Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Dick Nixon Experience

The Dick Nixon Experience will appear at the Mercury Cafe, 201 Octavia St. San Francisco on Wed December 21, 6-9 pm as part of the Cartoonist-Palooza Holiday Gift Show.
Scott Hoover, bass. Steve Lafler and John Caploe on guitar. Joe Kaline, drums. Dave Cherry, saxophone. We'll play some bad ass Oaxacabilly music. Punky country blues the way you like it.
Cartoonists on hand for the night will be Lloyd Dangle, Mats!?, Jeff Roysdon and myself. See ya there!

Poster by Scott Hoover.

The Legacy of Dylan Williams

About four years back, I wrote an article entitled Is Print Dead, or does it Just Smell Funny? The article ran in Chicago based Alarm magazine and I subsequently posted it in this blog. It focused on the comics industry and it's prospects as a print medium in the face of the rising wave of electronic media. I interviewed several comics people for the piece, including Dylan Williams, cartoonist and publisher of Sparkplug comics, who passed away two months back.
Dylan was passionate on the subject, and had this to say: “I don't believe print is dead. I've actually had a lot of time spent thinking about what I'm trying to do with my life and the whole idea of punk rock is something I keep on coming back to. I've been a punk since I was a kid and those values are really my core values. If you feel bad about stuff the only thing we can do is fight it. I love print, love drawing, and love art comics. I hate what comics became in the 90s, things like web comics, ‘the new independents’ and all the money-speak that took over comics bugs me. I'm an underground kid and that is my idea. I think, all we can do is light our little fires and stoke them. I don't ever feel like giving up.”
Looking back, I'm impressed by Dylan's accomplishment in building avenues for distribution in comics outside the Diamond Comics Distribution paradigm. He distributed directly to a growing network of stores supporting grass roots art comics, and worked with other grass roots distributors who were springing up.
I've been publishing comics since 1981, and have had some modest success with selling books through mainstream distributors like Diamond. It takes a maverick visionary like Dylan to show me that in the long run, art comics (or underground, punk, or which ever label you prefer for auteur comics) need their own grass roots distribution network.
I moved to Oaxaca, Mexico in 2007 and was wondering how I would continue to publish and distribute my work. Dylan stepped forward and offered a hand, arranging for my 2008 graphic novel Tranny to be distributed by Diamond.
When I finished my next book, El Vocho, Dylan declined to offer the book through Diamond. His considerable energies had shifted to where the best results could be produced, with the nascent distribution network he was building on behalf of his publishing company, Sparkplug Comic Books. He did pick up several copies of El Vocho for distribution, great guy that he was.
Dylan's were painstakingly grass roots from what I can see. He cultivated relationships with fans, retailers, publishers and distributors to get the best play for the artists he published, whose work he was devoted to. He faithfully hit the indy shows and put his best foot forward in pursuit of his vision.
This is the legacy of Dylan Williams in my life. He showed me what I should have known all along, that selling auteur comics is really a brick-by-brick business. You can't depend on a large corporate entity for anything, you have to follow the love.

Reporter Little Black Book by Dylan Williams 

Many of Dylan's close friends and associates had wonderful and insightful things to say about him at the time of his passing. I've now had time to assess what Dylan meant in my life, thus this post. I was friendly with Dylan, without being an actual close friend. He was warm and true, self effacing to a fault, and unerring in his vision and taste. He had an understated but wicked sense of humor. In short, a fine human being.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Cartoonist-Palooza: Holiday Gift Show & Concert

Hey there San Francisco Bay Area, here come the cartoonists this Holiday Season!!!

Join us at the Mercury Cafe Wednesday, December 21st, 201 Octavia St. in Hayes Valley, for a convivial good time.

Here is the PR rap for the event:

Bay Area cartoonists Lloyd Dangle, Mats!?, Jeff Roysdon and Steve Lafler join together to bring cartoon art gift items from graphic novels to ceramics to the Mercury Cafe in Hayes Valley on December 21 from 6-9 p.m.
Dangle is best known for his long running Troubletown strip, wherein he slings deftly aimed arrows at liars and thieves from across the political spectrum. Dangle offers an array of Troubletown related books and merchandise, hilarious works featuring his signature brilliant illustrations.
Mats!?, the accomplished painter and screen printer with a crackling urban sensibility, is best know for his travelogue graphic novel Asiaddict on the Sparkplug imprint. Mats!? arrives packing an array of stunning screen printed stickers and original paintings as well.
Cartoonist, animator, and painter Jeff Roysdon offers unique ceramic pieces featuring his cuddly, heart felt-yet-acerbic visions and spectacular level of craft, along with original paintings.
Lafler, late of Oaxaca, Mexico, brings his band The Dick Nixon Experience into the Mercury, rounding out the evening's entertainment with some acoustic "Oaxacabilly" music. Lafler marks his return to the Bay Area with his graphic novels El Vocho, 40 Hour Man and Bughouse.

