Mike Dawson Comics

March 21, 2013

Upcoming: Asbury Park Comic Con and MoCCA Festival

Filed under: appearances,conventions — Mike @ 10:32 am

I am rarely seen in the wild these days, but I have two, count them, TWO upcoming public appearances.

First up, on Saturday March 30 it’s the Asbury Park Comic Con, held at Convention Hall in Asbury Park, NJ. This is about 10 miles away from my house, so to say that I am excited that they’ve been building up this show so close to home is an understatement. I believe this is the third or fourth time they’ve held the convention, and it looks like they’ve got some pretty great guests lined up, like Al Jaffee, Dean Haspiel, Evan Dorkin, and me! I’ll have all of my books, possibly some original art, as well as some choice selections from the Secret Acres catalogue. If you are in New Jersey, please come out to this show, and help it thrive.

Then, the following weekend, it’s the eleventh annual MoCCA Arts Festival. It’s being held on Saturday and Sunday, but I will only be there Saturday, I think. I’m part of the programming – I’m going to be participating in a Table Talk during the day.

Comics Process: Inspiration to Inking: Join Brendan Leach, Mike Dawson and Josh Bayer as they discuss the process behind writing a comic beginning with research and inspiration, to inking and finishing a comic.

Come on out, won’t you?

May 2, 2012

Recent Drawing Wednesday – 5/2/12

Filed under: appearances,comics,conventions,Freddie & Me,Troop 142 — Mike @ 11:20 am

This coming weekend, May 5 & 6, I’ll be present at the Toronto Comics Art Festival, camped out at the Secret Acres table. I’ll obviously be selling Troop 142, but will be bringing copies of Freddie & Me, Ace-Face, and Gabagool! as well. I think I’m going to be offering a sweet deal of a heavily discounted copy of Ace-Face and free copies of the Gabagool! Hedonism saga with every purchase of Troop 142. I am also going to see if I can rummage up a little original artwork to put on sale too.

I will be appearing on a panel on Sunday afternoon, from 2:00 – 3:15PM, called Making Comics: The Process along with Adam Warren, Cecil Castellucci, and Kagan McLeod. It’ll take place in The Pilot Tavern location. I’m looking forward to it.

I participated in a panel this past weekend at the MoCCA festival, called Memoir, along with Jennifer Hayden, Derf, and Peter Kuper. The structure of the talk had us giving lengthy introductions and offering some of our thoughts about memoir/autobiography. There were definitely a lot of provocative points made, and I wish we’d had an extra half-hour to get a lengthier conversation going between the four of us.

A point that was raised more than once was that there are too many boring autobiographical comics about boring lives. I take a little bit of exception to this idea, though I think I understand where the sense of it comes from.

I don’t think there are too many autobio comics at all. I love reading autobio comics! I wish more cartoonists did them.

Sure, there are poorly made amateurish autobio books. But, I suggest to you, there are no more of them than there are, say, poorly made amateurish space-adventure epics, or poorly made amateurish Love & Rockets rip-offs. There’s poorly made comics of all stripes and genres.

In my opinion, the sense that there’s too much of this sort of work, glutting the market, comes from the reader’s raised expectations when presented with memoir. The immediate question the reader asks is Why is your life worth reading about? Why are your experiences worth my time?

And it’s a fair question.

But, I don’t think it’s the same thing as there being this overwhelming sea of sad-boy autobio, threatening to drown us in it’s navel-gazing. I just don’t think that exists. No more than any other kind of comic.

February 17, 2012

blah blah blah

Filed under: appearances,conventions — Mike @ 7:17 pm

It’s frustrating, because while I still draw all the time, I never have anything to post up here on the site, except for the occasional teaser image (see above). But, rest assured, things are moving forward, I’m working hard on something new, and am feeling really great about how it’s going.

Speaking of feeling good, I realized I never put together a big post-Angouleme festival report. I had big plans to put one up, but the extra week in Paris followed by week of lousy sickness kept me from assembling it, and now so much time has gone by, it feels a little less immediate. Not to mention, I already talked about the trip on The Ink Panthers Show!

