Welcome to another entry in the 2014 SPX Spotlight series! For the next month, Panel Patter will be highlighting creators and publishers who will be at one of the best conventions, the Small Press Expo. You can check out all of Panel Patter's spotlights for SPX from both this year and prior years here.
Another of Guy's SPX intro-views!
One of the people I am most excited to meet at this year’s SPX is one of my favorite creators, Alec Longstreth. Alec has spent the last 12 years writing Phase 7, a minicomic series full of short stories (and one long one), autobiography, sketchbook tidbits, and general reflection on life that is always beautiful and inspiring. This year, he released the hardcover collection of Basewood, a book that took over ten years to write and draw, and easily the best graphic novel I have read this year. And, as an added bonus, he just released Phase 7 #020, all about the making of Basewood which includes a rock opera adaption (that you can listen to for free on Bandcamp). I got to ask Alec a couple of questions as a warm up and preview for SPX.
Guy Thomas: What are your favorite comics to read?
Alec Longstreth: For the last couple of years I have really enjoyed tracking down and reading Carl Barks's entire body of "Disney Duck" work (over 6,000 pages of comics!). I read those stories as a kid and really enjoyed them, but rereading them now, as a cartoonist, I can really appreciate the craft that went into them. In my opinion, Carl Barks is the greatest cartoonist that ever lived. Thank god Fantagraphics is finally getting his work back into print in the United States. I hope they can make it through all 30 volumes without any problems.
Thomas: What are you working on right now?
Longstreth: I'm currently wrapping up issue 19 of my minicomic, Phase 7. It's the third part of an autobiographical trilogy I'm calling "Weezer Fan" all about my favorite band. In part one I fell in love with Weezer's music. In part two I went to my first ever rock concert, to see Weezer in 1997. In part three I eventually end up working for the band, to draw some tour posters. I get to go backstage and pour my heart out in Rivers Cuomo's face, which was a pretty important moment in my life. I'm working my fingers to the bone trying to get this book done for SPX. If the timing works out, hopefully I'll have it at the show!
Thomas: What can we expect to see from you at SPX?
Longstreth: I'll have copies of my 216-page, hardback graphic novel Basewood as well as Phase 7 #020, which is a companion volume to Basewood. It's got a 44-page "Making of Basewood" section and also a rock opera reinterpretation of Basewood which I wrote with my extremely talented composer friend Andy Hentz. It comes with a CD of the album (as well as a digital download code) and all the lyrics! I'll also have the Weezer Fan issues of Phase 7, and six issues of Drop Target, a pinball fanzine that I co-publish with my buddy Jon Chad. Issue six, the "Design" issue, is hot off the press! Lastly, I'll have some copies of my wife Claire's zine Terrible Movie Nights.
Look forward to a longer interview with Alec Longstreth after SPX, right here on Panel Patter!