I just received this sample copy of Oyster War and it looks great! Here’s a few pictures of the book, including one with a CD and ruler so you can get an idea of how big this book is. I’m really happy with the way the printing turned out. Look for the book in stores this Fall from Oni Press. The in-store date is in flux at the moment due to some printing delays, but I’ll continue to keep my “Oyster Tour” schedule/appearances post updated as the dates get worked out.
As you probably know by now, Oyster War is coming out this fall from Oni Press. In support of the book, I’ll be doing a series of convention appearances and signings around its release. Here’re the dates that are currently lined up. I’ll be signing/sketching in copies of Oyster War and will have some of my older material available for sale at the conventions. I hope to see you at one (or more) of the following events!
Unfortunately, there was a printing problem with some of the Oyster War covers and the in-store date of the book is going to be pushed back by a few weeks. I don’t have a definite date at the moment, but I’ll update my in-store signing dates once they’ve been rescheduled. I am still expecting to debut the book at SPX and should have reinforcement books shipped in time for CXC.
Update (8/16): Books are printed and ready to go–and I’ve got new signing dates for my in-store appearances! I’ve updated all the info below, including my table location at SPX.
September 18-19 – Small Press Expo (SPX), Bethesda MD. Oyster War debuts at this year’s Small Press Expo! This is a two day show, so I’ll be there both Saturday and Sunday. I’ve been to pretty much every SPX since 2000 or so (one was canceled, I missed one for a wedding) but this is the first time I’ll be debuting a book at the show. I’ve got a full six foot table, so I’ll have plenty of stuff with me other than Oyster War: older books, minicomics, original art, my Wrath of Khan screen-print poster, etc. I’ll be seated at: E 4B-5A (see floor chart below).
October 3 – Cartoon Crossroads Columbus (CXC), Columbus, OH. I’ve been accepted as an exhibitor at the inaugural Cartoon Crossroads Columbus. Columbus is a great cartooning/comics town and the lineup for this event is already flat-out amazing. It’s a one day show as far as tabling goes, but I’m hoping I can show up a day early to catch some of the Friday programming as well. I’ll update this page with my table information when I receive it.
October 7 – Oyster War in Stores! October 8-9 – New York Comic Con, New York City. I’ll be at the Oni Press booth signing copies of Oyster War during the first two days (Thursday and Friday) of the NYCC. This is yet another con I’ve never attended before! Once I know my signing schedule and the location of the Oni booth on the show floor, I’ll post that information here. NYCC Signing Info: I’ll be signing at the Oni Press booth (1282): Thursday: 2:00-3:15 Friday: 5:00-6:15
October 24 – ACME Comics, Greensboro, NC, 12-4 pm. I’ll be signing copies nearby ACME comics in Greensboro. I haven’t done an event here in a loooonnngg time and I’m looking forward to returning!
October 28 – Ssalefish Comics & Toys, Winston-Salem NC, 5-7 pm. I’ll be signing Oyster War as well as the issue of Creepy I’ve got a story in at my hometown comics shop, Ssalefish Comics and Toys from five until seven.
November 22 – Miami Book Fair. I’ll be giving a presentation on Sunday along with fellow cartoonist Scott Chantler.
In Children’s Alley:
2 p.m. / Wembly Wordsmith’s Storytorium!
Take an adventure on the high seas and encounter oyster pirates, mysterious lands, magical artifacts and legendary treasures, in Ben Towle’s Oyster War and Scott Chantler’s Pirates of the Silver Coast.
The seventh issue of Cartozia Tales is at the printers now and about to be sent out to subscribers–and I’ve got a story in it! If you don’t know about Cartozia Tales, now’s a fantastic time to jump in. It’s a all-ages map-based fantasy comics anthology that features a core group of seven (great) cartoonists, with two additional guest cartoonists per issue. For issue seven, I’ll be joining Meredith Gran as guest artist. Here’re some sample panels from my story along with the cover:
Cartozia World Headquarters could really use an infusion of new subscribers right now, as they’re getting to the bottom of their Kickstarter piggy bank. They’ve set up a great deal to get you introduced to the series on the cheap: You can get the first three issues–that’s over 120 pages of comics–in digital format for just $2.50. And that also includes $5.00 off a full digital subscription if you decide to go all-in. Details here. You can also pick up individual hard copy issues and subscriptions here.
I never fail to find something interesting at our local monthly Hoots Flea market. This past weekend I encountered a vendor who had a small stack of early 2000s indie comics and I picked up a few odds and ends from him, including a 2001 anthology I’d not heard of called Drippytown, which apparently originated in Vancouver. It caught my eye because it featured early work by now well-known cartoonists such as Tony Millionaire and Marc Bell. The real surprise of the comic, though, was an extensive text essay on the history of EC Comics–and reminiscense of the 2000 EC “reunion” held at the San Diego Comic-Con–by cartoonist/illustrator James Lloyd.
With the author’s kind permission, I’ve scanned and posted the article:
You can click through the gallery above for bigger scans, or grab this PDF I put together. (© James Lloyd 2001)
I’m back from yet another great Heroes Con. It’s the last show for a bit that I’ll have attended as a “civilian.” Oyster War will be out this fall and so I’ll most likely be tabling at any shows I go to for the next year or so. I don’t have any big take-away from this year’s show other than that it was–as usual–really well-run and a blast to be at. There’s a reason Heroes is one of comics folks’ most beloved shows.
Here’s just a few thoughts/highlights from my trip:
- The show seemed to be really, really well-attended this year. I’ve never seen a line at Heroes like there was on Saturday. Even an hour or two after the show opened there were still people lined up all the way down the side of the convention center.
