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Nexus Graphica
by Rick Klaw

Other Nexus Graphica Columns
For more information, you can try the following:
You Chose Right The First Time
Friends of Lulu
"The Right Thing To Do" My Geeks With Books column about my experiences at the Armadillocon Writer's Workshop
Nerdboy Comics
Denise Guinn
Seraphemera Books
Top Shelf Productions
Jeffrey Brown
Swallow Me Whole
Los Angeles Times Book Prize
Veeps:Profiles in Insignificance
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Century: 1910
Marshal Law
Sam Hurt
Lone Star Press
Alan J. Porter
Kenneth Huey
John Lucas
Austin Books
The League of Extremely Ordinary Gentleman
Politically Inqueerect
Dave Sherrill
Rebecca Hicks
James Bond: The History of the Illustrated 007
Recent Books of Interest

STAPLE! The Independent Media Expo Official Program March 7, 2009 STAPLE! The Independent Media Expo Official Program March 7, 2009
Handed out to each attendee, this 32-page, staple-bound program book offers far more than just a schedule of events and map of the exhibitor hall. Uncle Staple and his crew wisely included 21 pages of fresh alternative comics. Highlights include Dylan Edwards' Politically Inqueerect, the uncredited "Mr. Hell's Guide To Proper Manners," Dave Sherrill's "Science and Religion in Old Timers," and Rebecca Hicks' "Little Vampires vs. the Stapler." Like the show itself, the STAPLE! The Independent Media Expo Official Program showcases a diverse cross-section of the cartooning world.

James Bond: The History of the Illustrated 007 by Alan J. Porter (Hermes Press) James Bond: The History of the Illustrated 007
Lavishly illustrated with rare and vintage Bond images, Porter's fascinating book reveals the little-known history of James Bond in comics. From the first British comic strips to foreign language renditions, Porter exhaustively reviews each incarnation, concurrently tracking the graphic development of the world's most famous spy alongside the novel and film iterations. Throw-in interviews with many of the Bond creators and James Bond: The History of the Illustrated 007 becomes required reading for Bond enthusiasts.

Zombie Cow: Night of the Living Dairy by Sarah Arnold (story/inks) and Denise Guinn (pencils) (Nerdboy Comics) Zombie Cow: Night of the Living Dairy
Available in Lubbock-area shops and at STAPLE!, the print edition of the first twelve pages of the webcomic focuses on the origins of the zombie cows and the strip's protagonists. After the initial four page sequence, Arnold and Guinn clearly grow more comfortable with the subject and each other as both the scripting and art improve dramatically. The teaser succeeds and left me hungry for more Zombie Cow. Sadly, the print edition is not for sale online.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Century: 1910 by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill (Top Shelf) The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Century: 1910
The first installment of the eagerly anticipated League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Century introduces the new team of Mina Harker, Alan Quatermain, Orlando, Thomas Carnacki, and Anthony Ruggles. This group, while not as engaging as the previous incarnation, entertains and thrills in their encounters with Alastair Crowley, Mack the Knife, and Pirate Jenny. A far more linear and cohesive story than Black Dossier (required reading for understanding many elements in Century), Moore intelligently uses operatic tropes and incorporates countless aspects of history and pop culture into the League mythos for this rollicking good adventure tale. This 96-page graphic novel relates a complete adventure but leaves enough dangling threads for the follow-up: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Century: 1968.


STAPLE! The Independent Media Expo Official Program

For a comic book-centric town, Austin1 has historically lacked significant events for fans of comics. The city's long running and influential speculative fiction literary convention Armadillocon only recently opened its doors to comic book creators, but remains primarily a prose affair. Throughout the 80s and 90s, several small one-day comic book conventions popped up and failed -- the most famous an affair in an abandoned McDonalds in the basement of a University of Texas dorm. All that has changed with the arrival of STAPLE!

