Basement Jaxx release their new single “Raindrops” on 22 June in the UK. It’s been a really long time since we last heard from them and they have been sorely missed. The tune is deliciously disco-esque and the video videos are colorful, glam and kaleidoscopic.
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The unsinkable Mike Edison — former High Times Publisher, Screw editor, Hustler correspondent, and professional wrestler of no small repute — is hitting the road to promote the new paperback of his outrageous memoir, I Have Fun Everywhere I Go: Savage Tales of Pot, Porn, Punk Rock, Pro Wrestling, Talking Apes, Evil Bosses, Dirty Blues, American Heroes, and the Most Notorious Magazines in the World.
He recently began his “I Have Fun in Brooklyn Tour”, a five-neighborhood odyssey that he promises will be “more fun than the circus”. He’ll be blogging his adventures here. (See below for dates.)
HULK HOGAN R.I.P.
I have been feuding with Hulk Hogan for twenty years now. So why does winning feel so ugly?
Those of you following this blog know I have been on tour promoting my book, I HAVE FUN EVERYWHERE I GO, a fair part of which is dedicated to my career as a wrestler and a wrestling journalist, not to mention my high-minded philosophies of the game. To wit:
“Wrestling is like what Dostoyevsky says about faith. If you get it, no explanation is necessary, and if you don’t, no explanation will do.”
Stuart Murdoch from Belle and Sebastian has a new project God Help the Girl releasing their album on 23 June. The first single “Funny Little Frog” is a lot jazzier than B&S, but every bit as poppy as the Scottish group.
It is the discipline of form. Not unlike writing in pentameter, Seagle tells the five stories of “Blueprint” in single-panel exposition, only allowing only two panels per page. Like his fictional architect William Babcock, Seagle weaves these five tales into a single work, a perfect narrative line. For readers to easily join the panels to their correct stories, Seagle writes each tale in distinctive narrative form, and unique captioning style. Babcock’s story around his occul inspiration for the Mansion’s design, takes the form of a letter captioned in ornate penmanship.
Through Babcock’s letter, the story of a love affair between construction foreman Ed and Missus Reichuss, and the story of a power-struggle within the Duwamish tribe who originally used the Mansion’s property as a place of exile and punishment, Seagle unfolds a prehistory of horror around Reichhuss Mansion. Along with the more esoteric vignettes wherein Babcock’s blueprint and the Mansion relate their ‘own’ stories, Seagle unveils a supernatural conspiracy by which unseen forces influence events to ultimately make the Mansion’s construction inevitable.
The richness of “Blueprint” lies in exactly this lingering sensation of the unseen winding its way through coincidence and happenstance. Seemingly unconnected events intersect each other until a perfect chain of consequence leads to the Mansion being built and the ghostly jury being ‘awakened’ to take up residence. Just as each panel is nothing more than a segment, luring the reader into the false sense of being momentarily afforded a glimpse of a fully-developed world, so too do the unseen spirits become the central characters animate the lives of Babock, Foreman Ed and Audrey Reichuss.
Originally detailing the story of Rain, a refugee of the Seattle grunge scene of the ‘90’s, House of Secrets’ seventh issue provides readers not only with an origin for the possessed Mansion, but also a comment on comics crossovers as the tales of Ed, Babcock, Audrey and the Duwamish intersect to produce something of enduring horror.
Sparky Taylor and Abby Mac at the Microcosm Publishing booth
With the economy still tanking, I often wonder how small publishers who are trying to make enough money to put out their next book, or just break even are weathering the storm. This year at the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art festival (MoCCA), Sparkplug Comic Books sponsored a panel on Making Comics in a New Era that addressed this concern. Small press publishing and DIY self-publishing have been essential components of the alternative comics movement since its inception in the 1960’s. In this tradition, at MoCCA 2009, comics creators and small publishers were selling works that were reproduced on everything from their home computer printers to copy machines to outsourced offset printers. Today, people have greater access to mechanical reproduction than ever before, even if this access is exclusive to those who can afford it. Smaller print runs are not uncommon any more; I usually make 20 to 50 copies at a copy shop of my own zine, silk-screen the covers, and give them away to friends and people I meet. The economics of my work is understood to be ‘in the red’.
This panel was more focused on reproduction at a bit of a larger scale, and, though they were clearly performing a labor of love and had other jobs on the side, could not afford to just sink the cost of every book they published. The panel consisted of Alvin Buenaventura (Buenaventura Books), Mats Jonsson (Gallago), Tom Neely (cartoonist), Brett Warnock (Top Shelf), Julia Wertz (cartoonist), Dylan Williams (Sparkplug Comics) and was chaired by Heidi MacDonald (The Beat). For the most part, those on the publishing side acted like the economic crisis had not much affected their sales. One panelist reasoned that their confidence and satisfaction was mostly based on their own realistic expectations of how well a book was going to do. None of the publishers were in the business to get rich on underground comics, and everyone seemed to agree that internet stores and conventions like MoCCA were increasing their scale of distribution.At the same time, the traditional distribution of comics has been centralized in Diamond Comic distributors, which has recently raised its minimum orders and consequentially excluded some smaller run publications. Panelists agreed that the rise of alternative comics stores, like Desert Island and Bergen Street Comics in Brooklyn, New York, and the need for an alternate distributor and indie sales representatives like Tony Shenton could make a positive change in their sales.
Between the other panelists’ silence, Julia Wertz took the time to somewhat randomly and comically berate her co-panelists, saying “I just want to point out that my work was rejected by at least two of the editors on the panel, but now my publisher is Random House, so you can suck it!” I suppose for some, moving to a traditional book publisher is another way to get around the current problems in distribution.
Pictured above are Sparky Taylor and Abby Mac tabling for Microcosm Publishing, who put out about twelve books and zines a year. Since the change in the economy, they have started following the strategy of putting out more books at a lower price in hopes of increasing sale volume. Sparky said she felt like their sales at the convention had been a little slower than previous years.