Pittsburgh has a lively comics scene. It is home to the Toonseum, one of only three museums in the US dedicated to the cartoon arts. The great comics store Copacetic Comics is still in Pittsburgh, now on Polish Hill. Visit Copacetic and you’ll find an outstanding collection of alternative comics. Bill Boichel, the owner, reminds me of the Music Genome project on Pandora Radio. I tell him the name of a few comics that I love and he tells what to pick up next.
For example, if you liked Joe Sacco’s Palestine, you gotta read Macedonia. One of Pittsburgh’s best known comic illustrators is Ed Piskor, who illustrated the legendary Harvey Pekar’s Macedonia, as well as the Beats: A Graphic History. Besides these nonfiction graphic works, Piskor is the creator of the hacker/geek favorite, WIZZYWIG.
My son Daniel McCloskey is a part of the Pittsburgh comics scene. Daniel is the founder of the Cyberpunk Apocalypse writer’s co-op. Dan does zines and comics and is completing a graphic novel. His zines are available at Copacetic or through indie distributor, Microcosm Publishing. If you create you own zine and it leans toward anarchy, and you want national distribution, get in touch with Microcosm.
Comics creation can be a solitary project, but Dan draws weekly with his friends Andy Scott and Nate McDonough. Oddly enough, I met Nate in Wheeling, West Virginia at the biggest Sheetz I’ve ever seen. I was gassing up my van and heard someone at the next pump say, “Hey, that’s my dad.” I looked up and it was my son Daniel talking to his friend Nate McDonough. It was a coincidence of Dickensian proportions. Nate didn’t believe it, either. When Dan convinced Nate he wasn’t kidding and told him I was a reader of comics Nate popped his trunk and gave me a pile of his self-published Grixly comics.
Grixly is a “nearly monthly” comic zine featuring “A hodge-podge of short stories, vignettes, anecdotes, fantasias and straight-up auto-biography.” I admire Nate’s productivity. He is closing in on issue 18 already. The cover price varies, but is usually around $1. I enjoyed his comic stories about his day job delivering prescription meds to seniors. The old folks he visits apparently don’t get many visitors. They call him Nat, or Ned, or Norm and offer him candy in exchange for just a precious minute of conversation as he makes his appointed rounds.
Andromeda Call for Entries:
Finally, I want to point out another fascinating Pittsburgh comics zine, Andromeda, edited by Andy Scott at Little Tired Publications. While most of the artist contributors are Pittsburgh-based, Andy will accept art from further afield. Kutztown University student Joe Probition just had a six-page story published in Andromeda #10. The editors told Joe they usually prefer darker tales, quirkier humor, but were impressed with his World War II inspired story. Andromeda is open to comics submissions for future issues, next deadline is Feb 29. Andromeda is currently raising funds for this special full-color 1st Anniversary issue. To contribute or order Andromeda try Etsy, or contact Andy Scott directly via email: littletired (at) gmail.com
Below are 2 pages from Joe Probition’s beautifully drawn war story:
Dan sent me this comment which I’ll add here: “We also have Jim Rugg, Frank Santoro, and a bunch of other talented indi comic folks. And there is the “Out of the Gutter” comic discussion group on the third monday of every month at the Carnegie Library.”
3/11/11: Jim Rugg writes to add, “We also have Tom “Godland” Scioli, long-time Marvel great, Ron Frenz, the uber-talented Pat Lewis, Dandy Don Simpson…” Since some folks don’t click on the comments, I pasted it here, too, to add to the Pittsburgh Pantheon. Do check out Rugg’s awesome work and blog here.