Pre-Holidaze Update

While the scorching heat of infernos presently ravaging the globe doesn’t exactly scream, “Holiday Season”, there’s enough of a nip in the air to remind us the time of overcooked turkey, celebrated consumerism, and shopping-mall Santas is close at hand. Impeachment may dominate the 24-hour news cycle, but here on the ole’ blog we have better things to discuss than the collapse of the Mango Mussolini’s reign (though this can be entertaining in and of itself). Fall is my most cherished time of year, so instead of dwelling on the corporate catastrophe that is Christmas or the depressing current state of American politics let’s jump right into recent comics goings-on!

NEW INTERVIEW

Last Monday, Geek Freaks Podcast released a new episode in which co-host Frank interviewed yours truly. We spoke of Decades of (in)Experience, Mr. Butterchips, and the process of finding a literary agent based on the odyssey which led to my signing with the esteemed Stimola Literary Agency. There was also a section in which we compared the pros and cons of independent publishing vs. establishing yourself in a more mainstream arena. Have a listen for yourself at http://thetopfivepodcast.libsyn.com/alex-schumacher-interview-call-of-duty-and-outer-worlds-reviews.

YEAR-END SALE & CONTEST

To celebrate 2 years of my collection of literary magazine comics, Defiling the Literati, I’m selling remaining copies with free domestic shipping! As I will not be making any further appearances until 2020, this will be your only opportunity to procure one of these satirical compendiums for that lover of sardonic humor in your life. Secure your copy (or copies) by visiting https://www.etsy.com/listing/678487194/defiling-the-literati.

THE WORLD’S CRUMMIEST UMBRELLA ORIGINAL ART GIVEAWAY

The auction for 2 pieces of original art from my picture book, The World’s Crummiest Umbrella, will come to a close at the end of the month. You still have time to enter, but you may just miss it if you procrastinate further. Visit https://alexschumacherart.com/2019/09/08/the-worlds-crummiest-umbrella-giveaway-and-more/ for details.

TOM SPURGEON

This last week, the comics universe bid adieu to one of its most stalwart and unwavering supporters. Tom was most widely known for his five-year run as editor of The Comics Journal and his riveting blog The Comics Reporter. Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity to meet Tom in person. His name loomed large in the industry and his writing exhibited nothing less than a profound devotion to the medium. His unexpected loss is a blow to the entire comics family. This week’s Decades of (in)Experience is dedicated to Tom’s memory.

Below are some beautiful tributes from those who knew Tom best.

From Heidi MacDonald of The Beat: https://www.comicsbeat.com/rip-tom-spurgeon/

From cartoonist John Porcellino of King Cat fame: http://johnporcellino.blogspot.com/2019/11/tom-spurgeon-1968-2019.html

As to not end this post on completely downer note, I wanted to mention there are several exciting projects in the works. Of said prospective developments, one is a Mr. Butterchips collection with a storied underground publisher with whom I’ve wanted to work since jumping back into the shark-infested comics ocean back in the early 00’s. More details to come.

If you’d ever like to contact me for possible work, to compliment/criticize my comics, or anything in between, feel free to give me a shout at alexschumacherart@gmail.com.

Happy trails for now, folks!

The World’s Crummiest Umbrella giveaway and more!

THE WORLD’S CRUMMIEST UMBRELLA 5th ANNIVERSARY

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My first picture book, The World’s Crummiest Umbrella, was published in August of 2014 by Wandering in the Words Press. This little tale depicting a particularly poignant event has received several humbling reviews.

The World’s Crummiest Umbrella is a touching story that will delight both parents and children. I highly recommend picking up a copy. – Beach Bound Books

This is a good read. It has a great message in it and you may even catch yourself saying “yep, that was me that one time.” – Storytime Books

In celebration of its 5th anniversary, I will be auctioning off 2 pieces of original art produced for the book. 1 piece of art will be awarded to someone who purchased the book prior to September 1st, 2019, and 1 will go to someone who purchases the book between now and November 30th, 2019!

To enter, simply send a proof of purchase to: alexschumacherart@gmail.com

DECADES OF (IN)EXPERIENCE

The more keen-eyed observer of my weekly webcomic Decades of (in)Experience may have noticed a slight diversion in artistic stylings over the past few weeks. Unfortunately, I sprained the thumb of my drawing hand whilst on vacation in Hawaii. Yes, I know, boo-fucking-hoo. Regardless, I was in need of some assistance and found just the reinforcements I required in cartoonist pals Jacob Rafael Estrada, Kurt Belcher, and Betsy Streeter. Some teasers follow, but to read the full episodes visit the archive of apathy here.

