Archive for the 'International Cartoonist Conspiracy' Category



This past Thursday–Nov 17th, 2011–the MINNEAPOLIS INSTITUTE OF ARTS asked the CARTOONIST CONSPIRACY to take part in their monthly “Third Thursday” series.  We led an open to the public comic jam as all sorts of other events were going on (including drinking and thumping music. RYAN DOW thought it sounded like a prom was happening, and he was pretty spot-on with that assessment).

The jam was a total success.  In addition to a high number of Conspiracy regulars showing up to draw, several cartoonists who rarely make it to jams and events showed, and (best of all) CIVILIANS showed up to do jam drawing too!  Here’s a jam I did with a lil’ kid:

In addition to the drawing area, the MIA also set up a couple “Reading Lounges”:

How classy looking is that?!  Also, the sign by this lounge area made myself and Altered Esthetics’ founder JAMIE SCHUMACHER silly with giddiness:

Speaking of silly with giddiness, there was an official MIA photographer documenting the evening.  I just checked their FLICKR account and this the album cover for the evening:

Ok, so that looks staged as hell.  But this one doesn’t:

I dunno. I just think that’s cool.  I’ve never seen someone reading one of my comics in the wild before. (FYI: If you want to read it you can buy it online here.) Anyway…  The night was super fun all around, so lets end this with some of the actual drawing I took part in.  The first thing I drew was this:

Which eventually evolved into this:

One guy was just penciling panels and asking others to ink them, so here’s one I did:

MIKE TOFT started this jam that (following what I did) became a pretty fun daisy chain of violence:

Take it from someone who has done more jam comics than I can count, if you have a chance to work William S Burroughs in, DO IT!

I did several more drawings, but the following is maybe my favorite sequence I took part in.  It all started when my friend and longest-time collaborator DAN MURPHY worked one Mr George Lucas into a strip:

So I couldn’t help myself but to follow it up with:

Confession Time: The Conspiracy is about to celebrate its 9th birthday.  There have been something like 150+ jams done in that time (between the Minneapolis and St Paul meetings and other various events in-between), and frankly I’ve felt quite burnt-out on them the last year (going so far as to not even really participant in them for the last 6 months).  The MIA event totally resparked my interest though!  I don’t know.  Maybe it was the fact I haven’t done jams in a while.  Maybe it was the surroundings.  Maybe it was the hushed, actually conspiratorial talk I was having with some people about…something.  Maybe all that art concentrated in one area physically affects a person. Who knows?!  All I know is I had a great time, and I thank the MIA for the opportunity and hope they ask us back some day.

Ok…one more photo before I go.  The official MIA photographer was going around and noticed I’m a drunk…errr…that I had a beer.  The beer was from one of the big sponsors of these Thursday events, so she REEEEEEALLY wanted to get a shot of me drawing with the beer in a prominent position in the photo so as to appease the sponsor.  She took like 3 or 4 photos, moving the beer each time to different sides of me so it was in the best place possible.  I was all good with this cause secretly I hoped it would result in a life-time supply of free hooch.  So…imagine my surprise to see the following is the only published picture of this massive photographic undertaking:



LUTEFISK SUSHI ‘D’ opening photos, or “tonight we are all vampires”


   As you may have heard me mention (to the point you probably blocked me on Facebook yesterday) LUTEFISK SUSHI ‘D’ opened last night.  As always, I came armed with my camera: 

   I got there around 6pm as the AE crew and some of the “LUTEFISK SUSHI QUORUM of 12” members did some last-minute gettin’ ready for the 7pm public opening.

   The ‘Candy Sushi’ that LUPI, MIKE TOFT, and I made earlier in the day.

