Staple! 2012 was held March 3rd and 4th in Austin, Texas. It is billed as “An event to promote independent creative media: comics, art, animation, and self-published literature. Building a community to encourage communication between creators and their audience. All the while having a damn good time in the Live Music Capital of the World – Austin, Tx.”
The web site (http://www.staple-austin.org/) had a map that showed 84 tables in two large rooms and there were easily over 100 exhibitors. My wife and I reviewed the list of exhibitors and the map to see who was there from previous years and to decide how we wanted to walk the convention. The Staple web site also has links to most of the exhibitor’s websites, so we spent a lot of time checking them out to see what kind of stuff they were doing. It is amazing the variety of material that they produce!
I drove up to Austin from San Antonio with my wife Vicki, arriving at the Marchesa Hall and Theater at about 11:30 AM. We went straight to the Main Hall and noticed right away that it was very empty. Most of the exhibitor’s were set up, but there were very few buyers wandering around. As the day went along it picked up considerably, though, making it hard to get to some folks tables at times. It was fun to see what people were selling – everything from Book Dealers selling hard back books to printers selling posters to professionals hawking their latest product to tons of talented amateurs having fun displaying and selling their magazines, original art and lots of miscellaneous stuff. There were even some old comic books for sale at a couple of tables!
Vicki had a great deal of fun having most everyone we talked to sign the program book and having some of the artists draw her some pictures. We got to re-connect with some folks we met at previous years Staples and met lots of new people. As I have come to expect from such gatherings, there was much chaos, energy and confusion, but it seemed that everyone was having a great time, including us!
A couple of stand outs to us this year (other than the great Kevin Eastman and Sam Hurt) were Andy and Jennifer Perez (artedeandyperez.blogspot.com/), the Gold Country Paper Mill (GCPM) (http://www.thegoldcountypapermill.com/) and Kourmori Comis (koumoricomics.com).
Andy and Jennifer Perez have been exhibitors at Staple! since at least 2009. They live in El Paso, Texas. Andy is a graphic designer/illustrator/comic book artist/painter who is best known for illustrating & co-creating Lonely in Black, creating themed art books & is a master at drawing pretty girls. They are both super-nice people and we are always glad to see them at Staple! Some of the magazines we got were The Afterlife Chronicles of a Zombie, Hell’s Belles and Lonely In Black #4.
Someone representing GCPM has been coming to Staple! since at least 2008. The GCPM is an artist collective and an indie press devoted to comics, poetry, poemics and cometry. They produce an art/comics/literature magazine called Catch Up. Members include Jak Cardini, Jeff Hipsher (the founding member), William Cardini, Dr. Chuch, Mike Miles, D. T. Fullen, Robert Bozwell, Josh Burggraf and Adam Day. Some of the magazines we bought at their table were Catch Up Louisville, Froghead Hangover, Masks and Vortex by William Cardini, Kid Space Heater by Josh Burggraf and two different copies of Lords Ov Thee Black Sun by Michael Miles. Very cool stuff.
Kourmori was new this year at Staple! Koumori Comics is a group of artists and writers dedicated to learning, crafting, and supporting independent comics and the greater Austin community. They are a new group looking for artists and writers of all skill-levels who are excited to develop their skill in a community of other artists and writers. Organizers include Chelsea Hostetter (Fearless Leader and storytelling), DArtanigan (Assistant Organizer, Correspondence Secretary and artist), Eno Manley (Public Relations Manager), Matt Kaemmerer (Sexy Secretary and 3D artist) and Sarah Abraham (Publishing Manager and artist). They were very enthusiastic and the magazines they were selling were excellent. They include Escape! Theme, Explosion!!!, Koumori Comics and Masks.
There were way too many people at the show to detail here, but here are a few of them:
Joel Figueroa (http://justjoelcomic.com/) was very excited to be at the show. This was his first show and the book he was selling (Just Joel) had arrived from the printer just two hours before the show opened. We bought the first copy he sold and he was very happy! He even took our picture and put it up on his web site.
Gregory Lavendar (http://www.gregorylavender.com/) was selling beautiful linoleum block prints of jazz musicians. We were very happy to buy his Staple 2012 print featured in the program book.
Monica Gallagher (http://www.eatyourlipstick.com/), as per her web site, is a graphic designer during the daylight hours and a comicker at night. While an animation major in college, Monica first tiptoed onto the comics scene with her webcomic Gods & Undergrads, following the awkward adventures of a girl transitioning into college life while simultaneously discovering her connection to Greek gods. Once her eyes had been opened to the online comics scene, Monica couldn’t help herself and continued to produce more work. A short stint in amateur modeling led Monica to create both an autobiographical story dealing with her struggles with self-esteem (titled Boobage) and a fictional series dealing with a professional model who works part-time as an assassin (titled Lipstick & Malice). In 2010, she chronicled her experiences modeling in her autobio When I Was A Mall Model. Luckily, Monica emerged from modeling with both her boobs and her criminal record intact. She then discovered something else to become obsessed with and inspired by — Roller Derby. Bonnie N. Collide, Nine to Five is the result of her inspiration — a weekly webcomic that combines the superhero side of being a rollergirl with the Clark Kent side of working a day job. Monica just completed her first season as a member of the Junkyard Dolls, one of the four teams of lovely ladies of the Charm City Roller Girls.
