Kickstart This: Smilin’ Ed Comics

It is very likely that I would not be working in comics now without the influence of Raoul Vezina, the creator of the classic four issue series of Smilin’ Ed Smiley comics that were released more than 30 years ago. Raoul was also the front counter guy at Albany, New York’s Fanta Co, and he introduced me to the very first Fantagraphics edition of Love And Rockets. His comics are still fresh all these years later, and this collection of his work needs your help to see print. Get on over to the Kickstarter and help make this project happen.

Marc Arsenault Profiled in Content Magazine

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On stands now! The latest issue of Silicon Valley’s “Innovative & Creative Culture Magazine” Content ran a four page color feature on Wow Cool, Alternative Comics and myself. You can get it at the Whole Foods Market and elsewhere. The article is filled with shocking behind-the-scenes details of my life of adventure and mayhem.

David Lasky’s All Monster Comics

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Back in April, 2013 David Lasky visited the Wow Cool/Alternative Comics offices in Cupertino, California and did a one day artist residency, and he pencilled a mini comic on massive Strathmore board called “All Monster Comics”. The plan was to have the page inked by various other visiting artists. Despite many other distinguished artists visiting us in the time since, including Brandon Graham, Lark Pien, Simon Roy, Steve Lafler, and Malachi Ward, none of it got inked… We resorted to the power of the interwebs and got the whole thing inked in a couple of weeks by an all-star cast of contributors, including one panel by Lasky himself. That thing is now available to buy in printed form for a mere 50 cents from Wow Cool or to download for free as a PDF (2.4 MB).

New Books in The shop From Yam, Hic & Hoc, Ryan Cecil Smith and More

The biggest stock-up in the 26 year history of Wow Cool continues unabated as we have added dozens more books to the online and Cupertino stores including the latest from Ryan Cecil Smith, Hic & Hoc and Yam Books.

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Right now the best way to keep up with the newest titles as they are added is to check out our new books image galleries on Facebook. You can also sign up for our monthly email newsletter. Otherwise, just take a look at the vast array of new comics on our home page, this may be the finest lineup of new comics ever. Damn.

Sanyú Adapts J.G. Ballard’s Crash in Comics

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Argentine artist Sanyú digs into J.G. Ballard’s classic novel of obsession in eight striking pages of comics. Check it out. Sanyú’s home page.

Brown Cuts Neighbors Cutting Room Floor

I posted a few clips from a first draft of a Brown Cuts Neighbors video compilation from a few years ago on YouTube. There is a sizable segment featuring some of my drawings and comic strips. I also did most of the titles and animation parts. It is what it is. More info in the video description. Proper releases from the Brown Cuts Neighbors vast library of audio and video recordings is being prepared. Look for the first several chunks of the audio very soon. Two of the odder ones are already live in several stores. Check out Brown Cuts Neighbors on iTunes

Dozens of new Books added to the Wow Cool shop

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No joke! We have added more titles to our online and Cupertino stores at one time then since we launched the new web shop some three years ago. And more are being added every day. Over 30 titles from Top Shelf! Many many more from Koyama, Fantagraphics, Uncivilized, NoBrow, AdHouse, 2D Cloud and many more publishers, including many SPX and APE debut books. Stacks of hard to find comics by todays top stars, like, Sam Alden, Noah Van Sciver, Brandon Graham, Simon Hanselmann, Michael DeForge, MariNaomi, Gabrielle Bell, Malachi Ward, Reid Psaltis, James Kochalka, Benjamin Marra, Tom Neely, Katie Skelly, Jim Rugg, and many more are awaiting you in The Wow Cool Shop. Thank you.

Kickstart This: Last Gasp Fall 2015 Books

The last of the holdouts of the original underground comics publishers – Last Gasp – is in need of some help to make their Fall publishing season a success, and they’ve turned to Kickstarter, and you , dear reader, to get it. Wow Cool has a long history with Last Gasp, they are one of our major suppliers of the fresh and the funky, and they’ve also been a distributor of Wow Cool and Alternative Comics titles for over 15 years. Go give them a hand.

Cartoon Rock Show In Oakland

International comic art practitioners tour America and get served about what you might expect when they land in Oakland, California. No extreme violence actually occurred, but it seemed imminent on a couple occasions. I was not witness to all of the idiocy involved, so cannot report accurately on it. I managed to get to the show right when Creep Highway – a two piece act consisting of Michael DeForge and Patrick Kyle (video above) was getting started. For reasons that are unclear I ended up being the drummer for Simon Hanselmann‘s act (billed as Girl Mountain on the ads, but announced as The Candy Boys after we finished the set… picture below). There are at least four stops left on this tour, so maybe you can catch it.

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Wicked King Wicker Video by Steven Cerio

A new video Steven Cerio directed, filmed and edited for Jim Gibson’s WICKED KING WICKER song “Faith through Fear”. The album is available on iTunes.

