Archive for the 'Mike Toft' Category

07
Nov
11

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…
FRIDAY:
    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!
SATURDAY:
    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.
SUNDAY:
     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.)
20
Jul
11

the “lost” guest artist pin-ups: MIKE TOFT

    MIKE TOFT and I have been continuously making mini-comics in Minneapolis longer than pretty much everyone else who is doing it today.  In fact there was a good long stretch at local cons where we were basically the only ones there selling them, so it should come as no surprise that we spent many of those cons tabling together.  So here’s a jam (I drew, Mike inked) that we did at one of those cons.  Thanks for being great company all these years, Mike!

13
Apr
11

IT’S WAR 2–pgs 6-10

   I wanted to start this story off in a way that showed both the comical and “serious” tone of the it by “setting the stakes” or whatever.  So I figured the best way to do that was kill all of MIKE TOFT’s “Brain Food” cast.  Hee.  Ok: Roll opening credits,  meet the real alive cast of the story, and then off we go…

11
Apr
11

IT’S WAR 2–pgs 3-5

   So as you can see, I lived in Uptown when I drew this.    Fellow south Mpls resident and the first Mpls cartooinst I had the pleasure to meet was MIKE TOFT.  He does a comic called BRAIN FOOD which has been an epic ride that recently reached its climax!  I wanted to pay tribute to Mike’s characters and have a little fun with them in my universe.  Could it be?!–The first Mpls cartoonist universe crossover?!?! 

07
Aug
10

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……..my 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!

03
May
10

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 DANIEL J OLSON

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

Me by LANCE WARD.

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):

STWALLEY.

MURPHY.

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.

04
Apr
10

retrospecticus: “CONTINUITY GUY” release at AE

   On Friday, April 2nd, 2010 the “CONTINUITY GUY” graphic novella zapped its way into our world, being released at the ALTERED ESTHETICS show “Resident Artists 4: Collaborations”.   To commemorate this event, here are some photos of the night presented in the way only a CONTINUITY GUY release could be–completely out of sequential order and making little sense.  Enjoy!

    CONTINUITY GUY artist BUD BURGY points out to RYAN DOW who the ass is who wrote such a perplexing and commercial-unfriendly story.

   CONTINUITY GUY creator CASEY ‘NELS’ NELSON enjoys what Bud and I have done with his stolen property while Bud explains where nipples are and what they do.

    JESSE GILLESPIE makes a rare sojourn from his Northwoods bunker to see art and stock up on canned goods.  He also gave me the coolest gift imaginable.

   Moments earlier WILL DINSKI and SARAH MOREAN drank from a bottle clearly marked “DO NOT DRINK”.  Almost immediately the walls seemed to get taller and taller to them.  Before you knew it they were nearly invisible to the naked eye.  Later, they were eaten by a spider.  They shall be dearly missed.

    Not to be outdone, VAS LITTLECROW actually travels thru time before our very eyes.

   Those professional models we hired finally show up. 

    The AE crew knew we were coming and so they quite literally baked a cake.

   SEAN TENHOFF and his lady friend make plans for what the AE bathroom will look like at LUTEFISK SUSHI ‘D’.

   DAN “The Frame-Filler” MURPHY shows how he earned his nickname.

    MIKE TOFT then challenges Dan to a ‘Frame Fill-Off’.  Murphy retains his title.

   JAMES POWELL takes a brief moment to do some cleansing, personal introspection.  He then leaves insisting he has to find a nun to punch or the hyenas won’t let him sleep.

   TED ANDERSON also tries for Murphy’s title, but is disqualified when the lab results come back and he had tested positive for juicing.

   LEELOO takes a moment out of her busy day to look adorable.  Awwwww….

   BRITT AAMODT (author of the upcoming essay collection about MN cartoonists ‘OFF COLOR’) takes Bud’s challenge to find all the continuity errors in the CONTINUITY GUY script.  She gives up after 300.

   CASSANDRA MONSON and birthday boy ERIK NELSON (who are to be wed next weekend!) pick the absolute worst time possible to review the MN tax laws for married couples.

    DANIEL J OLSON and AJ NEIHAUS had just picked the spot on the map where they are going to leave me for dead on route to C2E2 and now could barely contain themselves.

   Co-worker CHRIS OESTREICHER makes his patented camera mug.  You’re 9,323 for 9,323, buddy!  Great job!

   Hearing of the challenge to de-throne Dan Murphy, co-worker KATRINA GLAIM makes a valiant (but ultimately losing) effort.

    STEVE STWALLEY finally found that bonfire kindling he was looking for.

   CONTINUITY GUY cover artist KEVIN CANNON insists on being just another face in the crowd…so much so that he causes a scene and becomes the center of attention.  It was very awkward.

  BUD finds his ‘last call’ date for the evening.

   Thinking I had left, everyone had a really good laugh at my expense.  And then the cameras flash went off, and things became uncomfortably quiet.  The night was officially over.

   Many, many thanks to everyone who stopped by whether they were there for us or any of the ‘resident artists’.  Many thanks to everyone who picked up a copy of the book, and many thanks to everyone I didn’t get a (good) picture of.   It was a really fun time!




STAPLEGENIUS.COM(ics)–Danno Klonowski’s confusing and backwards home for “MANLY TALES OF COWARDICE” and much, much more

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