Mike Dawson Comics

April 5, 2013

This weekend: MoCCA Arts Fest

Filed under: conventions,process — Mike @ 9:03 am

This weekend (well, tomorrow), I’ll be at the MoCCA Arts Festival in New York City. I only have plans to be there on Saturday, though late-breaking enthusiasm for the revamped show has me wondering if I can somehow show my face on Sunday as well.

I will be participating in this year’s programming.

TABLE TALKS – located in the Moving Image Lounge off the Main Floor

11:30 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.

Josh Bayer traveled to the future and drew the above charming (but accurate) illustration of how our talk went.

I’m very much looking forward to this talk. I took some photos of my process as I put a page together, which was a fun thing to do. A sneak-peek image is below.

Hope to see you there!

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?

September 21, 2012

Ending Ink Panthers, and Other Stuff

A recently draw-ed drawing.

I haven’t written a newsy blog post in a while, so here are a few items:

Countdown to Ink Panthers 150: Yes, in this week’s podcast (146), we announce that the show is going to go on a long-term hiatus following episode 150. Saying that I feel torn about this decision is an understatement. Possibly, nothing has been better for me in terms of finding a place for myself in the larger comics community than doing this podcast. I’ve made new friends, gotten to know other cartoonists who I admire, been able to record live shows and panels, and all sorts of other stuff (TCJ Talkies, anyone?), all because of the silly weekly podcast that Alex and I have been relentlessly pumping out into the Internet over the last 3+ years. I fricking love making Ink Panthers. I think of what Alex and I do with the podcast as it’s own artform (well, it’s basically improv), with it’s own rewards. There are plenty of just-OK episodes we put out over the years, but there are also those gems, that were so fun and funny to make. I really treasure a lot of that.

On the other hand, I am very much looking forward to some down-time. I feel like I might have inadvertently annoyed everyone I spoke to at SPX by droning on about how I want to get “offline” for a while. I’m not sure what my problem is, but I moaned about it to enough people over the course of the weekend, that it’s clearly something going on with me. Apologies to basically everyone I spoke to. It’s probably all to do with the imminent arrival of a second baby and my neuroses about not getting the time I need in my life to make comics. The usual.

Either way, there are four more episodes of Ink Panthers to get in the can, and Alex and I have spoken about making them good, rather than just phoning-it-in for four weeks until we get to 150. We’ve been reaching out to some possible guests (both old and new), and are talking about doing one last PRO-T.I.P.S! conversation. Let’s make episodes 147-150 worth listening to, and fun to make. That way, when I get my head back on straight sometime in 2013, maybe The All New, All Different Ink Panthers Show can become something real.

What else? SPX? That happened, and it was great. I liked the Secret Acres recap and the one on Comics Reporter. While not mentioned by name in Tom Spurgeon’s account, I do believe I am referred to towards the end where Tom talks about eavesdropping on some of the younger cartoonists at the bar Saturday night. I think it’s important for Tom to know, I went to make a phonecall, and Julia Wertz was just busting-my-balls in that Julia Wertz way, though it’s also very funny to me that I had quite a conversation with a crew of the Secret Acres guys at breakfast that morning about my decision to eat a bowl of granola and fruit swimming in Activa yogurt for breakfast that morning. Also, I should add, I am flattered to be referred to in any way as a “younger” cartoonist, as I do believe it was cartoonist Joe Lambert who accused me of playing the old-crusty-middle-aged-man card with too much glee in my everyday shtick, while we were standing outside the hotel Sunday night, bidding farewell to the-weekend-that-was SPX 2012. All I am saying is that Joe and his friends are all Millennials, who don’t realize that The Cold War was actually, like, a thing, and I, being born six years earlier, am a Generation X-er, and I really get the world in a way that they never will. That’s all.

August 17, 2012

SPX, Ignatz, and Childhood Memoir

Filed under: conventions,Secret Acres,Troop 142 — Mike @ 8:43 am

A recently drawn panel, from the book I’m working on, which I’m pleased to say is cooking along nicely. My favorite thing is when you really feel like you’re getting into the thick of it with a story. There’s still a long way to go. I have it in my head this will be a book that comes out at the end of next year, but I might be kidding myself. But, best not to think about it too much, and keep on pushing ahead.

In other news:

The alternative comics world is abuzz with talk about next month’s Small Press Expo (SPX), held annually in Bethesda Maryland. I’m going to be at the show all weekend long, camped out at the Secret Acres table, as sort of a nice closing bookend to the little Troop 142 mini-tour of conventions that I did over the past year, which I essentially kicked off at SPX 2011, when the book was released.

I was pleased to receive a nomination for Outstanding Graphic Novel Ignatz for Troop 142 as well. The Ignatz Awards are the SPX festival prize, and anybody who attends gets to vote.