Magda Boreysza (http://www.magdaboreysza.com/) is a freelance artist living in Edinburgh, Scotland. According to the Austin Chronicle, she’s originally from Poland, spent a lot of time in England and lived in Sweden for a time. How did she ever find her way to a show in Texas!?! She was selling her magazine Toasty Cats, full of beautiful fine-line drawings of cats and foxes and beautifully frightening stuff. You absolutely need to check her stuff out!
Nick Marino (http://www.nickmarino.net/) is a Pittsburgh-based writer, cartoonist, musician, and podcaster. He is also a member of Poopsheet! He was selling The New Time Log, Passage, Stick Cats, Super Haters, Zombie Palin and lots of other stuff. He truly is awesome!
AJ and Antonio Moore (http://gudfit.com/) have created a wonderful children’s book called Dorse and Doose: Sit, Stay, Dorse Play. This was their first time at the show. They also created the Super Newts. AJ is an artist, writer, and award-winning animator (ANI Award – AMC SIGGRAPH Animation Festival).
The Daily Texan had a table, as they always do. There is always a different mix of people coming and going, but when we were at their table Rachel Weiss was happily folding up her new mini comic.
Mark Nasso (theundergroundforest.com), from the Houston area, does Land of the Rats, a well illustrated epic fantasy about a hybrid rat-human named Jack. His art is wonderful and nicely stylized. He frequents local conventions, so be sure to check them out.
Dave Lamplugh & Chris Nicholas do a comic titled That Damned Cat, a supernatural black-comedy based on a true story. Oh, and Chris (Uncle Staple) also puts on the show Staple!
Sam Hurt, who lives in Austin, Texas, has a new Eyebeam book out called Eyebeam Returns, a collection of Eyebeam comic strips culled mostly from the Austin Chronicle. I love his stuff!!!
Geoff Sebesta (unnecessaryg.com), from Austin, Texas, was at the show – we bought Busta Lovecraft and Mega Texas from him. He is one of the artist putting out the new free periodical in Austin called Rock Salt, which you can download for free here (http://fictioncircus.com/rocksalt/).
Diana Sprinkle (http://www.ghostcircles.com/dxs/) is an illustrator, comic artist, and designer currently living in Texas. She had lots of clever illustrations about cats in many funny poses. Excellent stuff.
The Baton Rouge Cartoonist Society is a group of artists who promote comics and other related art in the Baton Rouge area and beyond. They meet about once a month and discuss the latest happenings in the world of comics and animation, and then put on a workshop to help all attendees improve and show off their skills. Someone from the Society has been at the show for the last three years and always has nice stuff available.
Jason Horn (ninjasour.com) does Ninjasaur and Gruff. He grew up on a small farm in Kentucky. I love his drawing style and his writing even more! More very cool stuff!
Douglas Brown (http://aftertwilightcomics.com/news.html) is an Austin artist who does After Twilight, a story written by Gary Watson about a young librarian in Texas caught up in a future world full of religious extremists, violence and intrigue.
Miguel Aguilar (miggytoons.com) is an award winning caricaturist who has been drawing high quality caricatures since 1989 at retail locations, festivals and private parties. He is also an accomplished “fine artist” in the low brow art style and shows at galleries and bars in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, Austin and Los Angeles since 2003. At the 2009 I.S.C.A. (International Society of Caricature Artists) he won his first award (third in black and white technique). He has compiled a book of ink drawings called “Entrance not for Everyone” and has self published comic books under the title “Mr. Zombie”, both of which he had available at Staple. Some of his art reminded us – in a way – of Basil Wolverton.
Geoff Vasile (geoffvasile.com), per his web site, lives in San Francisco. He likes girls, comics books, and pop music. Just like you. We bought his Track Rabbit series of books. Nice.
Benjamin Frisch (http://benjaminfrisch.wordpress.com/) has produced a lot of wonderful work over the years, but he only had a couple of items for sale by the time we got to his table. We bought a copy of El Pelo Del Mar, a short story beautifully illustrated and a magazine that was bound using twine. Wow!
Amanda Coronado (Cinnamoron.deviantart.com), from La Grange, Texas, is an illustrator and comic artist who graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design in 2008 with a BFA in Sequential Art. Her art is inspired by manga, European comics, and a love of all things Victorian.
We spent all day wandering the event and were incredibly tired at the end of the day. We stood in line for a while to see Kevin Eastman, but after about an hour gave up and went home. We were that exhausted!