New Books Making Their Way into the Shop

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In the build-up to the popular holiday season, Wow Cool added bajillions of new books to our physical shop in Cupertino, CA (Book thieves, take note). We are now finally getting these books added into our online catalog at WowCool.com. Some are New new books… some are just new to us. There are at least a couple hundred of them. It’s still easier to find them in the store. We’ll eventually get them all online. It’s easiest to see what new books are added into our web store on our Facebook photos… sadly…

Je Suis Charlie

Je Suis Charlie

Art by John Derf Backderf. Click to make big. Share widely.

Happy New Year!

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Image from the Punch 1915 Almanac. Available to view or download on Archive.org.

Support the Sequential Artists Workshop

Twenty seven years ago I shared a studio at the School of Visual Arts dorms with Tom Hart — a visionary young artist who showed much potential for becoming a great cartoonist. He did become a great cartoonist. What no one knew then was that Tom would also go on to become a great educator. One with a vision as well. His vision led to the creation of Gainesville, Florida’s SAW — The Sequential Artists Workshop. Wow Cool is an active sponsor of SAW’s programs, but they could use your help as well. Please consider making a contribution after reading Tom’s story below.  

Studies say that the most expensive schools aren’t Ivy League schools, they’re art schools.    Is something wrong with this picture?Here’s what I see: most graduates of art schools wind up with merely moderate skills to navigate their future but with massive debt.

Young artists who go to these schools start out life standing in a huge financial hole.

If you look at the major art schools- great places where I have taught and have friends who teach- artists come out with six figure debts. The education may be great, but in today’s world- is it worth the cost?

I started the SAW  because I believe our artists deserve a high quality education without that Ivy League price tag.

Do you feel the same way I do?If so, there are just 3 days left to give your tax deductible donation this year!
Please give to the Sequential Artists Workshop today.

Sequential Artists Workshop is not just about teaching people to make comics.

It’s about making a better world, for all of us.

SAW costs 1/10th the price of major art schools because it’s run by artists and supported by caring people like you.

Colleges and universities should not be in the business of churning students through the system and leaving them with crushing debt.

When you give to SAW , you’re putting your values into action, one student at a time.

     Here’s a student that you have helped this last year. 

Meet Michael.He got accepted to a major art school, and once he got a look at the price tag -as much per year as Harvard, called us up. He visited SAW, saw what we do and registered. Now he says, “I’ve made more progress to that end in one semester at SAW than I have alone in the last 5 years.”

Can we count on you to keep ensuring a bright future for our artists?

Please, give generously today. Even a penny will help.

You have the power to ensure a brighter future for artists like Michael.

Thank you!

Tom Hart

P.S. There are only 3 days left in 2014 to get your tax-deductible donation to Sequential Artists Workshop and make a difference in the lives of young artists like Michael. Please, click here and give generously today. 

We Was Robbed

The Wow Cool | Alternative Comics shop in Cupertino, California was broken into sometime this weekend by way of a very large rock. Several hundred dollars of comics and books were stolen. We were very fortunate that there was a replacement window available. The glass from the window that was smashed broke into an impressive quantity of shards both small and large and the debris field stretched from the end of the patio outside the shop all the way to the back of it. The books closest to the window need to be individually vacuumed.

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The thief or thieves were bizarrely selective in their choices of books to remove. Several new Alternative Comics published books were removed, including copies of Derf Backderf’s True Stories, Devin Flynn’s Hawd Tales and four copies of Noah Van Sciver’s A City of Whiskey and Fire.

Also missing were about 2/3 of a couple of shelves of big fancy art books and our hodge podge shelfs of larger art books and political and slice of life comics including books by Henriette Valium, Keith Knight, Lloyd Dangle, and Neil Gaiman, including at least one signed edition. The total retail price of all the books that were stolen is around a thousand dollars.

We have cleaned up most of the mess and are now just mostly dazed and confused.

The best way you can help us out in this difficult time is by buying books from our shop, online, or in person at the Cupertino store. We will be open on schedule at 12 noon on Tuesday, December 16th.

A partial list of what was taken and some before and after photos is after the jump. If you have any information, please contact the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s office at (408) 868-6800.

Continue reading We Was Robbed

I Saw A Thing… Punk Rock and all that…

fumbling about for something to have on in the background while messing around with such esoteric concerns as GS1-128 barcodes and the west coast trucking crisis I stumbled across a pair of what I think were German TV documentaries on punk from the 70s on thee Hulu. It’s always nice to see something from a totally different perspective on an area you thought you were familiar with. Even better if it’s something that had seemed as petrified as the history of punk. First up was Punk In London from 1977, which teases at the existence of Generation X (The band) several times, but never delivers them. There are a couple clips of X Ray Spex in there I had never seen. Some people will watch this for the images of 70s Brit punk zines alone… also Mark ‘Sniffing Glue’ Perry smacking a friend’s bare ass. I got a look once from an old friend who does a long-running zine that starts with the letter C, when I told him I sold off my old copies of Sniffing Glue, that would pretty much wilt a douglas fir. This was magically followed by “Punk in England: Women in Rock” from 1978, which had a lot of awesomeness in it. Not least of which was a lot of coverage of the Slits. I have to think a normal reaction to the declarations about punk opening up music to anyone to get up there and rock it will feel immediately intimidated by the presence of Ari Up from the Slits and her damn big hair and overwhelming voice. Hopefully you are hooked up in whatever way lets you watch this… not too sure how all that works.

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.

Past Blasts