I bet you can basically guess what the show was like, though: pretty amazing. Everyone knows what the deal is with Angouleme: a city of comics, where the mannequins in the department stores are propped up holding graphic novels and a giant sculpture of Herge’s head sits prominently in one of the town squares. Like a veritable real-life Hicksville. (Well, kinda. In Hicksville all the townsfolks love comics too – I dunno if that’s the case at Angouleme, since I can’t speak the language. Perhaps all the people working in the stores and restaurants are muttering “nerds…” under their breath at all the people who have descended upon their normally sleepy town, like Point-Pleasant locals dealing with the “Bennies” in the Summertime.)

So, I’m basically going to do an image dump. Here’s a bunch of photos I took, starting with the Art Spiegelman career retrospective:

The Garbage Pail Kids/Wacky Packages wall

Maus pages

A European festival goer absorbs this comic about Osama Bin Laden and George W. Bush terrorizing Spiegelman equally (yeah… I gotta admit, I couldn’t quite decide how I felt about this one…)

This wasn’t in the Art Spiegelman exhibit. It’s a Pascal Girard page I saw up in the Maison des Auteurs show.

This department store mannequin is into comics.

Jimi Merman?

Map of Angouleme

A placemat at a restaurant.

Teenage vandals.

This guy sitting in front of the nudie pictures gives me a stare down.

From what I could tell, this guy was selling drawings of himself.

This guys looks like he’s yelling “Sacre Bleu!!”


Is this series going to get translated into English?

November 30, 2011

This weekend: BCGF

Filed under: appearances,conventions,Secret Acres — Tags: — Mike @ 11:34 am

I’m very much looking forward to being at the Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival in Williamsburg, this weekend. This is the third year of the show, and the first time I’ve been sitting behind a table, which is nice. I’ll be at the Secret Acres Corral, between The Koyama Press Pavillion and the Drawn & Quarterly MegaDome. Lots of other Secret Acres artists are going to be at the show too, including, I believe, John Brodowski, who is debuting a new book. I loved his first graphic novel, Curio Cabinet, so am really interested to see his new work.

November 16, 2011

Friday: Troop 142 Book Club @ Midtown Comics

Filed under: appearances,Troop 142 — Mike @ 12:38 am

This Friday, November 18, 6:30-7:30 PM
Midtown Comics Downtown
64 Fulton St
New York, New York

More information here.

Hope to see you!

November 8, 2011

MIX PIX & Con Report

I’m back from the Minneapolis Indie Xpo, and in keeping with tradition here at Mike Dawson Comics, I have almost no pictures to show for it. I’m going to post what little I’ve got, and assume that some of the other cartoonists who were there this weekend will pick up some of the slack.

I’m thinking about one event in particular, where a group of us all went over to Zak Sally’s studio to see his printing press. That woulda’ been a good time to take out my iPhone. But, I never got it together. I saw other folks snapping photos though, so I’m sure the event will get covered elsewhere.

Here’s what I have!

This is a photo taken from my point of view at the airport gate in New York with a box of Troop 142′s sitting in my lap. See, another thing I never get on the ball about is shipping my books to the show ahead of time. So, my solution is to always stuff a large suitcase with as many books as possible, and just bring the bare minimum’s worth of other items, such as say, clothes and toothpaste and that sort of stuff.

With MIX and also APE, my suitcase weighed about 80lbs. Different airlines have different rules about baggage. I flew Virgin America out to APE, and the nice lady at the check-in desk gave me a break on my heavy bags, and just charged me a $25 additional bag fee. I flew Delta to MIX this past weekend, and their approach to luggage is to charge you 25 bucks just to bring anything at all. When I heaved my suitcase onto the scales at Delta, they basically said I could pay $100 in a heavy-baggage fine, or lighten up the suitcase. Thus, the photo of me sitting with a box of Troop 142 graphic novels on my lap, treating it as a carry-on item.

