An Inkstud on Tour Part 2: A Report of Being Lost in America

Part 1 saw me in travelling from Toronto to Boston, to hidden locales, and eventually winding up in lovely White River Junction.

Day 4 – The journey continues after being kindly sent on my way by the wonderful Jen Vaughn. I had a lively 7 hour train ride with a couple of seats to myself and some crappy tv shows to keep me excited. Not much to say about the train. It’s long and done. When I got into Penn Station, I realized that I forgot to come planned with my hostess Shannon O’leary‘s # and thanks to some helpful folks, we got connected, and I rushed off in a fine New York taxi to the middle of nowhere in Brooklyn. We had plans to go to Lisa Hanawalt’s book launch for the second issue of her series, I Want You at the most excellent, Desert Island. Lisa’s work is really quiet amazing. With only two books out, she is already making the fool out of the competition. That’s right, I said making the fool.

The launch was a really nice affair. The first person I saw when walking in the door was Kate Beaton, who is in the Inkstuds book, but had not yet received a copy. I think the American and Canadian postal system don’t like each other. Kate is always a delight to chat with and it’s great to see a familiar face right away. Gabe Fowler quickly brought me a beer, which is a great way to get in good with a Canadian. It was a good group of familiar faces including Bill Kartalopoulos, whom I have seen in person twice including my trip to SPX in 2006. I really like that guy and like what he has got going on. Shannon and I went out to a bar that gives free pizza with each beer with MK Reed and Gabrielle Bell. We had a good drunken chat and I sent out some terrible tweets. It was a great way of saying hi to the city.

Photo Stolen from Lisa's flickr

Day 5 – My first proper day in New York was a bit of a bust. After going out for some breakfast, New York had a horrendous rain storm that had me soaking to the bone after walking for not even half a block. I’m from Vancouver, I am fine with a little rain. In fact, I am at home in the rain, but this was insane. I ended up passing out for the afternoon with an old cat with the loudest voice in the world and a gentle old dog. I managed to get a little shopping done in the evening.

I picked up a huge Harold Head comic at Roger’s Time Machine on 14th and a handful of undergrounds including one by Catherine Jones (Née Jeffrey) that I had never seen before. I am a huge fan of her work and would love to be able to interview her. Please let me ask you questions Catherine.

I also checked out Forbidden Planet and the Strand. I picked up an art book by Jose Munoz at Forbidden Planet for half off, since the dust jacket was torn. The book is interesting, as it looks more like something I would expect from Lorenzo Mattotti. I was really disappointed by Forbidden Planet. It seems like the future of comics stores is to have a selection of goods available from the Diamond back list catalogue and a handful of floppies. Not very excited for me. The Strand was great as always. I only picked up a couple of books there, but I would return for more.

Day 6 – This day was one of the highlights of my trip. A little more shopping to start the day including Jim Hanley’s, which may have a lack of back issues, but does carry my favorite book ever.

Before coming to New York, Jerry Moriarty had invited me to come visit him. I was super excited, Jerry was a blast to interview and had given me a great quote for the back of the book. Jerry has said that he has done two proper interviews in his career. One with Chris Ware for the Believer and the other, avec moi.

Jerry is very familiar with the Inkstuds and has listened to the show on numerous occasions. I spent a wonderful afternoon hanging out with him in his amazing loft and getting a private tour of his latest series of paintings. Jack Survives is a fantastic collection that shows just how far comics have come in the last 100 years, but at the same time, collecting work that is over 30 years old. Talking art with Jerry is like jumping on a roller coaster and trying to hold on. The whole conversation left my mind a little blown.

Day 7 – The Madness of the Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Fest(BCGF) starts to set in for me. Zack Soto and I had been talking about meeting up at some point for some comicky good times. He wanted to go out and sell come copies of his most excellent Study Group 12 vol 4 anthology. It is really an amazing book. Zack is a good man with some great comics taste. Ben Catmull was also in town, crashing Sarah Glidden‘s table at BCGF, since she was off in the middle of Iraq being smart and stuff, while we went out shopping for Steve Ditko comics. Our first stop in the city, after a quick coffee and bagel in Williamsburg, was a return to Forbidden Planet, which was another bust, since the guy that does the buying was out smoking.

I suggested we kill time by going to The Strand, which is on the same block. I took a closer look at the books this time and picked up some goodies including a manga Mr. Arashi’s Amazing Freak Show, the latest BPRD and Hellboy book. I read them on the plane home and of course loved that. I wonder if anyone has done any thorough analysis of Mignola’s work in academic sense, that you would find in Comic Art magazine or Book Forum. There is something about his story telling that I can’t quite place my finger on, that is working so amazingly. It’s not just making good comics, but I do get a feel that there is something deeper in his work that hasn’t been openly tapped yet.

The Strand was great for another couple of reasons. Zack sold all the copies of Study Group 12 that he had brought for selling in the city, so screw going to Forbidden Planet again. We also ran into Michael DeForge. Zack and I both convinced him into buying Kramers Ergot 4 for a paltry $40. Michael gave me a copy of his latest book that he had done over the last week to debut at BCGF. It is printed on a Risograph. I know that Zack Soto and Ryan Sands had also recently gotten their own Risographs, so there should be some awesome crazy looking stuff coming out soon.

Our comic shopping brought us back to Roger’s Time Machine, which I had learned in the meanwhile, is the only reliable place for back issues in New York. Really New York, that’s it. I have a whole bunch of places I can go to in Vancouver. Zack was let down by the lack of Moebius books, since they had a full run of the Epic books the previous week. I got a stack of Wally Wood reprints and an old Steve Ditko collection from Eclipse books.

Our trek took us all the way up to Printed Matter, which bestowed some lovely goodies, including a David Sandlin book I had seen around, but couldn’t afford to get. The price they had it for at Printed Matter was just right. It seemed appropriate, since the previous day, Jerry Moriarty was chastising me for not having read Sandlin’s comics.

The day finished with a stop by Secret Project Robot for the Nazi Knife art show. It was a neat space not far from where I had met up with Ben and Zack earlier that day. We had since all gone our separate ways, with Zack off doing karaoke, Ben going a wandering and me, dumping my books back at Shannon’s. The Nazi Knife show was interesting. They were playing some old Throbbing Gristle, which made me pretty happy. I am still pretty bummed about the passing of Sleazy last month. I was probably most impressed by CF’s work there. He has this dynamic energy in his work that brings the figures right off of the page.

I got reconnected with Ben, and chatted  industry gossip with Heidi the Beat and Dan Nadel. I also finally met Matthew Thurber. That guy is the bees knees. He has been doing these great little mini’s with Marc Bell that I can never get enough of. I kept the night early in anticipation of the coming day and the thought of standing for 10 hours. If you didn’t know this yet, I can be a little lazy in the physical department.

To be continued in Part 3.

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