The Mercury Cafe is located at 201 Octavia St.
Admission is free.

Steve Lafler


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Radio Insecto: Jack Black cartoon music video

I've created a music video for my song Jack Black and posted it here -- it's a semi-animated cartoon narrative. The music was recorded at the Casa de las Escaleras in Oaxaca by Bill Stair, my co-conspirator in Radio Insecto, our cowpunk band.

There is a line in the song, "I don't like Jack Black's movies anymore / he used to be the best now he's kind of a bore." The joke is, I'm a big fan of Jack Black--that's why I wrote the tune!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Dia De Muertos, Xoxochitlan Oaxaca

Nothing gets to the heart of Dia De Muertos in Oaxaca quite like a visit to the Panteon Municipal in the town of Xoxochitlan on the night of October 31.  I went with my family, took a few pics and enjoyed an incredible vegetarian tlayuda with quesillo, mushrooms, radishes and avocado at a comal outside the panteon, along with a medium hot light  brown salsa that was sublime. We also got some hot cider that calmed the chill of the muertos wind, and our friend Carrie got a cider with a shot of mezcal in it to really beat that chill!

Last night, Nov. 1, we went to the Zocalo in Oaxaca centro and saw the gay friendly comparsa (parade) with wild costumes of traditional themes like the grim reaper and the devil along with a pile of queens in drag. Very good band and great dancing, enjoyed from the confines of Bar Jardin where my kid enjoyed french fries, I had a vino tinto and my pal Carrie enjoyed a passable tobala mezcal for a mere 31 pesos! Not a bad price for a ringside seat in the zocalo. I was dressed as Joey Ramone--ripped jeans, sunglasses, leather jacket, black T shirt and a big ol' wig over my bald head. Lot's of cool kids wanted their photo taken with Joey!
Tonight we will watch some El Santo Monster movies at a hipster gallery in town before moving on to the Panteon San Felipe.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

40 Hour Man -- Still Hilarious

Every so often I remember that the graphic novel, 40 Hour Man, by myself and writer Stephen Beaupre, is available as a free download at Lulu.

This is Beaupre's manic, hilarious account of his various working class jobs, with appropriately nuts illustrations from your truly.
If you've ever had a crap job or an insane jerk for a boss (who hasn't?), then this is the book for you.

The print edition of 40 Hour Man is also available from Lulu, along with other graphic novels from me including El Vocho.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Here's Radio Insecto

Bill Stair and I debuted our Oaxaca based cowpunk band Radio Insecto at La Jicara October 28th. We had a blast! The last table was filled as we opened with my tune Jack Black. We went on to cover tunes from the Velvet Underground to Cracker and the Cramps among others, with a stack of originals peppered throughout the night.

 As I pretty much play guitar like a cave man, it was my great pleasure to hit the stage with Bill Stair on bass and mandolin, Matt Cowe on lead guitar and Samuel Paloma Aquino (El Lobo) on bongos. We had a driving, tasty sound with these guys at the controls. Sam counted off each song and played tight and funky. Bill picked some brilliant bits on mando, nailing solos that hailed from Tennessee to Eastern Europe, and shook the walls real bad and funky on bass. Matt laid into swamp blues on Human Fly, yet dropped in gorgeous, emotive solo work on tunes from the Spanish influenced Camelita to the Celtic keening of Dirty Old Town. He snapped off a perfect bit of 12 bar blues in E in the middle of Ripe Pineapple Drunk, an original by Bill Stair and myself.

Best of all, we had Mr. Bill Blak himself on washtub bass for our more country blues and bluegrass numbers, and he punched up the sound, shook his thing and drove the ladies insane. People got up and danced, the place was hummin'. OK, so I sang like a cow gargling cactus on Baby's In Black, but you gotta stink it up somewhere!

All in all a fine debut for Radio Insecto! I'll post more about our adventures as we forge ahead.