I guess truthfully, once I was on the plane it wasn’t so bad, because I just shoved it in the overhead, but it was definitely a pain as I waited in the loooooong security line…

The above three pictures were taken at the Friday night show pre-party. In picture one, that’s Jim Rugg and Dustin Harbin, in picture two we have AdHouse head-honcho Chris Pitzer and his lovely wife, and in picture three we see Grimalkin Press publisher, Jordan Shiveley, and rival comics podcaster and cartoonist, Rina Ayuyang. Well composed photos, one and all.

I never really sell full pages of original art, but this year I’ve been bringing a little Apple-Jacks binder filled with small images and scraps from comics. You can see, there are panels from my Ace-Face book there, as well as odds and ends from Troop 142. I think a couple of those visible there are panels that did not actually make it into the book.

Anyway, it’s nice to have a little something for people to pick through, and a way for me to make a few extra dollars, but my word of advice is to not use an Apple-Jacks binder to display such stuff, but rather to invest in an actual real-binder thing with plastic sleeves that can be turned and easily flipped through. It’s just tough for people to pick through the pile when it’s all stacked all higgedly-piggedly like I have it here. It might be a passive-aggressive I-don’t-really-want-to-sell-original-art thing on my part, because not selling much of it is surely the outcome!

Julia Wertz gave me an elephant cookie! That is some heavily applied frosting right there…

View from my Table 1: That’s Top Shelf’s own Brett Warnock talking with cartoonist and upstart publisher, Tom Kaczynski.

View from my Table 2: Tom is giving Kevin Huizenga the hard sell.

Tom K. is a Minneapolis native, and generously allowed me, Kevin, and fellow Secret Acres artist Eamon Espey (not pictured) to crash at his place. There were a number of other groups of cartooning friends also staying nearby, so the evenings were these great gatherings of funny, interesting people. I think one of my favorite things about MIX being a smaller show, was that it was easy to talk to all the people you wanted to talk to, and actually feel like you had a good amount of time together, as opposed to a show like SPX or MoCCA, where it feels like you barely spend four or five minutes in conversation with people you really enjoy talking to, and even then realize after the fact that there were a ton of people you didn’t even say “hello” to at all. MIX was a much better pace, socially. I mean, that’s from my point of view. Maybe all those other cartoonists are going to write con-reports that say stuff like “one downside to MIX being so small is that it was impossible to get away from notorious comics-chatterbox, Mike Dawson”. We’ll see.

I ate some of the cookie! Yes, that sure is some generously applied frosting, indeed.

This food truck outside had the most delicious vegetarian curry, which I ate for lunch both days. It was pretty much the perfect savory food to eat after consuming ten pounds of sugary elephant cookie frosting…

And finally, here’s a photo of the live TCJ Talkies podcast I recorded on Sunday morning. It was a spotlight on cartoonists Noah Van Sciver and MariNaomi. I think it went well. I listened back to the audio recording, and I think a combination of my nerves and the chilliness of the Soap Factory at 10AM (note the woolly Jets cap atop my head) made me a little manic, so we moved through an hour’s worth of questions at a clip which kept the panel under 45 minutes, but I think that was alright. There were a lot of laughs, and I think some interesting back and forth between Noah and Mari. I think it went well, and will of course eventually post the audio recording.

So, that’s really all I have. It was a great weekend. I sold a lot of comics, and came away from it amped up to get back to work, which is always the best outcome you can ask for. Here’s hoping MIX comes back in 2012!

October 4, 2011

APE 2011 – con report

Filed under: appearances,conventions — Mike @ 10:39 am

I am back from the big Alternative Press Expo in sunny (yet unexpectedly chilly) San Francisco, and in keeping with tradition, I didn’t take pictures of anything, despite seeing plenty.

A few notes:

I really liked flying Virgin America. The plane felt new and safe, and they have these purple lights and a dimly lit cabin that make you feel like you’re just chilling at a particularly cramped nightclub, rather than hurtling through the air at 600 mph, in defiance of God and nature. I used to be a terrible on planes, but have gotten better in recent years. I tense up during take-off, but have finally learned to relax during the rest of the flight.

