Upcoming Events

Categories:  Events, Features
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Did you know that The Daily Cross Hatch manages a comics events calendar?  It’s true!  You can view it on the Upcoming Events page on our site or add it to your own google calendar.

  1. Log into your google account as usual and open your google calendar. 
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  2. Click on Add > Add a friend/coworker’s calendar.
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  3. Type in “crosshatchdispatch@gmail.com” and click the “Add” button.
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  4. The Cross Hatch Dispatch calendar i.e. our Upcoming Events calendar will be added to your google calendar.  Click the name to hide or highlight that calendar.
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If you have an item you would like to submit to the Cross Hatch Dispatch or Upcoming Events calendar, please email us!  crosshatchdispatch@gmail.com

Sarah Morean

Gene Yang: Keynote Speaker

Categories:  Features
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On Saturday, June 19, 2010, the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis partnered with Hennepin County Library to offer an all-day event called the Graphic Novel & Comic Book Writing & Illustrating Conference.  I’ve been posting (irregularly, forgive me) the complete tutorial that Lars Martinson delivered on self-publishing at that event and now it seems Hennepin County has posted the complete Gene Yang keynote speech on their Vimeo page.

Yang spoke primarily about his history with comics from childhood through today and he very sweetly and comedically punctuated the presentation with emoticons representing his parents’ satisfaction with his cartooning career over time.

The conference was a big success and they’re considering hosting another next year.  Pretty much everyone in the audience was new to me and I suspect many of them were new to comics.  For them especially, I think Yang’s talk was really illuminating and welcoming.  His talk was the kind of introduction I think most people would really respond to if they’d never read a comic before.

Really, it was the kind of talk and kind of day that would inspire anyone to start a lifelong relationship with comics as both a reader and creator.  I really encourage you to watch this video and share it with a friend.  I imagine sharing this with my mom and having her “get” comics and why they’d be important to me for maybe the first time.

Sarah Morean

Requiem for a Comic Shop

Categories:  Features

Business is brisk today.  The store is full, but not uncomfortably so. Most of the customers leave with stacks of books beneath their arms. One man browsing through a shelf of trade paperback with a friend has a t-shirt draped across his back on a wooden hanger suspended from his own collar, freeing up extra arm space for books.

There’s a sign on the front door, a small white piece of paper, with “EVERYTHING ON SALE!” written hastily in bold black sharpie. All caps, underlined. “Books, Posters, Frames, Furniture, Fixtures,” it continues, “30% to 75% off!”

Everyone who leaves the store, be it empty-handed or with a small library of books asks store owner Alex Cox variations on the same question, “are you leaving?” Some ask if he’s moving locations. Others ask when he’ll open back up. Rocketship’s bespectacled owner answers, “no,” and, “never.”

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An American Splendor

Categories:  Features

Here’s our man, grinning ear to ear. It’s dusk. He’s leaning against a station wagon, the ancient rust-covered Innerbelt Bridge behind him, stretching off into an overcast downtown Cleveland. In front of him is a restaurant. A joint called Sokolowski’s University Inn. It’s a Polish place. Big, greasy portions of meat. An odd place to take a vegetarian like Pekar.

Once he steps foot inside this joint, however, the employees beam. They remember him well from the time he came in, camera crew in tow, to shoot the Cleveland episode of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations. “Where’s Toby?” a man behind the counter bellows with a huge smile.

There are signed celebrity photos all over the counter. Lou Reed ate here once, apparently. But in this town they’ve got nothing on our man, smiling but quiet, hunched over small with a tray in hands, flannel shirt and gray windbreaker on his back. Harvey Pekar, the patron saint of Cleveland.

This is my favorite picture of Pekar. I’m a bit biased, of course. I did take the damn thing, fiddling in vain with lowlight setting, but trying above all to snap it off as quickly as possible, because it’s clear at that precise moment that this is the picture. The perfect culmination of a near-perfect weekend trip to celebrate the writer’s 70th birthday. Harvey Pekar and Cleveland. It’s hard to imagine one without the other.

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Self-Publishing with Lars Martinson: Parts 2-3 of 8

Categories:  Features

Here are a few more parts to Lars Martinson’s presentation titled “How to Self-Publish a Graphic Novel in 8 Hard Steps.”  You will find part 1 HERE and parts 2-3 below:

Sorry this is ridiculously messy-looking.  Once all 8 are edited and posted, I’ll make one single post with all the parts in it.  Won’t that be nice?  You’re welcome.

[PART ONE]

Sarah Morean

Self-Publishing with Lars Martinson: Part 1 of 8

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How to Self-Publish a Graphic Novel in 8 Hard Steps / Part 1 from Sarah Morean on Vimeo.

Last weekend I attended the Graphic Novel Writing & Illustrating Conference sponsored by the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, MN.  This was a day-long event featuring Gene Yang as the keynote speaker and two break-out sessions where attendees could learn anything from caricature drawing to poetry as comics to the basics of webcomics and writing for comics.

The first session I attended was aptly titled “How to Self-Publish a Graphic Novel in 8 Hard Steps” delivered by Lars Martinson.

