Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Burn Your Crotch

I was bummed to hear about the attempted airplane bombing in Detroit on Christmas Day. Not only is it a very, very bad idea in itself, to say the least, but it punches up the level of hysteria a notch or two.

Who needs it? I was flying just before Xmas, and the alert level was already "orange", whatever the hell that means.

So what is the deal with the suspect, a kid from Nigeria named Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab? He wanted to blow himself up, and take a plane load of people with him. This is seriously antisocial behavior. But he messed up! It did not work.
Me, I'm suspicious. This guy has an engineering degree from a top London school. Can't he make a damn bomb that works?! I'm thinking maybe he didn't really want to blow his sorry ass up after all.

But what then? Maybe Al Qaeda gets pissed at him. "What the fuck, Umar, why are you still alive? Since we can't trust you, maybe we should just lop your head off!"
So the kid needs a cover story. He's thinkin', "Yeah baby, I'm a bad ass engineer and I can blow shit up anytime I want, but, um, I don't want to die today. Or kill 300 other people either."

So he gets this great idea... "I'll fake it! Yeah!"
Umar Farouk slips into the mens, and like, defuses the bomb. But, he still wants to look cool to Al Qaeda, so he decides to set off the fuse anyway as if he was really gonna do the deed.

Umar is thinkin', "Yeah man, I'll just pull the fuse, and it will like, practically burn my dick off! But no one will get killed, and I will have still look like one bad ass terrorist!"
It works! Everyone thinks Umar Farouk is a real player, but down at Al Qaeda HQ, the brass is thinkin', "Dude, if you want to burn a dick, can't you just make it Dick Cheney???!!!?"

Friday, December 04, 2009

Peter Kuper's New Oaxaca Book

Peter Kuper, noted cartoonist and illustrator, has released his Diario De Oaxaca, his sketchbook journal of his two years in Oaxaca. This is a gorgeous compendium of accomplished drawings and sketches, visual reportage on the vibrant culture and natural beauty of Oaxaca.
Kuper also documents the popular uprising against the despot governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz in 2006, and the impunity with which the government killed more than twenty people, including American journalist Brad Will.
In a recent talk in Oaxaca, Kuper pointed out that the government is still stonewalling the facts of the Will case, lying through their corrupt teeth about it.
Diario De Oaxaca is available from PM Press.
It should also be in bookstores and comic shops for the Holiday season.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

New Steve Lafler Store

I've just updated my online store. Featured items are 40 Hour Man, Self Employment for Bohemians, Bughouse, Tranny and the El Vocho T-Shirt. Now there's some unusual and wonderful items for Holiday shopping!
I will publish my next graphic novel El Vocho in 2010, then reissue my whole catalog of comics on my Manx Media imprint, and it will all end up in the store.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Judging of Peers

To be free, don't waste your energy and intent judging others.
Likewise, don't attach their judgments of you to your energy and intent.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wednesdays are for New Comics

I've posted roughly half of my next graphic novel El Vocho, and will keep posting until the book is done. I just hatched a plan to post each Wednesday, trying to impose some semblance of a schedule on this thing.
Hey, today is Wednesday! I just posted El Vocho episode #35.

Friday, October 16, 2009

El Vocho T-Shirt

You may or may not know that I'm posting my next graphic novel, El Vocho, in blog form as I work on it. I've posted 34 episodes so far, about 50 pages worth of comics.
I just created an El Vocho T-Shirt that is available from Cafe Press. Vocho is the knickname for the VW Bug in Mexico, pronounced "Bocho", with a sort of soft B.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Publishing: Book Trade vs. Print on Demand

Here is an interesting side note on my book publishing activities.
In 2006, I published 40 Hour Man, written by Stephen Beaupre and drawn by myself. We pressed about 1400 copies. To date about 800 have been sold. I worked hard to promote it, sending out 100 press copies, traveling to to the San Diego Comic Con, the Bay Area, Chicago and NYC. I did seven or eight radio interviews and left no stone unturned. The book was distributed by a book trade distributor. To date, it has not broken even. I'm pleased that it sold as much as it did, but would like it to sell more.
This week, I published Self Employment For Bohemians as a print on demand title. No traveling, no promo copies, no print run. Just viral marketing and manufacturing on a per order basis by a reputable POD house. So far one book has sold. I realize a profit of about three bucks plus from this. So the book is in the black.
Draw your own conclusions!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Self Employment For Bohemians: The Book

