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January 2nd, 2018

2017 in Review

From a geopolitical perspective, 2017 was a horrible year and the chances that our civilization will survive the coming climate catastrophe still seem remote. Our woeful lack of preparation for extreme weather events was unfortunately evident when the homes of my friends and family in Houston were imperiled by the record-shattering inundation of Hurricane Harvey. My parents’ house was inches from being flooded. I feel so grateful that they escaped that nightmare and I feel so much sympathy for the people who are still rebuilding in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico.

In response to the climate change denial, racist policies, and class warfare of the current Republican government, I was more politically active in 2017 than I have been in any year since 2003, when I participated in anti-war protests against our invasion of Iraq. It felt good to fight back and I feel like progressive forces in American won some victories.

Despite the national calamity, I continued to make comics. Madeleine Witt and Andrew White, the editors of Warmer: A collection of comics about climate change for the fearful & hopeful, included my submission in their anthology. I experimented with creating abstract comics from a template and Mike Getsiv posted some of the results of my tests on the Abstract Comics blog.

William Cardini abstract comics test
Abstract comics test. Each of the pages has the same circle shape, deformed or modified in different ways.

My biggest comics accomplishment was when Retrofit / Big Planet Comics published Tales from the Hyperverse, a collection of my short comics that I’ve been planning to put out for years. It’s difficult to match the feeling of excitement and anticipation that I got when I picked up the first box of comics from the post office. Tales from the Hyperverse will arrive at local comic shops that stock Retrofit / Big Planet Comics on Wednesday January 10th!

Floating Crystal Witch fan art by Colin Panetta
My friend and fellow cartoonist Colin Panetta drew this fan art of the Floating Crystal Witch, who features prominently in Tales from the Hyperverse.

Both Warmer and Hyperverse were funded by successful Kickstarter campaigns. Thanks to everyone who supported those campaigns with a pledge or a post!

I tabled at two comic fests this year, KC Zine Con for the second time and Cartoon Crossroads Columbus for the first time. I self-published a small print run of my minicomic Drumstick Pit for KC Zine Con. I’ll probably do one regional and one national show again next year.

Drumstick Pit mini-comic assembly process
It was fun to xerox and then fold and staple Drumstick Pit. It’s been too long since I last made my own mini-comics! An essential comics skill.

On this blog, which passed its tenth anniversary this year, I posted four book reviews:

I’ve got a few projects in the works that may see the light of day in 2018, including a collaboration with Zach Taylor on a videogame code named Project Quinoa. You can see updates from Zach, including videos of his great pixel art, on his development log.

Here’s a drawing I made this year that I might use for one of those aforementioned 2018 projects:

William Cardini dome city drawing
Dome city drawing.

And here’s a couple pages of a comic I’ve been tinkering with:

So I Folded Miizzzard grid comic page
“So I Folded” Miizzzard grid comic page.

And Piped Out Miizzzard grid comic page
“And Piped Out” Miizzzard grid comic page.

January 3rd, 2017

2015 and 2016 in Review

Filed under: Life — William Cardini @ 9:50 am

Like many progressive American people, 2016 has been an alarming year for me.

I got re-invested in the political process during the primaries. Thinking about the issues led me to finally get to This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate by Naomi Klein on my to-read list. This book is a clarion call to agitate for immediate climate action.

And then Trump was elected. In addition to his distressing racist, sexist, and dishonest rhetoric and behavior, his potential nominations for his cabinet are a climate nightmare.

In comparison to the challenges of climate change mitigation and an authoritarian president, my psychedelic space fantasy comics have seemed such an inadequate pursuit. I still believe in the power of stories and that art has transcendent value but I feel so privileged working on comics while the world collapses around me. Especially when I see what activists can accomplish in places like Standing Rock. I’m not sure if I want to make my comics more political or just get more involved with activist groups.

So I haven’t been as productive in 2016 as I was in 2015.

In 2015 I drew a lot and tabled at SPX for the first time. I had pages in four anthologies, Blank Hill Zine, RhiZome #3, Ink Brick #4, and Future Shock Zero. Yeah Dude Comics put out my mini-comic Sphere Fear. I finished Skew Part 3 and a couple other comics for Study Group. I did two large Acrylic paintings as rewards for the Fall 2014 Sparkplug Books Kickstarter.

