COMIC ARTS BROOKLYN RECAP
A week late, this is my personal / official Youth in Decline recap to the inaugural Comic Arts Brooklyn (CAB) held on November 9, 2013. In Brooklyn. (!>??) Thanks to Gabe Fowler for organizing a great show and keeping the end-of-year NYC indie show alive.
I spent the weekend staying with my buddy @NormalManSez at the Airbnb home of a erstwhile ’90s goth industrial punkgirl in Williamsburg. We started each morning listening to Lords of Acid, FSOL, and Front 242 (amazing), and each night drunkeating bodega turkey club sandwiches and watching Ghost World on VHS (delightful).
And sure, while SPX was the “debut” of Frontier #2: Hellen Jo, we were stoked to table alongside our longtime friend and introduce the book to New Yorkers. Hellen signed books for delighted fans, and sold original paintings. You can still pick up our collection of her stunning paintings here, BTWay. Only $8, will sell out in the coming months so don’t be left out / a chump.
Here’s some random thoughts in easy-to-read/write bullet point format:
[Emotional and/or Spiritual High notes]
- + CAB (despite the name change) remains a stunning and intense one-day affair. We ran into more friends than we could count, and could barely pick up enough good stuff on a few stunted and rushed show floor circuits away from the table. Organizer Gabe brought by a bottle of water in person and thanked us for exhibiting (class act), and I got to meet (and hug) show star Simon Hanselmann briefly in the swampy, hot house basement level. Hannah K. Lee (risograph sister for life) helped hold down the table, and the Press Gang (+ comics heartthrob Sam Alden) made great neighbors.
- + Comix Crew karaoke on Saturday night. A tradition of sorts that always is the highlight of my weekends. Time away from comics and the table and selling is when these friendships come alive. Some highlights: the profound and surprising jams of saicoink, Michael’s angelic Back to December. Bar drunktalk with the lovely Leslie Stein. The indefatigable Mickey Z's Mariah Carey joint. Hannah K Lee's real feelings Usher renditions. Calvin / Hellen / Michael's Andrew WK malarky. Robin Nishio's karaoke cherry-poppin' Tiny Dancer. Hellen closing the night with CL’s “나쁜 기집애” (me on back-up).
- + Spending Sunday chatting with friends Sam Weber and Jillian Tamaki, for Sam’s fabulous Your Dreams My Nightmare podcast. Sam interviews exciting and interesting illustrators and artists each week on his show, so I was nervous (but stoked) to be asked on as a guest. I love those guys, so the 90 minutes we spent gabbing and drinking coffee in their living room felt more like friends catching up than a formal interview. You can listen to the episode over on the YDMN site.
- + While in New York, got an artist I’ve longtime admired signed up officially for Frontier #4. I will announce in the coming month or so as part of the subscription drive, and cannot wait to see what she decides to do for her issue.
- + Pre-departure matching tattoos with my buddy Michael DeForge. The fine folks at Saved Tattoo hooked us up with our goofy ink (drawn by me!). Afterward, we closed out the weekend planning SecretProject2013 over brunch at a nearby diner. MISCHIEF MANAGED.
[Books of Note and whatnot]
- + KID MAFIA 4 by Michael DeForge. My favorite installment so far, the interpersonal drama is on some Season 3-when-you-really-start-to-get-these-characters-and-are-crushed-when-they-hurt-you level. Masterful pacing and story line juggling.
- + LIFE ZONE by Simon Hanselmann. An absolutely stunning and painful and fully-formed work from a hilarious and profound new arrival to the scene.
- + GOLD POLLEN AND OTHER STORIES by Seiichi Hayashi. A beautiful collection of unseen works by a graphical master. Firmly rooted in a specific time/place/milieu, these comics are enriched by the short but full essays in the back of the book by translator Ryan Holmberg.
- + FLU DRAWINGS by Michael DeForge. Drawn entirely in a week while under the weather, I love this storybook, novella-istic approach to comics that DeForge whips out from time to time (see also: First Year Healthy). The grey and cranberry risograph printing belies the troubling narrative smack of this mini, packing more in 7 short pages than most can muster in many chapters.
- + EPOXY by John Pham. Master printer Pham delivers this lush package of comics and minis, combining his love for riso printing, space and loneliness themes from his Sub-Life series, and some rich riffing on Shigeru Sugiura-esque gag manga.
- + ALIEN INVASION VOLUME III by Lala Albert (+ her sketchbook mini). Lala is an unsung talent, presenting one of the most unique and fraught visual senses of the last 10 years of indie comics. Seeing her maintain her loose, mis-remembered nightmare compositions while moving into narrative, joined storytelling is really exciting.
- + THE MAN THAT DANCES IN THE MEADOW by Sam Alden. A fantastic piece of visual storytelling that confused me, intrigued me, and punched me around emotionally within 27 short pages. Sam is equally unafraid to tackle problems with both visual mechanics of cartooned space and emotional interiors of friend-of-friend familars with equal aplomb and it really works for me.
- + S.F. #3 by Ryan Cecil Smith. A long third installment of RCS’ space epic soap opera ensemble comedy (!?), reading S.F #3 is unfettered joy thanks to his instinctual character designs and lush space settings. I would love to watch a TV Show set in this world, and when it’s in its stride this book hits all the great strings that Dungeon does.
- + NEW COMICS 2 by Patrick Kyle. I don’t get how he churns out these effortless and dense books, but this one delivers again. I read and re-read it in one sitting, finding even more nuances in the pacing and unpaneled layouts my second time through.
- + Other interesting reads: Coda by Chris Kuzma, Maui Prime by Nick Sumida, Blobby Boy by Alex Schubert, Keep Fresh by Zejian Shen, In Pace Requiescat by Julia Gfrofer & Sean T. Collins, Meteo by Charlotte De Sedouy, NSFW by Anna Rose
- + THINGS THAT I MEANT TO GET BUT MISSED: Adapt 2 by Jonny Negron (Floating World), Freeze Frame by Jonny Negron & Sean T. Collins, Cartoonshow #2 by Derek Ballard (Drippy Bone) Ant Colony by Michael DeForge (D&Q), lots and lots of other stuff I didn’t even realize I .
CAB marks the end of the comics convention calendar for 2013 - Youth in Decline’s first years as a “publishing house” ! I’m stoked for a more ambitious 2014, with new books from Nick Sumida and Mickey Zacchilli, the Thickness anthology, our first fiction book featuring Anthony Ha’s short stories, and four issue of Frontier! …and more!
We’re planning to attend: MoCCA, TCAF, maybe CAKE, SF Zinefest, SPX, and CAB in 2014… see you there!