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
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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:
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.
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…
Howdy folks! A quick update with some fun news is on tap for you all today.
Over at Beach Bound Books (great title, huh?), there’s been an interview posted in which I was asked all about The World’s Crummiest Umbrella, how I got into being an author and illustrator, and more. Check it out by clicking on their logo below:
Also, for my Bay Area peeps, there’s been a new signing/appearance added to my Events page which will be taking place in San Francisco. The always awesome Cartoon Art Museum will be hosting an author event for me on Saturday December 13th. I’m so excited to be back in the city and hope to see you all there!
That’s all for now, kiddies. I have to get back to work on the next books. If you would like to follow the progress of my work, or even have a giggle at my little rants, follow me on twitter @AJSchumacherart
Welcome to the all new (in appearance anyway) alexschumacherart.com! The content is still the same for the most part, but I felt as though it was time to change the vibe a little. Spruce up the joint, if you will. So come on in and have a look around. Heck, take off your shoes if you’d like. I simply ask that if you move anything to kindly put it back. Be sure to visit the World’s Crummiest Umbrella photo gallery and brand spankin’ new Events page for upcoming appearances and signings.
Speaking of upcoming appearances and signings, I am pleased to announce that I have been invited to visit Old Capitol Books on November 22nd for a live reading of The World’s Crummiest Umbrella, as well as a meet-and-greet and signing following the reading. More information as well as a link to Old Capitol Books can be found on the Events page. Come on out and say hi! I may even scribble a little doodle in your book if you ask really nicely…
Now, if you think that sounds fun, how does a Contest sound? Does it sound awesome? Well, you’re in luck my friends! Starting this week I will be holding a contest for those who have purchased a copy of The World’s Crummiest Umbrella. Two lucky winners will be receiving original hand-drawn artwork produced for the book, just for being a great fan and supporter! Possibly a piece of art like this:
So, how do we enter? That’s an excellent question. Here’s the scoop: Between now and the end of the day on Friday, October 3rd just post a photo of yourself with your copy of the book on Facebook or Twitter (remember to use the #TheWorldsCrummiestUmbrella hashtag) and you’ll be automatically entered to win! You can also send photos to the email listed on the contact page if that’s what you prefer to do. If you plan to purchase your copy in the next two weeks, but may not have it in time to enter the photo contest, you can send me a proof of purchase and I’ll be happy to include you in the contest. Sound fun? Well get to it!