Comics, Cats, & co*cktails, April 2024 (2024)

I’ve got a lot to go over, but first, can I just take a moment to appreciate the weather! It’s 70 degrees, sunny, and the tulips in my backyard are in full bloom. A lot of this winter was really hard, both personally and in the -10 degrees sense, but it really feels like I’ve come out the other side to something better! Hope you’re all feeling the same!

What We’re Working On!

First thing’s first, let’s talk Smut! We launched our first NSFW comic campaign last Monday and the response has been fantastic! We’re 80% of the way funded with our biggest projected backer count ever! For those unfamiliar, Smut is an erotic slice-of-life comedy about three women working together to sort out their messy love lives. The first issue is about Dakota, a personal trainer attempting to exercise restraint on her first date with a hot photographer by getting to know him before she jumps his bones. Think Giant Days meets Sunstone.

I wanted to make this book for more reasons than I can count, but I think it was most directly a response to some of the NSFW content I’ve seen in comics and how weirdly voyeristic and objectifying it can be. Stories have always been about characters to me and it never made sense to tell one if you’re treating the characters like poseable blow up dolls. There’s so much to say about relationships and sex and so many of the books selling themselves on those ideas don’t go any further than using it as a sales tactic. Smut is, if nothing else, our way of pushing back on that model of doing things. If that sounds cool to you, we’d love to have you on board!

Preorder Smut #1 Today!

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Without getting into any details (for legal reasons), MechaTon is now 100% back in our hands and we’re going to be looking for a new home for it soon! If you know, you know, but needless to say, this is something we’re really happy about. We’re printing the first volume as we speak and are excited to start showing off the full story at conventions (more on that later!). For now, it’s in a bit of limbo, but we’ll keep you posted on where you can find it and when we might be able to start making more MechaTon!

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After a biblical amount of bad luck, pestilence, and financial troubles, The Catskin and the Rose is back in production and it looks so good! A big thank you to everyone that was patient with us as we delt with a series of events I can only truly explain via witch’s curse, but I’m so excited to see things back on track! Here’s a small taste of a page that’s recently been completed:

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Finally, I’d like to announce something I’ve been working on for…Oh God, it’s been 8 years. Before I ever thought about making comics, I was writing short stories and movie scripts. Shortly after I graduated, I was burned out trying to put together a production team to make film and I had this image I couldn’t shake of a girl sitting in a train station that kept watching trains come and go and couldn’t find the courage to get on. From that I made a short story. Then a few more about her and the only friend she had, planning to make 4-7. I made over 20 and they became chapters in a novel that was and is WAY too ambitious for a first time novelist.

It’s been a long journey, but I’m nearly ready to let Kayla and Sarah out into the world. My debut novel, In the Pines is going to be released chapter by chapter here on Substack. I haven’t decided on a premiere date yet, but I’ll be letting you guys know soon. This is exciting and nerve racking and I really hope you guys enjoy it!

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Oh yeah, we’re back! It’s been way too long of a hiatus, but we’re ready to get back into the con circuit and tear it up! Hope we get to connect with some of you while we’re out there!

  • May 4th: FREE COMIC BOOK DAY - Dark Tower Comics (Logan Square), Chicago, IL (Wells)/Kapow! Comics, Sherwood, AR — Dalton and I are in separate comic shops for FCBD, so come to whichever is closest and get your books signed!

  • July 12-14th: CAPITAL CITY COMIC CON - Lansing, MI — This one’s a first for me and I’m really excited to bring some comics to Michigan! Might be doing a panel as well!

  • Oct 5-6th: ST. LOUIS MIGHTY CON - St. Louis, MO — Love St. Louis, it’s where my fake Jewish parents live (long story) so I’ll take any chance I can to visit them!

  • Oct 26th: LAFAYETTE MIGHTY CON - Lafayette, IN — A smaller one day con, but one I did last year and really enjoyed! Maybe this year I won’t get lost in the parking lot!

I’ve got more applications out and will be updating this list accordingly! I’ll also be at C2E2 as a visitor on Saturday the 27th of this month, so if you’ll be there let me know!

What We’re Reading

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(Wells’s pick) All Against All goes HARD. I don’t know if I can say anything else that can really convey the energy of this book, but I’ll try to explain what I mean. Alex Paknadel first impressed me with Giga, his mecha series with Vault and I’ve been dying for sci-fi that scratches the same philisophically sophisticated itch while also being extremely imaginative and genuinely compelling. About the only other thing I’ve found in that same vein is Jeff Vandermeer’s Annihilation, which should tell you something about the level we’re operating on.

