My top 5 (or 6) comics of 2012 on BoingBoing!

Brian Heater's Best Damn Comics Of The Year list is up now at BoingBoing, and my picks (books by Gabriella Giandelli, Katie Skelly, Brandon Graham, Farel Dalrymple, Jesse Jacobs, and Jeff Lemire) are up there with plenty of other folks. Also, I should've really included White Clay by Thomas Herpich-- pick it up at all costs!

In Progress.

Here's the title spread from March, written by Congressman John Lewis & Andrew Aydin and drawn by me.

And here's a little past-present-future-- the top row is all the books or stories I've had published from 1992-2012. The bottom row is pages and scripts for all the books I'm currently working on (the March trilogy, Rick Riordan's The Lost Hero adapted by Robert Venditti, my next solo graphic novel Cover, a short comic written by Al Burian for Tugboat Press's Free Comic Book Day release, and new short stories for the You Don't Say collection.)

New French story in LA VILLA SUR LA FALAISE!

If you're in France, pick up a copy of Casterman Publishing's La Villa Sur La Falaise ("The Villa At The End Of The Road"), a 280-page short story anthology commemorating the 10th anniversary of their Ecritures graphic novel line (to which Swallow Me Whole and The Silence Of Our Friends belong). I have a brand new 17-page story in the book, available nowhere else!

Other contributors include Isabel Kreitz, Jiro Taniguchi, Cati Baur, Hannah Berry, Saulne, Davide Reviati, Fred Bernard, Gabrielle Piquet, and Kan Takahama. Each of us did a short story continuing a common narrative setup penned by Benoit Sekal. This was one of my favorite stories to bring to life-- I hope you enjoy it!

If you live in North America and would like a copy, I have a handful and will gladly send you a signed copy for $15 in the US, or slightly more in Canada-- just email me at to inquire. Thanks.

CALLERS-- new "Reviver" album + amazing videos

Brooklyn/Providence quartet Callers has a brand new album out called Reviver on Partisan Records! You should definitely check out their previous album, Life Of Love, as well.

Here's a new video for the song "Heroes":

And here's video of a stripped-down version of Callers playing in forgotten recesses of the city.

 Callers is, at its core, Sara Lucas and Ryan Seaton (one of my hometown best friends, and former member of the bands Rainy Day Regatta, Halo Perfecto, and Flaws), who formed in New Orleans in 2004. My now-defunct label Harlan Records released their first EP in 2005, and it's my dream that Ryan Seaton score a film adaptation of one of my books someday. He's also the person used as the physical inspiration for Perry in Swallow Me Whole.

R.I.P. Fat Shadow; new musical goings-on

This is a quick post in recognition of one of my favorite Bloomington-area bands, Fat Shadow, who recently called it quits. Fat Shadow was a perfect punk-meets-classic rock storm, carved from the spaces where Heart meets X, where Jefferson Airplane meets Dinosaur Jr.

In their time, they managed to release the outstanding Foot Of Love LP, which is available here on vinyl/download and here as a direct download

(Here are a ton of live Fat Shadow photos I took over the years as well.)

In the meantime, definitely check out these jams from its members:

Purple 7 is a new Replacements-meets-Guided By Voices power trio with Chris Mott (Fat Shadow, Door-Keys, Landlord), Will Staler (Defiance Ohio, Landlord), and Patrick Jennings (Hot New Mexicans). They've got an incredible 5-song 12" out now on Let's Pretend Records (and here's the download), and are currently touring as well.

Here's a video for their song "Poison Ivy."

Fat Shadow drummer Jeff Grant (also of Pink Razors and Stop It!!) has a solo band project called Full Sun, with two tapes under his belt, both still available as downloads. I highly recommend the Bare Floor recording! He's also playing guitar and singing in The Sands, a new band featuring folks from Memory Map, Magnolia Electric Co., and Coke Dares, as well as internet cat-celebrity Lil Bub's human caretaker.

Bassist/wailer Erin Tobey is currently in the process of hammering out what will be a stunning second solo album; her classic 2005 debut is still available as an LP here and download here. She is also an accomplished multimedia artist and has recently teamed up musically with Tammar, Vollmar, and one-off Donna Summer cover band Bad Girls.

