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: AUTOPTIC.ORG
My mother decided to draw a castle and write her name all fancy in the top left corner so I had to “work” around it by drawing a lake and using a highway to “move” the other main streets. Lol. I don’t think I’ve ever gone this long without any pens or markers. Progress. Masha'Allah.
Just after midnight Saturday, one of the most perplexing border disputes in the world officially ended. India and Bangladesh began the exchange of over 160 enclaves – small areas of sovereignty completely surrounded on all sides by another country – and in so doing ended a dispute that has lasted almost 70 years.
Pack your knapsack because we’re going to camp. Camp Triggerfish, that is!
When the Inklings aren’t busy making s’mores or boondoggle key chains, they enjoy the majestic scenery afforded by camping the best way they know how – Turf War! Battles here play out across a series of bridges, which you’ll have to cross to reach your opponents’ turf.
Each team base at Camp Triggerfish is outfitted with a set of floodgates. When the gates are down, it’s easier for the other team to come and go as they please. In Turf War, the gates lower with one minute left on the clock, leading the way for late-game assaults. In Ranked Battle, they stay down so players can come and go as they please. Watch out in Tower Control! The tower’s path is almost always over water and you’ll need to show off your best squid skills to avoid getting dunked.
Starting tomorrow at 7 PM PT, Camp Triggerfish will be added to the stage rotation. Maybe after we’re done battling we can gather round the fire and sing some jaunty campfire tunes!