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Midnight Fiction Comix
Joe Wehrle, Jr.
July 25 Midnight Ramblings
D. Blake Werts released his latest edition of his popular Copy This! mini comix newszine. Issue #17 opens with the sad news of the passing of Roman Scott. Scott was perhaps best known to mini comix fans from his work with Marcus Reed for Pastime Publications, and his artzine Oddities. Our retrospective on Pastime Publications includes many of his covers and a few quotes. Werts was in contact with several of Scott’s friends, Jonathan Falk and Marc Myers, and published their tributes to the artist. With the help of Marcus Reed I created a collage of Oddities cover images for the back cover.
Shortly before he died, Scott completed a limited edition set of 62 Tarot Cards, which he blogged about extensively at Roman Scott Art.
Here’s how he described the project. “During a lengthy stay in Skien Hospital I decided to start a series of Tarot cards. Rather than the age-old, arcane symbols of the Tarot as we know it, these are inspired by fantasies and moments that I have retained, some from distant childhood. They are painted with water-colour and pen, measuring circa 10x21 cm.”
You can view all of his paintings for the cards on his blog along with other artwork. The last entry details his final days, written by his wife, Heidi Angelika Scott.
A few copies of the limited edition, full color set are still available for $75 USD and can be ordered from Heidi.
Heidi Angelika Scott
The balance of Copy This! #17 features Werts’ interview with Bruce Chrislip, who knows more mini comix cartoonists and has more stories about them than probably anyone. And the timing for this issue is no accident, it coincides with the release of Chrislip’s long-awaited history of mini comix, a 464-page tome, The Minicomix Revolution. Here’s what he had to say about it direct from CT! #17:
“I will probably be spending the next year promoting and sell copies of The Minicomix Revolution 1969-1989 through various means. Cover price will be $25.00 and I will be offering it in three forms. As mentioned, a regular edition for $25.00 (plus $5.00 postage & handling), an edition of 10 signed and numbered copies for $40.00 (plus $5.00 postage & handling), and 10 copies that will be signed and numbered and contain an original drawing by yours truly for $100.00—Gasp!! (plus $5.00 postage & handling).”
To get your copy send payment to:
“I will not be selling online through PayPal or any other middleman.”
The first edition is a limited run trade paperback, printed traditionally at a commercial printer. Interior pages are black and white with a plentiful mix of history and minicomix cover images, and a full color cover.
Finally, Copy This! #17 includes a controversial mini comix by the worker poet, Mike Hill, called My War. This is one you do not want to miss.
Several new books are out at Alternative Comics. Marc Arsenault was kind enough to send a promo copy of Sunbeam on the Astronaut by Steven Cerio. Here’s the scoop:
A long-awaited collection of comics, art, and stories by artist Steven Cerio that explores silly, psychedelic, and strange worlds. Smiling cartoon critters carouse with threatening cutout whales against a shifting comic landscape in these unique illustrated stories. The psychedelic meets Saturday morning cartoons in stories with such intriguing titles as "A Private History of Sunbeams and Head Colds," "The Add Witch in The Berry Patch," and "Ninny Noonday Ninny."
Steven Cerio is a prominent rock poster and magazine illustrator. His work is best known from his ongoing collaboration with San Francisco-based performance art and music group The Residents.
Other recent comix available from Alternative Comics are: Clover Honey by Rich Tommaso, From Now On by Malachi Ward, The SAW Guide to Making Professional Comic Strips by Tom Hart, and Quit Your Job and Other Stories by James Kochalka.
Rob Imes, Chairman of the UFO zine organization, has released the new issue of the group’s house organ, Tretragrammaton Fragments #239. (That’s T-Frags for short, thank goodness.) It’s a little thinner than usual, perhaps due to the vacation season, but a solid edition representative of the group, nonetheless. The cover by David Branstetter is outstanding, a great composition and pen-and-ink rendering.
UFO members’ contributions are hybrid letter-of-comments and editorials. They typically include newsy updates about what members up to and commentary about other members’ zines. However, this time out Jason Bullock breaks the mold and suggests “Fifteen things that keep you from making that con sale!” It’s a fun list and worth reviewing if you plan to table any time soon.
T-Frags is printed in a very limited edition, so if you’re not already a UFO member it may be hard to come by, but you can contact Rob Imes through the United Fanzine Organization if you’re interested. (Free PDFs of past T-Frags are available on their website.)
June 28 Midnight Ramblings
Sad news. The talented artist Roman Scott, who was a big part of Pastime Publications, passed away on June 12, at the age of 50. I mostly knew Roman from his work at Pastime, where he contributed comix to The Monday Funnies and his own title, Oddities. Roman wrote a blog about his artwork, including his final project, a set of Tarot Cards. Roman’s wife Heidi updated his blog with details of his failing health and his last works. D. Blake Werts is planning a special tribute edition of Copy This! for Roman Scott. Jonathan Falk, a long time friend of Roman, posted about him on his blog Adalbert.