In 2016 I tabled locally at the KC Zine Fest but didn’t travel to any national shows. I did some watercolor paintings for a couple of KC area art shows. Alternative Comics took over the Sparkplug backstock and then released Vortex through Diamond and produced a digital edition.

My biggest accomplishment was finishing Skew Part 4 and an epilogue. As a reward for reading through this post, here are six pages from Part 4:

Skew Page 183
Page 183.

Skew Page 183
Page 184.

Skew Page 183
Page 185.

Skew Page 183
Page 186.

Skew Page 183
Page 187.

Skew Page 183
Page 188.

One of my goals in 2017 is to find a publisher for a print edition of Skew.

I’ve also been working on another comic that should come out next year. It’s weird to work on comics that I’m not posting as soon as they’re finished. I don’t want to say anything else for fear of jinxing it. And I’m involved in at least one other anthology-ish project for 2017.

June 23rd, 2015

Vortex and Cold Heat Special #10 at Wonder Fair in Lawrence, KS

Filed under: Life — Tags: — William Cardini @ 10:11 am

My wife, daughter, and I moved to the Kansas City area a few months ago. We’re mostly settled and have started exploring. KC is has an interesting vibe. It’s a lot older and more industrial than Austin. I’ve heard people describe KC as the westernmost Eastern city because of its age and architecture, lots of red brick buildings everywhere; the easternmost Western city because of its expansive grid of streets; and the northernmost Southern city because of its wide, winding boulevards. KC’s an undefined cloud in which everyone sees something different. Or maybe the Midwest is a mix of the rest of the country. For me, KC has a robust art scene; big free museums; beautiful, tree-lined streets; hanging out my wife’s extended family; and huge, cheap houses with basements so I can expand my studio practice.

Basement studio
My dungeon basement painting studio.

The massive population influx to Austin changed it almost completely in the 12.5 years I lived there. The constant condo construction, cranes all over downtown, crowds of new people, and churn in local businesses are exciting but Austin doesn’t have a strong sense of history, the traffic is terribly congested, and real estate is increasingly expensive. We were priced out of our neighborhood and didn’t want to live in Austin’s sprawling suburbs with a grueling commute. I miss breakfast tacos (and my friends and family of course) but I’m looking forward to new opportunities and possibilities here in KC.

Wonder Fair photos by Glade Hensel
Wonder Fair photos by Glade Hensel.

For Father’s Day, we decided to take a trip to Lawrence, which less than an hour west of KC in Kansas. It’s a small college town with a strong hippie vibe, like I imagine Austin was fifty years ago. The downtown has a lot of cool independent stores, including a rad print/zine shop and gallery called Wonder Fair. I dropped some copies of Vortex and Cold Heat Special #10 off there. I’m going to try and get them in some KC shops too.

September 24th, 2013


Filed under: Life — William Cardini @ 9:43 am

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but I’ve got an excellent excuse: I’m now the father of a beautiful, strong, and healthy baby girl!

Ruby Hensel

It’s hard to describe the swirling flood of emotions I’ve been immersed in in the months leading up to her birth and the weeks since, but I truly feel like my world has expanded immeasurably. I’m also more committed than ever to drawing comics and showing my daughter that our lives don’t have to just be day jobs, shopping sprees, and dreary broken dreams. I want to show her a world of joy, unbearable cuteness, and play. I want to show her a world where she can be whatever she imagines, whoever she is, a world where her choices aren’t constrained or predetermined by patriarchy. I hope that I can live up to my parenting ideals and that, when I fail to meet them, I don’t let that stop me from continuing to try. I hope that she knows I love her and that I’ll be there for her. <3 I’m going to post her when I can – this is my home on the Internet and I won’t abandon it – but if you want to see what I’m up to more regularly, follow my my Hypercastle Tumblr. Even if I won’t be completing another 128-page graphic novel anytime soon, I’m going to make a commitment to myself to draw in my sketchbook regularly.

January 1st, 2013

Welcome to 2013!

