Archive for the 'Art and Story' Category


MIX 2011: A retrospecticus

    So MIX 2011 has come and gone, and I can say without hyperbole that it was the greatest comics-related weekend of my life.  I/we/Minnesota/comics are forever in debt to SARAH MOREAN for making this fantastic show happen for two amazing years.  THANK YOU, SARAH!!!  Thanks to all her staff of volunteers as well.  You are all wonderful, wonderful people and put smiles on the faces of all the exhibitors and attending public alike.  THANK YOU ONE MORE TIME!  And now…a blow-by-blow of my fabulous weekend…
    MIX began, in my mind, hours before the opening parties when the local NPR station (MPR!) had an early afternoon hour on the present and future of comics featuring Scott McCloud.  Best of all, that hour of programming opened with the announcement that is was going to be discussing comics because of–you guessed it—MIX!  Public radio loves its comics!
    Then MIX reeeeeeeeally began at 6pm with the WOMEN OF MIX exhibit at MCAD. I arrived at about 6:45.  After taking in SARAH GLIDDEN’s breath-taking pages from “HOW TO UNDERSTAND ISRAEL IN 60 DAYS OR LESS” I ran into old friends DANIEL J OLSON and KEVIN CANNON.  After chatting with them for a few minutes I attempted to get back to the art but immediately ran into CHRIS MONROE.  Chris and I had met last year at BOOK FEST, so we had that acquaintanceship (and Facebook) on our side.  Little did I know by the end of the weekend Chris and I would end up becoming bestest of friends. But I’m getting ahead of myself…
     Eventually people started clearing out of MCAD (the show closed at 8pm) and moving across town to the opening night DRINK AND DRAW/CLOUDY COLLECTIVE EXHIBIT at PINK HOBO (aka PUNY ENTERTAINMENT).  Chris was unaware of the event, but I twisted her arm (FREE BOOZE!) and convinced her to go. Doing my part to save the planet, I carpooled over dirty socialist/future L RON HUBBARD/amazing cartoonist MAXEEM KONRARDY and his friend/fellow cartoonist/MCAD alum ANNA BRATTON (who it was nice to finally meet. Love her and BRITT SABO’s “Francis Sharp” comic). Speaking of dirty socialists, on route we drove by OCCUPY MN and I swear to god PHISH was playing.  Anyway…
    After arriving at PINK HOBO, Chris and I hooked back up and enjoyed a Grain Belt and the Cloudy Collective show.  The show was spectacular, but the 2 stand-out pieces to me at had to be the ones by ED EMBERLEY and GRAHAM ANNABLE (its total bias, though). Chris and I then ventured into the back where the DRINK AND DRAW was going-on. And was it EVER going-on!  There were several large tables set-up, each covered in white paper, and all the tables were packed to capacity.  Eventually though 2 spots opened up, and as luck would have it they were at the same table as my friends NICK MUDGE and NICK STRAIGHT.  Also at that table was SCOTT SEEKINS
    If you’re not from MN you probably don’t know Mr Seekins, and I’m not going to get into it here, but all you need to know is he’s a Minneapolis fixture and he only does art that involves himself incorporated into it.  So Chris and I sat down by Scott Seekings and both began drawing Scott Seekins as Scott Seekins was drawing Scott Seekins.  Very meta.
    After some drawing and a couple beers I looked at the over-flowing mass of cartoonists and decided to do some mobile socializing.  But first…I’d need another beer.  As luck would have it, set-up next to the booze station was Conspirator/podcaster/online teacher/webcartoonist ROB STENZINGER, and the mobile chatting began.  Rob had brought with him MARK RUDOLPH (of the gone but not forgotten ART & STORY podcast) and SARAH TURNER (frequent guest of the aforementioned podcast), and it was great to finally meet them as people and not just the voices in my head.  Mark quizzed me on hotdish (whattya mean its not called hotdish everywhere?! MADNESS!), and a weekend-long running gag was born.
    Speaking of podcasters, I also finally met MIKE DAWSON shortly thereafter and we discussed the challenges of doing interview-heavy shows. Nice guy, that Mike Dawson.
    From there I just made the rounds talking to old friends and the MNtoonists I usually only get to see at conventions and openings.  But the night was getting late and we had already exceeded the 11pm closing time (the crowd had thinned out, but it was still VERY crowded).  Knowing I had to be up early the next day I headed out. A great opening ceremony.  Take THAT, Hong Kong Olympics!
    While the con didn’t open to the public until 10am, I had volunteered for early/morning last minute set-up.  Sarah cracked the whip and we said “How High” to get everything running smooth. After a few errands I ended up being a greeter/usher helping the checking-in creators find their spot.  It was fast-paced and very fun and I’m glad I did it.  It was a nice, quick way to meet many fellow cartoonists and put faces to names.  It was also great watching the place fill-up–over 200 creators filled three big rooms. Amazing!
    At 9:45 I turned in my gun and badge (still don’t know why we were issued those) and settled into my table which I was sharing with my friends and collaborators BUD BURGY and DAN MURPHY.  Dan was tabling on his own for the first time.  All he had were three minis in his ever-growing ELLE CIRKA saga, but they were easily some of the best things anyone could have purchased at the show.
    We were also surrounded on both sides by friends like BOB LIPSKI, LUPI McGINTY, STEVE STWALLEY and AARON POLIWODAJORDAN SHIVELEY and  BRETT WARNOCK of TOP SHELFwere across the way.  It was a great spot in the chilly “Papa Bear” room (And yes, the other two rooms were “Mama Bear” and “Baby Bear”. Bet you can figure out why).  The crowd trickled in immediately, and by 11:30 or so it was a full-blown frenzy. I was behind the table more or less all day. Sales were good enough for me to make a couple or rounds purchasing (aside from a last-minute spending binge on Sunday, all my profits went into others books. I only *lost* money on food and booze, but the food truck grub was AMAZING and booze is booze, so I wouldn’t actually call it losing).
