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!

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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!

Bleeding Cool review and more!

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.

For interested parties, I was also recently interviewed on 2 independent podcasts. Thanks to Work Talk Podcast and Everything is Awesome Podcast for having me! Find the interviews here (Work Talk) and here (Everything is Awesome).

For now, I bid you all a fond adieu. These god-damn panels won’t materialize on their. I wish they did, believe me.

P.S. Don’t forget to shower your mothers with praise and love for bringing your sorry asses into the world this weekend!

THE GUITARIST heads to Antarctic Press’ Mangazine!

QUICK ANNOUNCEMENT:

In the event you may have missed the news, THE GUITARIST (created by C.W. Cooke and myself), has been selected to be serialized in Antarctic Press‘ revitalized MANGAzine. The first section will appear in MANGAzine #1 debuting in July 2018 at none other than San Diego Comic Con.

Thanks to Ben Dunn for bringing us on board and to everyone who supported us along the way! Here’s the official announcement drawn by yours truly and colored by our own Jeremy Kahn.

Be Mine!: A February Update

February has already arrived with love (and the odor of this putrescent country) in the air. No need to be disheartened though, my fellow Americans, for I do believe in my heart of hearts that the residents of this nation will drown the reprehensible vocal minority and thwart the attempts of tyranny currently facing us. Seeing as the 24-hour news cycle, social media, the fucking barista at your local coffee shop, etc. all veer towards the political these days, I will attempt to stay on topic. As my plan is to discontinue the use of my personal Facebook page (though a fan page will be moderated by my pal, Chris Ball), I will make a concerted effort to update this blog on a far more regular basis. That said, with the profusion of projects depriving me of sleep these days that chore is easier said than done. Regardless, we’re all here now so let’s catch up.

Quickly… I have a lot to do.

SALINAS VALLEY COMIC CON

Held over the weekend of December 16th and 17th, 2017, my local convention assailed the student center of the community college for two days of comics and cosplay. Unfortunately the regional rags decidedly focused on the superhero aspect of the convention, once again putting on display the public’s tone-deaf comprehension of the breadth and scope of stories told via the comics medium. Moreover, the organizers were quite wonderful and welcoming to all who exhibited. I tabled alongside my writer buddy, Ray Zepeda, Jr. (of Tragic Hero Comics), which made the minimal sales and devisive attitude towards my particular brand of humor tolerable.

The table setup for SVCC.
Ray Zepeda, Jr. (right) and myself
Storytelling panelists (L-R): Ricardo Padilla, myself, Ray Zepeda, Jr.

DECADES OF (in)EXPERIENCE YEAR 3

With the new year brought a makeover for my anti-hero weekly series published by Antix Press. I discussed the shift with my editor, Francis Lombard, and we both agreed it was an organic evolution which could very well enhance our capabilities to convey the follies of Luke Carlin. Of course, the decision also equated to a more labor-intensive production schedule, but Francis and I have been content with the outcome thus far. It would be great to have some feedback from some of you readers out there! Let us know how you are enjoying (or despising) the new full-page comic strip format. The third year begins in the archive here (episode 1 below), and new episodes are published every Friday on the Antix Press site.

DEFILING THE LITERATI SIGNING

Our local comic shop, Current Comics, invited me to hold a signing for my literary magazine comic collection held on February 10th, 2018. There was a decent turnout, resulting in a number of sales (including a few MR. BUTTERCHIPS coffee mugs). A huge thank you to the store manager Nick Black, who is always tremendous when it comes to supporting local creators, and the comics enthusiasts who took the time to chat and purchase a book!

Me and the monkey manning the table.
Signing for a new fan.

OTHER

2018 also brings a new year of monthly diatribes railing against the insanity of modern times from your favorite curmudgeonly Capuchin, MR. BUTTERCHIPS. Thus far he has already lambasted intolerance in all of its expansive vile forms (as seen below) and the bullshit rationale behind the religious freedom rights espoused by the reprehensible illegitimate POTUS and his irretrievably insane evangelical hangers-on. Whatever will he call out next? The only way to find out for certain would be to follow his antics in the literary magazine Drunk Monkeys.

A couple of projects are in production as well, which I must keep under wraps for now. Apologies for the vague posting, but hopefully receiving word on said endeavors will be forthcoming posthaste. As I said, I will do my utmost to keep this blog apprised of any and all new events, announcements, etc. going forward so be sure to check back often. Maybe not that often, but often enough. Thank you to everyone who continues to support my work!

Stay gold, and here’s to another year of spinning yarns!

Pre-Holidaze news and 2017 wrap up

November has arrived, the imbecile-in-chief has not yet propelled the USA into nuclear war, and the 90° drop into the new year has officially been crested. As the holidays consistently find a way to siphon every ounce of time and energy one may have at the end of the year, I resolved to submit one last entry here to chronicle the vortex of events which have commenced recently (or will be initiated soon). As there is a fucking laundry list to wade through I am opting to spare you all of the garrulous—albeit thoroughly entertaining—introductions I typically regurgitate.

MARIN COMICS FEST

Back in June I was approached by Cartoon Art Museum board member, and longtime friend, Ron Evans about the possibility of designing promotional artwork for a new comic show he was organizing. The inaugural Marin Comics Fest was held between September 10th and 16th featuring a varied collection of North Bay writers and cartoonists including Judd Winick, Brian Fies, Alexis Fajardo, and Thi Bui. In conjunction with San Rafael library, Ron organized lectures and signings held at locations throughout Marin County. Unfortunately I was unable to attend, however I was able to tacitly burden each event via this uncharacteristically innocent logo:

Alexis Fajardo and Judd Winick holding the signed print gifted to me following the Marin Comics Fest.

