Well, at least at Comix Experience. It is a stunningly gorgeous monster of a book, and we are, as far as I know, the only comics store in San Francisco with copies on sale until at least next week. (Diamond isn't shipping it yet)
Please don't forget that we have Craig Thompson IN PERSON next Wednesday, the 28th, from 2-4 PM. You can read more about that right here.
I'd rush in for a copy of this -- just on the flip through test it really looks like the graphic novel of the year -- be the first person in San Francisco to buy a copy!
It's a mid-afternoon signing (from 2-4), but we're shuddering with glee that we've got Craig Thompson coming to sign Habibi on September 28. You can find more information here!
Hope to see you there!
Comix Experience is very pleased to have local San Francisco cartoonist MariNaomi appearing on Saturday, May 14th, from noon to 2 PM.
MariNaomi is the author of Kiss & Tell: a Romantic Resume, Ages 0 to 22, where she documents each and every romantic/sexual encounter she had until young adulthood. It is a gripping piece of work, set against the backdrop of San Francisco in the 80s and 90s.
Which means, if you're a Bay Area resident, it's even possible you're in this book -- at least one Comix Experience customer is!
Please join us on Saturday, May 14, from noon to 2 PM to celebrate this special book!
On Wednesday, October 21st, from 5-7 PM, Comix Experience is pleased as punch to bring you an in-store appearance with EXURBIA co-creators Scott Allie and Kevin McGovern!
Most of you probably know Scott Allie as the Editor Extraordinaire on such (awesome) books as BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, CONAN, and HELLBOY, but he's also an accomplished writer (THE DEVIL'S FOOTPRINTS, SOLOMON KANE: THE CASTLE OF THE DEVIL, and THE FOG, among others) EXURBIA is his newest book and it’s received great response from folks like Gilbert Hernandez, who wrote, “Exurbia boldly continues and transmogrifies the type of lunatic stories that only comics can do with any justice. Try as films and TV might, here is the real stuff. Bravo and yikes at the same time.” Now THERE'S a pull quote!
EXURBIA is artist Kevin McGovern's debut comic, and he's got a very appealing bigfoot cartooning style. While I'm generally loath to send people off to other retailer's websites, you can read a 13 page preview of EXURBIA over here.
Scott is a genuinely nice guy who has an infectious love of comics, so I really want to urge you to come on down and meet him and help support his writing.
(Please note: while Scott is a Big League Editor at a Major Publisher, and while he'll be happy to talk to you about BUFFY or HELLBOY, we're asking that people DON'T try to hit him up for portfolio reviews or listen to your pitch during the signing-- that's why God invented the Post Office!)
Wednesday, October 21st, 5-7 PM, Comix Experience -- 305 Divisadero St., at Page, in San Francisco -- be there!!
Here's at least two bloggish posts about the Gaiman signing:
The latter has this nice pic (if I'm linking correctly, at least)
Also, here's the photodump of pictures that Susan Riddle took.
If you know of any other posts, please let me know!
It was a very very nice event.
Neil read from WHO KILLED AMANDA PALMER (which I overnight Saturday deliveried a case of copies in -- I should have had THREE cases, damn it; I'll be restocking those, for sure!) for about a half hour, then we did the signing itself.
Despite the fact that he had lunch plans with Daniel Handler, he still took the time to talk to each and every person in line for five minutes or so, and did little head sketches for most of them. He was utterly gracious with his time and attention, and sat through scores of photos, and everything else.
We were scheduled to end at 12:30, and, instead, wrapped at something closer to an hour late because Neil wanted to talk to each and every person there -- now that's pure class!
Thank you to all of the attendees, all of whom seemed to leave the store with huge glowing smiles on their faces (and, in one case, what ended up 20 minutes later as a permanent tattoo) (Seriously, she came back with permanent ink, and got a big smooch from Neil as a secondary reward)
Thanks to my god-damn good staff: Carissa, Matt and Susan. They totally rocked it.
Thanks to the generous volunteers who helped with line control and keeping people happy and moving: Seth & Skye, Tim & Lisa, Matt N., James, Shannon and Antoine. We literally could not have done it without all of you, and you've got a lot more than just my thanks coming.
