Showing posts with label autobiography. Show all posts
Showing posts with label autobiography. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Hang Dai Studios at Baltimore Comic-Con: Dean Haspiel speaks (UPDATED!)

by Mike Rhode

Baltimore Comic-Con is one of the best and friendliest of the mid-size superhero focused cons. Under the leadership of Marc Nathan and Brad Tree, it's grown quite a bit in a decade and a half, but still remains enjoyable for all ages and interests. Hang Dai Studios is based in Brooklyn, but as usual will have a big presence at Baltimore. My friend Dean Haspiel (and Hang Dai Studios founder) will be there with the whole studio, a week after he, Christa Cassano and Gregory Benton attended the Small Press Expo. We hope to have interviews with everyone in the studio throughout the week. Our fifth interview is with Dean Haspiel.

Where did "Hang Dai" come from? 

 "Hang Dai" was derived from HBO's "Deadwood." Whenever Al Swearengen and Mr. Wu would curse their way through a private deal and come to an agreement, Wu would cross his fingers and say "Hang Dai." Or, something that sounded like that and which meant "Brotherhood." Or, as my studio mate Christa Cassano likes to say, "Sisterhood."

What type of comic work or cartooning do you do?

I hopscotch between superhero and memoir and psychedelic romance comix. My recent effort is called Beef With Tomato, co-published by Alternative Comics and Hang Dai Editions. It's about my escape from Manhattan to Brooklyn.

How do you do it? Traditional pen and ink, computer or a combination?

Blue pencil, occasional brush pen and Micron pens + digital shading/coloring.

When (within a decade is fine) and where were you born?

1967. New York Hospital.

What is your training and/or education in cartooning?

The comic book rack on the newsstand at the corner of 79th street and Broadway in NYC was my comix kindergarten. Later on I discovered a steady flow of pop art pulp treasures at West Side Comics, opened a weekly account at Funny Business, and discovered American Splendor and Yummy Fur at Soho Zat. After that, any inklings of pursuing a normal life went out the window when dreams of drawing comix for a living took over and held my sway. I never learned how to draw comix in school because school didn't teach comix. School shunned comix. Comix taught me how to make comix. And, I'm still learning how, one panel at a time.

Who are your influences?

Ron Wilson, Jim Aparo, Jack Kirby, C.C. Beck, John Byrne, Steve Ditko, Alex Toth, Will Eisner, Frank Robbins, Jim Starlin, Michael Golden, Howard Chaykin, Walter Simonson, Bill Sienkiewicz, Mike Zeck, Frank Miller, Katsuhiro Otomo, John Romita Jr., Frank Quitely, Goran Parlov, Darwyn Cooke, Marcos Martin, Chris Samnee, Gregory Benton, Josh Bayer, Stan Lee, Warren Ellis, Jason Aaron, Brian K Vaughan, Joe R. Lansdale, Jonathan Ames, Mickey Spillane, and Richard S. Prather.

If you could, what in your career would you do-over or change?

The Thing: Night Falls On Yancy Street. I wasn't ready. I would ask to change the dark ending, too, so me and Evan Dorkin could make it Marvel canon rather than Marvel folklore.

What work are you best-known for?

I believe I'm best known for my collaboration with Harvey Pekar on The Quitter. Possibly, the ten-issues of The Fox I recently co-wrote and drew for Archie Comics. Maybe, some Billy Dogma.

What work are you most proud of?

Billy Dogma in Fear, My Dear. And, Heart-Shaped Hole.

What would you like to do or work on in the future?

I aim to focus on creator-owned comix but, given the opportunity, I'd like to write and draw The Fantastic Four, Captain Marvel (Shazam), O.M.A.C., Deathlok, and bring back Marvel Two-In-One, featuring The Thing. I also have a great Batman & Superman story that features cameos of the JLA, done in the spirit of a cross between Sullivan's Travels and On The Road.

What do you do when you're in a rut or have writer's block?

Wash dishes. Work on something wholly different. Mix it up. Your mind is always working. Let it work by letting it relax and think different.

What do you think will be the future of your field? 

Patronized digital comix produced one panel at a time; published one per day, delivered directly to your phone, and story arcs get collected into print (if necessary).\

Why are you at the Baltimore Comic-Con this year?

