August 2, 2019

Hot off the press: Double Dip #2!

Double Dip is the book that Tom Cherry and I publish together at an “occasional” (to be charitable) rate, and I’m thrilled to announce that the new issue is finally complete & ready for your hot little hands! Even though getting our schedules in sync for these comics can feel like aligning the sun and moon for an eclipse, it’s been great to team up again with Tom to bring you what is now my new favorite issue!

Of course, a lot of its charm is due to Tom’s 7-page “Little Arlo” gem. I won’t spoil it by saying anything more about it, other than to say it brought me great happiness from beginning to end when I read it!

My 6-page story this issue features Watusi & friends, picking up from the end of last issue wherein they met a dog from outer space that could turn into any breed of dog. And, as it turned out, a monkey! Apparently I didn’t learn my lesson from last time, though, as this story ends on yet another cliffhanger. Fortunately, as Tom said, this means that there’s a Double Dip #3 coming in the future. The near future, I hope. Or at least not another (yikes!) eight-year gap…

As I said above, I am really happy with how this one turned out– ask for it at your comic shop of choice, or contact Tom or me (see my address in footer of this page) to get your hands on your own copy. Double Dip #2 is a 16-page black & white digest w/full-color cover. It’s postpaid in the U.S. for $3.00 … or become one of my Patreon patrons during the month of August 2019 at the Correspondent or Art Lover level & I’ll mail you a copy! (Plus, joining gives you immediate access to other online bonus comics, including a full-color Human Spring adventure!)

I hope you’re as thrilled to read these new stories as we are to present them to you!

 

July 16, 2019

Hot off the press: a pair of one-sheet wonders

This Friday, July 19th, is Memphis Zine Fest V, and I’ll be there showing & selling my recent comics like Sultana & the Watusi webcomic primer … along with a pair of new minicomics I completed just for this show. While zine fests always charge me up with enthusiasm for comics that can be made from a single sheet of paper, I need to remember that I don’t have to wait until a festival comes along to play around with the format! Here’s the scoop on these issues:

Smeary Soapbox Press-ents #15: This issue is another “art” mini, collecting some of my favorite pencil drawings from 2018.

Smeary Soapbox Press-ents #16: This is an (ever-so-slightly) revised version of a story I wrote & drew in 1993, kind of a proto 24-hour comic, in which a breatharian and an Elvis impersonator tribute artist confront their haunted wallpaper.

Be sure to come out & say “hi” at Crosstown Concourse from 5-8 on Friday during this annual celebration of MidSouth zines and zinesters! Not only will I have these new (and old) minis & comics, I’ll also have an early purchase opportunity for next month’s ALL-NEW digest (more on that in August, of course)!

Can’t make it? You can always get copies from me by mail, postpaid for just $1.00 each from the address in the footer of this page … or become one of my Patreon patrons during the month of July 2019 at the Correspondent or Art Lover level & I’ll mail you copies! (Plus, joining gives you immediate access to other online bonus comics, including a full-color Human Spring adventure!)

May 4, 2019

Hot off the press for Free Comic Book Day 2019: Watusi #39!

It’s been a number of years since I last made a new comic for Free Comic Book Day, the annual day when participating comic book shops across North America give away comic books absolutely FREE to anyone who visits their stores. This year, I’m happy to say, changes that!

Watusi #39 is a special webcomic primer issue; after ten years and a dozen different storylines, a lot of content has accumulated on www.watusithetalkingdog.com, home of my talking dog’s weekly online adventure strip. I figured providing a little guide to all that content would be helpful to acclimate new readers (as well as being a good refresher for long-time readers who only visit the strip from time to time (versus living in it like I do!)) … and this project is what FCBD is all about– sharing good comics with new readers! It’s a 16-page black & white digest w/full-color wraparound cover.

I’ll be distributing copies at Memphis’ own 901 Comics (2162 Young Ave, Memphis, TN 38104) on Saturday, May 4th, FCBD! Can’t make it there? Then it’s still your lucky weekend, because on May 4-5, 2019 you can score a FREE .pdf version of this issue from my online store!

[May 2019 UPDATE: even though FCBD is over, the .pdf version of this issue is still available in my online store for $2.00; the print edition is just $3.00 postpaid in the U.S. (see address in footer of this page)]

Any day is a great day to read comics, but Free Comic Book Day is an especially good one; thanks for making my site one of your stops!

April 12, 2019

Hot off the press: Sultana!

When I contribute comics to anthologies, I like to wait at least a year before I reprint them in one of my own publications. Sultana, originally published in 2017’s 901 Comics Anthology #1 recently passed that milestone, and I’m happy to give it a home in my own catalog with this new print edition. I had originally set out to tell a Memphis-centric ghost story for that anthology of locally created comics, but my research led me instead to the tale of the Sultana, the true story of the worst maritime disaster in U.S. history. It happened just upriver from Memphis; you can read more about the tragic tale on the Sultana Musuem website.

