This Saturday I will be returning to one of, if not my favorite local comics shows: The Marin Comics Fest! Via their website:
The Marin Comics Fest is proud welcome cartoonist and comics creator Alex Schumacher to Blue Moon Comics in San Rafael on Saturday, September 25, from 1 to 3 p.m. Based in [the Bay Area of California], Alex produces the weekly misadventures of that wise-cracking, socially attuned simian Mr. Butterchips for SLG Publishing, which published a collection of the strip last year. He also produced the weekly webcomic Decades of (in)Experience for Antix Press from October 2015 – January 2021. Alex’s other books include the satirical social and political collection ‘Defiling the Literati’ and the all-ages works ‘Benjamin and the Fish’ and ‘The World’s Crummiest Umbrella.’ Admission is free.
With a competent administration once again displaying how leadership should work and vaccines being disseminated, I am for the first time in nearly half a decade hopeful for the immediate future. I never thought I would miss book signings and conventions, but times are strange. Speaking of which, I’m doing my best to remain creative in a thoroughly uninspiring era.
THE LATINX COMICS ARTS FESTIVAL
On Friday March 12th I was honored to be a panelist during this year’s Latinx Comics Art Fest! I participated on the Storytelling Across Mediums roundtable, moderated by Dr. Frederick Luis Aldama. Other speakers included my pal Jaime Crespo, Candy Briones, and Carlo A. Flores. Find the conversation in its entirety below.
ADRIAN HAS ISSUES
On March 24th, Adrian King posted our conversation for his tremendous podcast Adrian Has Issues. We realized it was my THIRD appearance on the show and gabbed as friends would about the conclusion of the DECADES OF (in)EXPERIENCE weeklies, the future of MR. BUTTERCHIPS (and other projects), stage diving, and more. Listen to our full exchange on Adrian’s site!
Earlier today I firmed up details with SLG Publishing for the MR. BUTTERCHIPS relaunch. I’m excited to divulge all information soon and hope you’ll join me for this new chapter in the maniacal monkey’s saga, especially if you’ve followed the comic since its debut in 2016!
In the event you missed this on social media, here is the teaser panel I’ve floated around sites like Instagram and Twitter for the past couple of weeks.
Good tidings, inhabitants of the digital realm! As we’ve now crested that death-defying plunge into the holidays, I resolved to make at least one more post here on the blog before this hellish year has officially come to a close. Since last updating in August there has been a flurry of activity. Without further ado, let’s dive right in!
If you are looking for a little bit of truth wrapped in some dark humor, Alex Schumacher‘s Mr. Butterchips: A Collection of Cantankerous Commentary is the perfect anthology to check out. – Carla Vazquez, A Place to Hang Your Cape
Read the write-up in its entirety on the AP2HYC site.
Schumacher’s brilliance and timeliness of subject matter make this a MUST READ as he makes the reader laugh as much as he makes you think. – Pharoah Miles, Graphic Policy
Soda and Telepath‘s own Anthony Pollock was also gracious enough to host me for an interview regarding the book, my genesis with the character, etc. Our spirited exchange can be found on the S & T site in their interview section.
You still have time to obtain a copy as a holiday gift for the comics lover in your life! Visit my books page for purchasing options.
DECADES OF (in)EXPERIENCE
Following a transcendent five-year journey, Antix Press and I will be making a monumental announcement regarding the webcomic come December. My gratitude for Francis Lombard and the dedicated audience attracted over the course of our run cannot be overstated. You all are the sole reason I’ve continued pushing this boulder up the hill, so to speak. My efforts as a Gen-X Sisyphus would have been insurmountable were it not for the encouragement and support I’ve received since the onset of the comic in 2015.
Truly, from the bottom of my soul, thank you all.
That said, there are some Decades-related projects in the works. One of said ventures is a limited edition sculpt of everyone’s favorite inebriated immortal, Drunk Death (pictured below)! In partnership with You Are Player One, these gorgeous figurines will be available shortly in time to order the perfect holiday gift. Stay tuned for details…
As the gift-giving season approaches, I’m planning to open 4-5 commission spots for interested parties. Original art makes for a distinctive, one-of-a-kind holiday present! An added bonus is that you’ll be supporting an independent artist, which has become increasingly vital for the survival of our trade.
Slots will be filled on a first come, first serve basis. Use the form on the contact page, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info. Samples below.
If you’re looking for exclusive content, behind the scenes access, and other goodies unavailable to anyone else, please consider subscribing to my Patreon page. With many projects in the works, there’s sure to be an abundance of material specifically presented for my patrons in 2021!
