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…
Bienvenue and welcome to old friends, new fan(s), and the usual suspects with a proclivity for skulking around my corner of the interwebs! The fading echoes of the illegal fireworks set ablaze by feckless cowards with no consideration for pets or those suffering from PTSD can only signal the tumble into the latter half of the year. I have long since marveled at just how rapidly the days tend to peel from existence as I get on in years, and 2017 is proving to be no exception. The ulcer I have percolating is a clear indication that this year has thus far teemed with unrelenting occurrences and events, both personal and professional. My negligence of this blog is an attestation to the unyielding deadlines and accumulating projects.
I’m certainly not bitching.
A dearth of free time due to creative occupancy is a good quandary in which to be embroiled. It simply leaves little time for interacting with family and fans – including the updating of this site and blog. As the next few weeks will be fucking merciless for a number of reasons (including my trip to this year’s San Diego Comic Con!), I am making a concerted effort today to give you all the inside poop on exactly what’s been going down lately in a somewhat organized fashion.
Thanks to the ongoing efforts of one magnanimous Christopher Ball, several more podcast entities have graciously invited me on their broadcasts to be interviewed and given an opportunity to pimp my wares.
May 30th – The Poprika Podcast, hosted by Darryl Mansel, released his interview with me on May 30th. We covered works old and new as well as the impetus and inspiration behind my trek into the solitary and treacherous world of graphic novels. Listen to the episode at https://soundcloud.com/poprika-podcast/poprika-interview-alex-schumacher.
June 16th – Marc Storrs, Chris Carnicelli and Rob Morphy are a butcher, a blogger and sewer dredger by trade, but collectively they are the rollicking and beer-soaked podcast known as Earth’s Mightiest Bastards. These fine gents had wisecracks and compliments a plenty during our hour plus conversation and I hope to have the chance to join them for another pithy exchange soon. Listen to their interview with me by visiting http://embpod.com/earths-mightiest-bastards-podcast-277-alex-schumacher-interview/.
June 28th – The Storycraft Podcast‘s Kraig Rasmussen and I connected almost immediately. We share a sardonic, and sometimes biting, sense of humor as well as a cornucopia of perfervid opinions towards our own comic book brethren. Our rapport led to a nearly two hour conversation which Kraig found worthy of releasing as a two-part installment. As Mr. Rasmussen himself astutely contends, this interview was a “hilarious riff fest surrounding and binding a deeply insightful look at maintaining your career and self over the long haul”. Buckle up for turbulence and take in part one at http://thestorycraftpodcast.libsyn.com/alex-schumacher-part-1.
While it has been some time since deviating from my regular deadlines on DECADES OF (in)EXPERIENCE, MR. BUTTERCHIPS, and BREAD CRUMBS FROM THE VOID, I did manage to have a new short graphic narrative entitled DAY OF ATONEMENT included in the Spring/Summer issue of Round Up ‘Zine. My fictional intersection between righteousness and depravity was based on an unpublished flash fiction piece, which I honestly believe worked far better in a comics format. Judge for yourself by downloading the “Flasher” issue of Round Up ‘Zine at https://www.roundupzine.com/magazine.
On the evening of Friday June 2nd, the XL Publichouse craft beer taproom hosted a sketch-a-thon benefit with all proceeds donated to the local chapter of Planned Parenthood. I was joined by my good pal Bridgett Spicer between 7 and 10as we imbibed heartily and cranked out enough doodles to raise nearly $500.00. The remainder of the night may have become increasingly nebulous, but the portions I distinctly recall were nothing short of transcendent. Thank you to everyone who attended and purchased an illustration to assist in raising money for this meritorious cause. In case you were unable to attend, here are a few scattered moments/sketches captured for posterity.
SAN DIEGO COMIC CON
For the first time in four years I will be trekking to the untamed wilds of that pop culture convergence in the city of Diego, Comic Con International. The central preoccupation of this tour of duty will be to shop my latest graphic novel with my esteemed agent. Some meetings have been set, some editors may be ambushed, but one way or another we will be ensuring this project finds an audience with the gatekeepers of the industry. Here’s a small tease of the new book.
