Sunday, June 29, 2008

Madden and Abel Talk Comics on NPR

Matt Madden and Jessica Abel have just written and illustrated a great textbook on making comics. The pair were on NPR this afternoon, talking about the book:

Zander brought a copy into the office last week, and it's been difficult to put it down. The book is exactly what it sounds like: a big thick textbook that gets down to brass tacks on how to make a comic book. It features tons of info, from a detailed analysis of crow quill pen nibs to descriptions of the different kinds of transitions between panels. And the whole book is peppered with explanatory drawings from Matt and Jessica, and examples from other pro cartoonists.

This book is high on my list of "books I wish I could have read a long time ago."

Friday, June 27, 2008

Photos from Wizard World Chicago 2008

Here are photos from Zander's artist alley location. Getting photos from Zander's cell phone feels like receiving images from Mars for some reason. Check back for more photos throughout the weekend.

SUNDAY, JUNE 29, 2008:

"Zander and a Gaggle of Luigis"
"Gene Drawing Sketches"
"Zander at Wizard World Chicago"
Thanks, Donn!

SATURDAY, JUNE 28, 2008:

FRIDAY, JUNE 27, 2008:


These are some drawings I did while sitting or standing there behind the table.

I feel like this is one of the guys I'm seeing more and more often. Bald, sleeve and neck tattoos; goatee (minus mustache, may also have soul patch or close-cropped mutton chops), stiff jeans, wallet on a chain, and morbidly obese, although in a tough way. I like him.

This is a rough approximation of how I felt on Friday.


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Notes from the Attic

Hey folks, a few notes:

ZANDER is representing the Attic at Wizard World Chicago this weekend. If you're around, make sure to say hi!

The Twin Cities ROCK ATLAS took home another award. The Minnesota Society of Professional Journalists awarded City Pages a 2nd place award under the "Graphics and Illustrations: In-depth" category.

FAR ARDEN, a 350-page graphic novel (serialized online), was recently picked up for publication by Top Shelf Productions. Look for your copy in April, 2009.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

City Pages Comix Issue: DUE TOMORROW!

June 25

Submission info here.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Sacred Cow Barbecue Illustration in This Month's Game Informer Magazine!

This month we drew an illustration for Game Informer Magazine, the best dang video game magazine out there, for the article "Sacred Cow Barbecue". In this article, the editors finally cut loose on some classic games that no one (until NOW) had the cajones to take down a peg.

Half-Life, Chrono Trigger, Smash Bros, NFL 2K5, Gran Turismo, Rez, and even good old GoldenEye get the bum's rush. And I tell you what, nothing is as fun to draw as Nintendo characters grilling up to a golden brown.

One thing that was different about this image was that we delivered the work in six different Photoshop layers. This was because last year, the designers wanted to take parts of the illustration and use them on subsequent pages of the article to break up the text a little. Doing the drawing this way was kind of fun and interesting-- being a double-page spread, it worked out better to draw all the elements separately since we don't have any paper around here big enough to do the entire illustration on. Also, when working for clients (even clients as easygoing as Game Informer), it's good to design in a good deal of adaptability to your drawing-- in this case, the ability to move elements around all the way until the end of the process.

That said, the intention was that the drawing be reproduced like the Original Image mentioned above, going across two pages, and leaving space at the bottom for some introductory text. On the next couple pages, they could then take elements and scatter them around to illustrate some of the individual games with their particular image. What they did, however, was split the drawing up entirely, and put two whole layers on the following page, which I think was pretty successful; it draws a lot of attention to the grill with the Nintendo characters on it, it clones the Rez burger and makes that more prominent, and it makes the initial page's layout less symmetrical and more dynamic. It loses some of the depth that the original illustration had, but I don't think that's that big of a deal. It also allows the second page to have a good corner-oriented illustration that gives that spread an attractive look. Pretty tricky how they switched around that crowbar. Nice one, guys.

The little details that went into this (as opposed to the kind of obvious characters-being-barbecued details) are the partially-obscured "BTA" on the car's hood, mimicking the Gran Turismo logo, the "GIO" which is meant to look like "GTO" but stand for "Game Informer Online", and "Hodges" on the top of the car, which is a name-check to Paul Hodges, a friend of mine who played a lot of Gran Turismo back in the day.

Anyway, check out the images and see what you think. You can also read the article, which doesn't seem to be available online-- hopefully that's cool with GI.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

"Ten-Cent Plague" Author David Hajdu Minneapolis Appearance

This should be an interesting talk:

A Twin Cities Appearance by


Author of The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic Book Scare and How it Changed America

Tuesday, July 8 at 7:30 p.m.

Elmer L. Andersen Library
University of Minnesota
222 21st Avenue South, Minneapolis

Dessert reception follows with books available for sale courtesy of Red Balloon Bookshop. David Hajdu will be signing books.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

City Pages Comix Issue: DEADLINE REMINDER!

June 25

Submission info here.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

MoCCA 2008 Was Rather Enjoyable For Zander

I just got back from New York City yesterday, where I had gone to the MoCCA Art Fest this past weekend. Here are some things that were, as they say, rather enjoyable:

1. Sharing a "Pod" hotel room with Jim Ottaviani, with whom Kevin and I are working on a book (and with whom we worked on Bone Sharps, Cowboys, and Thunder Lizards). The room had a sink, a bunkbed, and an air conditioner (luckily). It did not have a bathroom. There were four bathrooms in the hallway, and we shared them with everyone else on the floor. That would be inconvenient except for a few minor details: The bathrooms and rooms were clean, attractive, and modern, the rooms were relatively inexpensive, and best of all, there were four little lights above our door that showed which bathrooms were occupied. Slick!

