Welcome to the first post of 2021… Or is it 2020, the extended dance remix? Regardless, here we are in January and another twelve months stretching ahead with which to influence change and share stories!
As some of you may already know, my weekly webcomic DECADES OF (in)EXPERIENCE ended a 5+ year run on the first of the year. Fear not, for even in the absence of a weekly comic there are plenty of projects in the works including my new graphic novel (on submission now!) and illustrating a picture book starring an intrepid snail written by Douglas Cole. Of course, the monthly misadventures of your favorite foul-mouthed monkey MR. BUTTERCHIPS returned to the pages of Drunk Monkeys Magazine last week as well!
Speaking of, for the new year I wanted to offer some incentive for folks to support my work and/or share my Patreon with their friends and family. So, if I were to acquire ten more patrons at the $10 or higher levels, or twenty new patrons at the $5 or higher levels I’ll send EVERY patron a copy of MR. BUTTERCHIPS: A COLLECTION OF CANTANKEROUS COMMENTARY!
Sound good? Then let’s start spreading the word 😎
I hope you all enjoyed a lovely holiday season and look forward to the possibilities of the new year!
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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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 at Graphic Policy
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 at Optical Sloth.
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.
I blinked and now we’re nearly through August and past the halfway mark for 2018. I’m dazed, stunned, nauseated, deflated, and surprisingly tenacious amidst a few months of breakneck ups and downs. I’ll spare you the details in an effort for brevity which may have some of you thanking whichever deity you subscribe to for the absence of my typical introductory verbosity. There’s simply too much to get through to muddle the post with a meandering salutation. Buckle the fuck up, because off we go!
Next, I wanted to get some bad news out of the way. Though CW Cooke and I were scheduled to publish our saga THE GUITARIST through Antarctic Press beginning this summer it is no longer to be. We’ll simply chalk it up to creative differences as neither CW or myself saw eye-to-eye with the editor with whom we were set to work. Fret not, fair enthusiasts, for our indomitable—or at the very least pertinacious—spirits drive us to continue our search for a suitable home for this little comic that could. If and when news breaks of us striking a deal, rest assured the announcement will be here posthaste.
Now in it’s third year, DECADES OF (in)EXPERIENCE continues to stampede across the webcomic landscape in its signature whiplash weekly lurches. If you haven’t had the time to follow each and every installment my publisher Antix Press has corralled all entries produced thus far om the archive of apathy site. Feel free to catch up there at your leisure and be sure to bring a friend along to share the depraved wealth! Should further prodding or proof of virtue be necessary you can read a glowing review of the feature from none other than Bleeding Cool here.
This past May I was also invited to provide the cover illustration for the underground punk rock literary magazine Paper and Ink. The 13th installment, Tales From The Bar Side, is brimming with yarns spun about the denizens of “dive bars, shitty pubs, and back alley boozers.” Publisher and editor-in-chief Martin Appleby believed I was the apposite choice to supply artwork. I can’t begin to fathom why. Nab yourself a copy of the May issue (as well as their entire catalog while you’re at it) by visiting their store at https://www.etsy.co/shop/PaperAndInkZine.
Finally, in October I will be one of the guests during the Central Coast Pop Expo held this year at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. The convention will take place over the weekend of October 20th and 21st, celebrating all areas of pop culture including comics, movies, television, gaming, cosplay and more! Despite my association the event promises to be a family friendly affair. I will do my utmost to refrain from hurling feces, verbal or otherwise, though I can make no such promises for my fellow guests Ace Continuado (Dark Horse, Zenoscope) and Ray Zepeda, Jr. (Tragic Hero Comics Publishing).
Fair morrow (or evening I suppose, depending on which time zone you call home), peeps! I’ve extricated myself from the drafting table long enough to post another update here on the ole’ website. Not only has the pace of projects refused to abate, I now find myself entangled with a couple of secret (though fucking stellar) projects. Seriously, I’m gnawing off my toenails in anticipation of announcing the aforementioned ventures. In all fairness there’s no way to predict when—or even if—said endeavors will come to fruition, so I suppose they may not have been worth mentioning just yet. Oh well. I’ll simply dangle the carrots and watch you shiver with anticipation.
Anyway, the 3rd year of DECADES OF (in)EXPERIENCE continues to barrel forth. Switching to a full page format has certainly been a bit of an undertaking, but it has presented a worthy challenge for my writing and art. Your, the reader’s/fan’s, input is always welcome. Drop me or my publisher Antix Press a line to let us know what you think of this year thus far. If you haven’t as of yet found your way to our dark, licentious corner of the ‘web and needed some prodding, feel free to peruse this article from Bleeding Cool. My debt of gratitude to the wondrous and shiny Lauren Sisselman for the coverage!
That ornery organ grinder monkey, MR. BUTTERCHIPS, also continues his campaign of intellect and snark against the alt-right, gun lobby, homophobes, and stupidity/intolerance in general. His monthly antics can still be found with every new issue of the best damn independent literary magazine in the city of angels, Drunk Monkeys! The magazine is also attempting to become a paying market, so if you can swing a few bucks their way to include more content (and possibly increased installments of MR. BUTTERCHIPS) visit: http://www.drunkmonkeys.us/.
As stated in my previous post, THE GUITARIST, created by C.W. Cooke and myself (with colors by Jeremy Kahn) will be serialized in Antarctic Press‘ revamped Mangazine beginning in July! This is such a treat for us as we’ve wanted to paint the world with this epic comic’s shade of psychedelic since we conceived this rock and roll saga years ago. Preorder your copy here, and/or contact your local comic book shop to request they stock the anthology. Here’s a sneak peek at the cover:
As for the above referenced secret projects, I can only say that there may be a new graphic novel and picture book in the works. That is all I can can reveal. That is all I will reveal. In the meantime,allow your imaginations to roam freely. Will the new graphic novel be a sci-fi erotica? Can the new picture book possibly feature a shroom-dropping goblin? Probably not as those sound like agonizing reads, but I still invite you to speculate away. Once news is available I will post all the grungy details here. Or on Twitter. Or my Instagram. If interested, you can follow me on either of those social media sites @AJSchumacherart.