    I was honored to be asked to be a part of the SALON SALOON panel and was looking forward to it all day.  When it finally started at 3:30 I was not disappointed.
    ANDY STURDEVANT puts on a hell of show with SALON SALOON, and even in the truncated MIX form it was still a great time.  Fellow guests CORINNE MUCHA, LENA CHANDHOK, and JOHN PORCELLINO were all really entertaining. As I’ve mentioned in the pre-MIX posts, John P was one of the main reasons I got into mini-comics to begin with, so to find myself onstage with him singing “OH, YOKO” at the end of SALON SALOON…well, it was just magically surreal, lets say that. Lena and Corinne were also super cool people (and great cartoonists) who I’m really glad I got to meet and get to know in such a fun setting.  Luckily, Andy let me record the whole thing and it’ll be available as a part of the LUTEFISK SUSHI PODCAST this Thursday.
    Salon Saloon ran a little long (fine by me!) so the con was more or less over by the time I got out.  Luckily while I was paneling ATHENA CURRIER and her booth-beard JASON ROBEY were hatching dinner plans!  Given the ‘ok’ to invite ‘whoever’ over to Jason’s for a home-cooked meal I wrangled Chris Monroe to forgo a nap in favor of a potentially awkward meal.  But awkward it wasn’t, not in any way, no sir!  The one to describe the whole scene was DELICIOUS (also: boozy)!!!  Jason is a master fucking chef and the company was fantastic!  So thanks Jason, Athena, Chris, Bud, Murphy, RYAN DOW, BRITT HAMMERBERG, DAN OLSON, and TED ANDERSON for a great time. (On a side note: Athena did the most heart-felt book signing of the weekend on her new ACTION ATHENA collection.  It seriously melts my blackened, ice-cold heart.  Thanks, Athena!!!)
     The official Saturday after-party was at HONEY, a place where vampires and clubbers go for orgies.  But on this night the nerds took over!  The dinner crew (plus MIKE TOFT) stuck together for a while, but as the official MIX cocktail kicked-in, the socializing spread out.  An old friend, and currently dormant cartoonist, MATT MUNN was there and it was cool to get to see him again (he finally got a new computer. Here’s hoping the return of his “ZED RECKONING” webcomic is not too far behind).  Also CATHY JOHNSON was there!  Cathy was part of the Conspiracy back when she was 17 or so.  One day Cathy left to go off to college.  I could have sworn this was like a year and a half ago, but NOPE! Cathy is a full-grown college graduate and all-around awesome adult now, and it was great to get to catch up (feeling like an old, old man however, not so great).  The aforementioned Mark Rudolph and I also had some more fun.  He’s seriously a great guy.
     All good things must end, however, and with the 10pm end of the party came the vampires and models and shitty, shitty dance music with which they would soon cover HONEY with their jizzum and blood and VD.  Smartly, Chris suggested we bolt for NYE’S POLONAISE ROOM, so that’s what we (along with BUD and STEVE STWALLEY) did.  As Bud bought the first round I nabbed the biggest table in the Polka bar which was perfect since we were soon joined by KEVIN CANNON, SARAH MOREAN, BRITT HAMMERBERG, JORDAN SHIVELEY, BRETT WARNOCK, TIM SIEVERT, and several others.
    Drunken mayhem was had by all–Sarah and I dueted a tune in the piano karaoke bar, Tim and I had a magical polka bonding moment, Chris and I had tons of laughs, and we all went horse shouting out our conversations.  Despite the fact it was Daylight Savings night and we *technically* could have stayed out drinking until 3am (since the clocks turn back at 2am–the hour MN bars close), people started scattering around 12 or so.  Only the drunkity-drunks (myself included) stayed until about 1:30–the last 45 minutes of which was spent nursing glasses of water and making deals with deities so we wouldn’t be *too* hungover the next day.
     That extra hour of sleep was a saving grace.  Sunday morning wasn’t nearly as horrific as I feared, in fact I barely had a headache at all (I also ate like nine aspirins before passing out).  It was pointed out in the morning that Twitter was abuzz with talk of hangovers and mix2011 hash-tags.  Totally not surprised.
    Sunday was bitter-sweet, though.  Knowing this whole magical weekend was coming to an end was sad, but being in the moment of it was heaven.  I made several more sales, got a bunch more books, and got to meet the several more people who had eluded me previously like SARAH GLIDDEN (who says she might move to Mpls. I hope this weekend helped sway her decision!):
    Also, JULIA WERTZ.  Julia claims her signature in my FART PARTY collection is the “worst she’s ever done” so I won’t post it here, but its a pretty hilarious and I’m honored to be in possession of the “worst” thing she’s ever done (“I saw your panel, I KNOW your name is Danno, so why did I sign it…Wait! Why am I drawing myself as a hunchback?!”).  Thanks, Julia!
    The day drew to a close.  Goodbyes started to be said all around to both new friends and old.  And before we knew it MIX 2011 was over.  There was a closing party four hours after MIX ended, but once I went home I was DONE.  I had gotten maybe eight hours of sleep total from Friday night until 5pm Sunday so i was not surprised to find myself dozing off around 8:30.  As much as I would have liked to taken part in the grand finale, I don’t think I could have physically taken it.  As I type this I’m still recovering.  But it was ll totally worth it!
    So, was MIX 2011 the best show ever?  Yes.  Deal with it, every other indie show.  You might have age and experience and the what-not on your sides, but you don’t have SARAH MOREAN, and Sarah Morean knows how to throw a fucking party!
   You’re the best, Sarah!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
(Photos by me, Sarah Morean, Amaya McBatman, Puny Entertainment, and Christian Erickson. All photos (c) their respective photographer.)

MANLY TALES OF COWARDICE–Guest Artist Spectacular–pg 12(of 14)–by Ryan Dow and Brian Bastian

pg 12--art: Ryan Dow, words: Brian Bastian

pg 12--art: Ryan Dow, words: Brian Bastian

   BRIAN BASTIAN— Has freedom hair.

   RYAN DOW—  Ryan dow has won my heart–from his consistently solid art and story on his “INTROSPECTIVE COMICS” webcomic, to his introspective thoughts on comics during the ART AND STORY podcasts–my heart Ryan Dow has won.  Ryan is a well-loved fixture of the Mpls/Stpl Cells of the International Cartoonist Conspiracy, taking part in all the usual hoo-hah (like BIG FUNNY and MUSCLES AND FIGHTS), and doing his own great comics along the way (like PLUNGER-MAN, WEEKENDS WITH CARL, and JACK AND ZACK MAKE A COMIC).  He’s even part of the QUORUM OF TWELVE(or so) who are putting together LUTEFISK SUSHI “D”–a highlight of his contribution being the “LSD” podcast he is starting which will have interviewers with fellow QUORUMers and SUSHI “D” contributors (The first episode will be up soon and features some windbag).   You have my heart, Ryan.  Now hold me, you big hunky introspective cartoonist, you!  Hold me and make all the bad men go away.