In fact, it was a visit to that museum that led me to make a couple of revisions to my original story, reflected in this new edition. The original comic got a good response from those who have read it, and I hope this new edition will have a similar reaction.

Sultana debuts this Saturday (April 13th) at Bookstock, the Memphis Public Library’s local author festival, from 11-3 at the Benjamin L. Hooks Library, 3030 Poplar. It’s been a couple of years since I’ve been to a proper literary event, and I’m really excited about it. I’ll have an author table there to talk up Sultana as well as my Watusi comics. It’s a free event, so stop by and say hi if you can!

Sultana is an 8-page black & “white” (interiors are on ivory paper) standard comic w/full-color wraparound cover. Postpaid in the U.S. for $4.50 (see address in footer of this page) … or become one of my Patreon patrons during the month of April 2019 at the Correspondent or Art Lover level & I’ll mail you a copy! (Plus, joining gives you immediate access to other online bonus comics, including a full-color Human Spring adventure!)

February 7, 2019

I have a question for you…

… if you already read my Watusi the Talking Dog comic online– or maybe especially if you DON’T– what kind of information did/would you like to know before you dive/d into a new body of work? After nearly 10 years and more than that many different storylines, I feel the need to provide an easy introduction for new readers … so I’m assembling a webcomic primer issue of Watusi to serve that function. While I try to make work that is accessible to new readers, I’m often too involved in the process to see things from the reader’s POV. I would love to quench your thirst for understanding (& give you a better reading experience)!

Chime in below & feel free to share …

January 21, 2019

Ryan Coogler, man with a plan

You get into dangerous territory if you expect the art you make to change people’s minds. But if someone can watch a film and then go home and talk about it, that’s doing a lot.

Ryan Coogler, quoted as one of Time magazine’s short list for Person of the Year for 2018.

When I was doing my topical (and increasing political) strip “Continuity and Vine”, I was taken aback when someone at a show said he was glad to read my comics … so he’d know what to think about the news! I certainly wasn’t writing those strips to become some sort of political guru, so reading Coogler’s take on that aspect of making art was a revelation for me.

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January 14, 2019

A clean slate for 2019

Another year has come & gone, which means it’s that time when I like to plan out what I want to accomplish in the new year, and check in with my goals from last time. This year has been slow to get going since my holiday market ran past X-mas & into the New Year, leaving me without the time or brainpower to vision my upcoming year. Fortunately, this past weekend finally gave me time and the right mindset to think about 2019. But first, what about my goals from 2018? I wanted to focus on a few (mostly) attitudinal adjustments…

1. Wear my business hat less, my artist hat more! Even though I wore my business had less, I spent too much of my time & energy promoting a group I’ve been part of, and not enough time building up my own work. I am confident that will change (for the better) in 2019…

2. Put comics aside for a couple of days each week and give myself dedicated time focused on “art”, including paintings and prints. While I didn’t make as many paintings as I had set out to do, I had a pretty good year making & selling prints (some Memphis-themed) in 2018. Now I just need to make some Memphis-themed comics & see if that will get people around here to actually purchase reading material…

3. Draw more spontaneously. While I’m still not as loose as I’d like to be, I consciously spent more time just drawing, and that helped. My inking is becoming looser & more natural, too; sometimes I’ve even liked the inked drawing as much as the penciled one! If you’re interested in my pencil drawings, you can get a taste of them on my Instagram account, where I regularly post them (plus, they’re for sale, and that gives you first crack at buying ’em)…

4. Celebrate the Year of the Dog with more Watusi comics than I did in 2006. While it may have taken most of the lunar year to do so, I did manage to finish the Year of the Dog Watusi issue! Plus, last summer’s big Watusi in the Emerald City of Oz collection & the weekly Watusi webcomic added up to a pretty dog-friendly year!

All of which gives me a solid footing to build on for 2019! I have a tendency to overload my “to-do” list with things I hope to accomplish, which can often be an overwhelming amount of unfinished idea debt (as Jessica Abel would say). This year, I’m literally starting with a clean slate, which I can use for highlighting my accomplishments, not leaving them buried in the weeds of what I still want to do. Basically, it’s an offshoot of the “done” part of my Kanban board that will let me see what I have accomplished, something I too often ignore as I move on to my next project. Expect to see a fuller version of this post’s graphic by the end of the year!

