"A.D." Book Tour

A.D., Publicity, Travel

A couple of dates have just been added to the A.D. book tour — in Brookline and Brooklyn! — so here’s the latest lineup:

Wednesday, August 19: I commemorate A.D.’s release with a presentation and signing in Austin, Texas, @ Book People. 603 N. Lamar, Austin, 7pm.

Thursday, August 20: A.D. presentation & signing @ Domy Books in Houston, Texas. 1709 Westheimer, Houston, 6:00 pm.

Friday, August 21: A.D. hits New Orleans. Release party with me and some of the book’s subjects, live and in person! Plus an art show, music, and refreshments. The Canary Collective, 329 Julia Street, New Orleans, 7pm.

Saturday, August 22: Signing @ Maple Street Book Shop, 7523 Maple Street, New Orleans. 1pm.

Tuesday, August 25: A.D.’s New York release party @ Idlewild Books, co-sponsored by SMITH and Teachers & Writers Collaborative. Featuring live music by Mary McBride, refreshments, and an art auction to benefit Common Ground Relief. 12 West 19th St., New York City, 7pm

Friday, August 28: A.D. presentation and signing @ The Book Cellar, in Chicago. 4736-38 North Lincoln Ave., Chicago, 7pm.

Saturday, August 29: Katrina’s fourth anniversary. I will be doing an author coffee @ Writers Workspace Chicago. 5443 N. Broadway St., Chicago, 11am.

Tuesday, September 8: Presentation, Q&A, and book signing. Brookline Booksmith, 279 Harvard Street, Brookline, Mass, 7pm.

Wednesday, September 16: Pantheon editor Lisa Weinert, SMITH comics editor Jeff Newelt, and I discuss the evolution of A.D. from web to print. McNally Jackson Books, 52 Prince Street, New York City, 7 pm.

Thursday, September 24: A.D. signing @ Bergen Street Comics, 470 Bergen Street, Brooklyn, NY, 7pm.

September 26–27: A.D. hits D.C. for the annual Small Press Expo (SPX). Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center, 5701 Marinelli Road, North Bethesda, Maryland.

October 8–11: I will be a guest of Portland’s Wordstock Literary Festival, “the largest celebration of literature and literacy in the Pacific Northwest.” Oregon Convention Center, Portland, Oregon.

November 14–15: I will be a guest at one of the biggest book festivals in the country, The Miami Book Fair International.

I'm a comic book character!

Comics, Review, Travel

Last night I was reading Gabrielle Bell‘s latest Lucky (vol. 2, number 1), and suddenly, there I was: a character in the story! This scene takes place as we were driving back from SPX 2006. It all seemed very familiar to me, but since Gabrielle had changed everyone’s names, it wasn’t until this panel (page 7, panel 5) that I realized it was me at the wheel! (For completeness’ sake, that’s joanreilly in the front passenger seat, and Gabrielle, Karen Sneider as “Edith”, and Jon Lewis [left to right] in the back. I’m not gonna tell you who “Julien” really is.) That was a fun D.C.-NYC trip: Karen kept us in stitches the whole way. IMHO, she’s one of the funniest people on earth — and her comix are the cat’s meow.

Lucky vol. 2,  no. 1, p. 7, panel 5

P.S. I really enjoyed that issue of Lucky (even tho’ Gabrielle drew me wearing a collared shirt, which almost never happens in real life). Gabrielle is quickly rising up the ranks to become a “top-tier” cartoonist. Her work is so delicate and understated, yet packs such a punch. Like great short fiction. The second story in this issue, “My Affliction,” is a wonderful, poignant, surrealist classic. And I love how Gabrielle had D&Q produce the book in essentially the same way she put together her minis when she was self-publishing Lucky for all those years.

