… Two weeks and counting.
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!
Quarantidings from lockdown!
Here we are, friends. It’s day 5,872 of the end times. Or is that day 5,871? Or 5,873? It’s so easy to lose track of time these days.
Of course, this is simply an attempt at some levity in such a somber period of history. I’m striving to remain (fairly) confident that in one way or another we will emerge from this unmitigated crisis at some point in the future. I’m also confident the world will be a vastly different social and political landscape when we do. Once the dust settles, the wreckage is cleared, and the dead are mourned we will forge a new way of life. A better way of life. At least, that’s what I hope will be the outcome.
In the midst of the apocalypse, my wife and I relocated for her new job. Which, while a wonderful opportunity, could not have come at a worse time. The move is thankfully behind us at this point and we are all safe and sound in the compound. It truly is amazing to see just how much shit you accumulate when you’ve lived in one place for a span of time which can only be described as an “era”.
It feels somewhat frivolous to provide updates on my work during this time, but something I have been thinking about lately has prompted me to do so. Since lockdown began, the arts have been a haven for a vast number of people. Whether it’s creating art, embracing art, or being a patron, the arts have kept many (if not all) of us optimistic for the promise of better days ahead. I’ll admit, this cautious optimism is something that I have adhered to begrudgingly. However, there’s something hauntingly beautiful about the visual and performing arts being a last bastion of hope in these troubling and uncertain times.
In an effort to always look on the bright side of life (in a Monty Python way), here are some current comics goings-on:
LET’S CHAT PODCAST
Chris Revill’s social media manager (Christopher Ball) happened to be a mutual friend. When Chris was contacted by Christopher about the possibility of bringing me on the show as a guest, he realized we’ve actually been following one another’s work from afar for some time. Late in the evening of March 22nd, 2020, Chris and I jumped on Skype to record what became a rollicking hour plus conversation which switched gears several times. Listen to the interview in its entirety at the Let’s Chat podcast Stitcher, or your favorite podcast site.
Next week all final art, guest pinups, and foreword from a special contributor will be turned in to the publisher for final approval on the long-awaited Mr. Butterchips collection! The book will contain the 44 strips previously published by Drunk Monkeys magazine, along with a brand new 22-page standalone story which won’t be available anywhere else. Watch here for the impending official announcement.
If you haven’t already read April’s installment, meant to be a preamble for the standalone story, you can do so in the April issue of Drunk Monkeys.
DEFILING THE LITERATI
As it is all but assured that the remaining conventions of 2020 will be cancelled, I’d like to direct your attention to my Etsy shop in an effort to recoup some of the expenses of my family’s aforementioned relocation… Particularly now that I’m unemployed to boot. If you’re feeling generous and/or have long since considered buying a copy, Defiling the Literati is still for sale with the quarantine bonus of free shipping! I’ll personalize it for you with a quick sketch as well.
If you require a professional opinion to assist in deciding whether this is the right book for you, check out reviews from Effective Nerd, Comic Book Yeti, Bleeding Cool, Graphic Policy, and Knowledgeable Cabbage.
Another unfortunate byproduct of my wife’s and my move was the last minute cancellation of my “Anatomy of a Comics Page” live stream which was to be part of Stimola Live, a series of readings, tutorials, and educational content presented by Stimola Literary Studio. I was just informed that the initiative will be extended as self-isolation continues and I will be rescheduling my presentation for a date in the near future. When a slot is secured I will update the Events page accordingly. Be sure to check out the site for all of the fantastic videos already available, including entries from my pals like Scott SanGiacomo. Thanks for your understanding and I’ll have info for you soon!
***Just for a chuckle, I also recently shared this Easter-themed gag panel from the vaults. This was from 2016 during my stint as resident cartoonist with Five 2 One magazine.
There will be forthcoming news for Decades of (in)Experience and (hopefully) progress on the graphic novel front. Hope you are all doing your best to stay healthy and sane.
Our best is all we can do right now.
Quick and Dirty: 3 Reviews + Big News!
In the event you missed my unveiling over the past few weeks, DEFILING THE LITERATI has been receiving some spectacular attention as of late. The hat trick of reviews began on March 24th with a sleeper write-up from Shean Mohammed of Graphic Policy. Shean says, “Alex Schumacher is a burgeoning artist that every comic fan should know more about.” Quite the compliment! His full review can be read at Graphic Policy
Next arrived Kevin Bramer of Optical Sloth‘s appraisal of the literary magazine comics collection on March 28th. Kevin’s summation asserts, “It’s an eclectic mix that works well together, and I’d recommend it highly for anybody who thinks comics need at least a dash of more real-world events and opinions.” Check out Kevin’s commentary in full at Optical Sloth.
Finally on March 29th, Matt Ligeti the Comic Book Yeti dropped his assessment of the book. In part, Matt proclaimed, “Schumacher’s cartoons are straightforward, unmissable, and powerful because of it.” As this was Matt’s first foray into reviewing political or satirical comics of any kind I truly appreciated him rising to the challenge and providing some much-appreciated commentary! The Comic Book Yeti’s piece can be read here.
Now, for the pièce de résistance. If you follow me on any one of my other social media accounts you have probably already heard the good news, but I’m now represented by Peter Ryan of Stimola Literary Studio! I’m absolutely thrilled to join such a stellar roster of authors and illustrators.
The moral here is don’t ever stop knocking on doors, kids. You never know who might finally answer.
Until next time,
Summer loving and Comic Con Int’l
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.
Free Comic Book Day update
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.