Photos by Jeff Charles.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Oaxacan Artist Humberto Batista

Oaxaca is the artistic soul and cultural center of southern Mexico. This city is the home of well renowned visual artists such as Francisco Toledo and the late Rodolfo Morales. It's been my good fortune to meet several outstanding artists in Oaxaca, including painter and assemblage artist Humberto Batista.

 Fantasia Abstracta #5

Working from his studio in central Oaxaca, Batista creates abstract paintings and assemblage pieces that reflect his interest in reconciling the joy of life with the inevitability of death. His mastery of materials and techniques and his playful sense of humor combine to produce works revealing a deep understanding of the human condition and the animal vitality that pushes us through life.

Calaquita De La Soledad

I am always delighted to see what Humberto Batista creates. His paintings engage my eye and mind -- the latest abstract canvas never fails to speak to me with it's juxtaposition of color, line and form. There is a narrative element to every work, as the artist references the totality his experience as a modern Mexican artist with a wit and flair that I can't get enough of.

 Fantasia Abstracta #2

It is possible to contact Humberto Batista to arrange for a studio visit to view his work while visiting Oaxaca -- I highly recommend it.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Ghostshrimp Brand Illustration & Art

Hey, I must recommend a visit to the updated site from illustrator/cartoon genius Ghostshrimp.

Why, because he created the WORLD art for the great Cartoon Network show Adventure Time? Because he's working on a cool upcoming animated series Mars Safari? Or because he's my beloved nephew and all around great guy? Your choice.


Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Steve Lafler Catalog Update

Here are up to date links to help get your hands on Steve Lafler graphic novels and T-Shirts.

photo by Scott Hoover

I am searching for meaning and truth in a world ruled by, you know, the rulers. Only through these graphic novels and T-Shirts can each of us reach illumination (actual instructions embedded within each product).

I have a graphic novel store at, where you can find El Vocho, my 2010 graphic novel, 40 Hour Man by Stephen Beaupre and myself, and Tranny.

 I love bugs.

Yes, this graphic novel is about boys dressing up like girls. WTF? I guess you'll just have to read it.

Monster, Car and Guitar T-shirts are available at my Cafe Press store.

I would wear this Wolf Man on a T-Shirt! Would you???

My Bughouse trilogy of graphic novels can still be purchased at Top Shelf Comics.

Some people really like this Bughouse graphic novel, they says it's my best one.

I also have acrylic paintings for sale, generally in the $150 - 300 range for sizes from 8"x10" to 11"x14".
The price includes shipping via DHL, insured. Payment is via Paypal. If you are interested, let's talk. You can click the link of my highlighted name at the bottom of this post to send me an email. Or you can phone me at 503-213-3671.
I do commissions too -- I did a big painting last year for a friend on a Mexican theme (OK, so it was a $1,000 job), but we had a great time with it.

Who am I?! Here is a Steve Lafler interview with Robert Clough at the Comics Journal

Here is a link to an audio interview Steve Lafler with Robin McConnell of Inkstuds Radio.

My goal here, as always, is to buy the next tank of gas for my car, stuff like that.


Steve Lafler

Steve Jobs, RIP

I'd posted this morning of October 5 under the heading "Steve Jobs is not my guru, but..."
I woke up today with an urge to dig up this favorite quote from Mr. Jobs. I was aware of his health problems, but had not been tracking them.
Now upon coming home, my wife Serena tells me that Steve Jobs just passed away. He was quite an innovator, a revolutionary in a sense, an inspiring smart dude. Sure, his ego was beyond huge, but nobody's perfect. My heart goes out to his family.
Here is the original post I put up this morning before returning to add this upon news of his death.

I do like this quote from Mr. Jobs:

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Hey Hey My My, Cool Comics Will Never Die

This weekend brings another APE (Alternative Comics Convention) in San Francisco, and I feel the pull. From my post in Oaxaca, I long to be at APE.

For those of us who can't be there, I am happy to report that you can score the best of weird, small press and alternative comics from lots of entrepreneurial distributors and shops.

Wow Cool, the long running alt comics distrib run by Marc Arsenault, is alive and well with an updated site.

King Kat comics genius John Porcellino maintains Spit and a Half zine and comics distribution, featuring many great artists like Carrie McNinch.

Sparkplug Comic Books continues to publish and distribute great quirky comics by talents like Austin English despite the recent death of beloved founder Dylan Williams.