I’m also going to be moderating a panel on Saturday afternoon:

Drawing Out Childhood: Summoning Childhood Experience
3:00 pm | Brookside Conference Room

Comics, which often juxtapose discrete fragments of time, are well-suited to the representation and exploration of memory. This panel will specifically address the process of summoning and depicting deep memories of childhood and adolescence within the comics form. Moderator Mike Dawson (himself a cartoonist of childhood experience in Freddie and Me and Troop 142) will lead a discussion with Derf Backderf (My Friend Dahmer), Marinoami (Kiss and Tell), John Porcellino (Perfect Example) and Julia Wertz (The Infinite Wait and Other Stories).

May 9, 2012

Recent Drawing Wednesday 5/9/12

Filed under: comics,conventions,life — Mike @ 5:10 pm

I was at TCAF this past weekend, and it was a swell time. However, I am burrrned out, I think probably like 80% because of all this moving house/being unsettled/etc rigmarole, and maybe 20% just worn out on conventions for a while. I did a ton of them since SPX last year: APE, MiX, BCGF, Angouleme, and now TCAF. That’s a lot for me. There was also the Game Developer’s Conference in California that I went to, which wasn’t comics, but was still a week-long event. I just want to be home, getting my head down and making comics. Thankfully, I have no plans to go to any other shows until SPX in October, by which time I should be ready to get back into it.

Also, I decided that A) since I don’t really expect to ever make a living writing my books, and B) since I have no plans to leave my publishers at Secret Acres, and C) as long as they stay in business, then I really don’t need to be as informed about the comics industry as I have been. Blissfully ignorant: that’s my new goal. I want to write what I want to write, and read comics that interest me, and that’s it. We’ll see how I do. Twitter is probably my biggest nemesis in this regard. I do like talking about the industry, and it’s pretty much a perfect place for that sort of chat, because it’s the thing that gets conversation going the easiest. And I love twitter. I can’t see quitting, but I have plans to put the drawing table and the computer in totally different rooms in the new house, so Tweetdeck’s Siren’s Call is just that little bit harder to hear. They’ll actually be about as far away from each other as possible – the drawing table in the basement by the boiler room, and the computer upstairs by the bedrooms. I’m really excited about it.

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.

April 25, 2012

No Drawing Wednesday – 4/25/12

Filed under: comics,conventions,life — Mike @ 2:25 pm

No recent drawing to post this week, but a quick bloggy-blog update. Why no new drawing, you ask? Well, last Thursday my wife and I became first-time homeowners, and then spent the weekend moving all of our stuff down to sunny, peaceful New Jersey. I hate going so many days without drawing, but I think in this instance it’s all excusable. I might get messed up again this week, because there’s just such an endless amount of stuff that needs to get done. I gotta keep telling myself things will settle down, I will get back into a routine, just because I get disrupted from drawing for two weeks to transplant my entire life over to another State, doesn’t actually mean that I am no longer a cartoonist and should just throw in my Manga Deleter pens and nibs and resign myself to a life of picking out window treatments and area rugs.

A couple upcoming appearances and events:

This weekend is the MoCCA Arts Festival in New York City, held at the decidedly not-sunny, but undeniably spacious Lexington Ave Armory at 26th street. I won’t be present at the show on Saturday (see above paragraph), but will be there on Sunday for a panel at 2:15 and then signing and sketching at the Secret Acres table afterwards.

The panel I’m on is called “Memoir”, and it will be with Peter Kuper, Jennifer Hayden, and Derf Backderf. I’m looking forward to it. Speaking of Derf, I picked up his book My Friend Dahmer at The Strand last night, and read it all in one sitting. Totally absorbing comic.

I was interested in how part of the narrative had to do with the culture of parents in the 1970′s, and them being somewhat more absent than the parenting culture we have now. This is an interesting phenomenon, and from other things I’ve read, it’s totally true: parents were much more hands-off, (or I guess the better word again is absent) in the 1970′s for better or worse. Divorce rates were higher, and I believe the birth-rate hit it’s lowest point ever sometime around the middle of the decade. I was reminded of the movie The Ice Storm while reading the book – a similar sort of unsettling suburban environment, where the kids are essentially left to their own devices while the parents focus on their own dramas, completely oblivious to what’s going on with their children.