Caspar Wijngaard’s psychodelic neon spray paint style is unmistakable and elevates anything it touches to a commanding artistic statement. Meanwhile, Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou is a lettering genius who’s scope of work is genuinely shocking. All three of these creators are reasons to pick up a book and they all worked on the same one!

The story itself is something truly special: A parasitic alien race desperately searches for a new species to use as a host in its war against an unseen force and stumbles upon the ravaged, extinct Earth where they find a reservoir of DNA from all known species from the planet. In their search for the most suitable host, they clone countless creatures and force them to live in a heavily monitored enclosed space and out of that hostile environment comes Helpless, the only human to grow to maturity in the dome.

I’m not even close to doing this setup justice, it is Dune levels of dense world building and thoughtful design and it sucks you in from beginning to the bitter end. Captivating, raw, brutal, and at times genuinely emotional, All Against All has to be experienced to be understood. This Image book can doubtless be found at any bookstore, comic shop, or online retailer, so do yourself a favor and put it in your hands!

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(Dalton’s pick) Tim Truman's Hawkworld from 1989 is an odd duck. Published in an era where DC Comics was trying desperately to force themselves into a Marvel-shaped hole, it was the latest in a line-wide initiative to reboot their Silver Age heroes into new, modern versions. These new versions usually came with no shortage of grit and melodrama thanks to the Boom of '86 and it seems that Hawkman was no exception.

Written and illustrated by Truman (known for earlier works such as Grimjack and Scout), Hawkworld set out to tell the as-yet unseen circ*mstances that first led Thanagarian Katar Hol to earth all the way back in 1961's Brave and the Bold #34. But Thanagar isn't the bright, shining city of the sixties; rather, it's the veneer of that era built upon the slums and ghettos brought to the forefront of mainstream media in the 1980's. Corruption runs rampant throughout the ruling, winged elite. Addiction claims not only the most vulnerable but the most capable. Katar Hol is a man who wants desperately to save his world and return it to an era before the colonizing influence of the elite infected every facet of the planet's people.

If all of this sounds like yet another grim'n'gritty eighties' dystopia, you're not wrong. It's about as poignant as any well-meaning boomer could conceive at the time and there's a disappointingly small amount of hawk-action to soak in that you would hope for in a book about a man with wings and a mace. But there's something about the effort, the gall of using Hawkman of all characters to talk about class warfare that keeps my eyes glued to the page. Well, that and Truman's art, which is worth the price of admission alone.

Hawkman is a character I'm a little bit obsessed with. I mean, a guy with this simple a concept (wings + mace) shouldn't have this convoluted a history, but Hawkworld began an eight-year saga that ended with DC putting an embargo on any creator using the character in any context because they had made such a mess. Which is why this initial miniseries kinda rips despite all of the rolling eyes. It's a beautiful set of pages that swings for the fences, hits the ball, and still somehow manages to strike out. As a student of the craft, I can't help but be enthralled.

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Well, the sun has broken through the clouds and frost has buggered off to somewhere in Canada, so let’s talk about a refreshing sipper you’ll love for the warmer weather! Something of a play on a mimosa, this French drink uses peach nectar to create a wonderfully sweet co*cktail perfect for your reintroduction to spring. Let’s talk about the Bellini


  • 4 oz Prosecco

  • 2 oz Peach Puree

Pour into a champaign flute and that’s all you need. You can spice it up with different fruit or maybe a bit of gin, but, like a mimosa, this is meant to be simple and clean (cue the Kingdom Hearts music).

If you have access to ripe peaches, I highly recommend you make it yourself—there’s simply nothing better than a freshly cut peach—but in all liklihood, this will be one you ask a bartender for over brunch. You’d be surprised how many places will have it available!

Adventures in Cat Ownership

I did promise, so let’s talk about the real cats we met in Curacao! The island is covered in non-native animals from years of trade, colonization, and general human meddling. There’s goats and dogs and chickens everywhere you go; so inevitably, house cats were going to make an appearance. Because the island is a state of perpetual warm weather, kitten season never ends, so if you keep your eyes open, you can’t help but notice some around.

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This is Henry, we spotted him hanging out by the pool and Brianna excitedly approached him. Being a distinctly orange goober, he melted like putty in her hands and let us pet and coo over him for the better part of an hour!

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We also met Yin and Yang (before you asked, we named all of them), a bonded pair of sisters that approached us at a seafood restaurant. The staff said they’d lived here longer than most of them had been working there and they looked really healthy, so I think they’ve got a good thing going!

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Yang was extremely outgoing while Yin mostly kept her distance, though Brianna did coax the little white cat over for some pets and a little crab cake.

Okay, that’s all for today, talk soon!

Wells Thompson

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Comics, Cats, & co*cktails, April 2024 (2024)
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