Discover more from Danny Unpronounceable
I Will Never Financially Recover From This
The Promising First Dispatch
Hi. I’m Danny. I made this newsletter to inflate my ego and pretend to be one of those paid Substack comics people, but to also reach people who identify themselves as my “audience” because I’m convinced that Twitter algorithms are holding me down, maan.
Basically, this newsletter’s going to be updates about what I’ve been working on, some words about things I’m digging, and a more longform feature.
If you haven’t subscribed yet, just drop your email down below!
This Month’s Soundtrack
CHVRCHES is one of my favorite bands these days, and I’ve been obsessed with “Final Girl.” Their latest record, Screen Violence just might be their best one yet, and seeing them live was like an out-of-body experience.
I’ve Got A New Comic Out
Beyond Sunset is an anthology featuring weird stories about Southern California, and the new issue is out. The first one had a story by me and my BattleArc 2088 collaborator Brett Marcus Cook, and this one features “The Winner’s Purse” by me, Alex Diotto, and Mark Dale. It’s a crime story about low-level MMA fighters and California cryptids, and it’s beautiful.
I’ve Got An Old Comic Out
Kind of. Final Derby is a dystopian, manga-inspired roller derby one-shot illustrated by Diana Naneva, my collaborator on Big Fucking Hammer.
We originally published it in 2014 and I let it go out of print, but Elizabeth convinced me to bring it back since it was always a nice seller at cons.
Of course, being me, I had to go back and fix a bunch of shit. I’m a much better letterer than I was eight years ago, so I of course had to update all the balloons, fonts, and the logo.
Then there’s the script. I added/revised some dialogue for clarity’s sake, and most importantly I got rid of all the Japanese katakana. I tried to be too cute with that shit back in the day, and in the end it seemed like it only confused people. Not sure why a comic about a girl on roller skates kicking people needed a barrier of entry, but now it’s gone.
Eight years later, I still think it’s pretty sweet, and I like the high concepts for all these characters who barely last a page. Go read it!
So, Convention Season is Crazy
After a couple pretty good outings in late 2021, Elizabeth and I decided to do a bunch of conventions in 2022. We both had a a decent number of books to sell, and wanted to really dive into the most satisfying part of comic booking: when people hand you money.
Here’s how it went.
WonderCon 2022 (Anaheim, CA): Holy shit, this con sucked. SoCal shows have such a bizarre vibe in that they seem to attract the highest concentration of normies who just want to see what all the fuss is about and absolute fuckin’ weirdos. As the year went on and we did more shows outside of California, I was shocked at how these other shows lacked randos walking up to our table to say something weird. Off the top of my head, I can think of the dude who couldn’t fathom why Elizabeth’s zines didn’t look like traditional comics (“What the eff is this?!”) only to reveal that he didn’t read comics anyway. Or the dude who looked at the postcard for Rubber Match and blurted, “How can a match be made of rubber?” and tried to devise a hypothesis.
It’s always dudes.
What’s worse is that, instead of Artist Alley, WonderCon for some reason decided to put us in Small Press, which I will honestly never do again. People seemed to avoid the section like the plague (I know I always did), and so many of the booths around us were run by the thirstiest dudes with the least amount of sales skills selling the worst-looking comics imaginable. Nightmarish.
San Diego Comic Fest (San Diego, CA, obv): Most people probably don’t know Comic Fest, but it’s a small convention organized by the people who started San Diego Comic Con back in the gilded age. It’s so old school that they hold it in a hotel. It’s so old school that the theme of this year’s show was Ray Harryhausen’s 900th anniversary or some shit.
This show is so crusty, it’s great. No snippet of conversation I heard that weekend was about anything newer than, like, 1980. People talking about Harlan Ellison, referencing Groucho Marx jokes, whatever. I think Blade Runner was too contemporary for this crowd. Wild.
No real complaints about this show, tbh. The dude who runs the artist alley/small press, Alex (give him a follow!), was super chill and regularly came by to check up on everything, talk pro wrestling, etc. I highly recommend having a comic book convention in your home town…
San Diego Comic Con (no idea): …especially if it’s the biggest one. Everyone in the industry treats SDCC like the Purge, but I think it’s a blast. The spectacle is top notch, you end up scoring some good celebrity sightings, and maybe enjoy some unique first-hand experiences as an attendee. I suppose it helps that my travel expenses are just Lyft rides.
Hell no I didn’t have a table there. We did the “Special Edition” show that SDCC held on Thanksgiving weekend 2021, and that was great. I don’t anticipate ever landing at table at regular SDCC.
While Elizabeth was doing BOOM! stuff, I sought out panels I thought were cool — heard Frank Miller loudly old-man-cough into a microphone multiple times, sat on an endlessly charming panel for Kesha’s ghost hunting show, Douglas Wolk doing his All of the Marvels thing as a panel was AWESOME — and did some dumpster diving for back issues and trades. Managed to find a near-complete run of Alan Moore Tom Strong, some Hitman volumes, some random shit I was missing.
C2E2 (Chicago, IL): This one was a first for me, so I didn’t know what to expect. Our first day or so was dismal, but that may have been on us, because after we committed to being more engaged with the crowd, we ended making the table and then some. Easily the friendliest crowd we encountered this year, too. Like, absurdly friendly.
Plus, my sister lives in Chicago and walking distance from McCormick Place, so that was all pretty convenient.
C2E2 also came with a pleasant surprise for me — Mike P had sold the first two issues of our book LUNA to Challengers Comics, who in turn featured the book on their TikTok. AND IT SOLD OUT. This meant a lot of people coming by the table and being stoked that they could actually pick up a copy. That never happened to me before, so that ruled.
What sucked about this show was that I got fucking COVID from the goddamn thing because ReedPop decided not to have a mask mandate at the show DESPITE running ECCC two weeks later WITH a mask rule. What the fuck, guys!
Emerald City Comic Con (Seattle, WA): Good thing I recovered in time. ECCC is probably my favorite show to attend, at least the one outside of SDCC that I’ve been to the most. It was our second time tabling at ECCC following a surprisingly good outing in December 2021.
This one started out interminably slow for the first day or two, then turned out pretty okay in the end. Someone told us that it was a weird time of year because everyone’s broke by the end of the summer, and traditionally ECCC happens when people are getting their tax returns. When you’re sitting at a convention table with nothing to do, you start to think about all the possible variables that have led to this dismal existence!
Regardless, I applied to the 2023 edition. It’s supposed to be the convention center’s new building, which doesn’t have the confusing problem of “we split the con across several buildings and multiple floors, good luck finding literally anything.” Really excited to see how that works out.
Long Beach Comic Con (Long Beach, CA): They never got back to me after I sent in an application. After doing so many cons this year, I don’t think I could take another SoCal show. I would call this a success.
Rose City Comic Con (Portland, OR): Holy shit, I hated this show. I’d done it two times before, pre-Crisis. 2014 went really, really well, whereas 2015 was an absolute disaster for a number of reasons both at the show and outside of it. Not a fun time for Yours Truly.
RCCC 2022 wasn’t disaster per se, but it was a pretty crappy outing for us. Felt like it was mostly a cosplay show (which is fine), but the fact that I somehow made less money than I did in that aforementioned disaster year was not a good feeling, lemme tell you.
On the bright side, I did discover the insane world of Portland public access television, and some of the most gloriously unfunny sketch comedy I’ve ever seen. Also, I recommend visiting The 1905, a very cool, casual jazz club with amazing food and cocktails.
I hope none of that sounded bitter. I wanted to paint a picture of my year in cons without being whiny or melodramatic. It’s SUPER EASY to feel like the sky is falling because these shits cost money, and even if you did super well at one, a disappointing follow-up seriously makes you question the whole endeavor and silently swear to never do this again.
But it’s also totally fine to swear off a con if you don’t feel like there was ZERO benefit to being there, especially because preparing for cons and hopping on planes every couple of weeks severely fucks with your schedule and productivity.
