Autoptic 2015 | 2dcloud pdf

Assembled by Raighne Hogan, cover by Sarah Ferrick, comics by Hannah Blumenreich and Maggie Umber. 

My comic illustrates an intense conversation between Gina Wynbrandt, myself and a reader who took issue with Blaise Larmee’s 3 Books.  

Raighne Hogan and Justin Skarhaus of 2dc were among the organizers of Autoptic. MPR did a good radio story about the event.

Offical AUTOPTIC 2013 Poster by Anders Nilsen.

Though we’ve been working hard for the last two months getting AUTOPTIC into proper shape, it has been a while since we’ve had something to share with you. Well, that is all about to change! We’re going to be making some really exciting announcements next week.

But, in the mean time, we thought that we’d get you primed for all the good news by sharing Anders Nilsen’s amazing AUTOPTIC Poster, which sneaks in a few guest announcements of its own…

We hope you love the poster as much as we do. And, if that happens to be the case, then we should also let you know that there will be limited edition prints of the poster for sale at AUTOPTIC on August 18th.

See you then!


Autoptic Fest is tomorrow!  Autoptic is in it’s second year, and this year it’s a two day event so if you are in the Minneapolis area, stop by the Aria in the North Loop this weekend to catch a ton of rad cartoonists, illustrators, and musicians!  I will be at table #70 next to my good friend John Wilinski selling all the things you see above such as re runs of these pins and these prints!  Stop by and say hi!  



  • I’ll be returning to my place of birth and showing at Minneapolis’s very own AUTOPTIC in LESS THAN A WEEK! (The show is August 8th and 9th!)
  • This Tumblr preview is only half of Saltwater Snow! You’ll be able to buy copies at my table LUCKY #77, along with A Bomb and E, my mini from last fall. I’ll also have a FREE preview mini of my upcoming graphic novel, “Ipswich” at the show as well! Exclusive!
  • Darryl Ayo, aka honeybeerevengeparty said of Saltwater Snow: “that comic was really good, for sure.” That’s a direct quote! (I didn’t ask Darryl for a promo quote, but I thought his off-the-cuff remark was charming. Sorry, Darryl!)
  • Gene Ha ( thegeneha ), of Mae, The 49ers and Top Ten fame said of my comics: “Truly haunting works. … Kurt’s stories use stark graphic image with minimal dialog to explore the soul, and how we deal with our hopes and fears. If you love David Mazzuchelli’s recent work you’ll love these stories too.
  • Saltwater Snow won a New England Book Show award for Small & Self Publisher Illustrated Book! All copies at the show will have a snazzy new sticker proclaiming their award-winningness.
  • Art from both Saltwater Snow and A Bomb was a part of the second Comic and Cartoon Art Annual exhibition in the MOCCA gallery at the Society of Illustrators in New York.

C'est une photo de June, le créateur de Pierre Feuille Ciseaux.  J'écris ce que j'ai à dire en Anglais parce qu'il y a déjà beaucoup de choses d'écrites sur PFC en Français, mais chez les anglophones c'est tout nouveau, tout chaud.

This is a picture of June, the creator of Pierre Feuille Ciseaux (Rock Paper Scissors), if you ever meet him in real life you’ll discover quickly that he is so sweet your heart will ache.  June’s project has already had three editions in France, but I had the opportunity to participate to the first installment on North American soil.

I still feel a bit rattled by the events which took place from August 10th to 18th 2013 in Minneapolis.  The entire time I would look around the room in disbelief at who was there, the fact that all of us were in this same studio classroom, with our favorite authors and our favorite drawing tools brought from home, was beyond surreal.  To add to the weirdness, we were live on camera, which we kept forgetting whenever a bunch of people would leave the room. Bringing a group of people who are introverts (for a living) together to work and experiment around a single table is no small feat.  As a sometimes festival organizer I could not even begin to imagine the sort of logistical planning which would go behind this type of puzzle: most of us flew on planes to get there, we were hosted in the dorms, we were fed, for one week.

Comics are nerdy.  I feel unapologetic about that.  While some folks feel cool telling the world they are big geeks I want to underline that comic book authors are a different breed.  This is lonely work and it doesn’t pay well.  This is nothing but a labor of love.  If you don’t like spending thousands of hours drawing the same thing over and over, you don’t get it. This occupation is extremely time consuming and the rewards are not always obvious.  I often feel like we share more in common with monks than with musicians.  While some cartoonists can be social and rowdy, most of the ones I was surrounded with last week were quiet.  I am not a people person, but I think I was probably the one who spoke the most the entire time.