I've compiled a collection of the most pertinent and pithy entries on this blog and published it as a book. Part entrepreneurial primer and part swashbuckling memoir with lots of hilarious anecdotes, Self Employment For Bohemians is available for $12.00 plus shipping.
The book offers a lot of nut & bolts advice for freelancers, wound up with tales of my adventures in cartooning, publishing and running a wholesale custom T Shirt shop.
Just like the header on this blog says, if having a regular 9 to 5 job is your idea of a living death, this is the book for you!

Friday, September 25, 2009

El Vocho updates

Today is the fourth day in a row that I'm posted new comics to my El Vocho blog. El Vocho is the name of my upcoming graphic novel, a love story/thriller with a green energy angle. I've been previewing the book on the blog to see if I can't generate a little buzz for it before the print version appears next year. I hadn't posted new material for a few months, as I've been more focused on production than posting.
Earlier this week I had a little fire set under my butt by the great comics news site Comics Reporter -- two days in a row, CR posted links and info to El Vocho and my traffic spiked. The standard blog wisdom would be that you build audience by posting new material on a regular basis. So there you have it.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Foilhead Fashionista

Two people have emailed me since yesterday regarding the appearance of a funny hat in New York during fashion week on a male model. The hat, from designer Thom Browne, looks just like the foil hood that my character Gerald Forge wore in my college comic strip, Aluminum Foil.
Gerald appeared with his side kick Benb for four years in the Massachusetts Daily Collegain. The strip was so popular in it's hey day in the late Seventies that the foil hat became the default Halloween costume for the tripping masses at UMass (yup, the late 70s saw Halloween become a three day psychedelic bacchanal at the UMass, Amherst campus).
Was Thom Browne even alive then?! Who knows. But I got a huge kick out of seeing Gerald's doppleganger on the runway. The only thing missing was a GIANT DOOBIE OF STINKY BUD!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Conservative Dopes Duped Again! Anti-Healthcare March

I quote from "internews UK" as follows:

Thousands of people have marched across Washington DC in protest against government spending and president Barack Obama's healthcare reforms.

The protest on Saturday stretched for blocks across the US capital, bringing together a number of groups organised by the conservative Freedom Works Foundation.

So, what is the "Freedom Works Foundation"? A buncha lobbyists funded by big biz? Something along those lines no doubt. Once again, regular folks who identify as "conservative" have been duped by lobbyists and big business to do their dirty work for them. This reminds me of the masses of working class and lower middle class folks who went over to the dark side to vote for Ronald Reagan. They were fooled into identifying with the ruling elites, cloaked in the myth of the "rugged individual". These regular folks voted conservative, against their best interests as the rich plunder the treasury with tax give away legislation, military spending and other programs that help the rich and leave the rest of the population scrambling for health care, jobs, housing, education and the basic services that a just government should foster.
You can't fool all the people all the time, but man it's sad to see regular working folks played for suckers by slick rich vampire lobbyists and entrenched fat cat scumbags who have not worked an honest day in their life. Sure, the fat cats work hard, but it's all about beating the life blood out of the masses.

Monday, September 07, 2009

You Can't Do That

One of my favorite early Beatles numbers is “You Can't Do That”, a splendid burst of churning guitars (it's as if the Talking Heads based their first two albums on this one song!) wherein John Lennon lets loose with a snarling, jealous diatribe at a girl who entertains other suiters besides him. It's an almost perfect Rock & Roll song—short, to the point, emotionally potent, if not a bit too angry. The two guitars interweave so as to enhance and bring to a boil the tension the narrator feels. George never really takes a formal solo so much as he pitches the rhythm to the bursting point, giving vent to the Lennon's frustrated, angry young man.

