New comics for a pandemic springtime

It’s been a helluva spring, hasn’t it? With all my face-to-face events cancelled and all my other outlets closed for the foreseeable future, it’s been difficult for me to stay motivated about publishing new comics …

But, before pandemic-mania affected my part of the world & weighed heavily on my mind most hours of most days, I did manage to finish a pair of new comics!

First up is the second issue of the Mid-South Cartoonists Association’s The Good, the Bad, and the Sketchy! This sci-fi themed issue, edited by Jason Negen and me, features all-new comics & art from Jason, Kevin L. Williams, Jim Palmer, Lin Workman, Michael Irby, and me, along with an “Out of This World!” jam page drawn at our MSCA meetings. My contribution is “The Fantastical Order of Foofthusiasts!”, a peek at the 26th-century legacy of my shape-changing hero FooF! The Good, the Bad, and the Sketchy #2 is a 24-page black & white digest w/full-color cover. It’s available for pickup from all Memphis area comic shops ( 901 Comics, The Cellar, Comics and Collectibles — call for their specific situation, of course) as well as through the mail from my Square store. With online sales providing my only source of income, your purchase would be much appreciated (& highly motivating).

Also newly published is Smeary Soapbox Press-ents #18, an 8-page minicomic collecting some of my favorite pencil drawings from 2019. You can get your own copy from me by mail, postpaid for just $1.00 (address on the Contact page). I’ll also include a copy with any purchase of physical content from my Square store during the months of April & May 2020 …

You can also socially-distance score a copy of both of these comics by becoming one of my Patreon patrons during April or May 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!

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 for just $1.00 each from the address in the footer of this page … 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)!

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!)

Hot off the press: Zines! Zines! Zines!

This week I’ve been lucky enough to assist at Crosstown Arts‘s Youth Zine Workshop led by Erica Qualy and Mary Jo Karimnia. It’s been a while since I’ve been in a teaching situation, and it’s been an instructive week for me as well as for the young zinesters. It’s always a joy to see that spark of connection when young people really “get” creation as its own reward, not just fulfilling the requirements of an assignment– when it’s the start of a way of life, not just homework! As they’ve been finishing up their zines for this Friday’s Memphis Zine Fest, I’ve been finishing up some new minicomics of my own to debut at the event…

Three new issues of Smeary Soapbox Press-ents, featuring a mix of old, reworked, and new “Bad Joke Funnies”! BJF was a series of minicomics I made when I first starting trying the 8-page minicomic format nearly 30 years ago, and it was fun to revisit them. Stop in to say “hi” at the zine fest and pick up copies for yourself… plus bring some extra dollars for work by students, participants in the recent Adult Zine Workshop, and other Memphis zinesters!

Can’t make it? You can also get copies from me by mail, postpaid for just $1.00 each from the address in the footer of this page.

Hot off the press: Smeary Soapbox Press-ents #11!

Last issue’s “Pocket Gallery” was so much fun that I thought I’d do another … who could have figured it would take me this long to finish it, though? Certainly not me!!

This issue, as you might guess from the cover, is another “art” mini, collecting images old and new: some of the same inked abstractions as were featured in Smeary Soapbox Press-ents #10, along with a spread from my sketchbook and two recent pencil drawings.

Interested? You can get your very own copy from me by mail, postpaid for just $1.00 from the address in the footer of this page.

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.

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!