- There were a lot more cosplayers–and maybe a lot more women?–this year than in years past. It’s not like there have never been cosplayers or women at Heroes before, but this was the first year that it really stood out to me as a noticeable demographic shift. That’s all good in my book.
- Our “Mega Panel” on Saturday wasn’t very well attended. I went into it expecting a light showing crowd-wise just because of this year’s subject matter, but it was still a bit of a disappointment. The people that were there seemed to enjoy it, though.
- Among the original art pieces that Craig Fischer showed at the Mega Panel were these two gorgeous Denys Wortman originals. Apparently James Sturm has literally boxes and boxes of Wortman originals that were given to CCS.
- Speaking of Originals: it’s worth a trip to Heroes just to look through the incredible array of original art you’ll find at Bechara Maalouf’s booth. Seriously. Did I mention he’s got literally dozens of Kirby pages in portfolios you can just flip through and look at? One of these days, when I win the lottery…
- I bought this beautiful Drew Weing original from Set To Sea. Check out how he’s handled the reflection of the sponge and rigging!
- I spent more time at the art auction than I have in years past–mainly just because there were some folks I knew hanging out there (and in some cases waiting to see what their pieces sold for). As usual, I registered for a bidding paddle but never actually bid on anything since everything I was interested in was way way out of my price range. Here’s a Bob MacLeod New Mutants piece that was out of my price range before I could even get my paddle in the air:
- At the art auction I ran into Craig Hamilton, who I haven’t seen in years. He told me he’d abandoned comics work entirely and had gotten a job doing those hand-lettered chalk signs you see at bars, restaurants, and grocery stores. He then totally blew my mind my showing me that his Dr. Strange piece for the art auction–which appears at first glance to be an oil painting–is actually done with sign chalk on a black chalk board:
- Speaking of the art auction: It’s long been known that paintings of superhero ladies in revealing outfits fetch the big money at the Heroes auction. This year, though, I heard at least two different artists wondering if maybe the bounds of good taste aren’t being stretched a bit in this department. That one of this year’s big five-figure sellers was basically a spread-legged crotch shot of Emma Frost wasn’t unusual, but I wonder if the current spotlight on making the comics community less toxic to women isn’t fueling some of this talk. I also heard at least one female exhibitor grousing about the boob-a-rific “You hit the jackpot, tiger” Mary Jane Watson that serves as the Heroes’ website splash page.
- I attended two panels on craft/technology: Kyle Webster’s panel demoing his Photoshop brushes and a panel on color flatting with Manga Studio. Both of these panels were well-attended and had lots of people asking questions. I’ve thought for a long time that there’s a lot more interest out there for panels on the actual craft of comics-making than many con organizers may think. I’d love to see more of this. Maybe I’ll pitch something along those lines for next year’s show.
- I didn’t buy as many books as I usually do at Heroes, but here’re a few items. That last book that’s open to a spread is the new Pope Hats from AdHouse.
As usual, the best part of Heroes was seeing and hanging out with a lot of folks who I only really see at Heroes once a year or so. See you next year everyone! (And also as usual, a big thanks to everyone who keeps Heroes running like the well-oiled machine it is, including but not limited to: Shelton Drum, Andy Mansell, Rico Renzi and all the Heroes volunteers!)
Here’re a few pictures I took at the opening reception for the TAG exhibit. Info about the show can be found here.
I’ll be jumping back into the usual yearly Heroes Con “mega-panel” this year with my pal Craig Fischer and here’s our topic for this year. I’ll be covering the initial presentation/slide show on cartooning how-to books–a subject I’m really looking forward to discussing. Come one, come all! Saturday, 3:00 pm, room 209.
“At the Junction of Words and Pictures: the Tenth Anniversary of the Center for Cartoon Studies
For this year’s mega-panel, cartoonist Ben Towle and critic Craig Fischer celebrate the first decade of the Center for Cartoon Studies (CCS), the influential school for comics artists located in White River Junction, Vermont. Ben will begin with a slide show/talk about the history of “how-to” cartooning guides, including How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way, Understanding Comics, and the CCS-sponsored Adventures in Cartooning books by James Sturm, Andrew Arnold, and Alexis Frederick-Frost. Ben’s presentation will be followed by a screening of Cartoon College (Josh Melrod and Tara Wray, 2012, 75 minutes), a lively documentary that chronicles CCS’s history while focusing on a group of students furiously working on long-form comics for their graduation projects. One added attraction of Cartoon College: interviews with such comics luminaries as Scott McCloud, Art Spiegelman, Françoise Mouly, and Steve Bissette.
To explore the issues and situations brought up in Cartoon College, we’ll then move into a panel featuring CCS alumni and students. Our guests will be Chuck Forsman, Oily Comics publisher and creator of such recent graphic novels and comics as TEOTFW, Celebrated Summer, and Revenger; Sophie Goldstein, writer/artist of the Ignatz-nominated House of Women and Adhouse’s graphic novel The Oven; and current CCS student Andy Shuping. Come get the inside scoop on CCS from those in the know! The panel will end with a display of original art to be included in a major CCS art exhibit at Appalachian State University in Fall 2015.”
One of the many concepts discussed on a recent Rachel and Miles X-Plain the X-Men podcast was that of “MagnEmo”–Magneto when he’s moody or emotional. Despite being just an offhand gag that was mentioned once then quickly forgotten on the show, it struck me as hilarious… so I had to do a visual interpretation. So, here he is: MagnEmo, Earth’s most powerful–and moody–supervillain.