Wednesday, August 25, 2004

No respect. 

Just received this in my inbox:

COLD CUT FEATURE: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Creating a Graphic Novel

New from Alpha Books, part of the "Complete Idiots Guide" series comes an all-new How-To Book by Nat Gertler and Steve Lieber! From story concept to artwork, from promotion to distribution, this 300+ page guide will tell you everything you need to know to create your very own graphic novel. Written in an easy-to-read, easy-to-understand style, with plenty of helpful tips and examples. Perfect for the starting artist, or for anyone interested in seeing what goes on "behind the scenes" of comic book creation. NOT AVAILABLE THROUGH DIAMOND! For more information, visit http://www.steverude.com

Oh well. At least there's some good stuff to check out at The Dude's site.

Weird URLs aside, I'm really glad that the book will now be available to comics shops. A few of them, the ones who have accounts with taditional book market distributors like Ingram, already carry it, but this should get it in a lot more. The Cold Cut order code is COIDT01.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Hello Librarians. 

It looks like about 95% of my hits today are coming from Jessamyn's place, which means I should probably take a moment to introduce myself.

I'm Steve Lieber, a comic book artist in Portland, Oregon. I'm part of Mercury Studios, which is a big room in a downtown office building that houses a bunch of other comic book artists and illustrators. They're all listed over on the left, except for our newest member, Jeff Parker. (That, for the regular readers, means you should all make wisecracks and tell him what an awful mistake he's made.)

I've been answering "who are you" questions a lot recently, thanks to a an awkwardly-titled textbook about graphic novels I've written for a big publisher. If you're curious about what I do, there's no better place to start than in a couple of chapbook-format comics I illustrated:

Family Reunion is written by Sean Stewart, a World Fantasy Award winner for his novel Galveston. Here's a review. Me and Edith Head is written by Sara Ryan, a librarian and novelist. She's the author of Empress of the World, a YA novel that's earned a bunch of awards, too. Here are links to a bunch of Edith reviews.

If you're willing to risk two dollars on a pair of comics you've never heard of, you can paypal me, and I'll mail them to you. Or if you prefer to deal with an established, professionally-run business, try Mars Import, the online site for a fine independent bookstore, based in Bethesda, Maryland.

Finally, anyone curious about my writing about making comics shouldlook at some of the short essays here.

Monday, August 16, 2004

The closest I can get to Chicago/ Wizard World 2004 news. 

I passed on Chicago this year, as did the rest of Mercury Studios, so I don't have much, or anything really, in the way of incidents or anecdotes to report. But here are a bunch of direct links to some swanky contributions to the Dave Cockrum benefit auction. Have fun browsing: Neal Adams | Sergio Aragones | Terry Austin | Mark Bagley | John Bogdanove | Steve Buccelleto | John Cassaday | Travis Charest | Darwyn Cooke | Alan Davis pencils | Robin Riggs' inks over Davis | Mike Deodato | Will Eisner | Gary Frank | Dave Gibbons | Mike Grell | Phil Hester and Ande parks | Mike Kaluta and Bob Wiacek | Raphael Kayanan | Jim Lee | Steve Lieber (who?) | Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez | David Mazzucchelli: The Beast | Mazzucchelli: Wolverine | Bob McLeod | Steve McNiven | Jerry Ordway | Sean Phillips | John Romita Sr. | Dave Sim | Walt Simonson | Ben Templesmith | Herb Trimpe | J.H.Williams

The Comic Art Battle was a hoot. I'll have some pictures and what recollections I can recollect in a day or so.

And I'm glad to say that there are still more eleven-for-the-library lists. Keep them coming. Tangognat's compiled list is going to be a very useful resource. I've already heard from a number of librarians about this.

Scott R. at All Ages
Matt Maxwell
Carbonated Ink
David Carter

That last name is a new one in the blogosphere. David's just started his own online timesink, Yet Another Comics Blog. Everyone must give him clicks and links.