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NEW INTERVIEW

I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Matt Kund of Constructing Comics to chat about recent projects, and possibly tease at an upcoming work-in-progress. What could said projects possibly be and how do I sound on the rare occasions I am 100% sober? The answers can only be found by listening to the interview here on the Constructing Comics soundcloud site. Thank you again to Matt for being gracious enough to endure an entire conversation!

MR. BUTTERCHIPS FUNDRAISER

As announced previously, the personalized limited edition prints (pictured below) will be available for $10 (+ S&H). A cameo appearance in one of my upcoming comics can be secured with a donation of $40! All proceeds (minus S&H) will be divided amongst RAICES, PLANNED PARENTHOOD, and the ACLU. Please visit my shop to purchase a print and/or message me alexschumacherart@gmail.com if interested in a comic cameo.

Join me in supporting humanitarian and progressive organizations. Thank you!

BUTTERCHIPS print 2019

You can also pick up a print if you attend any of my limited public appearances, such as Blue Moon Comics on Saturday, September 14th where I will be taking part in the 3rd annual Marin Comics Fest. If you happen to be in Marin County, come on by and bring a friend (or 13)!

Until next time.

 

Fundraiser

UPDATE 8/20/2019: The fundraiser benefiting RAICES, PLANNED PARENTHOOD, and the ACLU will be extended indefinitely. To see how you can participate, please see the original post from 7/8/2019 below.


As this week’s all new Mr. Butterchips announced, I will be conducting a fundraiser throughout the month of July.

Personalized limited edition prints (pictured below) will be available for $10 (+ S&H). A cameo appearance in one of my upcoming comics can be secured with a donation of $40! All proceeds (minus S&H) will be divided amongst RAICES, PLANNED PARENTHOOD, and the ACLU. Please visit my shop to purchase a print and/or message me here if interested in a comic cameo.

Join me in supporting humanitarian and progressive organizations. Thank you!  

BUTTERCHIPS print 2019

City of Sin (comic con) and Sirens of Sequentials (new review)

For those who follow me across the social medias, you may have noticed I spent the past weekend exhibiting at the Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con with my buddy and inker extraordinaire, Chris Arrocena. I returned home with a few less books, a few more pounds (so much sumptuous food!), and had a wonderful time meeting new creator friends and a handful of independent comics enthusiasts. Unfortunately, the convention itself was not without its fair share of inadequacies. Some of the blemishes could have been avoided, some were beyond their control. More on that later.

On Friday the convention floor was open from 3 pm to 8 pm, allowing VIPs and others to get their bearings. Saturday was by far my busiest day sales-wise which was most likely affected by the 10 am to 7 pm hours of operation. On Sunday, the final day of the show, families attended in droves to have their children get a picture with a Power Ranger or saunter from toy booth to toy booth. Unsurprisingly, my picture book The World’s Crummiest Umbrella was the day’s top-seller. Thank you to the folks who took the time to stop by the booth, chat about my work, and purchase some of my wares!

THE TABLE

Day 1 begins, as bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as we could possibly muster.
The goods.
My table-mate and pal, Chris Arrocena, inking away.
Day 2 commences, albeit with slightly drained enthusiasm.
A Mr. Butterchips/Infinity Gauntlet mashup sketch during a lull.
Day 3 begins after a long night of overindulging in the City of Sin.

THE PEOPLE

After nearly 2 years of working with him on my self-published Defiling the Literati, I finally had the opportunity to meet designer and printer McLain McGuire!
I also had the distinct pleasure of meeting Fabrice Sapolsky, author/illustrator and senior editor at Humanoids (also former colleague of Decades of (in)Experience editor Francis Lombard).
Cosplay doesn’t typically move me one way or another, but I was inspired to snap a picture of The Big Thorbowski.

PURCHASES

Considering the expenses of a convention which didn’t yield high returns, I did not make many purchases. I did however obtain a couple of signed books by Andy Kuhn, an artist I have long-since admired.
Additionally, I obtained this collection of Chai & Mulligan comic strips from my across-the-row neighbor Francis Baytan. Check him out!

THE CONVENTION

I certainly don’t want to dwell on the negative, but the convention itself felt underwhelming and poorly organized. Maybe it was due to my discomfort in extreme heat. Maybe it was my increasing age-inspired misanthropy. Either way, there were foibles galore. The programming schedule was nowhere to be found and the floor layout was so difficult to navigate that several people who came specifically to support our table vocalized their frustrations with trying to locate us. I saw several members of the security team patrolling the floor, which was great, but the show was surprisingly bereft of any official staff.

While obviously beyond the control of the convention, I’ve witnessed a disturbing trend at the larger-scale conventions. Focus has shifted away from indie creators to a staggering interest in collectibles and fan art prints (which are 100% illegal). My pal Brian Fies espoused sentiments regarding the latter I wholeheartedly agree with in a recent post on his site:

I think true fan art is terrific. A kid who loves Iron Man and draws up little pictures, stickers and stuff to sell for a buck a piece is technically violating copyright but should be left alone. They’re expressing their passion for the character. I like passion.

