Archive | November, 2011

Cleveland’s Own – Genghis Con 2011

30 Nov
by Kevin Czap

Genghis Con 2011 John G

For the third year in a row, comics invaded the Beachland Ballroom this past Saturday for Genghis Con, Cleveland’s underground and independent festival. From where I’m sitting, the show this year was an unparalleled success on all fronts. Moods were high, attendance was up, sales were great and the work on display was really something. Since the first show in 2009, the Genghis Con has represented for me the state of Cleveland’s comics scene, and this year I’m having a hard time getting over my excitement with where we’re at. I’ll do my best to reign in my biases, but just know I’m very damn proud of this town of ours.

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Happy Birthday Darryl!

25 Nov

Black Friday – Ayo Turns Thirty

25 Nov
By Darryl Ayo

Rise is the baddest MC
My old rhymes, my influence
My favorite rapper is me.”
-Rise, “Wickedest Flow.”

As of today, November 25th, I am 30 years old. When I first heard the above-quoted lyrics 10 years ago, Rise was on stage, entertaining the crowd between sets. It just sounded like absurdist boasting, intended to provoke with its impossibility.

But with the benefit of a little bit of age and a little bit of experience, that passage takes on new and earnest meaning. I *am* influenced by my old comics. And while I would not say that my favorite cartoonist is *me* I do rate myself a bit higher than most other people do. I think I’m pretty danged special, to be honest!

My work is most often driven by my past work and the idea of making more work itself. I *have* become my own influence. And to an extent where my past work leads me to try to expand my archive into variations on theme, even though I’m not literally my own favorite, my older work informs my current work a great deal. And yes I *like my work a lot!*


Right below is the first “real” comic that I ever drew. It was probably back in 2000, definitely over the summer. I had just completed freshman year at Rochester Institute of Technology and had realized that I had better stop dreaming about comics and finally create some. This one features “Sid the Kid” and “Mark the Magician,” two characters I had created in high school in 1998:

I still love this strip.

And here is the first installment of my Little Garden series, when I started it on the morning of December 30th, 2004. It features “Angela,” the dreadlocked, overalls-clad angel:

And then here’s a page that people liked from a comic called “Ghost!” which won me the Ignatz Award for “Promising New Talent” earlier this year:

Thanks for taking this time to reflect with me. I hope that I can continue to find inspiration from without and from within. Here’s to the next year, ten years, twenty years, whatever. And since she’s pretty popular, here’s a page with my character Lizzie to leave on:

I’m on my own jock still
‘Cause if I don’t say I’m the best
Tell me, who the hell will”
-Phife Dawg “Word Play”

Reader Poll: Personal Best of 2011

23 Nov
by Kevin Czap

Hey gang. Not enough time for a proper blog post today, but for those worrying, I’ll have two heavy-hitting convention reports coming up in the following weeks, so stay tuned for those.

In the meantime, I wanted to maybe get some people involved with something that’s been on my mind. The end of the year is always a big whirlwind for me, and I am basically calling it a year by mid-November. So fittingly, my minds been going back over the past year and marveling at how momentous 2011 has been so far. Part of this recollection is thinking about all the great comics that have come out. What I propose is we use the comment thread here to list the comics that came out in 2011 that got you the most excited.

Now, end-of-year lists are nothing if not a dime-a-dozen, so I hope we can make this one a little different. We all there have been those huge releases that everyone lost their marbles over (Hark, A Vagrant, The Death Ray, yadda yadda). That’s all well and good. I think it’d be cool, though, if we could hear of some titles from off the beaten path. Tell me about the hidden gems that flew under the radar but still totally turned your world upside down.

My hopes with this is that if we all share the lesser-known comics we happened upon, other folks will get hip to them and check ’em out. This way we can all help promote these deserving works that don’t already have a lot of hype behind them. Even if it’s just one! I’d love to hear from you guys.

See you next week (or earlier [wink]).

The Last Great American Newspaper Strip

18 Nov
By Darryl Ayo

The last great American newspaper comic strip is Cul de Sac. No wait, it was Mutts, definitely. No, the political relevance of The Boondocks. Wait, actually Doonesbury is still going strong. So is Zippy for that matter. I’m so confused! Ack!

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17 Nov
By Darryl Ayo

You read the same blogs day in and day out. You follow the same webcomics for months and years on end. You need an injection of fresh inspiration; a change in diet. Here’s a sizable meal of Tumblr blogs that might get your brain open.

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Wherefore art thou Comix?

16 Nov
by Kevin Czap

On Sunday evening, the venerable Jame Harvey (HARVEYJAMES™) generated a discussion across Twitter about, essentially, what are comics good for? Is the medium itself capable of producing work as moving or significant as literature, film, painting, sculpture, theater, etc? Us true-believers might be compelled to issue a knee-jerk dismissal to this charge, but I think it’s important we ask ourselves truthfully.
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