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.
Happy Monday, friends! It is utterly mind-boggling that March has arrived, signaling a year of enduring this pandemic. With the inept administration ousted at least there’s some actual progress towards ensuring the populace is inoculated promptly.
On a brighter note, there are a few projects currently in the works! While they are under wraps for the time being, I look forward to the near-ish future when I can inundate you all with incessant announcements. In the meantime there is one particular piece of news I am at liberty to share followed by one piece of news which I can merely tease.
Last Wednesday (February 24th) Eva Webb of the Titular Characters Podcast posted the impossibly fun interview she conducted with this kooky cartoonist covering a vast array of topics regarding my years in the business of storytelling. I do hope you’ll give my episode a listen (below) as we had an absolute blast during the recording!
A new beginning for an old friend will also arrive this year. The official press release and promotional images are forthcoming…
Coming soon is also my 3rd (THIRD!) appearance on the eternally welcoming Adrian King’s podcast Adrian Has Issues. This winding exchange plunged deep into not only the thought process behind creation, but the mentality required to forge ahead in an artistic realm against all odds. A link will be shared as soon as the episode is available!
That’s correct, folks! I’ve started my own YouTube channel to compile interviews, tutorials, Q & A’s, and all other manner of video content. Visit my channel for regular uploads, and feel free to submit a question you’d like to see me address in an upcoming clip.
Below is one of my first tutorials, INTRO TO INKING TOOLS. I hope you enjoy. Thanks and don’t forget to subscribe!
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!
I would recommend Mr. Butterchips to fans of political cartoons, boisterous stand-up comedians, and off-beat comic books. If you want a good laugh paired with sharp wit and insight, Mr. Butterchips is for you. — Aaron Iara
One of the best features of this book to me was seeing how the character, setting, and situations evolved over time… By the time I got to the large story that ends the book, I felt a familiarity with things that made the plot hum. — Stergios Botzakis
Mr. Butterchips is both a funny and important chronicle of just how insane the world is right now. Maybe buy one for your asshole uncle who keeps saying that Black Lives Matter is a “Marxist movement” and that you should “do your research.” — E. A. Henson
See why E. A. found A COLLECTION OF CANTANKEROUS COMMENTARY to be “easily one of the most traumatic reading experiences I’ve had in recent memory” at the Biff Bam Pop! site.
Interview requests are surprisingly mounting as well. The unsuspecting hosts must not have been subjected to any of my previous guest spots. If you’d like to whet your whistle for future conversations to come, or simply have some masochistic need to hear me prattle on about my cartoon capuchin comrade, there happen to be a couple of sardonic symposiums available for your enjoyment!
Ben and Matt of Imaginary Ramblings chatted with me for the better part of an hour as our discourse winded its way through a variety of topics including drunken misadventures, the current satirical landscape, as well as our furry and frenzied friend, MR. BUTTERCHIPS. Listen to our discussion in its entirety on their Podbean site.
Shortly after expelling my self-aggrandizing bile all over the fellows of Imaginary Ramblings, Chris Osborne of Play Comics Podcast was gracious enough to offer me some precious airtime as well. I’ve been lucky enough to have connected with the majority of podcast hosts with which I’ve had the pleasure of speaking and this exchange is no different! Luckily Chris was a fan and showered me with the praise every artist’s fragile ego requires. Hear our tête-à-tête by visiting the Play Comics site.
And remember, you can join these shiny happy people in welcoming MR. BUTTERCHIPS into your home today!
Visit my dedicated book page for all of the convenient ways to purchase A COLLECTION OF CANTANKEROUS COMMENTARY now.
DECADES OF (in)EXPERIENCE COLLECTIBLE
Here’s a peek at a groovy collectible coming soon from Antix Press and myself. The maestro behind this little beauty is Nick Littlefield, aka youareplayerone.
As I’m looking to earn some extra dinero during my pandemic sabbatical, I’ve opened up a few slots for commissioned art. Prices begin at $40 for a simple, one-character illustration. If interested, please drop me a line at email@example.com to discuss. Here are a couple of the more recent pieces I produced:
Thanks and hope you’re all healthy! 75 days to go…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.