Here’s the story.

Categories:  News

I saw some mention today of Act-I-vate’s sixth anniversary and Comics Beat’s second. This means we’re five. I’m not sure when it started, but at some point it just became easier to use other people’s anniversaries to mark the passage of time. Like clockwork, I received a note from the domain registrar, reminding me to renew, and as ever, I hesitated for a moment. There’s a certain sense of obligation in such a renewal, as though it symbolizes locking oneself in for another year. I keep coming back to my friend Alex’s decision to shutter the doors of his much beloved Brooklyn comic shop, when the idea of another five-year lease simply proved too much to bear.

This is the part where I explain what’s going on. I’m sure I’ve touch upon this briefly in the past – work tends to get in the way of life, and 13 hour days and worked weekends have the tendency to take their toll on interpersonal relationships and labors of love, and this site has always represented a bit of both. In a sense, I never wrote for anyone but myself, so it ought be regarded as some astronomical impossibility that so many other people I know and respect saw fit to put any stock in the words that came out the other side.

And then it slowed down and then it stopped. These things always end with a whimper. But there’s no use here for such finalities. There’s no end here. Let’s call it a hiatus. And certainly me and comics aren’t through. I’ve already got some irons in the fire – for the time being, however, my involvement with comics will likely involve work for others, like the Engadget Comics I’ve been curating for my day job and the Art Spiegelman interview for Publisher’s Weekly – there are a few others as well that I’m not quite ready to yank the curtain from.

But the Cross Hatch never made sense as a one man organization, and thankfully, through the years, I’ve been blessed with a handful of writers willing, like myself, to work for free (or, in my case, a negative sum) for the sheer honor of writing about our era’s most vibrant art form (and, of course, the promise of free comics), most notably Sarah Morean, who served as my partner for the vast majority of the site’s existence.

So this isn’t a goodbye – it’s really just a note to let you know that, despite what you might have read on a CBR message board, I’ve not been kidnapped by Turkish Pirates, so maybe send a jokey birthday card in lieu of flowers – or better yet some comics. The stack’s starting to get low.

–BH

Guest Strip: Doug Latino & Gideon Kendall

Categories:  Guest Strip
Tags: ,

doug_tzDoug Latino’s earliest comic memories involve Mad Magazine, Mad paperbacks, and wondering if that Mr. Natural character he kept seeing on t-shirts really had all the answers. He also knew a couple of minutes in that the mom of his best friend at the time, Doug, made a big mistake taking Doug and Doug to the drive-in theater to see Fritz the Cat. He wouldn’t have gone if he had known about Crumb’s lousy film contract. He’s come back around to writing, giving it up shortly after college to pursue a rewarding career in newspaper publishing. You can follow him on Twitter at @douglatino.

Gideon Kendall always loved comics. As a youngster he copied Garfield and Doonesbury panels. He got really good at drawing the White House. Then he got into superheroes, and practiced inventing engorged fictitious muscle groups. Now he’s trying to get really good at drawing Doug Latino. He also paints garbage, works as an animation designer, and illustrates children’s books. He’ll do just about anything to earn a living, as long as it involves making pictures. Go to: gideonkendall.com

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The Cross Hatch Dispatch – 9.14.2011

Categories:  The Cross Hatch Dispatch

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[Above, Dylan Williams will really be missed. Below, The Dispatch is grateful for the memories.]

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The Cross Hatch Dispatch – 9.7.2011

Categories:  The Cross Hatch Dispatch

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[Above, Top Shelf offers you a $3 steal. Below, The Dispatch steals 3 minutes of your time.]

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The Cross Hatch Dispatch – 8.31.2011

Categories:  The Cross Hatch Dispatch

[Above, the world read some comics. Below, only you read the Dispatch.]

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Lunch Break :: August 30, 2011

Categories:  Reviews
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Darryl Ayo writes “Freestyle Friday” for Comix Cube. He loves discovering artists that he didn’t know about before.

Lunch Break is a short round-up of favorite webcomics appearing here each weekday at noon. Here’s something for you to enjoy over your lunch break or whenever. The premise is simple: it’s another day on the internet. Here’s a new or forgotten comic that seems interesting.

We’d love to have you guest edit Lunch Break! Check out the Contribute page for more information.

  1. Lovely Day by NikkiNack // May 28, 2011
  2. New Nose by Brandon Graham // May 27, 2011 NSFW
  3. m – salatis – arrival by Sloane Leong // February 9, 2011
  4. Making Tortillas” by KickSatanOut // October 11, 2010
  5. PC: Sexy Grocery Shopping by David E. Belton II // May 27, 2011 NSFW

Sarah Morean

Guest Strip: Scott Mikesh

Categories:  Guest Strip
Tags: , ,

scottm_tzScott Mikesh is an independent illustrator and visual communications designer in Minneapolis, Minnesota. After 12 years in corporate marketing and communications, Scott headed out on his own to form Scott Mikesh Creative, a freelance agency that provides eye-catching icons, characters, portraits, comic strips, storyboards and décor.

Scott’s first weekly web comic Popcorn Toons features a cast of modern-day characters including two best girlfriends, two dogs, and a robot named A.R.T. The characters were inspired by his own nieces and family dogs. The name of the strip is also an homage to one of Scott’s icons and role models, the late great Charles “Sparky” Schultz, who was originally from the Twin Cities area. Born and raised in Fargo, North Dakota, Scott recently discovered that he had coincidentally taken art classes when he was 12 from the same correspondence art school where Charles Schultz originally received his art education and later taught.

Scott is also involved with a local youth art mentor program called Art Buddies that pairs professionals from the commercial design industry with inner-city kids to explore their own creativity and expose them to career opportunities in the creative field. He is working with Art Buddies this fall to expand the program to Bancroft Elementary School in South Minneapolis.

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The Cross Hatch Dispatch – 8.24.2011

Categories:  The Cross Hatch Dispatch

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[Above, James Sturm avoids a perfectly good pun. Below, the Dispatch just beeing itself.]

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Sparkplug Comic Books: Made to Order

Categories:  News
Tags: ,
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Luggage tags from David King are on my shopping list. A $2 steal!

One of our favorite publishers of fine indie comics has been diagnosed with cancer. Evidently, for a second time. Can I get a “not fair?”

Dylan Williams is a man with enough on his mind. As one of the planners for the Portland Zine Symposium, he just saw the 11th year of that event wrap up, plus he’s the sole person running Sparkplug Comic Books, and now he has to deal with this major health issue (and bills). It’s unfortunate, unfair, and inspires a sense of melancholy from someone living so far away who isn’t sure how to help.

Actually, there is something you can do for Dylan at home.  It would be enormously useful and encouraging if you would go now to the Sparkplug Comic Books website and finally buy the copy of Lemon Styles you’ve been waiting for, or take a chance on another title that’s sure to please you.

Thanks to Rob Clough for getting the ball rolling on this one.

Here is the three-part interview we ran with Dylan back in 2008: 1 | 2 | 3

Here are some links to reviews of books published or distributed by Sparkplug we’ve run here on the Cross Hatch:

- Sarah Morean

The Cross Hatch Dispatch – 8.17.2011

Categories:  The Cross Hatch Dispatch

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[Above, Tom Spurgeon is a survivor, we hope. Below, the Dispatch isn't going to give up.]

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