Cross Hatch Dispatch 6/29/2007

Categories:  The Cross Hatch Dispatch


Above: Forget bags and boards. Get an iPhone case.

Another Jeffrey Brown sighting: Filmmaker Aaron Stewart-Ahn asks Brown about the numerous car crashes in his comics. Turns out Brown just might be coming out with a comic all about it.

Hope Larson passes around kissing cooties at Mocca.


Guest Strip: Sarah Morean

Categories:  Guest Strip

Sarah Morean is incredibly famous for doing lots of very important things.  She is licensed to drive a car, she is responsible for feeding herself (often several times in one day) and Sarah contributes semi-regular reviews to the Daily Cross Hatch.  What you can’t possibly know about her is that she also doodles in a sketchbook and is occasionally believed to be a cartoonist.

Sarah recently took a trip out east to New York City, destination: MoCCA.  She made several stops along the way, including Chicago, where she bumped into her very favorite cartoonist.

Sarah Morean

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Mineshaft #19 by R. Crumb, Peter Bagge, et al.

Categories:  Reviews

Mineshaft #19
By R. Crumb, Peter Bagge, et al.
MQ Publications

MineshaftI’m a touch embarrassed to admit that, until my recent interview with Kim Deitch, I had never heard of Mineshaft. The artist mentioned the publication in reference to his brother Simon’s work, which had appeared in the magazine in prose form. While Simon is credited as a contributor for number 19, the only other place his name appears in the issue is at the end of a message in the letters section, in which the writer apologizes for having added an extra zero to the end of the price for the monster suit in his piece on The Creature from the Black Lagoon (that’s $20,000, not $200,000, for those keeping track), and then proceeds to launch into a note explaining how much he enjoyed the other contributions to said issue.

As I was handed 19, last weekend at MoCCA, it was explained to me that Kim (who was standing over my shoulder, as I spoke to the man behind the Mineshaft table–whether it was one of the two publishers, I can’t honestly tell you) was also sadly absent from this issue, for the first time in recent memory, which is reason to dock it a point, right off the bat. However, any publication that features dual covers Peter Bagge (front) and Robert Crumb (back) can’t be all bad, right?

Right. In fact, I consider my first issue of Mineshaft to be something of a revelation. It’s the first time that I’ve realized that work of this nature can exist outside of reissues and hardbound compilations. To suggest, however, that this ‘zine is something of a time capsule, is to miss the point completely. Mineshaft is proof that the scene that gave birth to the independent comics movement, which exists to this day, still has a pulse that is capable of beating, even outside of scene that it begat.

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Joe Matt: The “Spent” Tour

Categories:  News

Chris Ware at Quimby’sJoe Matt & Ivan Brunetti

From left to right: Chris Ware observing, Joe Matt and Ivan Brunetti up front. 

An all-star cast of sequential masters showed up at Quimby’s on Saturday, June 16th, brought together in support of Joe Matt.  Chicago was the second stop on Matt’s promo tour for his latest book, Spent, which will also include the San Diego Comic-con International and the Toronto Comic Arts Festival

Matt was the scheduled guest speaker with Brunetti as questioner and moderator.  Notable audience members did include Chris Ware and Jeffrey Brown among others.

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Guest Strip: Kim Deitch Pt. 1

Categories:  Guest Strip

Kim DeitchWhen I spoke with Kim Deitch a couple of weeks ago, I off-handedly asked the artist if he might be interested in contributing a guest strip for the Cross Hatch, not expecting much in return.

Mind you, my lowered expectations had little to do with my interactions with Deitch—the artist had been incredibly kind, letting me into his home, and discussing with me the finer points of everything from his theoretical love of hip-hop music to William Mackpeace Thackery’s pioneering of the graphic novel to Louis Armstrong’s bizarre and unmentionable hobbies, for hours on end. Instead, it was based on the assumption that surely someone in Kim Deitch’s position would have little need to pass along art to some no name blog like ours.

A week and a half later, several page’s from Deitch’s unfinished collaboration with his brothers showed up in the mail. It was a short story the artist had shown me during my visit, and, like everything else he’s done, it was a stunner. We’re honored beyond belief to present to the first in a series of pages from the short story, The Cop on the Beat, The Man in the Moon, and Me.

–Brian Heater 

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Black Ghost Apple Factory by Jeremy Tinder

Categories:  Reviews

Black Ghost Apple Factory
By Jeremy Tinder
Top Shelf

Jeremy Tinder BGAFSadness is a powerful hand. It’s universal and potent, and in terms of artistic fodder, it can hold its own alongside between love and happiness and terror and loss, and as such, it’s one that’s almost always overplayed.

Jeremy Tinder deals in sadness. He writes books with titles like Cry Yourself to Sleep, covering his canvas with broad, blue brush strokes—but, much to the artist’s credit, despite themes of isolation and depression, which run through each and every cartoon that comprises Black Ghost Apple Factory, sadness is never the ultimate sum of Tinder’s equations, instead these stories, even those that center around the lives of anthropomorphic animal, points to some hilarious universal absurdity of the human condition.

The punchlines, with a few notable exceptions, which err on the side of sweetness (Tinder’s a man not averse to tossing words like, “cuddle” about), the punch lines are quite capable of eliciting a laugh-out-loud reaction, in spite of the consistently tragic predicaments of nearly all of his cast members.