I first discovered Martinson’s work when I was just getting into comics.  His mini-comic Young Men of a Certain Mind was beautifully executed and among the first nice-looking self-published books I had ever seen.  I believe it even inspired some fan mail.

Later, in 2008, Martinson self-published a book called noharu Part 1 using a large sum of money he acquired from the Xeric Foundation.  He wrote this presentation based on his experience as a self-publisher, and it was hands-down the most useful and realistic discussion of the pros and cons of self-publishing that I have ever heard.

I recorded audio during the presentation and Lars supplied the open office document.  I have blended the two for your edification and enjoyment and will post all eight parts as individual films in the coming weeks.  Today, I give you Step 1: Draw Comics for 10 Years.

[PARTS 2-3]

Sarah Morean

Comic Shop Focus: Sunset Blvd. Edition

Categories:  Features

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I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t, at some point in the past, harbored some strange prejudice against Southern California—Los Angeles in particular. Part of it no doubt stems from a childhood growing up north, in the San Francisco Bay Area. There’s an on-going stigma up there about the whole of the So Cal experience, some deserved, no doubt, but much of it likely just negativity for negativity’s sake.

The rest almost certainly is a result of frequent trips to see extended family in Encino and Tarzana, upscale suburbs in the San Fernando Valley outside of Los Angeles proper. For those New Yorkers out there (for everyone else, please forgive what will no doubt be a frequent defaulting to Big Apple comparisons), judging Los Angeles by such areas is roughly the equivalent of visiting Long Island and saying you’ve been to New York City.

In more recent years, I’ve explored the City of Angels with decidedly more freedom, most of my visits to the area the result of business obligations. Without family matters to attend to, I’ve found much more to appreciate about the city, and while part of me will always shudder at the prospect of picking up and moving to LA, I now know that, should such an even ever come to pass, the city holds plenty for a person of my very specific tastes.

My first love on Sunset Blvd., after I became too old to find any manner of vicarious excitement in the iconography of Hollywood and Vine and the shiny celebrity sidewalk stars which grow out from that forever-infamous intersection, was Amoeba records, a newer sister store to the Haight-Ashbury and Telegraph (San Francisco and Berkeley) institutions of the same name. Like its counterparts, the store is most appropriately compared to a Costco, only Amoeba is jam-packed with second spun CDS, rather than bulk packs of toilet paper and chocolate muffins the diameter of a medium-sized dog’s head.

Until last week, however (most likely due to my constant reliance on friends for post-work transportation), I’ve not had the pleasure of visiting Hollywood’s finest comic shops. I was in town for my day job—visiting the convention center in downtown Los Angeles for E3, the country’s largest annual gaming show. The show took up the vast majority of my time in the city, of course, but this time out, I made visits to Secret Headquarters and Meltdown non-work priorities—well, as soon as I was finished at Amoeba.

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Minneapolis Indie Xpo Exhibitors on Parade

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Check out some of the great artwork and projects you can expect to see at MIX 2010!

The Minneapolis Indie Xpo has run out of exhibitor space, but you can still attend! Fun and adventure! Minneapolis, ahoy! Admission is free.

MIX will take place on Saturday, August 21, 9am-5pm. Please join us for the kickoff party and signing at Big Brain Comics on Friday, August 20, and for the after-party at Altered Esthetics on Saturday, August 21. Details to follow.

Sarah Morean

The Art of Festival Planning Pt. 3

Categories:  Features, Interviews

Here’s the short final part of the conversation between myself and Sarah Morean, in which we compare notes about planning indie comics conventions. Last month I was involved in the programming for the MoCCA Festival in New York City. Morean is currently hard at work launching the first-ever Minneapolis Indie Xpo (MIX).

Reading back on the piece, I’d be remiss if it didn’t point out the unmistakable irony of suggesting that a certain panel type is arguable too “inside baseball.” After all, it doesn’t get much more insidery than a conversation like this.

That said, I suppose there’s a value in such conversations–and panels–so long as there are enough people inside who care to sit up and take notice.

[Part One][Part Two]

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SpringCon 2010: All That I Acquired

Categories:  Features

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The Midwest Comic Book Association sponsors two comic shows a year in the Twin Cities – October’s two-day FallCon and May’s one-day MicroCon. Due to scheduling conflicts at the State Fairgrounds, among other things, the two-day show has moved to spring and the one-day show is set for fall. Thus, MicroCon becomes FallCon and FallCon becomes SpringCon. It’ll make your head spin. Try not to think about it.

Suffice to say that if you haven’t heard of SpringCon, that’s because it only recently became a thing for anyone to talk about. Ostensibly, 2010 was the show’s inaugural year.

Regardless of name, any show thrown by MCBA is an important event for the greater Twin Cities comics community. For years, this has been where we Minnesotans and MCAD grads go to re-meet old friends and classmates, find cheap back issues and ogle costumed fanboys and fanladies. My favorite costumers include Superman (he’s like some kind of professional Superman look-alike with a slew of different Supes outfits), a dead-ringer for Harry Potter’s pal Hagrid (complete with The Monster Book of Monsters), and Spiderman (who is normally really graceful and spidery but this year totally dropped some dude’s camera and broke it).

But this year, probably more so than any other year, was a good one for me in terms of loot. I acquired a lot of neat things.

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