Friday, August 13, 2004

No clever title today 

The big Dave Cockrum benefit auction takes place this weekend at Wizard World. They're taking online bids before things start in person, and you can track some of the preliminary action here and here. I don't know if they're all being auctioned for Dave, but the ones that feature his characters definitely are. This one is my contribution. And some good news: Dave is back at the drawing board.

Three more elevens:
Kris Dresen (edit: permalink added. Thanks Jenn. )
Bill Mudron
Tim O'Neil

Those of you who enjoy a dazzling display of comic book craftsmanship should to take a moment and look at this page by Ross Andru and Mike Esposito.

And those of you who like to watch comic book professionals whip out goofy pictures in 5 minutes flat should make sure to attend the COMIC ART BATTLE in Portland, Oregon.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

The elevens are breeding. 

Trash Heap
Broken Kode
Spatula Forum
Jenn Manley Lee
Kip Manley Kip also has a fine idea for an anthology.
Lea Hernandez

And, as mentioned in the comments section below, Tangognat has begun compiling the lists into a master list.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Another half-dozen elevens. 

The list-of-eleven thingie seems to be spreading. Here are six more:

Comicgate (in German, but the titles are obvious.)
Mae Mai
Sean Collins
Bill Sherman
Rich Watson
Jim Ottaviani's list

In his posting, Bill notes that "...if someone compiled and collected all the lists on display today, we'd have a kick-ass set of comic art shelves that'd do any American public library proud." Bill, I think, is on to something there...

Saturday, August 07, 2004

These go to eleven. 

Looks like the list of eleven idea is getting around, and I'm glad to see the interesting picks that people are bringing up. Keep 'em coming, folks.
Milo George
Laura Gjovaag
Rick Geerling

Friday, August 06, 2004

Paul's Pause pics 

Mercury member Paul Guinan has put up a page of photos of the Pause Gallery reception for Matthew Clark and Drew Johnson. Portland's art scene turned out in droves, packing the place well beyong legal capacity to inspect the duo's spectacular orginal art from Wonder Woman and Adventures of Superman. The show will be up at Pause for the next month.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Lieber's Eleven 

I was cruising for reactions to the children's comics controversy, and noticed that over at the Byrne forum, someone has asked for a list of library recommendations.

The list below is what I posted. Call it Lieber's Eleven. I'd like to challenge other bloggers to come up with their own list of eleven titles that libraries should shelve. No rules, but participants are encouraged to cite a variety of genres, and you get extra bonus points if you can avoid repeating a publisher. One-line summaries are nice, but not required. And no, they don't have to be all-ages books, though all-ages lists are certainly welcome. (Links open in new windows.)

The Tale of One Bad Rat by Brian Talbot (Dark Horse) Girl recovers from abuse, with help from Beatrix Potter.

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (Pantheon) Growing up as a smart teen girl in post-revolution Iran.

The Interman by Jeff Parker (Octopus) A fast-moving man-on-the-run spy thriller, and an American Library Association Best
Book for Young Adults.

Safe Area Gorazde by Joe Sacco (Fantagraphics) Documentary journalism, in comics form, of life during wartime
in Bosnia.

Dumped by Andi Watson (Oni) Romance and thrifting.

The Complete Bone by Jeff Smith (Cartoon Books & Scholastic) Everyone knows about Bone. If not, they will soon.

Suspended in Language by Jim Ottaviani and Leland Purvis (G.T. Labs) The life and work of physicist Niels Bohr.

Blankets by Craig Thompson (Top Shelf) Coming of age and grappling with issues of love, family and faith. Winner of lots and lots of awards.

Age of Bronze by Eric Shanower (Image) The Illiad as historical drama.

The Golem's Mighty Swing by James Sturm(Drawn and Quarterly) A Jewish barnstorming baseball team brings in a ringer.

Clan Apis by Jay Hosler (Active Synapse) The life cycle of a honeybee, made fascinating and funny.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

This and that. 