I’m pleased to announce that I have signed with the phenomenal Allison Hellegers of Stimola Literary Studio! I want to state that my former agent (Pete Ryan, also of Stimola) and I split amicably. He’s an amazing person and there were simply circumstances beyond anyone’s control which led to our parting ways. The groundwork he laid and faith he had in me/my work will ALWAYS be held in high regard.
That said, I’m considerably reinvigorated to be repped by Allison! While there’s nothing I can properly announce at this time, I’m currently prepping several projects to be shopped by Allison in the near future. One of which is my latest graphic novel, but I’ve already divulged too much. You’ll just have to follow me on Twitter, Instagram, or subscribe to my newsletter for further updates.
There is also a comic strip being considered by Universal Press Syndicate for possible syndication. My initial pitch was a sanitized version of Mr. Butterchips, entitled MONKEY SEE… (excerpt below), but Universal respectfully rejected the idea with an invitation to propose other concepts.
Thus, I spent the last few weeks putting the pitch package together and delivered my submission the Tuesday before Thanksgiving to the acquisitions editor with whom I’m in contact. Whatever the outcome, 25-year-old Alex would absolutely lose his mind if he knew we had a personal connection at one of THE big syndicates. Life is weird sometimes…
Anyway, Hope everyone is having a great holiday season so far and we’ll see you in 2021!
The summer heat is on and 2020 continues to prove itself as one of the most exasperating years in recent memory. I could go into some long-winded diatribe about politics, intolerance, pandemics, etc., but there has been a number of positive developments for me on which I would much rather focus for the sake of this post.
This is just a quick THANK YOU to everyone who took the time to nominate me for a Ringo Award. Whether this will lead to a place on the final ballot remains to be seen, but this doesn’t diminish my gratitude for all of your efforts and support!
STIMOLA LIVE TUTORIAL
On June 2nd, 2020 my tutorial ANATOMY OF A COMICS PAGE debuted on the Stimola Live YouTube channel as part of the Stimola Literary Studio‘s initiative to provide content for families while on lockdown. Over the course of the just over 10-minute presentation I run through the basics of what comprises a graphic novel/comics page including layout, directing the eye, panel placement, and more! You can find my tutorial along with a plethora of educational and entertaining videos on the Stimola Live Channel‘s page.
MYTHIC PICNIC TWEET STORY
At Mythic Picnic‘s behest I submitted a 3-panel comic to the “Twitter-ary” Magazine’s competition. I was delighted to find that my contribution, SUPERHUMAN LOSS, ended up taking the $250 second place prize. My tweet story was a reflection on the unexpected 2018 loss of my beloved sister-in-law. Below is an excerpt from the short piece.
THE COMIC BOOK YETI – DECADES OF (in)EXPERIENCE RETROSPECTIVE
During March of this year, amidst growing Coronavirus concerns and my impending relocation, I was invited by Matt Ligeti (The Comic Book Yeti) to provide a bit of a retrospective on my webcomic DECADES OF (in)EXPEREINCE. As Antix Press and I published the landmark 200th episode in February of 2020, my article was a celebration of our enduring partnership and the temerity (pertinacity?) involved to even reach such milestone. With nearly 5 years behind us I do hope you’ll give my comic communique, Half a Decade of (in)Experience, a read.
As I won’t be able to sell the books at trade shows or in-store signings any time soon, any and all shares regarding the book’s release are appreciated! Please feel free to contact me should you be interested in a personalized copy.
Should further convincing be required, you can read THIS spoiler-free review from my pal Aaron Iara of Effective Nerd.
Speaking of the MR. BUTTERCHIPS book, promo mode has now commenced. As such, I have started the rounds being interviewed on several indie comics podcasts beginning with Bry-Fy the Comics Guy. The chat was a pleasure and I hope you’ll all enjoy our conversation.
With an indefinite lockdown looming, I’m making a concerted effort to update the blog more frequently. To that end, here’s a gentle reminder that nominations for the Ringo Awards are well underway. Keep in mind that the nomination period will close on June 25, 2020. If you enjoy either DECADES OF (in)EXPERIENCE and/or MR. BUTTERCHIPS, please consider nominating me for:
• Best Cartoonist
• Best Webcomic
• Best Humor Comic
Here we are, friends. It’s day 5,872 of the end times. Or is that day 5,871? Or 5,873? It’s so easy to lose track of time these days.
Of course, this is simply an attempt at some levity in such a somber period of history. I’m striving to remain (fairly) confident that in one way or another we will emerge from this unmitigated crisis at some point in the future. I’m also confident the world will be a vastly different social and political landscape when we do. Once the dust settles, the wreckage is cleared, and the dead are mourned we will forge a new way of life. A better way of life. At least, that’s what I hope will be the outcome.