MANLY TALES OF COWARDICE–GUEST ARTIST SPECTACULAR–pg 2(of 14)–by Earl Luckes and Brian Bastian, also: “phenomenal tangets” goes “kirby-vision”

pg 2: art--Earl Luckes, words: Brian Bastian

pg 2: art--Earl Luckes, words: Brian Bastian

   About the kick-ass creators of this page:

  BRIAN BASTIAN writes stuff.  He may have even written this.  Who is to say?

  EARL LUCKES is a man on a mission, and if this lover of comics and 70’s culture had a theme song, it would certainly be THIS one (thanks Mark and Jerzy)!  Earl burst into comics like no sane person should–by challenging himself to do a 24 HOUR COMIC!  After that Earl became a Conspiracy semi-regular and contributed some might fine work to anthologies like ALLEY CATSUPER FANTASTICA COMIX, BIG FUNNY, and the MUSCLES AND FIGHTSempire.  Earl’s stuff is raw, and tough, and hellz fun–just like the 1970’s hero-ethic he tries to capture in his work–and I am honored he did this page.  OH YEAH!!!–and Earl makes short-films that take modern cinema schlock-meisters like Michael Bay and Steven Sommers to task for their bastardization of the medium.  Quite a talent.  Best of all, Earl assures me his very own webcomic is in the works, and I for one cannot wait!

  Also,  “PHENOMENAL TANGENTS“, the Kirby-inspired comic I did with Steven Stwalley, has been added to “KIRBY-VISION“, the Kirby Museum’s Blog tracking “THE KING’s” continuing influence.  Sweet!

  And one last parting shot–today’s guest artist EARL LUCKES fancies himself a Fleming Hazmat type…

Earl Hazmat


PHENOMENAL TANGENTS–the all new comic by Steven Stwalley and myself–cover, credits, and pg 1(of 26)



pg 1

pg 1

     …to be continued… 

     So a little over a year ago I finally joined 2004 and got an ipod, and it wasn’t too long after that before I grew desperately tired of my ipod music library.  BUT WHAT TO DO???  My wife suggested I get some “podcasts” to mix it up.  I knew this word “podcasts”, but thought it (like the ipod only months before had resisted with every fiber of my being) was something I had no interest in.

    Boy was I wrong.

    I was immediatly enthralled to get weekly doses of things I already loved like THIS AMERICAN LIFE and LE SHOW.  I was able to finally get in on shows I had heard great things about like DAN CARLIN’s COMMON SENSE and his HARDCORE HISTORY.  And then my friend RYAN DOW turned me on to the fabulous world of podcasts about making comics.  He suggested I try ART AND STORY, and friends–my life has not been the same since.

    ART AND STORY is the premiere podcast about the thoughts and wonderings behind the art of making comics.  Hearing ART AND STORYs hosts MARK RUDOLPH and JERZY DROZD talk out loud about things I had only previously discussed to myself in my own head was like finding the perfect amalgam between peers and therapists. 

     When I started listening to ART AND STORY they had been at it for about a year (episode 48, I believe), and even though each show runs about 2 hours, I burned through the back catalogue and the new stuff in about 4 weeks.  It was all music to my ears….and still is!  Now even more so since in addition to the regular Wednesday ART AND STORY, there is a live version on Mondays called ART AND STORY ALIVE!.  There is also ART AND STORY EXTREME!!, a 20 minute (or so) show Monday-Thursday show where Mark and Jerzy just talk about whatever is on their minds (comics, movies, environmental armageddon),  and its “extremely” entertaining and easily my favorite of the three shows.

    Anyway…what does all this have to do with the above comic PHENOMENAL TANGENTS?  Well, as I was wrapping up that first month of soaking in everything ART AND STORY had to offer, there was an episode where they interviewed KEVIN CROSS.  Kevin was there to promote his brainchild–THE MINI-COMICS DUMP TRUCK!  The DUMP TRUCK was to be a comic collective where creators across the globe, communicating via the power of a blog and podcast, came together and over the course of 4 months each creator was to do an original mini-comic based a few agreed-upon ideas/suggestions set forth during the first podcast.  They would then communicate podcast-wise every two weeks to update status, share thoughts on the process and on making mini-comics in general.

    Again, this idea (like ART AND STORY) was love at first listen–and I was in luck!  Since the original broadcast of this ART AND STORY episode was a while back, the “first round” of DUMP TRUCK books was almost at an end, and “round two” was about to begin!

