On the Road Again

Wow, when it rains it pours! I'll be at shows the next three straight weekends...and thanks to a crazy bit of cmpressed scheduling, there are actually no less than five shows I'd like to check out in that timeframe! It's true...as much as I'd like to set up at Baltimore Comicon this weekend (to which I went last year and had a super-swell time) and at Mid-Ohio Con next weekend (a favorite of my youth, finally scheduled for a time other than Thanksgiving weekend), there are just too many other things going on. So, maybe next year. Meantime, I'm be exhibiting my wares at these fine events instead:

This Sunday (9/28) - Crafty Bastards DC
This'll be the third year for me at Crafty, and it's always a blast. Unfortunately, circumstances have necessitated my wife Brooke and little Evie staying home this year...but I'll have the Pop Idiot and Team 8 Press crews there to keep me company. The show is free, so there's really no reason not to come out!

Next Weekend (10/4-10/5) - Small Press Expo
The show of shows, my favorite year after year. This weekend switches from Friday/Saturday to Saturday/Sunday, which I imagine is an attempt to drum up more sales with two weekend days. I dunno how that'll go, but I'm a little chapped at only getting one night to hang out, drink copious amounts and sleep in a fancy hotel! On the brighter side, I should have the new print I did with Team 8 Press all finished and ready to sell at the show, and I can't wait to see how people respond to it!

October 11 - Richmond Zine Fest
This'll be my first year at this event, so I really don't know what to expect. Here's hoping the folks here in the RVA show up and check it out. For my part, I'll be doing a panel of some kind on mini-comics, and sharing the stage with Mr. Dylan Williams of Sparkplug Comic Books, who I can't wait to hang out with all day!

So come on out to one (or more) of these great events and say hi!


More Sporties!


A Gay Old Time

Over the years that I've been illustrating Savage Love, I've accumulated quite a sizable stack of lurid drawings. I've put a great deal of the ones that prominently feature hot girls in each and every issue of Atom-Bomb Bikini, but I'm still left with a bunch of hilarious drawings that don't really fit the format...specifically, the ones that illustrate a more manly side of Savage Love.

Well, no longer. I give you...Atom-Bomb Banana Hammock.

Issue one will debut next weekend at Crafty Bastards, and be available the week after that at SPX. I can't wait to hear what you think of it.


Jimmy Beaulieu

When my wife and I took a vacation to Montreal a few years back, one of my favorite things we did in the city was stopping by a comic shop called Fichtre! one afternoon. It wasn't a big shop, but it was packed to the gills with great stuff, including a world of amazing French-Canadian and European stuff I'd never seen or heard of before. I picked up a bunch of stuff that looked interesting, dropping fifty bucks like it was nothing. All of it was good...I tried to pick stuff with little to no words, as my French is far from the best. I got a book by David B., an issue of Spoutnik, a random assortment of mini-comics...but by far, my absolute favorite find was -22° C by Jimmy Beaulieu. It's a beautiful little digest-sized book, with four lush brush-inked panels on each page, and tells a simple story of a pretty girl waking up and going about her business on a freezing cold day.

I was absolutely in love with it. Jimmy's drawings of women are just fantastic, deceptively simple and full of life and energy. I had to have more. I spent a bunch of cash on Jimmy's books via mail-order from the Fichtre! website, dovoured them, and sent an embarrassingly fannish email, leading to a little correspondence (and a couple traded books!). He's kindly commented on my work here from time to time as well, which is always a thrill.

Anyway, as Jimmy Beaulieu's profile here in the US comics market seems to be kinda small, I wanted to use whatever voice I have here to promote his stuff and encourage people to check him out...if you like the stuff on Atom-Bomb Bikini, I can't imagine you'd find it anything short of amazing. So first, drop by his blog (if you're fluent in francais you're really in for a treat!), and then, take a look at the Fichtre! website and consider placing an order. I'd recommend -22° and Appalaches to anyone, and if you're feeling a little more adventurous and want to bust out that French dictionary from high school, pick up Ma Voisine en Maillot and Le Moral des Tropes as well. Hell, pick up any of 'em...they're all great, and you'll be glad you did.

