Making My Way Through Brooklyn – How I Enjoyed The Brooklyn Comics Fest

In our continued journey of a radio host in New York. Joined by Fantagraphic’s shill, Jen Vaughn, I had just left a magnificent visit to the Mad Magazine office’s and was making my way across the city to the heart of Brooklyn to go see an art show of the work of Ruppert et Mulot. The show was really amazing and just what I was looking for from their work. I first came aware of their work, when I saw Bart Beaty talk about their Maison Close project, an illustrated brothel project by French cartoonists where the women drew themselves at prostitutes and then men as johns. They do a lot of really interesting conceptual work, which I really enjoy.

They had these pieces, were you would take the record off of the art, and put it on a record player that spun when you stepped on a peddle and a strobe light would go off as well.

This was  a 3d piece that would spin and strobe when you stepped on a pedal. It would seem as these dice headed figures where puking up paper. I think it was the favorite of everyone I talked to that night.

It was awesome to see this tough gang of artists. Any visit with Keith Jones is great. Here is in-between Jeff Ladouceur (a former Vancouverite with whom I share many common friends) and Domino publisher, Austin English. Austin is publishing some really great forward thinking comics. He is a great comics talker and taste-maker.

Jen and I ran into funny man Sam Henderson. Sam is one of the funniest guys in comics, if not one of the nicest. Here he is with Olivier Schrauwen, whom i had interviewed a couple of weeks previous. His work is also amazing. Seriously, this trip to New York was all about seeing amazing cartoonists.

After what can be described as a subway ride from hell, we eventually made our way to the second destination of the night, Bergin Street Comics for the Oily comics party, which featured so many cartoonists, I am surprised there was room for anyone else. I was very quickly accosted by mr Josh Simmons. another favorite of mine. Have you read Furry Trap? Go read it and then feel uncomfortable for days. We both talked about how much grey hair we have gotten since we last saw each other several years ago. He is threatening to visit Vancouver soon. I hope he carries through with said threat.

The host of the night and man of the hour, Charles Forsman with the always talented Melissa Mendes was there. I think Sam was in the process of picking Charles’ back pocket.

I turn around, and there’s Edie Fake, Mickeyyy ZZZZ, Hellen Jo and Calvin Wong. A-list talent in every corner. Although judging by Hellen’s face, they may not be happy to see me.

I also got to introduce Josh to his handler for the weekend, the often photographed, Jen Vaughn. Ask Jen about the time she drove me around New England and I spent the day drinking 5 hour energy shots to stay conscious.

Really, Joseph Lambert was happy to be there. Have you read Annie Sullivan? Come back when done.

The previous night, I got a photo of Edie Fake with one of his publishers, this time, here he is with the other half Secret Acres, Leon Avelino. Go read Leon’s Brooklyn report so your heart can break a little. That man is a trooper. Secret Acres is a great publisher and He and Barry are great guys too.

Michel Fiffe and Tucker Stone showed each other some tender respect, but i was too slow on the uptake for it. So here they are looking handsome as always. I was either very exhausted by this point, or had just a few too many beers, so it was time to split and crash before the very long day.

I went for breakfast on Saturday with Jason Levian, Ben Marra and his wonderful lady, Matt Seneca and “White Shasta”. I was giving mr Shasta crap the previous night for some comments stuff online. I may of been mean. Sorry Shasta.

First thing I did was get a picture of the Stokoe Galactus print. I had a minor hand in getting this to happen, and I was happy to see it in person. It was biggggg.

Oh hey, it’s happy salesman, Jordan Crane. How can you not buy a comic from this face.

Ryan Sands and Zack Soto were catching up on the floor. Notice that Ryan is shamelessly wearing his own tshirt. Those guys are at the forefront of publishing good small anthologies. Ryan with the Thickness and Zack with StudyGroup. You can pick up anything either of those guys are involved with, and find someone new, whose work you will love. Later that day, I wandered the floor with Joe Mcculloch and watched him lay on platitudes of respect and love for what Zack has been doing with the online iteration of Study Group. Zack was also launching a new issue of his Secret Voice series. It was a big moment for him, several years in the making, and he should be proud of all the good shit he is doing.

And of course, it’s Matt Groening. All i could do was take this photo of him talking to John Porcellino. He would not be the first cartoonist I see that day that would leave me nervous going in another direction. I don’t know why I still get so nervous around these guys.

It’s early in the day, and already crazy and crowded. Liz Hickey had a stack of originals for $15 each. I wanted to buy a stack and totally forgot to hit her table, even though she was sitting right behind me.

Conundrum publisher, Andy Brown and I would take turns watching the table and running around the floor, getting comics and just seeing all the exciting work. I think he did pretty well that day. It was his first time there, even though it’s the third time that Conundrum had exhibited.

Michael McMillan was one of the features of the show for a lot of people. His work was really advanced for when it came out in the 70s. Here he is sitting next Matt Thurber. I have heard some great things about Matt’s art space he is running in the heart of Brooklyn, and bummed that I never made it there.

I had just incorrectly referred to both Tom Spurgeon and John Porcellino as Illinois boys, and was corrected that one of them is from Indiana, I don’t know which one.

Here is my awkward photo of Charles Burns signing for folks, and David Mazzucchelli just happened to be hanging out chatting with friends. It was one of those shows, where everywhere you turned, there was another super great cartoonist.

Like when I turn around and run into Meathaus bro’s Tom Herpich and Dash Shaw. I have heard about Tom for years from Brandon Graham and Farel Dalrymple who both think the world of his comics and him as a person. Someone needs to do a Meathaus collection.

Dash just happened to be carrying around his new book with him. It looks awesome. Dash moves in leaps and bounds with his cartooning, and I am happy the he doesn’t stray too far from comics, while also making phenomenal videos.

From there, I am trying to make my way downstairs, and run into Ryan again, only this time, he is hanging out with Michael Deforge and Leslie Stein. TALENT FOLKS! So much talent at this show!

Like when you grab a photo of Chris Ware gabbing with Jen Vaughn about the Texas art school experience. Chris is another guy I get too nervous to talk to. Robin, step it up!

CF and Dan Nadel held court. I bought one of those beers that CF did the design for. I think it made me hungover but tasted great.

Josh Simmons was trying to get me to join some kind of cult. I respectfully declined.

On my next walk around, I saw that Art Spiegelman was doing a signing. There were only 5 people in line, and I had my sketchbook on me, so I knew I had to get something. He was only announced the previous morning, so not a lot of people knew he was going to be there. Folks were very excited and were getting him to sign the program that they were giving for free at the door. He drew really nice sketches for everyone, filling the page with bold black lines. Art will be in Vancouver in the new year for an art show at the Vancouver Art Gallery. I am very excited for it, and will hopefully get the chance to talk to Art when he is here.

I have no idea what I said to Tom, but it probably wasn’t pleasant.

And here are 2 of the 3 men of the hour. Gabriel Fowler and Dan Nadel. Both probably exhausted. Bill Kartalopoulos is missing from this shot. Probably because he the grand total of an hour actually on location to see what people had made, as he had been off site running, from I understand, to be very stellar programming.

New post con secret. Just go for dinner with a handful of people, have a great time and no stress about finding a place big enough. Josh, Anna and Jen were awesome dinner company.

And hey, it’s me. Josh took this and sent it over. Thanks Josh.

Here are some obligatory photos of my purchases from the week.

All in all, it was an amazing show. As you have probably heard, it was hot there, I was suggesting that next time, we just have very thin robes to wear. I think only 3 people liked that idea, and they were all creeps. Congrats to all involved. You done good. I hope to make it again next year. It is the show where I see the most modern comics that are really pushing forward artistic boundaries as well as new young creators that get me jazzed and excited about comics. It’s hard for me to complain about a show where I get to meet Richard Mcguire, walk across a room and talk to Art Spiegelman, go downstairs and buy Heather Benjamin’s new book, madly try to check out the Closed Caption Comics table and realize you probably missed a ton of stuff 5 minutes after everyone packed up, even though your back pack is wildly uncomfortable and heavy.

I also want to thank MK Reed and Robin Enrico for being the best hosts that one could ask for. MK made me a list of places to go that she knows I would like,with detailed instructions on how to get around. Robin was election watching company, as we both sat glued to the tv, watching the footage on Fox News as they looked like someone pissed in their cornflakes.

Also thanks to Jen Vaughn for being my party buddy. She’s good people.

Now to end with the oddest purchase I made. Cartier put together this comic anthology that comes in 2 books, one that is all just photo’s of watches and the other with comics by Moebius, Mattotti, Jiro Taniguchi, Francois Schuiten and illustrations by Charles Burns. I love the strand.

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One Response to Making My Way Through Brooklyn – How I Enjoyed The Brooklyn Comics Fest

  1. Sam Henderson says:

    Tom Spurgeon’s the one from Indiana. From Muncie. I know this because my father is from the same town and he was college friends with Tom’s onetime boss.

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