Kickstart This: CHAINMAIL BIKINI: The Anthology of Women Gamers

Chainmail Bikini is an anthology of comics by and about female gamers! 40 cartoonists have contributed 200+ pages of all new stories about the games they’re passionate about—from video games to table-top role-playing to collectible card games. Help us pay for the printing costs and reward the artists by pre-ordering the book!

The comics in Chainmail Bikini explore the real-life impact of entering a fantasy world, how games can connect us with each other and teach us about ourselves. Alliances are forged, dice get rolled, and dragons get slain! We believe that gaming should be open to all, regardless of gender. Chainmail Bikini shows that while women are not always the target market for gaming, they are a vital and thoroughly engaged part of it, and are eager to express their personal take as players, makers, and critics of games.

Cover art is by the most awesome Hellen Jo, who hipped us to this project. Get the full scoop and support this project on its Kickstarter page.

Maximum Rocknroll 383 the Comics and Art Special


It’s time for Maximum Rocknroll #383, April 2015, the Comics and Art special issue, guest coordinated by famed MRR columnist Monsieur Alex Simon. Featuring a cover by everyone’s favorite Mexican miscreant, Abraham Diaz, we threw over the written word for a full-on visual extravaganza, featuring art by Jim Shomo, Sara Abruña, Reuben Storey, Teodoro Hernandez, Tara Bursey, Payton Lower, Diane Maltesta, Andrew Scully, Ben Fordree, Juarma Lopez, J.M. Bertoyas, Shiva Addanki, Eugene Terry, Grimoire, Emma Kohlmann, Jack Hayden, Hector Sudor, Chico Félix, Ivan Brun, Robin Wiberg, Anna Vo, Alexander Heir, Craoman, Christopher Nhdiystrec, Anna Haifisch, Luca Tetraite, Maren Karlson, Suzy X, Matt Crabe, Jeffrey Mahannah, Freak City, Heather Benjamin, Dustin McChesney, Julien Dupont, Laura Pallmall, Ruben Dahlstrand, Nathan Ward, Mar Estrema, Sapiens, Mengzhu Fu, Karissa Sakumoto, Pyotr Mulinov, Jyriki Nissinen, Luiz Berger, Luiz Gustavo Vargas, Yecatl Peña, Zoe Burke, Annie Mok, Marissa Paternoster, Emma Maatman and Rudy Loewe.

The last time MRR did a comics issue – the Punk Comics Special guest edited by Janelle Hessig – it sold out almost immediately. You can get it now direct from the source or wait a few days and get it from us. You pays your money you takes your choice.

Taken to the cleaners

Unbelievably, just a month and a half after the Wow Cool | Alternative Comics shop was burglarized we have been hit again by what strongly appears to be the same thief or thieves. The method of entry and pattern of theft are very similar to what occurred before and reveals very OCD traits of the culprit(s). If you have any information, please contact the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s office at (408) 868-6600. The event number is 150310210C

Stolen Items include:

an iPod Touch 16GB – serial number 1D74862SW4T

Two locking metal cash boxes, one containing about $70 in cash with several coin rolls
The second cash boxes had a bent key and contains misc. trade show supplies and various comics-related cards and stickers

Several loose comics and books. Most of them being short – under 9 inches tall, from A to Dave Cooper, plus most of the E’s and Fs. It’s a lot of books and too many to list right now…

One small white box of standard Marvel and DC Comics about 150 of them.

Every minicomic and digest in the shop from A to Dan James’ The Octopi and the Ocean was taken, including all the Papercutters, every issue of Structures from Uncivilized, all the Michael DeForge, Simon Gane, Mike Bertino, Theo Ellsworth, Tom Neely, Hellen Jo, Tom Kaczynski, Jim Rugg, Kevin Huizenga and many many more.

Two copies of the newest Jim Rugg notebook from AdHouse, Toys in the Basement by Blanquet, many copies of Sam Henderson’s Magic Whistle, several copies of Derf’s True Stories, Theo Ellsworth’s Understanding Monster #2, Several Becky Cloonan comics (The Mire, Demeter, Wolves), two copies of Tyranny of the Muse #2, several copies of Daddy Lightning by Tom Hart, various minicomics by David Lasky, RAW volume 2 number 2, Blab 6 & 7, Remake & Remake Special, and a copy of Noah Van Sciver’s Hypo.

We do have stock in the back still of many of those books but not all.

This second theft has hit us hard. The last time around we were lucky to have a replacement window in the building. That was not the case this time. We have also invested in further protecting our store and office to prevent this from happening again. The loss of stock is massive and it will take us some time to re-inventory. Many of the books are not easily replaceable. 2014 was a hard year for us in many ways, and it was greatly hoped that things would improve this year. We are not getting off to a great start it seems. Anything you can do to help is greatly appreciated. We would prefer you support us by buying the books we sell on Any artists or publishers that want to replace or donate books, we will forever be in you debt.

After and before photos of the shelves that were hit hardest follow (The before pictures are from January 13, 2015, when we greatly expanded about three shelves of books, mainly the books that were not taken. After photos were taken immediately after the theft was discovered on Saturday afternoon.).







New Books Making Their Way into the Shop


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 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.

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.


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) 868-6600.

Continue reading We Was Robbed

David Lasky’s All Monster Comics


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.


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


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.

Dozens of new Books added to the Wow Cool shop


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.


Zero Zero Zero Zero Zero Zero


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.


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.



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).



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.



James Kochalka signed many books 


Dean Haspiel explains the universe to Gary Groth


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


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.


It’s Josh Neufeld again! With Gregory Benton.


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!

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.

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


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.


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


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 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.

Past Blasts