Maker Faire and the Alternative Press Expo (part 1)

Two of the coolest things I went to in the past few months were the Maker Faire and the Alternative Press Expo. Take my advice: Put both of these events on your calendar for next year!

The Maker Faire is a big fair for DIY gadget enthusiasts. There were some great things to see, including a guy who figured out how to made his own Segway and a massive city made entirely of Legos. But I’ll let this CNET Crave video do the talking.

At the Alternative Press Expo I bought a big stack of comics, books, graphic novels, and artwork. I missed this event last year and I’m really glad I got to go this year. It was fantastic and very inspiring. One of the best parts is that, unlike the bigger Wondercon at Moscone, most of the tables are manned (personed?) by the artists themselves. So I ended up seeing my old friend Lloyd Dangle of Troubletown fame (a comic you’ve probably seen in your local alternative newsweekly), and met a bunch of other fantastic artists. Oh, and I also went to the panel featuring Bryan Lee O’Malley, creator of the Scott Pilgrim series that I enjoyed so much last year.

The stuff I got this year

“God Made Dirt, and Dirt Don’t Hurt”
A really cool DVD and booklet of awesome artwork by David Lee and the Triplewide Design Collective.
www.triplewide.net

Restitution Press
An awesome silkscreened booklet by the guys at Restitution Press, and a signed print by one of the artists, Ryan Graff.
www.RestitutionPress.com
Their domain seems to have been recently taken over by a newspaper, but their MySpace page (sorry) is still up. You can also see some pictures of their work in this Flickr set.

“Tea Club”
Signed by the artist, Phuong-Mai Bui-Quang (a.k.a. PMBQ). Plus a custom PMBQ illustration of a panda wearing headphones and eating toast (also signed).
www.tea-club.net

“Lava Punch: First Launch”
I bought the zine from Bay Area artist Jillian Ogle, who also did a custom illustration inside it for me.
www.soylentworks.com

Scott Pilgrim
I got Bryan Lee O’Malley to sign my copies of “Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life” and “Lost at Sea.” Scott Pilgrim was my favorite find in the past couple years. It’s hilarious. But I fully expect the series to take forever to wrap up, since the third book was delayed by many months, and I just get a sense from O’Malley that getting things done is, for him, kind of like pulling teeth.
www.scottpilgrim.com

Troubletown
Lloyd Dangle, who I first met around fifteen years ago during my volunteer time with the Graphic Artists Guild’s NorCal Chapter, signed copies of his Troubletown books “Told You So” and “Funky Hipster Trash.”
www.troubletown.com

Optic Nerve
I got a good deal on Adrian Tomine’s “Optic Nerve” issues 1-7 and 9-11 (I have no idea why they didn’t have #8).
www.drawnandquarterly.com

“Wet Moon 2: Unseen Feet”
I’d bought the first book by Ross Campbell a year ago or so, and the second one just came out recently. A couple freebies came with “Wet Moon”: “The Damned” by Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt, and “Maintenance” by Jim Massey and Robbi Rodriguez.
www.greenoblivion.com/wetmoon.html

Sean Seamus McWhinny
Velma got two comics: “Diary of a Catering Whore” and “Head Trip: by Sean Seamus McWhinny.
www.seanseamus.com

“Runoff”
I bought a three-book series called “Runoff” from an artist named Tom Manning (signed). I read the first one on my trip to Boston, and it was really good. I’m taking the other two to Missouri next week. Apparently the director of “Pan’s Labyrinth” is considering making a movie from the comics.
www.robotsandmonkeys.com

“The ACME Novelty Library: Volume 17”
I love Chris Ware’s work. So I finally bought this.
quimby.gnus.org/warehouse

“Fleet Street Scandal: Volume One”
Artists Kevin Dart and Chris Turnham both signed this book for me, plus a print of Kevin’s “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” artwork. This book is swaaaank.
www.fleetstreetscandal.com

Monster Sex
A set of “Monster Sex” cards/prints by the splendid illustrator Jen Wang. I should’ve gotten her to sign the cool red envelope they come in, but she seemed pretty busy with other customers and I was on a schedule by that point, hurriedly trying to see the entire last aisle quickly because Velma was waiting to leave.
ww
w.jenwang.net

That’s all just the stuff I bought. You should see the stack of postcards and samples I have! In the next installment Part 2 below, I’ll feature even more cool art.

Part 2: The stuff I saw

Update June 2008: Okay, I’ve had this list for a year and never set aside enough time to grab some images for it, but today I decided it was finally time. Here are the other artists and things I saw at APE 2007. I’m looking forward to APE 2008, coming this fall.

Daniel M. Davis
An Arizona artist with two books of cute monster illustrations and a website with lots of good tips for other cartoonists and self-publishers.
www.SteamCrow.com

Pandoras Trunk
A cooperative art boutique and gallery in the Haight. Artist Nome Edonna‘s work pictured here.
www.PandorasTrunk.com

Cartoonists With Attitude
A group of social commentary and political cartoonists. Barry Deutsch is one of the contributors, whose Hereville webcomic is pictured above (“Possibly the best comic about a troll-fighting 11-year-old Orthodox Jewish girl you’ll read all week.”).
www.CartoonistsWithAttitude.org

Masheka Wood
A Brooklyn, NY, comic artist who debuted his first book, “Deep Doodle,” at the expo.
www.WhatMashekaDid.com

A Comic a Day
A blog that reviews a new issue of a different comic book series every day.
AComicADay.blogspot.com

Scott Campbell
I like this guy’s rough little creatures and the organic look of his art.
Scott-C.blogspot.com
www.doublefine.com/news.php/comics/sc/
www.gallerynucleus.com/artist/scott_campbell

Nicolette Davenport
She’s got some incredible style range. Be sure to check out her sketch blog.
www.NicoletteDavenport.com

Christopher Tupa
Another guy with amazing range.
artbytupa.blogspot.com

New Year Designs
Cute, simple, announcements and cards.
www.NewYearDesigns.com

Kelvin Nguyen
Another artist with a broad range of talent.
http://KelvinNguyen.blogspot.com

Gallery 1988
A gallery featuring emerging artists; there’s one in SF and one in LA. Artwork by Wenchin Lee and Nanami Cowdroy pictured above.
www.Gallery1988.com

Panel Press
A New Mexico indie comic publisher. I mostly just really liked their business card.
www.panelpress.com

Sarah Becan
A graphic designer and artist who also does comics.
www.jakze.com

Strip Tease
A webcomic I hadn’t seen before.
www.stripteasecomic.com

Michael Paulus
Interesting artist who works in myriad media. You may have seen his series of cartoon character skeletons.
www.michaelpaulus.com/gallery

Ben Walker
I really like his style, and his site’s pretty cool too.
www.benwalkerart.com

Mikhaela Reid
Female political cartoonist.
www.mikhaela.net

Papercutter and Tugboat Press
Portland-based indie publisher.
www.TugboatPress.com

Some other stuff I saw…

Stumptown Comics Fest
Portland, Oregon’s annual comics fair.
http://www.StumptownComics.com/

Rooftop Comedy
Stand-up comedy clips.
www.RooftopComedy.com

Raised by Squirrels
www.RaisedBySquirrels.com

Kirt Burdick
www.wowio.com/users/product.asp?BookId=3214

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