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January 21st, 2015

Vortex Updates and Press

Filed under: Press

Releasing the Vortex book was my second biggest accomplishment of 2014. (The biggest was getting my daughter to sleep in her crib. Neither would have been possible without the help of my wife.) Thanks again to everyone who supported the Sparkplug Books Kickstarter! Virginia is sending out your copies of Vortex and I’m working on the 3d print and original art rewards. If you missed out on the Kickstarter but would still like a copy, it’s for sale in the Sparkplug web store and in Austin at Farewell Books and Austin Books. I’ll sell copies on this site once I finish my part of the Kickstarter rewards.

Glade and Ruby
I did this drawing of my wife and daughter for my father-in-law’s Kickstarter reward.

Here’s some press that Vortex got in the tail end of 2014:

If you’ve read Vortex, please consider rating or reviewing it on Goodreads.

December 12th, 2014

Austin Zine Fest 2014

Filed under: Events — Tags: ,

Hi y’all! Glade (AKA the greeting-card designer Glademade, AKA Paper Party shop-owner, AKA my wonderful wife) and I will be tabling at the second Austin Zine Fest this Sunday!

Austin Zine Fest 2014

I’ll have the Vortex book, Cold Heat Special #10, and a selection of prints. Glade will have Paper Party merchandise and Glademade cards, including a bunch of new designs!

Glademade Friendship Card
One of the new Glademade card designs.

Austin Zine Fest 2014 is this Sunday, 12/14 from 12 to 4pm at the George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center, 1165 Angelina Street.

November 18th, 2014

Vortex Book Mini-Tour Diary

Filed under: Events

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 11th, 2014

Sparkplug Fall Books Release Party

Filed under: Events

I’ll be in Portland this Friday for the Sparkplug Fall Books Release Party at Floating World Comics! Elijah Brubaker and I will be celebrating the release of our books, Reich #12 and Vortex.

Sparkplug Fall Books Release Party Flyer

Then Saturday I’ll be tabling with Sparkplug Books at Short Run in Seattle.

Short Run Seattle Flyer

I signed off on the digital proof of Vortex but I’m really excited to see the collection in print for the first time! Hopefully I’ll see some of y’all this weekend. If you’ve never met me before, this is what I look like:

Mark and Ruby

Unfortunately I won’t have my cute baby with me.

October 7th, 2014

Thanks Y’all!

Filed under: Admin

Wow, I’m so happy that the Sparkplug Books Kickstarter was funded with a little extra to pay the videographer and t-shirt designer and get Yumi Sakugawa’s mini printed. Thanks so much for all your support!!! We couldn’t have done it without y’all’s likes, shares, faves, boops, retweets, and most of all, pledges.

I’m getting emotional preparing Vortex for the printer. I’ve been tinkering with it off and on since June 2011. It feels bittersweet to close the files for the final time and move the project to my archive folder…

Drawing comics in my studio is such a solitary activity, I can forget that there are so many of y’all out there reading and enjoying <3<3<3 Your support means so much to me, thanks again!

October 2nd, 2014

The Hiizzztory of the Miizzzard Part 9: Summation

Filed under: Events — Tags:

1 day left in the Sparkplug Books Kickstarter campaign to publish my graphic novel Vortex and Elijah Brubaker’s Reich #12 and we’ve met our goal, thanks to your support!!! We’ve added a stretch goal and new rewards for a new Yumi Sakugawa mini. The campaign ends at 11:29am CDT on Friday, October 3rd.

I just made this collage of the Miizzzard’s various appearances over the years:

From left to right and top to bottom:

  1. Video still of me dressed as the Miizzzard.
  2. The Miizzzard’s first appearance in a comic.
  3. A drawing from December 2007 colored in Photoshop.
  4. A panel from Hyperbox #1.
  5. First Miizzzard comic drawn in MangaStudio, The Witch ATTACKS the Miizzzard of the Year 2978.
  6. Another ATTACKS comic colored by Josh Burggraf.
  7. Originally published in Future Shock #3, edited by Josh.
  8. Originally published in Digestate, edited by J.T. Yost.
  9. Skew, currently updated weekly on Study Group Comics.

Thanks for all your support y’all!

October 1st, 2014

The Hiizzztory of the Miizzzard Part 8: The Miizzzard of the Year One Million ATTACKS the Floating Crystal Witch

Filed under: Print Comics — Tags:

2 days left in the Sparkplug Books Kickstarter campaign to publish my graphic novel Vortex and Elijah Brubaker’s Reich #12!

I finished this six-page comic exactly two years ago. Josh Burggraf published it in his astro-sf anthology comic Future Shock #3. I was experimenting with the coloring, trying to the style of my comics closer to my acrylic paintings. I also was trying out a genderbent character design for the Miizzzard, who shifts shape and gender throughout millennia.

Click here to see the rest of The Hiizzztory of the Miizzzard.

September 30th, 2014

The Hiizzztory of the Miizzzard Part 7: The Miizzzard ATTACKS the Munchies

Filed under: Print Comics — Tags:

3 days left in the Sparkplug Books Kickstarter campaign to publish my graphic novel Vortex and Elijah Brubaker’s Reich #12! Virginia Paine has announced that if we get $2,000 over our goal, Sparkplug will be able to publish a Yumi Sakugawa mini.

I originally drew this four-page comic for J.T. Yost’s Digestate anthology in July 2012. I used a lot of patterns from Vortex for it.

Click here to see the rest of The Hiizzztory of the Miizzzard.

September 26th, 2014

Final Week of the Sparkplug Kickstarter

Filed under: Events — Tags: ,

We’re entering the final week of the Sparkplug Books Kickstarter for Vortex and Reich #12. Thanks so much for all the generosity in links and pledges that y’all have shared with us so far, I really appreciate it!

As you probably know, we only get your pledges when we meet or surpass our goal of $6,450 by 11:29am CDT on Friday, October 3rd. Your support will get us there!

We’ve added some new rewards during our campaign that may intrigue y’all:

  • For $7 you can get a digital download of the complete Vortex
  • Vortex digital download

  • For $35 you can get a 3d Hypercastle print shipped with your Vortex book, postcards, and the Barrio Mothers comic anthology.
  • 3d Hypercastle
    One 13×16″ CMYK digital print on semi-gloss photo paper with white border. Colors will be slightly different because of the printing process. Ships rolled in a tube with a pair of 3d anaglyph red and blue glasses.

  • For $47, US retailers can get 5 copies of Vortex and 5 copies of Reich #12 at wholesale price

And you can still get the complete print Vortex for just $20 or an original, custom acrylic painting by me for $250.

Your help will make these books a reality – if you’d like to see a print Vortex collection or the end of Reich, please consider buying a reward or sharing our project on social media.

September 25th, 2014

The Hiizzztory of the Miizzzard Part 6: Lamezine 001

Filed under: Web Comics — Tags:

Sparkplug Books is running a Kickstarter campaign to publish my graphic novel Vortex and Elijah Brubaker’s Reich #12. I’m doing a series of blog posts called The Hiizzztory of the Miizzzard that show how the protagonist of Vortex has evolved over the years.

The rest of this hiizzztory is going to be comics that I did for anthologies but haven’t posted here yet. I did this Miizzzard comic, Miizzzard Munch, in December 2011 as bonus content for Cate Wurtz’s downloadable comic Lamezine 001. I sent Cate a super wide horizontal png for the comic but I’ll break it up into pages for y’all: