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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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!

March-ing through 2019

Yes, it’s a bad pun. No, I won’t apologize.

I love bad puns. If you follow and enjoy my work you should know this about me now before you get too emotionally invested. Speaking of my work, there has been a tremendous amount of activity lately! I truly appreciate all the attention and wanted to round up all that has occurred in the past month or so (plus make a special announcement).

First off, Fanbase Press was gracious enough to feature an interview with me on their site on February 6th. Decades of (in)Experience was the topic du jour, but I made mention of other projects including Mr. Butterchips and Defiling the Literati as well. If you are interested, or having a particularly lengthy bowel movement, you can read the interview here.

On February 21st I was invited by the Boys & Girls Club of Monterey to corrupt… er, conduct teens through a comics workshop. In the hour that was allotted we discussed the finer points of facial expressions, character design, page layouts, etc., which culminated with each attendee constructing their own one page comic. Thanks to Jonathan Lupisan for inviting me and I look forward to future classes!

Monday the 25th saw the publication of my guest article on the Effective Nerd site. I was solicited to pen a column revolving around the idea of sincerity in one’s work. It was requested that I also briefly touch upon ‘imposter syndrome’ as this all-too-common affliction tends to manifest in a particularly acute manner when your creative endeavors are at their most personal. Below is an excerpt and you can take in the full rant here.

We break our backs for years, sometimes decades, to establish our own corner of the creative universe only to constantly question the validity of any traction gained. So when does it feel as though you’ve actually triumphed? Unfortunately I don’t have the answer to such an enigmatic query. A favorable outcome to one artistic mind may be but a benchmark along the path to another. As long as you’re satisfied with the work you’re producing, continue to refine your craft, and possibly even make some headway in your field then you’re doing everything in your power to hold yourself accountable. Doubts and anxieties will persist, but when you truly love your craft you’ll find a way to forge ahead.

This past Monday Dexter Buschetelli of Multiversity Comics posted a sublimely peppery write-up on Decades of (in)Experience as part of the Webcomics Weekly feature. He classifies it as a “beautiful mess”, further clarifying, “All of this visual competence is the polish on the presentation of the disarranged dishevelment that is Luke’s life.” You can read all about his affinity for the poignancy and dark humor of the webcomic here.

The welcoming gentlemen of the Canned Air Podcast hosted a discussion with me on Friday March 8th. As per their format we discussed movies based on video games during their ‘Retro Roundup’ segment, then shifted into an exchange regarding our latest comic/graphic novel reads, and finally sailed into the interview portion of the conversation where I was encouraged to blather on about my work. Which I did. Ad nauseum. Pour a glass of your favorite adult beverage and tune in to this episode at ‘Video Game Movies with a Side of Butterchips‘.

Last, but certainly not least are 2 (count ’em, 2!) appearance announcements. As previously mentioned a few times on my social media pages, this coming Friday and Saturday I have the absolute honor of exhibiting at this year’s Latino Comics Expo in Modesto. This is the premiere American show to feature Latino Creators. Personally, I’m incredibly excited that 2 of the 3 Los Bros Hernandez (Love & Rockets) will be special guests! Their work has been transformational for me and I hope to have the opportunity to thank them in person. The full list of exhibitors and vendors is online now here.

And now for the pièce de résistance announcement: I will be exhibiting at Amazing Con Las Vegas in June with my pal, and comics colorist extraordinaire, Chris Arrocena! As with the Latino Comics Expo I’ll have copies of Defiling the Literati, The Unemployment Adventures of Aqualung, and The World’s Crummiest Umbrella on hand along with Mr. Butterchips coffee mugs and stickers, as well as limited edition art prints. I also recently learned this will be the inimitable George Pérez’s last comic convention appearance EVER. Mark your calendars now!

HOUSEKEEPING:

  • As always, you can catch new Decades of (in)Experience episodes every Friday on the Antix Press site. The archive of apathy currently houses year 3 in its entirety and previous episodes of year 4 to date. For a limited time seasons 1 and 2 can be read in full at http://decadesofinexperience.thecomicseries.com/.
  • That cantankerous Capuchin, Mr. Butterchips, can be found monthly on the Drunk Monkeys site spewing commentary on the issues of the day. His latest social critique can be found here.

Hope everyone is having a killer weekend and I hope to see some of you at an upcoming appearance!

DECADES OF (in)EXPERIENCE year 4 & Latino Comics Expo!

