Falling Rock National Park, issue 8

The eighth issue of Falling Rock is a truly unique production. For the first time, I handed over the entirety of drawing duties to someone else. My friend, the incredibly talented illustrator Oscar Woodruff, has drawn issue 8 from cover to cover. He and I worked on a story idea from one of my early comic strips, and I think the strange marriage of my words and his art is compelling.

As always, if you are a subscriber you will receive your copy in the mail. Otherwise, if you’d like to get your hands on this issue you can purchase it over at my Books page.

I will also be at San Diego ComicCon once again this year, from July 17-21, at Small Press table O6. Please stop by and say hello!

Without further ado, here is the cover. It’s an understatement to say I was blown away the first time I saw this, and each subsequent viewing has not diminished my awe.


the milkman of human kindness

As of today, I can go to my grave with absolutely no regrets.

My friend and partner blogger Slider K Shaftacular is a big man. Big in size (clocking in at 7’2” and a ripped 330 lbs soaking wet) and big of heart. I have never sung a song for him at a festival in his honor, but I would if given the opportunity.

In 2002 Slider wrote a novel. He poured his 22-year-old soul onto the page and then sent it to his most trusted friends. I am proud to say I was on that list. What happened next haunted me every day until just recently.

Slider sent the book as a series of Word files. I had a small computer and no way to print 300 pages. It came down to me sitting at the computer, trying to enjoy my friend’s soul. I couldn’t get past the third chapter. Slider, to his everlasting credit, did not prod me about the book. By simply not telling him I never read his book, we both understood implicitly that I was a failure of a friend without having to actually say the words.

Longtime readers of this blog have probably inferred that I love technology. Not only does technology make life easier, it makes life better. I have every Falling Rock strip I ever made on my phone just because I like to see how my work can be stored and accessed as easily as The Beatles’ entire catalog.

It occurred to me recently that I could read just about anything on my kindle. As long as I have a digital file, I can convert it and upload. Somewhere in my lizard brain, a connection was made. I dug up Slider’s book (fortunately my packrat tendencies extend into the digital realm) and converted it to kindle’s file type. This all sounds very exciting – I know. I include it in this blog entry not for padding but as a matter of historical record. At long last, I could read Slider’s book with ease and comfort.

And read I did! Right after I finished the Tom Perotta book I was into at the time.

Hitler’s Milkman is the story of one man’s life as told by other people. Some, like his son, know him quite well. Others, like the young artist who sketches him before he abruptly leaves the coffee shop, don’t even know his name. It is a life story as written by a man who just graduated college and can’t wait to begin his own.

My favorite chapters chronicled the man’s gig as a night janitor at the courthouse and his teenage job at a retail stockroom. The former rang true due to Slider’s own reminiscences of his days working night shift at a hospital (he is now Dr. Slider, so working long hours late at night are well behind him. Ho ho ho). The latter, because most of us have had to work bad jobs for small pay while corporate stooges berate us for our perceived shortcomings.

There is a very sweet chapter near the end in which the man sells two valuable baseball cards to a card shop. The book is at its strongest when the narrator of the chapter has a small but meaningful exchange with the man, even if they only meet briefly. When a simple transaction, the exchange of goods for legal tender, can be spiritually meaningful, the book becomes more than a series of connected short stories.

What interests me most about the book now is that I can listen to Slider as a younger man, before marriage and career and kids. He was calling his swing. Better than merely laying all this out in an email, he wrote a book. A funny, sweet, and clumsy projection of what may be.

Now that I have finished Slider’s first novel, our friendship is secure. It was a bit touch-and-go there for the past decade. I only hope that, when he writes his second, I will be more prompt with my attentions.

Blog comic comic book

Falling Rock ebook

Since my Falling Rock collection Welcome to Falling Rock National Park (2009) is out of print, I have turned it into an ebook!
front-cover-book-3You can read it on so many different devices now.

Amazon Kindle

Barnes and Noble Nook

iTunes iPad, iPhone, iPad mini, iPocketWatch

Instead of merely slapping the book into the digital realm unchanged, I made a number of revisions and edits throughout. This is a revamped, improved book. Check it out!

autobiography Blog comic book comic con reviews

Scenic Byways review

Told you I met some cool people at MoCCA.  The fine folks over at TL-dr wrote up a wonderful review of Scenic Byways today.  Have a look!

Blog comic book

Tomb of the Zombies IS HERE

The headline does not lie.  This morning I drove to the venerable Portland institution, Brown Printing, and picked up six boxes of the good stuff.
And by “good stuff” I of course mean zombie books:
The order form is up, so please order early and often.
You too can live like the 1% with your very own copy of Tomb of the Zombies:
Who am I, some kind of ad man?
Nah, I only sell books I believe in, like those drawn by me.
Tomb of the Zombies is the funniest story about the living dead since Joyce.
Read it now before it gets made into a major motion picture starring Rashida Jones as Kate and Alan Rickman as Levon the werewolf.

Blog comic comic book

Tomb of the Zombies cover and one-sheet

In an attempt to bring you, dear readers, up to date on all the latest zombie news here at Falling Rock National Blog, I present the cover of my graphic novel Tomb of the Zombies:
This book was at least two years in the making, although in reality it was much longer.  I originally got the idea back when I lived in Colorado.  Initially, there was going to be a storyline in The Family Monster in which Dee discovers a group of zombies break-dancing in the shadow of a pyramid.  They were being forced to dance by a man who hoped to take this novel act to Vegas and make a million bucks.  The story was totally solid, no doubt about it, but it was far too long to present in daily installments of four panels.  I shelved the idea.

Later, after I finished my pirate comic book Dancing With Jack Ketch, I decided that my next project had to involve zombies.  I dug through my old notebooks to find what I had written and promptly started from scratch.  You may have noticed, however, that the Ancient Egyptian motif remains intact.

As a teaser, here is a one-sheet I made up while still in the middle of drawing Tomb of the Zombies.  I took this around ComicCon in 2010 to try and drum up interest among publishers.
Keep checking back for ordering information!  Soon you will have this book in your hot little hands.

Blog comic

unpaid advertisement

Blog friday robot

friday robots

More Penguin robots!
Penguin should publish a collection of Friday Robots, either that or sue me for ripping off all their book covers.
Hey Penguin, look over here!  I’m blogging about you!  Yoo hoo!

Blog comic book

write-up in coin-op

Pinball Publishing has done a swell write-up of my latest Falling Rock book, See America First!

Here is the story.
pinball book interiors
And here is where you can purchase your very own copy of See America First!
Blog comic book

why should you See America First?

Behold, the cover to the fourth Falling Rock book collection.see-america-first-brown-paper-low
But why is it called See America First! ? Actually, like most of my best ideas, I stole this one from the railroads.see-america-first-glacier-national-park
See America First was an advertising campaign begun in 1906 by the Great Northern Railway, an effort to lure well-heeled Easterners to the new(ish) national parks in Montana, Wyoming, Oregon, and California. Previously they had been spending their riches all the way across the Atlantic Ocean, vacationing in lush Switzerland and Poland, among other European countries.

The ads were incredibly successful; thousands of people purchased train tickets West instead of plane tickets to Europe. The national parks achieved a much-needed attendance boost and the railroads saw a tidy profit. Everybody was a winner.

Today, a little more than a hundred years later, Falling Rock National Park needs a similar influx of visitors. Since you can only visit Falling Rock by reading the comic strip, I suggest you purchase a copy of See America First! online or in one of the comic book shops that carry my fine publications.

See America First! will be available very soon; expect an announcement regarding availability in the coming week.see-america-first-mt-rainier