goldfarb, Andy Nukes, Delicia Williams, Gary Fields, Jim Ryan, Michael Neno, Scott Davis, Brian Leonard, Brian John Mitchell, David Robertson, O’Ryan, Mike Hill, R. Hendricks, Jim Siergey, Michael Tuz, RC Harvey, Edward Bolman, David Miller, Charles Brubaker, Nate McDonough, Tom Morley, Joe Wehrle, Jr., and Bill McKay (back cover).

Copy This! #11Editor D. Blake Werts is deep into work on Copy This! #12 already, featuring his interview with the prolific cartoonist, Colin Upton, who is based in Vancouver, BC.

Also out recently is Xerography Debt #36. Edited by Davida Gypsy Breier, featuring a Lovecraftian cover by Bojan/Botda and layout and design by Kathy Moseley, this 72 pager is jammed full of zine reviews and opinions from the usual clan of indie columnists and contributors.

Breier opens things nicely with her thoughts on support. “Oftentimes support is seen as strictly financial—buying zines or funding a Kickstarter campaign, but that isn’t always an option for everyone, nor the only option. In my eyes support is showing up at a reading to support not only friends but any author or publisher you respect. It means writing a letter to say how much you enjoyed a new issue (or book). It means writing a review 0r telling other people about zines you admire.”

Looking at Stuff is for ChumpsShe’s right. These things are not financial winners. In fact, most of the time they’re losers. Beyond the personal creative rewards, the primary reason these books are put into the world is to be read. Support for them is critical. “So show up and support in whatever way you can. It matters.”

For much more about Xerography Debt #36 see Leeking Inc., where you can click through to Microcosm and order a copy for $4.00.

Lauren Barnett send a copy of her latest comic, Looking at Stuff is for Chumps, featuring Barry the Blind Crow. Sixteen pages of pen and ink drawings of Barry and his brethren framed in watercolor backgrounds, with Barry’s entertaining, and often funny acidic quips and observations. Here’s one example, “People seem to think that nightingales have nice voices. But, let me tell you, the first and only time I ever heard one, I wished I was full-on Helen Kellered. My ears are probably bleeding now just from the memory.”

Looking at Stuff is for Chumps is published by Tinto Press LLC, where you can preview an interior page and purchase it for $2.00. You can read Barnett’s comics online at Me Likes You Comics.

Kill the FaceIn the late 1980’s a new comic book company, Ace Comics, was founded with a dedication to quality. Publisher Ron Frantz amassed a group of legendary artists, including Steve Ditko, Alex Toth, C. C. Beck, Pat Boyette, and gained rights to some classic Golden Age comics. Ace Comics has relaunched with new collections: Hot Rods, Skyman and now The Face.

There was a Golden Age for masked crime-fighters and The Face was one of the best... Decades later a new crime buster takes on the mantle and tradition of The Face, declaring a one man war on the city's gangs and corrupt politicians! With a million dollar bounty on his head from the mob and the police after him with shoot-to-kill orders, does the new Face stand a chance?

Ace Comics brings us a 64-page comic featuring the work of Joe Gill and Steve Ditko. With a cover by Alex Toth and an introduction by Ditkomania editor and publisher, Rob Imes, Kill the Face is available for $12.99 in print or $1.99 as a digital download.

The Believer #111The Believer #111 is out. Interviews with Robert Crumb and Roz Chast and much more. Celebrating the release of the recent Zap collection from Fantagraphics Books, Crumb talks extensively about his early days, the underground comix movement in San Francisco and the life and times of Zap Comix. Now 71, he says he ready to leave the stage and let the younger folks take over. “Comics is a young man’s game. You’ve gotta love it, you’ve gotta be really dedicated, it’s a lot of work. There’s very little reward for the amount of work you put in, in comics.”

The interview with Roz Chast centers on her memoir, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? and her relationship with her parents. Chast’s graphic novel about the care of her parents during their final years is a finalist for a National Book Award.


January 11 Midnight Ramblings

Are you a fan of digest magazines like F&SF, Fate or the Archie Digest Library? Sign up at Larque Press for updates on The Digest Enthusiast, coming in January from Larque Press.

Copy This #10Copy This! #10 came out a few weeks ago. This edition features my interview with indie icon Steve Lafler and includes two bonus trading cards with paintings by the talented Mr. Lafler. Plus, Copy This! publisher and minicomix patron D. Blake Werts brings us up to speed with Daniel Elish, Delicia Williams, Tom Davidson, Brian Payne, Jeff Clayton, Suzanne Baumann, Cullen Beckhorn, Kelly Froh, Edward Bolman, Blair Wilson, Robert Jennings, Nills Balls, Brian Leonard, Alexander Lay, Micah Liesenfeld, Billy McKay, Charles Brubaker, Everett Rand and Andrew Goldfarb.

