Wednesday, July 26, 2017

QCE Review Series: Part 6 - "Dating Between The Lines" By Emma Craig & Puja Tolton (PREVIEW)

Wow! What a cute little book!
When I first picked it up, I was kind of assuming it was gonna be a "how to" guide, for dating while queer. While I'm disappointed it's not that, the truth about what it is is WAY cuter than that. It's a small compilation of cheesy, queer themed pickup lines and musings on love and relationships by various people. The book is only a preview, and sadly not very long (10 pages), but is full of great, cute-ass art. I know this has been a common thread through some of my reviews recently, but this time I don't have to WISH this was a full length book, because it TOTALLY IS! you can yours off Amazon right now! While flipping through, I was thinking how easily I could flip through 100 pages of this. The full version is 88, so that works out just fine.
My favourite pickup line/picture combo in the whole book has got to be "I can be your El Nino in a 5 year drought", coupled with a picture of two girls who look like they're taking part in a jogging marathon or something, both of them are in brightly coloured exercise clothes. One of the girls is doubled over in exhaustion while the second holds out a water bottle towards her. The girl who is being offered the bottle has this GIANT shit eating grin on her face, and is blushing up a storm. It's SO cute, and ALSO a little sexy, to be honest. Cute girls, panting and sweating while wearing skintight clothes is honestly about half the reason I keep going back to the gym. Their facial expressions are so adorably drawn, and the poses are very realistic. One of the girls has one of those spring heel things that amputee runners have too, which is some great disabled representation too. Something this book has in spades actually is it's attention to representation. Throughout the short span of the book you see people of all different body sizes and shapes, all different races and all different sexual identities interacting in cute ways. I can only imagine what the full length version is like.
I'm a huge fan and will definitely be looking forward to a follow up to this book.
You can follow the blog HERE to catch any news that may be coming out of this dynamic artist pair.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

QCE Review Series: Part 5 - "RAWR! Dinosaur Friends: MEGA ZINE" By H. McGill

I grew up during the peak of Dinosaur Interest. When I was young, it seemed like I couldn't get enough dinos, and that was great because it seemed like there were plenty of dinos to go around! Everywhere in media, and popular culture. There was Godzilla, Dino-Riders (the cartoon/toy line) The Land Before Time, We're Back, The Flintstones (cartoon series and movie), the TV show "Dinosaurs", Super Mario just added the character Yoshi, who was a cute little dinosaur (velociraptor, if the film's canon is to be believed). Plus, the BIG one, Jurassic Park!
I was maybe a little too old for Barney the dinosaur, but my dinosaur interest was never short changed, to be sure. Of course, as I grew older, my interests changed, as did the media landscape, but these big lizards always held a special place in my heart. In fact, my love of dinos was later parlayed into my love of both modern day lizards AND birds! It felt like when I was young, a lot of kids my age were very shocked, and even disappointed in the revelation that raptors probably had FEATHERS! For me, it certainly made me look at my little birdie friends a little differently, and with a lot more respect.

With all this in mind, you can imagine the semi-truck of childhood nostalgia that hit me when I saw THIS book for sale at Queer Comics Expo. Rawr! Dinosaur Friends MEGA ZINE is a cute little black and white zine full of great dino jokes and dino facts! It's like the back of every dinosaur themed cereal box, compiled into a tome with about a hundred times the wit and comic timing. This is the book I NEEDED back then. That's not to say it's too late, and that I DON'T need it NOW. On the contrary,  I'm GLAD I have it now. I'm just saying, if I'd'a had it as a kid, that'da been pretty cool too.
If you know a youngster in this day and age who is going through their Thunder Lizards phase, this book is a definite must have. I'm not entirely certain, but it seems like the only way you can get the book is by catching the artist at a convention. I found a digital version for sale HERE, but most of their social media links showcase mostly the shorter strips. The Tumblr seems to be the main event, if i'm not mistaken. There is also a Facebook and a Twitter, but MOST importantly, there is the Patreon page. If you're really looking to help this project along, this is THE place!

That's all for now my dears! See you again soon!

