Mike Dawson Comics

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).

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 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!

November 3, 2011

This weekend: MIX!

I’m heading out to sunny Minneapolis, Minnesota this weekend, for the second annual Minneapolis Indie Xpo (MIX)!

I’ll be manning the Secret Acres table with Eamon (Wormdye) Espey, and we’ll have all those good books for sale. Come find us! Just like at APE, Secret Acres trusted me with their special custom convention flag, so we should be easy enough to spot.

Also: On Sunday morning, at 10:15AM, I’ll be hosting a TCJ Talkies LIVE panel, with guests MariNaomi and Noah Van Sciver. I’ll talk about their respective work, and also plan on asking questions about format – working on full length graphic novels versus serializing comics as floppies or minicomics. Mari has been posting comics online at The Rumpus recently, so I’ll ask what it’s like working for the web. Come listen to us yak, won’t you?

In addition to Troop 142, I’ll be bringing a handful of Freddie & Me’s & Gabagool!s, as well as my Apple Jacks binder filled with cheap original art.

See you there!

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:

August 29, 2011

Prospect Park Dusk, Prospect Park Dawn

Filed under: appearances,comics,Secret Acres,Troop 142 — Mike @ 10:48 am

Prospect Park Dusk, PPD

A brand new comic posted this morning: a short story about a working mother who has a secret. Read the full thing here.

And, a reminder: The Troop 142 book release party is going to be held this Friday, September 2nd at Bergen Street Comics in Park Slope, from 8-11PM. The event is open to the public, so please come on out. There’ll be drinks, good times, and advance copies of the book. Troop 142 officially debuts at the Small Press Expo in Bethseda, Maryland, on September 10th which I will be attending.

Troop 142 by Mike Dawson, published by Secret Acres
Click to make bigger

May 23, 2011

Troop 142 front cover

Filed under: Secret Acres,Troop 142 — Mike @ 9:47 am

This is what the front of Troop 142 looks like. The image actually wraps partially around to the other side, and there are some more illustrations on the back cover, as well as an amazing quote from one of my favorite cartoonists, Dylan Horrocks. I will post that stuff soon.

Troop 142 by Mike Dawson, published by Secret Acres

Click to make bigger.

The book went out to the printers last week, and I’m hoping to be clutching an actual copy in my grubby little hands sometime in the next couple of months. I can’t wait!

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