Baltimore Comic-Con is my favorite show, bar none. A perfect combo of rookie and veteran cartoonists among old and new comic books and just the right amount of cosplay. I've also been a regular guest for almost 15 years.

What other cons do you attend? The Small Press Expo, or others? Any comments about attending them?

Besides BCC, I usually attend SPX, NYCC, MoCCA, CAB, and Locust Moon Comics Festival. I was a guest of Wizard World six times this year. They treat me very well.

What's your favorite thing about Baltimore?

Marc Nathan and Brad Tree.

Least favorite?

I've yet to encounter anything in Baltimore to make me dislike its innate charm.

What monument or museum do like to take visitors to?


One day I plan to stay an extra day or two so I can personally visit Baltimore's culture.

How about a favorite local restaurant?


Out of pure proximity and laziness, I tend to grab dinner at the M&S Grill on E Pratt Street and soak in the Inner Harbor sights.

Do you have a website or blog?

Monday, June 10, 2013

PR: Congressman John Lewis wows BookExpo crowds with MARCH: BOOK ONE!

Top Shelf Products

Congressman John Lewis wows BookExpo crowds with MARCH: BOOK ONE!

BookExpo America, held a week ago in New York, is the American book industry's biggest
 trade show -- and also happened to be the first event in our long promotional tour with Congressman John Lewis for his graphic novel with Andrew Aydin & Nate Powell,  
March: Book One! And judging from the reaction, we're off to a fantastic start.

Rep. Lewis and Andrew Aydin first turned heads with an "early bird" booth appearance on
Friday, welcoming a continuous line of fans to get their free 24-page MARCH excerpt
booklets signed, before rushing off to the Huffington Post studio for a live interview on HuffPost Live! This feature, hosted by rising star Alicia Menendez, featured insightful questions from
both Menendez and viewers at home, as Lewis and Aydin expressed their hope that MARCH
could pass on the lessons and tools of the 1960s to young activists fighting for equality today.
 Watch it now!

Then came the big day: Saturday! It began with perhaps BEA's flagship event, the Author Breakfast, featuring host Chris Matthews together with Helen Fielding (Bridget Jones), Congressman Lewis, and Diana Gabaldon (Outlander).  Rep. Lewis kept the crowd of 1,000
 industry pros spellbound, alternating between stories of his rural childhood, memories of the
 civil rights movement, and passionate calls to action. After another short video interview, we were off to another stage for the "Road to a Bestseller" panel featuring Rep. Lewis and acclaimed debut novelist Jason Mott (The Returned) -- two generations of African-American authors
with huge books this year.

At last, we came to the official signing -- this one with a line stretching "down the block"! (P.S. Did we mention a camera crew from Bill Moyers & Company had been following us since breakfast?) After two straight hours (and a few drained markers), it was time to call it a day.
Andrew and Rep. Lewis said goodbye to BEA, exhausted but energized... Just in time to see the starred review in Booklist, the official review journal of the American Library Association,
calling March "a grand work," and see it featured in the Washington Post's "Summer Reading 
List: Eight Books to Make You Smarter"!

Thanks to everyone who came out to see us, to the BEA staff for making it happen, and to the March co-authors for their generosity and stamina... See you next time (ALA in Chicago June 29, Comic-Con in San Diego July 20-21, and beyond)!

March (Book One), a deluxe softcover graphic novel with french flaps and black & white interiors, 6.5" x 9.5", 128 pages
-- ISBN 978-1-60309-300-2
-- $14.95 US
-- Release Date: August 13, 2013.
For more information and a 14-page preview, visit
Top Shelf Products
Your friend thru comics,
Chris Staros
Top Shelf Productions
PO Box 1282
Marietta GA 30061-1282

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

May 4: Alison Bechdel at Politics and Prose

Alison Bechdel - Are You My Mother?: A Comic Drama

May 4 2012 7:00 pm

In her acclaimed graphic memoir, Fun Home, Bechdel focused on her father, his secret life, and his death. Now she turns to her talented, emotionally repressed mother, exploring the family psychology and the tentative mother-daughter truce the two achieved via D.W. Winnicott , Dr. Seuss, and Bechdel’s own vivid memories.

