Thursday, April 29, 2010

Hot Off the Press! Part Two: The Cigar Maker

The second book that bears our stamp is Mark McGinty's The Cigar Maker, a great novel about Cuba and Ybor City circa 1900, which I talk more about here. I drew a few maps for the interior, which you can see below.

Make sure to pick up a copy during Art-A-Whirl during the release party (from Mark's facebook page):

Start Time: Friday, May 14, 2010 at 5:30pm
End Time: Sunday, May 16, 2010 at 5:00pm
Location: Svedberg Studio, 3359 Tyler St NE, Northeast Minneapolis


Mark McGinty's second novel "The Cigar Maker" will be released in Minneapolis at Art-A-Whirl May 14th - May 16th. Join Mark at Svedberg Studio on 3359 Tyler St NE.

Art-A-Whirl, presented by the Northeast Minneapolis Arts Association, is the largest open studio and gallery tour in the United States.

It is a highly anticipated annual event that welcomes local and regional visitors to the Arts District in Northeast Minneapolis to see the art being made in this area and to meet the artists.

As visitors come to see the art over the three-day weekend they also experience the unique and welcoming community of Northeast Minneapolis.


And for you technophiles, you can buy The Cigar Maker as an ebook on Amazon!

UPDATE (4/30/10): The Cigar Maker holds the #1 spot for cigar-themed book downloads! Congrats, Mark!

Hot Off the Press! Part One: Hacker's Guide

Books that Zander and I work on tend to be published in pairs, and this latest round is no exception.

First up is an updated and expanded Hacker's Guide -- a follow-up to the original Hacker's Guide which came out last year. No, we didn't write this ultimate guide to all Minnesota and Western Wisconsin public golf courses, but we did design the cover and some interior illustrations. The "hacker" in Hacker's Guide refers to the majority of golfers who are NOT professionals, and who thus do not get a lot of benefit from standard golf course guides, which seem to be writing to the Tiger Woods of the world. Instead, the Hacker's Guide books rate courses with the weekend warrior in mind. Check out more -- and buy a copy for Father's Day -- at

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

"Bad Caricatures" Going Down at AE Party This Friday

Altered Esthetics -- art gallery home of Lutefisk Sushi C and Big Funny -- is celebrating its sixth birthday this Friday with a live auction, music, booze ... and "bad caricatures" courtesy of the International Cartoonist Conspiracy. You want to be flattered? Go to Valley Fair. You want to look long and hard into the fun house mirror? Come to the Altered Esthetics.

Several local cartoonists, including myself, will be sitting behind the drawing booth, waiting to shock and amaze you. Caricatures are free, but donations are encouraged. Altered Esthetics is a non profit, community-run art gallery, so why not come and spend a few Lincolns?

PS -- If you're a local cartoonist who wants to draw caricatures, we're happy to have you! Let Jamie know at: contact [at]

Festivities start at 7pm, and more info can be found at City Pages, The Cartoonist Conspiracy, and Altered Esthetics' site.

See you Friday!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

City Pages Comix Issue: CALL FOR ENTRIES

Hey Minnesota cartoonists, here's another chance for your strips to be published in front of 50,000 adoring eyes. City Pages is once again planning to publish a Comix Issue this summer, and this year they're joining forces with Sarah Morean and MIX (Minneapolis Indie Xpo).

This year's theme is declaration of independence so go wild with however you want to interpret that. But DON'T go wild with anything else until you've checked out the submission guidelines on the MIX site.

To get you in the mood, check out the past three City Pages Comix Issues online:




Sunday, April 25, 2010

Oregon History Comics Seeks Funding

Remember all those hours of enjoyment you had as a kid playing Oregon Trail? Well, now's your chance to give back.

Longtime friend of BTA Sarah Mirk is seeking funding for a series of comics that tell the history of Oregon (or some of the history, anyway -- Oregon's a big state). If you're on the fence, consider this: 1) many of the donation levels include awesome gift packages, and 2) this video they produced is reason enough to shell out several Hamiltons:

Oregon History Comics from dill pickle club on Vimeo.

You can follow the progress -- or better yet, make a donation -- here:

Good luck, Sarah & co.!

