Tom Kaczynski in Conversation with Noah Van Sciver

A couple of days ago I had the pleasure of chatting with Noah Van Sciver. We hit lots of topics, Uncivilized Books, publishing, comics, reminiscences, etc. I also get to hype some upcoming projects including Cartoon Dialectics, I Nina by Daniel Chmielewski & Olga Tokarczuk, and a new edition of Beta Testing the Apocalypse!

Artist, illustrator, and publisher of Uncivilized Books, Tom Kaczynski, and I have a conversation about drawing and publishing comics during these weird times. Tom’s newly reinvigorated series Cartoon Dialectics has been sweeping the small comics scene like a wildfire.

Also discussed: science fiction as the literary fiction of today, Polish comics, the Critical Cartoon series, Bruno Schulz, and much more!

Most importantly the video features my first haircut since the onset of COVID… a small 2020 victory. Enjoy!

DERNIERS TESTS AVANT L’APOCALYPSE at SPX

I’ll be manning the Uncivilized Books table (table i8) at SPX all weekend! I’ll be there with Kevin Huizenga, Dan Zettwoch, Zak Sally & Peter Wartman. Stop by to say hi!

Meanwhile, look what I got in the mail!

The French version of Beta Testing the Apocalypse is a reality! The book is in stores in France now!

The French book is a bit larger than the Fantagraphics version.

It wouldn’t be French without French flaps! I had to extend the cover drawing by more than 50%! More on that in a future post!

The table of contents.

French title card.

Sample pages in French. Thanks to Dalton Webb for creating a great font from my hand writing!

The French edition has an afterword written by novelist & journalist Christophe Tison. I’ll have a translation of it in a future post.

The back cover! I’ll have copies in both languages at SPX. See you there!

Beta Testing Cover Process Part 6

So, I’m continuing the cover process for the Beta Testing the Apocalypse cover. Previous parts: 123, 4, 5. In the last post, I was showing the evolution of the color. This time I’m focusing on the type design.

This was the first iteration. I wanted to typographically mirror the ‘beta testing’ concept by having some kind of wireframe version of the type present… it was a little too much.

I still wanted they type to be somehow active… but not quite as hyperactive as here.

This is pretty close to what I settled on. The drawing had so much going on in it, that I decided the type needed to be more subtle and clean… so the two elements won’t compete with each other.

Beta Testing Cover Process Part 5

The next task was color. I started out by blocking out areas that were closer to the viewer… more in focus.

I ended up subdividing the line art into three ‘layers’ apparent below. Initially I wanted a limited 2-3 color palette… but it quickly became obvious that the detail demanded something else…

I eventually settled on this general color palette… but it still needed more.

This is how the final color scheme ended up.

Beta Testing Cover Process Part 4

If you’re just joining us, check out parts 123.
It took me a while to work up the nerve to ink this thing. Normally I would’ve inked most of the building with rules & rapidographs. But I decided against it… Since everything was so rigidly planned out, I wanted to have a more organic line in the finishing process. Click on the image to super-size.

CAKE 2013

I’ll be at CAKE in Chicago this weekend. I’ll be there running the Uncivilized Books table and signing Beta Testing the Apocalypse at the Fantagraphics table. Uncivilized Books is debuting four (4) (!!) books at the show:

We’ll also have copies of our recent releases by Michael DeForge and Dash Shaw, as well as the Eisner nominated Post York!!

I will also be showing previews of my upcoming Trans Terra and… Twin Cities Noir where I have an all-new 10-page comic (more on that later). It’s going to be an intense weekend! See you all there!