You Can't Do That. It's a great four words, a message we've all given or received, to and from family, friends, co-workers, lovers and enemies. Often it's not spoken, but implied in a million subtle and not so subtle ways.

About a year ago, I started playing guitar in earnest after occasionally noodling around it with for almost 30 years. I'd owned a couple, played friends guitars, even sat in with buddies for some atonal plucking, but I'd never really dug in and applied myself before.

As a career cartoonist, I've devoted most spare moments of my life to slapping ink on paper with passion and gusto. I've put out plenty of comic books and graphic novels and gained a certain notoriety. All my life it's been pretty clear to me that I came to the planet to write and draw comics. However, due to a confluence of forces, I was utterly compelled last year at the age of 51 to embrace singing and playing in earnest.

I've been playing in a “Oaxacabilly” band of expats here in Oaxaca. We get together Thursday nights and play country, blues, rockabilly, rock & roll and yes some sappy pop ballads too. The biggest fun for me is singing and playing my own tunes, of which I've written a few. The words come easy for me, the chords I just grab from basic blues and country blues progressions.

Which brings us back to You Can't Do That. I'm intensely na├»ve and the king of the faux paux to boot. So it was surprising to me that my friends and family, among others, have less than no interest in hearing me caterwaul and hack away at the guitar! Who woulda thought?! And so it is that I realize, here I am, just another mid-career indie cartoonist with a musical penchant, doomed to croon away in my garage. Well, there is the Thursday night band, and the fact that I'm having an insane amount of fun with this music stuff. All in all, I can't complain, but I have learned my lesson—I ain't gonna go outa my way to make anyone listen to my tunes! Except of course, anyone reading this blog can go ahead and play the video to Ballad of the Bug by clicking on the link here, and heading over to You Tube for a listen. It's a song I wrote with my pal Todd Spiehler, and hell I think it's good--but I would, wouldn't I?

Saturday, August 01, 2009

40 Hour Man: The Afterlife of a Graphic Novel

I'll start this post with the hard sell, my 2006 graphic novel 40 Hour Man (actually drawn by me, written by my genius buddy Stephen Beaupre), is available as a Print on Demand book for a bit under eleven bucks on Lulu. The link here will take you to the buy page. It is also available as a FREE download.
Here is a quick description of 40 Hour Man: Is it a career, or a series of really lame jobs? Stephen Beaupre (author) and Steve Lafler (cartoonist) pose this timeless question in Forty Hour Man, a hilarious saga of one working stiff's three-decade journey into the minimum wage heart of the American Dream. It's all here - from scrubbing a steakhouse floor with a toothbrush to going bust in the Internet boom. Every bad boss. Every crazy co-worker. All the more shocking because it's true!

The availability of this title via Lulu is the latest development in the life of a small press title in the post print era. I'll briefly outline the trajectory of it's distribution, it's an object lesson in the difficulty of being a print guy like me in the post print era.
First, I tried to get 40 Hour Man listed in the Diamond Comics catalog. Diamond said no, the book was "not visual enough". Strange, as every book I've put out since the mid 80s has been sold through Diamond. And, every graphic novel I've put out has exceeded Diamond's sales minimums. Go figure, but Diamond is trying to pare down the amount of stuff in the catalog, and is run by bean counters (this is the nicest thing I can say about the company as a whole, but I do appreciate how much of my output they have moved in the past).
I got a break of sorts when the book was well reviewed in Booklist, the American Library Association's review rag, and another when it was picked up by book trade distributor Biblio (a sort of junior varsity book trade distrib). This combo of breaks added up nicely, with 3 - 400 units moved, many to libraries. Through a variety of marketing ploys, I was able to move another couple hundred units.

Sadly, Biblio was not doing well and was bought out by Atlas Books, the distribution arm of vanity press printing giant Bookmasters. Bookmasters is the type of company that looks good on the surface to a small publisher, they can handle production, printing and distribution under one roof, and are well organized. However, they are not really in the book distribution business; they are really in the business of squeezing every damn cent they can out of the small publisher. I'd say they are corporate predators, looking to nickel and dime unsuspecting green publishers with odious charges for every thing they can think of. Their warehouse staff does not cut a fart without charging you 40 cents for every book you have warehoused with them. In short, Atlas/Bookmasters SUCKS.