Vocalist Daun Fields also performs and records as Vera Maleta, and released several albums fronting The Door-Keys. She also has a blog called Crocosmia, chronicling her relationship to magic, growth, and the creative spirit.

ANY EMPIRE in Best American Comics 2012 Notables List!

I'm pleased to discover that my graphic novel Any Empire was included in The Best American Comics 2012 Notables List!

Congratulations to comics friends Anders Nilsen, Sarah Glidden, Jesse Jacobs, Jordan Crane, Kate Beaton, Vera Brosgol, Box Brown, Brian Chippendale, Lisa Hanawalt, Kevin Huizenga, my amazing teacher Ben Katchor, Tom Neely, GB Tran, Jeff Smith, Noah Van Sciver, and Becky Cloonan for their inclusions into the Best American list this year!

KALAMAZOO-- upcoming events Oct. 4-6!

Heads up, Michigan! I'll be in Kalamazoo doing a variety of events from October 4-6, thanks to the folks at Western Michigan University. Here's the schedule:

Thurs. October 4, 5:30 pm:
Slideshow presentation of my work, with an open discussion and Q&A. WMU's Richmond Center For Visual Arts, room 208.

Fri. October 5, 6-9 pm (during Art Hop):
Opening reception for my Cross Sections exhibit, featuring tons of work from 1998 to present. Everything's for sale, and I'll be selling/signing books as well. Kalamazoo Book Arts Center (326 W. Kalamazoo Ave.)-- and the exhibit runs from October 5-26.

Sat. October 6, 10am-2pm:
Comics/ visual narrative workshop at the Kalamazoo Book Arts Center. $65. Bring your projects!

See you there!

20th anniversary of publishing comics!

This week marks the 20th anniversary of publishing my first comic--  D.O.A. #1, with the combined creative efforts of Michael Lierly, Nathan Wilson, and Alan Short. We printed up 100 copies under cover of darkness in late September 1992, and sold them on shelves at Collector's Edition Comics as well as out of our backpacks at school in North Little Rock, AR.

(D.O.A. #1 cover-- art by Mike Lierly, colors by me.)

To our surprise, the print run sold out by the time issue #2 hit the stands around Thanksgiving 1992. This encouraged us to continue a bi-monthly print schedule as we worked on writing all 50 issues of the series, but naturally by the time #4 hit shelves, we were neck-deep in a number of spin-off title ideas, writing songs for our fledgling band Soophie Nun Squad, laying groundwork on a small record label and punk zine, and figuring out how to make all of these projects work together.

(D.O.A. #2 interior page-- pencils by me, inks by Mike.)

I never looked back from these early efforts, and was just as serious about telling stories and communicating ideas through comics as I am today. I feel so fortunate to have had this kind of tunnel vision since age 11, when Mike Lierly (who had already been working on earlier incarnations of D.O.A. with Nate Wilson and Alan Short) suggested we make comics together as we rode to a week-long summer camp in his parents' minivan.

(Mike and I trying to "go pro", 1991.)

D.O.A. and its spin-off titles, coupled with shop owner Michael Tierney's decade-prior underground comic Wildstars, were part of a small early-mid 90's self-publishing scene in Little Rock. Books by area cartoonists Ron MacAdoo (now of Backyard Entertainment), Jeff Jackson, Chris Raymond, Jason Binfliff, Graham Westerlund, Ben Nichols (now of Lucero fame), and Ken Edge began surfacing as well, all learning from each other as we went, sometimes having never spoken in person about these various comics efforts. 

I truly don't know what I would've done if not for the possibilities opened to me through comics storytelling. Thanks to everyone I've collaborated with, everyone who has provided criticism, feedback, and advice over the last two decades, who has written or spoken to me at a convention, and readers willing to put up with my weird-ass stories.

Here's to tunnel vision and dedication.

(Mike Lierly continues his narrative path as a painter, and was also a member of the bands Soophie Nun Squad, Tem Eyos Ki, Boomfancy, Gioteens, Divorce Chord, and Universe. Nathan Wilson is a Bay Area tech wizard who is still cooking up an epic sci-fi/fantasy comic with me, and was a crucial behind-the-scenes force in Soophie Nun Squad. Alan Short is a member of Little Rock area metal bands Holy Angell, Deadbird, Zucura, and Seahag, and was also a member of Soophie Nun Squad and Them Of Delphi. We all remain best friends for life, though our paths cross less frequently.)

limited-edition bookplate for French ANY EMPIRE!/ fundraising for Sarah Kirsch

Here's a a full-color bookplate I just finished, limited to 150 copies of the French translation of Any Empire, to be released in October by Sarbacane!

