With a competent administration once again displaying how leadership should work and vaccines being disseminated, I am for the first time in nearly half a decade hopeful for the immediate future. I never thought I would miss book signings and conventions, but times are strange. Speaking of which, I’m doing my best to remain creative in a thoroughly uninspiring era.
THE LATINX COMICS ARTS FESTIVAL
On Friday March 12th I was honored to be a panelist during this year’s Latinx Comics Art Fest! I participated on the Storytelling Across Mediums roundtable, moderated by Dr. Frederick Luis Aldama. Other speakers included my pal Jaime Crespo, Candy Briones, and Carlo A. Flores. Find the conversation in its entirety below.
ADRIAN HAS ISSUES
On March 24th, Adrian King posted our conversation for his tremendous podcast Adrian Has Issues. We realized it was my THIRD appearance on the show and gabbed as friends would about the conclusion of the DECADES OF (in)EXPERIENCE weeklies, the future of MR. BUTTERCHIPS (and other projects), stage diving, and more. Listen to our full exchange on Adrian’s site!
Earlier today I firmed up details with SLG Publishing for the MR. BUTTERCHIPS relaunch. I’m excited to divulge all information soon and hope you’ll join me for this new chapter in the maniacal monkey’s saga, especially if you’ve followed the comic since its debut in 2016!
In the event you missed this on social media, here is the teaser panel I’ve floated around sites like Instagram and Twitter for the past couple of weeks.
That’s correct, folks! I’ve started my own YouTube channel to compile interviews, tutorials, Q & A’s, and all other manner of video content. Visit my channel for regular uploads, and feel free to submit a question you’d like to see me address in an upcoming clip.
Below is one of my first tutorials, INTRO TO INKING TOOLS. I hope you enjoy. Thanks and don’t forget to subscribe!
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
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.
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).
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!
Guest Post on Effective Nerd
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 at Effective Nerd.
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.
Multiversity Comics Review
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.
Canned Air Podcast Appearance
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 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!