Zero Zero Zero Zero Zero Zero

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Once upon a time I was the Art Director at the comic book publisher Fantagraphics. I worked most closely there with Kim Thompson, who should have turned 58 today. Probably the two biggest projects we worked on together were the revised and expanded Ultimate Catalog and 10 issues of the anthology Zero Zero. One of the most memorable of the latter was the Rolling Stone parody issue with cover art by Drew Friedman and logo by Jim Blanchard. That one got some regular publishing world exposure, even, in the pages of the (now some five years defunct) Magazine & Bookseller magazine. I wasted about an hour today trying to find my old xerox of that. Click the images to make them really big.

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I drew this ‘Kurt Cobain as drawn by a Rolling Stone illustrator-style’ version of Sam Henderson’s Monroe Simmons during a staff meeting. He may be appearing in next year’s Oh, That Monroe Third Edition from Alternative Comics if there is room for him. There was an awful lot of text needed to fill all the space made by maintaining the Rolling Stone style. Large chunks of the masthead was stupid crap I flew in while typing. The vast bulk of the rest was Kim’s. In most of the Zero Zeros there are many subtle, and not so subtle, references to comics and Fantagraphics history and lore in the back-matter.

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Doing this issue felt like an extra dig at the corporate rock mag just a year after I’d appeared in the ridiculous CNN program “Boom or Bust”, which pitted the Baby Boomers against their vile offspring the Busters of generation X.

More Zero Zero after the jump

A Few Blurry Phone Photos From SPX 2014

I went to SPX 2014 and all I got were these seven crappy phone photos, a Hidden Fortress T-Shirt and the new Charles Burns book (signed, with the numbered bookplate and the paper mask). I picked up a ton of new books from various parts of the show for the Wow Cool shop. We expect them to successfully ship to us by next Wednesday, September 24th. Watch this space for details (yes we will have The Humans #0, stop asking).

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Derf Dackderf sold out of two big stacks of his True Stories #1 at SPX 2014. Never fear, there are many more in existence. It won’t be in stores until November, but you can pre-order the book from Wow Cool now.

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James Kochalka signed many books 

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Dean Haspiel explains the universe to Gary Groth

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Derf, Tom Tomorrow and Ruben Bolling hanging out with Jules Feiffer

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The Alternative Comics / Revival House Press / Hang Dai Editions area, with Malachi Ward, David Nuss and Josh Neufeld. Alternative Comics was well represented elsewhere at the show at individual artists’ tables for SPX Special Guest Derf and Nick Bertozzi. Much missed was Seth Kushner, who we are very confident will be with us at SPX next year.

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It’s Josh Neufeld again! With Gregory Benton.

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Tom Neely and Tom Kaczynski.

Kickstart This: Sparkplug Fall Books

Sparkplug Books needs your help to publish their next two books: Reich #12 by Elijah Brubaker and Vortex by William Cardini. That’s all you should need to know. Go on, get to it. Get over to Kickstarter and give Sparkplug lots of money!

Go Read Capitol Contingency 90s D.C. Music History

Capitol Contingency: Post-Punk, Indie Rock, and Noise Pop in Washington, D.C., 1991-1999 by Brandon Gentry is the sort of book about the D.C. indie scene(s) I’ve long wanted to read. My needs were pretty simple on this, something along the lines of ‘a book that covers Shudder To Think AND Unrest. covered. There is much, much more. I’m normally allergic to the ‘oral history’ approach and tend to prefer a more carefully rendered narrative, but I’m willing to give this one a chance. As a bonus, a poster I made for a Velocity Girl / Tsunami show is reproduced in the book along with many others. This joint is an e experience only. No print version. You can get it on Amazon’s Kindle, Apple’s iBooks and elsewhere.

Kickstart This: CBGB Punk Photos by GODLIS 1976-1979 The BOOK

David Godlis very generously provided his 1977 portrait of Ramones designer Arturo Vega for the print and digital memorials in Maximum RocknRoll that I produced with John Holmstrom last year. I am very grateful for that and would like you to take a look at and support this CBGB photo book he is putting together now.

In vaguely related downtown New York news, my old friends and neighbors Adam Alexander (inventor of Alexander’s Star) and Leslie Sternbergh Alexander (Mad & underground cartoonist) are having an online rent party and have some very nice pieces of art as rewards, including a print by my long lost buddy Michael Roman and art by Gary Panter, Robert Williams and Leslie herself. Go help them out.

Indie Comics Day – Two New From Alternative

We are making an attempt around here to designate Thursday as Indie Comic Book Day. Wednesday is the traditional new comic book day, but Thursday is the traditional ‘businesses stay open a little later day’, so it makes some sort of sense. Meanwhile, in music and books, Tuesday is new release day… I think. Pretty sure. Anyway. We have scads of new books in our Silicon Valley Store, several of which have yet to make it into the online shop… We do have two for you right now – from our in-house imprint Alternative Comics – that are in both places:

Death in Oaxaca

Death in Oaxaca #1 by Steve Lafler. Steve’s first new series since Bughouse. This surreal adventure serves up Lucha Libre wrestlers and an ancient vampire who prefers chicken. Two expats move to remote Oaxaca, the fabled highland city in southern Mexico. Rex, earnest yet duplicitous, flees from mid-life crisis and fear of death. Beautiful Gertie, cynical but honest, is just plain bored and craves adventure.