5015 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, District Of Columbia
I'm planning on being there - Fun Home was a great book.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Meet a Local Cartoonist: Monica H. or "MonMon"

101_1978 Monica HI met Monica Horn, who draws as Monica H. or "MonMon" at last fall's Intervention con. Here’s her interview:

Mike Rhode: What type of comic work or cartooning do you do?

Monica H: I run a webcomic called Ocean Tides which is on It is a ghostly romance drama about a girl name Lily who Lily meets a spirit named Alex. She has to help Alex realize what’s happening around him and wonder why he hasn't crossed over yet. I update every Friday unless stated otherwise.

How do you do it? Traditional pen and ink, computer or a combination?
It is a combination of both. Along with my laptop, the materials and programs I use are computer paper, cardstock, Black Faber-Castell ink pens (SX, S, M, B, and F), Prismacolor markers, lightbox, HP scanner, my tablet and Photoshop. I start out sketching a thumbnail based off of the script I wrote for the chapter. Then a larger sketch, I ink using my lightbox. Scan, clean it up and tone in Photoshop.

When (within a decade is fine) and where were you born?

I was born 1986 in Monterey, California.

Why are you in Washington now? What neighborhood or area do you live in?

I moved out here because of my job as a graphic/web designer. I currently reside in Northern Virginia.

What is your training and/or education in cartooning?

I majored in graphic design and minored in illustration. I have been drawing every since I was little, and inspired by many different Artists. I am a graphic/web designer by day and a webcomic artist by night.

Who are your influences?

Walking in the artist alleys at conventions sure does inspire me at times but I have to say many other webcomic artists, Illustrators, my friends, my family and of course my fans of my comic.

If you could, what in your career would you do-over or change?

I wouldn't change anything about my career, though I am always willing to learn new things and learn ways to improve my work.

What work are you best-known for?

I guess my webcomic Ocean Tides, or my watercolor paintings. If you asked me this 5 years ago I would say my fan art for different anime shows, but I felt that I need to improve my own work and find my own style.

What work are you most proud of?

Since I only have one webcomic at the moment and I can say that I am proud of Ocean Tides, my style has changed in the past three years. I can say I am proud of trying to find my own style as well with in those three years.

What would you like to do or work on in the future?

I hope to complete Ocean Tides and start working on a new webcomic that I am currently scripting.

What do you do when you're in a rut or have writer's block?

I sketch or doodle anything, whether it be characters from my webcomic or just characters from a show and book. I just keep at it until something sparks my interest. I also paint -- painting is also a great stress relief.

What do you think will be the future of your field?

I plan on trying to get my work out there for others to enjoy and by the end of day to know that I am placing something out there for others to enjoy, I am happy.

What local cons do you attend? The Small Press Expo, Intervention, or others? Any comments about attending them?

Intervention Con 2011 was my first con that I attended as a artist and I have to say I have had a lot of fun, I learned a lot from the other artists in the artist alley. As for other cons I do go to Otakon as a attendee, I always enjoy going.

What's your favorite thing about DC?

I enjoy the Cherry Blossom Festival and the 4th of July Fireworks

Least favorite?

The traffic, I can live without it. Haha.

What monument or museum do you like to take visitors to?

I enjoy the National Gallery of Art, but I haven't been to any monuments recently.

How about a favorite local restaurant?

I enjoy the Hamburger Hamlet in Crystal City, they make a great rueben sandwich and the sweet potato fires.

Do you have a website or blog?

My blog is  and my webcomic for Ocean Tides is

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Check out John Kinhart's Sorry Comics

John Kinhart kindly pointed out the State Depts' Gene Yang video, so I followed his link to his webcomics site, Sorry Comics. I've just quickly read his first 4 autobiographical strips and he's got some good work there. Check it out. I'll put up a link on the side for future use.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

OT: David Lozell Martin's new book

My friend David Martin has a new book out, and it's reviewed by the New York Times.

By David Lozell Martin
201 pages. Simon & Schuster. $24.

David's a better writer than the Times reviewer credits him as, but I can't imagine this book was easy to write. I've only read his fiction, and I'm both looking forward to, and dreading this autobiography. I'd recommend David's books, especially Crazy Love and Pelikan, and be sure to search by his middle name as you'll get relevant results.