Visiting The Center for Cartoon Studies

Last week, I was invited to be part of this center’s Industry Day, along with Gary Groth and Judy Hansen amongst others. They’re up in bucolic Vermont, a far cry from the hectic NYC pace and a nice breather. A long picturesque ride on the train and they’re in what was a train boom town, White River Junction. Obviously it’s suffered with the decline of rail but it’s coming back and the Center has some to do with that but it also still retains a lot of the old time charm. Staying at the Coolidge Hotel was a gas(lamp) [sorry, couldn’t resist], a little like the Horton Grand in San Diego, all classic of a century ago but this one more rustic.
We engaged in a lively conversation of where the industry is, poured tons of cold shower onto the poor students there but when it came to portfolio review, I was generally impressed. Told a few we’d like to publish ’em! It is amazing, despite such low odds and bad money for most, how much great talent just really really wants to be in this medium.
Also the school is at a human size with 40-50 students and a great faculty roster. Besides founder James Sturm, Steve Bissette, Jason Lutes and others teach there. Impressive.
Great to be away from the ever devouring Big Apple and go see what the latest aspiring generation is up to.

…and thanks to Verizon’s obnoxious incompetence…

…we have still no internet and even phone lines! They were supposed to come days before our move to install both and failed to do so.
What did they do to make up for it? Put us back in the queue as if we were a new order! Another 2-3 week wait!!!
And I haven’t even started… we have been fighting this every day to little avail.
Hopefully by the end of this week we should have all this up and running but God knows.
Meantime it’s a been a wangling of using a cellphone hotspot and Starbucks and routing calls to our cellphones!
It’s enough to turn you into THE HULK.
We’ve been hearing a lot of Verizon horror stories like this. Anybody else experience this?

Barney Rosset: “a Breach in the Dam of American Puritanism”

He was a role model and I was priviledged to do business with him.

Barney Rosset, as you may have heard, passed away. He made his life as a publisher a crusade against our society’s strictures of morality. He picked fights and fought them fearlessly: Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Tropic of Cancer, Naked Lunch and yes The Story of O.

Oh, the fights benefitted sales, certainly. He wasn’t stupid. But it seems the fight was what he enjoyed the most throughout his life. Givin’ it to those moralizing censors, making the 1st amendment actually mean something.

In the early nineties, Rosset called me to establish an account with us. At the time, he had sold his legendary Grove Press and started another called Blue Moon Books  to bring out a trove of long repressed 19th century erotic books. He wanted to complement his mail order business of this with our Eurotica line, including, of course, The Story of O, which he had to have a nostalgia for at that point.

This was vindication. The spirit with which I entered into publishing Eurotica was in fact very similar to his. Yes, to make money. But also to thumb my nose at the puritanical establishment. My finger at it, actually. Also I wanted to show that comics can also do smut with quality, with a voice. That’s why I’m still proud to publish Eurotica. It’s certainly not all high falutin’ stuff, a lot of it just plain fun (but always with great art) but you can see our gems in there, Omaha the Cat Dancer being one of them.

His fights against censorship, his Evergreen Review, which, by the way, featured dirty comics before underground comix existed, helped to bring on the sixties. He was fighting those sixties fights well before the sixties! That made him a visionary.

Ah, yes, Barney Rosset made being a smut peddler cool.

Welcome to Craig Russell!

The Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde Vol.5: The Happy Prince

A belated welcome to Craig Russell to our blog! We’ve got a series of fascinating videos/interviews of him working specifically on his next Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde, the 5th volume with the Happy Prince, coming out in April and to be premiered at MoCCA in NY end of April. We’ll post one a week of those and also have him comment in regular blog entries on his work.

The book is being solicited for now at comics stores.

We’re also busy at the office working on putting together the book to go out to the printer tomorrow. The artwork is stunning and Lovern Kindzierski’s colors just beautiful! Lovin’ every minute.

Keeping Dungeon in stock

We’re working right now on preparing Dungeon Zenith vols. 1 and 2 for going back to press and in doing so I got to realize the 1st one is now heading into its fourth printing, the second into its 3rd.

Damn, I’m impressed and quite proud of this success.

In March, we’ve got a banded set of all 3 volumes in the Zenith subseries lined up which  prompts these reprints, the volumes had been out of stock for a good few months and are certainly missed.

Indie digital comics: welcome Top Shelf

I’d like to welcome Top Shelf to the 21st century and digital comics.

I find the hoopla around their announcement somewhat amusing especially as we’ve been there, done that for over two years now and have quite a nice library up on Comixology building for some time now! So declarations about being the first, well, Chris, I luv ya, but…

not exactly.

Check out our Comixology page here and the other choices we have.

We’re also working with our distributor IPG to get us available with e-tailers and providers beyond comics ones in the general realm of e-books. So, Libraries: Overdrive should have us already! And that’s just one.

End of bass drum beating.

SPX: Fabulous.

Just back from SPX in the Washington DC area and it was energizing!

Saturday was amazing, starting right off the bat in high gear. For a few hours, we sold steadily books upon books, selling out of many Dungeon titles quickly as well as Sky Over the Louvre and Geary’s new Sacco & Vanzetti.

By the end of the show we had sold out of substantial quantities also of our premiere of the Stargazing Dog which was warmly received and, with Brooke Allen signing, of the many copies we brought of her Home for Mr. Easter.

The energy around the show is wonderful to see, the Ignatz Awards were SRO with many unable to fit and the post party went on into the wee hours. Gotta say, I love the forgiving hours of the show, starting at 11 on Saturday and even noon on Sunday.

A fun experience worth the trip and this show should attract attendees from farther than the DC area alone, it deserves it!

Many thanks to Brooke, Rick Parker who held up the Papercutz side, and Jesse Lonergan for appearing at our booth and talking with fans.

Kinky & Cosy cover a doozie

Well, I promised to take a picture of the cover, here it is! Not a great one but it does show the foil effect and the crazy googly eyes that are within cutouts from the hardcover.

You can even kinda see me reflected in the foil taking the picture…

Yeah, you gotta see this either at its premiere in San Diego or ask your store! They’ll have it in about 5-6 weeks…

See more about Kinky & Cosy.

Kinky & Cosy just came in: it’s deliciously bad.

Just received this morning a nice little treat: advance copies of the outrageous KINKY & COSY and it’s a beauty.

We’ve never done anything like this before. Wait ’til you see the google eyes of the two girls peering out through cutouts in the hardcover… the whole over a pink/copper shiny foil… It’s irresistible!

We’ve got advance copies being sent to San Diego to premiere the book there and if it goes like with the French sample we had on display at MoCCA where people just zeroed in on it and couldn’t resist picking it up, it should sell out in a hurry!

The cover image above doesn’t do justice to the impression of this. I’ll try and take a picture of it and post it.

If you’ve been following our blog here and seeing our site, we’ve had a lot of strips running here, check it out. See the videos also… These girls are deranged.

Books will hit stores in about 6 weeks time and our warehouse in about 4. Before, if you’re at the San Diego shindig, come by and take a look.