Monthly Archives: September 2007

A Coruna, Spain, part 2

Blog entry by Jeff

Finally sorted out the technical difficulties that have slowed done my blogging.  Sorry about that…back to Spain! The Vinetas desde O Atantico Festival kicked into high gear on the weekend. There are many outdoor exhibits and booths. Waiting to greet me on the mall was my old pal Tintin.

When I arrive at my signing there is a good crowd waiting.

In this picture you can see the young woman standing next to me behind the table. That's Elena, one of the translators who helped me tremendously at both of my signings not only with speaking to people, but name spelling and even crowd control. Thanks, Elena! 

This guy brought all the old b & w Cartoon Books volumes. I used to see that all the time, but it's rare now with the color versions and  One Volume edition.

Afterward, I sat down for a little interview with Alvaro Pons, who I met on my earlier swing through Spain. Alvaro runs the most read comics blog website in Spain, La Carcel de Papel.

Vijaya and I met Mark Buckingham and his wife Irma in the lobby. Mark, of course, is the artist of Hellblazer and Fables, and he lives nearby here in Spain. 

We had dinner with the Mayor, and it was a big deal, with people buzzing around and having us go here and there, getting our pictures taken. The Mayor,with the blue tie, gave a nice speech about the tenth anniversary of the festival. He was especially immpressed that Yoshihiro Tatsumi was there – -a contingent from Japan. Even the Mayor of A Coruna has heard of manga! 

Our host, Miguelanxo Prado, head of the Festival responded with his own remarks. After which, the food was served!

At diner I sat next to Carlos Portela, co-organizer of the festival. He has also written several comics, the newest one is called A Contra Atras with artist Sergi San Julian.

The next morning's paper had a two page spread dedicated to the show.  

And of course we had seafood and tapas galore. This dish was a highlight: navajas, or knife clams straight out of the sea, served with butter and garlic. I've traveled quite a bit, and you can believe me when I say the seafood here is as fresh as any I've ever had. 

However, this is the dish that I couldn't get enough of. Fried peppers covered in sea salt.  Unbelievable. Juicy, hot and spicy. I ordered this appetizer at every possible opportunity.

On my way in to my official panel, Laureano and I stop to stand with Torpedo, the character originated by by Alex Toth. 

The panel was a lively question & answer session, and the crowd asked great questions. My old friend Diego (in the orange shirt, and also in a better photo here.) was doing the translating, and he did an amazing job.  I would forget to keep my answers clipped, but he didn't miss a beat, even waving his arms and doing funny voices whenever I did.  I first met Diego about seven years ago when I was a guest of another comics festival in Spain. Muchas gracias, mi amigo! 

I can't reccomend this festival enough. If you are a comics professional and you enjoy travel, other cultures, good food, wine & company – - and  an appreciative public – - this is one of the best. If  Vinetas desde O Atantico invites you over, do it. I'm sure Tim Sale, Mark Buckingham, Jean-Louis Tripp, and Yoshihiro Tatsumi and all the other guests would tell you the same.

Well, I can't believe it, but my year long world tour comes to an end next month at The Small Press Expo in Bethesda, MD. The schedule for the event has been posted by Heidi MacDonald over on The Beat. Heidi herself will be moderating my spotlight panel – - I'm really looking forward to that. It'll be fun to get back to my old stomping grounds, especially now that I'm working on RASL, my first indie book in three years. Hope to see you there.

World Tour: A Coruna, Spain; part 1

Blog entry by Jeff

Last month I spent a week in the seaside town of A Coruna, Spain where they celebrated the 10th Anniversary of the comics festival known as Vinetas desde O Atantico .

First thing I did upon arrival was show up for my press conference. 

After which, Vijaya and I were taken to dinner by the show's founder Miguelanxo Prado (center, next to Vijaya), whose cartoon album Trazo de Tiza was a huge crittically acclaimed hit in the mid-ninties and then again when it was published this year by Norma and NBM; Tim Sale and his wife Christina Zietsman are in front at far left and right.

The city streets were lit up as we walked back to our hotel. 

The next day, the festival bussed us to the nearby city of Santiago to visit the medieval Cathedral of Santiago de Compstela. Behind me is Japanese cartoonist Yoshihiro Tatsumi and his wife. Yoshihiro is the guy who started alternative comics in Japan. Directly in front of me with the hat is French (but living in Montreal) cartoonist Jean-Louis Tripp and his wife Danielle. Jean-Louis and Danielle were two of the funniest and most pleasant people I've ever met. Jean-Louis' work dates back to the early issues of the original Metal Hurlant (Heavy Metal).

The festival arranged to take us behind the scenes at the church. Here we are looking down on the main sanctuary from the sequestered walkway that only the monks used. 

This is Roberto, one my hosts, who I'm pretty sure was a monk in his past life. 

Then we were led through an ancient doorway out on to the roof. This is where pilgrims in the dark ages were whisked on their arrival – - pilgrims who had walked thousands of miles through all kinds of weather and rough villages; and whose clothes were tattered, bloody, smelly, and probably full of parasites.  Out here in the open air, they would ritualistically burn their clothing. Kind of makes sense that they'd bring the cartoonists out here.

But what a view. 

To get out on the roof we used the same key that they used in medieval times!

This might not be as interesting to anybody else, but I'm into things like cool, old stone blocks covered in moss… 

…or a shuttered up old merchant's stall. This is the kind of stuff I was always looking for when I was working on Bone. 

With Yoshihiro Tatsumi. He spoke very little English and no Spanish, but the festival found someone to translate just for him. Despite the fact that we couldn't communicate verbally, we had no problem understanding each other's drawings. We had a lot of fun scribbling on napkins during meals. 

Meanwhile, Vijaya spent the day on the beach. 

That night, my Spanish publisher, Laureano Dominguez of Astiberri Editions cooked dinner for a few of us over at cartoonist David Rubin's flat. Laureano's cooking is notoriously good; Craig Thompson even mentions it in a chapter of Carnet de Voyage, his 2004 travelogue book. 

David's new book is called La Teteria del oso Malayo, and he also drew the cover of Astiberri's 2007 catalog below.

Well, we've been in Spain for two days at this point and everything's been great; the weather, the beach, the food, our hosts, the team of interpreters, the company of the other guests…and the only work I've had to do for the festival so far was that press conference when I first got here! The best is yet to come…


Blog entry by Jeff

Kazu Kibuishi has posted the cover to his new book Amulet: The Stonekeeper on his website Bolt City.

I got to watch this book go through some twists and turns as Kazu wrestled with the story right up to the very end. The effort was well worth it – - the art work and the story pull you in and sweep you away. You can follow some of Amulet's trials and tribilations on Kazu's blog.

Here's what I wrote for the back cover blurb: "Kazu is one of the very few cartoonists who can make comic images move in the reader’s imagination – - with nail-biting velocity. Five- – no, three pages into Amulet and you’ll be hooked.  Without a doubt, this is the beginning of one of the most exciting and engaging adventure series in years! "

Now that’s my kind of blog!

Blog entry by Jeff

Colleen Doran has been out doing some serious gardening. On her blog she has pictures of the harvest, and even a mouth watering photo of an heirloom salad. She also has some interesting concept sketches from a Warren Ellis animated project she was working on. The character studies are tight; they have an Alex Toth feel to them. I don't have a much higher compliment than that.

Man, that's my kind of blog!