Subtitled "the independent media expo," STAPLE! began in March, 2005 after Chris "Uncle Staple" Nicholas, co-creator of You Chose Right The First Time, realized that the Austin area offered enough talent "to put on a pretty good indie comics show" but none in the region.2 By combining a focus on independent, alternative, and small press media with independent-friendly comic book shop sponsorship and an affordable entrance fee, STAPLE! succeeded like none before. Each successive show, while staying true to Uncle Staple's vision, has attracted more fans and required a larger venue.

I recently attended the fifth STAPLE!, my first show. Unlike my previous comic convention, this experience buoyed my spirits. More than sixty exhibitor tables showcased a multiplicity of works in both content and medium. The creators and fans present varied in age, race, and gender. In an unusual and welcome change, young adult women represented a large percentage of the attendees. Long seen as a key to the industry's survival, the need for inclusion of women in the field as both creators and fans led to the 1997 creation of the Friends of Lulu, whose "purpose is to promote and encourage female readership and participation in the comic book industry." From where I stood, the group has made serious inroads over the past twelve years.

I first met Sarah Arnold some six years ago while teaching the annual ArmadilloCon Writer's Workshop. The then-teenage Sarah impressed me with her writing savvy. I followed her progress, but eventually lost contact. Sarah recently reconnected with her own burgeoning digital publishing empire, Nerdboy Comics, which she proudly promoted at STAPLE! Remaining in Lubbock after graduating from Texas Tech, Sarah recruited other frustrated geeks (not many creative outlets in Lubbock) and produced the first Nerdboy digital comic Zombie Cow. With scripts and inks by Sarah and pencils by Denise Guinn, new segments premiere every Friday. Recently, Nerdboy expand their line with their first offerings scripted by others: Someone Else's Problem (written by John Shields and pencils by Derek Anderson) and cartoonist Brady Price's Real Life History Lessons.

The self-described "gothique BOOtique publisher" Seraphemera Books really caught my attention. This multiple personality disorder house produces some fairly standard goth-type comic books alongside gorgeous handmade chapbooks. While they do not feature any well known authors, these signed, limited editions rank among the finest I have encountered. Seraphemera Books hearkens back to an earlier era when books were often seen as objects d'art.

Another producer of beautiful books, Top Shelf Productions, and their head honcho/guiding force Chris Staros also attended STAPLE! After introducing me to Jeffrey Brown, a Top Shelf books headliner and one of the con's featured guests, Staros showed off some of his recent publications such as the Los Angeles Times Book Prize-nominated Swallow Me Whole and the humorous romp through vice-presidential history Veeps:Profiles in Insignificance. Staros discussed the incredible response to the impending The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Century: 1910. While he anticipated high interest in the latest Alan Moore-Kevin O'Neill opus, the amount of feedback has exceeded all of his expectations. Staros also tantalized me me some teasers regarding the forthcoming 512-page, full-color, oversized hardcover Marshal Law collection. More about that as the November publication date nears.

Other STAPLE! sightings included Eyebeam creator Sam Hurt, Lone Star Press publisher Bill Williams, pop culture historian and comic book writer Alan J. Porter, Church of the Subgenius and Commies From Mars artist Kenneth Huey, DC/Marvel/Dark Horse illustrator John Lucas, Austin Books proprietor Brad Bankston, The League of Extremely Ordinary Gentleman podcast co-hosts Cyrus and Leon, and my former Mojo Press cohort publisher Ben Ostrander. I look forward enthusiastically to next year's event.

1 Jack "Jaxon" Jackson, Gilbert Shelton, Shannon Wheeler, Bill Willingham, and even Robert Crumb have all lived in Austin.

2 "Uncle Staple" Chris Nicholas and STAPLE!-Texas Indie Comic Show

Copyright © 2009 Rick Klaw

Rick Klaw produced four years of the popular monthly SF Site column "Geeks With Books", and supplied countless reviews, essays, and fiction for a variety of publications including The San Antonio Current, The Austin Chronicle, The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy, Moving Pictures RevolutionSF, Conversations With Texas Writers, Electric Velocipede, Cross Plains Universe, and Steampunk. MonkeyBrain Books published the collection of his essays, reviews, and other things Klaw, Geek Confidential: Echoes From the 21st Century.

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