Category Archives: Where’s Chris?

Ridiculously long interview with me.

Hey, the good folks at the “Guys With Pencils” podcast had me over to shoot the shit and it went on for like two and a half hours…? Anyway, it was fun, and I’m remarkably lucid throughout. If you wanna know more about, you know, me, or TCAF, or a little UDON and Beguiling, or event management, or whatever? You know? Anyway, mercifully they broke it into two parts.

Part 1: http://guyswithpencils.tumblr.com/post/76197814250/guys-with-pencils-ep-148-tcafs-chris-butcher

Part 2: http://guyswithpencils.tumblr.com/post/76932859543/guys-with-pencils-ep-149-tcafs-chris-butcher

I did listen to it, I think it’s a pretty clear version of my thoughts on TCAF, and I guess TCAF’s operating procedures. I hope you guys dig it.

I hope Jim “Throatpuncher” Zub doesn’t punch me in the throat.

– Chris

NYCC and Tokyo-bound

Hey folks.

A busy summer has given way to a very busy fall, and I’ve got a bunch of travel on the horizon. I’m still writing about comics, but usually those thoughts are expressed on Twitter or through one of my other jobs. I actually have a post written about the nature of comic book stores, that I’m going to post this week for Little Island’s first anniversary, once I give it another pass. Oh, and I took on a small comics writing job that will be announced at some point too, which I’m having fun with.

Anyway, in case you’re looking for me, you can find me at the following events and place. Let me know if you want to hang out.

New York

October 10: ICv2 Conference, Javits Center
October 11-14: New York Comic Con, Javits Center

Tokyo

November 11: Design Festa (Just attending!)
November 18: Kaigai Manga Festa, Exhibiting for TCAF
November 25: Flying back to Toronto

Toronto Comics Events:

October 18: ZANTA Book Launch, The Central
October 21: Canzine (Day) Triple Threat Launch (Night)

Thanks for continuing to check out this blog! I personally feel that one day I will be back up to posting daily, I’m just not there yet.

Best,

– Chris

Where’s Chris at San Diego Comic-Con 2012?

Hey folks! I’m headed off to “Comic-Con International: San Diego” this week, in what looks to be my busiest trip ever. I just thought I’d post real quick to let folks know where I’m going to be if they want to check out what are sure to be some great panels. 🙂

Booths:

UDON: Booth #5037: I’m going to be headquartered at The UDON Booth this year Weds thru Sat, all the way on the east side near Hall H, booth #5037. We’re debuting artbooks based on the video games Marvel vs. Capcom, Disgaea, and Shining Force Feather, and they’re all totally gorgeous-looking. Plus non-stop creator signings, a huge catalogue of material, and much more. Should be lots of fun!

Drawn & Quarterly  (Beguiling): Booth #1629: On Sunday I’m headed over to the other side of the convention centre to sell some jaw-droppingly great original art! The fine folks at D&Q are once again providing us with a little corner to sell originals, and we’re going to make the most of it with a ton of great stuff. We’ve got all new pieces by Farel Dalrymple, Jason, Shintaro Kago, Pascal Girard, and maybe even a few surprises too…! Brings back memories, being in the D&Q booth. 🙂

Panels:

I’m actually doing a lot of panels this year! Hosting 2, on 3. I think it’s actually gonna be a bunch of fun, but I gotta make sure to buckle down and get all my work done because there are some VERY heavy hitters on these things! Here’s the quick run-down, and the full panel descriptions are under the cut:

Friday: 4:30-5:30: UDON 2012: Some major new announcements on this, I’m actually a bit nervous. 🙂 (Moderator) Room 26AB

Friday: 7:30-8:30: Making a Living in Manga: I’ll be sharing the results of some of the interviews I conducted with manga creators and editors in Japan! (Participant) Room 8

Saturday: 12:30-1:30: D&Q: Canada and Comics: Discussing the current renaissance of Canadian comics. Kate Beaton, Jeff Lemire! (Moderator) Room 5AB