OK, so I cut and run from being distributed by Atlas. So where does this leave a fine title like 40 Hour Man? Enter, a decent POD outfit. The Print on Demand field is getting crowded, and like Atlas, many of these firms charge high fees for services rendered. I like Lulu, as I can still make a buck and get a good quality book out there.
I like offering the free download, it just makes sense. Hell, the Grateful Dead let the tapers set up to record every show, and got rich and famous. With the print version of 40 Hour Man, I'm adding a $1.00 fee to production cost for me. Mr Beaupre and I both put a fair amount of coin into bringing this title to the public, maybe we can get enough back to buy ourselves a pizza some day!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Six Days on the Road

"Six Days on the Road and I'm gonna make it home tonight", the opening line from a really cool song. I like the Taj Mahal version, just a rippin' blues reading of a great road/trucker song. Been trying to learn how to play it, a basic blues in E really, shouldn't be too hard, but how to lay down the rhythm?
I start with that country blues twang and before you know it, you're chuggin' full tilt Texas blues boogie style, and it tends to get away from me. Played it with my pals the Bodega Boys a couple months back on a night when we actually had bass and percussion in the house (well, on the patio by the Bodega anyhow), and I slammed that Texas boogie rhythm style pretty good 'cause the bass and percussion guys were doing all the counting, I could just rip without thinkin' too much. Later on, in the comfort of my own garage, I couldn't keep a lid on it without the bass & percussion team putting down that bedrock to jam on.
Anyhow, the wife, kids and I just logged 2705 miles in six days, driving from the city of Oaxaca to Santa Rosa, CA. That last day was a bear, close to 800 miles from Phoenix to Santa Rosa. I just kept humming that tune, "Six Days on the road and we're gonna make it home tonight". Done!
The heart of the journey was highway 15 from the heart of Mexico, cutting across the state of Michuacan, gorgeous & green in the Mexican rainy season, up the west coast by Mazatlan then past Guaymas and Hermosillo to cross into the US at Nogales. We made good time cause the kids stayed happy. Max, almost 8, is a good traveler, but Genevieve (almost 4) is a screamer! But she came through this time, her bubbly effervescent joy intact. We found three hotels with pools on the way and threw in a lunch on the beach in Mazatlan.
Sure, we had to bribe a cop in Mexico city and we saw hundreds of sullen looking Mexican soldiers in troop transports heading towards Guadalajara, but overall it was an upbeat trip.
Again, that last day was a butt buster, but we had to finish the trip; otherwise I could not, in all honesty, have been crooning the "six days" tune all that last day!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Hellbilly Steve

Hey, it's true, I just haven't been posting stuff here lately. Why the hell not, ya lazy bum? Truth is, I am hard at work on EL VOCHO, my next graphic novel, and I'm not paying attention to much else... EXCEPT MUSIC!
I've gone to Oaxacabilly Hell and I love it. This video is but a hint, hell we made it on a Monday during daylight hours fer chrissakes, next one I promise we'll make in the wee hours after a shot of Mezcal... but anyhow, you get the idea.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Lucky Man available on Lulu

A couple years back I published a great debut novel by Ben Tanzer on my Manx Media imprint called Lucky Man.
The book did well and garnered some sterling notices out of the gate, and I was able to place it with a half decent book trade distributor, Biblio. This distrib went under, sad to say, and was eaten by an unscrupulous vanity house that really sucks (Atlas Books/Bookmasters... avoid like the plague!!!).
This rendered Lucky Man unavailable.
I'm happy to say that Lucky Man is now available on in a revised edition with a new version of the cover for $16.00.
It's a gripping coming of age novel with a finely drawn ensemble of characters than Tanzer visions in his own unique voice, of course I highly recommend it!

