Tag Archives: Independent Comics

The Blarg No. 92: J. Gonzo

I’m waiting to be seated so that I can order some pancakes and more coffee. The reason for this is that I’m having my windshield replaced, and it’s in Scottsdale, and it made more sense to walk and get pancakes than it did to have Janell drive us the 20 minutes home, wait for an hour, and then drive the 20 minutes back. It’s irritating, I haven’t even had this car for a month, and already it’s costing me more money. This is when I wish I lived in a city that has a great public transit system, or where I could walk to everything, or that I worked from home. On the one hand, I love the freedom of being able to just hop in the car and go wherever; on the other, I would give up owning a car in a second. It’s such a headache! And if I really want to go somewhere, I can rent a car.

Anyway, pancakes sounded like a good idea, so here we are.

When last I blarged (how pretentious does that sound?), the Arizona senate race was still undecided. I’m happy to say that the state I call home, for lack of a better word, finally has a Democratic representative. I’m not so happy that it’s the problematically centrist Sinema, but what are you gonna do? It’s still Arizona.

Not too long ago, I had the immense pleasure or seeing Marc Maron at StandUp Live in Phoenix, and leading up to that, there was a Tweet posted by a local artist who’d created a poster to commemorate the occasion, which Maron re-tweeted saying something along the lines of, Let’s make this happen, which I was excited about, because it seems like everywhere else Maron performs gets a cool poster, but last time he played Phoenix, nothin’. I loved the poster, and purchased one the night one the night of the show, and was like, it’s been a while since I’ve had an artist on the show, I should check this guy out.

It turns out it’s a super small world, and even though J. and I had never met prior to recording the podcast, we have a ton of people in common—my buddy Ernie is friends with John Derrick West who’s friends with J.; J. is friends with and has worked with Alex Empty who’s the husband of my friend (and previous LE guest) Leah Newsom; and just the day before, I got my copy of Tapestry Comics’ A Flower in a Field of Lions with the limited edition alternate cover, and I noticed that it was done by…J. Gonzo. Like I said, small world.

A lot of you who listen to this show are artists, writers, musicians, creative types, and you, like me, are trying to figure out how to make a living with your art, and this conversation with J. is a great resource. He’s someone who has worked hard to make a sustainable living doing what he loves, and he’s done it. He’s worked for big design firms and Todd McFarlane’s company, and most people would be satisfied with that, but he’s gone on to create his own graphic design business and made a name for himself as an independent comic book creator with his series, La Mano del Destino. Along the way, he’s done work as a tattoo artist, done freelance work, worked the convention circuit, and at the end of the day, even though it’s a shit ton of hard work, he gets to say that he makes a living doing what he loves.

It’s Thanksgiving week, and I know that’s a tough time for a lot of us. I hope you enjoy the time off, if not the holiday itself. If you’re unfortunate enough to work in retail, I feel for you. I did that for a long time. It was miserable.

Best,
Jared

Listen to LE 92 – J. Gonzo

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The Blarg No. 72: Mop and Bucket Press

It’s going to be okay. This is what I keep telling myself. Everything will be fine. The muse occasionally finds another partner. I’m in one of those phases. A spiral. It happens. No big deal. Sometimes I get depressed and feel like I’m not capable of anything good. I know that’s not the case, but I can’t escape the feeling. Over the years, I’ve learned to cope with my head problems. I’m not perfect at it by any means, but generally speaking, I can get by well enough by reminding myself this is just a passing thing. I think that all creative types go through this at some point or another—and some more often than most. There is this looming, perpetual fear that you will never create again, that you will never live up to the way others perceive you and you have presented yourself.

This one’s bad, though. At Chatterbox last week, I went up to tell a story that I had down. I knew all the beats, where all the threads tied together. I went up to the mic, started the story, everything felt great, I hit my first beat, and then… I just totally lost it. Thread gone—the whole thing completely unraveled. I’ve been doing this long enough now that it wasn’t enough to send me running from the mic. I rambled my way through for a few minutes, hoping I’d get it back, but it never happened. I just went off on some semi-related political tangent that was absolutely not part of the story I was planning to tell. It was awful.

I don’t know. I’m tired, I’m stressed out, I have a lot of anxiety right now. None of that makes for a healthy creative atmosphere. Whatever. It’s going to be okay.

If you missed it, there was an announcement. Hoot n Waddle, which is the company Janell and I started that has found its purpose as a hub for arts and culture podcasts based in Phoenix, is also taking on publishing. It’s big stuff, and if you want to know more about what’s going on, you should check out the Hoot n Waddle website and follow our social media accounts.

On this edition of the show, I talk to Levi Smith and Kenny Puckett who are the creative team behind the comic Sleight of Mind and Mop and Bucket Press. It’s a great conversation about enduring friendship and creative synergy, as well as not giving up on your dreams and passions. That sounds corny, but it’s not. Levi and Kenny are great guys, and their comic is really cool, so you should check out their site, follow them on social media, and check out their merch.

Listen to LE 72 – Mop and Bucket Press

Best,
Jared

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The Blarg No. 39: Russ Kazmierczak

I’m not a natural salesman. Never have been. If I’m excited, or passionate about something, or I want to recommend something (book, music, etc.), then I can be pretty persuasive, but that’s not really salesmanship—plus, it’s limited to other people’s work. Selling my own work makes me extraordinarily uncomfortable. So being in the position of having to try and sell this show to people, to sell stores on the idea of carrying The Arg in Blarg, honestly, I hate the whole process. The thing is no one else is going to do it, and it’s my show, and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. My first stab was popping into Stinkweeds this weekend (one of my favorite music haunts), and I was expecting to talk to someone who was not Kimber Lanning, but guess what? I froze for a moment. I think I pulled off my pitch, but I don’t know. We’ll see. Fingers crossed.

A couple more things for this week: First, because I know you were all curious, and waiting for the follow up on my promise to Jia Oak Baker to a bread and butter pickle and peanut butter sandwich…I did it. It’s done. I substituted almond butter for peanut, but it still counts. It’s not the worst thing I’ve ever tasted, I’m still not a fan, and I still think that bread and butter pickles are an abomination. Second, the first Patreon exclusive content is going up this week. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but definitely by Friday. It’s Limited Engagement Recommends, and it’s just going to be me talking about stuff that I really love that I think other people should love, too. This could take the form of one thing, multiple things, book, music, movie, show, another podcast—who knows? It’s not really a review, because I’m only going to talk about stuff I like, and life is too short to waste time on things I either don’t enjoy or couldn’t care less about. If that sounds like something you might be interested in, then head over to our Patreon page, and contribute at the Subscriber Level, which is ten bucks a month. I’m going to do other bonus Subscriber Level only content as well, this is just the first thing.

On the show this week, I talk to Russ Kazmierczak, the writer and artist behind Amazing Arizona Comics. Russ also created and hosts Phoenix Tonight, a late night talk show, and the Stuck in Traffic podcast. The man likes to stay busy. We recorded this the weekend before Phoenix Comicon, which we were both going to, and we’re both proud nerds, so we talk a fair amount about that. Also, apologies to Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore’s hot pants. Get more info on all things Kazmierczak at the Amazing Arizona Comics website.

Listen to LE 39 – Russ Kazmierczak

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