Fascination Station – Designing a bookstore

Several months ago, novelist, comedian, poet, storyteller, and president of Write Bloody Publishing, Derrick Brown wrote me with a plan. A friend of his was redesigning a huge building in a small town and wanted to turn it into a collection of shops designed by different creators. He wanted Derrick to dream big and design a bookstore.

Derrick told me his plan for Fascination Station. It was to be a train station, with a checkout counter modeled after Grand Central stations information kiosk. It would have cubby holes for reading, set into in the back wall designed like bunks on a train car. Large displays would be inset in arches showing landscapes rolling by. Travel posters advertising departure times for famous fictional destinations would hang on one wall, and shelves would roll away, so folding chairs could pull out from a secret compartment and an audience could watch authors read from the back of a full size caboose, as if they were on a whistle-stop tour.

It sounded wonderful, and Derrick wanted me to draw it.

While I make detailed 3D models for my comics, I’d never designed something like this. Something that was to become an actual physical place. Something that needed to fit in exact dimensions and be usable by flesh and blood people. It was a heck of a lot of fun, and the illustration came together in no time.

Fascination Station Book Store overhead view
An overhead view of Fascination Station – a Write Bloody Bookstore

Sadly, things fell through. The Fascination Station only exists in these drawings.

But gosh does it make me want to go to a bookstore. So I think I will. 

Backup Stories Collection

A panel from "Girls", a patron exclusive comic.
A panel from “Girls”, a patron exclusive comic.

If a you’re a Patreon member at $10 or more you can now read all 70+ pages of members only Incredible Doom comics on one page. Being able to explore these stories that didn’t fit into the regular series has been a joy. Thank you for making them possible.

Jesse & I were on “Talking To Ghosts”

As I’ve been spending the last couple weeks re-invigorating this blog with a new host, CMS, and other fun features, I’ve come across things that should have been posted here that never were.

For example, last October my Incredible Doom collaborator Jesse Holden and I were guests on the “Talking to Ghosts” podcast and I never linked it. We talked with hosts Michael Kurt and Wesley Mueller about how we work together to break these stories, the logistics of making print issues, and, of course, the early internet.

Doing podcasts is fun. I hope to do more.

About the Incredible Doom Slipcase

After my last comic ended, I made a list of everything I’d always wanted to do in comics but hadn’t. Inspired by Oregon History Comics by Sarah Mirk and Monster Box by Tien Pham & Lark Pien, making a series of pocket-sized books in a cardboard slipcase was at the top of the list.

Now, years later, it’s done. Incredible Doom, my and Jesse Holdens comic about teens in the 90s making bad decisions over the early internet, was designed from the start with a slipcase in mind. It’s finally here, and it’s a beauty.

The case holds Season 1 (issues 1-6), each feelie, and the rarities issue, Incredible Doom #0.

It also has several hidden features. The hole in the front frames the cover illustrations for each issue perfectly, so you can choose what cover you like best, but we’ve also included an insert with six new illustrations to choose from. Jesse designed a special wedge shape inside the case that keeps whichever image you choose pressed against the window.

Like each of the comics that inspired it, you can tell this is hand assembled, not by someone in a factory, but someone who cares about the project. That’s part of the reason these slipcases ship flat, to be folded at home.

It’s fun. This video shows how it’s done.

I think these boxes are amazing, the completion of a decade long dream. I hope it helps Incredible Doom find a place on your shelf for years to come.

If you’d like one, head over to Patreon and become a member. You also get discounts on buying the previous issues to complete your set. None of which would have been possible without the support of my patrons. Thank you so much for your support.

"Become a Patron" button

Now for the nitty-gritty details…

Continue readingAbout the Incredible Doom Slipcase

Re-invigorating my blog.

I’m not much of a blogger but I’ve always wanted to be.

The value of keeping a blog for reasons beyond just sharing links to my work has been obvious to me for a while now. Watching folks like Austin Kleon, Andy Baio, John Gruber, Mark Evanier and others post week in and week out, I’ve yearned to organize my thoughts online, create an archive of interesting things, and to figure out ways to be of use to others.

Andy Baio wrote about his experience with blogging years ago:

It’s given me exposure, a place to share my projects and crazy experimentation with technology. It’s created new opportunities for me, directly or indirectly responsible for every major project I’ve gotten involved in. It’s a place to play and experiment with ideas, some of which led to big breakthroughs and passions. And it connected me to people who cared about the things I did, many of whom became lifelong friends.

via Waxy turns 10

Besides the fun of getting to build my corner of the Internet, stone by stone, the world that lives outside the big social networks is an exciting place to be right now.

Like the web comics boom of the early 2000s, the current independent internet is a vast beautiful mess. Things like Mastodon, tilde.club, Micro.blog, runyourown.social and the Indie Web make me want to be online to see how all this shakes out. The big social giants make me want to curl up and hide.

So, I moved this site from Squarespace to WordPress, filled in the archives a bit, and I plan to post more.

All to clear up my meager plot of land, so I can better watch the fireworks.

This should be fun.

Patrons: update your address

If you are a Patreon supporter of my comic series Incredible Doom update your address, because the slipcase for season one and the patron exclusive Issue # 0, featuring 70 pages of exclusive Incredible Doom comics, are about to go in the mail.

Both Patreon exclusive items have been in the works for years, and I’m proud of how they turned out.

If you’re not a baker and you’d like them, sign up quickly!

How to turn your books into time capsules – Austin Kleon

Years ago I borrowed this copy of Italo Calvino’s If On A Winter’s Night A Traveler from my father-in-law, and when I opened it up I found Calvino’s 1985 NYTimes obit and stories from a 1983 Harper’s.I was so surprised and delighted by these unexpected artifacts that I decided to start saving clippings in my own books.

via How to turn your books into time capsules – Austin Kleon

I love this idea. Even better is that issues of Incredible Doom come with artifacts of their own right from the start.

94D77224-B4F4-4CB5-A567-269D7C64FD41

Good reminder. Having a quick, easy way to say kind things to others is one of the best features of Twitter. SMS too.

I’m not sure I should have quit my day job.

Two weeks ago, I returned home from visiting family in Canada. They’d given me a check for inheritance my aunt had left me.

On the ferry ride back to the states I talked with my girlfriend, and we both decided I should put in my two weeks at my day job, the store I’d been at for the last nine years, take a portion of the money and try to draw comics full time. Take six months to dedicate to comics. See what happens.

 

I’d been thinking of leaving that job for years, but I‘d been dreaming of doing comics full time all my life.

When I left for Canada three weeks ago, I had no concrete plans to quit, yet yesterday was my last day at that job.

 I’m thrilled, overwhelmed, and frightened about what I’ve done.

Guess I better go make comics.

Backup Story – The First Time Samir Ran off

I just posted a new 16 page backup story exclusively for Patreon backers. It was a experiment to try and write and draw 10 pages in 10 hours but ended up being 16 over 4 different days. Still fun though!

At the same time I’m hard at work on Season 2, Issue #0, and the slipcase to hold Season 1. Lots of fun stuff going on!