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.

Teaser image from S4:E1 – ‘Don’t Sacrifice Your Babies!’
Teaser image from S4:E2 – ‘Prolong The Honeymoon’

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!

To 2019 and beyond…

Well, I obviously neglected a few months worth of blogging towards the end of 2018. Going forward I will be using this blog solely for major announcements and appearances. I tend to post far more frequent updates on my Instagram account, so be sure to follow me there. If you’re looking for updates regarding my work with a side of social and political commentary you can follow me on Twitter as well. Anyway, here’s a rundown of the insanity which transpired between August and December of last year. Buckle up, kiddos, it’s quite the missive coming your way…

For the Marin Comics Fest kickoff I had the pleasure of spending an afternoon at the new location for the Cartoon Art Museum with my pals Ron Evans (founder of the festival) and Lex Fajardo. Thanks to everyone who stopped by, including my cousins from the North Bay!

L-R: Lex Fajardo, Ron Evans, me
With my cousins Barbara (L) and Anne (L)!
Lex and I chatting with visitors

October saw the 2nd annual Central Coast Pop Expo converge on the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk’s Cocoanut Grove. I exhibited alongside comics pals Ray Zepeda, Jr., Matt & Brittany Loisel, and the inimitable Ace Continuado. I was invited to participate as part of the planning committee for 2019’s show, so I’m looking forward to assisting in making 2019’s show bigger and better!

‘Hometown Heroes’ panel

On November 29th the Effective Nerd, run by one Aaron Lara, published a glowing review of DECADES OF (in)EXPERIENCE. Below is one of my favorite excerpts from Aaron. The full write-up can be read here!

Schumacher’s writing is poetic. Every line packs a punch.The dry wit paired with brutal introspection leave Luke with a personality of optimistic hopelessness. I know this is oxymoronic, but cognitive dissonance will do that to a person. The potency of these feelings is a testament to Schumacher’s writing style.

Speaking of DECADES OF (in)EXPERIENCE, year 3 wrapped on December 14th, 2018. Antix Press and I could not have come this far without the unwavering love and support of our readers so a resounding thank you to each and every one of you who takes the time to show up for the comic every Friday! Luke Carlin’s misadventures return next Friday, 01/18/2019.

On November 30th, COMICON published my first exposé for their website as a response to the Twitter tirade posted by Erik Larsen (Savage Dragon) early in 2018 in which he asserted that “there are very, very few outstanding talents out there who aren’t already working (in the comics industry).” Thanks to Hannah Means-Shannon for her guidance and allowing me to say my piece. Read the article here!

Along with DECADES OF (in)EXPERIENCE, the final MR. BUTTERCHIPS of 2018 also debuted in December with the release of Drunk Monkey‘s year-end issue on 12/03/2018. Check out the alt-right obliterating installment here.

Last, but certainly not least, to cap off an incredibly busy and productive year I exhibited at the 3rd annual Salinas Valley Comic Con. I also has the distinct privilege of speaking on a panel about querying literary agents with new pal and fantasy/steampunk author Angelique S. Anderson. This show only continues to expand and I can hardly wait to see what the attendance may be in 2019! Thanks to everyone who stopped by the table and picked up some books.

Whew! We made it, folks. Thanks for hanging in there. I have so much in store for 2019 so I do hope you’ll continue to follow my creative exploits and help me spread the word about my work like an artistic venereal disease. Hope everyone enjoyed the holidays and I’ll see you at a show (or at least an internet-capable device) near you soon!

Marin Comics Fest Kickoff and other such summer updates

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!

One week from today join us for the Marin Comics Fest Kick Off with Lex Fajardo and Alex Schumacher at the Cartoon Art Museum! Alexis Fajardo and I will be signing books and discussing our work from 2 to 4 p.m., in the Bil Keane Family Lobby. Admission for this event is free.

For more information and to see a complete schedule of events with talents such as Paige Braddock, Judd Winick, Brian Fies, and Nomi Kane, visit marincomicsfest.org. The Marin Comics Fest is sponsored by the libraries of Marin County and the Cartoon Art Museum.

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).

Secure your tickets now by visiting https://www.ccpopexpo.com/tickets/. See you there!

Alright, kiddies. That about does it for now. I hope to meet some of you out there in the analog world. Others of you, not so much. Hope everyone’s summer has been a blast. Peace!