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MoCCA 2007, Or How Many Indie Cartoonists Can We Name-Drop in a Single Post?

Categories:  News

Jeffrey Brown

[Thanks to Shayna M. for the jovial Jeffrey Brown photo above. She’s also hooked us up with a full slideshow of our travels, over at Flickr, because my picture-taking abilities are nearly as stunted as my drawing. ]

Update #1: The elephant shirt mentioned below was created by a fellow named Jonathan Rosenberg, who was nice enough to e-mail me earlier today. The shirt can be found here. It is my new favorite shirt, and as such I will no doubt wear it until it is full of holes and stains. If you buy it, make sure to call me before you wear it to any social function, as it would be totally embarrassing if we both showed up wearing the same thing.

Update #2: I am an unquestionably poor judge of Evan Dorkin’s mood.

This, I tearfully confess, was my first-ever MoCCA, despite having lived in New York City for three years and change—a useful piece of trivia for those out there looking for a good excuse to revoke my comics blogging credentials. As such, I’m at a loss in terms of comparing the festivities to previous years’ events. In terms of how the two-day convention compared to a random sampling of weekends in my own life, the list of worse ways to spend eighteen hours of my life would take at least that long to compile.

MoCCA, for the uninitiated, is not unlike your standard comic con, save for two large differences. First, a larger percentage of the female patronage actually pays to get in, and as such, show up to engage in conversations about the medium, and purchase books, rather than wear tight costume mockups, and get paid money to be leered at—this, naturally, will either be regarded as a plus or minus, depending on exactly what you’re looking for in this sort of setting.

The second difference is that the vast majority of people sitting behind tables actually seem as if they want to be there, for the vast majority of the time. With a few exceptions, the people who’ve set up booths at MoCCA, have paid their own way, and are selling their own creations, many of which are black and white photo copies, providing little hope of helping them even break even.

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XXX Scumbag Party by Johnny Ryan

Categories:  Reviews

XXX Scumbag Party
By Johnny Ryan

Johnny RyanSomewhere, in some suburban home—one of those fabled “good Christian houses,” perhaps—a mother, “cleaning” her son’s room, finds a copy of Angry Youth Comix, hidden under his mattress, beneath an a few copies of Playboy, which had been borrowed from schoolmates with more forgiving parents, or perhaps pilfered from a pile, beneath his father’s workbench. Turning to one page in the Fantagraphics book at random in the book, every broad and largely unfounded fear she had ever harbored, regarding the sick and evil world of comics books is immediately reinforced.

In short, nearly every page that Johnny Ryan has produced for his flagship series, soon to be celebrating its 13th issue, represents everything sick, twisted, impure, and generally wrong with our society. To suggest that Ryan’s work represents everything that is wrong with the world is less of a knee-jerk, over-conservative reaction, than a fairly accurate depiction of the artist’s ouevre. On any given page, there’s likely to be a joke revolving around the holocaust, child molestation, racism, homophobia, and rape—and unfortunately for those readers sure that they had left such school yard humor behind, for the pages the New Yorker and NPR broadcasts, two-thirds of all of them are laugh out loud hilarious, which is to say that, as long as deep inside you, beneath the business suit and bi-focals, there exists an adolescent, weaned on issues of Mad Magazine, Mel Brooks movies, and worn out Richard Pryor LPs, your first issue of Angry Youth Comix will almost certainly not be your last.

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Interview: K. Thor Jensen Pt 3 (of 3)

Categories:  Interviews

K. Thor JensenThere’s a lot to be said for the pursuit of happiness, but let’s face it, when seeking artistic inspiration, it’s much easier to turn towards life’s miseries.  When the world served K. Thor Jensen a series of increasingly unfortunate events, the author turned his miseries into a road trip.

Three years later, the road trip became a travelogue, forming the basis for Red Eye, Black Eye, the author’s first graphic novel, after years spent penning shorter pieces. When we spoke to Jensen in the Queens apartment he shares with his wife, a dog, and a cat, his life had talking a decided turn for the better, thanks to the critical and commercial success of said book, a new day job, and a baby on the way.

The Jensen we spoke to was a very different person than the outwardly hostile portrayal in his book, thankfully, ‘cause, you know, we didn’t want to have to bust open a can of The Daily Cross Hatch’s patented old timey whoop ass or anything.

[Part Two is available here.]

Be forewarned, the following interview contains some minor stage directions.

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The Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg

Categories:  Reviews

The Plain Janes
By Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg
Minx Books

Cecil CastellucciMedia outlets covering the world of alternative comics have spent a considerable amount of time and effort attempting to convince a mainstream audience of that now clichéd adage: comics aren’t just for kids anymore. Such attempts have been met with a varied amount of success, but there’s something to be said for living in a time when it’s slightly less shameful for a grown man to read a graphic novel on a subway train.

Still, despite some noble attempts to justify the reading of funny picture books amongst a grownup audience, one thing has remained fairly consistent in the world of sequential art: comics may not be just for kids any more, but they’re still, by and large, for dudes. It’s for this reason that, every time a scandal erupts on comic blogs and message boards, decrying some piece of unquestionably misogynist imagery, the retaliatory response is, generally something along the lines of: that sucks, but there are far worse things out there. Besides, who do such portrayals hurt, really? Certainly not impressionable young woman—girls don’t read comic books, right?

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