And thanks most of all to Neil Gaiman for being such a generous guy with his time and being a master of charm and enthusiasm. Let's do this again for the store's FORTIETH anniversary, aye?
(There’s a long, rambly story that goes with this, which you can find here, but just so as to not bury the lede…)
Comix Experience is very proud to announce, as part of its ongoing 20th anniversary celebration, a rare San Francisco reading/Q&A/Signing with acclaimed author Neil Gaiman on Sunday, July 19th from 11 AM to 12:30 PM.
Later Edit: The event is now completely sold out, and we thank everyone for their interest and patience!
OK, so you all remember that 2009 is Comix Experience’s 20th anniversary, right? (April first, to be exact!)
Those of you who are actually customers may also note that we didn’t exactly do anything special for it (like a party or something). This is because my plan was to do several events throughout the year to celebrate, probably culminating in that party on the Twenty-First birthday because, y’know, then she’s legal to drink and all.
I’d actually been thinking about this for a very long time. How long? Well, it was way back on February 15th, 2006 (!) that I first emailed Neil Gaiman a message with the title “How Is Your 2009 looking?”
Neil’s one of those Major League guests nowadays – his schedule is overbooked, all of the time, and everyone wants him somewhere always. This is why I started three years early!
Why Neil? I mean, besides the “Uh, duh he’s a major league super-star” bit? Well, in a lot of ways because I think Neil and I came up together in comics.
See, I had creators that I was passionate about whom the store supported (and they supported back) dating from before I started CE – the Matt Wagner’s, the Dave Sim’s, and so on. (I actually have a story involving both of them and my reasons for starting CE that’s nearly old enough that I might be able to tell it out loud in public one of these days…) – Comix Experience was effectively created because of the passion I had for those guy’s works at the time.
And as the store went on, that passion for creators and their work expanded way out to even more people who then did events and things for us, and became friends of the store and friends of me personally – Garth Ennis, Warren Ellis, Grant Morrison, dozens and dozens of other people; all of that happened after the store opened, and the medium to began to expand in tone and depth.
But Neil? Neil was my first. Neil was the very first contemporaneous creator who I felt that same passion as I did for my heroes.
Comix Experience opened, as I said, in April of 1989. Sandman #1 has a cover date of January 1989. I was utterly enamored by Sandman, and we worked like hell to sell it to every person we could, and it very quickly became one of our store’s best sellers.
I’d read Violent Cases, of course, as well -- maybe one of 1200 people in America who had at that point? So, yeah, I was a fan of this guy, and I really really wanted to do anything I could to help him and his career in whatever small ass way I might.
We met in San Diego that year, and I guess my enthusiasm worked OK on him – this was, of course before he was “NEIL GAIMAN”, he was hustling for work like anyone else, and was still a little awestruck with being an author with a monthly book from DC (Vertigo didn’t exist yet) at the San Diego ComicCon, I asked him if we could do a store signing (I think that maybe this would be his second or third signing ever?), and he agreed.
Now, twenty years gone I don’t remember the exact details and timing, and the scrapbook is sitting at the store right now, so I can’t look it up, but I believe it was the week that Sandman #10 was released? That puts it sometime in November of ’89 then, per www.comics.org. I’m not sure why Neil was in from England then, but he made the trip to SF. Heh, let me tell you just how low rent we were back then – Neil actually slept on our sofa in our living room! Man, today I couldn’t even imagine asking a creator to crash on my sofa!
One neat thing happened at that signing. A few months before, DC did a free overship (100%? I don’t recall now) of Sandman #8. Since we were doing the signing, DC decided to send us some of what they had around the office. They sent a case of Sandman #8.
But, oddly enough, and seemingly unknown to anyone at the time, Sandman #8 had actually been misprinted. It had a recap / intro at the front (the same one, I think, that was in early printings of “A Doll’s House”). But it was also supposed to have had an introduction by Editor Karen Berger on the inside front cover. The majority of the print run, for whatever reason, didn’t -- it ran the usual Jenette Kahn DC house ad.
Now DC told me that there were only 600 copies of this, and they sent one to me and one to some other retailer I don’t recall now, and basically I had a third of the print run. Somehow I actually disbelieve that story now because I know enough to know that just flicking the big machine on and off produces more than 600 copies – realistically there’d have to be more than 1000 of these out there, minimum, but 600 was the official story.
I know, once I opened the box, what I had. Potentially, this was a gold mine. I mean, if I had those copies now, and had CCGed them, I’d have gotten a purely gross and evil return. Thankfully, I had a soul, and I put them to their intended use – I gave that shit out for free. You can see them in the picture above, actually, with my crappy hand-written sign. And the ones that we didn’t give out when Neil was in the store? (Because, I don’t think there were even 50 people who showed up that day? It was one of those nice, “have a nice 5 minute chat with each attendee” kind of signings.) Well those copies, I stuck a flyer for the store in, with some sort of bounceback coupon, and just started Johnny Appleseed-ing them across The City. Left them on buses, at barber shops and Laundromats, and in paper boxes at school campuses. I recall we got some sort of nutty return on those – like 10% or something, maybe?
The main lesson though, was that doing the “right thing” – actually giving out the comics like we were supposed to, instead of, dunno, selling them off for $5 a throw or something (hey, in 1990 dollars!), earned me new customers who then became devoted Sandman readers month-in and month out, and some of them started branching out into other books, and a few of them even still occasionally shop with me today. Long-term seeding really does work better than short-term gain!
This also gave me a good rep with DC, which still pays dividends for me today. A year or so later, Sandman had got the attention of Rolling Stone Magazine, and there was some sort of article about Sandman as one of, I think, 10 “hot” things that year. DC rushed out a paperback collection of “A Doll’s House”, and, suddenly a whole new way of thinking about things was born.
Prior to that, there were collected editions of comics, of course – I think DC’s backlist at that point was maybe 20 items deep, if that? I do know that I kept my very first order form from month #1 of the store, with all of its precious little “1”, “2”and the very occasional “5” written in it, and that month was the premiere of the first Alan Moore Swamp Thing collection. I think it was a decade later before every Moore issue was finally collected…
Anyway, I was all about the paperback. Dude, awesome – a format where we can sell the best stories forever and ever and ever and ever? I’m all over that. Hell, I opined in probably ’91, ’92 that there wasn’t even any point in publishing stuff that you weren’t going to collect and make the long green from – this is the business we’re supposed to be in. There was a meeting in Los Angeles sometime in there with me, and the late and well loved Bill Liebowitz (Golden Apple) and Rory Root (Comic Relief) (And boy, do I miss both of those guys right about now!), and DC staff of Paul Levitz, Bob Wayne and the gone-but-not-forgotten Bruce Bristow. Me and Rory insisting to these guys that paperbacks were the model, and Bristow just being absolutely incredulous. Luckily Bob and Paul understood what we were saying…
Comix Experience was always the prototypical “Vertigo Store” – not that we sold the most number of copies of comics-meant-more-for-adults (I almost typed “sophisticated”!), but as a proportion to our superhero sales we were way up in the upper parts of the curve. And I want to believe that it was stores like mine that made the imprint possible at all. And that made the sense, company wide, that backlist was a viable model. And that, at the end of the day, is ultimately why DC took their chance to do exclusivity with Diamond and to be able to dictate the building of the infrastructure that allowed the modern era of comics to come to pass. “Real” book publishers wouldn’t be doing graphic novel lines if the Direct Market, and stores like mine hadn’t proved the model out.
I’m chatting with Neil a lot at this point – like at least once a week, sometimes 2-3 times a week, often for an hour or more – comics, comics comics, what can we do, how do we fix it, ah, I was such a Phone Queen back then. All I can say is we only sorta kinda had an internet back then, y’know?
Anyway, fast forward a little, and Season of Mists is about to come out. As a hardcover! Whoa, this is not at all common for a reprint. Thing looks like an old bible, too, with a leather cover, no dustjacket. Woulda won an Eisner if “Publication Design” had existed as a category then. The thing was lush.
And we did a signing for that.
Not just with Neil, but also with, let’s see, Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg, Kelley Jones, Matt Wagner (my original hero!), and Steve Oliff. I don’t think I’m forgetting someone? Now this was no repeat of the first one. This was a Rock Star kind of day. Crazy lines down to the end of the block, carnival atmosphere, I think we were selling copies of the hardcover at like one a minute. Absolutely insane.
Here’s a picture from that one: note Neil’s Rock Star sunglasses (but at least he’s not wearing the leather jacket!) -- and here’s the window display we did for it. Yeah, we did a black and white window display; I liked it!
(We also had a Matt Wagner signing for Sandman #25, window here)
Finally, we had Neil in (alone this time) for the “A Game of You” tour, which we immediately called “A Gaiman/You” and here’s the window display: http://comixexperience.com/agaimanyou.htm
Well, I said “finally”, but then Comix Experience also sponsored a west coast leg of Neil’s Guardian Angels Tour, where Neil read and raised $15,000 for the CBLDF.
So, yeah, this will be the fifth appearance of Neil Gaiman in San Francisco in conjunction with Comix Experience.
And it feels pretty awesome, really.
See, there’s absolutely no reason for Neil to actually do a signing here any more – I’m just one pokey little comics store, and I’m not going to enhance his profile any longer, really. And we barely ever speak – maybe once every year or two there will be occasion for a call. Neil “rarely” does comics any longer, and comics is what I’m all about, but we came up together and that counts for something.
So the punchline to this long rambly thing is that, like I said, I approached Neil about doing something in 2006 – three years in advance. Every six months or so I’d send a little tickle email, but, y’know, I was sorting thinking it wasn’t going to happen, because the man be busy, right?
Neil contacts me out of the blue on Monday, “Hey I’m going to be in San Francisco in two weeks, can we work something out?”
Look, honestly, twelve days isn’t half the amount of time that one really needs to plan a signing and make all of the pieces come together. But it is Neil, right? And who is going to say no to him? Certainly not me! Mama Hibbs didn’t raise no idiots!
And it is going to be butter – smoother than silk, and Neil’s going to help me celebrate 20 years of selling and loving comics because the man is, frankly, a mensch.
Thanks again, buddy!
I was at Kevin O'Neill's signing at CE Sunday night...with my camera...and asked the gracious and stylish Mr. O'Neill if I could take some photos...to which he graciously and stylishly agreed....and I barely took any photos at all. Because I am absurdly meek, and a FUGGIN' IDJIT. Nonetheless:
Here's a shot of the man himself. (Obviously, I shoulda run it through some light adjustments on Picasa before uploading it.) We were shop number seven in four days on his tour, and the guy would do a sketch in anyone's Black Dossier if they wanted. Really cool.
I knew he wouldn't be anything like his drawings, more than likely, but I was still somehow unconsciously surprised he wasn't one of his terrifying lantern-jawed crazy men chortling "Hur, hur, hur!" while demeaning all of us.
I thought I could catch from this angle (behind and above him) the sort of casual charisma he radiated--it was like everyone in the store, even nearly all the people hanging out at the front all had their body turned toward him the whole time he was signing. Instead, all I really caught was that awesome infinity-loop bald spot he has--it's insanely better than the goose egg I'm sporting.
We had a steady line the whole time I was there, as you can see. But I'm mainly putting this photo up so those who've never visited the shop can admire the lovely original Matt Wagner JSA portraits on the left, and the Mike Driggenberg original Endless portraits on the right. (Oh, and also because I didn't take enough pix of Kevin O'Neill, right?)
The first--but hopefully not the last--collaboration between Ian Brill and Kevin O'Neill: a commissioned sketch of Scott Pilgrim. Maybe we'll get lucky and Oni will release it as the "Oni Zombie" alternate cover to SP4 early next year...
So, in conclusion: I promise to be better at taking photos in the future. Also, go to Comic Oasis and/or the wonder that is Ralph Mathieu's Alternate Reality in Vegas tomorrow night and experience the wonder that is Kevin O'Neill yourself. You won't regret it.
I just want to say that Kevin O'Neill is a Prince Among Men -- we had an absolutely wonderful signing with him last night, and he was extremely gracious with his time, given virtually every person who showed significant "face time", answering their questions, and doing quick sketches for each and every person. What a class act!
If you're down in the San Jose area, Kev appears at Hijinx Comics today (Monday) from 5-8, then he goes to Las Vegas and Alternative Reality Comics [edit: and Comic Oasis, sorry, Derek!] on Tuesday to wrap up the tour.
I suspect Jeff will be along before TOO long with pics of last night's signing.
We've got an EXTREMELY limited number of copies left over that Kev signed (though no sketches, sorry!), so if you haven't been able to score your copy yet, feel free to email me and see if we can accommodate you.
THANKS AGAIN, KEVIN!!!!
Also last night was Alan Moore, art spiegelman, and Dan Clowes on the Simpsons -- if you didn't see it, at least for the moment it is up on YouTube, and I thought it was perhaps the funniest 10 minutes of Simpsons I've watched this decade. Oooh, let me try that embedded thing....
Let's hope that worked...
Even my wife, Tzipora, who only barely understands comics or comics culture, was howling in laughter at this segment.
Weird ending to the episode, though -- it looks at though the Android's Dungeon is closed permanently?!?
Anyway, WATCHMEN BABIES IN V FOR VACATION is a huge winner of a joke!
[Edit #2: I just noticed the LOST GIRLS poster in the background of the clip -- nice, Fox is advertising pornography, w00t!]
Sorry these took so long to post; Douglas's signing is at the start of my workweek and was followed immediately by my garage sale (which turned out great, by the way), and after the last nine weeks or so of six day workweeks when I finally got time off, I totally slacked.
Of course, I've got no right to bitch after meeting Douglas Wolk--not only had the guy only been home 22 hours in the last month (the way he put it was, "22 hours total," which leads me to infer they were non-contiguous hours), but he still had something like 11,000 words to write before(?) he left for Burning Man (which he may be doing today, I can't remember) for his six or so regular columns.
Yeah, he's kind of a dynamo, Douglas, and yet still manages to be an incredibly sweet guy, very low-key, filled with great stories, be they about how he got his new column at The Nation, or one of the bands on his record label. (Yes, Douglas Wolk is that kind of terrifying ultra-achiever: the hyphenate.) Not that I'm an expert on either man, but he really reminds me of Scott McCloud when I first met McCloud at San Diego back in 1990--very, very smart, very kind, self-assured but not content to just rest on accrued laurels. (I hope that doesn't sound like a diss against current day Scott McCloud, by the way, because it's not: it's just that when I met McCloud in 1990 and complimented him on the great work he was doing on Zot!, he thanked me and told me he was leaving the book to do a mammoth how-to on comics, a fact at which I could only stand there and gape. "Well, you've earned my trust as a creator, so if that's what you want to do I'll be there..." I not-very-encouragingly said.)
Anyway, here's just a few photos of the signing, and if you get a chance to turn up for one of Douglas's signings in the future, you should do so because he's great.
(I'm going to hell for that post title, I just know it!)
This Friday, August 17th, from 4 to 7 PM, Comix Experience is very happy to host DOUGLAS WOLK, international bon vivant, Savage Critic, and author of the most excellent Reading Comics: How Graphic Novels Work and What They Mean
Join us for an afternoon of book signing, comics theory, continuity debate, and, unless I miss my guess, beer.
Plus, since we're in San Francisco, I'd say odds are frankly terrific that we'll also have Jeff Lester and Graeme McMillan on hand (well, after they get off work), so four, count them four Savage Critics to pontificate!
Be there or miss the most insider comics afternoon of the summer!!
Yeah, after the signing, I pretty much zoned out for a week solid. (Hopefully, you noticed.) After a whirlwind 72 hours consisting of the signing, APE, catching four movies with Robson, and getting my car broken into, my brain was little more than a piece of dry, unbuttered toast. So brain-dead was I that I couldn't even find the new comics I bought from CE for five or six days. (The new Golgo and Drifting Classroom are tucked away in my bag for store reading today.) Anyway, I--oh, hey look! Comic book superstars!
This is the best picture I took of our four signers from Friday, in part because it was a hard angle to catch all of them in on one shot, and in part because I kept having to go breathe into a paper bag to keep from hyperventilating and that probably kept my camera hands shaky. All of the signers were incredibly generous and kind, and put up with my nattering and/or lousy directions which in the case of poor Gene Yang meant that he showed up 45 minutes late to his signing (and in case you're wondering Kevin Huizenga, from what I can tell, always has some variation of a "they never built a prison that could break me" look on his face).
The signers said they had a good time, we sold a ton of books that day, and I think it'd be safe to call the signing a success. And yet, I spent most of the day feeling like Artie ("Do me a favor. Just kick my ass, okay?") Fufkin in Spinal Tap because there weren't lines out the door and down the street and helicopters circling around trying to figure out why traffic on Divisadero stopped. Because that's what these four people deserve, if you ask me, and that we didn't get that makes me feel like I didn't do my job correctly and do me a favor, just kick my ass, okay? I'm not asking. I'm telling.
Anyway, I--hey, look! There they are again!
(I'm very happy that New Comix is shining above their heads; I just wish it was little bit more centered.)
Oh, and as a bonus, here's a picture of Graeme and Hibbs plotting to overthrow the world:
Anyway, those are the signing pix (I've actually got a pretty good crowd shot with Matt Silady talking to Ian Brill, and Kiel Phegley (who not only was a very nice and funny guy but also did a kick-ass job of covering APE for Wizard's website) chatting with Bill Roundy but couldn't quite figure out a way to work it into the post). My thanks to Kevin Huizenga, Hope Larson, Bryan Lee O'Malley and Gene Yang for their kindness, generosity and awesomeness. Having them at the store was a tremendous honor for me.
I keep trying to avoid that situation (which I know is nonetheless inevitable) where I'll post pictures of the event next week and someone will say, "Hey, I didn't know that was happening! Why didn't you post a reminder or something? I even looked at your blog that Friday because I was in town for APE and I didn't see anything!"
If you're in town around 5, stop by. It's going to be a tremendous gathering of talent under one roof, and a great way to kick off your APE weekend.
Hey, look, the Eisner Nominations are out. And two names in particular stand out for me: Best Graphic Album—New American Born Chinese, by Gene Luen Yang (First Second)
Special Recognition Hope Larson, Gray Horses (Oni)
Wow, wouldn't it be great if the two of them appeared together at a signing along with Kevin Huizenga and Bryan Lee O'Malley? Like, tomorrow, between 5 and 7?
I just wanted to get that in before Jeff did.
Sorry for being so tardy with the posting lately. I sat down this morning to write a few reviews and found myself stuck: I spent over an hour typing sentences and deleting 'em, typing and deleting in turn. Anyway, I have tentative plans to try liveblogging from the store tomorrow so hopefully that'll work out a bit better. Lord knows there's enough coming out....
Oh, and since I posted this on a Saturday, you can probably count on it showing up in the middle of this upcoming week (and probably next week as well, come to think of it.)
Hope any of you inclined to show up will do so. It oughta be awesome.
Okay, this has been in the hopper for a while, but I didn't get that gorgeous green light until just last week. We're having a signing from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Friday, April 20, 2007 and I think it's a pretty big deal. Y'see, when this year's guests at APE were announced, I kinda lost my mind. So many great guests this year! I went to Hibbs and begged him to get some sort of signing together which he consented to as long as I organized it. So if this post doesn't make much sense, or seems quasi-unhinged, please understand: not only am I tremendously whacked out because this is the first signing I've ever organized, but--more importantly--the signing is going to be for:
him, but also for:
Yeah, that's right. Kevin Huizenga, Hope Larson, Bryan Lee O'Malley, and Gene Yang are signing at Comix Experience from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. on Friday, April 20, 2007. That's an absurd amount of talent under one roof, and I owe big props to the artists and also Gary Sassaman and Comic-Con for going for it. This group of artists did some of the best work of 2006 and it's all I can do not to unleash torrents of hype at all of you about their utter awesomeness. If you're a Bay Area type or in town for APE, I hope you'll drop by the store from 5 to 7, get a book signed from these four amazing talents, or just stop by to "hey." APE can be an all-encompassing swirl and this may be a great way to get face time. (Plus, there more of you there are, the less the four of them will be subjected to the quivering fanboyness that is Jeff Lester, which I assure you is best for all involved.)
Anyway, I'll be back later with reviews, and when we get the flier put together this week, I'll also post it here. But I just couldn't keep it under wraps any longer, and had to share this with all y'all. As I said, I hope you can stop by.