   The wonderful signage KEVIN CANNON made.  Now everything was SET!  We were ready to face the public!  The artists were starting to roll in and…… camera died.  Well, it said I had filled the memory to capacity (after 4 pictures), which I found weird since I had dumped all the photos on it earlier in the day.  Anyway…people filed in.  Talking was done.  Art was admired.  Gin was poured liberally from my trunk stash.  And the a couple hours later…

   My old buddy and pro photographer KRISSY DRAKE arrived and showed my wife how to make the camera work.  Huzzah!  This is also the point at which we all turned into red-eyed vampires.  THAT was weird, lemme tell ya.

  SEE!  I couldn’t resist the ‘dark gift’ of vampirism and immediately turned my wife.

  DAN “Van Helsing” OLSON rushed in and tried to stake me to stop the madness from spreading.  Luckily, he failed.

   BRITT HAMMERBERG–infected!!!

   Despite cash bets to the contrary, MATT KRISKE shows up…and is immediately attacked by Lestat-esque blood-lust.

   Once we were all Twilighted-up, we got back to the socializing at hand.  It was nearing 10pm and the once-massive crowd was thinning, but good times were still being had by local legends such as WILL DINKSI, AARON POLIWODA, TIM SIEVERT, ZANDER CANNON, SARAH MOREAN, STEVEN STWALLEY, BRITT, MARK McGINTY, VanHelsing, and longest-time collaborator DAN “DON” MURPHY.

  SHAD PETOSKY and KEVIN “C” CANNON talk about important subjects as RYAN DOW eavesdrops.

   My wife NICHOLE chats it up with LUPI and VanHelsing’s wife AJ.

  Look!  There’s AE founder and all around awesome person JAMIE SCHUMACHER!  

  TIME JUMP!!!  At 10pm AE turned into a pumpkin, so some of us headed over to the official Conspiracy watering hole–the world-famous YACHT CLUB!  There’s STEVE STWALLEY’s wife LEIGH-ANNE chatting it up with cartoonist  and Roe Family singer ADAM WIRTZFELD, the delightful RITA PANTON, and Conspiracy Founding Member MIKE TOFT.

   The newly christened DON chats it up Quorum member KRISTIN THOMPSON, while LANCE WARD and STWALLEY gab.

   ZANDER and SARAH are chatting about how much the upcoming MIX–MINNEAPOLIS INDIE XPO–is going to rock  (I’m assuming–about their conversation.  MIX is most certainly going to rock.  We can call that fact).

   “D” and “C” enjoy drinks and mull over where to have the annual retreat/hazing initiation of “D” with “A” and “B“.

  Have I mentioned how much JAMIE SCHUMACHER rocks?!  Seriously, we should all be so lucky to be so awesome.

    Anyway…that was more or less it.  People started peetering out.  Festivities for me ended around 1am.  It was easily one of the best nights of my life.  

    More pictures and re-caps of the night can be found HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE and even HERE at the CITY PAGES.  Thanks again to everyone in the teeming crowd–friends both old and new, and strangers alike– who came to the show, making it such a massive night.   It’s one I’ll never forget!


MANLY TALES OF COWARDICE #5–pgs 10 & 11(of 45), also: MPLS ‘Cartoonist Conspiracy’ jam Thursday, and a ‘Danno Cameo’ right now

    Pg 10–  The BUDDHA SQUIRREL is a classic case of “Cartoonist Recycling”.  Basically, most cartoonists have a million idea, but not nearly enough hours or days to make all these ideas come to life on paper.  So sometimes in the course of one story a cartoonist will cherry-pick ideas from another story they probably weren’t ever going to be able to get to–thereby recycling one’s own ideas.  In the case of the BUDDHA SQUIRREL I had started a story in 2005 (almost 2 years before I started MANLY TALES OF COWARDICE) called “JOAN OF ARCHAEOLOGY and the BUDDHA SQUIRREL”.  “JOAN” was going to be a kid-friendly adventure series about the 10 year-old daughter of famed archaeologists.  Basically a INDIANA JONES for kids/girls.  “JOAN” was very much a pre-courser for what became MANLY TALES OF COWARDICE, but as far as I ever got was to do some Joan sketches and a very rough version of the BUDDHA SQUIRREL origin you see above.  When MANLY TALES started I knew I wanted to work both Joan and the Squirrel in somewhere.  Joan, as you may remember, showed up in issue three–more or less how I originally drew her, but now trapped in a much darker series.  And now the squirrel has appeared.