Here are a couple examples from Jimmy's site, posted without permission. Hope that's cool!


Phair's Phair.

Later career missteps aside, the frist two albums by Liz Phair, Whip-Smart and especially Exile in Guyville rank among my favorites ever. So, I was ecstatic to get a call from Kevin at the Boston Phoenix to provide a cover image for their Arts and Entertainment section hyping her performance of Exile in Guyville a few weeks ago in Beantown. I was also a little intimidated...when an illustration subject is something close to your heart, you feel an extra responsibility to really bring it, which for me always also brings a little extra pressure.

I wanted the illo to tie into the Exile in Guyville record in some direct way, since the show in Boston (and the tour) features Liz performing the entire album to celebrate it's fifteenth anniversary re-release. I went down the list of song titles, and immediately track 1 , "6'1"", jumped out at me. I thought about a shot of Liz, all sexy and defiant, standing in front of a police lineup wall. Simple and effective. But maybe too simple?

I sketched it out, and then another idea occurred to me...the second to last song on the record, "Stratford-on-Guy", is probably my favorite...where Liz sings very descriptively and atmospherically about being aboard a plane taking off at sunset, enjoying a drink as the lights of the city grid become visible through the opposite window. So I took that as inspiration and kinda illustrated that scene. But I thought it might be too much, too fannish...I know people familiar with the record might get it and dig it, but it might leave everybody else too much in the dust.

Kevin, knowing I was a fan, gave me carte blanche to go with whatever direction I thought was best...truly a thrill to know an art director has that much confidence in you. In the end, I decided to go back to my original idea, and I think the results are pretty swell. Hope you agree.


But is it Art?

Hell yes it is! Here's a shot of my birthday gift to myself from last year...a page of original art by Darwyn Cooke from his phenomenal comic book DC: THE NEW FRONTIER (page 354 in you Absolute Edition, keeds!). If I had to make a list of my top favorite comics of all time, NEW FRONTIER would rank somewhere in the top five...and Darwyn Cooke would warrant a similar placement on a list of my favorite creators. All of which makes me pretty thrilled to own this piece. I don't buy a ton of original art...wall space in the house is pretty limited, and, well, I'm cheap. But I figured if I was ever going to bite the bullet and lay out some cash, this was the time to do it.

A few notes about the presentation...the piece arrived unlettered, but I really wanted to have the word balloons filled if it was going to hang on the wall. I initially wanted to place a clear sheet of acetate with just the lettering printed on it above the art inside the frame, but my printer didn't have any transparent sheets large enough to cover the entire image. I briefly considered lettering it myself (a discipline at which I'm at least fairly adept), but quickly came to my senses. Finally, I decided to print the words within the balloons onto a separate sheet of paper, cut them out, and affix them with just the slightest amount of archival adhesive. I can almost hear the tightening of fanboys sphincters everywhere...including my own. Still, it looks good now...I suppose time will tell if I made the right choice.

Had it framed at Michael's for just under a hundred bucks...UV protected, glare-free glass, which makes a bigger difference than I thought it would. Happy birthday to me!

Teeny Bikini #5

The All-Hockey Girls Edition, debuting later this month at Crafty Bastards and the Small Press Expo!



It's been a tough couple years for pitbulls...first that Michael Vick thing, and now this:


Travel Tales in C-Ville Weekly

A couple weeks back I did a series of illustrations for the fine folks at Charlottesville's C-Ville Weekly, lending a little graphic blandishment to some travel stories by a bunch of their staff writers. The stories themselves are pretty interesting, often hilarious and well worth checking out, and here's a little closer look at the illustrations!

I'm just impressed I managed to work a naked girl in there.