Another stop on the mini-comics/alt comics distribution tour is Poopsheet. I can't imagine a better name than that!

You can always rely on Last Gasp of San Francisco, the venerable publisher and distributor run by Ron Turner and his son Colin. I couldn't help but link to my recent graphic novel El Vocho at the Last Gasp site, whatcha gonna do!

By kicking around a bit at these links, you can set yourself up with enough cool offbeat comics to keep you busy for quite awhile.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Custom Screen Printing STUFF

My Dancing Cat kids T-Shirt design

I've been posting a lot of stuff at my Manx Media T-Shirt printing blog. Here you'll find lots of information on the various aspects of screen printing on T-Shirts, including handy DIY tips for those on a tight budget.

Any questions on T-Shirt printing? Shoot me an email.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Custom Screen Printing page update

I just updated my custom screen printing page. I've been in the wholesale t-shirt printing biz since 1978, when I was still an undergraduate.
This business has supported me and allowed me to be an "art" cartoonist, making no concessions to any presumed market. I draw for love, baby! And I'm happy to print a few shirts if that's what it takes... so if you need some Ts, take a look at the link above.

Monday, June 13, 2011

La Banda Bughouse

Whew, I played three shows here in Oaxaca over the past two and a half weeks as "Bughouse" with my pals Bill Stair, Mikey Hillard and Marcia Goldenberg. We warmed up with a set at Neuva Babel on May 25th and really laid it out with two sets and over 30 tunes at the Casa Colonial on June 5.
We wound it up with an extra long set two days ago, Saturday June 11th on the second floor at Restaurant La Olla. It was great fun, we let our hair down and rocked it down and dirty on that last one, closing with a rousing Waiting For the Man, the Velvet UG tune. My favorite moment was the end of Eye of Fatima, a Camper Van Beethoven song, where we played very loud and sweet and I slammed the crap out of my guitar and even hit the right notes!
Here are a couple video links to the Casa Colonial show, I Lost It and Ripe Pineapple Drunk. Enjoy!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Oaxaca Teachers Strike

Serena Makofsky has written a well researched, well reasoned and opinion piece supporting the teachers strike in Oaxaca, at this link.

She spoke to public school teachers and parents of children in the public schools as the basis of her research.

Uh, yup I am married to Serena, and we live in Oaxaca. Our kids are in a private school, but we believe in supporting the teachers union in Oaxaca. The alternative is to support the PRI and the government. No contest.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

New Dog Boy Stuff

New Dog Boy comics appear today here at CO2 Comics.

This is the first new Dog Boy material since the I dashed off a few D.B. stories for my Buzzard comics anthology in the mid 90s. Of course, I published 17 issues of Dog Boy in the 80s, first under my own Cat-Head Comics imprint, then with Fantagraphics.

As usual with Dog Boy, this stuff is largely improvised and off the cuff, and pretty hilarious, if you were to ask me!
There will be one page posted per week, with updates coming on Saturdays.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Oaxacabilly Shows

My nascent band Bughouse is doing two shows in Oaxaca, coming right up.

We'll have Bill Stair on bass and mandolin, Mikey Hillard on guitar and backing vocals, Marcia Goldenberg on vocals and myself on guitar and vocals.

A tip of the hat to Todd Spiehler, the bad boy who gave me a wee push into playing music a few years back. C'mon back to Oaxaca any time for some tasty playing, Todd!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Truth is Stranger than Fiction

The conceit of my graphic novel El Vocho is that a clean energy car can run on air. Sounds impossible, right?


Check this out:


Now that is good news.

El Vocho is online here.

Friday, March 11, 2011

New Dog Boy Art

This drawing is from page 11 of my new Dog Boy story. Getting to the heart of the matter, I'd say. Mulling over how to publish/format/market this new material.

Also, I'm celebrating one year publishing Dog Boy online with the brilliant web comics site, CO2. Hurray, and thanks to Bill and Gerry.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Painting Sale

It's the middle of winter and biz is DEAD in da SNOW! Buzzards & Wolves are circling the tents. So I just posted a painting sale on FB here.

We are talking ten canvasas (well, some are acrylic on board) that I have in stock from the past few years. All are fun and a bit bent, as you might imagine. And cheap! Shipping is 2 day DHL, and payment can be made via paypal. Take a look and enjoy, and lemme know if you just gots to have one of these.