    I contacted Kevin immediately and informed him I wanted in, and he was more than happy to have me.  In fact, in a twist of fate, Kevin had posted the Cartoonist Conspiracy’s “HOW TO MAKE A MINI-COMIC” (that I had a hand in creating) on the DUMP TRUCK website when the group started! 

    I also contacted STEVEN STWALLEY about this, since he and I had been discussing the vauge idea of doing a book together, and we now finally had the proper impetus with which to do one…

    There’s 25 more pages to post of PHENOMENAL TANGENTS, so I’ll continue the genesis of PHENOMENAL TANGENTS over the rest of the month. There’ll also hopefully have some co-commentary on the book and pages from Steve, as well as the sad tale of the demise of the MINI-COMICS DUMP TRUCK itself…stay tuned!


a BIG ILLUSTRATION pin-up break

Big Illustration Party Time auction piece

Big Illustration Party Time auction piece

     “MONKEY MOD and ATLANTIS LAD vs SNOW ZOMBIES” by Danno Klonowski    

     Those who know me know I love podcasts, especially ones about the art of making comics. One such beloved podcast is BIG ILLUSTRATION PARTY TIME ( with Kevin Cross and Joshua Kemble. Anyway, in addition to content  BIPT has some of the best production value in the podcasting world…that is until their microphones blew-up a week or so ago.

      Josh and Kevin are typical Americas in a financial crunch these days and don’t have the cash to just run out and buy new microphones, so instead they are asking for donations from listeners. In addition to asking for straight-up cash infusions, there is also going to be an art auction of original work done specifically for this cause which you should be able to bid on soon (you can learn more about the auction and see all the submitted pieces so far at:

    My donation piece (above) is of Kevin’s MONKEY MOD character teaming-up with ATLANTIS LAD to fight snowmen zombies. FUN!

   On an unrelated note: my friend, co-Conspirator, and once and future collaborator BUD BURGY has started his own wordpress blog where you can see all the fine work he’s done and will be working on in the future (including a project i just wrote and he’ll being doing the art on) at:

   So again, to learn more about the auction, be sure to check out these awesome podcasts and websites: , ,  and


MANLY TALES OF COWARDICE–issue one–pgs 18 and 19


pg 18

pg 18

pg 19

pg 19

   …To Be Continued…

    Wow…what a difference a several month break makes.

    You may have noticed on panel 3 of page 17 yesterday that Fleming took on a marked change in his appearance–from a sloppy, choppy mutant looking thing to a streamlined cartoony looking character.  And I couldn’t be happier. Yes, aside from the horrific lettering which I had sadly done before I started inking the story the first time, I’m actually having to clean up very little on these pages–Yay!  Saving time!–and I think if I had done these last 7 pages in the original “Who Gives A Crap” style I did the first  17, the panels I’ve really grown to love (The DaVinci Audiobook, blasting off from England, the UN) would be as useless and ugly as most of the panels which preceded them.

    There was actually a pretty healthy (and often hilarious) debate on the most recent episode (#67) of ART AND STORY: ALIVE! that I think MANLY TALES issue one is the missing link of for both sides of the argument (check it out at:

    The debate was basically this: Should you keep cranking out crap (like the first 17 pages) for public consumption, or should you wait until you’ve improved your style/technique/etc enough (like the last 7 pages) before you start making comics? And if you wait to accomplish the technical side will you actually be print-ready if you haven’t been doing actual comics and getting any feedback?   (That’s more or less the jist. There’s more to it–including how to make a baby jesus cry–so listen for yourself.)

   Well, with issue one here I was clearly cranking out crap that was NOT fit for human eyes to gaze upon. The hours and HOURS  I have spent in the last week and a half fixing my many mistakes (and there are MANY more I just got too frustrated/bored to fix) proves that. If I had finished issue one in Fall fo 2006 I don’t know that I would have ever printed it. And if I had, I probably wouldn’t have done more (and kept getting better) cause I really detested those first 17 pages. But after a took a several month break and finished the back 7 in May of 2007 I felt despite all the opening pages weaknesses, the art of those closing pages (along with the ending I had finally cooked up) had “saved” the story.

     Had it saved it enough that I SHOULD have printed it?          No.

     Should I have completely redone the first 17 pages?              Yes.

     I know this now (as I knew it then). But I also knew to redo almost all of issue one would have probably also killed the momentum for issue two.  And issue two is where I was going to start applying everything I has learned….but that’ll have to wait until next Monday. We still gotta wrap this one up…



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