Emi Gennis was kind enough to send a copy of her recent comix, and I’m a bit tardy in getting it posted here. Trepanation is subtitled Elective Surgery You Need Like a Hole in the Head! And yes, that’s exactly what it’s about. Gennis enlightens readers about the procedure, its history and the current day movement advocating its benefits. Fascinating stuff, perfect for a documentary comic, nicely researched and rendered. It’s digest-size, with a two-color cover that wraps around 16 B&W interior pages. Visit Emi Gennis Comics for more of her work and a link to her Etsy shop where you can order Trepanation ($4.00), other comics, totes, etc.

Trepanation and A Theory

Clark Dissmeyer sent a copy of A Theory: overthought leading towards aetheral clarity. Written and drawn by Lara McCoy-Rolofson, it’s a digest-size comix in the direction of Michael Roden or Jamie Alder, but with its own unique style and thrust. Lara blogs at Larathustra, where you may be able to get in touch with her about this comix.

Treasury of Mini Comics Volume Two

Congratulations to Michael Dowers and Fantagraphics Books on the release of Treasury of Mini Comics Volume Two. This one is dedicated in the fond memory of Kim Thompson, Macedonio Garcia, Gary Arlington, Bruce N. Duncan and Tom Hosier. You can read all about it at Fantagraphics Books. It’s another must-have for serious mini comics readers.

Maximum TrafficTruth Be Known by Maximum Traffic (art scanned) Ricko describes it as "a pretty trippy project and, I believe, the final bow of Maximum Traffic. It contains one long narrative that incorporates (complete) comics, strips and art by Steve Willis, Edward Bolman, Marc Myers, Mike Hill, Joel Orff, Clark Dissmeyer, Mark Campos and others. Thick book, somewhere between 100-200 pages, 8 x 10.5 inches, published by Maximum Traffic in 1999." Still a few copies left for $15.99 from the Poopsheet Shop.

The Baltic Comics Magazine #19 is out as of December 2014. Cover: Ernests Kļaviņš (Latvia) Contributors: Alexis Beauclair (France), Amanda Baeza (Chile, Portugal), Dace Sietiņa (Latvia, The Netherlands), Dāvis Ozols (Latvia), Ernests Kļaviņš (Latvia), Joaquín Aldeguer (Spain), John Pound (USA), José Ja Ja Ja (Spain), König Lü.Q. (Switzerland), Laura Ķeniņš (Canada, Latvia), Liisa Kruusmägi (Estonia), Līva Kandevica (Latvia), Markus Häfliger (Switzerland), Martín López Lam (Peru, Spain), Mārtiņš Zutis (Latvia), Pixin (Singapore), Renee French (USA), René Rogge (Germany), Roope Eronen (Finland), Ville Kallio (Finland), Zane Zlemeša (Latvia). 4" x 6", 164 pages, full-color, perfect bound, English, includes free bookplate and postcard. Worldwide shipping included for $14.00 from Kushkomikss.

Baltic Comics Magazine #19 and The Bands of Ball Point

Sucker StreetSuzanne Baumann sent a couple of comix, including a classic mini, The Bands of Ball Point, filled with sketches of bands. This was $1.00 when published in 2013, but may no longer be available. However, the more recent Sucker Street, from March 2014 should be. It’s a legal-size digest (7” x 8.5”) with eight interior pages of comics, plus cover. Priced at $3.00 a copy.

Visit Fridge-Mag for more about Baumann’s projects and check out her catalog for lots and lots titles.

The last Midnight Ramblings included mention of my adventures at Short Run 2014. And mere hours after it was posted, I noticed Rob Kirby's report on the event at Festival Season.


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Alternative Comics News

Forbidden Planet InternationalForbidden Planet International Blog
Daily reports on comics of all types, with a special affinity for indie works.

The Beat
by Heidi MacDonald
All things comics are covered at The Beat:
• News
• Commentary
• Gossip
• Convention coverage

Calvin Reid and Heidi MacDonald also edit the weekly eNewsletter:
PW Comics Weekly
Subscribers receive reports on comics and graphic novel publishing, business trends, artist and publisher profiles and more.

BugPowder
a collaborative weblog produced by and for the UK small press comics community.


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