The August Previews catalog (for comics shipping in October) is now in stores, and it features my solo book THE VAGABONDS #2 — with a “Certified Cool” rating! Thanks, Diamond!
You can find the listing on p. 222. The book is published by Alternative Comics. The Diamond Order Code is AUG062933. The catalog also features relistings of THE VAGABONDS #1 (2003) and TITANS OF FINANCE (2001), if you want to complete your Neufeld collection. Please consider pre-ordering a copy, and please tell your local comics retailer(s) to order some for his/her other customers.
Here’s some more info about THE VAGABONDS #2:
Xeric Award-winning cartoonist Josh Neufeld returns with The Vagabonds #2: Of Two Minds, featuring an array of Neufeld’s comics collaborations. Collaboration has always been part of Neufeld’s comix repertoire — with Dean Haspiel in Keyhole and R. Walker in Titans of Finance, with Duplex Planet Illustrated‘s David Greenberger, and with American Splendor‘s Harvey Pekar (still ongoing). And in The Vagabonds #2, that tradition continues — with some strange twists and turns. Contributors include Pekar, Greenberger, Walker, artist Martha Rosler, award-winning poet/memoirist Nick Flynn, literary cult figure Eileen Myles, and the New York downtown theater company The Civilians — as well such offbeat collaborators as The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby,” a 1980 issue of Superman, and Neufeld’s own mirror reflection! A good collaboration is a conversation between artist and writer, each challenging the other, with the result truly being Of Two Minds.
THE VAGABONDS #2 is purple ink on cream paper, 32 pages, oversized, 7-3/4″ x 9-1/4″, $3.95. ISBN: 1-891867-17-2. Diamond Item Code: AUG062933; Oct. 2006. More info and samples here.
The 3rd annual MoCCA Arts Festival returns to the Puck Building in NYC this weekend, June 11–12. I’ll be there at tables A49 – A50 with the Alternative Comics crowd, hopefully sporting copies of a new mini-comic, The Vagabonds 1.5: The Collaboration Issue. I’ll also be selling and signing copies of A Few Perfect Hours.
man_size and I (and our dates) went to the American Splendor NYC premiere on Wednesday night (August 12) and I had the time of my life. It was my second time seeing the film and I enjoyed it just as much this go-around. Dean and his girlfriend — a film editor — are old hands at movie premieres, but I ate it all up. The red carpet, the limos, the star treatment for Harvey & Joyce — it was exciting, thrilling and bizarre, all at once. I finally met Toby Radloff — someone I’ve drawn a number of times in the comic — in person, and he was just as strange as I’ve always imagined. I also met Judah Friedlander, the guy who plays Toby in the film, which was surreal.
The after-movie dinner was held in a giant studio in Chelsea, filled with kitschy set pieces from the movie: old 70s furniture, jazz records, cheesy diner tables, the works. To top it off, they served all manner of white trash junk food, from White Castle hamburgers to orange soda (Harvey’s favorite?). Totally ridiculous, but all in the service of the film, I guess.
Anyway, It was nice to catch up with Harvey, who I hadn’t seen in person in quite a while. He seemed dazed but unchanged by all the hype — the same old uncompromising, grouchy, needy, intense oddball. At the end of the evening, Dean & I found him slumped on a couch at the very darkest corner of the hall, zoned out and exhausted. I also gave a copy of The Vagabonds to Sean Astin (Sam from Lord of the Rings) who asked me to sign it for him and seemed genuinely thrilled to be getting a free comic book. Plus, I got lots of free trailer park grub and a pocket-full of jellybeans to take home with me. All in all, an evening of splendor in America.
Wow, what a week. Last Tuesday, June 17th, I was expecting 75 advance copies of my new book, The Vagabonds (literally hot off the presses) from Quebecor, my Canadian printer. I needed the books for two much-anticipated comics-related events: a group signing at Jim Hanley’s Universe on June 18th, and the 2nd Annual Museum of Comic & Cartoon Art (MoCCA) show on June 22nd. I had been looking forward to MoCCA for months, excited about debuting my first new book in almost two years in its vibrant creative atmosphere.
The PDFs of the blue-lines has been approved, the books were successfully printed and the box was shipped out on Tuesday, June 17th, for overnight delivery on the 18th. Or so I thought. When I finally got the FedEx tracking numbers from Quebecor, I was horrified to see that the comics had been shipped out International Economy — a three-day trip! By the time I realized their error late on Tuesday night, it was too late to have the shipment “upgraded” to overnight delivery. Quebecor was closed and the box was sitting on a ramp somewhere in Mirabel, Quebec. And so the Hanley’s event went by the boards. I was angry, I felt victimized by Quebecor’s carelessness, but I wasn’t devastated. Life goes on.
