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October 6th, 2015

SPX 2015 Recap

Filed under: Event Recap — Tags: — William Cardini @ 10:40 am

My first time at SPX was a mixed experience. I had a blast hanging in the cartoonists concentrate of the Bethesda Marriott, sold a lot of Vortex and my two risograph minis, and brought home a heavy stack of fantastic comics, but I was unable to fully represent Sparkplug due to a shipping snafu.

On Friday, my hotel roomie and I caught a metro ride to join my friend at Fantom in downtown DC for a hot and humid but fun book signing with Farel Dalrymple, MK Reed, Brandon Graham, and others. We checked out Fantom’s inventory – DC is lucky to have such a great shop!

Saturday morning I was dismayed to discover that the box of books that Sparkplug had shipped to the hotel wasn’t at my table. Sam Marx, the friendly SPX Exhibitor Coordinator, and the hotel staff scoured the loading dock but the box was never found. So instead of a table full of books, I had a minimal installation of Vortex, Cold Heat Special #10, and Sphere Fear (which luckily did arrive at the hotel).

Sphere Fear by William Cardini

I hadn’t seen Sphere Fear before the show (published by Yeah Dude Comics). I was a worried about my riso color choices (orange and green – I worried that it would be unreadable but I wanted to expand beyond pink and blue) but Issue Press did a wonderful job printing the minis, they looked beautiful and I sold out of my comp copies. Look for it on the Birdcage Bottom Books distro soon.

After the morning’s disappointment I rallied. I was in an auspicious table location – to the right of Benjamin Marra and around the corner from Frank Santoro, who was selling treasures from his long boxes unearthed from the basements of comics history and promoting the IndieGoGo campaign to fund the embodiment of his school in a physical building, the Comics Workbook Rowhouse Residency (contribute to this exciting cause if you can), and supporting his table neighbors with snacks.

William Cardini at SPX
Sparkplug Books intern Jenny Flax brought the Sparkplug tablecloth and postcards to the table.

I tried to stay rooted behind my table but I couldn’t help but slip away to check out the rich outpouring of talent at SPX. Since moving to Kansas City I’ve been in a bit of an art comics desert so this was an oasis for me. My favorite book was the Blades & Lazers collection by the aforementioned Ben Marra, fresh off of a successful Kickstarter campaign, including a bad-ass genderbent comic by Lale Westvind and Keenan Marshall Keller, and brilliantly printed in fluorescent pink and metallic blue spot colors, genius choices by the Sacred Prism publisher. I also really dug Mickey Zacchilli’s Venom riso mini, which boils super villain angst and vicious energy down to their viscous essences; the very metal horror-fantasy book Azzuldekkon by Alan Brown; Meghan Goes to McDonald’s, Meghan Turbitt’s hilarious and absurd collaborations with her comics students; and Pat Aulisio’s Infinite Bowman, frenetic psychedelic SF that riffs on 2001. I got a lot of other great books too and I’m slowly reading my way through my pile.

SPX haul

Saturday night I stayed out far too late and got to hang out with a lot of great people. I love how everyone stays close to the hotel, it’s very convivial. I’ve been to enough shows at this point that I have a crew I usually hang with and most of them were there. I didn’t attend the Ignatz award ceremony but it was great to hear that so many skilled women were recognized, especially after this year’s Hugo nonsense.

Sunday was slower than Saturday. Sales were steady but I noticed a definite shift in what people bought – Saturday was all about the risograph minis and Sunday was for books.

Sunday night I took it easy – got dinner with my brother-in-law and his girlfriend; played (and lost) a round of the Magic card game, which was a fun nostalgia trip; and soberly talked with some people at the bar before trying to get some restorative sleep before my early morning flight. When I got up to catch a cab at 5am, a few people were still up, jam drawing. Next time I’ll have to get a later flight!

Despite the lows, I loved SPX and the close-knit atmosphere it emits. And thanks to Alex Hoffman and Matt Moses for being great hotel roommates. Sharing a room made the trip a lot more affordable for me. I can only do one out-of-state show a year and SPX might be my choice in 2016 too.