DRUNK MONKEYS INSTALLMENT: SEPTEMBER

Though my main gig for Drunk Monkeys Magazine is producing the monthly misadventures of your that salty simian, MR. BUTTERCHIPS, every now and again the editors enjoy veering away from the norms to assemble a themed issue. Such was the case with September when I was asked to produce a piece for an installment revolving around the concept of Vice & Virtue. As I have long considered writing and art to be both a vice and a virtue at assorted stages of my sordid existence, I opted to craft a page reflecting such a disposition. This teaser should impart an idea as to the overall orbit of my contribution, but you can read ‘Carousel of Creation’ in full here.

DEFILING THE LITERATI

In an effort to compile some wares with which to hock during cons, I decided to assemble the bounty of literary magazine work I had produced between 2016 and 2017. I entitled the resulting smörgåsbord of demented offerings Defiling the Literati in reference to the (mostly) intentional contrary approach I have adopted with regards to crafting stories. Rebellion isn’t my objective, per se, I merely seek to convey relatable anecdotes unencumbered by the flowery, execrable, and ultimately fucking dispensable narratives which too commonly accompanies the writing of today. But I digress. For the time being Defiling the Literati is only available at conventions in which I partake (such as the upcoming Salinas Valley Comic Con), but may be available online soon.

APE (THE ALTERNATIVE PRESS EXPO)

Speaking of conventions, during the weekend of September 23rd and 24th this year I peddled my  wares as an exhibitor at the long-running Alternative Press Expo in San Jose. Overall it was a positive – albeit sobering – experience. It helped that my table-mate was good pal and writer extraordinaire Ray Zepeda, Jr. of Tragic Hero Comics Publishing! What was once a bustling, electric gathering of independent artists had dramatically dwindled since the show moved back to San Jose in 2015. The varied swath of Bay Area creators who typically exhibited in years past were noticeably absent. I still enjoyed the opportunity to meet and speak with enthusiasts of the medium. A few were even familiar with my work, which always stupefies me. In addition, I was invited by the event coordinator to speak on a couple of panels expatiating on the topics of storytelling fundamentals and the plight of the independent artist. I highly recommend attending APE and supporting one of the few conventions dedicated solely to underground and alternative creators of comics, animation, ‘zines, collectibles, etc.

The dedication inside the copy of ‘Defiling the Literati’ for cartoonist pal, Betsy Streeter
Day 2, ready to roll… Mostly.

BEST OF THE NET NOM

I was humbled, and honestly flummoxed, to learn via an announcement on September 1st that I’d been nominated for a “Best of the Net” award in the non-fiction category. The kind souls of Red Fez literary magazine are the publication which submitted my name for a piece I illustrated. The contribution, entitled Talent Scout, was a collaboration with infamous underground writer John Bennett. Unfortunately I did not have the opportunity to build a rapport with John as he is currently infirmed. Send good vibes his way! If you wish to read the aforementioned selection, you can do so here (add link). Win, lose, or draw, a huge thanks to Doc Sigerson and the Red Fez team!

INDIGENT PRESS – ENCHILADA FOLLIES

Whilst everyone was paying attention to my comics based slight-of-hand (or completely ignoring me), a new slice of spicy prose stowed away online. Published by my writer pal Charles Joseph’s new literary venture Indigent A La Carte, my short story Enchilada Follies recounts a rather awkward intimate encounter between a husband and wife. Succumbing to one’s atavistic desires whilst whipping up culinary delights which register on the Scoville scale can have dire consequences. There’s jalapeños, humor, and sex! What more can you possibly demand from your fiction? Read the tale of lust and woe here.

INTERVIEWED BY THE GEEKISH CAST

On the morning of Saturday, October 14th I was interviewed by the incomparable Jeremy R. Vilmur of The Geekish Cast podcast. I was introduced to Jeremy and his stellar show via my perennial online promoter and pal, Christopher Ball. When I was asked to round out the panelists for a podcast themed talk at APE, Jeremy came to mind and graciously accepted the invite. I dug the cut of his jib and the feeling must have been mutual as I was soon invited to be a guest on his show. Clocking in at just under the hour mark, our conversation covered a wide range of topics including DECADES OF (in)EXPERIENCE, MR. BUTTERCHIPS, and defining the idea of what it means to be “indie”. Listen to our pithy banter as I battle a woeful deficiency of caffeine. Thanks again to Jeremy for having me on the show! Check the episode out here.

2 YEARS DECADES OF (in)EXPERIENCE!

This Friday marks the 100th episode of your favorite web-based illustrated flash fiction series, DECADES OF (in)EXPERIENCE! It has been quite the ride for the past two years following the trials and tribulations of one Luke Carlin. Francis Lombard (editor of DECADES OF (in)EXPERIENCE) and I have some fairly epic plans in store for year 3 of this slice-of-life roman à clef. You won’t want to miss the season finale this Friday December 1st, 2017 and you can only find the new episodes on the Antix Press website! If you feel like traipsing down memory lane, the archive of apathy can be found here. Thank you to everyone for the support over the past two years! We’ve only just begun…

Excerpt from the pilot episode, published October 30, 2015