Author: Alex Schumacher
Hurtling towards summer, and an uncertain future where freedom of speech may no longer be a right, I have finally found a wayward and far too infrequent moment to take a breath and reflect. The repugnant actions of the current incompetent and volatile administration aside, 2017 has been quite the whirlwind of a year thus far. Trials and tribulations, setbacks and gargantuan leaps forward have occurred. With my hazy brain sputtering in neutral at the moment I will attempt to catch you all up on my recent goings-on. Here’s months of activities rolled into one bite-sized post. Open wide!
February saw the inaugural Central Coast Pop Expo descend upon Steinbeck Country with rabid fans, cosplayers, and faux-celebrities in tow. I was asked to participate on the ‘Hometown Heroes’ panel alongside my pals writer Ray Zepeda, Jr and illustrator Ace Continuado. The discussion included tangents on our individual descents to the dark side of comics, the finer points of exposing yourself (networking and exhibiting), and a comparison of self-publishing vs. traditional publishing. Below is a picture of Ray and myself regaling those in attendance with our wit. I’m sure their yawns were merely signifiers of enthusiasm.
Another highlight during the second month of the year was having my collaboration with underground writer John Bennett published by Red Fez Entertainment. John is known for his ‘shards’, flash fiction pieces recounting mini episodes of his existence in his nuanced yet bold signature strokes. The piece I was lucky enough to illustrate was entitled The Talent Scout about his encounter with a less-than-reputable member of the sleazy subgenus of humans. Read the story in its entirety here.
Though I have not attended since 2013 while promoting my first graphic novel, the San Diego Comic Con saw it fit to award me with a verified ‘pro’ status in March. Come July I will be winging my way down the left coast to attend the largest pop culture event of its kind with hundreds of thousands of my closest nerd brethren. I am mainly attending with my agent to wheel and deal and as such will not have a table. Fret not, fair followers, for if you are attending the show and would like to see me I will be taking part in the annual sketch-a-thon for the Cartoon Art Museum. Schedules and details to come…
In these troubled fucked-up times my country is currently facing I am compelled to resist and fight back against America’s would-be oppressors in any capacity in which I am able. On March 5th I was honored to be one of three local cartoonists who were asked to take part in a fundraiser for the Monterey chapter of the ACLU. The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) is a nonpartisan, non-profit organization whose stated mission is “to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.” The premise was simple enough: For donations of at least $30 Bridgett Spicer, Jacob Rafael Estrada, or I would render a personalized illustration. I am pleased to report the event raised over $300. Another sketch fundraiser is being planned for June, if anyone reading is interested. Here are a couple of the sketches I produced.
In late March I was contacted via social media by a gentleman who is apparently a fan of my work and looking to turn others on to the splendor that is my shitty doodles. Chris (yes, the lovely fellow has a name) promptly put me in touch with Adrian King of the Adrian Has Issues podcast and within a week and a half I was a guest on the show. Adrian and I hit it off almost immediately and launched into an hour long discussion which bobbed and weaved between my current work, the obsolescence of answering machines, our prepubescent penchant for using action figures as storytelling devices, and many more inane such topics. To make sense of it all, or very well find yourself even more confused, listen to the full interview here.
Last, and possibly least, my foul-mouthed furball MR. BUTTERCHIPS has turned 1! Yes, it’s been an entire year since the satirical simian began assaulting the pages of Drunk Monkeys magazine on a monthly basis. If you wish to throw a little support behind the marvelous aforementioned publication—not to mention this starving artist—hop on over to the MR. BUTTERCHIPS online store and snag yourself some goods. Here’s to year 2!
Alright, this has been fun but it’s time I quit procrastinating and return to my assiduity. DECADES OF (in)EXPERIENCE and my current graphic novel sure as shit won’t write and draw themselves. Until next time, my internet cronies.
Welcome to 2017, fellow denizens and reprobates of the internet!