Jim and I had a fine time. A lot of science and comic talk. No pillow fights. No hair braiding or toenail painting. And I got the top bunk.

2. Meeting Ryan North (Dinosaur Comics), Jeffrey Rowland (Overcompensating, Wigu), and David Malki (Wondermark) in the internet cartoonists corner. I also saw, but did not speak to for whatever reason, Meredith Gran (Octopus Pie). These are four of my favorite internet comics, and I read them every day, or however often they post.

3. Talking with Howard Zimmerman, who packaged our last and next (but not current) book.

4. Evacuating the Puck Building during a fire alarm. No, actually, that was kind of a drag.

5. Bryan Lee O'Malley came by to get some comics. So did David Mazzucchelli (not pictured).

6. Kicking it with the extremely suspicious Stuart Moore.

The show seemed approximately the same, crowd- and commerce-wise, as last year, although I haven't asked around to compare notes. Jim Ottaviani, who is far more scientific than I, sold almost precisely all of the books he brought. How do you do that? He said some gibberish about keeping sales records from previous years and only bringing that number of books, and... well, if it's going to be that complicated, you can count me out.

The bottom floor (rooms A, B, and C) were nice and cool despite the 104-degree heat outside, but the top floor (room S) had the visual benefit of beautiful sunlight streaming through the windows and skylight, and the physiological liability of making everyone up there feel like they were going to melt. I was lucky to be on the ground floor, but ol' Jim was upstairs, and to add to his misery, right outside the window was a billboard that flashed the ever-escalating temperature every five seconds.

I didn't have a lot of time to walk around the show, being the lone table-minder, but the vibe of the place and the work in it was that the middle has shifted in small press stuff away from indy-tinged genre stuff, ultra-painful autobiographical meditations, and art books, and toward funnier, more writer-centric, and shorter serialized work. Perhaps it's just the change, but this work seems very lively to me; it still has the heart of the previous generation of the small press, but seems more aware of its presentation. Serializing on the web makes reader reaction immediate, and this may quickly force these cartoonists to polish up their jokes and be more reader-friendly if they want to build an audience.

Best of all was packing up really fast and hustling over to get a table in the bar across the street. Only once a cold beer is in front of you can the healing truly begin. Reveals the Secrets of Minnesota Cartoonists

Steve is one of the many handsome cartoonists you can read about in Britt Aamodt's article about the local comics scene.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Shanks: "An A-FLARE to Remember!"

I finally got around to drawing on the little art cards for this year's FallCon. The idea is that cartoonists draw on five of these cards, send them in to the MNCBA, and then they'll distribute them randomly.

The paper is pretty glossy, which is why you see the pencil still on the page -- I'm going to let these dry for a day or two before erasing. Nothing worse than an unnecessary smudge!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Rock Atlas Wins First Place

The Twin Cities Rock Atlas took home the gold over the weekend. The 2-page map that first appeared in City Pages in December '07 won in the "Innovation" category at the AltWeekly Awards in Philadelphia.

City Pages also took home two more awards, described here.

I don't know a lot of details about the award itself, but I'm hoping that there's some sort of plaque involved that I can hang up next to Zander's Eisners...

BTA Photo Album

Here are some snapshots from the past two months:

First up, graphic novelist Jim Ottaviani (author of "Bone Sharps") swung by a few weeks ago. Here he is in the bullpen with Zander, probably talking about how much fun they're going to have this weekend at Mocca.

A handful of Lutefisk Sushi artists pose in the Attic with their stuffed-with-comics bento boxes. Hard to believe that the third Sushi show has come and gone already! Artists featured above are (L to R): Lupi Miguinti, Maxeem Konrardy (kneeling), Ryan Dow, Jon Sloan, Zander Cannon, David Sandberg, and Carl Nelson.

Kirk Taylor came by the Cartoonist Conspiracy meeting last Thursday and gave a great presentation on Wesley Morse (the creator of Bazooka Joe). Kirk's talk focused on a cache of drawings he recently uncovered. The drawings -- pencil, ink, and wash on Morse's own stationary -- are beautiful and often cynical "love letters," all sent to Kirk's great aunt, actress Avonne Taylor. You can read much more at the collection's website. Thanks, Kirk!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Wesley Morse Presentation This Thursday

This THURSDAY, swing by DIAMOND'S at 8:00pm to hear Kirk Taylor give a presentation on Bazooka Joe creator WESLEY MORSE.

Steven Stwalley puts it this way:

In addition to our usual jam this meeting, we will have a special presentation by Kirk Taylor on cartoonist Wesley Morse. Morse was the creator of Bazooka Joe, and an uncredited illustrator of many of the best examples of the notorious tijuana bibles. In many ways, Morse was the prototypical underground cartoonist. Kirk’s presentation will feature works from the Taylor-Morse collection, a unique collection of beautifully illustrated love letter cartoons that Morse wrote to Kirk’s great aunt, chorusgirl Avonne Taylor. Read more on the Taylor-Morse collection website. The presentation will begin at 8:00. Thanks much to Puny Entertainment for providing the space and projector for the presentation!

More info here.

Morse's Tijuana Bible cover, above, is from, which is a great site to check out if you're a few years older than Matthew Kriske.

How to Punch

Monday, June 02, 2008

Check Out "The Thousandth Word"

Cartoonist Conspirator and best-letterer-known-to-mankind Andy Sturdevant will be regaling us with his views on the Twin Cities Art Scene, via The Thousandth Word.

The Thousandth Word is a new blog from the Rake, a free monthly magazine that disappeared from Twin Cities' street corners a few months ago. Now they're online-only, which I guess is good news for whatever kind of tree it is that produces glossy paper.

So check out Andy's first article, a look at South Minneapolis' Shoebox Gallery.