Monday, July 24, 2017

QCE Review Series: Part 4 - "Playlist" Presented by Uchuu Summer

Okay, THIS is a cute one!
If you're a reader of the TransCat comics, then you know that in the back of every issue I have a little playlist full of songs and drawn representations of a bunch of the covers of the albums which the songs come from.
I don't remember if I've stated before in any specific capacity, but those songs are not totally random. They're chosen because they're songs i was loving and listening to at the time the events of TransCat take place in (which is not an officially disclosed time period, but given the many context clues I've laid out, some careful detective work might yield some interesting answers).
As you can well imagine, music is VERY important to me, and my art. It informs everything, it's in between and underneath everything. So that's why I'm so taken with THIS little book!
Playlist is a compilation book of about a dozen or so different artists who've all compiled little play lists of their own, usually to fit a certain mood, and then have drawn their own covers for them.
This is INGENIOUS and I hope and pray that someday they do a volume 2 of this, because I'd LOVE to submit a page to it.
Since this book isn't a story, it's impossible to give any spoilers. All I can say is if you're a nerd and you love music, then get this book, enjoy this art and seriously, listen to this music! Some of it might be a little obscure and difficult to track down, but most of it can be looked up on iTunes, Youtube, Spotify or other such applications. i was very pleased to find some tracks among its pages that I already know and love, and have been hard at work looking up the ones I don't recognize.

My favourite page has gotta be the Bitter Tea Bath page by Billie Snippet. I AM very much this girl. I need my baths. I belong in the hot water. It's how I survive the terrors and turmoils of day to day life. God, look at her, she looks so tired. I relate, honey. I relate. I too often bring drinks with me into the tub. I just wish my cat was chill enough to hang in the bathroom with me while I soaked. Chances are she would more likely try to fight the shower curtains or the towels, somehow wind up jumping into the water herself, freaking out and then running all over the apartment, getting everything wet in the process!
Oh well, maybe someday.

I'm hard pressed to think of what my favourite playlist in here is. Unfortunately the Bitter Tea Bath one is too short for my liking and contains mostly songs I don't know.

Major contenders are the Lazy Day soundtrack, since it contains Shiki no Uta by Minmi (the closing credits theme from Samurai Champloo, a total classic), possibly Neon Noir for it's liberal inclusion of some of thew few classic rock artists I actively enjoy (David Bowie, Queen, etc), but it's also likely it's the a_a soundtrack for it's inclusion of "Stone" by Cibo Matto, an underrated classic by a totally underrated band. The album that's from, Stereotype A, is a record I can put on and easily sing along to every lyric of. A classic late 90's album that encapsulates every tone and chord of the era. Soft french horns, flawless vocal harmonies and a devilishly understated synth propping up the gentile drum beat. A perfect song from a perfect album.

I would love to go even more in depth and review every one of these playlists in excruciating detail, but more than that, I want you to Buy The Book and have your own thoughts on it.

Happy Listening, folks! :)

Friday, July 21, 2017

QCE Review Series: Part 3 - "¡Viva La Van!" By Miché the Van Kid

What can I say about Viva La Van that hasn't already been danced around awkwardly by every American when quized about how THEY would improve the lives of the 1 and a half million homeless people who currently reside within our glorious borders?
This is yet another short format zine, six pages, and instead of being a setup for a punchline gag, it's just a short summary of the life of Miché. Miché is a first generation Mexican immigrant gender queer person who lives in a van with their dog Solo. The book talks about their photo journal of their life, which can be found on their Youtube and Instagram accounts, and goes on to talk about how they hope, through their art, they can tell a more representative story of the countless others living in their situation, as well as push forth the agenda they've taken on conservation, environmentalism and decolonization. 

Miché does this all from their fan, seriously, what IS our excuse?
Despite what you may be thinking, this story is one of optimism, it's literally inviting the reader to see what they see, experience how they experience, and to take a seat and listen to the beliefs and ideas of a person who lives it.
Once again, I have to say, despite the fact that I KEEP ON saying it, I wish this book was a full length book. I'd love to see this idea expounded upon further, in as much detail as the author wants.
I don't often push other people's Patreon pages, but for Miché the Van Kid, I'll shove it right in your face.

Donate to Miché Today!!!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

QCE Review Series: Part 2 - "Future Husband" A Tiny Intersex Comic by Hann Lindahl

Good afternoon and welcome to part two in this series which I swear to god I'm gonna keep up with!

Today's comic is "Future Husband", once again by Hann Lindahl. This books appears in a very similar format to yesterday's book. Four page zine presenting a gag comic reminiscent of a newspaper strip.
One thing that I will say sets this one apart from it's predecessor is the lower colour count. The art is as quality as ever, but we seem limited to 3 to 4 colours here. Pink, black, grey and white.for the subject matter, these colour choices make a lot of sense, and the average reader is probably not as likely to notice. The only reason i notice is specifically because of the comparison I'm making to yesterday's book.