November 18th, 2014

Vortex Book Mini-Tour Diary

Filed under: Event Recap — Tags: , , , , — William Cardini @ 12:32 pm

I started the Vortex Book Mini-Tour with a release party at Floating World Comics in Portland on Friday and Short Run in Seattle on Saturday. The tour ends with an Austin signing at Farewell Books tomorrow, Wednesday 11/9, from 7 to 9pm.

Vortex stack

On Friday, 11/14, I got into Portland after lunch, took the light rail and bus to meet Virginia Paine (who runs my publisher Sparkplug Books). It was my first glimpse of the Vortex book – I was overwhelmed! I didn’t even want to flip through it at first. The metallic silver ink on the cover turned out just as I had visualized.

Vortex on the shelf at Floating World
Vortex in good company on the shelves at Floating World Comics.

We took the bus downtown to drop a box of Vortex and Reich #12 at Floating World Comics and then went to Powell’s. I’ve been in Bookpeople here in Austin and Tattered Cover’s old downtown location in Denver but Powell’s beats them all! I could live in their sf section. We only had about a half hour but fortunately I have a list for whenever I’m in a used book store. I grabbed The Dark World by Henry Kuttner (and an uncredited CL Moore) and Sorcerer’s Legacy by Janny Wurts (I want to try a solo book by her before I dive into her unfinished epic fantasy series). I also saw Chronicles of Mavin Manyshaped by Sheri Tepper but it was $15 and I wanted to get more than one book.

The Dark World by Henry Kuttner
I read this on the plane ride back (it’s only 126 pages). An inspiration for Zelazny’s Amber. I noticed some additional parallels to Lord of the Rings (evil beings who invest their energy in physical objects) and Wheel of Time (a glass sword of great power).

The signing was fun, I could spend all night at Floating World Comics. I’d gotten the impression it was small, like a big closet, but their current space is enormous and Jason Leivian has packed it to the gills with fantastic comics. It was good to meet Elijah Brubaker and hang out with him, Zack Soto, Virginia, and everyone who came by. I had an interesting conversation with Mike Getsiv about the boundaries of the abstract comics genre. Then after the signing Sera Stanton (who drew the awesome Sparkplug Books cat t-shirt for the Kickstarter) gave me and Virginia a ride to Seattle so I got to sleep most of the way.

Sparkplug Books table at Short Run photo by Virginia Paine
Sparkplug Books table at Short Run. Photo by Virginia.

Saturday was Short Run. If you’re unfamiliar, it’s a free one-day show like CAB or LA Zine Fest. It’s in this old, beautiful brick building in downtown Seattle. Every glimpse I got of Seattle was beautiful. If I lived there, I couldn’t get over driving down a freeway, ice-crowned mountains on my left and a shining lake lapping at house-covered hills on my right.

Fry bread tacos at Short Run
Delicious fry bread tacos from a food truck at Short Run.

Short Run itself was great! Good energy; vegan treats and coffee by the clean, spacious bathroom; food trucks in the parking lot; and steady crowds all day. Vortex seemed to be selling well but I was still able to sneak away from the table to be a good consumer. It was my first time sitting at a publisher’s table at a con and it was exactly what I hoped for – All the interaction and none of the stress about sales. My #1 goal for the day was to meet Simon Hanselmann and get a personalized copy of Megahex so I did that within the first hour.

Megahex signed by Simon Hanselmann

I did some drawings in Vortex as well. Jen Vaughn, Virginia and I’s gracious host, bought Vortex so of course, in thanks, I hexed her copy.

Cursed book photo by Jen Vaughn
The inscription reads: “William Cardini curses anyone other than Jen Vaughn who owns this book.” Not sure what face I’m making – I guess it’s my witch grin? Photo by Jen.