As a reminder, that big gorgeous con report is still awaiting your perusal. Here are a couple of photos that didn't make it in. (If I did this right they'll open in new windows):

Congratulations to Howard Cruise on his Marriage to Eddie Sedarbaum. (And let's hear it for the great state of Massachusets, too!) Link via Kevin Moore.

Congratulations to Mercury Blog reader John Aegard for his honorable mention in the Year's Best Fantasy and Horror. John's a real talent, and he's got a terrific graphic novel pitch underway with an artist I feel confident about labeling a future superstar.

And finally, who says there are no good comic books for kids? The Willamette Week talks to Portland author/troublemaker Jim Goad about his new graphic novel "Trucker Fags in Denial."

The import thing is that he beat us by two hours 

Kip Manley has posted his San Diego report. It's on his blog. I highly recommend it as a glimpse into the experience of those who cast their eye upon the medium's gleaming future, rather than wallow in the caseous discharge and filthy detritus of its past.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

The balloon's gone up, boys 

The report has gone live. See what really happened in the trenches of artists alley.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Unwritten, no more. 

Over in the con report, Parker and I have decided to follow up last years advice for people visiting artists alley with a list of the unwritten rules for the exhibitors therein. Now that these rules are no longer unwritten, you lame bastards no longer have any excuse. Shape up, already. This list, we realize, is a work in progress, and we'd like to hear what you have to say on the subject. Use that little "comment" link at the end of the post and tell us where we've got it wrong. If we can all pull together and get this right, future generations will be sure to mumble their feigned gratitude.

Rule one:
Work from inside your designated area. Don't try to build your booth out into the aisle. Don't bring in a friend or family member to act as a barker. Sure, this sort of thing works, but it sets up an arms race that makes the con more unpleasant for everyone. Today you've got a barker. The next day everyone does. The day after that some dork brings a bullhorn. The result is something like the Tragedy of the Commons.

Rule two:
There are three types of people who you can pitch to.
One: Those who are already looking at you or your table.
Two: Those who are just looking around, and haven't fixed on anyone yet.
Three: Those who are lined waiting up for someone else, but have a lengthy wait ahead of them or are being ignored.

Every con, I hear stories about "those assholes across the aisle." "Every time someone would stop by my booth and flip through a book, they'd yell for him to come get something free." "He reached right over my table to hand her his flyer, just as I was answering her question about my comic."

Rule two-point-five:
The same applies with editors and other cartoonists. If another professional is talking to your neighbor, do not interrupt their conversation to make your pitch. Wait your goddamn turn. And if you're the one speaking with an in-demand person, and your neighbor is doing the right thing and waiting, do him a solid and make the intro, so he doesn't have to do it himself.

Rule three:
Help a brother out. You know who the menaces are. If you see your neighbor being harassed by some convention loon, interrupt. Pull out your cell phone, put it to your ear, say, "Hold on" loudly and hand it to your neighbor. "Sounds important, Bob. You better take this." Then apologize to the menace and suggest he stop by in a couple of hours when the "emergency" is taken care of.

Rule four:
Find out who your neighbor will be before the show opens. If you're like most cartoonists, there's someone in the business you don't like. If you bother to do a little work in advance, you can make the necessary arrangements before the doors open and avoid inconveniencing anyone else. The Wizard show organizers actually have a space on their exhibitor forms for listing your mortal enemies and anyone else you don't want to sit next to.

Rule five:
Put your stuff away. "I'm taking off. Watch my stuff" is fine if you're running off to the bathroom. Any longer than that is unfair to your neighbor. Put your stuff away and put up a sign saying when you expect to return.

Rule six:
You can try to help your neighbor make a sale, but for god's sake, be smart about it. Like Ricky Roma says: "You never open your mouth until you know what the shot is."

Rule seven:
If you've got a line at your booth or table, manage it. They're your fans. Don't let them block your neighbor's space.

This should all be obvious, but as strange as it may seem, there are people who work in comics who lack good social skills. It's an old lesson folks: the people you meet on the way up are the same ones you meet on the way down. hell, if you've got the typical comics career, you're going to spend the next few decades on a trampoline, meeting them over and over again.

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