Friday, September 28, 2012

Asbury Park Comic Con 2 is Tomorrow

Curls Studio had such a great time at the first Asbury Park Comic Con back in May (read the recap here) that we'll be back for seconds! Join us tomorrow for a one day mini-convention held in the intimate setting of the Asbury Lanes, a small bowling alley and rock club at the Jersey Shore one block from the historic Asbury Park boardwalk.

Asbury Park Comic Con will feature a wide variety of comic book and pop culture purveyors as well as many comic book creators, artists and illustrators from the New York and Philadelphia metropolitan areas. Comic fans will have a rare opportunity to meet the artists, who will be available to sign books that will be sold at each artist’s table. Commissioned sketches are also available from many of the artists for a fee.

Carolyn Belefski and Joe Carabeo will be representing Curls Studio with a table at Asbury Park Comic Con. We hope to see you there. Check out the website to see more of the fabulous guests who will be in appearing.

Saturday, September 29, 2012 

11AM to 6PM

Asbury Lanes
209 4th Avenue
Asbury Park, NJ 07712

Advance admission is $6 plus .90 service charge. Visit to reserve tickets to ensure entry in the event of high turnout. $1 of each ticket goes to Heroes Initiative, for comic creators in need.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Recap: Association of American Editorial Cartoonists Convention

At the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists convention on Friday, September 14, 2012 I learned more about how cartoons are a vital part of visually swaying public opinion with politics, advertising, symbolism, and more. Well-done cartoons are a quick read, smart, and make a statement. With comics or cartoon illustration, you can do things sequentially  to tell a story that you can not do as easily in other mediums. 

Many of the presenters at #!$% CARTOONS!!, including many Pulitzer winners, are now implementing interactive actions to their cartoons, such as including web page links, or specific tweets, and even audio interviews you can click on to get more content. This showed online visual journalism and reporting at another level and perspective outside of the art. Some of the animations shown were very clever, specifically "Super Pac Mad Libs" by Mark Fiore ( Many of the artists used their own voices for animation dialogue and have to promote their own work on multiple social media outlets, proving once again that now more than ever it is a requirement to wear many hats in production duties.

Apple was a topic that was very prominent. With cartoonists pointing out that the corporation has most of their money in overseas funds and child labor issues. However, people overlook that because they love the Apple brand and product because of their advertising. Youth is very connected with brands now more than ever and the new iPhone 5 is the big news story that overshadows more important global issues. Many cartoonists in the room might have disagreed with Apple's business choices, but they pointed out how much they love owning an iPhone.

There is a lot of injustice going on in our world. From a discussion about the earthquake in Haiti, I learned that only 1% of all relief donations actually went to the Haitian government. The rest of the money went to corporations. Also with the political attitude in that country, I was surprised to hear that many of the people in Haiti blamed the earthquake on gay people. I don't know where you stand on that issue, but last time I checked, gay people don't cause earthquakes.

From looking at the many cartoons being presented, I couldn't help but think of the "spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down" lyrics from Mary Poppins. Since their incarnation, cartoons, specifically political ones, have humor integrated with servings of truth. A fun poke at this stupid thing or that evil thing makes it more manageable to poke fingers or even laugh at ourselves as a culture. Or speaking truth to power.

There was a battle with put "Man vs. Machine" with Steve Brodner drawing by hand and Nick Anderson drawing with Cintiq. Another batter took place between Mike Thompson and Nate Beeler when they debated animation vs. static image. A good point was made of traditional static cartoon because it can be powerful and instant.

During a break for lunch in the middle of the day, I got to test the new Cintiq 24HD touch from Wacom. It's an amazing product and I enjoyed experimenting with the different brushes and the touch screen. It was the first time I had ever used a Cintiq and would love to work more with them in the future.

Another interesting topic was "Blown Covers, New Yorker Covers You Were Never Meant to See" with Francoise Mouly, art editor of The New Yorker. She showed many images of the magazine covers and discussed what it was like to work with illustrators, deadlines, and more. She said the editor is support and a cross between and air plane controller and a shrink. I enjoyed seeing the sketch process of the Obama Fist Bump issue that was so controversial along with the many other conceptual ideas that were were executed and beautiful.

More battles went on between the political right (Nate Beeler, Chip Bok, Scott Stantis) and left (Clay Bennett, Jen Sorensen, Tom Tomorrow) as they discussed the current 2012 presidential election. Many of them covered the political conventions from the convention floor or from their living room updating with sketches at a real-time speed.