Finally put faces to some names I know from the internet, such as Michael Litven of Ebbits, Rob Kirby, Brandon Lehmann AKA Bobby Mono, Shanna Matuszak, and Jack Hayden of Snakebomb. Austin was represented well – both the Rough House Comics crew and Monofonus Press were there. It was great to reconnect with other comics folk since I haven’t been to a show since TCAF 2013. At dinner I was missing my family so I showed Virginia and Yumi Sakugawa photos and videos of Ruby.

Short Run trip haul
My haul from Short Run, Floating World, and Powell’s.

We came back for the after party at Washington Hall, but it was too loud to talk with the bands, so Virginia and I met back up with Jen and she gave us an after-hours tour of the Fantagraphics office. We saw an old Love and Rockets cover divided into Rubylith layers to prepare it for printing!

Fantagraphics basement photo by Jen Vaughn
The Fantagraphics basement is filled with comics. Photo by Jen.

Now I’m back in Austin with my wife and daughter and pumped about comics. There won’t be a new Skew page this week because we’re going to divide it into multiple parts so it doesn’t take too long to load and I need to decide where the split should be and draw a cover for Part 2. If you’re in Austin and I didn’t see you at Short Run, I hope to see you tomorrow at Farewell, so you can say hello to Vortex!

November 14th, 2012

BCGF 2012 Recap

Filed under: Event Recap — Tags: , , , — William Cardini @ 12:19 am

Thanks to everyone who came by the GCPM table and traded for or bought an issue of Vortex.


Me and Josh Burggraf. I look like a madman.

BCGF was amazing (and hot and crowded and intense).

Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Fest
I keep showing people this picture from the BCGF tumblr to give them an idea of how crowded BCGF was. You can see me staring directly into your soul through the camera.

It was my first time tabling at an east coast comics festival so I got to meet a lot of people IRL that I’ve only known online, which was fantastic. I’m really feeling the comics love right now. It’ll be a while before I can travel to another con so it’s good that BCGF was so great.

William Cardini Silver Surfer and Josh Burggraf Batman fan art
One really awesome moment was when this dude Barney came up to me and Josh and asked us to draw some sketches of superheroes for him. Barney’s a big fan of Rub the Blood, if you look at his Twitter he asked other people to do fan art.

You can see Josh’s perspective of our weekend on our GCPM tumblr. I’ll put Vortex #3 in my store soon.

March 6th, 2012

Quick STAPLE! 2012 Recap

Filed under: Event Recap,Life — Tags: , , — William Cardini @ 11:48 pm

There were tons of fun moments at STAPLE! 2012.

Bear Quest costume
I’m chilling with the Cyclopean bear from Zach Taylor’s Bear Quest.

Thanks to everyone who came by our table.

Gold County Paper Mill and Glademade's table at Staple!
The Gold County Paper Mill and Glademade’s table.

I felt like Sunday traffic wasn’t quite as heavy as last year, but it was great to meet fans, hopefully make some new ones, and hang with more cartoonists than I usually see.

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.

April 12th, 2011

Mini-Comics Day Recap

Filed under: Event Recap — Tags: , , — William Cardini @ 8:50 pm

Mini-Comics Day at Dragon’s Lair was pretty good. Rather than work on a new mini, I just worked on Math Fiction Squared. I drew for four hours and got about halfway done with three pages. I’m almost done.

Here’s a preview shot I posted on my flickr last week:

Mark P Hensel Math Fiction Squared Preview

This image hasn’t had the red/blue anaglyph 3d effect applied to it yet (obviously). It’s also been rotated and flipped. I’m having a lot of fun experimenting with different custom patterns for this project. I want to go back and add the patterns to all my old comics, but although that probably won’t happen I’m definitely going to start using them more going forward.

March 8th, 2011

STAPLE! Recap

Filed under: Event Recap — Tags: , , , , , — William Cardini @ 7:00 am

Hey yawl, the Gold County Paper Mill and Glademade had a blast at STAPLE! last weekend, thanks to everyone who hung out and bought stuff!

Glademade and GCPM at STAPLE!
Zoom out shot of the table (I was able to get everything in the image except for the second Glademade card rack). Glade’s face is like “why are you d00dz hiding?”

