Wednesday, November 6, 2013

CAB and Heather Benjamin

This weekend the Hidden Fortress can be found at the first ever Comic Arts Brooklyn! Gabe Fowler, besides being a really sweet guy, and running my favorite store in Brooklyn (Desert Island), AND putting out one of the best comics newspapers in the country (Smoke Signal), he has been involved in organizing some of the best comic shows in the area over the last several years. Recently, he was one of the founders of the tour de force known as the Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival, and this year he's forging his own path with CAB. And we're excited to be a part of it!

After the show, Heather Benjamin has an opening at Мишка in Brooklyn, which I highly recommend attending. Heather is brilliant, one of my favorite illustrators currently working; we were lucky to have her drawings grace the cover(s) of the new MONSTER book. The letterpress covers she designed for the individual books are difficult to photograph clearly, so I thought this would be a good time and place to show off her work:
Volume 1

Volume 2

Volume 3

I'm looking forward to seeing you all there

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

MONSTER reviews!

Cool! The book has only been in existence for a couple of weeks and we're excited to be seeing some sweet reviews appearing online already:

Tom Spurgeon wrote about it on his blog, the Comics Reporter. I love Tom, he's one of the best people in the business, and every time he mentions us on his blog, our views over here triple! Like most people in the independent comics world, we owe him a lot!

Andy Rench wrote an equally wonderful review over at his Printed-Matters blog. I don't know Andy personally, but he has excellent taste! And his blog belies a deep, passionate appreciation of printed work. Great stuff!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

SPX 2013

Did SPX seem a lot bigger this year? The Hidden Fortress Press set up shop at one of (what seemed like) hundreds of tables in the ballroom, selling our new MONSTER book, some old favorites, a new book by Cybele Collins, and a ton of PCC books.

We had the good fortune of sitting next to Michel Fiffe (I'm kinda in love with his COPRA book), Melissa Mendes (who debuted Can't Lose at SPX, her new Friday Night Lights fanzine), Chuck Forsman (whose TEOTFW collection disappeared so fast he had to cancel his second book signing), and Ian Densford (who made some awesomely action packed, and beautifully printed, minis).

I didn't get many chances to walk around on the showroom floor, but here are some of the things I found during my brief forays:

Frans Boukas released a super limited edition (of 30!) print version of his contributions to the BARTKIRA project. His work is awesome, and deserves to be printed much, much larger...

Technically not new, but new to me, is this OBJECT 10 book from Floating World Comics. Killian Eng is one of those super young super-talents that drives me mad with envy; the vast amount of beautiful work he's produced in a relatively short period of time makes me feel like I've been seriously slacking.

This Frontier series from Youth In Decline is only 2 issues deep, as of this writing, but I'm already a superfan. The first issue focused on the work of Uno Moralez, someone whose work I'd seen for a while but never connected the name with the face, and this second issue focuses on the immensely talented Hellen Jo. I'm psyched to see where it goes next...

I could go on, there is so much beautiful work being done right now, but I'll have to save it for later.

On our drive home, we delivered the new MONSTER to every decent comic shop along the way. You can now purchase it in our store, as well as these fine establishments: Atomic Books, Chapel Hill Comics, Floating World Comics, Drawn and Quarterly, Big Planet Comics, Ada Books, Armageddon Shop, and (soon) Desert Island and the Million Year Picnic. I'm going to try and get it into as many stores as I can, so keep an eye out...

Friday, September 13, 2013


the Hidden Fortress wagon is fully loaded with boxes upon boxes of books, and we're about to begin the harrowing journey to distant Bethesda, MD 

the new MONSTER is finally upon us! 200 pages of comics, offset printed in two colors, with letterpress and silkscreen covers by Heather Benjamin. here's a shot of the fully unfolded wraparound cover:

here is a full list of the contributing artists:

Tom Toye, Edie Fake, Brittany Hague, Jon Vermilyea, Leif Goldberg, Mike Taylor, Sam Dollenmayer, Michael Deforge, Keith Jones, Mickey Zacchilli, Marc Bell, Molly O'Connell, Seth Cooper, Devin Flynn, Lale Westvind, Jordan Crane, Brian Ralph, Mollie Goldstrom, Paul Lyons, Mat Brinkman, Roby Newton, Walker Mettling, Andy Neal and Kevin Hooyman.

