Archive for ‘Hot off the press’

December 7, 2016

Hot off the press: Festive Funnies!

Festive Funnies No. 1 cover art by Dale MartinInspired by my parent’s traditional Christmas letter, in 1985 I began a holiday tradition of my own, creating original holiday pieces to share with my friends and family. Sometimes these have been woodcuts or poems or die cut cards … but my favorite pieces (not surprisingly) have been comics!

For most of the past decade, these pieces have centered around Watusi the talking dog and his supporting cast from my weekly adventure strip (new each Wednesday at www.watusithetalkingdog.com), often tying into the storyline then running in it:

  • “Watusi’s White Christmas” (2003) was originally published as a minicomic.
  • “Wrapping up Christmas” (2008) came with a customized gift tag as part of its cover.
  • “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” (2006) was the first solo Professor Harvey and Mitchell comic.
  • “The Green Line” (2005) had a hand-stencilled cover. It’s been fully colored for this collection. (And I laughed when I read it, in spite of myself)

Hapless hot dog vendor “Flamin’ Frank” (1999) was a character I used frequently before Watusi came along. Sadly, much of what would have been his supporting cast has been co-oped by Watusi, too! The original version of this comic came singed as my way of wishing readers “all the warmth of this holiday season.”

Likely my favorite holiday comic– certainly the most elaborate– is 2000’s “Three Wise Men”. Adapting my favorite part of the Nativity story, I did research into King Herod and the historical period, gaining new respect for the Magi in the process. Kings in their own right, they were crossing into the kingdom of a ruler beset with illness (Jewish historian Josephus described him as “suffering from uncontrollable itching, coughing, fever and worms”), haunted by the spirits of the wife and children he’d already murdered, and allied with the powerful Roman Empire. These men put their own lives on the line, all to pay homage to a newborn baby. It certainly gave me a new sense of their bravery and what a powerful effect that star had for them.

I hope you enjoy these comics with my best wishes for the season; they’re available in two formats:

  • A .pdf version is available in my online store for $2.00.
  • A print edition is available for $3.00 postpaid in the US (see address in footer of this page).

But, for those of you who read to the end of this post, you can get a .pdf copy for FREE! As 2016 winds down, I’m conducting a survey to better understand my readers, their reading habits and interests, and their thoughts on my comic. I hope you’ll take a moment to share your thoughts (survey starts here); complete the survey before the end of the year, and you get a code for a FREE copy of Festive Funnies. Thanks for your help!

November 8, 2016

Hot off the press: Smeary Soapbox Press-ents 100-Page Inventory Closeout Super Spectacular

ssp100pageI’m gearing up for my appearance this weekend at Wichita’s Air Capital Comiccon and I’ll be bringing a new comic (in addition to my “Watusi and the Emerald Serpent” roadshow) along with me. Well, maybe “new” isn’t quite the right word; here’s the story behind it…

The Smeary Soapbox Press-ents 100-Page Inventory Closeout Super Spectacular is my way of thinning out my backstock in a way that also pays homage to DC’s 100 Page Super Spectaculars of the early 1970s. Assembled from extra copies of my one-shot comics, each copy has its own unique mix of content (although I did make sure they each contained the characters mentioned on the cover: Watusi, Flamin’ Frank, FooF!, Professor Harvey, and the Guy with a Hammer!), as well as an original convention sketch. Given that nature of this collection, the material included varies, ranging from just a few years ago back to my earliest days as a self-publisher in the 1980s! The mix could include a sampling of my earliest superhero parody comics, a smattering of the annual holiday comics I’ve made since 1985, one-off comic “singles”, and/or comics featuring Watusi and his costars. The drawings may be rough, the stories may be silly, and they may even take me down a path I ultimately decided not to follow. But many of these comics are work I’m still proud of, if for no other reason than they led me to become the creator I am today.

I had fun “curating” the material that went into these copies, and I think my binding comes pretty close to capturing the feel of those great old 100-pagers. Check it out if you’re able to make it to the Air Capital Comiccon– I hope to see you there! But if you can’t make it, here’s a selection of some of the better sketches that ended up in the copies…

September 30, 2016

Hot off the press: Watusi and the Emerald Serpent!

emeraldserpentprintset

Well, maybe more “warm out of the oven,” since I’ve taken this collection to my last two events (with two more on the horizon: the Memphis Comic Expo, Oct. 22-23 and Wichita’s Air Capital Comiccon, Nov. 12-13) . But with the print copies now in hand, and my shipping costs figured out, I’m happy to share these comics with those of you who aren’t able to catch me at one of my appearances!

