Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Out to Sea


Apologies for the long radio silence here at The Danger Digest. Rest assured the doors aren't permanently shuttered. I've just been recharging my creative juices and turning more of my focus back to moving pictures. More comics are indeed on the way; there are just no guarantees when they'll arrive.

In the meantime, if you'd like to see what else I'm up to, feel free to jump over to Les Productions Des Chaussures Oranges.

Words and (sometimes moving) pictures, friends.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Free Comic Book Day


Hey there, friends of comics! This is just a friendly reminder that tomorrow--Saturday, May 5--is as close to an official annual holiday celebrating comics as we could ever hope to have: Free Comic Book Day. Click through the link to learn more, see which books you can get (for free!) and find a store near you.

Comics!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A few updates


Desert Island, the much-lauded Brooklyn-based comics shop, currently has one copy of Pipe Dope #1 available for sale! If you happen to be in the New York, New York area, I'd be forever grateful if you'd buy it from them. Provided it sells within the next month, they'll take more copies from me, and I would love, love, love it if Danger Digest comic books could become a mainstay in that esteemed establishment. Click here to scope the store's website.

In other news, WonderCon happened this past weekend. I sort of promised an update last week, but the truth is, there's not a whole lot to say. I was there on Friday and Saturday and had a great time both days, but this sorta show doesn't get the ink flowing through my veins in quite the same way as something like APE or last month's L.A. Zine Fest does. All the same, I caught up with some great folks, got Pipe Dope into still more hands, and scored some sweet finds out the 50-cent back-issue boxes. (Sebastian O, anybody?) I moderated a film-industry-related panel discussion on Friday, at which a HYDRA agent stepped to the microphone to ask a question. That was pretty fantastic. Also, I ended Friday by sitting in on Scott Dunbier's panel about IDW's Artist's Edition books; Dunbier tossed around bags of potato chips and talked about great artists, and if that's not a solid way to end a day at a convention, I don't know what is. Then, I started Saturday by attending a spotlight panel about veteran editor Bob Schreck, and I could listen to him rap about working with Kevin Smith and Frank Miller 'till the end of time.

Now then, saving the best for last: You may have heard (or noticed along the left-hand side of this page) that Sparkplug Books currently has a fundraiser going on. (You can click here for all the details.) Sparkplug comics are an endless source of inspiration to me, and the publisher's founder--the late, great Dylan Williams--was, is and always shall be a real hero of mine. If you've got even just a dollar to spare, the Sparkplug team could seriously use it, and I promise you they'd spend it well. Here's a video, offering a bit more background:



Comics!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I've been to the City of Roses...

Portland, Oregon, that is. Yes indeed, after wanting to get there for a good many years, this past weekend finally afforded an excuse to make the trek, and in every way possible the city met or exceeded my expectations of greatness. In recent years, I've most wanted to go because of Portland's reputation as a real hub of comics-lovin' and comics-makin'. To put that reputation to the test, on my final day there, with nothing scheduled except for the 7:50 p.m. flight from PDX to BUR, I gave myself the comics-shops tour of the town, which I'll break down for you presently. But first, to give you a sense of the success of this outing, here's a look at my haul:


My first target was Reading Frenzy--but lo! I hit the streets before the shop was open. So, I actually first stopped into Powell's City of Books, which would be a great place in which to lose yourself for a day (or more). As it was, I only stayed for about 20 minutes before walking back to my first intended target. But, on my way, I glimpsed Counter Media and quickly jumped inside. I didn't have much time to stray from my list of pre-selected shops, so my stay was brief, but this shop looked terrific, with a great selection of alternative and underground comix (yes, with an "x").

My detours done, I finally made it into Reading Frenzy, and sweet bananas was it worth the wait. A cozy room, well organized and yet jam-packed with self-published greatness. Minicomics galore. Zines galore. I could be talked into moving to Portland for this store alone--but there was more goodness still to come!

Since I was still in the downtown, City Center area, my next stop was Floating World Comics, where Frank Santoro recently presented one of his Comic Book Layout Workshops. (Wish I coulda been in town for that!) This store is perfect for the weekly comics fix and so, so, SO much more, and I dropped a lot of cash on local minis and other books I haven't been able to find down here in Los Angeles. Boy howdy, do I wish I could stop in on a regular basis. Making this pit stop better still, Jason, the shop's proprietor, was behind the counter, and graciously took a few copies of Pipe Dope off of my hands. Thanks, Jason!

