Self Publishing with Lars Martinson: Parts 1-8 [of 8]

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Here it is folks (finally!) — the complete “How to Self-Publish a Graphic Novel in 8 Hard Steps” presentation as delivered by Tōnoharu creator and Xeric winner Lars Martinson at the 2010 Graphic Novel Writing & Illustrating Conference sponsored by the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, MN. Thanks, as always, for your patience.

I’d deliver my own “How to Video Edit and Serialize a Slide Show Presentation in 8 Hard Months” but it would just sound like whining.

Here’s a LINK to first installment with details on the program. You’ll find the videos for steps 1-8 below the jump.

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Paranormal Activity in Comics

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This footage comes from the Paranormal Activity in Comics panel conducted at the Minneapolis Indie Xpo on Saturday, August 21, 2010.

The Cross Hatch’s own Brian Heater led the discussion between Sarah Becan (The Ouija Interviews), Ed Choy Moorman (Ghost Comics), Tim Sievert (That Salty Air) and Will Duff (Ghostbustin’ 911).

Topics include ouija encounters, haunted apartments, Bigfoot and the rights of ghosts and zombies.

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The Best Damn Comics of 2010 Chosen by the Artists

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This year-end list my be my favorite annual Cross Hatch feature, if only for the fairly consistent complaints I receive from a litany of prominent cartoonists, writers, publishers, journalists, museum curators, and other industry folks. It’s always the same thing: how dare I ask them to boil down a year’s worth of comics into a list  of five books? Don’t I know that we’re in the middle of a sequential art renaissance?

Fair enough, but let’s be honest, given the sheer number of folks who respond to this list each year, five seems like a pretty good cap—it took me a few hours to piece this thing together, as it is.

The other reason I love compiling this list is the opportunity to spot trends amongst those surveyed—do any books seem to stand out as clear favorites? Last year that title belonged to David Mazzucchelli’s modern sequential masterpiece, Asterios Polyp. The year prior, it was a four-way tie with Bottomless Belly Button, What it Is, Swallow Me Whole, and Skyscrapers of the Midwest all nabbing high marks.

While I wouldn’t go so far as choosing a clear “winner” for 2010, Chris Ware really did sneak in last second with the latest issue of Acme Novelty, a book that has blown away nearly everyone who has cracked open its cloth cover, your humble blogger included.

As always, I encourage readers and artists alike to contribute their own lists to the comment section below. Let’s keep the conversation going.

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The Cross Hatch Rehash: The Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival 2010

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After a couple of hours, I’ve made my way back to the front of the room. It’s not so much the number of tables as the sheer density of talent present. I stand and wait to say hello to Josh Cotter, who is doodling something on the inside of one of those limited edition hardcover copies of Barbra in the Sky with Neil Diamonds. He finally looks up, says my name, and asks how I’ve been.

“Fine,” I say, but then, you know, there wasn’t a fire in my apartment since the last time I’d seen him. I return the question, and he answers gratefully that things could have been worse. No one was hurt, thankfully, and the fire was extinguished before anything too valuable was consumed—a true blessing when you pour your heart and soul onto something so flammable as sheets of drawing paper.

I flip through a binder full of Afrodisiac prints and begin discussing the possibility of a future podcast appearance with Jim Rugg—the proximity of the two artists is a not-so-subtle reminder of the consistency of Ad House’s output over the past few years.

As I try to set the scene for the recent live version of the Cross Hatch Podcast (“Is it just me, or does the entire block smell every time they open up a Subway sandwich shop?”), a man shuffles up next to me and begins flipping through copies of Skyscrapers of the Midwest. I turn my head slightly and turn back to Rugg.

“That’s Matt Groening,” I mouth, and we both freeze, unable to pick back up on the conversation for a moment.

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Halloween 2010: Cartoonists in Costume

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squidSix months ago I had an epiphany and I knew what I would be for Halloween.

It’s unusual for me to plan out my costumes so far in advance but it was clear to me on April 2nd that I would be a giant squid on October 30th.  For six months I planned this and as the clock turned to 7pm last Saturday, the time when I was expected to appear at my party, I sat at my sewing machine and began to make myself a squid outfit.

As I wasted time earlier that day I discovered through Facebook that another cartoonist also dressed as a giant squid!  Good costume to have.  See if you can recognize her and other notable cartoonists in totally creative costumes beneath the cut.  (Click the photos for a larger image.)

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Danno Klonowski on the Rain Taxi Book Fest

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Minneapolis is a great place for comics. Have I said that enough?

Last weekend, two of our best festivals fell on the same date.  For one day only you could attend either the Rain Taxi Book Festival or FallCon.  Pretty good for the people of Minneapolis.  Pretty tough for cartoonists wanting to exhibit at both shows.

The exodus from FallCon this year was substantial — at least ten indie cartoonists went to the Book Festival instead of FallCon.  By all accounts, this year’s FallCon was the best yet.  It’s still a great show, but decidedly more mainstream, which is why more cartoonists are spending money for space at Book Fest instead of enjoying the free tables and wonderful hospitality at FallCon.

No hard feelings, FallCon.  Sometimes a cartoonist just needs to get out and try new things.  Experiment a little.  Test a new market.  And they did.  So how was it?

Danno Klonowski, Minneapolis cartoonist and prominent International Cartoonist Conspiracy member, was kind enough to write us a little something about his experience exhibiting for the first time at the Rain Taxi Book Festival.  Full particulars after the cut.