Watusi and the Emerald Serpent is the story of an ordinary talking dog thrown out of his comfort zone into a crime-ridden island paradise! Watusi finds himself pitted against an outlaw gang and its lunatic leader in his most epic adventure yet! Inspired by the Kenneth Robeson Doc Savage novels and Floyd Gottfredson’s “Mickey Mouse” strips, this story may be my favorite project so far. Certainly my favorite Watusi story.

As I wrote a couple of months ago, I’ve been working on a print edition of this story, and I’m very pleased with how it turned out. This print edition has been edited and expanded from the story as it was first published online (46 of its 84 pages have new &/or updated content), and I think the changes help the story flow much better. And look better, too! In addition to interior art improvements, I’m also really happy with the full-color covers– I think it’s my best color work to date– and the full-color guest art from JB Winter, Billy McKay, Mike Sullivan, and Tom Cherry really rounds out the package in a classy way. As you can tell, I’m trying hard not to overdo the hyperbole, but I’m really proud of these comics, and hope everyone who reads these issues enjoys them as much as I did making them!

You can order all seven 16-page issues (b&w interiors with full-color covers) as a set from my online store & have them delivered right to your mailbox.

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March 30, 2016

Hot off the press: Smeary Soapbox Press-ents #10!

SSPress10frontcover

This all-new issue of Smeary Soapbox Press-ents came about following a conversation with D. Blake Werts (of Copy This! renown). I remarked how I was pleasantly surprised by the outpouring of affection in his zine over the passing of Tim Corrigan, given how Blake seemed to be coming from the obscuro/dada/newave scene rather than the story-oriented approach that Tim practiced (and I favor). It was an eye-opening conversation for me, and got me to look at art-oriented minis in a whole new way.

It also got me thinking … thinking that I’d never really done an art” mini! And that it was time to change that. Back in 2002-3 (before my Watusi comics got traction and pulled my attention in that direction), I did a series of abstractions that I planned to publish as a digest for a gallery show of the drawings. While the book never came about, I did exhibit (and sell) a number of those drawings. I’ve recently been revisiting them as I prepare material for an upcoming show, and they’re drawings I’m still really proud of, even cropped for minicomic proportions as they are here.

I’ve got a couple of distribution schemes in the works for this one. For now, you can pick up a FREE copy at tomorrow’s “Planet Nine: Displacement” closing karaoke party (while they last) at Marshall Arts. You can also get a copy from me by mail, postpaid for just $1.00 from the address in the footer of this page.

November 2, 2015

Hot off the press: Smeary Soapbox Press-ents #9!

PRESS09CovThanks to D. Blake Werts’s fine Copy This! zine, I’ve had a renewed interest in making actual honest-to-goodness 8-page minicomics. My first effort in that format in a really long time is Smeary Soapbox Press-ents #9: FooF makes a minicomic! I had always intended my Smeary Soapbox Press-ents minicomic series to be a mix of new & old issues, and this issue definitely falls on the “old” side of things: it’s a slightly revised version of a minicomic I first produced back in 1997 as a production primer for how to turn two letter-sized sheets into a minicomic. It’s certainly not meant as a drawing how-to lesson, but has still been a pretty useful giveaway at shows over the years, especially for FCBD. After six printings and hundreds of copies, it was due for an update, and now it has one!

If you want your own copy, it’s easy: just send me a S.A.S.E. to the address in the footer of this page & I’ll send it back your way!

Since I mentioned it earlier, I wanted to add a proper plug for Copy This! While Blake doesn’t have a website for his CT! zine, you can find out more about his “paperNet” of cartoonists by e-mail: bwerts (at) vnet.net. The most recent issue (#20) features a lengthy Q&A with Carrie McNinch, conducted by our pal Andy Nukes. Definitely worth the read!

October 2, 2015

Hot off the press: Watusi #30!

Watusi #30 cover artFor the first time in a long, long time I’m happy to announce the release of a new Watusi digest comic! The 30th issue collects for the first time “Moviestar Mania”, an interactive Watusi storyline that was originally printed in a number of different publications. That story was my first attempt at an ongoing Watusi comic strip (ca. 2003-2009), and features story contributions from Charlee Glinka, JB Winter, David McGhee, Ed Schultheis, Carson Demmans, Tom Cherry, and Erin Pfannenstiel. It’s a 16-page black & white digest w/full-color covers, and is available in two formats:

  • A .pdf version is available in my online store for $1.50.
  • A print edition is available for $2.50 postpaid in the US (see address in footer of this page).

I hope you’ll give it a read!

June 24, 2014

Gallery-worthy comics

DimeBag2014When I saw the flyer for the Percolator Artspace‘s “Dime Bag Show”, a joint fundraiser for the gallery and Lawrence’s Social Service League, my interest was certainly piqued. The challenge: purchase a bag of thrift store items for $10, and make artwork out of it. Of course, I’m not the kind of artist who would make a “collage, assemblage, fabric, poem, video, a song or a dance” out of the items … but I am the kind of artist who can make comics inspired from them!