Several inquiring minds have also posed the question as to whether or not I have my own booth this year. The short answer is no. I will, however, be signing and/or appearing at both the Cartoon Art Museum table for their annual Sketch-A-Thon fundraiser and the Arcana Studios booth signing copies of my 2013 graphic novel, The Unemployment Adventures of Aqualung. Below is my full list of scheduled appearances:
Cartoon Art Museum (Sketch-A-Thon), Booth 1930 w/Michael Falk: 3 – 4 pm
Arcana Studios Booth (Unemployment Adventures of Aqualung signing), Booth 2515: 5:30 – 6:30 pm
Cartoon Art Museum (Sketch-A-Thon), Booth 1930 w/Betsy Streeter: 4 – 5 pm
Arcana Studios Booth (Unemployment Adventures of Aqualung signing), Booth 2515: 5:30 – 6:30 pm
Hope to see some of you there and to return with some ambiguously positive news! Next up look for announcements regarding The Alternative Press Expo where I will be exhibiting with my friend and writer extraordinaire, Ray Zepeda, Jr of Tragic Hero Comics. Until then, be excellent to each other.
Hurtling towards summer, and an uncertain future where freedom of speech may no longer be a right, I have finally found a wayward and far too infrequent moment to take a breath and reflect. The repugnant actions of the current incompetent and volatile administration aside, 2017 has been quite the whirlwind of a year thus far. Trials and tribulations, setbacks and gargantuan leaps forward have occurred. With my hazy brain sputtering in neutral at the moment I will attempt to catch you all up on my recent goings-on. Here’s months of activities rolled into one bite-sized post. Open wide!
February saw the inaugural Central Coast Pop Expo descend upon Steinbeck Country with rabid fans, cosplayers, and faux-celebrities in tow. I was asked to participate on the ‘Hometown Heroes’ panel alongside my pals writer Ray Zepeda, Jr and illustrator Ace Continuado. The discussion included tangents on our individual descents to the dark side of comics, the finer points of exposing yourself (networking and exhibiting), and a comparison of self-publishing vs. traditional publishing. Below is a picture of Ray and myself regaling those in attendance with our wit. I’m sure their yawns were merely signifiers of enthusiasm.
Another highlight during the second month of the year was having my collaboration with underground writer John Bennett published by Red Fez Entertainment. John is known for his ‘shards’, flash fiction pieces recounting mini episodes of his existence in his nuanced yet bold signature strokes. The piece I was lucky enough to illustrate was entitled The Talent Scout about his encounter with a less-than-reputable member of the sleazy subgenus of humans. Read the story in its entirety here.
Though I have not attended since 2013 while promoting my first graphic novel, the San Diego Comic Con saw it fit to award me with a verified ‘pro’ status in March. Come July I will be winging my way down the left coast to attend the largest pop culture event of its kind with hundreds of thousands of my closest nerd brethren. I am mainly attending with my agent to wheel and deal and as such will not have a table. Fret not, fair followers, for if you are attending the show and would like to see me I will be taking part in the annual sketch-a-thon for the Cartoon Art Museum. Schedules and details to come…
In these troubled fucked-up times my country is currently facing I am compelled to resist and fight back against America’s would-be oppressors in any capacity in which I am able. On March 5th I was honored to be one of three local cartoonists who were asked to take part in a fundraiser for the Monterey chapter of the ACLU. The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) is a nonpartisan, non-profit organization whose stated mission is “to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.” The premise was simple enough: For donations of at least $30 Bridgett Spicer, Jacob Rafael Estrada, or I would render a personalized illustration. I am pleased to report the event raised over $300. Another sketch fundraiser is being planned for June, if anyone reading is interested. Here are a couple of the sketches I produced.
In late March I was contacted via social media by a gentleman who is apparently a fan of my work and looking to turn others on to the splendor that is my shitty doodles. Chris (yes, the lovely fellow has a name) promptly put me in touch with Adrian King of the Adrian Has Issues podcast and within a week and a half I was a guest on the show. Adrian and I hit it off almost immediately and launched into an hour long discussion which bobbed and weaved between my current work, the obsolescence of answering machines, our prepubescent penchant for using action figures as storytelling devices, and many more inane such topics. To make sense of it all, or very well find yourself even more confused, listen to the full interview here.
