Beta Testing the Apocalypse

Beta Testing the Apocalypse
beta-testing-the-apocalypse-by-tom-kaczynski

I’ve been quiet about my new book, Beta Testing the Apocalypse (Fantagraphics), mainly because, until very recently, I was still working on finishing all the art & design for it. Fantagraphics has already announced on their site, where it is also available for pre-order (hint, hint). I’m very excited to officially announce it here. What’s in the book you ask?

  • It collects most of my work from MOME. Finally, a single place to see all those stories.
  • Most of my work there was black & white, so I took some time and colored all the stories. The book will be printed in two-colors throughout. A different Pantone color for each story.
  • A brand new story ‘The New’!
  • A full index. I’ve never seen a proper index in a comic-book (at least I can’t remember seeing one). I’ve always wanted to be able to look up concepts or even just drawings or sequences based on an index. It was really fun to put together. I’m hoping to start a trend here…

Over the last few months, I’ve been wanting to post some art and progress reports on the book. In the end there was little time for that. In a way this felt like I had a chance to one more last MOME story, and it’s also the last time I was MOMEd. Over the next couple of months, in anticipation of the release, I’m going to share a bunch of drawings, ideas and other goodies about the book. Stay tuned!

Music for Neanderthals

mome 22 - music for neanderthals by tom kaczynski

Here’s another item I neglected to note: the passing of the MOME anthology. My first comic for MOME appeared in issue #7. That time seems impossibly distant. I was still living in New York at that time and hadn’t published much of anything… besides a bunch of mini-comics and short pieces here and there. I was grateful & excited to be included and produced a steady stream of  short pieces for my first few issues. I was unable to keep up that productivity indefinitely, which was just as well. There were other cartoonists waiting in the wings for a chance to be included. But since then, MOME became a constant presence. Whenever I came up with some crazy short story idea I knew it would probably find a place in some future volume of the anthology. Well no longer. MOME closed it’s doors this summer with issue 22. I was fortunate enough to be able to contribute to the last volume. My final MOME story is called “Music for Neanderthals.” In retrospect the theme of extinction was fitting…

I think MOME’s influence will reverberate into the future and will have an outsized effect on future comics… or maybe that’s just my wishful thinking. Here’s to MOME! It will be missed.

Fantagraphics posted some preview pics of the last issue. You can ge the book here.

Mome Vol 12

mome 12 cover

The latest volume of MOME should have hit the stores on Wednesday. Volume 12 is pretty great. It’s got stories by David B., Olivier Schrauwen, Dash Shaw, Killoffer & many others. I only have a measly 4 pages in this issue. Each page is a stand alone meditation on noise, sound, silence and other auditory phenomena… inspired by loud neighbors, Jane Jacobs, Merzbow and tight deadlines.

countless solar holocausts

A couple reviews have already hit the interwebs. Here’s one by Jog and one by Rob Clough (the site seems to be down at the moment). Get yer copy at your neighborhood comics store, or direct from the publisher.

Mome Volume 11

Mome Vol 11 Million Year Boom p1
Click to see bigger.

I suppose I should update this blog… It’s been a while!

I already wrote a little bit about this here, but this time the new issue of Mome is actually on the stands. My contribution is a 12 page story called “Million Year Boom.” Check out page 1 above.

A few reviews have appeared already: Sequart (as part of a monster of a review of Momes 6-11), Jog, ADD, Copacetic (scroll all the way down), and ComicMix. Get a copy at your local comic-book store, or direct from Fantagraphics.

Momed

Mome 11 panels
panels from Mome 11

The term ‘Momed’ was coined by Gabrielle Bell (if I remember correctly) and it refers to MOME contributing cartoonists who, in an effort to meet their deadlines, forgo normal social behavior and lock themselves up for extended periods of time in a desperate attempt to make comics at a highly depressing rate of speed… In short, I’ve been Momed over the last few weeks, which is why this blog has been very quiet lately. But my next MOME contribution is done and so this blog can resume it’s semi regular posting schedule.

MOME 10 panel
panel from Mome 10

Speaking of MOME, the current issue (MOME Vol. 10, Winder/Spring 2008) is out now. This time I contributed a four page story called Phase Transition. It’s a kind of a prequel for the story I just finished. It wasn’t intended that way originally. As I worked on the MOME Vol. 11 story it slowly became clear that the main character from Phase Transition should play a role in it.

In addition to the story, I’m also the subject of an interview conducted by Gary Groth. I was very nervous before this interview because I’ve read so many of his interviews over the years and he’s definitely one of my favorite interviewers. It turned OK in the end and the conversation was pretty interesting even if I didn’t always give a good or coherent answer. Apparently Fantagraphics will be putting up all the MOME interviews online at some point, so look for it to appear there soon. I’m sure I’ll link it here when it goes up.

MOME 10 Cover by Al Columbia

MoCCA 2007

communist zombies
Panel from Mome 8

MoCCA Art Festival is this weekend and I’ll be there. This year I have an actual schedule there. First I’ll be signing copies of Mome at the Fantagraphics table:

Saturday 12-1 with Jonathan Bennett and Kurt Wolfgang
Sunday 11-12 with Jonthan Bennett

Here’s the full Fantagraphics signing schedule.

Also on Sunday (12:55-1:50) I’ll be on a panel with some of my local cartoonist pals. The full panel schedule is here.

At other times I’ll be hanging out at the table (A50) I’m sharing with Alex Holden, Damien Jay, Melanie Lewis, Jon Lewis, Karen Snyder and Robyn Chapman. Stop by and say hi!

Mome 8 Summer 2007

mome 8 panel karl marx

As I write this the new issue of Mome should either already be in stores, or will arrive shortly. It’s already available via Fantagraphics here. My story in this issue is nine pages long and is titled 10,000 Years. Unlike the story in the previous issue, this one is brand new and created explicitly for the anthology.

mome 8 cover

A lot of themes you may have seen in my Trans books have been sort smashed into a single dream like narrative. Zombies, Mars, Psychoanalysis, Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto, Advertising, Consumerism, the Future and the (im)possibility of utopia, they’re all in there one way or another.

MOME Spring 2007

MOME 7 Cover

My blogging frequency was never great, but it has slowed to a glacial crawl in recent months. One of the reasons for the slow-down is MOME, the quarterly comics anthology published by Fantagraphics. I’ve been asked to become a regular contributor so now I spend most of my free time working (or thinking about working) on comics for the publication. The quarterly deadline has been a difficult adjustment. Time for all sorts of other activities (like this blog) has pretty much evaporated. I’ve heard some say that I’ve been MOMEd… But I’m not writing this to complain. I’m honored to be included in such good company!

MOME 7 Cover

The MOME 7 (Spring 2007) story is actually a reprint of a story that first saw the light of day in The Backwards City Review #4 a few months back. This was done to give me a little bit extra time to develop new stories for the subsequent issues. All future MOME stories are going to be new, and created specifically for MOME. One thing MOME has allowed me to do is use color. I ended up converting the graytones (roll over the image above to see comparison) to a second color.

Anyway, the book should be in stores now. You can also pre-order it on Amazon, or get it now from the source itself: Fantagraphics.