I had an incredible time at SPX this year; I sold a record number of books and had a record amount of fun. It was a special year for a lot of reasons. Thank you to everyone who came by and to everyone who made me excited about comics.
It was also a great show for my tablemate Cara Bean, whose new minicomic about being traumatized by the movie Gremlins was quite popular. If you didn’t get it at SPX and are going to MICE in two weeks, you should definitely pick it up. She has an endearing drawing style and can tell a good story with a surprise twist! I believe Cara has a lot of great comics in her future; she is definitely someone you want to keep an eye out for.
People seemed to enjoy Jay’s Brain! which was a real relief… since this was by far the most personal comic I’ve made, it was nerve-wracking to put it in people’s hands. If you would like to get a copy of your very own, it’s now available in my store. So now you too can give me a moment of fear!
Now. I have some work on display at Comic Art New England, and will be at the opening reception this Saturday. The exhibit is in the Atrium Gallery at Porter Exchange in Cambridge and runs September 10 – October 16. The weekend following the reception and in the same space is MICE, the Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo. I’m fond of MICE because it is a well-run event close to home, and this year (its second) should be even better than the last. MICE is Saturday, September 24, from 10am to 6pm. If you are in the Boston area, please come by! Admission is FREE.
It’s been so long since we last spoke, it’s like an entire season has gone by! My summer has felt very busy. Here’s an update of what’s going on, right now, comics-wise:
- Sunward is slowly, very slowly, being colored. Sometimes I get a page a week, sometimes less than that. I’d always imagined it in color, with lots of reds and yellows and oranges, but the pages remained awfully white. I’m happy with the results so far and I’m looking forward to the day it’s done so I can say LOOK! It’s DONE! COLOR!
- SPX is a week and a half away! This year, I am sharing a table with the talented Cara Bean. After having already admired each others comics, we discovered a few months ago that we live literally right down the street from each other. We’ll be representing our awesome neighborhood at Table H7!
- Herman the Manatee is slowly, very slowly, coming to an end. I’ll say more about it when I’m closer to wrapping up (in a few months), but I’ve been putting the final stories together and I think you will be thoroughly depressed! Just kidding, Herman has a happy ending. No, really, it’s miserable…
- MICE is September 24 at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA! This is the second year for the Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo. It’s in a new space, there are more exhibitors, and there’s an art show! Everyone had a great time last year, and this year promises to be even better.
- Jay’s Brain is a series of comics I’ve been drawing about living with my annoying roommate. It’s like the Odd Couple, but more stressful and slightly embarrassing. I’m hoping to get enough done in time for a minicomic at SPX, but otherwise MICE is just around the corner. It’s been tough because Brain has been fighting against their release, so there is frequent stalling and constant negotiation.
I will be at the Maine Comics Arts Fesitval next Sunday, May 22 at Ocean Gateway in Portland. I’ll have all of my awesome books, plus a kid-friendly version of Who is Amy Amoeba? I’ve met a number of parents and teachers who enjoy this story but hesitate to share it because of the language. So the swearing, while adorable, is getting cleaned up for the children of Maine. I don’t know if this will be a permanent change or not – the swearing is really minimal but still kind of funny.
Twice a week, Ray Howell has been posting original short stories on his blog, Tin Stories. Each story is just fifty words long (or in the nomenclature of snack manufacturers, FUN-SIZE). Here’s one story, titled Technical Masterpieces:
By 2052, with unemployment skyrocketing, it was deemed necessary to disqualify the robots. The MANPOWER Act outlawed hiring robot labor and we returned to the assembly lines. Ineligible to build things, the robots spent their time writing music. But we were too busy to listen, and they had no ears.
Some are funny, some are sad, some are mysterious. They are all thoughtful and satisfying. If you are the kind of person who like to snack on stories throughout the day, you should put some of these in your pants pockets.
Here is a fifty-word story I wrote just now about Ray:
I became friends with Ray Howell in high school and spent weekends in his basement. The fact that I don’t remember much about what we did down there gives you some idea of what we did down there. I’ve forgotten countless nights of embarrassing conversations, insecure provocations, and relentless creativity.