Categories: Features, Interviews
Raindrops on roses
and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles
and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages
tied up with string
These are a few
of my favorite things
– Maria, The Sound of Music
At some point in recent history, the song “Favorite Things” was conscripted by the Christmas season. Though at first this seems surprising – the song has no mention of Christmas at all – in some ways, the association makes sense. For religious folk and heathens alike, Christmas in America has spawned a season of spending, wrapping and receiving. A song about things is a likely holiday anthem for all.
However, “Favorite Things” was originally a love song to the charming things one possesses or recalls to feel good again in hard times. There are ordinary, everyday, tried-and-true utensils and objects floating around everyone’s life and memory. In a cartoonist’s studio, however, only the best are cherry-picked for prominent display, reference or inspiration.
I asked Minneapolis’ own mini-comics legend Vincent Stall about his favorite things. King Mini is known for authoring classic, hand-made comics like Robot Investigator, pulling incredible posters for bands like Yo La Tengo and the Melvins, and recently printing and sewing a subversive family of Scumbags. Prepare for photo-heavy wonderment as King Mini’s favorite things are revealed.
Years ago, Stall with his family moved to a quaint home on the north side of Minneapolis. Precisely, they live on Vincent Avenue. No kidding. There, in a generous studio space that encompasses much of the second story, King Mini International continues to produce lovely things in the form of books, prints, plush toys, buttons and story boards (guy’s gotta eat, right?). This is a list of things I found there and what was said about them.
1. These old filing cabinets were gutted and stacked for use as a book shelf. The materials were all purchased at a local thrift store, PPL, which sells fabulous used office equipment, rejected Wal-Mart apparel and other assorted, unnecessary gift items. The Personal Assistant on the shelf was given to Stall by a former intern, Tim Sievert.
2. This is an example of the new, improved Scumbag. Not surprisingly, it is also the first lady version of the Scumbag. KM says, “[The new larger size] is less like a chachki and more like a doll, [which was always the intent].”
3. Dried up abandoned wasps nests. KM says, “Those fascinate me beyond belief…how could you make that? How the hell do you do that? They’re my favorite. They’re amazing!”
4. KM says, “Most of the stuff that inspires me is not in here. Like this morning, driving into work and across the river and there’s all that frozen Mississippi…It’s the world around for me that’s much more inspirational. The wasp nest, that thing from a dried up tree and the fact that it stays together – that’s where stuff is fascinating to me.”
6. KM says, “The rock of ages picture. I love it too. It’s that classic tattoo: an iconic cross on the ocean waiting for people to come back.”
7. Pinewood derby contender. KM says, “It doesn’t have any weight in it because as a kid I didn’t know you were supposed to put weight in it. It went nowhere. I clearly remember crying and having my dad just kind of stand back. In the end, it won some award like ‘Best Classic Design’ and I was all happy and my dad told me, ‘See how things change at the drop of a hat?’ I just had to suck it up. I think that’s all I have left of my childhood.”
8. KM says, “Those little L’Association books are the foundation of King Mini International. I got those at SPX 10 years ago, and I was like, ‘shit this is what I want to do. I want to do this exact thing, I want to be just like this.’ I like this size…it’s just awesome. I liked that they all had the same little red trim. Now, granted, I migrated away from that very quickly, but they always were pretty important to me.”
9. KM says, “Jack Survives is one of my favorites. I gave that to a couple people as gifts.”
You can expect to see more of King Mini in the following year. Provided that “the economy doesn’t implode for funny book round ups,” he will be at MoCCA and possibly TCAF, showing off his work-in-progress Brass Tacks and other impressive items from the growing King Mini International catalog.
In the meantime, have a happy Christmas, Christians. I hope this year you got all the comics you asked for.
– Sarah Morean