    As for page 11– The “BUDDHA SQUIRREL” dvd was something I added in the inking stage.  I think originally Fleming was just talking, but I decided to tie it back to the dvd gag on the previous pages.  And the idea that the legend of the BUDDHA SQUIRREL was so well known there was a documentary on dvd about it really ties into Fleming’s laziness as an adventurer and treasure hunter.  Also, at the time I wrote this story the WEEKLY WORLD NEWS has stopped their print edition probably about a year earlier, so it was already kind of a dated gag.  Since it took a whole ‘nother year on top of that to actually draw this sequence, I think the gag can now legally qualify for social security benefits.

   ALSO:  Hey!  I’ve made another cameo in the award-winning RYAN DOW’s latest INTROSPECTIVE COMIC(s).  Awesome!

   FINALLY:  If you’re anywhere near Northeast Minneapolis this Thursday (May 6th) the monthly jam-comic session of the MINNEAPOLIS CELL of the INTERNATIONAL CARTOONIST CONSPIRACY will be taking place.  Fun had by all from 6pm until it’s done (usually 10-11pm.  Sometimes followed by beer).  Hope to see you there.


MANLY TALES OF COWARDICE #5–pgs 8 & 9, also: retrospecticus–“Iron and Candy” Cankeratures

     My favorite part of doing this bit was grabbing arm-loads of my favorite DVDs and drawing them.  This will also be remembered as the point at which I gave up and just decided to coast on Joss Whedon’s coat-tails.

    ALSO:  Last Friday (April 30th, 2010) several of my CARTOONIST CONSPIRACY Conspirators and I drew “Bad Caricatures” (or “Cankeratures“) to help raise money for our good friends at the ALTERED ESTHETICS GALLERY.  Things went very well!  The Cankeratures alone raised $200!!!  All drawings were done purely by donation, with many people only throwing in a buck or two.  Needless to say, we did LOTS and LOTS of drawing that night.  And it was pure fun.  So here’s a Retrospecticus of the evening done in photos, words, and doodles…

   The fundraiser more or less started at 7pm.  Things were slow for about 15 minutes or so until people caught on to what we were up to.  We warmed up by drawing each other (“We” being L to R: KEVIN CANNON, LANCE WARD, STEVEN STWALLEY, DAN MURPHY, and CARLOS MERINO).

DANIEL J OLSON soon showed up to join in the fun.

As did RYAN DOW.

And MIKE TOFT!  But sadly…

…Altered Esthetics Exhibitions Director KRISTIN THOMPSON devoured Mike’s head as a part of the annual human sacrifice AE performs in order to assure a successful fundraiser.

AE’s Head Priestess JAMIE SCHUMACHER blessed the sacrifice, and then the cash started rolling in!!!

LUPI dips her brush-pen in the inkwell that is Mike’s skull and then joins in the drawing fun.  And now…some satisfied patrons of the arts:

The Cankeratures were scheduled to end at 10pm.  When I had to leave at 10:30 the scene looked like this:

So yeah…a pretty huge success!  I’m pretty sure we’ll be doing things like this again soon.  Oh…and in case you noticed the wall of Cankeratures we did of each other behind us, here’s some closer looks:

What?  Those aren’t close-up enough for you?  Well, here’s some awesome Cankeratures of myself, wife, and kid to wind this up:


Me by DAN MURPHY.  That’s right, kids.  The trademarked/living joke facial hair is gone…for now. 


Me by STEVE STWALLEY.  This might be my favorite one, and only because Steve complimented my ever-greying hair.  Flattery will get you everywhere.  But enough about me.  My wife is convinced that NO ONE can draw her, so she threw down the gauntlet (and a few bucks):



The LOS.

And KEVIN CANNON bats clean-up!   Finally, my step-daughter was actually able to sit still for over 30 seconds, and here are the awesome results:

There’s the LOS again.  And last but certainly not least (since it’s one of my favorite drawings of the night):


An amazing LUPI Cankerature that was all a part of an amazing night, and I can’t wait to do it again soon!

COMING UP ON WEDNESDAY:  95% less content.


1: Countdown to C2E2–LIFT-OFF!!!!

C2E2 begins Friday in Chicago, and I’ll be there mooching table space from co-Conspirator DANIEL J OLSONtable C-11 to be precise.  Actually, by the time you read this I’ll be in a car with Dan, his wife/writing partner AJ, and my wife Nichole on our way there.  Please don’t rob our houses. 

   Here’s the new cover for MANLY TALES OF COWARDICE #4, featuring the new streamlined look and KEVIN CANNON’s sweet logo.  You’ll be able to purchase it, the issue it encapsulates, and the 5 other issues of MANLY TALES (all with new covers) in one affordable package at C2E2.  In fact, for a full list of EVERYTHING Dan and I will be selling at C2E2, continue scrolling down.  But first…

   WHAT’LL BE UP WITH STAPLEGENIUS.COM FOR THE NEXT WEEK OR SO:  My guess is that I won’t really be able to post much of anything while in Chicago, so I’ll most likely be maintaining blogio silence until we return.  Hopefully I’ll be back with a shite-ton of pictures I can caption-up with patented and much loved smarm as a wrap-up report of C2E2 sometime early-to-mid next week.  I’ll also be posting a new CAPTAIN CONFEDERACY cover next weekend.  I’ll be back in full force on the 26th as I begin posting MANLY TALES OF COWARDICE #5, the Daily Goal Sketches, and whatever else crosses my path.  Until then: Crass commercialism!!!


** The aforementioned MANLY TALES OF COWARDICE 1-6 pack, and the MANLY TALES specials pack.  I’ll also bring a few other things with “just in case”….oh, unlikelihood….

** All three issues of Dan and AJ’s SUPER MAXI-PAD GIRL, including the ALL-NEW issue #3 which features a story written by me and drawn (as every story is) by Dan.  There will also be a new (and some old) SMPG buttons,  and the rarest of collector items–the hand-made SMPG dolls!!!

** The CONTINUITY GUY graphic novella by BUD BURGY (art) and myself (story).  And don’t forget, while technically table-less, Bud will be around and happy to sign a copy for you!

** FALSE WITNESS: THE MICHELE BACHMANN STORY–including the all-new issue #3.  Every issue is written by BILL PRENDERGAST, and features a ton of great art by LUPI McGINTY, JAMES POWELL, RYAN DOW, DANIEL J OLSON, and myself.

** SUPER FANTASTICA COMIX — Dan’s wonderful four-issue anthology series featuring art and stories by just about everyone I know, and few people I don’t.   Dan will also have some of his 24 Hour Day mini-comics on hand as well.

** BIG FUNNY — Last years collaborative project between the CARTOONIST CONSPIRACY, ALTERED ESTHETICS GALLERY, and about 45 wonderful cartoonists.  An old-fashioned, over-sized comic pages insert like those of yester-year is a STEAL at $5 and must-have collectors item.  Seriously…we really need to unload these…

** SKETCHES!!!  What would a con be without sketches?!  Dan and I will both be doing them.  The sizes will vary based on price, but rest assured while they will all be of the highest quality, they will be relatively dirt cheap.

**  And if there are any weird-o complete-ists out there I’ll be more than happy to sign your copies of TRANSFORMERS: BUMBLEBEE.  I doubt this will happen, but you never know…

   I think that’s it…wish us luck…and if you’re in the Chicago area between Friday and Sunday, Dan and I  hope to see you at C2E2!  Just look for these smiling faces:


“LUTEFISK SUSHI ‘D’ is go! MN Cartoonists–start your brush pens!!!”, also: several pages of the crossover and some other crap

  (LUTEFISK SUSHI ‘D’ site designed with love by BRITT HAMMERBERG. 3-D effects done with gusto by KEVIN CANNON and STEVEN STWALLEY.  Box art phoned in by me.)