The (Near) Immortal Soles

Travel, Tribute

Image hosted by Photobucket.comIt was September 1992 and my dad was helping outfit me for the big trip: Hong Kong and parts unknown. So we hit Paragon Sports looking for a sturdy pair of boots. The Mephistos fit great, were tough and lightweight. But $300 for a pair of shoes?! Dad insisted — it was his money, after all — so I acquiesced. From then on, my soles belonged to Mephisto. The boots finally gave out in Biloxi, but until I put them down that final time, we shared a memorable 13-year-relationship.

If all it takes to know a man is to walk a mile in his shoes, then we knew each profoundly. Together, we waded through Suppong’s underground rivers and clambered through caves; played basketball in Pai, Izmir, and Prague; explored the ruins of Sukhothai, Borobodur, Ephesus and Caunos; climbed to Mr. Ong’s Organic Farm; hiked the Cameroon Highlands; ascended Mt. Bromo; ran from the macaques of Ubud’s Monkey Forest; skirted the rice fields of Bali; echoed through the Hagia Sophia; tiptoed around the Blue Mosque; zigzagged through Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar; and tromped the streets of Hong Kong, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Singapore, Melaka, Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Bunyawungi, Kuta, Ubud, Rome, Prague, Telc, Cesky Krumlov, Vienna, Budapest, Istanbul, and Paris.

Back in the States, over the ensuing years, we made our way through the Black Hills, Yellowstone, Yosemite, and the Grand Canyon, not to mention local hikes in Sonoma, Cape Cod, and the Berkshires.

For 13 long years, they withstood pounding, scuffing, being soaked through and dried out again, replacement shoelaces, and worst of all, my stinky feet. Brave, brave boots! But every great partnership must end, and my old companions just couldn’t handle ERV duty. They were replaced — by a $15 pair of Wal*Mart construction boots — but will never be forgotten.

well traveled?


Josh’s Travel Profile:

You Are Extremely Well Traveled in Canada (100%)
You Are Very Well Traveled in the Western United States (74%)
You Are Very Well Traveled in the Northeastern United States (71%)
You Are Very Well Traveled in Western Europe (64%)
You Are Somewhat Well Traveled in Eastern Europe (40%)
You Are Somewhat Well Traveled in the United Kingdom (38%)
You Are Somewhat Well Traveled in Asia (33%)
You Are Somewhat Well Traveled in the Southern United States (31%)
You Are Somewhat Well Traveled in the Middle East (25%)
You Are Somewhat Well Traveled in the Midwestern United States (25%)
You Are Mostly Untraveled in Southern Europe (20%)
You Are Mostly Untraveled in Latin America (13%)
You Are Untraveled in Africa (0%)
You Are Untraveled in Australia (0%)
You Are Untraveled in New Zealand (0%)
You Are Untraveled in Scandinavia (0%)

This Time I DID Leave My Heart in San Francisco!


Sari & I couldn’t get out of town fast enough when we left San Francisco in September of 1999. It was the height of the high-tech bubble, and the whole town seemed obsessed with stock options. We lived in a dark, wall-to-wall carpeted railroad-flat on a sleazy, crack-ridden back alley. Our pleurisy-ridden upstairs neighbor woke us up every morning with vomiting sounds from the airshaft. We had endured two years of El Nino weather (one stretch of 55 days featured 50 days of rain) We missed our own (East) coast and were looking forward to heading back home to friends and family. I didn’t expect to think much about SF after we were gone.

That was mostly true for a long time, but in the last year or so, I found myself reminiscing a bit, mostly about the food and my beloved baseball team, the San Francisco Giants. So when I considered going to APE this year to promote A Few Perfect Hours, I convinced Sari to come along for a mini-vacation. I also saw the Giants would be in town, and I vowed to see a game. I’ve already talked about APE, but I want to recap the good times we had on our return to the place I had spent two previous two-year stays, in the late 70s and late 90s. People always say that cities like Frisco and the Big Apple are better places to visit than live there, and I wanted to see if that was true. Plus, as New Yorkers, Sari & I love walking, and San Francisco is a great walking city.

