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
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. Butterchipscollection! 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.
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)Experienceand (hopefully) progress on the graphic novel front. Hope you are all doing your best to stay healthy and sane.
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.
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!
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 Instagramaccount, 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…
Marin Comics Fest
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!
Central Coast Pop Expo
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!
Effective Nerd Review of Decades of (in)Experience
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.
Comic Con Review
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!
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!
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).