Big Time Attic: The Mini Doc

A few months ago local filmmaker Joanna Kohler stopped by to hang out in the studio and ask a few questions. The result is below, and it's outstanding!

The film is in support of Britt Aamodt's upcoming book, "Superheroes, Strip Artists, & Talking Animals: Minnesota's Contemporary Cartoonists," which is due out in October from the Minnesota Historical Society Press.

One aspect of the film we enjoyed are the frequent nods to cartoonists we love, like:

Tim Sievert

Danno Klonowski

Sam Hiti

Julia Vickerman

Bryan Lee O'Malley

... and of course, Matthew Kriske

Now, if you're like me and need to view this film on a huge screen -- or possibly projected against a wall -- have no fear. Joanna will be presenting the film during this summer's Lutefisk Sushi show (details TBA).

Zander Cannon also starred in
another recent documentary.
Can you name which one?


Thursday, April 15, 2010

MoCCA 2010

I just got back from New York City. Here are some highlights. I'm still exhausted from the trip, so I'm just going to throw these up, bullet point style:


Top Shelf flew in a number of amazing cartoonists and cartoon historians from Sweden, and we all partied like rock stars at Rocketship Comics and the conveniently adjacent Clover Club. I have no photos from this night of celebration, but at least one person has an unintelligible voicemail message from me.


Last year's MoCCA was amazing, but unfortunately all anybody talked about afterwards was how hot it was. Fortunately, the atmosphere was perfect inside the armory this year, and everyone smiled. All the time. Here're two photos from the floor. See if you can spot Leigh Walton.


Nothing new to sell this year, so I messed around with my sales strategy. Instead of having a table crammed with lots of books, I chose fewer books in neater piles and even made little descriptive placards for people who didn't want to talk or make eye contact. Here's what it looked like after Bone Sharps sold out:


I didn't get to walk the floor this year, but fortunately the coolest people in the the room were within a ten meter radius. Picture #1 is an entire table of Minnesota cartoonists, and two are BTA alumni. Next up is Brooklynite Miguel Guerra, who was really fun to talk to during the show. Third up is Denmark cartoonist Ingo Milton, who knew all about my favorite Danish arctic explorers, Peter Freuchen and Knud Rasmussen, and even helped me out with pronunciation. The photo shows Ingo signing a copy of "Between the Lines," an anthology of Danish cartoonists. Ingo is co-founder of a comics studio called Gimle, which seems to have a similar operational structure as Periscope in Portland. Note: Mike Sgier is also cool, but I failed to get a photo of him.

Ursula Murray Husted, Anna Bratton, B. Sabo, and Becky Laff

Miguel Guerra

Ingo Milton


(click for a larger version)



This is at the Frying Pan, a popular place to make out, as evidenced by the couple behind us. The jury's still out on whether they're just kissing or if he's trying to put a french fry in her mouth.

These outdoor photos are all taken by Sam's girlfriend Sarah, who really enjoys it when people say they're going to "catch a beer together."


After a serious weekend of comic books I was able to nerd out on Monday. Using Sam's trusty NFT guide I found what is probably the greatest travel bookstore in the world. The Complete Traveller is nothing but bookshelf after bookshelf of rare and first edition travel books and old maps. Here's just a hint of their polar section. Plus an entire shelf of Rockwell Kent books.

I spent everything I made on Sunday on three books. Well worth it. Unfortunately they were all very heavy and made the walk from 34th to 105th a bit grueling.

That's it for now. See you next year, New York.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Kevin Cannon's Far Arden nominated for an Eisner Award

That's right--our own Kevin Cannon has gotten an Eisner nod for his James-Bond-meets-Jack-London arctic tour de force Far Arden!

Revel in the glory and check out the formidable competition on the Eisner nominations page!

Congratulations, Kevin!

Zander's Fleming Hazmat/Tommy Chicago/Uptown Girl pinup is online at Staplegenius!

Some time ago, Danno Klonowski asked me to do a pinup for his massive crossover adventure that brought three of the best minicomics characters ever together for a romp through space and time and whatever, and so I said sure. I love drawing these characters, and in particular you may notice how similar Fleming Hazmat looks to a certain lieutenant who now graces the deltoids of a certain cartoonist.

And you should definitely go about reading the entire book here at Staplegenius!