Last, and possibly least, my foul-mouthed furball MR. BUTTERCHIPS has turned 1! Yes, it’s been an entire year since the satirical simian began assaulting the pages of Drunk Monkeys magazine on a monthly basis. If you wish to throw a little support behind the marvelous aforementioned publication—not to mention this starving artist—hop on over to the MR. BUTTERCHIPS online store and snag yourself some goods. Here’s to year 2!
Alright, this has been fun but it’s time I quit procrastinating and return to my assiduity. DECADES OF (in)EXPERIENCE and my current graphic novel sure as shit won’t write and draw themselves. Until next time, my internet cronies.
I’ve always held some contempt for the moniker “alternative comics”. Mind you, some of the comics which fall under that specific distinction are among my favorites. Titles such as Peepshow, Milk & Cheese, or American Splendor turned me on to an entire new world of comics and introduced me to the sprawling world of the underground from the 60’s and 70’s. I simply detest the idea that these comics, writers, and cartoonists are considered an afterthought to the mainstream which continually perpetuates the bullshit idea that comics are just for kids and only about superheroes. As though showing two people fucking is any worse than the hypersexualization of the majority of female (and sometimes male) characters who adorn the pages of books published by the “big 2”. Some of us are just more honest about that shit.
Alright, end of rant. As I step down from my soapbox, here are some projects of mine which won’t be picked up by Disney (oh, excuse me… Marvel) or Time Warner (sorry again… I mean DC) any time soon.
Debuting Monday from the cool cats over at Drunk Monkeys is my new monthly series Mr. Butterchips.
The strip will follow the daily exploits of the titular (and cuddly) curmudgeon as he rails against the madness and mundanity of everyday life. He’s a weathered and jaded organ grinder monkey in the pursuit of love and happiness amidst a cultural landscape divided by the disappearing middle class, increasing violence, decreasing education, and the condemnatory pricks who look unfavorably on his love for human women. It sounds heavy, but trust me when I say it will be funny as hell too. You may even be surprised at how much you relate to the little asshole. Drunk Monkeys invites you to get to know this fella starting next week (and possibly drop a few shekels on some killer merchandise to support us in our efforts).
Decades of (in)Experience, published by Antix Press recently passed the six month mark! While I am aware this may sound like a relatively short period of time, when producing a weekly feature in addition to a full-time day job, several other projects, and a propensity for procrastination, this is quite the feat. Luke Carlin has been an interesting, if not cathartic, character to explore and my editor Francis Lombard has been nothing short of a wet dream. From the word “go” he has not only allowed my sordid tales to sully his site, but has been enthusiastic and genuinely excited to assist in spreading Decades of (in)Experience like the dark-humored STD that it is. I have just now begun to dig into the meat of who Luke Carlin is as a person, and there is much more to come including the possibility of a print collection. So be sure to catch new entries in the Decades of (in)Experience series every Friday on the Antix Press website and catch up on everything you’ve missed on the archive site here.
Last week also saw the commencement of The Fucking Funnies for Five 2 One Magazine, beginning with a satirical ode to the douche-baggery of Donald Trump. With this comic, Donald Drumpf in: The Big D, we have thrown down the gauntlet and hope to enlist many other cartoonists and writers for this new digital underground movement. As the newly appointed Art Director handling the curation of The Fucking Funnies, I am seeking contributions of gag panels, comic strips, one to two page comics, and art which will be included in print editions and online. Specifically we are looking for the odd, the dark, and/or the absurd. Comics and cartoons that have profanity, violence, sexuality, etc. are welcome though we are not interested in shock value just for the sake of being shocking or offensive. That said, bring us your brazen works full of satire, sarcasm, surrealism, and searing commentary. If you think you’ve got what we’re looking for submit here: http://five2onemagazine.com/submission-guideline/.
May 16th will see the publication of another comic of mine in The Fucking Funnies series, Downtown Weed in Five 2 One Magazine’s 12th issue along with another cartoonist or two who has already joined in the uprising. Don’t be shy kids. I’ve shown you mine, now it’s time to show me yours. Be sure to read Donald Drumpf in: The Big D!
My writing pal, and ballsy author, Craig Hart was also kind enough to recently invite me on his podcast for a whiskey-fueled interview. We talked raw for a good half hour about the writing process, some of my projects, and our collective loathe of the literati. Have a listen by clicking here!
Thanks for hanging in there with me. You can now return to your weekend drinking!