Next, it was time to jump aboard a bus and trek across the river to Excalibur Comics, which is home to perhaps the greatest selection of back issues I've ever seen firsthand. I had to be very, very careful not to dig too deep, for fear of trying to navigate the city and then fly home with a longbox full of Marvel Team-Up. (On a sad note, this is also the shop where I learned of Moebius' passing. Fare thee well, Jean Giraud--and thanks for everything.)

The next stop turned out to be a misfire, as Guapo Comics (and coffee, too, according the website) no longer exists. Major bummer, that; I was really looking forward to a hot cup o' joe complemented by a nice, cool read. Also, next door was The Bad Apple, but they had a sign posted alerting any would-be customers that they were "closed due to molasses." Fair enough. Sorry I missed you!

But all hope was not lost! I caught another bus and landed just about a block away from Cosmic Monkey Comics, which is now right up there with Floating World as one of my favorite shops in any city. Once again, I came away with a lighter wallet and a heavier bag, as the selection of minicomics was nothing short of mouth-watering. (A second room full of back issues was also tempting, but I didn't let myself do more than peek inside.) Here, a terrific gent by the name of Andy was manning the register; he took a few copies of Pipe Dope to sell in the shop, and he also helped me Google some other shops in town I wasn't already aware of. Thank you, Andy!

Sadly, time was of the essence--the clock was ticking, and my flight was getting ever closer. I figured I still had time to squeeze in Bridge City Comics, and I did--but just barely, because like a knucklehead I jumped on the wrong bus and then had to sit around for 20 minutes to catch the bus going back in the direction I was originally supposed to be heading. There's a lesson there, somewhere. Anyhow, Bridge City proved to be yet another great shop in a city of great shops, well curated and with a terrific selection of minicomics and mainstream titles alike. Portland really has it going on!

In short: Many thanks to all the great shops in Portland, and especially to Floating World Comics and Cosmic Monkey Comics, both of whom are now selling Pipe Dope #1!

Up next: WonderCon! It's happening this weekend in Anaheim. I'll be there Friday and Saturday for sure, and possibly Sunday, too. And if the stars align, I'll hopefully have a wrap-up report to post here next week.

Comics!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

PROMENADE LEFT, PROMENADE RIGHT from Whiskey & Fox


Back in November, Whiskey & Fox, the "journal of poetry, theory, and queer-heterotopoi," published the above comic, and I figured it was about time I share it here, too. It was truly an honor to be included in the zine, and I encourage you all to click over to Whiskey & Fox's website, where you can download the full issue (titled "Parks & Occupation" No. 2) in PDF format.

Comics!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

L.A. Zine Fest 2012: an epilogue


As mentioned last week, this past weekend saw the L.A. Zine Fest take over the Spring Arts Tower in downtown Los Angeles. I made it down for a few hours. The place was packed. The scene was AWESOME. I hope like crazy that it happens again next year, and if it does, I hope to have a table to showcase a whole bunch of Danger Digest Comic Books. It was great to elbow my way through the crowds and squirm my way up to tables to chat with self-publishers and hand out copies of Pipe Dope #1, but I want to be even more a part of the thing. 2013 is gonna be big, but rest assured I won't just be sitting on my hands in the interim.

Everybody who exhibited is worth knowing more about, and you can check out the full list at the L.A. Zine Fest website, here. The small number of books I managed to buy and/or trade for during the show come from the extremely talented and radtacular Amanda Makes Comics, Andrew Alexander, Thi Bui, Sheika Lugtu, Jed McGowan, Carrie McNinch, Tom Neely, Revival House Press, Tugboat Press, Malachi Ward and Jennie Yim.

People are making minicomics and zines. People are reading minicomics and zines. Let's all make and read more minicomics and zines!

Friday, February 17, 2012

This Weekend: L.A. ZINE FEST!


