Thursday, December 18, 2014

New Otto cover!




Here's the cover, which I just finished,  for the Éditions çà et là 10th anniversary catalog, which will be available at the Angoulême Festival, a little over a month from now.  Éditions çà et là is my French publisher who have successfully turned Mon Ami Dahmer and Punk Rock et Mobile Homes into bestsellers in that comix-crazed country. 

French fans have particularly taken to Otto, and this is easily the most delightful surprise of my career. So publisher Serge asked me if I could do an Otto for his upcoming catalog. Unfortunately, I was way too swamped to do something from scratch, but offered this piece, originally the first cover concept  for Punk Rock & Trailer Parks and later used as a poster for a benefit for SLG Publishing. I proposed altering it for the catalog cover and throwing some color on it and Serge loved the idea. Came out pretty well, although I, of course, wound up spending as much time on it as I would have on an image made from scratch!  

Here's the original b&w piece for the SLG benefit. I drew this from scratch, off the original pencil sketch:


And here's the original (unpublished) cover, which isn't very good at all.


If you're going to Angoulême, you can grab a copy of the catalog there. Otherwise, it'll be damn near impossible to procure it.


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

From all of us here at Derfcity HQ


Facefucked

My new Facebook image.


So after 8 years, Facebook banned my page, without warning. I was right in the middle of typing a post when.... blip. Gone. Just like that, 4,000 contacts and 8 years of content went poof. The reason, according to the Facebook auto-help? "Derf Backderf" sounds like a fake name. 

Which, of course, it is. My given birth name is John. Only my mother calls me that. I always hated the name, especially after a long list of toilet nicknames were swapped for it on the mean asphalt jungle of Richfield Elementary. When I got  to college I ditched it, like I did virtually all of my unhappy previous life, and became Derf. All my friends call me that, my wife uses it, as does everyone who knows me either personally or professionally and, of course, my fans only know me by that moniker.

But that's not good enough for Facebook. There's a Library of Congress file on "Derf Backderf," but it sounds funny to Zuckerberg and company so the page is gone, apparently never to return. Facebook demands scans of government-issued ID, like a driver license, birth certificate or passport with "Derf Backderf" on it, to restore the page. First of all, send them copies of my IDs? Should I just go ahead an cc random Nigerian thieves or wait for the inevitable Facebook hack? Yeah, that's not happening. Secondly, I freely admit it's not my birth name. So what? Is everyone named Chip or Buffy going to get the heave-ho? Well, ok, that would probably be an improvement, but you get my point.

So I started over. If you Facebook, look for "John Backderf" and that's me. 

I know, I know, I shouldn't bother with the damn thing at all. Sure, I do Twitter, and please follow me there. I don't bother with Tumblr, although I have an account and may start posting stuff there, or any of the fly-by-night sites you damn kids with your bongo music favor. I like how a Facebook page is designed, especially for photos. Everyone says it's worthless now, just all middle-aged housewives looking to flirt with old high school classmates, but y'know I haven't found that to be the case. I've made book deals via Facebook! It's paid off for me, and a lot of the comix guys have a big presence there. But I was too Facebook heavy. Lesson fucking learned! From here on, my Facebook page is just a repeat of what I post here, and on Twitter. In fact, look for a LOT More blog posts here.

The downside is the high asshole factor. The racist rants, the rightwing screeds, the comix fan pages where any deviation from the established dogma, whatever that is, brings a legion of trolls to life. Gawd, there's a Jack Kirby fan page that is a goddam nightmare  The boring, crazy friends who post the same fucking thing on every fucking thread. The constant bitch, bitch, bitch about every fucking thing. Starting over, as big a pain as that is, is at least a good way to clear out some of the losers. 

I tossed one troll last week. I'm fairly tolerant, but this guy was a total rage-filled psycho. He threatened that he was going to "turn me in to Facebook" just before I blocked him and, hey, looks he might have. The timing is suspicious.

Facebook has apparently pulled this stunt on others. Punk historian Legs McNeil lost his personal page. Then there was the recent kerfuffle over drag queens using stage names on their pages. Facebook relented on that one. Bestselling authors who dare to use pen names? Sorry. What Facebook wants is for people like me to set up a fan page. problem is Facebook fan pages are a total waste of time. If you want them to show up in people's feeds, which is the point of Facebook, you have to pay. Yeah, think I'll just use Twitter for that.

So if you're using a pen name or secret identity on Facebook, be prepared. And yes, I'm talking to you, Bono!


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Digital Comix Shopping Mayhem!

Digital comix for Christmas? You betcha!






Punk Rock & Trailer Parks can be downloaded on Comixology for $8.99.



True Stories: Volume One is also on Comixology for $1.99!



And My Friend Dahmer is there, as well. $9.99.






Heck, even Mon Ami Dahmer is there! $16.99.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Genghis Con!






And then, to wrap up a gala weekend of indy comix, the big Genghis Con comix fest is Sunday, Nov. 30 from 2 to 7 pm!

The festivities kick off there evening before at Cleveland's fabulous Mahall Lanes for a kick-off party. There's food, beer and retro bowling! And screenings of documentaries about Cleveland poster man extraordinaire, John G (who drew these posters here) and indy comix hero John Porcellino. I'll be dropping in at some point.


And then Sunday, the con itself, in our new venue, the Screw Factory aka the Lake Erie Building! Local Cleves know it well as the home of an anthill of galleries and art studios and home to several popular art shows. It is one cool space. We outgrew our first home, the legendary Beachland Ballroom. It's a great lineup this year, with several big indy names coming in: the before mentioned Porcellino, Frank Santaro from Pittsburgh, NYC's Gregory Benton, as well as a who's who of Ohio talent, like Kevin Czap, Liz Valasco, Nix Comics, and, of course, yours truly.

And for those westsiders too lazy to schlep across town for my eastside signings, here's your chance to grab my books for Christmas. 

Best of all.... Genghis Con is FREE! Yep. No admission charge. Spend that money on comix instead!





Upcoming signings.

I emerge from my hole to support indy bookstores with TWO signings

I'll be at Loganberry Books in Cleveland's Larchmere District on Black Friday, from 3 to 5. Gorgeous store, as you locals well know.


And on Saturday, Indies First Day, I'll be at Mac's Backs on Coventry from 11am -12pm. 


So if you're looking to get signed copies of my books, including the new True Stories Volume One, this would be the weekend to do it.

Please please PLEASE shop your local merchants, especially your local bookstores.


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

PR&TP now on Comixology!




Those of you who haven't been able to track down a copy of my first graphic novel, big news! The fine folks at Comixology have added it to their digital catalog! You can download it right now and be reading it in mere seconds! AND it's only $8.99! What are you waiting for?

PR&TP is a hit in Europe, which is just about the most gratifying thing that's happened to me, because it didn't sell much in the US, despite glowing reviews. But it's a bestseller in France. That's the benefit of following My Friend Dahmer, rather than preceding it. But I'd really like more people to read it, because I'm fond of Otto and Co. and very proud of this book. 

Download it HERE