So, this year I’m looking to build on the good habits I’ve developed to make more (and more substantial) finished work. Specific concrete goals include:

1. Find a store to carry my work year-round. While I had pretty good success doing festivals last year, I need to move beyond handselling my work at outdoor events. This year I want to try & find a location that can carry my work– not just the comics (which are a hard sell in this town), but also my prints & notecards (which seem to connect better with customers)– all year long. If you happen to run such a venue, get in touch with me at the address on the bottom of this page.

2. Attend book events and literary festivals. Most festivals around here are pretty focused on music & drinking which, while fun, doesn’t always connect me with my target audience of readers. There are a few events from last year that are worth doing again, but I can’t fall into the trap of doing shows just because I’ve done them in the past. This is likely to mean booking events further afield, which is a daunting prospect, but will be worth it if it pays off…

3. Get back to “making” on a regular schedule. While being so focused on prints turned out to be fairly lucrative, it was not as satisfying as making comics. I’ve been really happy with the quality of my published print comics, and now it’s time to make more of them. Like Dave Sim wrote, “first you get good, then you get fast, then you get good and fast”– I’m ready to get faster. They may not come out every month (depending on my schedule & bundling orders for my printer), but the concrete goal is 12 new comics in 2019.

4. Plan and participate in a proper “Inktober” project. While I’ve played around with Inktober a bit in the past, I’ve never gone all in on this event because I create inked art all the time. But after being in awe of some of the successful themed projects by Chris Samnee and JB Winter, I should step up my game for the month! I’m open to suggestions, by the way…

That’s what I’ve got in mind; any creative goals for 2019 you wish to share?

December 30, 2018

Hot off the press: Watusi #38!

For the first time in a long, long time I’m happy to announce the release of a new Watusi digest comic! I’ve long been fascinated by the Chinese Zodiac (more so than the Greek one), and this 38th digest issue is my long-overdue “Year of the Dog” issue. It features collaborative comic contributions from Tom Cherry, Rusty Mathis, Mark Morehouse, Keith O’Brien, Kemmer, & Joel Pfannenstiel, plus a 4-page story from Bob Corby’s Oh Comics! #22 (2014), a color centerspread, and my first wraparound cover in 25 years … tho if my plans for 2019 work out, it won’t be my last!

While it may have taken me longer to complete this “Year of the Dog” issue than I’d hoped … at least I got it done faster than my unsuccessful attempt at one in 2006! I’m glad it didn’t take me another 12 years to get it into reader hands!

16-page black & white digest w/full-color cover postpaid in the U.S. for $3.00; (see address in footer of this page).

I hope you’ll order a copy and give it a read!

December 25, 2018

Holiday piece No. 15

 

At the end of every year I send out a holiday piece to friends and family who have had an impact on my life during the year, but as my audience has grown to include readers (via website visits, Facebook, Instagram, & Twitter follows) I don’t know personally, I want to share the joy with my “virtual” friends as well. Thanks for taking the time to visit this blog or follow my weekly Watusi webcomic. It’s much appreciated!

Longtime readers may recognize this year’s holiday piece as a colored version of my curmudgeonly one from 2002 … but while coloring it for use as a notecard this year, I couldn’t help but notice that 2018 was featured as one of my projections. If anything, I was being too generous, as Christmas promotion has already leapfrogged Labor Day– heck, there are places that stock decorations year round! (grumble grumble) Anyway…

Best wishes for a happy 2019!

August 28, 2018

The King dreams big!

Today is the anniversary of Jack Kirby‘s birth in 1917. His contributions to comics– both in terms of characters and stylistic conventions– have rightly earned him the nickname “King.” I first discovered his artwork pretty much right as I discovered comics, at a time when he was working for Marvel in the mid 1970s. While his writing went pretty much over the head of this 10-year old, I couldn’t deny the power of his artwork. At that time it was still gracing the covers of many Marvel titles, from characters he created such as Fantastic Four and The Avengers to newer heroes such as a favorite of mine, Nova. I later came to appreciate Kirby’s work more fully through his creations at DC just before I started reading comics: the New Gods cycle and Kamandi, the last boy on Earth, are amazing comics to behold, and were able to (largely) stand on their own without interference from other editors or a need to adhere to line-wide continuity concerns. They are definitely worth checking out, especially since many of them have been collected in trade editions within the last decade.

Last year I created the above piece, which saw publication in Jason Garrattley’s Jack Kirby 100th birthday celebration on the Jack Kirby Museum‘s Kirby-Vision blog. Even though my inking’s a little rougher than I’d hoped, it was a blast to do, and sums up Kirby’s ability to dream big (such as in what came to be my favorite of his Marvel series, The Eternals) and bring those dreams to life on the page.

For this year, I produced a more “101”-style piece, which you can find in Jason’s 101st (and final) Kirby Birthday Gallery.

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