2005 A.P.E. Report

Review, Travel
Jeff Mason at the Alternative Comics booth

I headed out to APE this year to promote A Few Perfect Hours, and also to touch base with San Francisco, which Sari and I had left behind almost six years ago. Last time I attended APE it was still in San Jose. Nowadays, it’s held at the Concourse Center South of Market, in what seems like an old airplane hanger.

While the venue is a huge improvement over the old location, the show seemed a bit … lacking. Whether it was the beautiful weather outside, or the fact that the Giants were playing two home day games that same weekend, the show was pretty dead. I felt bad for my erstwhile publisher indymag cuz it’s hard to imagine he recouped anything close to table & shipping costs. Personally, I sold fewer than ten copies of my book, plus assorted random copies of The Vagabonds and Titans of Finance. And I was probably the top seller, after local boys Graham Annable and the Hickee gang.

It was great talking to readers and pals of pals, etc., as well as reconnecting with folks like Ribs Weissman, Justin Hall, Brett Warnock, and Eli Bishop, but I admit to some disappointment. Thank god Sari and I made a vacation of it and stayed an extra three days around the con to soak in the sights and take in a Giants game!

Also making appearances at the Alternative table were Lauren Weinstein, Graham Annable, Jim Campbell, Joe White, Razmig Mavlian, Joel Orff, Tatiana Gill, Bishakh Som, Andrice Arp, and Joan Reilly. Bishakh’s new Xeric-winning book Angel had a nice little buzz about it, but again, not too much in the way of sales. I didn’t do much walking around as I was helping indymag run the table, but I did get a chance to see Lauren Weinstein’s multimedia slideshow, which is always a hoot. She makes it a full theatrical experience, and y’all should check it out when she performs with Bob Sikoryak’s “Carousel” series. I also said hi to Seth, who was a special guest of the Con, and gave him a copy of Hours, which he seemed pleased to receive. Other highlights were scoring copies of Max Estes’s new book Hello Again from Top Shelf, Justin Hall’s True Travel Tales #4 and his mini Tsunami!, trading with Jason Shiga for a copy of Fleep, ditto with alibi_shop for An Inside Job #1, and getting Bishakh’s pre-Xeric mini, Angel, and Chris Juricich’s Tokyo Days. I also traded with Lauren McCubbin for an issue of Kitchen Sink, and I used the down time at the table to laugh my way through Graham Annable’s Stickleback and the new Hickee anthology.

My impression was that it wasn’t only Alternative that was hurting for business; my informal poll of other creators — and just looking around the convention floor — confirmed the low-density crowds. Top sellers seemed to be cute self-made artists books, cute T-shirts, and cute posters & paraphernalia. Seems that that the savvy Frisco crowds already had their new graphic novels/comics and were looking for unique and funky art objects. Can’t blame them — if you can get your new book at a fine local comic store like Comics Experience or Comic Relief, why wait ’til the con comes to town?

Many Goings-On

Travel, Work

The book release party was a rousing success, as all sorts of family, friends, and other guests descended on Jigsaw for drinks, conversation — oh, and A Few Perfect Hours! Here’s a really nice gallery of photos from the event, courtesy of Jigsaw’s inestimable proprietor, BenJones.

If you missed the fun, don’t despair because I’ll be offically debuting the book this weekend at SPX! Pick up your copy from Friday, Oct. 1 – Sunday, Oct. 3, at the Holiday Inn Select, Bethesda, Maryland, just one mile outside the nation’s capital, Washington DC. In its tenth year, SPX now serves as the preeminent showcase for the exhibition of independent comic books and the discovery of new creative talent. I’ll be sharing space at SPX with Rob “Chappy” Ullman, so visit us at table V-8 (in the Versailles Ballroom, natch).

Finally, for all you literary types, there’s the Fall 2004 issue of The Common Review, the magazine of The Great Books Foundation. Poet & memoirist Nick Flynn and I reunite for another “graphic poem.” It’s another two-page spread and it’s called “Father Outside.” Look for it.