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Nick Gazin's Comic Book Love-In #33

Hello Comical Compatriots, I'm fucking exhausted. I just got back from SPX and I had an amazing time. Here's some comics news and reviews.

Hello Comical Compatriots,

I'm fucking exhausted. I just got back from SPX and I had an amazing time. I hung out with Craig Thompson, had a romantic Italian dinner with Johnny Ryan, and got to interview Chester Brown, Brian Ralph, Jim Woodring, Leslie Stein and SPX's current director, Warren Bernard. I also did a jam comic with Johnny R, Matt Thurber, Lizz Hickey and Anders Nilsen that is pretty raunchy. Look for a big article about my experience on the 's website soon.

Dylan Williams, the publisher of Sparkplug Books passed away this week. I didn't know him but I was surrounded by a lot of shaken and saddened people who did. I heard a lot of glum testimonials about the quality of Dylan's character and how much people seemed to really like him.

Also, Beetle Bailey issued this very touching 9/11 memorial comic. I am glad to know that Sarge’s dog was as broken up in remembrance of our national tragedy as we all were. One thing I’d like to know though, is who’s the shithead in the second panel who forgot it was 9/11?

Nicholas

Here are my reviews for the week.

#1
MEATHAUS Go For the Gold 4
Edited by Chris McD
Meathaus
Meathaus is the best comics collective ever and this gigantic textbook of sketchbook drawings is basically a who's who of the best current illustrators, animators, and cartoonists. It's fucking great and I should know seeing as I'm in it. James Jean, Tomer Hanuka, Mu Pan, Tom Herpich, Arik Roper, Me (Nick Gazin), Angie Wang, and so on contributed pages. This is a must for any art director out there and anyone who’s trying to figure out how to draw. The Meathaus sketchbook anthologies will make you want to draw. This thing is mammoth and good to the last drop. I asked Meathaus's Chris McD about this book. Chris McD is pretty much holding down the Meathaus fort at this point.

VICE: I see you put out another Go For The Gold book. Have these replaced the standard Meathaus anthology that the collective was based on?
Chris McD: No it didn't replace the comics anthology. I put out the Go For The Golds because I can, I mean it is within my reach. It is a project I can initiate, put together, and print-on-demand all within a month or two whenever I get the urge. I mean, it all relies on the premise that neat artists are willing to send in their sketchbook work in exchange for a single crummy contributor's copy, but everyone has been really excited to be part of it. Good feelings all around. And the sales pressure is basically not bad because eventually over a few years I sell enough to make back the cost of the printing and shipping out all those copies internationally. Breaking even is success in small press.

The last Meathaus comics anthology was close to 300 full-color pages, spot UV gloss on the cover, printed in Asia, the whole deal. I hate to think about the printing bill on that one. The publisher, Nerdcore, paid for it in 2008. The issue before that was also paid for by a publisher, Alternative Comics. Prior to that we had been self-publishing as a collective and then turning whatever money came in into funds for the next book, as long as it didn't get used to pay someone's rent while it sat in their bank account, which happened a few times. Our anthologies grew too large and long for us to realistically pay for them. At the same time, a lot of our regulars got busier and busier being successful bigshot talents, and the collective interest dropped off. This doesn't rule out another new issue for certain. I don't know, Brandon might be cooking up something.

What does Meathaus mean nowadays? What is it?
Outside of interaction with people via the website, I'm not sure what Meathaus really means to people out there these days. Seems like there is a general awareness amongst the comics crowd that it exists. Often that's about it. Student-types sometimes stop by at comics shows and seem to have a sort of reverence for the concept of Meathaus, which I think is funny, but good. Meathaus may have served its purpose to our oldest members and run its course in a lot of ways. But I'm keeping these certain aspects going because they are important to me.

Do you know how happy it makes me to be in this book? So much of the major decisions I've made have involved Meathaus.
I don't know how happy it makes you but I believe it. What kind of major decisions? Oh wait... did I hear that is why you went to SVA? That has to have happened a few times at least. They should pay for our next issue.

--

#2
Sasquatch's Big Hairy Drawing Book
Chris McDonnel
Chronicle Books

This is a kids' activity book full of incomplete drawings and fun, open directions on how to complete them. It's the kind of thing your parents might have given you for a long airplane ride as a child except that Chris McD did all the drawings and came up with all the concepts so it's funny and beautiful to look at. Starting is always the hardest part of being creative so Chris takes care of that step for you. This would be a fun and good thing to get if you are an adult or art student or child or anybody. I asked Chris about making this book. And away we go…

VICE: How long did it take you to make this book?
Chris McD: :
First, I put together 20 pages over a week as a pitch. Then, when Chronicle said they would publish it, I spent a few months drawing it straight through and then a few weeks this past winter working on the cover designs until we got it right.

Why is it called Sasquatch's book but then it seems like the ghost character is in it more?
Early on my editor, Jay Sacher, pulled the title out of one of the pages in the book. It was "Why Is Sasquatch Crying?" where you draw or write in what is making Sasquatch cry on the opposite page. We were going with that for a while until some decision makers at Chronicle asked for ideas that were more descriptive about the book's function as a drawing book. Also, the word "doodle" was blacklisted because there is a glut of doodle books.

Were there any drawing activity pages you made that got rejected?
I self-rejected a spread where you would have had to draw lines between these inbred mutant hillbillies to indicate who you thought should marry whom. I thought that just drawing lines wasn't fun enough to justify the whole thing.

I love this book but I hate the idea of drawing in it. I like it as it is.
Give it to some kid and they'll break it in for you. No problem.

Are your kids old enough to enjoy this book?
My younger kid is eight months old so he's going to have to wait to try it but my older kid who is three and a half loves the book and proudly shows people "daddy" in the book (pointing to the ghost character). He made some cool drawings in the book this week and titled one of them "Pooh Dog" which I thought was hilarious. The moment I realized that other people probably think it is suited for older than three-year-olds was when he brought his copy to pre-school to share and the toddler's teacher starts thumbing through some pages that include monsters, alcohol references, and speedo-bulges and then stops on a page with a clam opened up wide with its feeding tube extended and just stares at it saying “What IS that?"

Previously - Nick Gazin's Comic Book Love-In #32