Likewise, comics professionals who’ve made a living drawing these characters should get a pass. Neal Adams defined the look of Batman in the 1970s and for generations to follow. As far as I’m concerned, Mr. Adams can draw and sell all the Batmen he wants.

That’s not what’s going on here. These print peddlers are big commercial operations. They’re not in it for the love of characters or stories, they’re in it because the prints sell. And unlike fandom, booth space at conventions is a zero-sum game. There’s only so much real estate. These big guys crowd out others doing original art with characters and stories they actually created.

It’s hard to feel sorry for giant corporations that own Superman and Indiana Jones. That doesn’t make violating their copyright OK. I don’t think these print emporiums are good for comics, conventions, creators or fans, and I’d really like to see cons crack down on them, maybe with a little encouragement from the true copyright holders and their scary lawyers. Make room for new creative voices producing original material. That’s the real life-blood of the industry and art form.

For this and other creative reasons I am making the following announcement exclusively here: Unless I am invited as a guest—and let’s be honest, this isn’t bound to occur any time soon—I will no longer be exhibiting at larger comic conventions. Instead, I will be focusing on book fairs where my particular storytelling may be better received.

A NEW DECADES REVIEW!

Moving on to more enthralling news, the sensational Sirens of Sequentials published a new review of Decades of (in)Experience as of May 29th, 2019. Reviewer, and Siren-in-chief CJ Pendragon, had this to say about the webcomic:

Decades of (in)Experience is not a bit of light reading before bed but it is an introspective narrative full of sociopolitical commentary, hierarchy questioning and wanderlust. I loved it.

I recommend Decades of (in)Experience to those who can stomach being taken by surprise by a multitude of sensitive topics. Schumacher doesn’t tiptoe around them or soften the blow, he deals them up in a realistic and relatable manner that’s refreshing in a sea of kid-gloved comics.

Read the write-up in its entirety here.

That’s all for now, folks!

Quick and dirty 3 reviews + big news!

In the event you missed my unveiling over the past few weeks, DEFILING THE LITERATI has been receiving some spectacular attention as of late. The hat trick of reviews began on March 24th with a sleeper write-up from Shean Mohammed of Graphic Policy. Shean says, “Alex Schumacher is a burgeoning artist that every comic fan should know more about.” Quite the compliment! His full review can be read here.

Next arrived Kevin Bramer of Optical Sloth‘s appraisal of the literary magazine comics collection on March 28th. Kevin’s summation asserts, “It’s an eclectic mix that works well together, and I’d recommend it highly for anybody who thinks comics need at least a dash of more real world events and opinions.” Check out Kevin’s commentary in full here.

Finally on March 29th, Matt Ligeti the Comic Book Yeti dropped his assessment of the book. In part, Matt proclaimed, “Schumacher’s cartoons are straightforward, unmissable, and powerful because of it.” As this was Matt’s first foray into reviewing political or satirical comics of any kind I truly appreciated him rising to the challenge and providing some much appreciated commentary! The Comic Book Yeti’s piece can be read here.

Now, for the pièce de résistance. If you follow me on any one of my other social media accounts you have probably already heard the good news, but I’m now represented by Peter Ryan of Stimola Literary Studio! I’m absolutely thrilled to join such a stellar roster of authors and illustrators.

The moral here is don’t ever stop knocking on doors, kids. You never know who might finally answer.

Latino Comics Expo debriefing

What a whirlwind of a weekend at Latino Comics Expo! I’m far too exhausted to be verbose, so what follows is a succinct account of goings-on over the past few days. We arrived Thursday evening with sleep-deprived senses of humor and boxes of merch to pawn off on the unsuspecting con-goers.

The show itself commenced on Friday, which was arguably the busier day sales-wise. That said, Saturday was absolutely bustling due to the incredible guests and low rider show scheduled to coincide with the comics expo.

A beautifully curated display of artwork by some of the exhibitors and vendors stood as guardians over the convention floor entryway.

Thank you again to Theresa Rojas, Ricardo Padilla, & Javier Hernandez (not pictured) for the invite.

It was great to make some new friends in the comics industry as well as table with my writer pal Ray Zepeda, Jr. (pictured, right) and catch up with such talented friends as Jaime Crespo, Barbra Dillon, Candy Briones, Rafael Navarro, Crystal Gonzalez, Dus T. (pictured, left), Isabel Ann Castro, and Brent Anderson.

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The weekend wouldn’t have been complete without meeting 2 of my longtime influences, Jaime & Gilbert Hernandez. Sorry for the blur… I have a shitty phone. The moment was captured though, which is all that matters in my opinion.

