Going back to print…

While this pandemic rages on, I and some of my cartoonist compatriots have stopped waiting for things to return to “normal,” and have resumed publishing material in the printed form! These two comics are a modest step in that direction for me … but it’s still a step in that direction! If things go as planned (by no means a sure thing in 2020!), I hope to have a couple more new print comics by the end of the year. But for now, there are at least these two…

The “magic”-themed third issue of the Mid-South Cartoonists Association’s The Good, the Bad, and the Sketchy! has just hit shelves of all the Memphis area comic shops ( 901 Comics, The Cellar, Comics and Collectibles) as well as through the mail via my Square store. This issue, co-edited by Jason Negen & me, features all-new comics & art from Jason, Kevin L. Williams, Jim Palmer, and Lin Workman, along with a jam page drawn at our MSCA meetings (back when we were able to meet IRL), & cover art from Greg Cravens. My contribution is a pair of Tarot illustrations. Someday I’ll finish drawing the whole deck… The Good, the Bad, and the Sketchy #3 is a 20-page black & white digest w/full-color cover, $4.00 postpaid in the US.

Also newly published is Smeary Soapbox Press-ents #19, another remastered Giant Jack Halloween comic from decades past! This was a gross-out little comic nugget, and was fun to revisit, even if I basically just tidied up the lettering & drew a new cover based on the original… You can get a copy of Smeary Soapbox Press-ents #19 (an 8-page minicomic) from me by mail, postpaid in the US for just $1.00 … or by becoming one of my Patreon patrons during October or November 2020 at the Correspondent or Art Lover level … plus, joining (at any level) gives you immediate access to other online bonus comics, including a full-color Human Spring adventure!

[January 2023 UPDATE: I’ve closed my Patreon page.]

Drop it like it’s hot … Hot off the press!

For my Halloween The Good, the Bad, and the Sketchy signing, I borrowed a trick from Beyonce & released a new minicomic without any advance notice on that day. Of course, in my case it wasn’t a fully realized new album, but a remastered version of my Halloween Giant Jack comic from 30 years ago! I tidied up the lettering (done with a thicker pen than I should have used in the first place, and that hadn’t aged real well) & added an all-new photo cover! It was really fun to throw together the finishing touches to complete a project this fast. If only I could get everything done so quickly…

While I’m talking about swiping ideas from others, I came up with a sketch wrap for the issue, so I could do quick sketches at the signing (& distribute my mini at the same time). The idea for letting the customer select the elements of their monster sketch via checklist came from my former APA-5 compatriot, Steve Willhite, and I have to say it’s worked really well. Thanks, Steve!

You can get a copy of Smeary Soapbox Press-ents #17 (an 8-page minicomic) from me by mail, postpaid in the U.S. for just $1.00 … but if you want a custom monster sketch you’ll need to become one of my Patreon patrons during the month of November 2019 (plus, joining gives you immediate access to other online bonus comics, including a full-color Human Spring adventure)!

[January 2023 UPDATE: I’ve closed my Patreon page.]

Anniversary year: 25th anniversary of Giant Jack

This Halloween marks the 25th anniversary of my long-running holiday character of choice, the grumpy, candy-loving pumpkin Giant Jack … and the 25th anniversary of my first 8-page minicomic, too!

I created Giant Jack for a Halloween minicomic in 1987 as a kind of reverse trick-or-treat item: I would deliver it to all my friends instead of begging for candy from them. After the success of that first appearance, in which Jack found something besides terrorizing children to enjoy on Halloween (while he still enjoys a good (though good-natured) scare, he developed a real sweet tooth as a result of that comic) he found his way into other holidays as well, in comics like:

  • “A Halloween Treat With Giant Jack” (10/87, 8 page minicomic), which introduced the giant pumpkin with an equally large sweet tooth. For my first minicomic I did a really lousy job of leaving decent printer margins; I later reformatted it and tidied up the lettering for 2004’s Smeary Soapbox Press-ents #5, which I was much happier with…
  • “Giant Jack’s First Love” (2/88; 8 page minicomic) was Jack’s first foray into another holiday. Valentine hijinks ensue as a cupid tries to change Jack’s grumpy attitude.
  • “The Wearin’ of the Green” (3/88; 8 page minicomic) was a downer of a sequel to the previous Valentine’s Day story, as Jack gets his grumpy mojo back.
  • “The Spooks Convene” (10/88; 8 page minicomic) provided a peek into the annual gathering of Jack and his Halloween pals. I relettered this one in 2004 for Smeary Soapbox Press-ents #6.
  • “Giant Jack Knocks ‘Em Dead / Still More Bad Joke Funnies” (10/89; 12 page minicomic flipbook) was a more surrealistic Halloween tale, chock full of bad jokes and bacon. [November 2019 UPDATE: the Giant Jack part of this issue was relettered and released as Smeary Soapbox Press-ents #17 in time for Halloween!]
  • This Comic is Free number Wednesday, October 31, 1990 (10/90; 8 page minicomic) was, like most of this series, an odd little duck– drawn in the scratchy style I was using in illustration class, it was more of a Giant Jack scene than a story, along with a couple of Halloween puzzles.
  • “Giant Jack Meets Scatman” (10/92; 8 page minicomic) featured a rather unpleasant interaction between Jack and his friends with the vile avenger and his sidekick, Vomit. [October 2020 UPDATE: relettered and released as Smeary Soapbox Press-ents #19 in time for Halloween!]
  • “Another Foggy Christmas Eve” (12/92; 8 page minicomic) finally gave Jack a Christmas story as he tried to help Santa on his rounds, with decidedly different results than when Rudolph came to Santa’s aid.
  • “Giant Jack’s Lost Love” (2/95; 16 page minicomic with stickers and postcard in envelope) was an epic tale of nearly-lost love. It came with stickers to let the reader create their own favorite ending.
  • My ArtWalk 2000 Comic Sampler (10/2000; 16 page digest) was Jack’s longest– and so far last– appearance in “The Night of 1001 Pranks!” Showing up a day early due to leap year, he joins some of his spooky friends in Mischief Night pranks. That comic is also notable as the first appearance (outside of the pages of APA-5) of Watusi, the talking dog.

Since then, Giant Jack’s role as my holiday go-to guy has been eclipsed as I’ve done holiday pieces tied more to my current projects: first “Continuity and Vine”, then Watusi-related pieces. Sounds like it’s time to dust the old fellow off, though. Who knows, maybe he’ll even pop up in Wonder Valley some Halloween…