Thanksgiving has come and gone. The holidays have passed along with impressive amounts of flatulence from the gastronomic onslaught of the season. Now as the streets and dumps are littered with the unnecessary carcasses of turkeys and pine trees we here in America brace ourselves for the fascist regime poised to take office in a mere twelve days. In an effort to avoid sending myself or any of you who may have stumbled upon this site into yet another bout of heavy drinking, allow me to focus on some of the creative goings on you may have missed since my last update.
Mr. Butterchips returned to the pages of Drunk Monkeys Magazine on November 11th, 2016 with a commentary on take-home pay. As you may be able to gather from the teaser panel below, our filthy-mouthed friend is none too pleased with the piddly amount earned from his back-breaking days of customer service. The strip can be read in its entirety here.
The “Get In Line” art exhibit ran for the month of December at the 4Word Gallery in Salinas and featured a dizzying array of work from cartoonists including Bridgett Spicer, Betsy Streeter, Ace Continuado, and myself. The opening reception was held on December 3rd, 2016 and after a few glasses of free wine (and shots from the hooch I smuggled in) I grudgingly agreed to pose for some photo ops with my work.
I was honored to be the featured cartoonist in the December issue of Drunk Monkeys published on 12/1/2016 devoted entirely to first-hand accounts from survivors of sexual abuse, in all its forms. All proceeds from the month, collected through either their Patreon donors or one-time donors, was donated to RAINN, the Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network. This harrowing and beautiful collection of essays, short stories, poems, and art can be read here.
The Salinas Valley Comic Con converged on the campus of Hartnell college over the weekend of December 16th-18th, boasting 30+ vendors, cosplay, and a variety of panels with guests speakers ranging from Lalo Alcaraz (La Cucaracha), Andrew Farago (Cartoon Art Museum), and yours truly. If you weren’t able to attend the con, yet have a burning desire (or is that the chlamydia acting up?) to experience the Indie Cartoonists panel you can do so here. Video courtesy of Sean F. Roney.
I ended the year in morbid style with a parable featuring the character Drunk Death conceived as an occasional foil for DECADES OF (in)EXPERIENCE. If you missed it you can still read the flash fiction piece here.
DECADES OF (in)EXPERIENCE returned to Antix Press on Friday January 6th, 2017. The second year year chronicling the weekly shenanigans of real American dirtbag Luke Carlin kicked off with a bang and promises to hold plenty of the wildly irresponsible life choices you’ve come to know and love from the series. Read the inaugural episode here.
Be sure to catch up on the archives from the first year of DECADES OF (in)EXPERIENCE as they will be disappearing soon to make way for the new year. A print collection of year one will hopefully be in the works soon and my publisher Antix Press is also in the process of producing some merchandise. Stay tuned for announcements…
My mantra for this year: Bitch less. Rage more. If you’re lucky enough to live in one of the states which has legalized its use, a healthy and frequent dose of weed doesn’t hurt either.
Howdy kids and welcome back to another woefully delayed update on this site’s blog. To be fair I have been fucking crazed these past few weeks wrapping up some projects, beginning others, drinking due to the upcoming horror show of an election, etc. Anyway, before I disappear into veritable artist hibernation to complete the pitch on my new graphic novel for my agent I wanted to update my 3 loyal readers on current goings-on.
October kicked off with a god-damn explosion courtesy of the fantastic folks over at Drunk Monkeys. This month’s issue was dedicated to the current election cycle, spotlighting the absolute absurdity of this nation’s deteriorated political landscape which has allowed a fucking xenophobic, misogynistic buffoon to have a leg in the race. When asked to produce the cover for the collection of essays and poems I scratched out several concepts before settling on an image which I thought summed up the overall lunacy of the campaigns tactical approaches.
The full version, as well as excerpts from the issue, can be viewed on Amazon where you can also purchase the stellar magazine! Amongst impressive missives by my writing cohorts Kim Bailey Deal, Gabriel Richard, Charles Joseph, and Editor-in-Chief Matthew Guerruckey you will also find the latest misadventure of that sick little monkey MR. BUTTERCHIPS. Check out the preview below and find out how it concludes only at Drunk Monkeys!