On a brighter note, Copy This! issue #16 is out featuring an interview with one of the central figures of the newave comix movement, Artie Romero. Don’t miss Artie’s blow-by-blow account of the rise of Everyman Studios, Cascade Comix Monthly and the inside story of the Everyman Mini Comix series. For ordering details on Copy This! see the sidebar on our homepage.
Larry Johnson has released Tales of Fantasy #69. Here’s the description from his website: “Our new series, “Ohm The Electric Man” continues with three more chapters! Lenny Jones, an inept janitor, electrical engineer wanna-be, has an accident with a generator one night at the Brookston Scientific Institute and suddenly gains the ability to channel electricity through his body! As a side show attraction in “Morphote’s Wonders” he uses his power as a faith healer and comes to the attention of Ivana Colon, anthropologist. After having an affair, Ivana announced she was pregnant to which Lenny denied fatherhood. This issue she gives birth to their child! And it’s a shocking event. In the meantime Lenny pursues his hedonistic charged desires regardless of the consequences. We have a couple character profiles, reprints of the 1893 newspaper Every Saturday, Dream Diary plus Mails of Fantasy. Join the fun and order today!” Tales of Fantasy #69 ordering info.
Jim Siergey shares the arty facts about one night in March 2015.
The second edition of The Digest Enthusiast from Larque Press is now available in print and kindle versions. Here’s what’s between the covers:
Print version includes nearly 100 cover images.
Digital $2.99 Amazon
June 8 Midnight Ramblings
Been busy finalizing the second edition of The Digest Enthusiast, which will be out later this month, and working on a 460+ page book with a fellow newaver—my excuses for such a tardy update.
D. Blake Werts has been busy as well, cranking out issues of Copy This! Issue #13 is second all-comics issue. Issue #14 featured my interview with one of my favorite newave cartoonists, George Erling, along with a copy of Fiver Fun Comics.
Issue #15 features Blake’s exchange with Bill McKay and includes a brand new mini comix by McKay. And there are more great interviews and mini comix news that will be in your mailbox every month when you subscribe to Copy This! See sidebar on our homepage for details.
And speaking of mini comix, David Schilter and the folks at komickss released four more editions of their mini kus! #30–33, available through the KusKomikss Shop.
And check out the Baltic Comics Magazine as well. Issue #21 was recently published with a theme of “Business Time.” See the shop listing for preview pages and details.
All this activity around mini comix must’ve struck a nerve somewhere. George Erling sent a brand new title, Drawin’ For Fun Sketchbook #1. Eight mini pages of classic Erling toons sure to make you smile. Write to him at 357 Newark Pompton Tpke., Pompton Plains, NJ 07444 for ordering information—or just send him a couple of bucks for cryin’ out loud.
James Rubino, one of the most active indie cartoonists I’m aware of recently came out with his third Archives of the Alien: The Noetic 90s. Check out all his titles on James Rubino Comics, or order it now via Indyplanet in print or digital.
The second issue of Matt MacFarland’s Dark Pants is out. This one is all about Milena Golgbashian’s romantic reflections, fueled by her encounter with those mysteriously moving trousers. It’s a great episode of a larger tale. Click through to MattieMac.com for previews and ordering details.
The long awaited Fogel’s Underground Price and Grading Guide is out. It’s the first of two volumes. This one is all about underground comix. Volume two, promised later this year, will update references and valuations on International titles and mini comix. See the Hippy Comix website for all the glorious details.
Jim Main has a new book out, Jungle Drums #1, a celebration of all those wonderful Jims and Janes out there in the jungle. Fiction, comics, factoids and photos—any jungle boy’s dream. Contact Jim through his online shop for order info.
Michael Morton, David Miller and friends have added new content to The Clay Geerdes Archives recently, including posts on People’s Park and David’s Memories of their friendship.
Warren “WEE” Elliott continues his monthly mini comics video round-ups on YouTube, or tune in to his Almost Normal Comics blog for all the latest.
March 8 Midnight Ramblings
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.
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 Comics is offering a full year of 12 Retrofit releases with free shipping within the United States for $75. Comics by:
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.)
Gary 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.
Yes, 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.
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).
Editor 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.”
She’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.”
In 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 #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! #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.
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.
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.
Truth 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.
Suzanne 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.
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Alternative Comics News
Forbidden Planet International Blog
Calvin Reid and Heidi MacDonald also edit the weekly eNewsletter:
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