Another difference is that the "gag" of this comic, while definitely a gag, also cuts a little bit deeper than yesterday's In Cat Burglar, the gag was about how an intersex person could use the public's and medical science's lack of knowledge about intersex people to their advantage in a hilarious way."Future Husband's" gag starts out with a laughable situation in which a doctor who is examining our fifteen year old protagonist assumes that they will one day have a "future husband", and proposes that they begin taking estrogen immediately, so as to please this hypothetical man with a presumably more outwardly feminine form.

The book delves into her imagination, hypothesizing who this mysterious "future husband" might be, and the inclusion of the word "future" can only conjure images of astronauts. If the book had ended there, it would have already been enough, but in the last panel, we zoom in close on our main character's face and she asks, internally "...but what about ME?" very much laying bare the ludicrous hypocrisy of making someone decide on the path their medical future goes based on the theoretical desires of an unseen third party, while ignoring the wants and needs of the person sitting right in front of you.

This is, of course, a reality many women will face, both inside and outside of the queer community. I seem to recall a post that was getting shared a lot on social media about a year ago where a woman went to her doctor to get her tubes tied, and the doctor refused to do it because what if someday her husband wanted children? To which our patient responded "I can't believe a person I've never met is helping make medical decisions for me." or something along those lines.

The book is yet another amazing addition to any collection, with some great art, good social commentary and some topnotch humour to boot. Once again, I cannot recommend checking out artist Hann Lindahl enough. she's a fantastic talent with a great perspective.

I'll be back again soon with yet another amazing comic review! Have a great day in the mean time and don't forget to drink plenty of water.


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

QCE Review Series: Part 1 - "Cat Burglar" A Tiny Intersex Comic by Hann Lindahl

Hey there everyone! So you read in the Last Post that I went to QCE and I had a marvelous time. You might have also read that I left ALL the books I had bought at my friend's house, and was really looking forward to getting them back from her so I could read them. Well sir, that day finally came!
If you're on my Instagram then you know that I was having a great big idea, to actually read and review the stuff that I bought. Last Fanime I tore through everything I read with such ferocity, and after I was done, I was a little sad that it was over. So this is my way of prolonging the experience i have with all this new material, AND sharing it with my readers, while hopefully, at the same time, using this little platform I have to boost up other artists as well. That's something I really wanna be better at and doing more.

So, I'm gonna be reviewing these in a certain order. First off, I'll be reviewing them smallest to largest, because that's exactly how much of a nerd I am. I'm also not gonna tie myself down to a period of time. I'm just gonna review them as I finish them. That will mean basically a review a day for awhile since a lot of these earlier books are literally like 4 pages long, and that will space out over time as the books get larger (longer). Also, something you'll notice is that some of these books are by the same author. They will not be reviewed together just because of that. I'm really serious about going by size. Fight me.

Anyway! The first book on my list is "Cat Burgler" by dear friend Hann Lindahl. I met Hann for the first time at the LAST QCE, but I feel like I really got to know them at THIS one (and over time via social media). I picked up a number of her books because the first time we met, I did not. Now is the perfect time to catch up.

Cat Burglar is one of the aforementioned 4 page zines. It plays out like a Newspaper Strip, actually, but encapsulated in a cute, tiny little book! Marvelous! It's hard to remain spoiler free in a book with four pages, but on the other hand I don't wanna be like "you should get get it! I ain't tellin' you shit about it, but get it!" I will, however, strive to find a balance.
The joke of the book is that, when the protagonist discovers that they have a chromosome pairing that doesn't match their at-a-glance outward appearance, they have a little fantasy about becoming a cat burglar (as per the title) and the DNA evidence they leave behind leading the cops on a wild goose chase looking for a gender that ain't theirs! :D

The art is adorable, colourful and reminiscent of art that you'd find on Cartoon Network or something like that. Soft colours, soft lines, yet manages to not look squishy and formless. The form and figures have a confidence and sharpness to them that pops off the tiny pages, and really makes you wish the artist would do a long form book one of these days ❤

This one spoke to me a lot specifically because of what I've been doing in TransCat recently. This is a little ways away from release, but since we're such good friends, I'll let you in on a little secret. In TransCat #9, TransCat fights a giant Y Chromosome. Literally punches it right in the face! That's all I can say for now! Cat burgler might be hard not to spoil, but TransCat isn't it, so a little blurb is all you're getting!

