In years past, I’ve written reviews of the Austin independent media convention STAPLE! for a variety of venues including previous Nexus Graphica columns, San Antonio Current, and even my own blog The Geek Curmudgeon. But for 2015, I’m going to try something a bit different and do a preview of the forthcoming March 7-8 event.
Subtitled “the independent media expo,” the then one day STAPLE! began in March, 2005 after Chris “Uncle Staple” Nicholas, co-creator of You Chose Right The First Time, realized that the Austin area offered enough talent “to put on a pretty good indie comics show” but none in the region. By combining a focus on independent, alternative, and small press media with independent-friendly comic book shop sponsorship and an affordable entrance fee, STAPLE! succeeded like no Austin show before. While staying true to Uncle Staple’s vision, the 11 year old event evolved into a two day affair.
The 2015 incarnation features an impressive line up of rising stars.
Babs Tarr, co-artist/designer of the awesome new Batgirl, hails from Charleston, SC and currently works out west as a full time freelance illustrator. She’s produced work for Cartoon Network, Hasbro, Disney, Boom! Comics, San Francisco Chronicle, Boston Globe and many other places.
New York-based illustrator and cartoonist Jess Fink created the web comic Chester 5000, a Victorian tale of robot love, and the graphic novel We Can Fix It, a science fiction autobiography. Her illustrations graced various Boom titles including Adventure Time and Bravest Warriors, Slate, and various anthologies, most notably the 2013 and 2014 editions of Smut Peddler. Fink recently illustrated We Are Become Pals, about two best friends, written by Joey Comeau (author of A Softer World) and the web comic Kid With Experience collects her autobiographic comics work.
Video gamer, comics fan, and editor of comic-type stuff, Janelle Asselin worked at comic shops, comics news sites, and comics publishers like Fangoria Comics, DC Comics, and Disney. Asselin contributed to places like Bitch and Comic Book Resources. She writes the weekly ComicsAlliance column Hire This Woman, featuring female creators on the rise. Currently, Asselin is working a book about selling comics to women.
Kate Leth, Canadian author and illustrator, writes the Bravest Warriors comic with artist Ian McGinty, as well as having penned miniseries for both. Alongside artist Zachary Sterling, she wrote the graphic novels Adventure Time Vol. 3: Seeing Red and Adventure Time Vol. 4: Bitter Sweets. Her biweekly strips about geek culture appear at ComicsAlliance, and occasionally she works on her own webcomics Kate or Die and Little Ghost. Leth also penned Fraggle Rock and Edward Scissorhands miniseries. Amazingly, she manages to find time to run The Valkyries, group for women who work in comic shops, and designs embroidered badges for and Welcome to Night Vale and Lumberjanes.
Speaking of the acclaimed and popular Lumberjanes, artist Brooke Allen (who also does covers and shorts for the Regular Show, Adventure Time, and Bravest Warriors comics), writer/co-creator Grace Ellis (regular contributor to Autostraddle), and co-creator Shannon Watters (a senior editor at Boom Studios, who publishes the Lumberjanes) will all be in attendance.
Dean Trippe created the superhero parody webcomic Butterfly, co-founded the superhero redesign art site Project: Rooftop, illustrated Oni Press’s Power Lunch children’s books, and contributed to the Eisner and Harvey award-winning anthology, Comic Book Tattoo. Recent works include Something Terrible, a short, autobiographical comic dealing with childhood trauma and the power of fictional heroes to save very real lives.
Then there’s The Hillbilly Philosopher. An independently produced animated short, written and illustrated by Justin Buschardt and Jonathan Hubbell, animated by Tad Catalano, narrated by Danu Uribe, and made entirely in Austin, Texas, will be screened on Sunday at STAPLE!, followed by a Q&A with the creators.
The two exhibit halls will be crammed with a wide array of talent, from Chris Staros showcasing the recent books from Top Shelf to Tim Doyle sharing the amazing works from his Nakatomi studios to Kristin Hogan and her pop culture inspired creations. Most of the guests will have their own tables as numerous others. You don’t want to forget your wallet. There will be a plethora of goodies to be had.
As though that isn’t enough, I’m going to be shilling my wares. Now’s your chance to pick up signed copies of Klaw classics such as Weird Business, Creature Features, Geek Confidential, and more recent works such as The Apes of Wrath and Rayguns Over Texas.
I’ll be having a raucous, good time with fellow tablemates, raconteurs, and ne’er-do-well Mark Finn and Paul Benjamin. Even with our dulcet tones and shy demeanors, we’ll be easy to find. Poke your head into the main hall and listen for the vociferous talk about apes, Matter Eater Lad, and other obscure pop culture references.
So join us on March 7-8 at the The Marchesa Hall & Theatre in Austin, Texas for all the fun. If you don’t, you’ll wish you had.