Saturday: 6:00-7:00: Best and Worst Manga of 2012: Reprising my role from last year. I’ve read SO MUCH manga in the past 2 weeks. (Participant) Room 23ABC

Sunday: 3:00-4:00: PW Comics World: Serious Pictures: Comics and Journalism in a New Era: Mostly I’m here as a retailer/pundit, talking about the place of comics reportage in the industry. Should be very cool. (Participant) Room 32AB

Other Stuff:

I heard there might be a very cool announcement at the Gays in Comics 25th Anniversary Panel Saturday night, so I want to try to hit that one for sure. Otherwise, I’m hoping to get out and see a few panels, snap a few photos, and generally just enjoy myself. I hope if you’re going, you get to do the same! See you there!

– Chris

Continue reading Where’s Chris at San Diego Comic-Con 2012?

Little Heart Kickstarter Reaches Goal! Still time to get cool stuff.

This afternoon, the Kickstarter for Little Heart, the marriage equality-supporting comics anthology that I’m participating in hit its goal of $8500, and so it looks like the book is definitely going to be a reality. I’d like to offer a hearty congratulations to editor Raighne Hogan and all of the contributors on a successful campaign. I’d also like to thank all of you who read my words, shared them, and purchased a copy of the book: Your support is amazing, and I thank you. I don’t really ‘go to the well’ very often from my readers, but I greatly appreciate that you were there when a good project needed you. Thanks.

There’s still time to pre-order a copy, or get some amazing prints or original art–you’ve got until Friday in fact! Head over to http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/765505753/little-heart-a-comic-anthology-for-marriage-equali?ref=live for details.

Meanwhile, I was just informed about another queer comics Kickstarter, though this one met its fundraising goal in just 48 hours! It’s for Alex Woolfson’s gay sci-fi series “Artifice”, and it looks like there will now be a graphic novel collection of that web series. I’ve attached the full PR under the cut below, but you can check out the Kickstarter at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/alexwoolfson/artifice-graphic-novel-print-drive.

While miles and miles has been written on Kickstarter and the like, I will throw in exactly 2 cents worth and say that that it’s pretty clear having a strong, dedicated following and a very public personality at the helm of your Kickstarter campaign yields very different results than not. I think the Little Heart book is an incredibly important project, but it “suffered” by not having a 25,000-readers-per-day lead-in (if one can suffer that), and it really did take the full month of non-stop promotion to get the word out about the project. I hope that other indy projects looking to use the service take note. A multi-creator book that supports marriage equality should, theoretically, have a much broader appeal for support than a dual-creator gay sci-fi graphic novel, but the web as a mass-funding medium is pretty darned unique.

(This also ties into my thoughts on why Kickstarter as a replacement for the NEA or governmental arts funding is abhorrent, but my two cents are up… for now.)

– Chris

Continue reading Little Heart Kickstarter Reaches Goal! Still time to get cool stuff.

My Introduction to Little Heart (1st Draft)

I feel like I’ve been far too lax in getting the word out about Little Heart, a forthcoming comics anthology full of great comics work, that’s also supporting a great cause. Below, you’ll find the first draft of my introduction to this book (sure to be edited because it runs 1200+ words!) and I hope that in talking about my life and the work in this book, I can convince you to take a chance and buy one today. Full details about this book and purchasing info at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/765505753/little-heart-a-comic-anthology-for-marriage-equali. And, not to rush you, but you need to do so by next Friday March 16th at the latest. – Chris

Introduction

I married my husband Andrew in 2006, shortly after the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the gay marriages that had been performed by our provinces since 2001 (give or take) were in fact informed by Canadian values, not merely provincial ones. Despite a challenge or three from the Conservatives, the law… and my marriage… has remained on the books to this day.