Lucky Man, ISBN 978-0-9769690-3-7

Sunday, April 12, 2009

BugHouse Graphic Novel at Daedalus

My best known graphic novel, Bughouse, has become available from Daedalus books for the incredibly low price of one buck. Bughouse was published in a variety of formats -- the strip first appeared in my long running comics anthology Buzzard. Feeling the groove with the material, I began publishing Bughouse as it's own comic book in '94 and it ran for six issues before I collected it all as a graphic novel in October '96, under my old Cat-Head Comics imprint. The burst of creative energy I hooked into with this material was downright thrilling.
Top Shelf partner and all around comics enthusiast Brett Warnock suggested an expanded edition, and they published it in the summer of 2000. Top Shelf went on to publish a trilogy of Bughouse titles with Baja in 2002 and Scalawag in 2005.
Rather than write a new description of the book, I'm gonna quote from the Daedalus blurb, as they got it right:

In this first novel from the Bughouse series, Jimmy Watts turns from a wiseacre Catholic school kid into a gifted saxophone player. He pulls together a band with his friend Slim, elopes with a sexy bug named Julie, and tries to find inspiration while going on and off the bug juice. Populating his graphic novel series with anthropomorphic insects, Steve Lafler tells the story of the jazz band Bughouse, playing in a Manhattanesque setting in the early 1950s. Junkie musicians, crooked cops, and double crosses are all part of this "insect noir" ensemble piece. Tenor saxophone maestro Jimmy Watts leads his talented band of bugs from the swing era into the uncharted maelstrom of Bop, looking for a new sound while fighting the temptation to be consumed by addiction to a substance known as bug juice. "I love Bughouse. I'm fond of the little bug-creatures that inhabit it," said Phoebe Gloeckner, creator of A Child's Life. "Steve Laffner has created an alternate universe. His insect characters are not particularly cute (well, some of them are), but one can easily empathize with their meaty human struggles with addiction, ambition, love, power, greed, and lust."

Okay, so they spelled my name wrong in there, I must admit to getting a kick out of that.
In any case, this here is a chance to pick up my signature book for nothing. I'll admit that it does not please me that the book has suffered such an ignoble fate, but it's just not something to take personally.
Top Shelf publishes a lot of stuff, and has the resources to promote only a small fraction of the titles they publish. The book biz itself is facing what some call "The death of print", so it's a tough market and has been for awhile, even with all the talk of the graphic novel being the dynamic growth genre. Certainly Top Shelf put forth good faith efforts to sell my book, it's just that the serious promo was reserved for the Craig Thompson, Jeffrey Brown, James Kolchaka and Alan Moore books.
My contract with Top Shelf actually expires this June. It was a pleasure to work with these guys and put out a trilogy of books. However, come June, I am free to market and package my Bughouse material anew as I see fit. I'll be sure to blab about any Bughouse developments here in this blog as they happen.

Monday, March 30, 2009

One Magic Night at the Mezcal Still

When I moved to the city of Oaxaca some 19 months ago, if you told me I was gonna to hang out on Thursday nights with a motley assortment of ex-pats playing bluegrass, country blues, old timey and rock & roll, I'd have been dumbstruck. For one thing, as a very casual guitar player of many years, I'd have told you I simply don't have the chops for it. Well, these fine fellows, also known as the Bodega Boys, are not only indulgent of aspiring musicians, but some of the guys are fine teachers to boot. So it is that I find myself many a Thursday evening by Tony's (Don Antonio's) bodega in San Pablo Etla, a village a few miles out of Oaxaca city, with my near vintage Epiphone guitar in hand, ready to pick, grin and party with the Bodega Boys.