that's a lot of talent to cram into 200 pages!

the book will be available this weekend at SPX, come by and take a look!

this book is now available in our store

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Roby and Paul

3 years ago, I conned Roby into helping me print a new Monster anthology. She was running the offset press at Black Cat Graphics, and printed most of that over-sized Monster book there after hours. It was kind of a hellish experience for the two of us, getting that book done in time for SPX. I think we finished stitching them around 2am the morning of the show, and I promptly jumped in the car and drove overnight to Maryland.

And apparently we learned nothing from all this, because here's a new MONSTER book, and it's another back breaker, with SPX breathing down our necks yet again...

Here's a glimpse at the comic that Roby drew for the book:

and I did this thing:

Friday, August 30, 2013

Mat Brinkman

i met Mat sometime in the fall of 1992; he was part of the SBS crew that regularly skated past my room on Angell Street in the middle of the night. the hill does not at first appear to be skateable... it's a severe incline, with crossing traffic at the bottom, but they somehow had it timed perfectly. when the light turned red, distantly visible from the top of the hill, they started down, so that by the time they reached the bottom (at terrible speeds) the light turned green again, allowing them to pass harmlessly through the intersection. oh, but they took some safety precautions, of course: metal plates screwed into their boots and gloves, so they'd leave a shower of sparks in their wake as they skated down. when they rode en masse, it looked and sounded like a comet rolling downhill.

so you can imagine i was a bit in awe of Mat at that first meeting. and honestly, that awe has not diminished in the 20 years that i've known him. his drawings are some of my favorite things ever made, i still regularly read his comics, he's played in some of the best bands this city has produced, and now he's making board games. that's pretty damn rad.

oh, and he did a comic for the new MONSTER anthology. here's a page:

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Brian Ralph

To be honest, it was pretty much blind luck that Brian and I were assigned rooms right next to each other, our freshman year in the art school dorms. It also helped that his roommate went to great lengths to make their room unpleasant to be in, forcing Brian to spend most of his time hanging out with me and my crazy roommate Bob. Suffice to say, I feel pretty damn lucky to have known this dude for all of my adult life.

There's a very good reason why Brian is an international funny book superstar: he works harder than everyone else. His output of work over the years that I've known him is mind-boggling: Fire Ball, Cave-In, Climbing Out, Daybreak, Reggie-12, countless minis and short strips in anthologies and magazines, posters, prints, t-shirts, action figures (seriously, action figures?! That's living the dream...) and on, and on... Oh, and everything he does just happens to be wonderful.

Brian and I made the first MONSTER anthology in, what, '97? I can't remember exact dates... but it was a long, long time ago. I think he's contributed to every single one of them since. Here's a couple pages from his comic for the new one:

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Jordan Crane

Jordan Crane is one of the best people working in comics; he's frighteningly talented,  incredibly kind and generous. in the mid 90's, he began editing and publishing (and contributing to) NON, which set the pace for all other comics anthologies of the time, and granted exposure to a number of unknown comics creators who would go on to be big-timers. the line-up for NON #5 alone reads like a Murderers' Row of funny book badassery: Jason, Brinkman, Megan Kelso, Nick Bertozzi, Chippendale, BRalph, Rege, Paul Pope, David Choe, Steven Weissman, Kurt Wolfgang, and many many others... now that's a heavy book.

and now, with a number of books under his belt, and two regular titles (Keeping Two and Uptight), and his regular production of beautiful prints and illustrations (seriously, check out all the stuff in his store), it's kind of shocking that he had time to send us this fantastic comic for the new MONSTER:

...but i sure am grateful that he did. actually, this is the second appearance Jordan has made in the pages of MONSTER, he did a story for a long lost, finished but never printed, volume of MONSTER about 15 years ago. wait, 15 years? it can't have been that long, can it?

well, if i can ever get the covers from BRalph, i'll be finally putting that lost MONSTER together and made available in the Hidden Fortress shop. i'll let you know how that goes.