Growing up as a gay kid, and then a gay teenager, and finally a gay adult, the notion that I could ever get married was simply not something that occurred to me. Perhaps it was just a failure of imagination on my part, but from what I knew and had experienced of gay culture, gay people could have just as loving, committed, and important relationships as heterosexual people could… but ‘marriage’ was just something that wasn’t for us. I can’t tell you how happy I was to be wrong about that, and I am forever in the debt of the brave gay and lesbian couples that fought the battles, and won them, that allow me to have rights that I quite frankly should’ve been born with. That gay kids today, and the gay teens and adults of tomorrow, will hopefully never have been without.

I met my husband in 2004, and I’ve spent the better part of our 8 years together indoctrinating him into the world of comics and graphic novels. I’m a comics guy; I’ve read written, drawn, lettered, published, talked about, and sold comics since I was 8 years old, and indoctrinating new readers is just what we do. Andrew didn’t really have comics growing up—I think he’d only ever read Spiegelman’s Maus for school when he met me. He’s an opera, symphony, perfect diction kinda fellow, and so when sharing my first comic with him I went the intellectual route and chose McCloud’s “comics textbook” Understanding Comics. Frankly I was/am so in love with Andrew he probably could’ve hated it and we’d still be together, but he loved it and we talked about it at length, and he was curious for more. Now I can’t say for certain, but I’m pretty sure the very next comic I gave him was Maurice Vellekoop’s sadly out-of-print classic Vellevision, a repository of accumulated gay culture, gay wisdom, and gay folly. It’s was also quite the unique work at the time as, save for perhaps Howard Cruise’s excellent Stuck Rubber Baby, it was the only ‘gay graphic novel’ I was aware of that wasn’t intended solely as pornography (though, make no mistake, Vellevision’s got some pretty great scenes in it that address those particular interests…!). He loved that too, and when Vellekoop’s “A Nut At The Opera” came out it was the best of both worlds for both of us!

In 2011, it was very heavily rumoured (and somewhat supported) that if the Conservatives in Canada were elected with a majority government they’d reopen ‘the marriage debate’ and that future marriages between same-sex couples, and even already-conducted marriages between same-sex couples, could be stopped or annulled. I know, it seems crazy that something that’s been happening for 10 years (give or take) could, with a change in government, be stopped or rescinded, but looking at the rhetoric coming out of the Republican party right now, where they’re seeking to roll back women’s rights 50 or 60 years, well, it still doesn’t seem so far-fetched does it? I made a fairly impassioned plea to vote against the Conservative party because I didn’t want the nature of my relationship attacked or invalidated by a bunch of government thugs… and this is where Raighne Hogan, editor of this book, noticed what I was saying and decided I might be a good person to say a few words on its behalf.

And here we are.

Little Heart: A Comic Anthology for Marriage Equality is a fascinating document of a time and a place, of comics creators coming of varied sexualities and genders and backgrounds coming together to comment on the nature of marriage and the nature of love. Of course Maurice Vellekoop is here, and his journalistic piece on the realities of gay marriage in Canada 5-10 years later is just as melancholic and just as ironic and just as delightful as his work has ever been. Marinaomi’s wonderful piece about the trials and tribulations of getting married in a ‘non-traditional way’ certainly hit home, as did Noah Van Sciver’s thoughtful piece of comics journalism about miscegenation—last century’s marital ‘boogeyman.’

Probably the pieces in this book that ring truest to my experience are the ones by Jeremy Sorese, and Emily Carrol and Kate Craig. Sorese’s “Love Me Forever! Oh! Oh! Oh!” resonates deeply with me, because the incredibly talented Mr. Sorese, at 23, has all the same questions about life and relationships and especially gay marriage (“Who is walked down the aisle? Who wears white?”) that I did at 29 on my wedding day. My only advice to Mr. Sorese, 10 years my junior, might be that I found my answers to those questions by doing them, and if that’s what he wants I hope he gets the opportunity. Likewise for the talented Carrol and Craig, mine and my husband’s wedding rings are vintage (or perhaps ‘second hand’ if you’re feeling uncharitable), and I couldn’t help but wonder at the lives lived by the bearers of those rings before we wore them. Carrol and Craig in their ring neatly encapsulate the hopes of marriage, of commitment and anticipation, that I feel unite anyone who enters into the practice, while still making allowances for the unique relationships and agreements that define every union.

