The flat file has been cracked open once again for the second installment of Evan Salazar’s comics compendium BEING A STRAY HAS CALLOUSED MY PAWS VOL 2: SELECTED DRAWINGS AND COMICS 2020-2023.
Clocking in at 64 pages, volume two features a never-before-published Knox Family Tree story, a new translation of a comic appearing in English for the first time, drawings and cartoons from Salazar’s subscriber-only newsletter, black and white illustrations, sketchbook pages, unused stuff, process notes, and more!
PLUS! Nestled inside the centerfold is the 16 page mini-zine LIVE AREA collecting small press comic reviews written between 2021-2022 and the essay “On Writing Comics.” That’s 80 pages of content, printed on high quality paper with card stock covers!
Handmade zine. Designed, printed, and assembled by the artist.
Spring 2023. 64 pgs + 16 pg insert zine. “Bubblegum” cover stock with b/w interiors
Check, check. Anyone out there? I haven’t updated this in literal years. Not that I think anyone looked at it to begin with but maybe there are readers of mine out there who don’t have instagram and get all their Rodeo Comics news the old-fashioned way: my website.
So for those desktop web surfers I wanted to let you know that I will be in San Francisco next weekend for Mission Art and Comics Expo. I have a new zine that you can buy there.
Also Rodeo #3 will debut at CXC in Columbus at the end of September. More news about that later. Also join my Patreon. Okay bye.
I surrendered to the future and started a Patreon. The pandemic isn’t going anywhere, and I’m unemployed, so I was just leaving money on the table by not making one. Subscriber’s to my patreon will receive a quarterly newsletter filled with comics and writings and bonus stuff like minicomics and pins and whatnot. I’m also posting a lot of process stuff over there as well. It’s just $5 a month!
With everyone staying home for the holidays, I thought I’d try to provide some cheap entertainment: from now until January 2nd 2021, you can download a high-res PDF of the first two issues of Rodeo (Plus an extra 6 page comic) for just $5. Follow this link to learn more and to purchase. Stay inside and stay safe… with Rodeo!
I assume anybody who knows my work also knows Bubbles Fanzine, but in case you don’t, Bubbles is pretty much the golden standard of the modern comic book fanzine and almost singlehandedly breathed new life into zines (fan or otherwise), setting off a new zine renaissance. That’s the way I see it, anyway. I mean, we’re talking about a fanzine where in its first issue Brian included a mini-zine within the zine itself. The first issue! Anyway, I love Bubbles, and recently bought the new issue, and was pleasantly surprised to see this very sweet review of my zine from earlier this year. The highest compliment I can imagine is someone being inspired by my art to pick up the pen themselves, so thanks, Bubbles!
Rodeo #2 received a glowing review from the internet’s most prolific comics critic, Ryan Carey, over at his essential blog Four Color Apocalypse. I will now shamelessly share two very flattering paragraphs from it:
The larger physical dimensions of the book likewise give Salazar’s cartooning a bit more real estate to spread out in, and the results are impressive : it’s not a stylistic quantum leap forward from #1, but there is some refinement on display here is the form of tighter and more defined figure drawings that still evoke a classical “cartoonish” sensibility, a bit more attention paid to well-placed backgrounds, and some nifty shading techniques that even include, if I’m not very much mistaken, a couple of washes here and there. It’s a good-looking comic, with the space to strut its stuff that it needs while still eschewing overt flashiness or forced stylization. Focus on what you do well, and continue to do better at it — that’s the philosophy at work here.
All of which, while complimentary, may nonetheless give the impression that this isn’t a particularly adventurous comic, narratively or aesthetically. The strange thig is, I certainly didn’t get that feeling reading it, and if the proof is in the pudding, then that’s really all the proof I need right there. Salazar is building a long-form story here, and doing so in a manner that entrenches the idea of what sort of comic he likes to make (and, crucially, is damn good at making) without sacrificing the all-important element of surprise. It’s one thing to surpass expectations as a newbie, quite another to manage to still do so an an established talent. Both are challenging enough in and of themselves in different respects, and both are challenges Salazar has passed with flying colors.
In other news, I might have to join everyone else and make a Patreon. It would be in the form of a subscription to my triannual zine tentatively titled “Thunk.” It just seems like the best way to do it, plus I can post other nonsense on there. Why fight the future?
Comics are hard to make. Any cartoonist who is worth their salt will tell you that. Even the cartoonists who make it look easy, effortless, fluid — they struggle and wrestle over every panel. If they don’t, they’re either a certified genius or they’re operating at only a quarter of their abilities. What makes a comic so hard to make? It’s probably the fact that a panel, a page, a strip, an issue — none of them exist in a vacuum. Each piece of a comic is in constant dialogue with every other piece, every errant pen line or spot of black influences the way a reader will interpret the next errant line or spot of black. Good comics take time.
Or maybe that’s all in my head and it gives me an excuse to put out the second issue of Rodeo more than a year after the first issue. And it’s not like I was consistently drawing it for a year and four months — no, I spent a few months gathering ideas, a few more months refining those ideas, then a month or so writing it all, and then a lot of months painstakingly drawing everything. Sometimes a page would come together in a day. Other times it would take me weeks to put a whole page together. It was an undulating experience, rising and falling with the demands of my day job, personal life, and my own motivation and focus.
I don’t need to tell you about how 2020 has been a catastrophic year, so I won’t, but it did afford me more time than ever before to devote to drawing. Before this year, there was a part of me that wondered if I’d ever complete the second issue. Drawing, to me, can feel a lot like Zeno’s dichotomy paradox. But, at the onset of quarantine, I told myself that if I don’t finish this comics this year then I have no right to call myself a cartoonist. All a cartoonist really needs is time (and pen and paper, I suppose), and I had plenty of it now, so there was no excuse.
All of this is to say that Rodeo #2 is out today and I’m very proud of it. I hope you enjoy it.
Over a year ago I wrote two reviews about old comics I picked up from the cheap bins and planned to write another review or two, but instead let it languish in my draftsuntil now. The thought process behind putting them up now is, “why not?”Without further fanfare:
Barbarienne #1, #3-5 by Martin Lock (Writer), Nick Neocleous (Pencils, Inks), John H. Marshall (Pencils) and Sue Vickers (Letters) Published by Harrier Comics
It’s not a promising start when the inner-cover of the first issue of a comic book series, citing “misunderstandings at the photocopy stage,” begins with three uninterrupted text blocks of “backstory,” but that’s exactly how Barbarienne starts. I chose to skip these expoistory rectangles, heeding the above warning from writer Martin Lock himself. After completing the issue, I flipped back to read the “background details” only to find that they truly do spoil the entire comic before a reader can even look at a single drawing. What the fuck?