But anyway, that was Cat burglar from Hann Lindahl!

Check back here soon for MORE reviews!
Until then, though, have courage.


Friday, July 14, 2017

Queer Cartoonists At Queer Comics Expo 2017 in San Francisco: Was It Fun? Did we HAVE Fun? Let's Find Out!

Click HERE For My Meager Photoset of the Con

QUEER COMICS EXPO! Was it fun? How fun was it? Let's find out!
So this was my SECOND year attending QCE and I gotta tell yah, it's gotta be one of my absolute favourite conventions now. Right up there with Gaymer X and Fanime. Actually ranking them would actually be impossible but I feel like 1. Gaymer X 2. QCE and 3. Fanime might be a fair assessment.
This con was made ALL the more special by the inclusion of MANY of my good friends who helped me out with setup, manning the table and hyping me up to every random passer-by who hoved into our general field of vision. Plus many others who came by just to say hello, or catch up on their TransCat collections.

So lemme give you the play by play!

I arrived in San Francisco on the evening of Friday the 7th. My long time friend and cartooning partner Courteney met me there and actually hooked me up with one of the maybe 10 or 11 free parking spaces in the city. We had a mini slumber party in her apartment with her now BF, Robert, another very close friend of mine.
Woke up the next day ready for action. Setup was kinda early in the morning and I didn't wanna lose ANY time. We plodded back to where I had parked my car before, and loaded all my comic making supplies into a Lyft, and headed on over to the con. This was a different setup from last year's con. Last year the con took place surrounding an art gallery showing (which I was also part of) but this year, there was no gallery, it was PURE CON! It was a little bit bigger than it was last year too. Us artists got a lot more space than last time, PLUS attendees got more walking around room. They opened up this up stage area to give the whole floor a better flow.
My setup has always been super simple so I was ready and set in like, 15 minutes. Robert and Courteney took a seat beehind the table with me. They took turns venturing out on the artist's floor, but I mostly stayed with my table. In the early parts of the con, I wanna always been there, repping my product. The beginning was slow, but got really busy 'roundabout noon time. My friends Winnie and Jenn showed up, who were great big proponents of TransCat very early on in her life cycle. It was great to see them, because they actually left the state for about a year and only recently came back. Hanging with them at a con was immensely nostalgic and gave me a lotta good feelings.

Later in the day my friend Tony came. He had never been to QCE before, and I really hope we made a good impression on him. another dear friend, Banannah came by almost at the end of the day, but got about an hour to look around. Banannah has tabled with me a number of times at other conventions. They wound up moving kinda far away too which is sad because it means I don't get to see them nearly as often as I used to. It's not so far that the distance is insurmountable, it's just really inconvenient, and that especially sucks cuz we know we COULD see one another if we wanted, but so often apathy and laziness get in our way.

Needless to say, it was wonderful to get to see them again at this con.

I finally got to meet in person a fellow artist and author Hann Lindahl. We been internet buddies for a little under a year and I GUESS we kinda met at the last QCE but that was before I knew her. NOW we know eachother, AND we got to meet in person which was fantastic! i got to absorb some of her art in person, which was a real treat. I got a book she did on what it means to be intersex. I have not read it yet because I'm a genius who left half my shit at Courteney's place when i went home, but I'll be getting it back soon, so no worries. I can't wait to read it, along with all the OTHER great books I snatched up at this event.

I also ran into Tara and the rest of Prism Comics, which was a LONG overdue reunion as far as I'm concerned. If you been following me on social media, then you know all about the Kickstarter she's in charge of for the All Trans Comics Anthology called "We're Still Here", a project I'm PROUD to be part of.

If you haven't been following me, then here's the quick rundown. It's a great big comics anthology, not unlike Alphabet, which i was part of last year, but the twist this time is that every story is by a trans artist/author. TransCat WILL be making an appearance, and this time in FULL COLOUR! That's important because TransCat isn't coloured in all the time! I would HIGHLY recommend you back the Kickstarter, it is already funded, but the best way to secure your own copy of the book before it comes out because I assure you it WILL go FAST! ALSO, every dollar OVER the target amount goes into making this the best looking book possible! Everyone who was involved in it's making, including the artist, the editors, the printers and everything will get a cut of your pledge, so please! Pledge EARLY and pledge OFTEN! you still got 35 days left to get on it, so GIT ONNIT!