Friday, April 02, 2010

Richard Wagner History Comic

At last night's Cartoonist Conspiracy jam we were treated to a few scripts from Zander's writing class at the Loft. I picked the first one off the pile, which happened to be a mini biopic of composer Richard Wagner. And the comic's writer, Jack Phinney, happened to be sitting right across from me (I didn't realize this until halfway through). Anyway, for your enjoyment and education, here is the product of that collaboration, complete with CENSO-STICKERS to make it suitable for our blog's PG audience:

Click for bigger version

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Star Trek: The Next Generation: Ghosts gets a great review at TrekInk!

We're very pleased here at BTA world headquarters that the last issue of Star Trek: The Next Generation: Ghosts has received an excellent sendoff in the form of a glowing review from TrekInk. As the writer, I am particularly happy, since the reviewer says such kind things as:
I think Cannon had a pretty good time coming up with this story. He’s given us well-crafted and believable characterizations of the Next Generation crew and a sobering image of sacrifice. Nicely done.

I greatly enjoyed working on Star Trek, and trying to recreate the formal feel and verisimilitude of the show, which occasionally made the comic feel very dense. Hopefully the action-filled rush to the finish in the final chapter pays off what must have felt like an awful lot of setup.
Looking back at the entire mini-series, Ghosts stands out as quite different from nearly all of the other Star Trek comics IDW has published, relying much more on dialogue to move the story along. As I read each issue, I could see the scenes of the Next Generation television episode of Ghosts playing out. It’s really kind of remarkable that Zander Cannon wanted to tell a story like this and just as remarkable that a publisher supported him.

It is indeed remarkable, and I heartily thank Chris Ryall and Scott Dunbier at IDW for their confidence in me. Let's hope there will be a big rush to buy the trade paperback collection (out in June!) and their efforts will be rewarded!

UPDATE: TrekWeb has posted a review of the series as well, and they have excellent things to say about the final issue as well. The writing gets particular kudos:

The story: I've got to hand it to Zander Cannon, this issue ties up very neatly and, even better, satisfactory. Had you asked me at Issue #2 to predict how this series was going to go, I would have said train wreck. I'm, happily, eating my words. Data finally gets some "screen time" this issue and is able to solve a major problem on the surface, while chiming in with a perfect Data response (Page 9, panel one). Not to mention the final panel on Page 13 was nifty android understatement. On the Enterprise scientist Uul is disappearing at an alarming rate, and his chances of helping Picard and the other Alliosians is shrinking. I think that Cannon has tapped into what makes a good Trek story: characters get a chance to shine. They show their intelligence and are able to solve solutions. Picard has some really good speeches this issue, but I didn't find them heavy handed (Page 10 and 22). Worf gets to do what you'd expect from a captured Klingon, and I found myself laughing at his response (Page 12, panel three). My favorite moment was Geordi's realization on Page 13. Brilliant, and in front of every reader's face every issue. I love moments like these in books where the reader learns as the characters learn. The irony of who discovered "it" was not lost on me. Page 21 was the ideal solution to the issue's predicament. It had genuine emotion (though aren't they going to eventually die from starvation? I'm just sayin...). And the action at the top of Page 20 is as close as you can get to a dramatic climax. My hat's off to you, Mr. Cannon. You had me worried at times, but you pulled it off. Overall grade: A

I will definitely tell you-- a review like this makes my week. Oddly enough, it's more for the mild appreciation of a specific moment than for any overall shouts of awesomeness.

Matthew Kriske Buys Controlling Share of Big Time Attic

Hey guys, I'm happy to finally announce a deal that has been going on behind the scenes for several months now. Matthew Kriske (aka "Kriske") has purchased 51% of Big Time Attic, effectively making him a controlling partner in the company. Zander and I think it will be a great move not only for us as partners, but for the brand of BTA, which has lost some its "cool factor" since focusing solely on educational graphic novels.

Our new partner has promised to bring in "the Kriske touch," which will certainly mean a renewed focus on historical portraits, spray paint murals, and ink wash paintings of our friends. We've already received a six-figure advance from Miramax to produce a graphic novelization of Trainspotting, and although it's not official, Big Time Attic is considering using that money to purchase The Cartoonist Conspiracy from Steven Stwalley.

Welcome aboard, Kriske!