Filed under: Admin,Life,Sketchbook Pages — Tags: , — William Cardini @ 6:57 pm

Let’s raise our crystal skull goblets to 2013 and the coming hyper-folk-sci-fi utopia! I hope that everyone had a happy new year’s.

William Cardini New Year Sketch
This is my first sketchbook page finished in 2013. I began it while chilling over the holidays and finished it today.

2012 was a year of upheaval, change, and growth.

Personally, Glade and I made some big choices. In the spring, we decided that we’re going to stay in Austin for the foreseeable future. In the summer, Glade opened Paper Party in Domy Books Austin and was able to move to part time at her day job in the fall. Domy Books Austin is now closing but Glade’s going to move Paper Party to a new spot at 1223 Rosewood. I’m bummed that Domy is going to be gone. Every time I went in there Russell was so enthusiastic about comics and would show me all the great new stuff that came in. He’s also been a great supporter and promoter of my comics. But I’m glad that Travis Kent and Mikaylah Bowman are carrying the torch with Farewell Books in the same spot.

2012 was a big year for my comics career:

Not everything was a triumph, however. I applied to the final round of the Xeric grant and didn’t get it. I’m still putting more money into my comics than I’m earning. I have several self-publishing projects that are stalled out.

I’m looking forward to experiencing what 2013 brings. My primary goal is to finish Vortex, put out the rest of it in minicomics, and explore the options for publishing a collected edition.

August 28th, 2012

Paper Party

Filed under: Life — Tags: , , , , , , — William Cardini @ 9:36 pm

My wife is opening up a shop called Paper Party in Domy Books in Austin. She’s going to sell stationary, art, party supplies, and gifts.

Paper Party screenprinting picture
A photo by Glade from when Glade and Laura were screenprinting Paper Party/Olive tote bags for the preview party.

Paper Party is going in the former Domy gallery space alongside a vintage and handmade clothing and accessory shop called Olive, run by our friend Laura Uhlir. There’s still going to be a gallery but it’s moving to a different area. Paper Party and Olive Vintage set up a sneak peek of their shops this past weekend. They’ll be open every Tuesday through Sunday starting on September 1st.

Paper Party preview
Two photos of the Paper Party sneak peek by Glade.

Watching all of the store items trickle in the staging area in our house has been fun. I think Paper Party is going to be fantastic and I’m so proud of Glade! Running her own boutique has been her dream for years and it’s finally becoming a reality. She’s supporting other craftspeople by selling their stuff on consignment and working to source sustainable and reusable party supplies.

Photos of Glade in her studio by Laura Uhlir
Two photos of Glade in her studio by Laura.

I’m so lucky to be married to be such an awesome lady. You should check out this profile of Glade that Laura posted on her Rad Lady blog. Laura took a bunch of beautiful photos of our house.

July 3rd, 2012

Thoughts on Not Getting the Xeric Grant

Filed under: Life — Tags: , , — William Cardini @ 7:16 am

Back in February I announced that I was applying for the final round of the Xeric grant. A couple of weeks ago I got a letter informing me that I wasn’t selected. I’m not going to let the rejection slow me down. Putting my work out there for review, for sale, or for awards means that it might get rejected. Anyone who wants to be a creative professional needs to have a thick skin.

Xeric Foundation logo
The Xeric website.

I applied to self-publish a comic that’s already posted on my website, Moon Queen. I wanted the funds to do a two-color offset print production of that comic. Because I was drafting a plan with potential buckets of cash, I thought about and researched a publishing, marketing, and distribution plan that’s way more ambitious than anything I’ve done with my comics so far. Formulating that plan means the Xeric helped me out before I even mailed in my application. Not getting the Xeric doesn’t mean I can’t implement some (or all) of these ideas in future self-publishing projects, I’ll just need to save my own pennies. But I’m not sure at this point if Moon Queen will exist in print. We’ll see.

Moon Queen cover spread
The cover for Moon Queen, click to read it.