I'll have the original artwork (9"x12") for sale this weekend at SPX, and will be donating ALL my original artwork sales to help my friend Sarah Kirsch with mounting medical/living expenses during her long and ongoing fight with Fanconi Anemia. If you can't make it to SPX but are interested in this piece (or others), please email me at and let me know. Thanks!

Some of you who were a part of the punk/hardcore scenes of the 1990's (and beyond) may know Sarah Kirsch (formerly known as Mike Kirsch) as the guitarist/vocalist for some of the best punk bands of all time, including Fuel, Sawhorse, Pinhead Gunpowder, John Henry West, Navio Forge, Torches To Rome, Bread And Circuits, Please Inform The Captain This Is A Hijack, Baader Brains, and most recently Mothercountry Motherfuckers. Her music truly changed and shaped my life as an adolescent, lent clarity, power, and passion to my experiences, and inspired me to do the same with my own creative efforts.

You can directly contribute to Sarah's medical/living expense fund here. The costs have been truly staggering and will remain so-- ANYTHING you can give is greatly appreciated. Thank you very much!

SPX time this weekend!

If you're in the DC area, come out to the Small Press Expo in North Bethesda, MD this weekend (Sept. 15th, 11am-7pm / Sept. 16th, 12-6pm)! It's at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center (5701 Marinelli Road). I'll be at Table J14, in my usual spot across from Top Shelf Productions. 

I'll have tons of books, original artwork, and other stuff for sale. SPX is personally my favorite comics event in North America, and this month marks my 20th anniversary of publishing comics. See you there!

Here's a floor map with my table marked:

SOUNDS OF YOUR NAME digital re-release Sept. 19!

I'm pleased to announce that Top Shelf will be digitally reissuing my hard-to-find omnibus Sounds Of Your Name, which collects almost all my long out-of-print comics from 1998-2004. This volume clocks in at around 330 pages, is rearranged chronologically and has additional notes, annotations, and backstories for the comics contained within.

Sounds Of Your Name collects all of Tiny Giants, It Disappears, Walkie Talkie #1-4, Conditions, Frankenbones, and has excerpts from Wonderful Broken Thing and The Schwa Sound, as well as anthology stories from Syncopated, Meathaus, and Paper Rodeo. The print version is still available from Microcosm Publishing, but due to a curse it's nearly impossible to find in any stores anywhere. You can order it directly from me here.

The digital reissue hits on September 19th for a measly $3.99, and my site's store will have a download link (along with digital versions of all the other Top Shelf books).

and here's an excerpt from "Satellite Worlds" (Walkie Talkie #3-4):

A Year Of Freedom for the West Memphis Three!

Jesse Miskelley, Jr., Jason Baldwin, and Damien Echols celebrate a year of freedom after 18 years of incarceration for three terrible murders they didn't commit (a case still unsolved, with thoughts and deep respect going out to the families of the three 8-year-old boys whose lives were taken far too early).

Suppose for a minute that you were framed, convicted, and incarcerated as a 16-year-old without a variety of financial or cultural privileges, and that you spent the next 18 years in prison, on death row and/or in solitary confinement? You'd find yourself completely out of the loop with a variety of pervasive technological and cultural changes (the Internet as a whole, and everything that has shifted as a result!), and would find yourself with a felony stuck to your record, a lifetime of institutionalization to shake, and with an extremely limited set of options.

Click here to contribute to the West Memphis 3 Freedom Fund, a non-profit "legal trust fund that was created to pay for Damien, Jason and Jessie's basic lifestyle needs (food, shelter, healthcare, education and the like) in order to provide them a financial bridge as they re-enter society as free men, with the expectation each will become self-sufficient and live on their own earnings in the near future as they attain their career goals."

Much love and support to these three fellow Arkansans, their families, the memories of the victims, and all whose lives were scarred by these senseless murders. Despite the statistical impossibility of the Marion County or Arkansas law enforcement ever apprehending the true killer(s), here's to the hope of true justice and healing someday.