And thus Dime Bag Comics was born.

When the realization of the short timeline (about 5 weeks) sank in, I knew I couldn’t fill up a book with my own new stories in that time, so I asked if some of the other artists I know would be interested in taking on the challenge, too. Fortunately for me (and Dime Bag Comics readers), a number of them were, and the comic is so much better for the variety of styles they brought to the project. Dime Bag Comics features all-new short drawn stories by J.B. Winter, Tom Cherry, Greg Smallwood (soon to be of Moon Knight fame), Drew Boynton, Matt Levin, Keith O’Brien, and Dale. Signed and numbered limited edition (of 50) 28-page black & white standard comic w/hand-cut accent on the outer wrapper for $7.00.

Since it was initially produced for the gallery fundraiser, I’m giving them first crack at selling copies, after which I will make them available from other retail outlets and direct from the publisher. The “Dime Bag Show” opens Final Friday, June 27th.

September 20, 2013

Hot off the press: Watusi #29!

Watusi29CoverForWebI’m excited to be appearing at this weekend’s Project: Comic Con in St. Louis, and am even releasing a new Watusi digest in celebration! Here’s the scoop:

It’s an old-school collection of Watusi jam comics as Dale (finally) works through some of the strips that backlogged in his studio over the last few years. The issue showcases the talents of Joel Pfannenstiel, Ivan Martin, Brian Payne, Mark Morehouse, Drew Boynton, Owen Egan, T. Avery, Aaron T., Brien Wayne Powell, Tom Cherry, Larned Justin, Keith O’Brien, and Mike Leuszler in a variety of improvised one-page comics. 16-page black & white digest w/full-color cover for $1.50.

If you can’t make it to the show, you can find copies at Astrokitty Comics & More in Lawrence next Wednesday, or at my table during the upcoming Free State Comicon. Of course, I’m also not averse to readers contacting me directly…

(Don’t fret– contributor copies will be shipping in the new week, too)

[August 2015 UPDATE: a .pdf version of this issue is also available in my online store!]

July 2, 2013

Hot off the press: Watusi #28!

Watusi28ColorCoverHappy new comic book day! On July 3rd, Smeary Soapbox Press once again joins the ranks of publishers with newly-released comics with the first new Watusi digest in far too long! Here’s the scoop:

In the first story in Watusi #28, Watusi tries to get help from his friends and neighbors in Wonder Valley in order to return W-Tusi25 — the talking dog of the future — back to his home in the 26th century. In the second story, W-Tusi25 is swept up in the timestream, only to be deposited in a most dire situation! With story and art by Dale Martin (collecting the storyline from www.watusithetalkingdog.com), the issue guest stars Professor Harvey, Mitchell, Minerva Stone, Rocket Rockne, and [SPOILER AVOIDER!]; the issue is topped off with a bonus jam comic by Keith O’Brien and Brien Wayne Powell. 16-page black & white digest w/full-color cover for $1.50.

You can find copies at Astrokitty Comics & More in Lawrence right now, or at my table during fall conventions. While I don’t have my full tour schedule figured out, I’m planning to hit a couple of shows in the area, and will share the info once I finalize dates. Of course, I’m also not averse to readers contacting me directly…

[August 2015 UPDATE: a .pdf version of this issue is also available in my online store!]

May 4, 2013

It’s Free Comic Book Day 2013!

fcbd13blogFree Comic Book Day, the annual day when participating comic book shops across North America and around the world give away comic books absolutely FREE to anyone who comes into their stores. And, as I’ve done for years, I’m participating with my own FCBD offering!

Free-for-All! #2 is a jointly-produced sampler comic with my friend and KC-based comic artist Mike Sullivan. It showcases our respective weekly online comic projects (Mike’s “There’s Something Happening in Crawford, KS” and my own “Watusi the talking dog”). I’ll be distributing copies at Lawrence’s Astrokitty Comics & More (15 E. 7th St., Lawrence, KS 66044), where I’ll be doing sketches from 2-5; Mike will be doing the same at Pop Culture Comix (9337 W. 87Th Street, Overland Park, KS, 66212). If you’re out and about, stop in and say hi, get some free comics, and maybe even a sketch…

Can’t make it to either of those venues? Then this is your lucky weekend! On May 4th-5th you can take your pick of either of these free downloadable .pdf editions. Just click and enjoy!

  • The printer-friendly version: duplex print your own copy!
  • The e-reader version: direct page reading order for your PC or tablet!

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

[August 2015 UPDATE: a .pdf version of this issue (still FREE) is available in my online store!]