On Thursday the 19th, the books arrived (a day “early,” for Economy shipping), and I was relieved to at least have them in my hands. It was thrilling to take that first copy off the pile and revel in the finished product. The green ink on cream paper effect turned out nicer than I could have hoped and I was excited to share the book with the world on Sunday at MoCCA. Little did I know what was still in store…
Late Friday night, my wife Sari & I were sitting around, talking about the weekend’s upcoming events. I was idly flipping through my new comic, and took out a few copies for sharing with fellow cartoonists and family members. I happened to flip through one a little down the pile and noticed a strange glitch: the middle eight pages — two folios — were duplicates of other pages in the book. I chuckled at this aberration and showed it to Sari, taking out the next book to make sure it hadn’t happened there as well. Shit! That one was screwed up too! And so was the next, and the next, and so on and on. When all was said and done, I was left with 15 good copies and 60 disasters, strewn about my feet. Given the day and time, there was no way to get more copies shipped from Quebecor (assuming the other books weren’t in a similar condition). I was completely in shock. What had I done to deserve this? I wondered if a nonexistent god that I didn’t believe in was punishing me for my heresy and hubris.
After a few frantic calls to Alternative Comics publisher Jeff Mason and comics cohorts and Nick Bertozzi, and moping around for a while, the germ of a crazy idea came into my head. It was the only way I knew to salvage my pride and regain a feeling of self-determination. I couldn’t let this tragedy defeat me.
First thing the next day I went to my computer and created new folios of the missing pages from my original files. With Sari in tow, I set off for the new Brooklyn-area Kinko’s. It was a rainy, miserable day, perfectly capturing my mood. But I was determined to persevere. There were still a couple of roadblocks ahead, but with Sari’s help, I printed out the new folios, figured out how to line them up on the copier to match them back to front, and produced 50 copies of the eight “new” pages. I was even able to match the cream-colored paper (although of course I couldn’t print them in green ink). Then it was just a matter of trimming the pages to fit, folding and inserting them. Of course this meant unstapling all the books, removing the offending folios, inserting the new pages just so, and using a long-reach stapler to put the books back together. Altogether it was an eight-hour process, but after some aborted attempts, I had 50 passable copies of my comic. If you didn’t look at them too carefully, they looked pretty darn good! Sure, it was another miserable day spent sweating in a Kinko’s, but I had reclaimed my agency, and most importantly, created enough “product” to get me through MoCCA.
Well, Sunday came and went and through sales, trades and giveaways, I distributed all 65 copies (the original 15 and the 50 “artist’s galleys”). My tale of woe garnered me some much-needed sympathy and quite a few similar stories. Unfortunately, it seems that Quebecor has made quite an art out of screwing up small press comics. Ironically, most people were happy to have the reassembled books; it seems that folks liked the idea that their copy wasn’t mass-produced so much as hand-assembled —”artist’s books,” if you like. And I had the satisfaction of personally handing a couple of leftover bad copies to the Quebecor printer’s rep, who’d come down to New York for the show.
Of course, first thing Monday morning, the day after the show, UPS delivered 100 copies of The Vagabonds, impeccably bound and collated, to my front door. Like I said, what a week.
My new solo book, The Vagabonds, will be debuting the week of June 16! More details, as well as cover images and a sample story, can be found here. On Wednesday, June 18, from 5 – 8 PM, I will be joining cartoonists Nick Bertozzi (Rubber Necker) and Dean Haspiel (Aim to Dazzle) at Jim Hanley’s, 4 West 33rd Street, NYC, where we will sign comics and entertain visitors with our poor attempts at humor.
I will be but one of the hundreds of comics creators at the 2nd Annual MoCCA Art Festival on Sunday, June 22, from 11:00am to 7:00pm. MoCCA — which offers fans, professionals and the general public an ideal opportunity to view and purchase a wide range of works from independent, alternative, and up-and-coming comic and cartoon artists — will be held at the historic Puck Building (293 Lafayette Street at Houston, New York City). The event is open to the public. Suggested minimum donation is $5, with all proceeds going to support the nonprofit Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art.
Other artists scheduled to participate include Bill Plympton (Mutant Aliens, Hair High), Craig Thompson (Goodbye, Chunky Rice), Howard Cruse (Stuck Rubber Baby), James Kochalka (Pinky & Stinky, Monkey vs. Robot), Jeff Smith (Bone), Patrick McDonnell (Mutts), Peter Kuper (SPY vs. SPY, World War 3 Illustrated), and Phoebe Gloeckner (The Diary of a Teenage Girl). This year’s Special Guest Honoree will be Art Spiegelman (RAW, Maus, Little Lit). More details can be found here.