autoptic

Big Thank You


Con season isn’t quite over yet–I am still going to Autoptic, IFOA and some Japanese festivals in November, but the bulk of it is over. I’m relieved! In addition to the SMMA book tour, I did MoCCA, LATFOB, TCAF, CAKE, ELCAF, ALA, and SDCC. It was wonderful traveling and meeting lots of people but it’s disconcerting to be away from regular life for so long. And my studio! 

So anyway, I did want to hop on here and say thanks everyone who came out to the various cons and said hi and/or bought a book. Thanks to publishers and con organizers, especially the American Library Association. Thanks to friends that let me mooch and Michael DeForge for being a great travel companion! 

What follows is a completely random selection of photos from the last few months, out of context. 


Me and my homie Pierre Ferrero will be in Minneapolis this August for the 5th edition of Pierre Feuille Ciseaux, and at the Autoptic festival, among lots of over talented people from US, Canada and Europe !

Can’t wait !

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DID YOU KNOW?

  • 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!


I’m making a new comic for some upcoming festivals! This sample page will have to do for now, but the plan is to have copies for Autoptic here in Minneapolis next week and SPX in September for the Tumblr meet-up. I’ll probably post the whole comic after SPX.

Autoptic was great, you guys! Thanks to everyone who came out and chatted with me about wizards and stuff. I was so busy that I barely got to step away from my table for more than a minute, so I didn’t really get to see much of the show.

I’m still inventorying everything from the show, but I should have some stuff for sale online this week!

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Autoptic Minneapolis

I was at the Oily Comics/CCS table. The festival was professionally organized and well-run, with excellent programming and international involvement via the Pierre Feuille Ciseaux residency, and the Aria building was a beautiful space. Diverse work throughout, I always end up missing a lot of good stuff at these shows.


Some of the books I purchased/traded for:

1. Sonnenzimmer: How likely is the chance/Synthetic Chance

2. David Libens Comics (David & the Ghost #1-2)

3. PFC Comic, Max de Radigues + PFC participants

4. Amazing Facts, Beyond/Zettwoch/Huizenga/May/Weaver

5. Kevin Czapiewski Comics

6. Sammy the Mouse #2, Zak Sally

7. In Tongues Illustrated, JT Dockery

8. QUIET #2, A.Burkholder

9. Laura Park Uncivilized/Autoptic Mini

10. Simple Routines #18, JP Coovert

11. Saint Cole Part One, Noah van Sciver

Minneapolis is a great town. Lots of old/new/weird design and architecture throughout. All of these overhead passageways. I told Tom Kaczynski that I felt I had a better understanding of his work having spent time here.

It was good seeing everybody, albeit briefly. It was the most fun I’ve had at a show. Thanks to Charles Forsman/Oily Comics, Michelle Ollie/CCS, Barry at Secret Acres, Annie and Ed at Koyama, the Chicago Minivan Crew, Tom Neely, and especially the Autoptic Festival organizers.

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Oh sweet Autoptic, take all my money and let me roll around on all your printed matter I bought when I take you back to my hotel room.

I had a mission. THE (main) mission: find Eleanor Davis, Lille Carre, Genevieve Castree, and my ultimate Tumblr cheerleader (Dan) theferdescape. All four artists’ work makes me feel overly happy like when I was a kid and saw those quarter gumball high bounce balls for sale, and knew I had a quarter in my pocket.

1. Lille Carre had a table, so I was able to spot her quickly. I gushed openly and maybe a tad too much, but her art is amazing. Plus, I found out her husband was from Alabama, so it elevated her, by marriage, to a higher level of artdom. Don’t ask. I always push someone higher if they’re attached to Alabama in some way. She was very friendly and humble. She also had a stylish necklace on.

2. When people would ask where I was from, a lot would thumb over to a table and say, “There are some Austin people at that table.” I found Foxing Quarterly who I had no idea existed, and I found it weird that I had to go to Minneapolis to meet people in my hometown who have the same tastes in art that I do. Maybe I’m not Lone Wolf. This leads to Eleanor Davis. They were selling limited screenprints by her, and when I talked to Danithan at Foxing he pointed Eleanor out in the crowd. I poised myself next to her while she was buying stuff, and eased into a conversation. She had remembered my email ramblings about her Giant Robot Post-It art I bought, and after she left, the guy behind the table said I played it off cool. It’s good to have spectator feedback.

3. I had wanted to meet Dan because, well, he was one of the first non-real life people who consistently liked my work on Tumblr. Not that the real life people’s opinions don’t matter, but they’re my friends. They love me, but Dan was a stranger. He had no reason to like my stuff because he only knew my drawings as just that, so when I found out he lived close to Minneapolis and would be at Autoptic I wanted to thank him in person. I planned it poorly, and only had his purple backpack to look out for.

I wandered to a table, and started to talk to an artist. I told him I was from Austin, and he immediately started to talk about the Butthole Surfers and Scratch Acid. I told him he won me over instantly at that point, and it’s when I looked at his name tag and realized it was Marc Bell. I knew his name, and knew he was someone that people talk about…but none of that mattered he knew about SCRATCH ACID. I wanted him as a friend immediately. (It’s all it takes.) Marc make this friend stuff happen. 

The day went on with lots of purchases, but no Dan. I couldn’t spot his backpack anywhere, and decided to climb a set of stairs and see if I could do an eagle’s eye scan of the crowd before I left. I had not noticed I was standing directly behind a signing table where Marc Bell was seated. He wondered what I was doing, and when I told him why I was looking which made him ask more crucial questions which made me realize how weird it would seem to want to meet someone only to know the color of their backpack (no email or phone to contact), I sort of gave up hope. As we were talking the girl seated next to him who was eating some food turned around and started to ask some questions about the backpack and my face went blank, it was Genevieve Castree. 

I floated out of the convention center. I wanted to run up to people to say how organic the experience was to just have Genevieve turn around. Not to have to be weird waiting at a table or circle around waiting to speak to someone. It just happened.

I also met a lot of artists who were really great. Hello, Sandrine Martin! (If you’re reading this.) Her art is really really amazing, and she as well as Eugene Riousse drew something in the books I bought. (I love the French.) I gave Eugene a drawing, and he kept asking if it was an original. I think he couldn’t understand why I would just give him a drawing, but he was nice. I also like the fact that a drawing I gave will be in someone’s French apartment whether in a folder or a trashcan. 

Also, I made the mistake of not getting an artist to sign a screenprint I bought, and now I can’t remember who it is. I think it’s Talya Modlin. I’m going to tag her name on here to see if she’s vain and looks for herself. (I hope so. She was one of three artists at a table, and I can’t remember who was who.) TALYA, if your print is the teal guy bleeding, contact me.

Okay, I rambled WAY too much. BEST TIMMMMMME EVER.

SONG: Scratch Acid - “Mess” click here for song.