As of Friday October 21st my weekly DECADES OF (in)EXPERIENCE wrapped it’s first year of publication with Antix Press! An entire year of wrong turns and sharp lefts provided by our fallible anti-hero Luke Carlin. Antix Press and I will be taking the remainder of the year off, but plan to return on January 6th 2017 full of piss and vinegar. Read the final episode here and stay tuned for news and possibly a special feature in the next few weeks.
It was also recently announced that I will be a guest at December’s Salinas Valley Comic Con alongside cartoonists Bridgett Spicer, Betsy Streeter, and the Cartoon Art Museum’s own Andrew Farago. I will be sitting on a panel or two and possibly teaching a workshop on graphic novels… or writing… or how to create whilst drunk. For more details and updates visit the official facebook page here.
Now my dearest degenerates I will be taking my leave and burying my head in a pile of Word docs and artwork drenched in my own blood and entrails. The coffee is hot, the whiskey is on deck for this evening, and I am off to the races on the graphic novel track. I will make a concerted effort to update again before the holidays send the rest of my year into a 90 degree free-fall, but if I don’t quite accomplish said goal I’ll see you all on the other side of 2016. You’ll recognize me as the belligerent drunk covered in ink.
Most importantly… Happy Halloween, y’all! Let your fright flag fly.
Holy shit! September is here already, my beautiful degenerates. The tank tops and genital-revealing short shorts will fade as the pumpkin spice lattes and holiday decorations begin to invade store shelves everywhere. 2016 has been a whirlwind to be certain and for the first time in a long time I’m actually (cautiously) optimistic about some future developments. Don’t get me wrong, I still find myself constantly needing to douse the nagging goblins of self-doubt and insecurity with chemically-altering substances. One of the many lessons I have learned whilst travelling the unpaved road of a career in the creative arts is to avoid celebratory reveling until there is actually something to celebrate. While larger successes remain just out of reach for the time being, here are some recent little victories from the insanity of the past month.
August started off with a raw, emotional response to the mass shooting that occurred at the Orlando nightclub Pulse on June 12, 2016 as well as the senseless violence plaguing the world in these uncertain times. Drunk Monkeys‘ August issue featured poems, essays, and short stories highlighting the frustration, vexation, confusion, and sorrow which accompany such devastating incidents. My contribution was a one-page graphic narrative entitled Waiting For the Day.
The month was bookended with a couple other comic entries, the first of which was another installment of The Fucking Funnies for Five 2 One Magazine. This go-round was a satirical look at the technology my generation found innovative and mind-blowing, though has quickly become obsolete in this perpetually moving digital age of ours. Loosen those damn purse strings and help support an indie rag by purchasing the full issue here.
To cap off the month, the fantastic Literary Orphans published my short story Extinction on their featured blog Tavern Lantern. Below is the first of a three page story, and you can read the rest by visiting http://literaryorphans.org/ttl/extinction-by-alex-schumacher/.
Providing the meat for this graphic narrative/literary sandwich were thick slices of my writing column Bread Crumbs from the Void for Five 2 One Magazine and the continued weekly misadventures of Luke Carlin in Decades of (in)Experience published by Antix Press. It’s astounding to realize that next month Decades of (in)Experience will have been running for an entire year! On the one hand the weekly deadline has forced me to park my ass in the chair and be productive,while on the other there are plenty of those weeks I narrowly hit deadline by the skin of my chompers. There are several exciting prospects for the illustrated feature percolating as I type this and hopefully I will be able to share more of said news in the upcoming months. In the meantime if you need some good reading material to while away your time on the shitter, catch up on all past episodes on the archive of apathy at https://decadesofinexperience.com/.