I was glad to attend the event as an attendee and that my employer allowed "professional development" time for this. Maybe we'll allow for more cartoon usage, let alone illustration, to tell a story at the ad agency I work at. And I am happy to say it was the best $10 I spent all year. It was educational, fun, and at times a bit tense - but it was all worth it because cartoons make the reader feel emotions, make the world alive, and the people alert.

I was only able to attend the lectures during the day on Friday, because that following Saturday and Sunday I exhibited at Small Press Expo. Look for the SPX recap to come soon!

View more event photos on the Curls Studio Facebook page and give us a "Like" while you are there:

Monday, September 24, 2012

Recap: Baltimore Comic-Con 2012

On August 8 and 9, 2012 Curls Studio experienced another successful Baltimore Comic-Con. The weekend was filled with fun and the opportunity to meet new and old friends at the convention.

One highlight was signing "Topps" creator cards created by a fan. Above is a Instagram image Joe took of a card. There was also another card of me with our winning image from National Doughnut Day.

On Saturday night a bunch of us got together at Pratt Street Ale House and worked on a jam piece sketch. It was great to connect with other cartoonists.

We did interviews with Fantastic Forum and Drew "Iron Man" Crowder. I got to participate on the "Team Cul de Sac" panel with many other wonderful contributors to the book and editor, Chris Sparks. You can listen to the audio here:

The only item I purchased was the con-exclusive "2012 Baltimore Comic-Con Yearbook," made to celebrate 15 years of Liberty Meadows with several different artists takes on Frank Cho's characters. I wish I had known or been asked to contribute because Liberty Meadows is certainly an early influence on my work. I first met Frank Cho at an appearance he did with Playboy Playmate Tiffany Taylor at a comic shop in Georgetown while I was in my college years. My comic, Curls, was even likened to Liberty Meadows by a reviewer at Starburst Magazine. Congrats to Frank Cho for all those years of fun!

You can view more photos on the Curls Studio Facebook page - and be sure to "Like" us while you're at it:

We look forward to exhibiting next year. I already reserved a table, so we hope to see you there for sure. Mark your calendar for September 7 and 8, 2013.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Audio - Team Cul de Sac Panel at Baltimore Comic-Con 2012

For episode 191 of The Carolyn & Joe Show podcast, we broadcasted recorded audio from the Team Cul de Sac Panel at Baltimore Comic-Con 2012.
When Richard Thompson, the creator of the comic strip Cul de Sac, was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, his friend Chris Sparks began a fundraising effort. With Richard's support, he asked others to donate artwork featuring the Cul de Sac characters for a Team Cul de Sac book with proceeds going to The Michael J. Fox Foundation For Parkinson's Research.
Group photo by Bruce Guthrie: Carolyn Belefski, Dawn Griffin, Roger Langridge, Matt Dembicki, Donna Lewis, Shannon "SL" Gallant (in front with black shirt), Mike Rhode, Chris Sparks, Steve Conley, Joe Sutliff.

Take a listen:

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

District Comics book signing in Philly

Join us for a District Comics: An Unconventional History of Washington, DC signing event this Saturday, September 22, 2012 at 5PM. Join a handful of writers and artists who contributed to the new, 250-page comics anthology for an evening of drawing and signing and other cool stuff!

Partaking in the fun: Carolyn Belefski, Joe Carabeo, Rafer Roberts, Michael Cowgill, Charles Fetherolf, Kevin Rechin, Jason Rodriguez, and editor Matt Dembicki!

Joe Carabeo and I have a story in the book called "Spytini" about Elizabeth Bentley (The Red Spy Queen) and her hangouts around Georgetown, which include Matin's Tavern and Georgetown Pharmacy. Above is a preview of some of the pages in the story.

Order the book on Amazon for $16.47 now (list price $24.95).

Curls Studio will be at the book signing and hope to see you there! Here is the Facebook event page so you can RSVP and tell your friends.

Locust Moon Comics and Movies
34 South 40th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Carolyn Belefski Banner Art for SPX

Earlier this year I was asked by Small Press Expo to create web banner art for SPX 2012. Back in March, I created an animated .gif to advertise the show. My concept features an owl and a bird, sitting on tree branches, chirping away about the WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, and WHY -- question and answer dialogue about SPX. WHY, of course, referring to the chocolate fountain at Saturday night's Ignatz Awards, which I wouldn't miss for the world.

My banner art has been featured for months on the SPX Tumblr and will be forever encapsulated at the US Library of Congress. In addition, it will be available in the "SPX 2012 Limited Edition Print Set" that contains all of the the incredible art used to promote the show. There are only 25 sets and all will be signed by the artists. Each set includes:
• Jaime Hernandez’s badge art
• Chris Ware’s poster
• Becky Driestadt’s poster
• Marguerite Dabaie, Carolyn Belefski, and Julia Wertz banner art
• Dustin Harbin, Michael DeForge, and John Martz banner art
• Michael DeForge’s program cover
• Andy K’s postcard art
• Theo Ellsworth’s flyer

Some of these prints will also be for sale individually in similarly limited quantities.