Even the pieces that don’t directly address marriage, but instead talk about queerness obscured, like “Roosterlegs” by Ed Choy and Sam Sharpe, or mediate on the complicated nature of young love, like Joseph Remnant’s “I Told You So,” speak to human experiences that touch all of us. Moreover every contributor to this book answered the call, “Help us support marriage equality in Minnesota,” by doing what they do best; creating comics—regardless of style, theme, or materials used. They’ve come down on the side of supporting the rights of all people to equality under the law and by picking up this book and supporting this fight you have too.

I was taught from an early age that equality needed to be fought for. I learned last year that what should be inexorable rights are not always so, and we must fight on. I learned from Jeremy Sorese that rights are worth fighting for even when they might not speak to us directly, from Marinaomi that celebrating what we have does not come at the expense of fighting on the behalf of others, from Noah Van Sciver and Emily Carrol and Kate Craig that love—and marriage—have always faced questions and obstacles, and from Maurice Vellekoop that even when marriage turns out not to be what you think it would, that the core concept of equality is still incredibly important. Finally, I learned from Raighne Hogan, 2d Comics, and the dozens of contributors to this fine volume that this is a battle that may need to be fought state by state, and even heart by heart, but that people regardless of background can come together and lend their voice. I’m happy to be lending mine and, by purchasing this book, thank you for lending yours.

–          Christopher Butcher, March, 2012.

 

Please Read: “Little Heart” Kickstarter Needs You

Hey folks. I was invited to write an introduction for a very special comics anthology, called Little Heart: A Comic For Marriage Equality. It’s going to be 160+ pages of comics from a wealth of talented individuals, lending their talents in support of marriage equality. This anthology is trying to be funded by Kickstarter, and there’s only about a week left.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/765505753/little-heart-a-comic-anthology-for-marriage-equali

I’ll be honest, it’s not near its fundraising goal but with just a little help it absolutely could be. This book features new comics by Maurice Vellekoop, Emily Carrol, Zak Sally, MariNaomi, Joseph Remnany, Jeremy Sorese, Noah Van Sciver, Michael DeForge, and over a dozen more amazing contributors. Also, I’m writing the introduction!

For $20 you can get a copy of the book, and all you need is to start a Kickstarter account (free, takes 2 minutes) and an Amazon account (everyone has one of these, right?). But the rewards for this comic are insane if you want to donate more! For $100 you could get the book and original drawings by Dustin Harbin or Noah Van Sciver! For $250 you could get a copy of the book and a “date with the artist” of one of the stories! For $400 you could get a copy of the book and an original comics page by Maurice Vellekoop (and as his art dealer I can tell you that’s a great deal!).

In short, this is a great cause, there are some truly excellent comics in this anthology, and I hope you will head over and sign up for a copy through Kickstarter because if you’re the sort of person reading this on this particular site, then you’re definitely the sort of person who will get more out of this than the money you put into it.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/765505753/little-heart-a-comic-anthology-for-marriage-equali

In the next post, I’m going to post the first draft of my introduction to this book, for a fuller picture of why this book, and the fight for marriage equality, are important to me.

– Chris

San Diego Comic Con – BEST AND WORST MANGA OF 2011

As a reprise to our totes-fun-times from last years, Deb Aoki, David Brothers, Patachu, Eva Volin, and myself will preside over a panel charmingly entitled:

THE BEST AND WORST MANGA OF 2011

at the San Diego Comic Con (or, more properly, Comic-Con International: San Diego). I will be catching right-the-hell-up on all of my manga reading in order to be as informed as possible, but will clearly be schooled by my fellow panelists. It should be fun! And it would be delightful to see you there. Here are the deets:

Best and Worst of Manga 2011
Friday, July 22nd
Room: 26AB
6:30p.m. – 7:30p.m.

– Christopher