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November 30th, 2011

Belated Thanksgiving Post: An Appreciation of Anne McCaffrey

Filed under: SF Reviews — Tags: , — William Cardini @ 12:56 am

I know this is the week after Thanksgiving, and thanks are traditionally spoken beforehand, but I’d like to offer some gratitude to the recently departed Anne McCaffrey: Thank you for giving me an escape from the bullying and loneliness of my chubby nerd middle school life.

Dragonflight cover by Michael Whelan
The cover for the first book in the original Dragonriders of Pern trilogy, Dragonflight, artwork by Michael Whelan.

I still distinctly remember the day I first encountered a book by Anne McCaffrey. I was in middle school. I’d read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings but not much else science fiction or fantasy. I was a total dinosaur nerd. I was complaining to my Dad about not having a good book to read, and he said, “I think I can help you.” We went to my brother’s room, and my Dad pulled down several cardboard boxes from the closet full of his old science fiction and fantasy paperbacks from the 60s and 70s. There were books by Isaac Asimov, Cordwainer Smith, Philip K Dick, Clark Ashton Smith, Arthur C Clarke, Algis Budrys, Larry Niven, Stanislaw Lem, many others (these boxes of books supplied me with reading material until I moved out of my parents’ house), and Anne McCaffrey. My Dad dug through the boxes, flipping through each book and discarding them until he uncovered Dragonflight and Dragonsdawn. He said, “You like dinosaurs, read these. They’re about dragons.” I was hooked. I stayed up all night reading them.

Dragonquest cover by Michael Whelan
The cover for the second book in the original Dragonriders of Pern trilogy, Dragonquest, artwork by Michael Whelan.

I read about Pern and other Anne McCaffrey universes for years. I bought every new Pern book when it came out. I got teary eyed when major characters died. But my favorite Pern book, by far, was The White Dragon.

The White Dragon cover by Michael Whelan
The cover for the third book in the original Dragonriders of Pern trilogy, The White Dragon, artwork by Michael Whelan. My favorite.

I read The White Dragon over and over again until it fell apart. I got a white sweater with the cover art. I felt like I was the main character, Jaxom, riding the titular white dragon. I was a chubby nerd – I definitely would’ve gotten the runt dragon (if I got one at all). But like Jaxom and his dragon, I had a secret power – the fantastic worlds that I would imagine, bolstered by Anne McCaffrey’s books, gave me some respite from teasing and alienation and let me experience the soaring flight of a good read. Thank you Anne McCaffrey. I think it’s time I got another copy of The White Dragon to reread.

November 23rd, 2011

Quick E.A.S.T. Endcap

Filed under: Event Recap — Tags: , — William Cardini @ 2:05 am

Thanks to everyone who made it by Glade and I’s place during the 2011 East Austin Studio Tour!

E.A.S.T. Stop #121

We both had a blast and got to meet a ton of great people. My favorite though, were our first visitors. They were two teenagers who go to an arts magnet high school and their moms. One of them told me that they hope they can have a house like ours when they grow up. I hope that we inspired them just a little bit. It also made me think that high school me would probably be pretty stoked about the setup I have now. It’s good to get that reminder that I’m still living part of the bohemian artist dream while working a day job.

November 18th, 2011

Final E.A.S.T. 2011 Weekend at the Hensel Hypercastle

Hey y’all, this upcoming weekend is your last chance to come by the Hensel Hypercastle during E.A.S.T. 2011 to see Glade and I’s art. Just like last weekend, we’ll be open from 11am to 6pm, Saturday and Sunday. We’re Stop #121 on the tour, 1807 East 22nd Street.

Here are some shots from last weekend:

Hensel Hypercastle entrance
Here’s the front door. We’ve got Glade’s Welcome to the Hypercastle print on the door, a new artwork by her above the TV, our Christmas tree (out a bit early, we know), and a spinner rack of Glademade cards.

Hensel Hypercastle comic table
Our coffee table is chockful of comics. Most of them are for reading but a few are for sale. I’ve got comics I’ve drawn (such as my latest, VORTEX), comics by fellow GCPM members (such as Kid Space Heater by Josh Burggraf and Lords ov thee Black Sun by Mike Miles), two issues of the GCP’s poetry/comics anthology Catch Up, and various issues of anthologies that I’ve been in (Math Fiction, Candy or Medicine, Smoke Signal, Taffy Hips, and Secret Prison). Come by, chill out on our couch, and feel free to flip through everything.

Hensel Hypercastle prints
We’ve got almost all of the prints from our Hypercastle print show at Austin Books and Comics and every print we had for sale last year.

Mark P Hensel studio
I switched out the artwork on my walls in my studio.

L Glade Hensel studio
Glade has some birthday banners on the walls of her studio.

I hope to see some of y’all this weekend!

November 12th, 2011

E.A.S.T. 2011: VORTEX Debuts at the Hensel Hypercastle

I meant to get a blog post up yesterday but Glade and I were up until super late prepping our house for E.A.S.T. Here’s a sneak preview of part of our house:

Hensel Hypercastle during E.A.S.T. 2011
From left to right: painting of Anthony Romero by Anthony Garza, pillows by Glademade, sculpture casting ominous shadow by Alison Kuo, framed screenprint by Rand Renfrow, rocking chair embroidered by Haleh Pedram (with another Glademade pillow), and strange shamanistic wall sculpture from a Pedram garage sale.

“But Mark,” you may be thinking, “What’s in that box on the coffee table? Are those …” you squint “… comics?”

Let’s get a close up:

Hensel Hypercastle during E.A.S.T. 2011

Dear reader, your suspicions are correct! Every year at E.A.S.T. I like to showcase my major project from the past year. In 2010, that was the unsold artwork from my show Hypermorph at Domy Houston – and this year, it’s VORTEX, a graphic novel that I’ve been working on since the beginning of June. The first 32 pages form a nice semi self-contained narrative so I printed them up as a 7×10″ black-and-white xerox minicomic.

Come by E.A.S.T. Stop #121, 1807 East 22nd St, today (Saturday November 12th), tomorrow (Sunday November 13th), or next weekend (November 19th and 20th) from 11am to 6pm to check VORTEX #1 out! Glade and I also have a ton of other great artwork, comics, prints, and cards for you to see. I’ll be posting more pictures next week.

If you’re not an Austinite and want to order a copy of VORTEX #1, they’re $5 plus $1 shipping. Just leave a comment on this post or see my connect page for other communication channels.

November 8th, 2011

East Austin Studio Tour 2011: The Hensel Hypercastle Postcard

Filed under: Events — Tags: , , , — William Cardini @ 7:43 am

Glade and I are doing the East Austin Studio Tour once again! This year we got some postcards printed up. We spent last night driving around Austin and dropping them off at various coffee shops and other places.

Here’s my side of the postcard:

Here’s Glade’s side:

We’ve decided to call our studios the Hensel Hypercastle.

I’m going to post more images and previews of what we’ll have on display over the next week and a half.

November 4th, 2011

Candy or Medicine T-Shirts with my Cover

Filed under: Print Comics — Tags: , , — William Cardini @ 7:54 am

As some of y’all may remember, I drew the cover for Candy or Medicine Volume 12:

Candy or Medicine Volume 12 cover

Josh Blair, editor of Candy or Medicine, has screenprinted my design on some t-shirts:

Candy or Medicine t-shirt

Candy or Medicine t-shirt

They’re available in plenty of colors and sizes. Order them from Josh here. Also, thanks to Josh for being generous and fair enough to split any profits with me.