More announcements to come soon including updates on my new graphic novel. Currently I am in the production stage of putting together a sub package for my agent to hock in an attempt to find the book a suitable home. Until then, let your freak flags fly this Labor Day weekend and as always, thank you for reading. Bottoms up, kiddos!
I’ve always held some contempt for the moniker “alternative comics”. Mind you, some of the comics which fall under that specific distinction are among my favorites. Titles such as Peepshow, Milk & Cheese, or American Splendor turned me on to an entire new world of comics and introduced me to the sprawling world of the underground from the 60’s and 70’s. I simply detest the idea that these comics, writers, and cartoonists are considered an afterthought to the mainstream which continually perpetuates the bullshit idea that comics are just for kids and only about superheroes. As though showing two people fucking is any worse than the hypersexualization of the majority of female (and sometimes male) characters who adorn the pages of books published by the “big 2”. Some of us are just more honest about that shit.
Alright, end of rant. As I step down from my soapbox, here are some projects of mine which won’t be picked up by Disney (oh, excuse me… Marvel) or Time Warner (sorry again… I mean DC) any time soon.
Debuting Monday from the cool cats over at Drunk Monkeys is my new monthly series Mr. Butterchips.
The strip will follow the daily exploits of the titular (and cuddly) curmudgeon as he rails against the madness and mundanity of everyday life. He’s a weathered and jaded organ grinder monkey in the pursuit of love and happiness amidst a cultural landscape divided by the disappearing middle class, increasing violence, decreasing education, and the condemnatory pricks who look unfavorably on his love for human women. It sounds heavy, but trust me when I say it will be funny as hell too. You may even be surprised at how much you relate to the little asshole. Drunk Monkeys invites you to get to know this fella starting next week (and possibly drop a few shekels on some killer merchandise to support us in our efforts).
Decades of (in)Experience, published by Antix Press recently passed the six month mark! While I am aware this may sound like a relatively short period of time, when producing a weekly feature in addition to a full-time day job, several other projects, and a propensity for procrastination, this is quite the feat. Luke Carlin has been an interesting, if not cathartic, character to explore and my editor Francis Lombard has been nothing short of a wet dream. From the word “go” he has not only allowed my sordid tales to sully his site, but has been enthusiastic and genuinely excited to assist in spreading Decades of (in)Experience like the dark-humored STD that it is. I have just now begun to dig into the meat of who Luke Carlin is as a person, and there is much more to come including the possibility of a print collection. So be sure to catch new entries in the Decades of (in)Experience series every Friday on the Antix Press website and catch up on everything you’ve missed on the archive site here.
Last week also saw the commencement of The Fucking Funnies for Five 2 One Magazine, beginning with a satirical ode to the douche-baggery of Donald Trump. With this comic, Donald Drumpf in: The Big D, we have thrown down the gauntlet and hope to enlist many other cartoonists and writers for this new digital underground movement. As the newly appointed Art Director handling the curation of The Fucking Funnies, I am seeking contributions of gag panels, comic strips, one to two page comics, and art which will be included in print editions and online. Specifically we are looking for the odd, the dark, and/or the absurd. Comics and cartoons that have profanity, violence, sexuality, etc. are welcome though we are not interested in shock value just for the sake of being shocking or offensive. That said, bring us your brazen works full of satire, sarcasm, surrealism, and searing commentary. If you think you’ve got what we’re looking for submit here: http://five2onemagazine.com/submission-guideline/.
May 16th will see the publication of another comic of mine in The Fucking Funnies series, Downtown Weed in Five 2 One Magazine’s 12th issue along with another cartoonist or two who has already joined in the uprising. Don’t be shy kids. I’ve shown you mine, now it’s time to show me yours. Be sure to read Donald Drumpf in: The Big D!
My writing pal, and ballsy author, Craig Hart was also kind enough to recently invite me on his podcast for a whiskey-fueled interview. We talked raw for a good half hour about the writing process, some of my projects, and our collective loathe of the literati. Have a listen by clicking here!
Thanks for hanging in there with me. You can now return to your weekend drinking!