Hey there, friends in Los Angeles! If you're looking for something to do this Sunday, I highly suggest you check out the (free!) L.A. Zine Fest. (Click here for all the info!) I'll be walking the floor with copies of Pipe Dope #1 in hand, meeting new folks and marinating in the D.I.Y. stew. It's sure to be great!

Also, on Saturday night (info at this link), I'm hoping to check out what promises to be a radtastic reading, and I hope you'll check it out, too:


Self-publishing!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

PIPE DOPE Minicomic #1

At long, long last, the first issue of Pipe Dope is now available for sale!

Pipe Dope #1 (of 3) contains the first 65 (of 200) story pages, plus three pages of bonus content--not to mention the pretty cover! All that comics goodness for the easy-goin' price of only $3!

Now then, how can you get a copy for yourself, you may (hopefully) be wondering. Well, let me count the ways:

1) If you happen to live in the Los Angeles area, copies of Pipe Dope #1 are currently available at these fine comics shops: House of Secrets, Golden Apple and Meltdown. Ask for Pipe Dope by name--and think about picking up some other comics, too, while you're at it!

2) I'm also now selling copies directly. Click here for all the info!

3) If you've got a self-published comic of your own, I'm down as a clown to make a trade! Just shoot me an email (dangerdigest[at]gmail[dot]com) and we'll work out the details.

4) And last but not least, if you happen to be a retailer and you're interested in carrying Pipe Dope in your store, drop me a line (the address again is dangerdigest[at]gmail[dot]com) and we'll figure everything out. I would love, love, love to work with you on getting Pipe Dope into your shop!

That's all for now, but keep checking back for more Pipe Dope and Danger Digest news--including my convention-going schedule and when you can expect to see Pipe Dope #s 2 and 3.

Comics!

Friday, February 3, 2012

PIPE DOPE #200


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And that was Pipe Dope. Before I ramble on for a spell, I want to thank my wife, Corinne, for being so damn cool with me spending hour upon hour hunched over the drawing table. Also, here's a look at the thumbnail's for this final week:


Now then. On to the rambling.

Pipe Dope was borne out of a number of ambitions, not least of which was the desire I've had for decades now to actually make comics. Growing up, I naturally enough felt that meant drawing X-Men or Batman, and at a certain point, I came to feel that my drawing chops wouldn't ever line up with the bar set by the pros working on those books. So I stopped drawing, and for a while even stopped reading comics.

After my freshman year of college, I was pulled back into comics, and began devouring a lot of the mainstream (i.e. superhero) books I'd previously missed. But what really blew my mind was a visit to the SPACE show in Columbus where, for the first time, I encountered self-published minicomics. (I met the late Dylan Williams of Sparkplug Books there, and picked up his incredible Reporter #1. The first minicomic I ever bought, and to this day one of my absolute favorites. You can buy it, and the complete Reporter series, at this link, if you feel so inclined--and I hope you do.) Suddenly comics was much bigger than I'd ever realized. Suddenly, it was something anyone could do. Something even I could do.

Around the same time, I encountered Scott McCloud's seminal book, Understanding Comics, and heard of the 24-hour comic challenge. I was primed and ready to make comics, and even accepted the 24-hour challenge (the result is here). And then, I got distracted. And just kind of stopped. Again.

After I'd been in California for a year or so, my drive to make comics was once again rekindled, but over the intervening years, I'd somehow managed once again to convince myself that I couldn't draw. Not really draw, anyway. But then, slowly, I started to remember the inspiration I'd felt upon discovering Reporter, and reading Understanding Comics. Eventually, I had the itch to pick up the pencil again, and began dabbling here on the blog. Then, a trip to APE in San Francisco back in '10 cemented in me the DIY jones. Further encouraging me was a chance encounter (at Burbank's own House of Secrets!) with Alec Longstreth's Phase Seven #011. Reading that issue was like reading my own story set in a parallel universe, one in which I'd never stopped drawing comics. Fortunately, rather than closing the book in a deep depression fueled by overwhelming thoughts of misspent years, it filled me with hope and spurred me to spend more and more time at the drawing board. Alec Longstreth is up there with Scott McCloud and Dylan Williams as one of my greatest comics-makin' heroes.

