Still a little woozy from all the craziness that was the Alternative Press Expo (APE) last weekend, but wanted to write a quick recap since, as I’ve been saying for weeks now, the show marked Yam Books’ eagerly-anticipated debut of its first planned book “Ticket Stub” by Tim Hensley. Here’s Tim and I at our table. The only thing missing was our bud and table mate, Lark Pien who was hanging out with cartoonists Megan Kelso and Ellen Forney down in Florida for a cartoonist residency for the week.
It was super duper having Tim at the show to finally celebrate the fruits of our labor. All of our hard work and all the emails back and forth paid off with a beautifully-designed book that we are really proud of. The last time I saw Tim in person was at APE a couple of years ago when he was a part of the gigantic Kramers Ergot 8 book tour. He’s a funny, VERY humble and talented guy. My only regret is that I didn’t rescue him from staying at a hotel called the Vagabond Inn right next to The Stud bar. Don’t look at me! I didn’t book Tim’s travel arrangements! Needless to say, lesson learned for both of us!
Anyway, it was really heart-warming to hear all the nice things about Ticket Stub at the show. And despite it being a pretty slow APE this year, many actually bought the book. See! Dan Clowes even bought TWO!
Tim took the time to sign and draw in everyone’s books with his blue ink and crowquill pen which he would run away every 5 minutes to clean in the Concourse Exhibition Center bathroom. If you saw a gross, blue-stained sink — that was Tim and his vampire blood. Here’s Roman Muradov in awe of Tim’s inking skills.
Later that day, Jim Woodring came over to praise Tim on his stellar book, Wally Gropius. He came over twice wanting Tim to sign his copy, and each time, Tim was off cleaning his ink nib to which Jim would say “What the hell?!? Where’s my drawing?” or something like that. The second time, Jim managed to shame Tim from afar as he was walking with Mike Baehr:
Friday night before the APE show, I caught the tail-end of Adrian Tomine’s signing at Pegasus Books. I have never seen that place so packed to the gills in my life. I also got the chance to attend Gabrielle Bell’s reading at Escapist Comics. Gabrielle’s storytelling is hilarious and thoughtful. She is one of my favorite cartoonists, stretching the boundaries of autobio comics. She talked about her painstaking process, the real life experiences and people that inspire her stories. At the event, I talked to illustrator/designer Brian Kaas and Tom Kaczynski who is doing a bang-up job with Uncivilized Books. Here he is describing how much of a bossy publisher he is, as Ben Katchor brings up the depressing topic of e-books replacing printed books, to which Tom reassured that the future for us is bright. Oh Tom, it’s okay. I have my emergency survival kit near me at all times.
The show picked up at the end of both days, and we managed to sell a good amount of Ticket Stubs, Lollygags, and mini-comics. We also sold out of a couple of titles from our pals at Koyama Press. Michael DeForge, the West Coast people demand your presence ASAP, so please table next year. Also many were blown away by Jesse Jacobs’ “By This You Shall Know Him”. Tim also had some stunning original art for sale. Chance Press’ Jordan Hurdler made out like a bandit with a sweet piece of original Ticket Stub art — the cover art for Ticket Stub, Issue #9 which doubled as the first page of the book collection. I am still weeping that that isn’t hanging on my wall.
The best part of these shows for me is getting the change to talk to cartoonist heroes and friends who inspire me: Got to see Emily Nilsson and Greg Means tabling for Sparkplug Comic Books and Tugboat Press. I love them so much! Visited with the Press Gang guys comprised of Jason Levian (Floating World), Francois Vigneault (Family Style), and Zack Soto (Studygroup12). I’m really happy for those Portland guys hosting The Projects show this weekend too. I didn’t get a lot of chances to leave my table (I couldn’t even go to the panel I was a part of on Sunday!) so thank you to the comics dudes who stopped by to chat like Eli Bishop, Jeff Roysdon, Tyler Cohen, Geoff Vasile, Mark Todd, Eric Haven, Chris Diaz, Jonas Madden-Conner, Alvin Buenaventura, Mats Stromberg, Kyle Peterson, Jesse Reklaw, Sam Spina, and Fred Noland who is back at making comics — Thanks God! And it was really special to meet Janice Headley and Mike Baehr who did a good job at keeping crazy Los Bros fangirls like me at bay! Oh look, here’s Ben Catmull showing us pictures of the set design he created for an upcoming film project.
Yoo hoo! Jason Shigaaa! “You’ll be a daddy sooooon!” (Hi Ken!)
Oh, here’s Drawn and Quarterly trouble-maker, Tom Devlin. He kept going on and on about Facebook and El Chavo cocktails. Then suddenly like some ghost outta Minneapolis, Zak Sally decided to scare the crap out of us. He happened to be vacationing in the Bay Area. Man, talk about another reminder to keep making good comics. We hear ya, Zak. No need to haunt us, dude.
All weekend long, I managed to stop myself from fainting when I saw Los Bros Hernandez walking into the joint to sign every Love and Rockets book in the galaxy and greet their adoring fans. It was pretty much their weekend and why not! They were everywhere! If not in our heads and hearts, but next to us at Henry’s Hunan for dinner. We are pretty lucky to have such dudes to look up to in our craft. These guys never stop reminding you that you can do your comics on your own terms. Thus, Jaime gave me his blessing (sort of) to continue my embarrassing Dancing With the Stars comic. Every year I keep saying I will travel down to Comic Con to meet the Los Bros in person, and it never happens. I can’t ask for a better way to finally meet them, right here, at my local comic show on the last stop of their 30th Anniversary Tour. Shit is crazy! Anyway, can’t wait to go to their exhibit at the Cartoon Art Museum which, by all accounts of course, sounds freaking amazing.
All in all, APE 2012 was a special time for me. Thanks to everyone who stopped by and gave your support for Yam Books. A special thank you to Ken McIrish for helping me set up the table and figure out addition and subtraction — You are the best!! Now onward to BCGF!