My one concern was the fact that also on my flight out there, was the incredibly talented and popular cartoonist, Kate Beaton. I always get a little concerned when flying with other cartoonists, because I worry about how the inevitable Beat headline would be written should our plane go down. With Kate on the plane, it would be no contest: Cartooning Superstar Perishes in Fiery Plane Crash! Aspiring Comics Podcaster also rumored to have been on board. Thank goodness we made it there in one piece.

On Saturday I was one of four guests slated to appear on the Comix Claptrap LIVE panel. I was up first, and participated in some mostly friendly, but pretty-well borderline insulting-to-me banter with the hosts, and then my 10 minutes were up and I was asked to slide down “the couch” while they called up guest number two. Here’s a photo I took of Scott Campbell getting the Claptrap Treatment.

It was a lot like being at a long table at a restaurant, with the feeling that all the good conversation was happening at the other end.

I didn’t really pack enough clothes (I think because I was too preoccupied with packing heavy boxes of books), so on Day One I bought a t-shirt from someone at the con. On Day Two, I wore it to the show. Here I am in it. I am pretty sure some of the aliens on the shirt have testicles visible, which I didn’t notice when I purchased it. I don’t think this will stop me from wearing the shirt again, but it will probably always be known to me as my Alien Balls shirt from now on.

Finally, what did I pick up at the show? I will probably post a photo of my “haul” at a later date – but I can tell you I got some great comics from Adrian Tomine, MariNaomi, Noah Van Sciver, Tessa Brunton, Ethan Rilly, Susie Cagle, Joey Allison Sayers, Levon Jihanian, and a bunch more.

However, my favorite thing that I bought might be this:

People say that APE is a show with more support for Arts & Crafts than other conventions, and I think this is true. A lot of tables have artists selling only prints, or posters, or handmade t-shirts, or toys. Buttons, postcards, paintings, and drawings. I think a show like SPX is a little more exclusively comics-focused, where at APE the lines are a little looser. I don’t really mind this at all, because one of my favorite things to pick up at conventions are strange little hand-made things that I can get for cheap and put up on the wall. I love this little mounted Yeti head. The only thing I have to decide now is if it’s better placed in my daughter’s room, or can this be something for the living room. Decisions, decisions…

Thanks to David King for the sweet animated gif at the top of the post.

September 29, 2011

This weekend: Alternative Press Expo

Filed under: appearances,Secret Acres,The Ink Panthers Show,Troop 142 — Mike @ 9:43 am

Things have been real busy with me since returning from the Small Press Expo earlier this month, as I set off on a whirlwind tour of my ancestral homeland (Scotland) with my family, which had me “off the grid” for quite some time. The pic above was taken on the Isle of Skye. See how healthy and not-chained-to-the-internet my daughter and I look. You can practically smell the crisp air and savory outdoors-ness. It was seriously great.

I didn’t do any drawing or writing or anything while I was gone, but that was OK, as I think I needed to just recharge my batteries a bit anyhow. I am not sure if they’re totally back at full power yet – I still haven’t had a chance to sit down at the drawing table since my return – so we’ll see. I have a pretty good idea of what I want to do next (I think) and I’m starting to feel amped once again.

But enough chit-chat, on with the announcements: This weekend I will be at the Alternative Press Expo in San Francisco. I’ll be representing Secret Acres, and will have all their fine books on hand, as well as copies of Troop 142 and old Heroclix figurines, of course. Here’s what the floor plan looks like:

On Saturday I’ll be appearing on this panel:

2:00 The Comix Claptrap . . . LIVE! – Co-hosts Rina Ayuyang and Thien Pham record an episode of their enlightening, riotous, and controversial podcast, The Comix Claptrap LIVE at APE! For four seasons, Rina and Thien have interviewed comics artists in the indie comics scene about their work, creative processes, and experiences in the industry. Each show has included New Comics Wednesday beat reportage from fellow cartoonist Josh Frankel, and new favorite segment, The Comix Cranktrap, where they crank-call a well-known cartoonist listed in their Rolodex. Also featured on the panel: Mike Dawson, Scott Campbell, Levon Jihanian, and Esther Pearl Watson. This panel promises to be total mayhem!