Join us for SPX 2012 in Bethesda, MD this weekend and visit me at Table W6A! Here's a handy map to guide you, along with more details about the show:

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Appearing at SPX 2012

Small Press Expo
Visit Curls Studio at Table W6A
Saturday, September 15 -- 11:00 AM - 7:00 PM
Sunday, September 16 -- Noon - 6:00 PM
Marriott Bethesda North Hotel & Conference Center
5701 Marinelli Road
North Bethesda, Maryland 20852

Admission (collected at the door the day of the show):
1-day Pass: $10 per person
2-day Pass: $15 per person

I hope to see you as we celebrate the preeminent showcase for the exhibition of independent comic books and the discovery of new creative talent at SPX. Please click the map above to locate us at Table W6A. I have a feeling SPX is going to be HUGE this year!

RSVP to SPX 2012 and share with your friends on Facebook:

Friday, September 7, 2012

Curls in Bloop Kickstarter-Exclusive Jam Print

I was asked by Steve Conley to be a part of his jam print for Bloop. He has a Kickstarter campaign going on for the next 10 days to support Bloop, the story of a little, green space monkey who is looking to find the perfect tree. Along the way, he makes some friends and discovers that not only his tree, but the entire planet, is threatened by robots bent on tearing the world apart. This first Bloop collection will be a giant 10 inches x 15 inches. He has a ton or rewards to unlock and many options and levels for you to pledge and help fund his project. You can learn more and consider pledging here:

I created Curls as a Hollywood star for the glossy headshot up on the diner wall. She even put on some lipstick and kissed the photo, which also includes her signature.

Steve writes about the jam print:

Today, we unveil three more additions to the BLOOP Kickstarter-exclusive jam print:

Amelia of Amelia Rules! by Jimmy Gownley (Jimmy recently capped his wonderful eight-book Amelia Rules! series with Amelia Rules: Her Permanent Record!)
• Curls by Carolyn Belefski (Carolyn is one of the nicest and friendliest cartoonists I know and her Curls webcomic is every bit as charming and funny as she is!)
• Mercurius by Rick Veitch (Rick is one of the legends of independent comics and known for some of the most challenging and sensational comics ever made.)

Jimmy, Carolyn and Rick join the first three cartoon patrons unveiled:

Brandy of Liberty Meadows by Frank Cho (To call Frank a comics superstar is an understatement!)
• Billy Dogma by Dean Haspiel (One of my favorite comics artists and the only one who's won an Emmy Award!)
• Mel of Sunshine State by Graham Nolan (Graham co-created the Batman villain Bane and he followed that up by creating the best gator cartoon character since Albert of Pogo fame!)
The Messenger by Jerry Ordway (Jerry is a true comics great and responsible for some of my favorite Marvel and DC comic books!)
• Nastajia of The Dreamland Chronicles by Scott Christian Sava (Scott has produced more than 2,000 - you read that right! - pages of breathtaking cgi comics and he's running his own Kickstarter at the moment, which I hope you'll check out!)

This lineup is amazing and we still have twelve more to announce!

This print will be a bonus to every backer pledging $20 or more if we can reach our first stretch goal of $6,000.

Thank you Steve - for creating such a great book and for letting Curls be a part of the jam print. We are honored.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Team Cul de Sac panel Saturday at Baltimore Comic-Con

Hello everyone! I know this is last minute, but I was recently asked to join the Team Cul de Sac panel this Saturday at Baltimore Comic-Con. Hope to see you there. We will be available to sign your Team Cul de Sac: Cartoonists Draw the Line at Parkinson's books too. Aside for the panel, I will be located at Table A81 in Artist Alley the rest of the weekend. Here is more information and a map so you can find Curls Studio:

Baltimore Comic-Con
Saturday, September 8, 2012
Room 302-303
11:00-12:00 - Team Cul de Sac

When Richard Thompson, the creator of the comic strip Cul de Sac, was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, his friend Chris Sparks began a fundraising effort to honor his friend. With Richard's support, he asked others to donate artwork featuring the Cul de Sac characters for a Team Cul de Sac book with proceeds going to The Michael J. Fox Foundation For Parkinson's Research. Now, join Chris Sparks and other members of Team Cul de Sac including Steve Conley, Matt Dembicki, SL Gallant, Roger Langridge, Dawn Griffin, Carolyn Belefski, and others as they discuss the project and their continuing efforts to raise funds in Richard's name.