I don't think I can describe the Bodega Boys any better than they can describe themselves, so here I respectfully quote from their myspace page as follows:
The Bodega Boys define all styles, yet are no styles. From Johnny Cash to Bob Dylan, The Beatles to Bluegrass, Hillbilly to Hellbilly, The 50's to the 70's, Acoustic to Electric, The Bodega Boys go where no cumbia, mariachi, or trova group dare. The Bodega Boys line up is continually changing and the set list will forever be a work in progress. On most nights the line up includes Don Antonio as "Toby Juan Adobe" on Vocals, Guitar or Mandolin, Johnny Rico as "The Playboy" on Guitar, Mandolin or Harmonica, Dengue John as "Alpine Elvis" on Fat Bertha the Bass and Washtub Bass Hall Of Famer, Mr. Bill Blackson as "Black Bill" thumpin' along on the one string. These days you may also find swingin' Bodega Boy Mississippi-Boston-Berkeley Brian as "The Hammer", UK Chet MATT-kins CGP on the 6120, Jazzy Jeff as "Jefe Jeffe" and Esteve as "The Red Headed Boy".

All I really need to add is that these guys are called the Bodega Boys because they play under the stars at Don Antonio's Bodega, that is to say his storage shed/workshop, which is on his fantastic country estate that includes a Bed & Breakfast guest house. Come Thursdays, the Boys set up on the patio in front of the Bodega and have a go at it.

Understand, this is all a prelude to my description of last weeks session. Instead of a regular evening of music by the bodega, Don Antonio had something more amazing yet up his sleeve. You see, less than 100 meters from the bodega, up a winding path, is the site of his Mezcal distillery. Mezcal is a distilled spirit made from agave (a.k.a. maguey) cactus. It's production and consumption is principally associated with Oaxaca. Smokey, smooth and sweet, it is not to be confused with Tequila, which is made only from Blue Agave. There are many variants of Mezcal, depending on the agave used, and of course on the distillery and the skills of those involved.

Just before this particular Thursday evening, Don Antonio sent a message to the Bodega Boys that he would be transforming Shi Shi to Mezcal, and advised that it would be a magical event. Now I'm the farthest thing from an expert on the distillation process, but I believe that he was referring to the third and final round of distillation that creates his top grade of mezcal.
I arrived fairly early in the evening to find the maestro at work with only one other observer at the still. Don Antonio actually has two stills, one the standard Kentucky/Tennessee metal barrel still, and the other a classic ceramic Oaxacan still. Each set up was slowly dripping hot mezcal, perhaps a quart every thirty minutes or so.

As the Shi Shi goes through the stills and comes out as mezcal, Don Antonio collects it in large glass jugs then transfers it to smaller bottles. He runs a test on each bottle for it's alcohol content and marks it with the pertinent information.
Within minutes of arriving, I'm offered a jicara (a small cup made from a gourd) with a taste of the latest bottling. It's hot and sweet, different from any mezcal I've tasted, slightly sour instead of smokey. It reminds me of hot sake while being something completely different—it's delicious, seductive and very much to my taste. Don Antonio checks the alcohol content of the bottling and it's 46%. Asked to guess at the content, I'd guessed 30 - 35%, as it's so smooth. Wrong!

Over the next half hour, the Bodega Boys and several friends trickle in to the site of the still, in jovial spirits. For many it's the first time visiting an active distillery—all us first timers are very curious about the project. Don Antonio is a great host, somehow managing to explain bits of mezcal and distillation lore and history to the assembled company while staying completely focused on the task at hand: running two stills simultaneously. Some of the Bodega Boys, such as Dengue John, Johny Rico and Jefe Jeff, are old hands at this and they pitch in, assisting with both the chores and explanations.

All the while, our gracious host is passing samples around from various stages of the days work. Needless to say, an early bottling of more than fifty percent alcohol is popular and draws enthusiastic comments.
Small jicaras are passes around with hot fresh mezcal, but the real treat is the communal jicara. Don Antonio fills a large jicara with a good six or seven shots of mezcal and instructs the assembled to pass it around. Some have a sip, break out in a big smile and pass it, while others thoughtfully linger over it for a bit.
Me, I'm driving a good ten miles back from the campo to my house in Oaxaca city later in the evening, so I stick to the odd sip of the latest batch rather than downing shots. It is easy to lose count, and the mezcal works it's magic on me to some degree. Ultimately I keep a grip on my consumption and wits so I'm able to make it home safe and in good order... but not before strapping on my Epiphone for a few tunes with the Bodega Boys!