In the midst of the apocalypse, my wife and I relocated for her new job. Which, while a wonderful opportunity, could not have come at a worse time. The move is thankfully behind us at this point and we are all safe and sound in the compound. It truly is amazing to see just how much shit you accumulate when you’ve lived in one place for a span of time which can only be described as an “era”.
It feels somewhat frivolous to provide updates on my work during this time, but something I have been thinking about lately has prompted me to do so. Since lockdown began, the arts have been a haven for a vast number of people. Whether it’s creating art, embracing art, or being a patron, the arts have kept many (if not all) of us optimistic for the promise of better days ahead. I’ll admit, this cautious optimism is something that I have adhered to begrudgingly. However, there’s something hauntingly beautiful about the visual and performing arts being a last bastion of hope in these troubling and uncertain times.
In an effort to always look on the bright side of life (in a Monty Python way), here are some current comics goings-on:
LET’S CHAT PODCAST
Chris Revill’s social media manager (Christopher Ball) happened to be a mutual friend. When Chris was contacted by Christopher about the possibility of bringing me on the show as a guest, he realized we’ve actually been following one another’s work from afar for some time. Late in the evening of March 22nd, 2020, Chris and I jumped on Skype to record what became a rollicking hour plus conversation which switched gears several times. Listen to the interview in its entirety at the Let’s Chat podcast Stitcher, or your favorite podcast site.
Next week all final art, guest pinups, and foreword from a special contributor will be turned in to the publisher for final approval on the long-awaited Mr. Butterchipscollection! The book will contain the 44 strips previously published by Drunk Monkeys magazine, along with a brand new 22-page standalone story which won’t be available anywhere else. Watch here for the impending official announcement.
If you haven’t already read April’s installment, meant to be a preamble for the standalone story, you can do so in the April issue of Drunk Monkeys.
DEFILING THE LITERATI
As it is all but assured that the remaining conventions of 2020 will be cancelled, I’d like to direct your attention to my Etsy shop in an effort to recoup some of the expenses of my family’s aforementioned relocation… Particularly now that I’m unemployed to boot. If you’re feeling generous and/or have long since considered buying a copy, Defiling the Literati is still for sale with the quarantine bonus of free shipping! I’ll personalize it for you with a quick sketch as well.
Another unfortunate byproduct of my wife’s and my move was the last minute cancellation of my “Anatomy of a Comics Page” live stream which was to be part of Stimola Live, a series of readings, tutorials, and educational content presented by Stimola Literary Studio. I was just informed that the initiative will be extended as self-isolation continues and I will be rescheduling my presentation for a date in the near future. When a slot is secured I will update the Events page accordingly. Be sure to check out the site for all of the fantastic videos already available, including entries from my pals like Scott SanGiacomo. Thanks for your understanding and I’ll have info for you soon!
***Just for a chuckle, I also recently shared this Easter-themed gag panel from the vaults. This was from 2016 during my stint as resident cartoonist with Five 2 One magazine.
There will be forthcoming news for Decades of (in)Experienceand (hopefully) progress on the graphic novel front. Hope you are all doing your best to stay healthy and sane.
2020 has arrived and, despite my enduring disappointment with the absence of hoverboards and flying automobiles (thanks Bob Gale!), I continue to forge ahead. Please do not take my lack of updates as anything more than life happening. If you follow me on any other social media platform you’ll already know I have certainly remained productive, which has been somewhat of a chore considering these dark geopolitical times and my wife and I finding ourselves smack dab in the middle of relocating back to the Bay Area. Presented herein are some highlights which occurred over the last few months of blog inactivity.
COMICS FOR THE APOCALYPSE
In late November 2019, I was introduced to the lovely English chap Samuel George London through my good pal Aaron Iara of Effective Nerd. Samuel was nothing short of welcoming and convivial from the get-go. Following a brief email exchange, Samuel and I were able to schedule an interview to accommodate our significant time difference. In the early morning hours (for me) of a weekday morning in late November 2019, Samuel and I engaged in an engrossing chat revolving around my work and which fastidiously chosen comics I would bring along in the event of a cataclysmic asteroid collision—hence the title of his podcast. The episode was posted on December 16th and can be listened to in its entirety on the Comics For The Apocalypse soundcloud. Thanks again to Samuel for having me on the show!
KNOWLEDGEABLE CABBAGE REVIEW
Defiling the Literati closed out 2019 with a laudatory review from Christa Harader, aka Knowledgeable Cabbage. Christa was accommodating enough to fit my collection of magazine comics into their already jam-packed review schedule. Christa’s favorable write-up was greatly appreciated and can be read in full by visiting their website. Here’s a taste of what Christa had to say about Defiling the Literati.