It makes me wonder, I feel like there’s a ton of criticism about today’s “helicopter parents”, and often people defend the parenting style of the 1970′s, suggesting a hands-off approach is ultimately better for the kids. I dunno. I don’t especially buy the idea that absentee parents led to Jeffrey Dahmer becoming a serial killer, because it’s not like he was the only one who had them. I was born in the 70′s, so didn’t exactly “grow up” in them, but I was close, and I feel like myself and most people I know seemed to turn out okay… but, how do we know that helicopter parenting is so bad for the kids? They haven’t grown yet…

But, as I type this, I think about American Idol, and the like, and every kid thinking they’re The Best and The Most Talented, and it’s their God-Given Right to have a career in the music industry (even though there is no music industry anymore… just kids on American Idol doing imitations of performance styles which came out of the 1970′s…) Maybe it’s better for a kid to get a healthy dose of 1970′s-style “the world doesn’t revolve around you” medicine every once in a while. I dunno, I dunno…

Anyway, sorry for the tangent! Following MoCCA weekend is TCAF in Toronto, and this convention I will be there the whole time! More about that next week, hopefully along with a new drawing or two.

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?

February 9, 2012

Ink Panthers 119 – The Language Barrier + Angouleme Pix

Filed under: conventions,The Ink Panthers Show — Mike @ 12:26 pm

Mike returns from his recent trip to the Angouleme Comics Festival in France, and gives Alex a lengthy run-down of all the goings-ons. As is his custom, Mike takes a “vacation from vegetarianism” when traveling abroad, though unfortunately for the animals, it’s possible that this most recent journey could have been a game-changer. Also, Mike has to come to terms with the fact that he really enjoys visiting foreign countries, but learning a second language is quite simply beyond him at this advanced stage in life. Struggling with the language barrier has simply an unavoidable fact of life.

Comments welcome!

This week’s illustration of Inky the Domesticated Panther supplied by Mike Schwartz! Submit your own illustration of Inky to inkpanthers@gmail.com

Subscribe in iTunes

Bonus!! Some vacation photos from Angouleme!

Traveling companions, Josh Cotter and Brendan Leach

Drew Weing and Eleanor Davis

Brendan and Mike’s beds

Socializing at the bars

Josh and his wife, Momoko, standing near part of the French Chateau

An early morning start, to get to the festival, feat. Nick Bertozzi

Eddie Campbell

Jack & Max doodle, drawn at the festival

La Pagode movie theater, on a freezing cold day

December 22, 2011

2012 – looking ahead

Troop 142 got a nice shout-out on an NPR Best of 2011 blog yesterday, which did actually translate into some book sales, I believe. I don’t know what amazon sales rankings really mean, but I know that I jumped into the top 100 for Graphic Novels for the first time ever. Again, I don’t know what these numbers really mean, but it was all very exciting nonetheless.

(I actually suspect a lot of sales came from friends who’d forgotten that I’d recently published a book until I posted about the NPR list on Facebook. A couple folks responded that “ah, yes, they really oughta finally buy that thing off of amazon…”)

In other news, I’m not sure that I’m going to be posting anything new on this blog for the remainder of 2011, as there’ll be no The Ink Panthers Show! episode next week, and then before you know it, it’ll be 2012 already.

Also, I am not sure yet when I’m going to resume posting actual comics up on this blog again. I have to admit, keeping the work offline for the past couple months has probably been creatively beneficial. I’m happy to report that I’m knee-deep in a new story and I’m feeling generally very positive about it. A couple days “staycation” this past week, where I just holed myself away and just drew and drew, really did wonders for my feelings of momentum and progress. I’m excited about the work, and am thinking maybe I’ll have something I feel good about showing sometime soon.

Here’s a video of me lettering a word-balloon, to tide everyone over.

Next year, I don’t have a ton planned. I’m going to be attending the big Angouleme Festival in France at the end of January, and will be doing some signings in Paris following that. My wife will come join me out there after all the comics business is done, and we’ll have a little mini-vacation to celebrate ten-years of being together.

In terms of other conventions, I am not sure what I’m attending or not. I imagine I’ll still make it down to SPX in the Fall, and am hoping that TCAF in Toronto is a possibility.

Nothing is changing with The Ink Panthers Show! I think this past year was really great for the show. We had some wonderful guests, and I think really had some strong episodes with just The Panthers (Tony “The Desert Panther” Consiglio is included in that. We should change his name to The Honorary Panther). TIPS is continually a work-in-progress, and Alex and I are always trying to figure out what is the best balance of solo-Panthers shows vs. Special Guest episodes. I think it’s probably best we keep aiming for that pleasant mix of both.

TCJ Talkies will return in January. It’s probable that those are going to be coming out at a slightly slower pace. The biweekly schedule really began to catch up to me at the end of this year, and listeners may have noticed a bit of a slowdown. My plan is to roll them out at a more relaxed rate, but we’ll see. I’ve found that I feel worn out before I record an episode, but once it’s done I get all excited and motivated again. I think I just really like talking about comics!

Happy New Year everyone!!

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