Friday, January 28, 2011

New Flyer

Great new flyer by Tom Williams

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Colin Upton

We would like to welcome Colin Upton to SPACE. The Canadian cartoonist and artist was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba and grew up in Vancouver, British Columbia. He has been producing minicomics since the 80’s. In the 90’s he produced his Buddha on the Road Series for Aeon and Colin Upton’s Big Thing series for Starhead Comix and Fantagraphics books. He continues to produce comics in anthology collections such as "Exploded View" from Cloudscape Comics & Stories, and produces his own minicomics including Diabetes Funnies, a series about his recent bout with the disease. He is also co-host of the Inkstuds radio program, broadcast on CITR-FM at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. The show is available as a podcast at
Check out Colin’s website at
Colin Upton interview

Monday, January 10, 2011

John Porcellino Returns to SPACE!

John Porcellino returns to SPACE after a nine year absence. Here’s a short interview.

John at SPACE 2000

Tell us a little about yourself.
I was born in Chicago in 1968, and started making little drawings, stories and comics at an early age. As a teenager in the 1980's I began making zines, and soon discovered the world of small-press publishing, which felt like home. I've been involved in it ever since. I started King-Cat Comics in May of 1989, and soon realized that was the way I wanted to express myself as an artist, so I've kept at it, and it's evolved with me over the last 20 or so years.

Tell us about your comics.
My comics have almost always been about what I call "real life"; that is, I'm interested in the feeling of being alive, whatever it happens to be at any given moment. So, in addition to the extreme feelings of high and low we all have, I've become very inspired by the experiences we have that are so mundane or everyday that we take them for granted, or don't even notice they're happening. These kinds of experiences make up the bulk of our lives, and in them, like all experiences, there's a kind of beautiful mystery to me. Exploring that mystery has been my driving force as an artist and a person.

Who are your main artistic influences--both in and out of comics?
My two biggest influences as a cartoonist starting out were Lynda Barry and Matt Groening, who I discovered when I was in High School. They were the first ones that showed me that comics could be about anything, and could be very personal. Other big influences on me in terms of comics would be Jenny Zervakis who does a sporadic and beautiful zine called Strange Growths, and Jeff Zenick. Oustide comics I've been influenced a lot by the Beat writers (especially Kerouac), Haiku and Chinese poetry, punk rock, Henri Matisse, Andy Warhol, H.D. Thoreau, Kosho Uchiyama Roshi, and Federico Fellini. I can get inspiration from almost any source.

Is the “Map of My Heart” Tour Complete or are you still going?
I think it's pretty much complete. I'm tired, and I'm broke. I'll be doing some events this spring, but they won't be as extensive. Over the course of a year I managed to visit 42 states and three provinces. Now I'm looking forward to taking some time to draw again!
What’s the mileage so far?
I'm not 100% sure offhand, but I think it's about 20,000 miles.

I noticed a lot of photos of buildings and landscapes on your blog. Is photography a passion or photo reference for future king-cat issues?
Oh, I just bought a digital camera so I could take pictures when I was on tour. I do like it, though I wouldn't call myself a photographer, they're just snapshots. I do occasionally take photos for reference, but not too often. Mostly for cover drawings.

We were lucky enough to have you come through Columbus on your “Map of my Heart Tour” will there be some new work at SPACE? King Cat #72?
I'm really hoping to have a new issue of King-Cat of some sort at SPACE, if I can afford to print it!

All of your work I’ve read is autobiographical. Have you ever done any fiction?
The early King-Cat stories were a mix of fiction and autobio, but even then the fiction was based on something that happened to me, or one of my friends, or something I read about in the paper etc. I've always been amazed at people who can dream up some intricate story with complex characters... that's never been something I had much skill at. I wouldn't even know how to go about it. I think what I do as a cartoonist is more filtering my own experience into a form that I can share with people.

You’ve been doing autobiographical work since the ‘80’s. How have you seen things change with respect to acceptance (enthusiasm) for that type of work?
Well, it's kind of strange how it's become its own little genre in comics! So obviously it's more accepted nowadays than ever. I think there are still some people who think autobio is a crutch, or it's boring, or solipsistic. Of course it can be those things if it's done poorly, just like any other subject, but when it's done well it's my favorite kind of work to read.