My time at the drawing board was still too scattered, and I knew I needed consistency if I was really going to improve. What I needed, I decided, was one long project that would keep me coming back to the drawing table day after day. And that's where the idea for a one-panel-every-day-for-a-year project came from. (Which, of course, was then modified to one panel every weekday, and then five panels per week--not necessarily weekdays, and not necessarily consecutive weeks, but still for one year.) As I've been packaging the first Pipe Dope minicomic collection, I like to think I have indeed improved. I see everything I'd do differently in those early panels, but I'm happy that the art grows with the story. Pipe Dope's about life, after all; it's only natural there be change.

Last but certainly not least, Pipe Dope stemmed from the need I've long felt to tell my dad's story. (As best I know it. More or less.) I could go into detail about how I broke the story down week by week, but I think I've been going on long enough, now. So I'll just say this about my dad: He was my best friend, and I want you all to know him.

Thanks for reading. More comics are on the way!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

PIPE DOPE #198


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Two more to go! Also: New comics hit the shelves today, and if you happen to be in the Los Angeles area, one of the greatest comics shops of all, Burbank's own House of Secrets, has copies of the first Pipe Dope minicomic! 65 pages of comics goodness (plus some backup pages, not to mention the spiffy cover) for only $3!

Also again: Today is Hourly Comic Day! Good luck to everyone participating, and to everyone else, be sure to check out the participants' work. Comics!

Monday, January 30, 2012

PIPE DOPE #196


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This is it--the final week! Also, I've now got all 300 copies of the first issue in hand. At some point after I post #200 this Friday, I'll post all the info for how any interested parties can order a copy. Stay tuned!

Friday, January 27, 2012

PIPE DOPE #195


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Thanks once again for taking the time to look at Pipe Dope. Have a swell weekend, and I hope you come back on Monday for #196--and the start of this story's final week!

Also, thumbnails!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

PIPE DOPE #193


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It's Wednesday again, and new comics are on store shelves. Why not give some of 'em a shot?

Monday, January 23, 2012

PIPE DOPE #191


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Only nine more to go! Also, I dropped all the files for the first Pipe Dope minicomic at the printer's on Friday, and should have the book in hand by the end of the month. It's all happening!

Friday, January 20, 2012

PIPE DOPE #190


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Only 10 more posts remaining, which probably means it's time for a daily countdown. #191 should be here on Monday; in the meantime, thumbnails!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

PIPE DOPE #188


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It's Wednesday, friends, which means new comics hit the stands. I encourage each and every one of you to go out and peruse the offerings--and I also encourage each and every one of you to buy Prophet #21, written by Brandon Graham with art by Simon Roy. It promises to be totally radtastic and everything I want in a monthly comic book.

Monday, January 16, 2012

PIPE DOPE #186


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Welcome back to another week of new content! Pipe Dope is moving at full speed toward the finish line: There are only 14 posts remaining (and things are still on track to end with #200 on Friday, February 3), and I should have the first issue (collecting #s 1-65, plus a few surprises, as a minicomic) back from the printer by the end of this month. In the meantime, I hope you stop back tomorrow for #187!

Friday, January 13, 2012

PIPE DOPE #185


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I spent the better part of my college years in bad need of a good haircut.

#186 will be here on Monday. In the meantime, have a swell weekend, and enjoy these thumbnails from this past week:

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

PIPE DOPE #183


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Happy Wednesday, all! If you haven't already, I encourage each and every one of you to go on out and buy some of the new comics that hit shelves today--and you should also feel free to pick up some of the older stuff, too!

Monday, January 9, 2012

PIPE DOPE #181


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Once again, I apologize for the delay. I know I said I'd get back to posting last week, but instead I took the time to finalize the script and thumbnails for the remainder of the story. In the process of doing that, I realized I had a week planned in the outline that really didn't fit, so once again I've changed Pipe Dope's length. For real this time, it's going to be 200 posts--which, incidentally, will make for 200 pages of comics when I get to collecting it all in print.

Speaking of! I've also been hard at work on the first minicomic, which I hope to have printed in February, right around the time I finish the story here online (on Friday, February 3--that date is for real). The first issue will contain the first 65 posts, plus a few pages of bonus material that's never been seen here on the interwebs. More info soon!