We met a ton of kewl people and got to hang out with kewl people we’ve met at past STAPLE!s (that plural spelling of STAPLE! is straight from the style guide, I swear).

Glademade and GCPM at STAPLE!
Now everyone is showing their faces. From left to right: Michael Miles, David Fullen, Glade Hensel.

Some highlights:

  • The people across the aisle from us, writer Adam Smith and artist Matt Fox of Wet Black Ghost press, had driven all the way from Little Rock, Arkansas, where they say there’s not much of a scene. I dug their short sci-fi comic and I’m looking forward to the fantasy webcomic that’s on the way.
  • Speaking of driving cross country, I met several people who said they had just moved to Austin from Portland, like the cartoonists Aaron Whitaker and Melinda Boyce. Coincidence or growing trend? Let’s hope more cartoonists defect here.
  • Jake Ewing, proprietor of Awesome Comics in Dallas, shared a table with the Arkansas boys. He makes pretty kewl little folded full-color comics.
  • I’m really glad that Sparkplug Comics had a table at STAPLE!, I wish their were more out of town indy publishers there. Chris C. Cilla was in attendance, so I’m glad I’d been waiting to buy his new book The Heavy Hand from Domy so I could get a signed book straight from the author. I started reading it on the bus ride home from work yesterday and I’m really digging it.
  • It was good to talk to Paul Maybury and his also talented assistant Ricky Valenzuela. If I’d had more dough I would’ve bought some of Maybury’s sick looking original pages. At least we got to talk about coloring for a bit.
  • Man, I love how Toby Craig is still putting out watercolored comics in Houston. His earlier series Monster Engine was the first DIY comic I ever bought back at Bedrock City Comics on 1960.
  • I dug Partydog‘s VHS-style comic The Body is a System. Also he handed me a hilarious xerox mini of stick figure collaborations with his bf on this site. Loved it.
  • I was hoping that Zach Taylor would have Bear Quest 2 ready but his jam comic with Chris Sweet, 16-bit Breakfast, will tide me over for a bit.
  • I always enjoy chatting with Jen and MC of Buttersword. Their comics are like an angrier Porcellino with some sf elements thrown in every once in a while. Basically, they’re super real, honest, and independent. Also I applaud them for monetizing MC’s toy collecting.
  • Palfloat is a true Austin original. Click that link – you’ll thank me.

I hope to see you all again (and more people!) at STAPLE! 2012. Also, if you’re wondering, I’ll start posting the eight-page Glade and Mark comic on Friday. Click here for additional photos and GCPM-centric commentary

April 13th, 2010

MoCCA 2010 Recap

Filed under: Event Recap — Tags: , , , , , — William Cardini @ 7:37 pm

MoCCA was a blast this year, as always. I got a tonnnnn of awesome-looking minicomics, newsprint comic anthologies, and other books. I was glad that it was in April this year rather than June – NYC in June is too much like Austin in June, but NYC in April is a nice cool break from the high temperatures that are already here in Texas.

The only panel that I went to was Frank Santoro and Dash Shaw in Conversation. They talked mainly about color in comics, and how it differs from color in a painting. Frank talked about how he puts together a page of Cold Heat, which was fascinating. He really made me see how offset comics are a form of printmaking just like serigraphy. I came away with a lot of good ideas for my next project, which you’ll hear more about later…

While I was in NYC I finally got to meet my collaborator Josh Burggraf in person. I chilled with him at the Supertalk Comix table (where we had copies of SHAMAN THUNDER for sale), met the Supertalk d00dz and drew this jam comic:


Panel One: Josh, Panel Two: Me, Panel Three: Victor Kerlow, Panel Four: Josh, Panel Five: Jeremy Povolny, Panel Six: Me

On Sunday I went to the MOMA, where there’s a William Kentridge show up. He always makes me want to buckle down and get some animation done. I’d seen his angrier videos before but I also saw some that were more mournful and beautiful, as well as some amazing playful ones that reminded me of early cinema.

I didn’t end up unloading all of my copies of SHAMAN THUNDER so if you want one let me know. We’re selling them for two dollars.