Oh, fuck, I realized I do have one more SoCal show, LA Comic Con in December. I’ll be sure to let you know what the weirdos said to us.
Hold Up, You Should Also Listen To This
I really, really, really like John Carpenter’s remix of “Good Girls”:
What About Actually Making Comics??
A bad tabling experience is even more frustrating when you start dwelling on all the actual work you have to do but can’t because you gotta sit at the table and be “on.” Let’s talk about what I’m working on.
I’m not gonna front and do any of that coy “I’m not sure I can talk about it” shit. There are no lucrative publishing contracts at stake, and why would I dodge an opportunity for someone to find out about my comics?
SURVIVANT: Elizabeth and I have been working on RUBBER MATCH Kickstarter fulfillment so I can launch the campaign for SURVIVANT #2. The issue’s more than halfway finished, so we won’t be running into the embarassing delays we had with the campaign for #1. I’ve been working to keep the thing on a fairly consistent schedule, writing #3 while #2 is being drawn.
YOU WA SHOCK!!: Michael Danielson and I have a complete issue of our post-apocalyptic adventure comic in the can, to be Kickstarted after SURVIVANT #2 or #3. We’ll see. He’s already drawing #2 and it’s gonna be siiiiiick.
BIG FUCKING HAMMER: Only seven issues published so far, but I’ve scripted up to Issue #11. Diana’s resumed drawing it after a long hiatus. I’ve planned for 14 issues, and this second half is going to go to some wild places.
BATTLE JACKET: Meaghan Carter and I have got a really fun pitch going here. Anime-inspired teen action thing in the vein of BIG FUCKING HAMMER, only not as ridiculously anarchic. But don’t let that scare you off, it’s gonna look amazing.
LUNA: Mike Prezzato and I are working on the next phase of this story, which is shaping up to be pretty epic in scale. I sent over my plot outline to Mike a few days ago.
Holy shit, I work on a lotta comics!
Shit I’ve Been Enjoying Lately
Ed Wood: Showed this to the crew the other day to get Spooky Season started. Easily my favorite Tim Burton flick, Ed Wood is ostensibly one of the worst filmmakers of all time, but it’s also a sweet little movie about a group of misfits creating art on their terms, even if it doesn’t necessarily work out.
Batman: You ever hear of this guy? Lot of comics about him. Been burning through the Tom King run lately (I got about halfway when it originally came out) and I forgot how great it is. I fucks hard with King’s stuff, from the structuralism to the dark comedy to his obviously deep love for DC Comics — the characters and the creators.
Smithereens: A 1982 hangout movie about a self-obsessed kid with big dreams and little demonstrable talent aspiring to be the next female punk icon. Check it out on the Criterion Channel while you can. It’s a great character study and a snapshot of not only the dilapidated nightmare that is early ‘80s New York, but also the declining NYC punk scene.
I Guess I Count as a Sports Writer?
I got laid off from my old day job as soon as the pandemic started, but I thankfully had a freelance gig to fall back on — writing about pro wrestling for TheSportster, a sports website owned by the same company that owns Comic Book Resources. Here’s everything I’ve ever written for them — lots of informative Top Ten pieces that have me doing a ton of research into the history of the sport.
I don’t want to have wrestling dominate the newsletter, but I would like to share a match every time.
Here’s Konosuke Takeshita vs. Lee Moriarty from Prestige Wrestling, which holds shows up and down the West Coast. Lee Moriarty’s a 27-year-old up-and-comer with a great mix of technical and acrobatic gifts, plus an awesome entrance mask. Takeshita’s the same age, but he’s super accomplished in Japan and looking to make a splash in the States. Basically, Takeshita just spent four months touring the US fighting everyone, from AEW’s top stars on cable television to unknowns at random indie shows held at breweries. He’s also obsessed with Cinnabon.
It’s a dope match if you’ve got the time to watch it. I haven’t been to any Prestige shows in person but the venue in this one is pretty cool.
Anyway, Here’s A Picture Of Me With Milhouse
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