APE 2012 (Please DO tell me about your complicated relationships!)


First off, I like San Francisco a lot and if this were a food blog I would totally go into the salt cod fried rice from Mission Chinese or the Nokedli at Bar Tartine or the Hot Beef served food cart style in a very filthy dive bar but while I am boring I am not THAT boring.

As it turns out, the place I was staying was right around the corner from Kayo Books which is an amazing used pulp bookstore and sure enough there was a big fat stack of old undergrounds and 50s Dells. I passed on a couple of old faves from the late UG period–such as Tim Eagan‘s ALL-NIGHT COMICS and so many Kim Deitch titles–and grabbed the above POGOs (great), LITTLE RASCALS (terrible), RUFF AND REDDY (should be better), and a Justin Green’s SHOW AND TELL (for Pascal Girard). Tattered and cheap–perfect. Oh, waitI I am THAT boring.

Friday night, I took the Bart out to Berkeley for Adrian Tomine’s signing at Pegasus Books. It’s a cute store and the events coordinator Marlon was on top of things. The place was packed.

People, this is a graphic novel section! To my eye, the jerky unicorn comic is the one that seems to pop the most so there goes $100,000 for graphic design school down the drain for the rest of us.

I encourage EVERYONE to do this very thing!!! “It looked a lot more like you before we cooked it,” said the creator. Later, while watching Adrian’s slideshow I absent mindedly ate half of his face. Sorry, Adrian!!

I love these out of print and valuable comics displayed above the shelved books–I meant to fully capture this shelf but accidentally cut off that copy of LUCKY priced at $400.

The place was picked! A number of us stood on the lower level and craned our necks and cupped our ears in order to see/hear Adrian.

Adrian gives his wry account of breaking into the New Yorker illustration game. I don’t think I’ve ever heard so much audience laughter at an author event.

Saturday morning and I am armed with my McSweeneys intern Ilaria. That’s right, I call up McSweeneys and ask for interns to work the show. And they have them. Ilaria had just arrived from Italy two days prior. She was great and was out of her mind excited when I told her that Adrian would be signing later that day.

Oh, here’s our pals from Yam Books–Ken McIrish, proprietor Rina Ayuyang, and featured artist Tim Hensley. Rina just published Tim’s new book Ticket Stub which I find impossible to describe. Oh, all right–brushy precision and stream of consciousness hilarity. See I can’t do it. Also, best die-cut ever on the cover/entire book.

It was a light signing show for us. Adrian was the only person touring and he signed for a couple of hours on Saturday. The folks came out and the always professional APE/Comic-Con staff was right on top of the line and things ran smoothly.

So guess what? I hate taking pictures with the iPad apparently and this is it. It was good to see the usual convention pals like Janice, Mike, and Brett. And to visit with my McSweeneys (and former McSweeneys) peeps like Eli, Russell, Walter, Brian, Sam, Chelsea, Laura, Sunra, and Andi. I think I had the longest chat with Brett Warnock from Top Shelf that I’ve had in years. Brief talks with Jon Vermilyea and Tom Kaczynski from Uncivilized Books and Gabrielle Bell. Also, awesome to meet Lee Binswanger and see Caryn Leschen again. I love those ladies!!

PEOPLE! Saturday was my birthday and I celebrated it by eating leftover pizza and looking at the pages for Dan Clowes as-yet-unnamed in-progress graphic novel. AMAZING! Also, I held a copy of Fantastic Four #1 in my hands.

Ah, one last photo: Here I am with intern Gretchen who helped me out on Sunday. I said please wear plaid and she complied. {Special thanks to Chris Diaz for the photo and his friend Graham Willcox for color correction (he “pinked up” my usual blotchy ashen pallor, added some distinguished grey highlights to my hair, and gave my rheumy eyes some “blue sparkle.”}



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