Sunday, May 1, 2011

We went to FLUKE! and here is what we saw...


World's most tardy convention/show report:

my Babble collection on the left, Nora's comic on the right

Nora's first sale
So, Nora and I went to FLUKE! last weekend up in Athens, Ga. It's a big zine and minicomic show that's been going on for ten years now. The crazy thing for me is that I was at the first several, then missed a bunch because of kids and jobs, etc. Year one included a big indy/punk circus performance by Circus of the Bars performers. Those initial years of the show were scraggly, DIY affairs with fresh-from-Kinkos minicomics from the likes of T. Edward Bak, Drew Weing, Andy Runton, and Eleanor Davis. They were all young and completely unaware of how talented they are.

Imagine my surprise this year when we showed up at the 40Watt and there was a line literally down the street to get into the show and get a table. It was like a 19th century land-grab. Luckily, between show organizers Patrick Dean's and Robert Newsome's affection for an old-schooler like me and Nora's winning cuteness, we ended up with a table right next to the official FLUKE merch. table.

"That Nora is killing us in sales, Delaine!"

We shared our table with the great Delaine Derry Green, publisher of the phenomenal old-school anthology Not My Small Diary, and her husband Lee. They were wonderful and fun, and helped out a lot (they kept watch on our stuff and helped Nora while I found food and the like).

Just like 2008 (the last time Nora came along with a mini to sell), Nora sold out, and sold out fast. Unlike last time, this year she had an actual storybook to sell, a mini called "the Problem." Also unlike last time, she was in no way apologetic for selling so many more comics than me.
 

some of our swag
 Anyways, here's some of the awesome cartoonists and comics Nora and I discovered there.

Pranas draws original monsters!
 That to the left is Pranas T. Naujokaitis, a very cool guy who has some great minis, some for adults, some for kids. We got the Monster Town collection of three minis. Each is about a monster who's great at one thing, and that also gets him or her (or it) in trouble. Very cool, great design work, and a hand-made printed half-box for the books to go in. Super, super cool. He has a book coming out this fall I believe, so look for that, or go to his website and order some of his books!

Alison Burke and Tara Harris were wandering the show doing trades. I came back to the table and Delaine showed me their beautifully silkscreened Arro. I glanced inside and took off to get a copy. The art inside is part of that "artfully artless" school that's really on the rise now--which, great for them! But, for the first time in my life, I've encountered a style that just makes me feel old because I don't quite "get it." Which sounds strange, because, like I said, I took one look and instantly knew I wanted this. What drew me in is the coloring. What a fantastic, subtle, robust coloring job they did here. It pushes away from the limited palette thing, without smacking you in the face with 4!COLOR!COMICS! The story is intriguing too: dystopian sf, without being everything you hate when you hear the words dystopian sf.

Patrick Dean wants you
kids off his lawn
I picked up several things from Patrick Dean. Boy, is he one undiscovered talent. Seriously, I'd love to see him contribute to another volume of Beasts! or guest an issue of B.P.R.D. in which all the characters sit down with monsters and drink beer. Or a comics musical about a down-on-its-luck cryptid looking to just get by or get home or get drunk, that kind of thing. His Big Time minis are great, but I had them all already. The FLUKE anthology from several years ago where he drew a story and other folks inked it was new to me this year. A great gem.

It feels like Joey Weiser has backed into minicomics--he's had a graphic novel or two, but has been working on Merwin as a mini now for going on a couple of years. It's great--it would fit in real well at Scholastic or Disney-Hyperion, right along with Bone, Missile Mouse, and Jellaby. Now I've got to get the rest just to find out what's going on. PS: He colors Nora's favorite graphic novels: Jarrett Krosoczka's Lunch Lady series!

I picked up one of Josh Latta's early Rashy Rabbit minis several years ago and liked it. But this year's issue, #7, titled Droppin' Anchor, blows those out of the water. His art suggests a little Floyd Gottfredson and Goscinny while being completely his own: animated, stylized, clean, and fun just to look at.

This coming weekend is Free Comic Book Day, and Oni Press will be releasing a comic double feature with a short piece by J. Torres and the fantastic illustrator Dean Trippe. He and his wife came to FLUKE late, so we let them have our table since we left early. If you're anywhere near a comics shop this Saturday, pick up a free copy of "Rated Free For Everyone!" and check out the great Power Lunch story. It's about a kid who gets different powers from the foods he eats! The book length story comes out later this fall, I believe.

Drew Weing will sign anything

There were lots of great cartoonists there: Chris Schweizer, Rich Tommaso, Drew Weing, and T. Edward Bak, and people I'd liked to have spent more time meeting, like David Mack, or this guy (who's work simply looked fantastic, but Nora needed to keep moving). I missed Eleanor Davis, who Nora really wanted to meet because the Secret Science Alliance is one of her favorite graphic novels, but she wasn't there before we left.

On the way home, Nora read comics and practiced her evil laugh, I guess for when she's either a supervillain, mad genius, or evil mastermind--I'm not sure which.

I can't wait for next year!




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