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All in all, well worth the trip. I hocked some books, had some chuckles, and met a few new enthusiasts of my work. Finally, a huge shout-out to the Kranzman family who so generously put me up (and put up with me)! They even introduced me to a delectable new coffee roasting company.

Hope to do it all again in 2020!

Group pic
Latino Comics Expo, class of 2019!

March-ing through 2019

Yes, it’s a bad pun. No, I won’t apologize.

I love bad puns. If you follow and enjoy my work you should know this about me now before you get too emotionally invested. Speaking of my work, there has been a tremendous amount of activity lately! I truly appreciate all the attention and wanted to round up all that has occurred in the past month or so (plus make a special announcement).

First off, Fanbase Press was gracious enough to feature an interview with me on their site on February 6th. Decades of (in)Experience was the topic du jour, but I made mention of other projects including Mr. Butterchips and Defiling the Literati as well. If you are interested, or having a particularly lengthy bowel movement, you can read the interview here.

On February 21st I was invited by the Boys & Girls Club of Monterey to corrupt… er, conduct teens through a comics workshop. In the hour that was allotted we discussed the finer points of facial expressions, character design, page layouts, etc., which culminated with each attendee constructing their own one page comic. Thanks to Jonathan Lupisan for inviting me and I look forward to future classes!

Monday the 25th saw the publication of my guest article on the Effective Nerd site. I was solicited to pen a column revolving around the idea of sincerity in one’s work. It was requested that I also briefly touch upon ‘imposter syndrome’ as this all-too-common affliction tends to manifest in a particularly acute manner when your creative endeavors are at their most personal. Below is an excerpt and you can take in the full rant here.

We break our backs for years, sometimes decades, to establish our own corner of the creative universe only to constantly question the validity of any traction gained. So when does it feel as though you’ve actually triumphed? Unfortunately I don’t have the answer to such an enigmatic query. A favorable outcome to one artistic mind may be but a benchmark along the path to another. As long as you’re satisfied with the work you’re producing, continue to refine your craft, and possibly even make some headway in your field then you’re doing everything in your power to hold yourself accountable. Doubts and anxieties will persist, but when you truly love your craft you’ll find a way to forge ahead.

This past Monday Dexter Buschetelli of Multiversity Comics posted a sublimely peppery write-up on Decades of (in)Experience as part of the Webcomics Weekly feature. He classifies it as a “beautiful mess”, further clarifying, “All of this visual competence is the polish on the presentation of the disarranged dishevelment that is Luke’s life.” You can read all about his affinity for the poignancy and dark humor of the webcomic here.

The welcoming gentlemen of the Canned Air Podcast hosted a discussion with me on Friday March 8th. As per their format we discussed movies based on video games during their ‘Retro Roundup’ segment, then shifted into an exchange regarding our latest comic/graphic novel reads, and finally sailed into the interview portion of the conversation where I was encouraged to blather on about my work. Which I did. Ad nauseum. Pour a glass of your favorite adult beverage and tune in to this episode at ‘Video Game Movies with a Side of Butterchips‘.

Last, but certainly not least are 2 (count ’em, 2!) appearance announcements. As previously mentioned a few times on my social media pages, this coming Friday and Saturday I have the absolute honor of exhibiting at this year’s Latino Comics Expo in Modesto. This is the premiere American show to feature Latino Creators. Personally, I’m incredibly excited that 2 of the 3 Los Bros Hernandez (Love & Rockets) will be special guests! Their work has been transformational for me and I hope to have the opportunity to thank them in person. The full list of exhibitors and vendors is online now here.

And now for the pièce de résistance announcement: I will be exhibiting at Amazing Con Las Vegas in June with my pal, and comics colorist extraordinaire, Chris Arrocena! As with the Latino Comics Expo I’ll have copies of Defiling the Literati, The Unemployment Adventures of Aqualung, and The World’s Crummiest Umbrella on hand along with Mr. Butterchips coffee mugs and stickers, as well as limited edition art prints. I also recently learned this will be the inimitable George Pérez’s last comic convention appearance EVER. Mark your calendars now!

HOUSEKEEPING:

  • As always, you can catch new Decades of (in)Experience episodes every Friday on the Antix Press site. The archive of apathy currently houses year 3 in its entirety and previous episodes of year 4 to date. For a limited time seasons 1 and 2 can be read in full at http://decadesofinexperience.thecomicseries.com/.
  • That cantankerous Capuchin, Mr. Butterchips, can be found monthly on the Drunk Monkeys site spewing commentary on the issues of the day. His latest social critique can be found here.

Hope everyone is having a killer weekend and I hope to see some of you at an upcoming appearance!