Danno Klonowski on the Rain Taxi Book Fest

Categories:  Events, Features
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


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

Read the rest of this entry »

Guest Strip: Brian Bastian and Bob Lipski

Categories:  Guest Strip
Tags: , , ,

boblipski_tzBrian Bastian is the writer of Tommy Chicago and the occasional writer of Manly Tales of Cowardice which was created and illustrated by Danno Klonowski.   Bastian also wrote the upcoming Uptown Girl original graphic novel Big City Secrets.

Bob Lipski is the creator of Uptown Girl and has written and drawn her adventures for over 7 years. After 75 monthly issues, the series concluded in 2009. Lipski now focuses on creating original graphic novels based on Uptown Girl and her friends.

Read the rest of this entry »

Indy Comic Book Week at The Source in Minnesota

Categories:  Events
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

indycbw_poster_01Last Wednesday I braved the cold just long enough to drive up to Falcon Heights, Minnesota, and take part in the Twin Cities’ chapter of Indy Comic Book Week. It was well worth the trip.

The event was held at The Source, a local comics and games store. The Source has a large back room that they use to host, among other things, gaming nights and Free Comic Book Day. This was the first time it was used for Indy Comic Book Week. “When I heard about the event, I thought it was a great idea,” said Burl Zorn, a Source employee with a gray ponytail and a long earring dangling from one ear. Zorn has been working at the Source for ten years, and plans to be here for many years to come. Zorn’s job requires him to wear many different hats, and he does it all with a smile. Throughout the night, I watched him interact happily with all the different attendees, restock the free chips and pop, and talk excitedly with the artists about their work.

In all, there were 17 local artists tabling at the event, and over 150 different local comics represented on the racks that usually house the regular sampling of D.C. and Marvel titles. (Some artists submitted multiple titles.) The event lasted from 5:00 to 9:00, with a steady crowd throughout. “Things usually die down an hour earlier in the winter,” said Zorn, “because it gets so cold and dark, and people want to go home.” But the Indy Comics event seemed to keep things bustling longer.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comics: Read Them Out Loud

Categories:  Features
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Jon Thompson tells the crowd about his favorite myths.

Some of the best mini-comics I own came from a friend of mine who no longer makes them.  It’s a sad truth for comics that when you’re good at art and good at writing and good at storytelling, you’re often good at many other things.  Anders Carlson was just a guy who moved on.

Still, before he exited the comics scene (that never even looked to recognize him — which is why you’ve never heard of him), he let me in on a little secret. “Read your comics aloud,” he said.  “Read them to your friends, like a bedtime story.  Then take their advice.”

It’s a program that really worked for him.  Somehow, it shaped his cartoonist’s voice in such a way that his comics always sounded smart and whole. The pacing perfectly broken up with expressive pencil-drawn imagery that told really excellent, interesting stories.

He was also the first person to tell me it was worth the extra money to get the edges of your books trimmed, so the pages don’t stick out beneath the cover.  More good advice.

At the 2009 Zinefest (I swear this will be the last time I bring it up), authors and artists were encouraged to get up in front of a crowd and read their books to each other.  It’s not quite like what Carlson imagined – there was no critical feedback – but it’ll do. And if you’re ever in the habit of writing comics, I recommend you do the same.

Below the cut, some examples of comics read – live! – without the use of imagery.

Read the rest of this entry »

Guest Strip: Daniel Olson

Categories:  Guest Strip
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

dotzDaniel Olson is a mustachioed and sideburns-laden indie comics creator based in St. Paul, MN. He is responsible for publishing the anthology Super Fantastica Comix.

Along with his wife/collaborator AJ Niehaus, he creates the series Super Maxi-Pad Girl, which was named Best Indie Surprise for 2008 by Ain’t It Cool News.

This summer he teamed with writer/artist Bill Prendergast and artists Ken Avidor, Lupi Miguinti, and Danno Klonowski on a comics exposé about U.S. Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. You can find out more about it at biasedliberalmedia dot com.

Daniel’s work is also featured in Big Funny. Big Funny is an oversized newspaper tribute to the beleaguered and dying newspaper comic. Big Funny is co-produced by Altered Esthetics, Big Time Attic, and The International Cartoonist Conspiracy.

Currently, he is methodically working on his first graphic novel, Shenanigans. The first chapter can be read at his website/blog/thingy: bewilderedkid dot com.

Read the rest of this entry »

Guest Strip: Brian Bastian and Danno Klonowski

Categories:  Guest Strip
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

ralphtzBrian Basitan is the writer and creator of the comic series Tommy Chicago, which was drawn by Bob Lipski before the hat was recently passed to Danno Klonowski.  The Bastian/Klonowski team has collaborated on two issues so far.  Bastian expects to publish a 36-page Tommy Chicago collection later this year.  Previously, he made indie films with his brother Dan Voltz, wrote several issues of Lipski’s Uptown Girl, and created stories for Danno’s Manly Tales of Cowardice.

Danno Klonowski AKA Danno AKA Staple Genius AKA Dank! writes and draws the series Manly Tales of Cowardice, which is up of 5.2 regular issues and several specials to date. Danno is currently finishing up a comic series about Minnesota State Congressperson Michele Bachmann called False Witness which is a collaborative effort between Bill Prendergast (writing, pencils), Lupi Miguinti (inks) and Dan Olson (inks). The first issue of this series is expected to release early this summer, with a preview running in the City Pages next month.  Danno is also working with Steven Stwalley to finish up a Kirby-esque one-shot called Phenomenal Tangents for the semi-defunct Mini-Comics Dump Truck project.  You can also see his work in the Super Fantastica Comix and Good Minnesotan comic anthologies.  Danno is an International Cartoonist Conspiracy member in good standing, and although he became a vegetarian, his paternal grandfather was an actual butcher.

Read the rest of this entry »