   The 4th installment of LUTEFISK SUSHI (vol. D) is now accepting submissions! Lutefisk Sushi D is a silkscreened bento box filled with original mini-comics from Minnesota artists.   The celebration of mini-comics that is ‘LSD’  is in August, but submissions are due JUNE 15th!!!  So what does it take to be a part of LUTEFISK SUSHI ‘D’?  Well it’s shampoo simple:

1)  Be a cartoonist/artist who is a current (or former) resident of Minnesota.

2)  Make a mini-comicThe content and length are up to you.  It just cannot exceed 8.5″x5.5″ to fit in the SUSHI BOX.  Also, the box will be in 3-D and include a pair of 3-D glasses, so if you’ve ever wanted to do a comic with 3-D elements–the time is NOW!

3)  Make 160 copies of said mini-comic.  Sure the economy sucks, but we have a printing sponsor this year and that just rules!  FLAIRE PRINT COMMUNICATIONS has agreed to sponsor LSD by printing  mini’s at a discounted rate!  So why go to an overpriced corporate giant more interested in shipping than printing quality when you could join forces with a neighborhood printer who wants to invest in a project you love?!  WHY?!  WHY I ASK YOU!?!?!

4)  Scan your cover (You will need a jpeg of it for the next step),  Fill out a submission form HERE, and then drop off or mail your mini-comics to: Altered Esthetics, 1224 Quincy St NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413 Comics must be received by JUNE 15, 2010.

5)  Frame some art for show!  So after all the comics are in, we collate them into a fancy, screenprinted box.  Said box then debuts at ALTERED ESTHETICS GALLERY on AUGUST 6th at a corresponding art show featuring original art from the minis.  This is your chance to make some bucks back by selling your art to the teeming masses.   

6) Get the word out!  Blog about Lutefisk Sushi using the jpegs below, follow the show on Twitter, and most importantly… become a FACEBOOK FAN!

7) Finally, toss these dates on your e-calendar:

  1. JUNE 15 — Mini comics due
  2. JULY 31 — Framed artwork due.
  3. JULY 31, 1-3pm — Artists’ Potluck (come and hang out, meet fellow cartoonists, and drop off your artwork).
  4. AUGUST 6, 7-10pm — Show opens at Altered Esthetics.
  5. AUGUST 21, evening — Party at AE with the Sushi crowd and the folks from the Minneapolis Indie Xpo.

   It’s just that simple!  So start scribblin’ today…June 15th will be here before you know it!

   Ok…so back to the usual crap…

The UPTOWN GIRL vs TOMMY CHICAGO vs MANLY TALES OF COWARDICE crossover from 2008 was written by BRIAN BASTIAN, pencilled (and inked) by BOB LIPSKI, and inked (and pencilled) by me.   Brian and Bob are here to join me for some reflections on this project, and a friendly reminder this whole mess will be done 2 weeks from today:

BASTIAN:  This is the most fighting I’ve ever written for Fleming Hazmat or Tommy Chicago. Usually they’re just running away or dodging or just letting events happen around them, but there’s just something about putting the two of them in a room that makes me want to have them fight.

LIPSKI:  Fight scenes can be hard to pull off.  I don’t draw them that often, mostly its endless talk in ‘Uptown Girl’ but the graphic novel I am working on has a ton of fighting in it.  It’s hard!  I think the choreography is the hardest part….like what happens next, what to put in and what to leave out.

DANK:  I can’t believe all the talk about fighting for this page, the last panel is the best one, and the most true to these characters.  Well…it is true they hate each other.