AFTER day one was over, i packed up what little I actually needed and me and my rolling crew set out for adventure. We wound up getting dinner at this place that was a LITERAL hole in the wall (literally just a kitchen in a building with an order window on the street.) I can't remember what the place was called but I remember it was on Natoma St. which if you're familiar with SF at all, you'll know is just a step above an alleyway (and not a big step either). I will say this though. The food was OUTRAGEOUSLY good. I got a Reuben Sandwich with some potato skins. They were perfect! tony wound up getting the most fancy, done up corn on the Cob either of us had ever seen. Everyone else's food looked amazing too. I would have docked MAJOR points form this place because I hate standing and eating, but thankfully, thy had an agreement with the dive bar next door that their customers could have a seat and eat their meals in there. It was amazing.

We headed back to Courteney's place and all of us, me, her, Rob, Banannah and tony would up having a GREAT political discussion in the living room. I feel like I haven't been a part of a talk so lively in years. There's something to be said about a room full of respectful people who are genuinely interested in hearing the opinions of others. I feel like discourse on the internet has totally ruined me, and has forever associate the words "talk" and "fight" when it comes to politics. i'm glad I still have friends where this is not the case.

Tony went home, Banannah slept on the couch and I slept on an air mattress on the floor. Day two was just around the corner!

Today, we decided instead of getting a Lyft to the con, we'd just walk. we didn't have a lot to carry with us this time and it was a gorgeous day. I have a prejudice against SF as a city, but with this many good friends by my side, i felt like nothing could ruin my mood. We arrived at the con in plenty of time. This day was kinda more of the same of yesterday, but that's not a complaint at all. I met a bunch of great new people. I met a really sweet lady named Puja who runs a podcast on the topic of queer dating. I told her I'd be super down to be on the show someday if she ever needs a guest. I hope I get chosen, I think I'd rule on a show like that. Met these other two ladies who were trying to put together a podcast on Queer Comics specifically. I REALLY hope they get that one together because that's EXACTLY up my alley!
I also met these two brand new Bay Area transplants named Jem and Val whom me and Banannah took an IMMEDIATE liking to! I think we're gonna try and get together sometime soon, maybe go to the beach before we run outta summer!

The day came to a close. I wandered around the artist floor for the first time with only 30 minutes left to go. I do my best to try and save this stuff for last so I don't wind up blowing ALL my cash as I'm making it. I got a very respectable handful of books, which i'll be reading soon. I can't wait.
After the con was over, we wheeled all my comic shit back into my still safely parked car, and went on another food adventure. This time our journey took us to a Shabu Hot Pot place. It was me and Banannah, Rob and Courteney, Tony plus friends Michael and Jenni plus Tara came by with her friend Sonya. a rolling crew nine deep all chowing ddown on hot pot post Comic Convention. It was miraculous. We started talking about karaoke towards the end of the meal, but by that time I was SO full and soooo tired that as much as it pained me to say no to karaoke, I HAD to.

We all went our separate ways, everyone hopped on their respective trains or back to where they had parked thier cars and prepped for the long journey home. Me and Bannah went back to Courteney's place with Rob and had one more final round of our deep and heartfelt political discourse before it was time for my take Banannah home. It was a great, long drive back up to Marin to drop them off, and a nice relaxing ride back home afterwards. I picked up a drink at 7-11 for the road and listened to Dir en Grey the whole way. something about Dir en Grey and a warm summer night is always just gonna seem right to me.

So that's my story! It felt so, so good to return back to the convention scene. Wish me luck and I'll hopefully be able to return full time in 2018. If you wanna wish me MORE than just luck, there's always the Petreon. toss a few bucks my way ;-)

Speaking of Patreon, starting next month, I'll be uploading a brand new project to it. Those of you who are eager and anxious to get your hands on TransCat Issue #9, now is your chance! I'll be uploading all my pencil proofs to Patreon for all you early birds to get your hands on.
I normally make everything accessible at 1$, but this is a big deal so it's gonna be a fiver. don't worry, it will be worth it. I'm super proud of this issue, and if you wanna see it before any of your friends do, here's the way.
Keep you eyes on this space come August! :D