I’m looking forward to this. As everyone knows, I am a generally nice fellow, considered quite genial by many. However, for some reason this upstart podcast called The Comix Claptrap has historically been (what some might consider) unfriendly towards me and my own podcasts. In their most recent episode they call the incredibly talented Laura Park to task for the offense of appearing on The Ink Panthers instead of their show, as if TIPS wasn’t up-to-snuff enough for her to come on. Not nice guys, not nice at all…

So, perhaps some of that will come up, but hopefully we’ll talk about Troop 142 as well.

Anyway, hope to see some of you there!

September 8, 2011

Troop 142 News & Reviews Roundup

Filed under: appearances,press,Secret Acres,Troop 142 — Mike @ 9:57 am

The release party is over, which means Troop 142 is essentially out now. I believe amazon orders will start shipping now, and hopefully the book will start making it’s way into finer comic stores within the next few weeks. Be on the lookout!

A couple of reviews of the book have started trickling out onto the internet. Here’s one by Greg McElhatton, and here’s one posted at Paste Magazine.

This weekend, September 10th and 11th, I will be appearing at the Small Press Expo in Bethesda (Rockville?), Maryland. I’ll be curled up at the Secret Acres booth pretty much the whole time, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find me. There’ll be plenty of books.

I am also participating in two panels over the weekend:

On Saturday, at 4:30PM, in the Brookside Conference room, I’ll be moderating Alex Robinson: Ten Years of Box Office Poison

Over the last several years, Alex Robinson has produced Tricked, A Kidnapped Santa Claus, and Too Cool to Be Forgotten, among other books, but his first major work was the 600 page graphic novel Box Office Poison, originally serialized in comic book format and collected in 2001. To celebrate the tenth anniversary of his debut book, Robinson will discuss his career with his Ink Panthers podcast co-host, cartoonist Mike Dawson.

On Sunday, at 1:30PM, in the same room, I’ll be appearing as one of the panelists in this discussion: Navigating the Contemporary Publishing Landscape

In the early 2000s, corporate publishers nearly raced to acquire graphic novels. Now, as the mainstream publishing industry faces severe contractions and as online media assumes many traditional functions of publishing, cartoonists face a rapidly changing publishing landscape, one that includes a resurgent small press. Johanna Draper Carlson will speak with Domitille Collardey, Mike Dawson, Meredith Gran, Roger Langridge and Julia Wertz about publishing options today.

I plan on bringing my little shiny pink MP3 recorder to both panels, so if you miss them, they may appear online at some point down the line. But don’t miss them! Come on out. I am sure they’ll both be better live and in person.

Speaking of me speaking about myself, please take a half-hour to read through this in-depth interview with me over at The Comics Journal. Thanks to Rob Clough for doing it with me. I don’t think I’ve ever publicly discussed a lot of things in there, especially about the early part of my career. It was really great to be able to talk about all of that, and just incredible to be interviewed by TCJ at all. I think if you read the interview, you’ll understand just how long I’ve been a comics fan, and what a big deal it is for me to get the spotlight treatment here.

I think that’s all. I hope to see you all this weekend!

Troop 142 by Mike Dawson, Secret Acres

September 6, 2011

Troop 142 release party pics

Filed under: appearances,Secret Acres,Troop 142 — Mike @ 3:09 pm

Sincere thanks to everyone who showed up at the Troop 142 book release party last Friday night. The event was a greater success than I’d dared hope it would be. I was very concerned that the Holiday weekend would mean nobody was in town, and a lot of my friends were unable to make it to the party. So, I was shocked by the turnout. We sold all of the books that we had, gave away a bunch of Troop 142 patches, and drank beer and had a nice time. It was a great evening.

Here are the pics that were taken with my phone camera:

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