BASTIAN:  I couldn’t have them kill the cow, and I don’t think you find beef just lying on the ground. So I had to have a butcher shop. A butcher shop in a prehistoric land. I’m going to use that guy again someday. Oh wait..I did!  There’s more Ralph in the future. I hope. And I can’t go without mentioning that Awesome T-Rex. It’s awesome.

LIPSKI:  I freaking love this butcher.  The design of him comes from a character called ‘Dave the Butcher’ who appeared in the pilot of the failed ‘Uptown Girl’ animated series. I use a lot of photo references these days, not so much when I was drawing this story….see the cow from a few pages back.  Anyway, dinosaurs can be hard since there really isn’t anything besides fossils and skeletons and stuff.  I love dinosaurs and I have a lot of books on them but the most useful reference I relied on for this was ‘The New Frontier’ by Darwyn Cooke. 

DANK:  Panel one of pg 43 is one of those great panels where I followed Bob’s pencils and it turned out fantabulous.  And despite what Brian says, the dinosaur is TERRIBLE!  Why?  Cause thats a panel where I TOTALLY DIDN’T follow Bob’s pencils and it looks horrible (to me, anyway).  The T-Rex is back in a few pages and I did much better with those.  Also, as much as I don’t know if we could actually fill a whole book with RALPH THE BUTCHER, I’d sure like to see us try.

   ALSO:  Yeah, yeah…I know I mentioned the CONTINUITY GUY graphic novella release on Tuesday.  But its ONE WEEK FROM TODAY (APRIL 2nd) at ALTERED ESTHETICS GALLERY.  See you there (I hope)!

   FINALLY:  Sure I do the Daily Goal Sketches for my disabled client at work, but really…I did this one for Ryan Dow.  Thanks for the awesome Fleming Hazmat shrinky-dink, Ryan!




MANLY TALES OF COWARDICE–LUTEFISK SUSHI ‘C’–pg 5(of 6), also: Jam Comics Tonight, and “Yeah, he wears ‘bling’ now”

This “one week only”  tale was written by now-frequent collaborator/writer BRIAN BASTIAN.   It was originally the second story featured in MANLY TALES OF COWARDICE #0, but also a part of our submission for LUTEFISK SUSHI ‘C’ .  Brian is here to join us–once again!–for some behind-the-scenes retrospectacizing on this 6 page epic:

BRIAN BASTIAN:  It was the Bush era.  8 years of…well, you know.  You were there.  If you weren’t there, I really don’t think there are words that could really capture it.

DANNO KLONOWSKI:  *bleck* comes to mind.  That or the noise of a really long fart  that ends in all your internal organs shooting out thru your urethra. 

BASTIAN:     Anyway, I try not to bring too much politics into my writing (although that might change in the future) but I was getting really tired of reading article after article, or seeing interview upon interview, where the government would bring up Al-Qaeda and say they have evidence….AND THEN NEVER TELL US WHAT THE EVIDENCE WAS!!  I know there are probably lots of reasons, some of them might even make sense, but it was just killing me.  If even once I could have seen an interview where someone even asked what that evidence was it might have calmed me down.  But they didn’t.  And so I had to write this, or have a stroke.  Time will tell if I made the right choice.

DANK:  Well that “era” was all about keeping us all on the brink of losing our shit.  Everyone ground their teeth.  It was that kind of vibe.  Now we’re treated like children being told “Everything is fine.  Nothing to see here” as Godzilla rapes the Statue of Liberty.  But the iPAD will be out soon and then I can upload my comics to ibooks and make millions, so who cares, right?

   ALSO:  Maybe the iPAD will be a topic of tonight’s MINNEAPOLIS CARTOONIST CONSPIRACY JAM.  Or maybe Godzilla raping the Statue of Liberty.  Who can say?  Stop by DIAMONDS and find out for yourself.

  FINALLY:   Bling-a-ding-ding.  I sure like today’s Daily Goal Sketch–SCARFACE:



%d bloggers like this: