After 11 consecutive appearances, I can honestly say this APE was one of my all-time favorites! Debuting two brand new comics, meeting long-time fans and making first-time readers, traveling with old friends and meeting new ones, and talking with my fellow creators just adds up to such an invigorating experience. Here's Part 1 of my memories.
Creating my comics, coming up with stories and drawing the pages, that's the beginning. But taking the books to a show, and exhibiting for a day or two, and interacting with fans and friends, that's such a rewarding experience. It's not as simple as making a product and trying to sell to as many people as possible. No, for me it's creating my art and sharing it with people. Whether it's in an exhibit of some sort, or a place to sell at, it's my art to share and benefit from.
On an episode of my podcast JAVILAND, we once talked about True Fans. Well, here are two of mine:
Jeff, in the glasses, and Vince. Over the last several years I've had the pleasure of seeing these gentlemen at various shows, and they're always looking for my newest stuff. Vince told me he's been listening to my JAVILAND podcast, which reminded me that doing a regular podcast is a great way to keep yourself on your fan's radar, and make new fans as well. I had a few people come up to me and tell me they listen to the show as well. It's a great feeling knowing other things I do, in addition to comics, can provide some value to people.
One of the great joys of exhibiting at shows is the dinner after wards! This year, as in the last couple of years, a group of us gathered together for a meal at a great Chinese restaurant a few miles from the exhibit center. It's funny, but this year there seemed to be no one in the place except for three large groups of cartoonists! The table next to us had a roundtable of Keith Knight, Shannon Wheeler, Bob the Angry Flower and Larry Marder. Another table was hosted by my friend James Baker and his group.
My dinner pals included two of my cousins from San Francisco joining me and my friends. Starting from the left, here's Michael Aushenker, cousins Monica and Jose Manuel, and the always-enchanting Bernyce Talley after a 20 course meal of Chinese cuisine!
As if dinner wasn't enough entertainment for the evening, afterwards we took a very brief stroll to the Cartoon Art Museum. Even though there were about three current exhibits going on, in addition to the regular collection consisting of E.C. Segar, Milton Caniff, Roy Crane and other masters of comic art, I only was able to catch a few pieces here and there. Most of the time was chatting it up with my friends and others I met at the museum! And really, with things like this going on, who has time for classic artwork?! Check this out:
Yep folks, that's good friend and cartoon movie maker Jim Lujan lacing up the back of a gorilla suit, while my cousin Monica has the Ape by the, um..nipple...!!!
Anyways, Sunday at APE (the show, not the goofball roaming the museum!) was another day of selling and socializing. One of the highlights of the whole weekend was taking Jim Lujan on his first APE excursion. Jim, along with Michael Aushenker, were my carpool buddies for the whole trip. Jimmy and I co-founded the Cartoonistas, a group of artists in our local area back in LA. We've also been great friends pretty much from the first time we met, which I think is only about a year and a half ago! Jim's movies, animated in what he calls 'ghettomation' (check out his podcast!) are pure art. He's an incredibly talented and versatile creator, and his latest flick, JOHN HENRY UNICORN, is one of my favorites.
Jim wasn't exhibiting at this show, but was scouting it out. Well, he was convinced that APE is the place to exhibit at, and next year he promises to have his own booth selling DVDs of his movies! I can't wait to see him there. (Hope I get the 'friend discount'!).
My other carpool passenger was Michael Aushenker, cartoonist as well as writer for both BACK ISSUE magazine and his 'Ditkotomy' column in DITKOMANIA, a fanzine about comic book iconoclast Steve Ditko. Mikey and I have been either splitting a booth or as neighbors in numerous conventions and shows for the past 11 years. Michael's latest comic, CARTOON FLOPHOUSE #2 features his entry into the highly competitive world of 'auto-bio fictional' comics!! In 'The Secret Double Life of Michael Aushenker' we learn that Mikey is in fact a top agent for a secret spy agency!! Man, you think you know a person after a decade and then this! Mike has made every single show we've exhibited at one full of laughter and mutual madness inducing mischief. (Mike's own write-up on APE is worth reading!)
Mike was splitting a table with a friend of his, Seth Weber, of Alarming Press. I actually met Mr. Weber last year in Portland at the STUMPTOWN comic book festival. Seth was running Richard Nixon's 2008 campaign, believe it or not! Seth has a bit of a fixation on Nixon, which dovetails with my own Nixation. Seth's a very amicable person, and I was glad to buy one of his Nixon prints. Here's our pose for a memorial victory photo, dedicated to Tricky Dick (and my fellow Whittier High School graduate!).
The artwork, by Seth, features a quote from Mr. Nixon: "God, I hate talking to intellectuals. There's something feminine about them. I'd rather talk to an athlete."
It's too hard to try to top the immortal wisdom of Nixon, so I'll take a break hear and finish off my report tomorrow. More tales from the Concourse, more APE memories!