Friday, June 28, 2013


there is now a Hidden Fortress storenvy store, which is a great place to buy all our comics, and whatever else we decide to make, like that shirt i made with this grotesque image on it:

i'll keep the Big Cartel store around for now, but truthfully, the storenvy store will be getting most of my attention.

Friday, May 24, 2013

CAKE 2013

the Hidden Fortress Press is thrilled to be returning to the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo on June 15-16th! Walker Mettling, of the Providence Comics Consortium, has been kind enough to provide this Providence comics family cheat-sheet for finding us all out there on the floor:

just looking at that map, and without even knowing who's at the rest of those tables, it's easy to tell that this show will be a tour de force. Leif Goldberg is one of the most talented folks i know, i'm sure he'll be bringing some wondrous wares to Chicago; i know that Cybele and Olivia will both have amazing new books; Walker has a talent for getting some of the best cartoonists alive to work on the PCC anthologies with him; Mike T and Mickey Z are two of my favorite people, and favorite artists. i'm sure they'll have new comics too, possibly a RAV8 from Mickey?; Caroline Paquita and her Pegacorn Press can work wonders with a Risograph; and Jo Dery is one of the greatest and most talented people i've ever met. oh, and she did all the promotional art for CAKE this year too.

i'm sad to say that i won't be able to make it this year; the show looks to be a great one, with so many wonderful people under one roof! in my absence, Roby Newton will be there to run the Hidden Fortress table. you should stop by and see her, she's the bee's knees

Friday, May 17, 2013


Last weekend, the Hidden Fortress descended upon Toronto, Ontario, Canada for TCAF, the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, and brought some copies of the freshly printed second volume of the three-part MONSTER comic. This volume features the work of Sam Dollenmayer, Michael DeForge, Keith Jones, Mickey Zacchilli, Marc Bell, Molly O'Connell, Seth Cooper and Devin Flynn, and once again has a beautifully printed letterpress cover by Heather Benjamin:

here's one of Marc Bell's pages, painstakingly reproduced on the Ryobi:

TCAF and Toronto were wonderful. Every chance I got to walk away from the table, I found a different nook or cranny where more tables were set up, with more people selling more comics. It was both overwhelming and awe-inspiring. 

here's a picture of Cheryl Kaminsky commandeering the table while I wandered off on one of my forays:

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


For the past year or so, Chuck Forsman has been maintaining a database of mini-comics artists and distros called the Muster-List, and it has become an invaluable resource for connecting comic makers/sellers to their readers. As of today, you can find the Hidden Fortress Press among the ranks of that proud pantheon!

Everything that Chuck does is gold. His book The End of the Fucking World will be available in July from Fantagraphics Books, and he is the publisher of the incredible Oily Comics line of mini-comics. An Oily Comics subscription was one of the last wise investments I made this year.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Lale Westvind

Providence was recently visited by the comic book dynamo known as Lale Westvind, and I'm pleased to announce that the Hidden Fortress Press was able to add her to the roster of artists working on the over-sized (it's still growing...) new issue of MONSTER! Lale is incredibly talented. Hot Dog Beach #2 won an Ignatz at last year's SPX, and she has a beautiful comic in the new issue of Arthur magazine. Check out her blog here, or better yet, buy her comics here!

Here's a preview of her 8 page MONSTER comic:

like everything she does, it is awesome.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Mickey Z

well, dear reader, i have good news and i have bad. the bad news is that Mickey Zacchilli has pulled her comic from this current Monster. but fear not! i don't know how she did it, but somehow in the last week she's produced eleven new pages to replace the old strip. she is putting us all to shame... 

now go look at her tumblr!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Hidden Fortress Press Webstore

hey look, i started a Hidden Fortress Store over at BigCartel, where you will be able to purchase the following comic books:

Monster anthology

Fantasmancer #0 by Roby Newton

Thirteen Sided Die #1 by Paul Lyons

Realm Rider by Roby Newton