— SM

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Liz Baillie on New York Comic Con

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I ran into Liz Baillie on the floor of New York Comic Con this weekend. She was tabling toward the back of the room in a small aisle packed with indie publishers. She seemed in pretty good spirits when I saw her on Friday–a stark contrast from my own already rundown state. Is suspected that she might be burned out by the time Sunday rolled around, but then, I was likely only projecting.

Given the fact that this year’s show was Baillie’s first ever large con (a bit of a surprise, given the amount of time she’s spent in and around the industry), she seemed the perfect candidate to offer a fresh perspective on New York’s massive show.


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The Cross Hatch Rehash: SPX 2010

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I won the first—and almost certainly the last—comics award of my career. It had the word “fake” in its name and two Silly Bandz adhered to its exterior. I haven’t actually opened the thing yet, but I’m told that it’s full of Sour Patch Kids. It got more or less smashed on in my suitcase on the car ride home, under the weight of the new Adhouse Book and a mason jar full of “genuine” Georgian corn whisky—apparently they distill the stuff in Kentucky.

Ignatz emcee Liz Baillie tossed the cardboard Fakenatzes to anyone who could guess the next presenter based on a series of obscure questions she’d found rummaging around amongst Internet biographies. I guessed Dean Haspiel. Moments later, at the request of the crowd, Dean presented the award for “Best Graphic Novel” topless. So, in a sense we all won.

The Ignatz Awards are, no doubt, a fascinating thing for first timers, a unique balance of the goofy and earnest, the self-proclaimed “fastest awards show in comics,” wherein shirtless presenters and prat falls co-mingle with tearful acceptance speeches given while cradling a brick on a small wooden cradle. There was, much to the disappointment of many, no gorilla suit in the crowd, but the point stands nonetheless.

It’s easy to appreciate the ceremony as a microcosm the whole weekend. SPX is a rare thing in an industry that, let’s face it, has the tendency to take itself far too seriously—and understandably so. We’ve all, no doubt, spent countless hours and energy as one-person ambassadors working to convince other of the legitimacy of the form. How many strangers have you told about Maus or Fun Home or Palestine or Persepolis?

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The Cross Hatch Rehash: Minneapolis Indie Xpo 2010

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It’s strange to think of a city as a layover—well, only strange, I suppose, once you have invested in it more than a ten minute run from one side of an international airport to the other. As I boarded the plane, a 727 out of LaGuardia, there were jokes to this effect—that everyone on-board was really destined for somewhere else. Most for Los Angeles, the plane’s final destination. Others for Bozeman, Montana, of all places—a fine destination, I’m sure, but odd that it might be one more in demand than the Twin Cities.

I’ve spent my entire life on two coasts—the lion’s share just outside of San Francisco, and the last half-dozen or so in the heart of New York City. Destination cities, I think. And I know that every city and town possesses within it the potential to be either a pitstop or a destination, but there’s a reason we arrogant coastal urbanites refer to heart of our contiguous nation, somewhat condescendingly as “fly over.”

I’ve not spent a lot of time in the Midwest. I visited Cleveland last year, and stayed in Michigan next to the lake for part of one summer as a youth, to visit my extended family. I have been told by a very reliable source that neither of these place “count,” however. Chicago does, apparently. I spent a little time there, traveling for business.

I liked Chicago. It was by sheer coincidence that I was reading Devil in the White City on the plane ride there, and in its own way, that book informed some grotesque sense of romanticism for the fractured semblance of a temporary kingdom on a lake. My preconceptions were also informed by a Dan Clowes strip. One from Eightball about weird Chicago, a city where’s it’s perfectly acceptable to run a store that specializes in individually wrapped brown eggs.

And true to form, there is a wonderfully vibrant oddness to the Windy City, one I’ve largely failed to properly relay to other in conversations—especially those who live there. I never found that store with the eggs, but I did discover a city that, at least in my brief experience, long ago learned to accept and perhaps embrace those qualities that have made it so unique.

I do find glimmers of this, from time to time, in my home of New York, but taken together, they don’t provide enough light to read with, in a city where habitual insomnia can, in part, be chalked up to the fact that the lights never truly go out. Good luck to those in New York City attempting to find a truly dark place to fall asleep.

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Read Comics in Public Update 08.17.10

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Wow. Sarah and I frankly had no idea what to expect when we officially launched the first annual International Read Comics in Public Day this time last week. The response has been overwhelming.

Thanks to everyone who has already RSVPed over on our Facebook event page, liked us on Facebook, Dugg us, blogged about RCiP, adopted the Twitter hashtag, gave us a shout-out on your podcast or organized a meet-up. If you live in Portland, ME, Omaha, NE, Stolkholm, Sweden, or Los Angeles, CA, you’re in good shape. There’s a meet-up happening in your town.

Thanks to all the librarians promoting this event to their patrons and to the shops that are offering special discounts and prizes for participants. We now have two posters — one for libraries and one for shops — so check those out on our Poster page.

If you’d like to organize a meet-up where you live, drop us a line at and we’ll help you promote it.

Thanks again to everyone who has helped so far, especially Robert Sergel for drawing, designing and typesetting two versions of the poster like a champ and Tyler Page at the MCAD Service Bureau for printing up 50 gratis posters.

We’ll see you on August 28th!

Brian Heater