Overall, “Defiling the Literati” works well as a collection of work and an anthology of high-quality pieces. Schumacher’s work carries an acidic bitterness born not of cynicism, but frustrated optimism, and the effect is inspirational as well as entertaining in its own right.
The book is currently for sale in my storeand, for a limited time, offered with free shipping. If you’ve vacillating between whether or not to buy yourself a copy, now would be the optimal time to do so.
A SOBERING REFLECTION
Creatively, the new year was christened with the publication of a highly personal examination of my sordid history with—and current attempts to recover from—alcohol abuse. Moonchild Magazine kindly indulged me and agreed to include the piece in their 6th issue entitled, “We Are Not Broken”. A Sobering Reflection was unleashed upon the world as of 01/2020 and the comic is available to read online for free. Gargantuan amounts of gratitude to Editor-in-Cheif and beautiful soul Nadia Gerassimenko for the encouragement and support throughout this process. Below is an excerpt from the 3-page graphic essay.
MR. BUTTERCHIPS COLLECTION
I have been teasing the release of the Mr. Butterchips book for some time, but I assure you this compendium draws closer and closer to an actual release date. The most I can divulge at this time is that the collection will be comprised of the first 42 individual comic strips, a 22-page standalone story you will not be able to read anywhere else, a few pin-ups from professional friends, and a surprise foreword. Look for an official announcement soon.
DECADES OF (in)EXPERIENCE REACHES 200!
Decades of (in)Experience reached its watershed 200th episode on Friday, 2/21/2020. When Francis Lombard and I embarked on this journey together in October of 2015, I don’t believe either one of us had any preconceived notions as to how long the series would last. Our mindset was simply to break free from the bondage of expectation and tell an engaging, relatable story unencumbered by any particular fad or popular genre. I cannot express how much Francis and I appreciate the encouragement and support garnered over the last 4 years and change. Speaking of support, several comics outlets generously lent their platforms to help Antix Press and I get the word out about this milestone episode:
Spoiler Country: Following a false start due to technical difficulties, Spoiler Country’s “man on the street” Casey Allen and I had a spirited conversation regarding the history of the webcomic and what readers may expect next.
Bleeding Cool: The lovely Lauren Sisselman of Bleeding Cool is a stalwart supporter of indie creators, having even written previously about Decades and Defiling the Literati. In her latest article, Lauren cordially assisted in our efforts to commemorate this particular landmark.
**An interview conducted by Fanbase Press will also be available to read as of March 12, 2020.
As mentioned before, my wife and I are in the midst of relocating. With moving comes all of the necessary preparations such as packing and cleaning. In regards to the latter, I will be selling some original pages in an effort to lighten my load and possibly offset some of the costs moving tends to incur. Available pages come from such books as Benjamin & The Fish (215 Ink, 2011 & Read Furiously, 2016), The Unemployment Adventures of Aqualung (Arcana Studios, 2013), Fame: Tom Daly (Bluewater Productions, 2013), and select pieces from Decades of (in)Experience and Mr. Butterchips.
I’m just getting warmed up. This year promises to deliver new artwork, continued stories documenting the human condition, and with any luck, some BIG announcements. Beware the Ides, and talk at you all soon!
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!
Our Table At Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con
The People At Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con
My Comic Con Purchases
The Convention – Amazing Las Vegas
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.
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.
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).
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!
Guest Post on Effective Nerd
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 at Effective Nerd.
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.
Multiversity Comics Review
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.
Canned Air Podcast Appearance
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 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!
As of 1/18/2019, DECADES OF (in)EXPERIENCE kicked off year numero 4! I’m amazed by how far this webcomic has progressed and assure you all that Antix Press and I have a lot more in store for our hapless every(person), Luke Carlin. Episode 2 was served up piping hot as of Friday, January 25th and you can catch it now by visiting my publisher’s site here. In the event you haven’t already, be sure to catch up on year 3 which is still online in all its glory at the archive of apathy.
Upcoming Appearance: Latino Comics Expo
I’m also incredibly excited, and immensely honored, to announce I have been invited to exhibit at this year’s Latino Comics Expo in March! A short history: The organizers and I hit it off immediately several years ago while tabling at the Salinas Valley Comic Con and have kept in touch ever since. Spending my formative years in Salinas I have inexhaustible love and respect for Latino culture and art. My boundless gratitude to Theresa Rojas, Javier Hernandez, and Ricardo Padilla for the invite! More info to follow. Hope to see some of you there!