Applying to the Xeric was something I’d been wanting to do since I first started reading about self-publishing comics in high school. I’m glad I finally got my shit together and did it. It’s a bummer that there are no future rounds of Xeric funding. I think the opportunity that the Xeric gave people isn’t quite replaced by self-publishing on the web, which requires a different skill set than self-publishing in print, and Kickstarter, which is only successful if a cartoonist has an existing audience. Fortunately the Sequential Arts Workshop, a new comics school in Florida, recently announced that they’re stepping in to fill the void left by the Xeric with micro-grants for self-publishing. The first deadline is August 15th, 2012, go apply!

May 8th, 2012

Consumption Junction, Tribute Comic, Reading Photos

I got a few miscellaneous things to tell y’all about.

First of all, my guest editorship at Novi Magazine continues with a short post about what I’ve been reading lately, The Accidental Space Spy by Øyvind Thorsby and The City of Dreaming Books by Walter Moers, both of which are highly entertaining, tongue-in-cheek travelogues. Click the Space Spy screenshot to read my post: (Update 1/13/2017: Novi Magazine and this link are now kaput)

The Accidental Space Spy screenshot

Second, Jason Poland drew a Robbie and Bobby comic that’s a hypercastle tribute! I couldn’t be more flattered since Poland is such an awesome webcartoonist. Click the panel to read his comic in its psychedelic entirety:

Robbie and Bobby Crystal Clear panel

Finally, I have some photos from Melinda and I’s double comic book release party at Domy back in April, all from my wife Glade’s Instagram account:

Glade, Melinda, and her equally talented bf Aaron Whitaker.

Me and Glade.

Me reading my comics.

March 1st, 2011

Quick Wedding Post

Filed under: Life — Tags: , — William Cardini @ 7:40 am

Hey y’all I know I said that I’d start posting a comic today, but I decided to postpone that until next week because there are some things I want to talk about this week, namely my wedding and STAPLE!

Our wedding/reception was a lot of fun. There are a couple of details that I was involved in so I thought I’d post those here.

We had a unity volcano instead of a unity candle. Glade and I made it and then I painted it, here’s an action shot:

Glade and Mark's ceremony
Picture by my uncle. Sorry it’s a bit blurry. Notice the froghead on my best man.

The eruption wasn’t quite as high as we were hoping but oh well. The officiant (my good buddy Will Sellari, pictured holding microphone) included some lines from King Crimson in the ceremony. Also, one of my friends told me that they felt a strong gust right before the procession and knew that the wind wizards were giving their blessing. So, all in all, it was a pretty proggy wedding.

It was also pretty froggy. All of the dudes in the wedding party and the dads had these frogheads that Glade made. Here they are all lined up in a row (without their hats):

Glademade frogheads

Also, I drew the ceremony program:

Glade and Mark's ceremony program
The front and back covers for the ceremony program.

I made the comic that I’m starting to post next week for the ceremony program. Yes, we had the idea before we heard about Adrian Tomine’s latest book.

STAPLE! is this upcoming weekend here in Austin. For the third year in a row, the Gold County Paper Mill will have a table. I’ll post about what we’re bringing in detail on Friday.

January 7th, 2011


Filed under: Life — William Cardini @ 7:09 am

Happy holidaze and new year yawl! Sorry this is a bit belated, I took a little holiday break. To all those who came over because of the Meathaus blog post (and anyone else who just wandered here), welcome!

I was trying to do a drawing for 2011 to accompany this post and I was stymied, so I decided to let the cover of Leif Goldberg’s latest calendar ring in the new year for me.

Leif Goldberg’s Full Metal Rabbit, buy it online at Picturebox or come into Domy Austin and buy one

So what’s in store for 2011? Personally, things are going to be pretty quiet on this blog because my wedding and honeymoon taking up the first half of my year. However, during that time you can come see me and buy GCPM stuff, including the next issue of Catch Up, at STAPLE! on March 5th and 6th here in Austin, or pick up a copy of Math Fiction Squared, which I will again be contributing to, from Pat Ausilio at MoCCA. Expect more detailed posts as those events approach. In the second half of the year, things are fuzzier. I won’t be able to attend any cons or festivals but I want to put out some longer comics either here on my site, on other people’s sites, or in print. The specifics are misty but I’ve got a lot of ideas percolating, so don’t delete me from your feed yet!

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