In what way(s) has your life changed since having King Cat Comix collected & published through Drawn & Quarterly (King Cat Classix and Map of My Heart)?
Well, it hasn't really changed that much! I suppose there are some people who were willing to take a chance on my work because it was published by D+Q, or had heard of it, but didn't have easy access to it until the book collections came out, so that's great... But I still look at what I do with comics the same, and my goals and aspirations are all still the same. The focus of what I do hasn't really changed.

What are you bringing new from Spit & a Half?
I'll have all or most of the stuff from the catalog at SPACE... recent arrivals include the new Crickets #3, self-published by Sammy Harkham... some new Noah Van Sciver stuff, probably some new McNinch, knowing how prolific she is!


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Steve Willis at SPACE!

We are proud to announce that Minicomics legend, Steve Willis, will be appearing at SPACE 2011! Steve's appearence is courtesy of Bruce Chrislip.

Steve Willis at SPACE!

Among the most prominent of minicomix creators, Steve Willis is a great cartoonist by any measure. In 1974, he enrolled at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington and was soon drawing cartoons for the school newspaper, The Cooper Point Journal, under the encouragement of his friend (and newspaper editor) Matt Groening. Evergreen was a hotbed of alternative cartooning talent at that time. Steve soon met Lynda Barry, Charles Burns and Craig Bartlett (animator on “Pee Wee’s Playhouse” among other credits).

After graduating from Evergreen and a stint at the University of Washington (where he gained a degree in Library Sciences while drawing more cartoons for the school newspaper), Steve’s production of small press comix picked up. His Morty the Dog character took the minicomix world by storm in the 1980s. Soon other small press comix publishers were vying to chronicle the dog’s exploits.

Morty, that misanthropic anthropomorphic mutt, also started appearing in comic books published by companies like Eclipse, MU Press, Onward and Starhead.
The late Jay Kennedy was even trying to get the Dog into Esquire magazine. Did fame go to the Morty’s head? Not really. This career cynic preferred to spend his time hounding his erstwhile friend and drinking partner Arnie Wormwood down at their favorite seedy dive, The Glass Crutch.

Morty’s adventures originally appeared in Steve’s line of self-published photocopy comix in titles like Cranium Frenzy, Delayed Stress Syndrome Funnies, Dogtown Zoo, Fun in Acapulco, LimbOlympia and Retreads (reprint volumes collecting various small press appearances). These titles are all highly prized collector’s items today due to initial print runs in the 25-40 copy range.

The appeal of Steve Willis’ comix lies as much in the clever writing as in the artwork. His approach to wordplay is unique. Here’s the opening captions to “The Rise and Fall of Morty the Dog”:

In my first waking borning, flaking from the darkness to morning

…I was aware of the eyes,watching …

…And as the light blighted, more eyes appeared, peering …

…This was my introduction to the world.

Morty went in for a bit of culture in 1984-1985 when Steve published a five volume retelling of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet in comix form featuring Morty the Dog. It was called The Tragedy of Morty, Prince of Denmarke and also featured Fred Flinstone, Barney Rubble and Steve Lafler’s character Benb as co-stars. A character named Steve Willis also appeared in the comix (as Horatio).

Early in 1994, Steve took over publication of the City Limits Gazette. Along with ever-popular features like the “Bil Keane Watch” (where Steve and his readers delved into the deeper meanings of The Family Circus), there were also comix inserts with strange titles like How Two Ex-Presidents Went Up My Nose.

Over the years, Steve has put his library degree to good use. Not only has he made it his career, but he also cataloged and expanded upon the underground comix/minicomix collection at Washington State University. In his hometown of McCleary, Washington, Steve has been active with the McCleary Historical Society and cataloged the contents of the McCleary Museum.

Ramping up his civic involvement, Steve helped Morty the Dog run for mayor of McCleary in 1999 as a write-in candidate. A campaign pamphlet in minicomix form trumpeted Morty’s many qualifications: “Leadership! Vision! House-trained!”

In 2001, Willis wrote and illustrated a series of booklets called Bezango, WA 985 chronicling the inhabitants of a quirky small town in the Pacific Northwest. Last year, Steve moved his comix online in a big way. Many of Morty’s adventures (and other Willis comix) can now be found at One look at the blogspot will give people an idea of just how prolific a cartoonist Willis is. There is also an interview with Steve, features on other minicomix artists, crazy cell phone photos and new things to look at every day.

Steve’s appearance at SPACE marks his first ever appearance at a comic book convention (of any type) outside of the Pacific Northwest. It will be a great weekend and I’m delighted to be a part of it.

-Bruce Chrislip

Steve form a recent interview.