Jaime Hernandez wrote on the internet that we were heroes for “destroying comics forever”.  What a crazy compliment.  I am not even sure that we did anything super innovative, I just feel like the single gathering of all these artists (outside of the usual comic convention context) was in itself groundbreaking.  I have described it many times as camp.  It was so much like camp.  There were lots of emotions in the air, we vented, we fawned over one another’s work, we expressed various insecurities.  A common theme was a cartoonist telling another cartoonist about how much they felt the other had their shit together “I am a mess! My life is a mess!” and the other cartoonist would reply “What? Me? I don’t have my shit together at all! I AM A MESS!”.  This type of back and forth got silly, but was absolutely necessary.  When you work alone all day long every day the monologues in your head get too loud and you lose touch with reality.  An outsider’s perspective is appreciated.

These cartoonists have each other’s back.  We are that much stronger for it.  I am home now, and trying to start my next project.  I feel like I was part of something special which may never happen again, something that will go down in history as the insane gathering of the best cartoonists of my generation.  Thank you so much everybody!

In honor of the big Autoptic show coming to town next weekend I thought I’d draw a map of what – for a time – was the center of the Minneapolis cartooning scene.

Back in 2001 I interned for Zander Cannon (no relation) and stepped foot on this intersection for the first time. Zander’s studio was located in the Handicraft Guild building (shown on this map as the little building under the “M” in Minneapolis), which was, and probably still is, an ancient musty building with old carpeting and even older plumbing. This historical building was famous for being the first art school to allow women to be students (not sure how factual that is, but that’s what I was told). Fourteen years ago, though, it was a collection of studio spaces. Its rooms were occupied by cartoonists, poets, musicians, a drum shop, a violin repair shop, and a restaurant (I think it was a French bistro in 2001, but soon after it was home to the first iteration of Hell’s Kitchen – great heuvos rancheros FYI).

At its peak around the turn of the century, the Handicraft Guild was home to cartoonists Gene Ha, Shadi Petosky, Will Dinski, Sam Hiti, King Mini, Rob Franks, Adam Wirtzfeld, and of course Zander. They shared the three studios on the third floor, overlooking Tenth Street. I got a studio on the second floor after graduating from college.

Besides the cheap rent the big draw was being next door to Big Brain Comics, run by the great Michael Drivas. Michael has since moved the store to its current location on Washington Avenue. Michael had the only working fax machine in the area, so when Zander and I were working on the SMAX series, Alan Moore would fax his scripts to Michael’s shop, and Zander and I would run down to Big Brain to pick them up. Alan used up a lot of Michael’s toner.

As far as know there aren’t any cartoonists working there any more. Will Dinski, Sam Hiti and I were the last hold outs, and were witnesses to that corner of the block being bought out by real estate developers. We were told that the buildings on that corner would be knocked down in order to build the city’s largest condo tower, something that (thankfully) still hasn’t happened.

There have been casualties, though. The Big Brain building has been knocked down and turned into a private courtyard. Let It Be (a great record store which will always be plastered in light blue posters for Grandaddy’s “Sumday” in my memory) disappeared and was left unoccupied for many years. My understanding is that Target bought the building.

But the Channel 4 (WCCO) building is still there, as is the great Irish bar The Local, as well as the iconic Schmitt Music mural and the Dakota Jazz Club.

I’m not sure there’s a geographic center to the Twin Cities comics scene any more, but there are certainly nodes centered around MCAD, Nordeast, South, and Lowertown. If there’s an emotional center, though, it exists around Autoptic, which is run by a group of really amazing local cartoonists and teachers, whose mission it seems is to make Minneapolis the center of the cartooning world for a few days every two years. They’ve done it once and succeeded mightily, and we’re all looking forward to what next weekend brings.

Autoptic drops on August 8 & 9 in the Aria building (105 N. 1st St) and you can find more info here:


PFC Artist Inés Estrada!

Inés Estrada (Inechi) is a cartoonist and illustrator from Mexico City. She has been self-publishing comics since 2006, which she distributes through her online shop Gatosaurio. She is also the editor of the comics column for Vice Mexico and contributes regularly to The Believer Magazine.

Want to see more of Aidan’s work, click here!

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