Night of the Living Vidiots

Night of the Living Vidiots by Andy Ristaino – The first full color collection of comics from the Emmy Award Winning Adventure Time artist. Sci-fi, horror, and comedy melted together and topped with a Twilight Zone twist. Darkly funny tales featuring mad science, gothic anime, TV zombies, kaiju, giant robots, monsters from the deep, and even a haunted sweatshirt.

You want to know how I feel today. I feel OK.

Holy Moses. It’s the long delayed return of the link round down. All you need to know that is on the interwebs for the last millennium is right here.

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I get sick all over on 90s noise rock/post rock what the hell you want to call it. One of my top half dozen in that crew was Unwound. I found out the other day via the venerable FB group Now Playing that Unwound has been re-releasing all… ALL of their recordings in slick box-sets via the mysterious Numero Group. Big, fat, three-vinyl box sets with multi-page liner note extravaganzas. The first two (of four) are out: Kid Is Gone – covering the demo and pre-Fake Train years, and Rat Conspiracy containing Fake Train, New Plastic Ideas and more. Volume Three – No Energy – has been teased on thee Pitchfork. Curiously, their unreleased track is titled “Seen Not Heard”… it reminds us of something…

The brilliant British documentary maker Adam Curtis has posted his latest epic-length blog post – “Now Then – The hidden systems that have frozen time and keep us from changing the world”. It is well worth your time to read and view the whole thing.

It would be very difficult to point out a single – or even a group of posts – as the most interesting, but Peter Kirn has been laying down fascinating digital music info daily at a much accelerated rate for the last couple months on Create Digital Music. Drool-worthy gear, free plug ins and hot audio pro-tips are flowing like water lately at his definitive site.

I really enjoyed this too-short interview with Jah Wobble at Huff Post.

Wow Cool co-founder and SAW director Tom Hart recommends this 10 minute class in film by Robert Rodriguez

Benjamin Marra recommends this DIY guide to making hardcover collections of your old comics.

Must-read interviews: Françoise Mouly at The Rumpus and Andrew Neal of Chapel Hill Comics at The Comics Journal.

Everyone has World War (one) fever because of the centenary of the start of that bloody episode. Thee BoingBoing has the Simon Gane illustrated The Next War: a comic for the centenary of World War One for your viewing pleasure. I have a bound volume of the UK’s Punch Magazine that stretches from just before the war until a bit into it… and those last bunch of pages are some of the grimmest material you’ve ever seen in a humor magazine.

Support this: Nick Bertozzi’s Rubber Necker #6

Nick Bertozzi has kept his previously Alternative Comics published series going in recent years as a self-published thing, and he needs your support to get the sixth issue out. The full-color comic is ready to go with only the printing costs to be covered. Give a brother a hand on IndieGoGo. You can get several of Nick’s earlier books in the Wow Cool shop, or direct from the man himself.

Three Alternative Comics Titles Available for Pre-Order – Plus Self-Published Kevin Huizenga Books Now in The Shop

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Just like it says above the cover images… Three upcoming Alternative Comics titles are available for pre-order in the Wow Cool Shop: Death In Oaxaca #1 by Steve Lafler and Night of the Living Vidiots by Andy Ristaino will be available in early August; and, Derf Backderf’s first ever comic book series True Stories will debut with the first issue in early November (crafty travelers can get their’s from Derf at SPX in September).

UPDATE: The first printing of the Noah Van Sciver illustrated A City of Whiskey and Fire has now sold out of it’s first printing and has now been changed to pre-order for the October 2014 Alternative Comics edition.

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We also have a couple of recently fresh self-published books from Kevin Huizenga: The Half Men and The Pocket Guides. Many more books have shown up in the last couple of weeks and we are getting them up on the online shop as we can. You can get all those and many more in person at our Cupertino store.

Love a Good Art Jam – LenCat

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The Wow Cool | Alternative Comics shop in Cupertino received a visit from Len Callo with his portfolio of original art by various indie cartoonists. Included were some lovely vintage pieces by Dan Clowes, Jim Blanchard and Steve Lafler. Len was there to see Mr. Lafler, who joined us for lunch on the patio today. There were several unpublished covers in the set and some record cover art I’d never seen before, including the crazy jam piece above that was created by Dan Brereton, S.Clay Wilson, Dave McMacken, Jim Blanchard, J.R. Williams, Mitch O’Connell, Tim Vigil, Wade Furlong, Craig Hamilton, Len Callo, Alex Niño, Paul Allen, Chris Wisnia, Pat Moriarity, Steve Mannion, Barron Storey, Manuel Pérez Clemente Sanjulian, Mario Henandez, Tom Yeates and Mick Gray (who handled most of the inking) for the cover to the LenCat LP Face Your Demons. The are many other gems on Len’s ComicArtFans.com pages… and on much of the rest of the site too, I imagine.

We also received a visit from a mysterious ‘secret shopper’, who turned out to be Robert Emmett from KFJC 89.7FM’s Norman Bates Memorial Soundtrack Show. You will have to tune in from 9am pacific time on Saturday, July 26 to hear more about that. And yes, it streams on thee interwebs.

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