Somehow or other, in the cramped space around the two stills, we squeeze in Don Antonio, Johnny Rico and myself on guitar, a visitor named Garth on mandolin, Dengue John on stand up bass with Bill Black and Jefe Jeff ringing the proceedings with the two wash tub bass attack. Despite working and sampling all day, Don Antonio tunefully croons some of his favorites and handles his vintage Guild guitar with aplomb, notably Folsom Prison Blues and They're Gonna Put Me in The Movies. He never misses with his signature song, The Ballad of Thunder Road, about Appalachian bootleggers. It's a rollicking tragic country romp of a tune, immortalized in a noirish Fifties movie starring bad boy Robert Mitchum. Clearly, Don Antonio loves this tune and relates to the renegade bootleggers that it chronicles.
The boys roll out two or three tunes at a crack then refocus on the matter at hand: Fresh hot mezcal! After all, we can make music any Thursday night, tonight is about creating a different flavor of magic.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Bored? Try This at Home.

This illustration of straightforward seduction will appear in the next installment of my ongoing web comic El Vocho.

Copyright 2009 Steve Lafler

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

El Vocho Marches On

Last spring, I started posting a graphic novel in progress, El Vocho, as a blog. The premise is that art boy meets science girl, they come out swingin' but fall in love. Along the way, the pair collaborates on the ultimate clean/green energy engine that runs on - you guessed it - air!

I thought I'd post the latest entry here also, to bring a bit more attention to El Vocho, but I also wanted to display it here because I drew a truly wacky thingamajig in the last panel. It is, ostensibly, an art piece by my character Eddie, but in truth, it shows that I was a big fan of both Dr. Seuss and Jack Kirby as a kid. I hope you enjoy this.

©2009 Steve Lafler, all rights reserved.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

T-Shirts 2009: Organic, Bamboo & Hemp

T-Shirt season is just around the corner, and I've updated my offerings for custom wholesale screen printed Tees.
Check the Manx Media website for catalog links to Organic, Bamboo and Hemp T-Shirts from Onno Textiles, and of course there are plenty of Organic choices from American Apparel. I can source these shirts for any screen print job, along with the usual old school cotton Tees.
The Onno Textiles shirts are super nice, but a bit pricey. The American Apparel stuff is, of course, a fitted look for the young & beautiful (young & geeky?) and is priced just a bit more than their regular Tees.

With the Obama era here, and calls from all quarters for clean & green industry, I'm starting with baby steps in that direction with my screen print business. I should note that many jobs, especially on white or light color shirts, can be printed with water base ink that is somewhat cleaner/greener than plastic based inks.

By the way, that's a picture of my son Max, it's an American Apparel T, not organic, but I just felt like stickin' a pic in with this post! It's from our small but gorgeous back yard when we lived in Oakland.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

The King is Dead, Farewell Lux Interior

Just heard the sad news that Lux Interior, singer for the Cramps, has died of an existing heart ailment.
If rock and roll ever had a king, Lux was the man. L-U-X was another spelling for the word FUN. This man rocked. He defined psychobilly to it's core. He was bad ass and very, very funny. We'll never see another like him.
All I can add right now, the most fun I ever had in my life was my first Cramps show, at the Warfield in San Francisco, on the Summer Solstice in 1990.
Lux strode onto stage in his patent leather jump suit and black high heel pumps and announced, "I heard there were some BAAAAAAAAAAAD people her tonight!".
What followed was not a rock and roll show, but a full on pagan bacchanal, just a shit-kicking affirmation of life in all it's punk rock, hillbilly glory.
I jumped into the pit and lost my mind in an ecstatic, cathartic rumble. I lost my car keys and bruised my arm. Who cares? Maybe I was aided by a couple shots of Jack, but hell it was Lux, Ivy, Nick Knox and Candy Del Mar rippin' the joint.
Fare thee well, Lux, I'll miss you big time.
My condolences to Ivy and family. Ivy you are, hands down, one of the finest guitar players on the planet.