Convention Report: Singing Dancing Dorks

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on March 6, 2015 by dwbarbee

Hello, blog. Evidence of my laziness abounds, because I’m just now catching you up on my convention activities almost two whole weeks after the fact. Yikes. But here I am, ready to regale you with tales of my adventures at MGACon. It was the second annual comic convention in my area, which is a pretty big deal for us. It was a sea of geeks and I was determined to make those bastards read.

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The first person I met was a lady who had already read A Town Called Suckhole. Then I met some kids who said their dad had read all of my books. This was all pretty damn exciting. These folks had probably found my books thanks to the Golden Bough, my local independent bookstore. I’m still not used to meeting people who have already read my stuff. Then I met a nice lady wearing a cool Poison Elves shirt, and after realizing that we both knew what Poison Elves was, we did a hundred high-fives and she bought two of my books.

My booth was next to a guy who looks like Jackson Publick. I told him as much as he didn’t know what I was talking about. My sister showed up later and I asked her to tell him that he was handsome. She saved my ass there. She also got me a legend of Zelda shirt since I’m about to be a dad and we’re naming her Zelda. I also wound up getting a Frank Frazetta shirt and a True Detective shirt for my wife.

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Then there were the kids. Tons of them. I saw one kid dressed as Starlord dance around in front of my booth to “Come and Get Your Love.” It’s weird how everyone, especially kids, knows about Guardians of the Galaxy now. And seventies pop music. Suddenly they’re all experts. Later I heard a kid talking to the booth on the other side of mine about superheroes and the artist there asked if he knew who Vision was. The kid didn’t, and I piped in and told the kid that he’ll know about him soon enough. Just gotta wait for the movie.

I had a weird moment where some kids dressed as Ninja Turtles approached me asking for me to sign their autograph books. One of them also wanted me to draw the Shredder for him, and in a giant room full of award-winning artists, I drew the least crappy Shredder I possibly could. My drawing skills have withered and almost died since I was that kid’s age, but whatever, here’s an autograph and a Shredder, kid. The whole moment kind of took me back to my childhood. I was at some amusement park where I got a guy dressed as Leonardo to give me an autograph. Later that day my sister drew all over the autograph and pissed me off forever.

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Speaking of kids, almost every kid I saw wanted my California Raisins. Some backstory: I was gifted a ton of California Raisins from my grandmother and I gathered up the extras/duplicates to give as a bonus for buying a book. But sometimes a kid would walk by and reach out to try and steal one, and their parent would pull them away. If the parent didn’t pull them away, it only gave me an opportunity to bribe them into buying a book just to give their kid that skateboarding California Raisin they desperately wanted. It usually worked.

I also had lots of comic cards to give away with every purchase. And hardly anyone wanted them. I only gave away a few 1994 Marvel Universe cards, starting with the Drax and Gamora cards that I dug up from my collection. Of course everyone wanted those. They’re probably worth money now, seeing them both in their old stripper outfits. Then I had Dinosaurs Attack cards and NO ONE wanted those, which is fucking crazy to me. Those cards are awesome. After talking to one guy for a while, I practically forced him to take one, promising him that they would make him cool and get him laid. Thanks to that card he’s probably swimming in poontang as we speak.

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Then the coolest thing of the con happened. A chick on roller skates dressed like Rainbow Dash sped up to my table. She demanded that I sell her two books and draw the above picture in one of them. She said it was from a dream she had. That lady’s crazy, but super nice, and so were her friends Blake and Bo. They were some of the nicest people EVER and it was awesome hanging out with them. I love meeting nice nerds who don’t try to lord their nerdiness over you but instead bask in the enjoyment of loving dorky stuff, which is what it’s supposed to be about anyway. Later on I had a tall skinny Stormtrooper walk by my table and shake hands with me and it turned out that it was Bo again, dressed as a Stormtrooper because that’s how he rolls. Super nice fella.

And that was pretty much it. The con was a success because I sold almost all of my books. Three of those sales were to a group of guys who interviewed me for their YouTube channel (it’s called Torchbearer TV, and hopefully it’ll be up soon). I like selling books and promoting bizarro to the unsuspecting masses. Hell, I even enjoy infecting today’s youth with my vulgar literature. But most of all I enjoy hanging out with nice people who aren’t douchebags. It seems like I only get to do that at conventions, so I guess I need to make it out to more of them. World Horror Con is in Atlanta in just a few months…..

Out Now: THE NIGHT’S NEON FANGS

Posted in Uncategorized on January 20, 2015 by dwbarbee

It’s finally here, my first collection (either of short novels or really long short stories, take your pick). The title story is The Night’s Neon Fangs, which was an idea I came up with for Eraserhead Press’s Pitch-A-Palooza event over two years ago. Now it’s available for purchase at Amazon

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Here are the descriptions of the four stories contained within.
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THE NIGHT’S NEON FANGS
On Christmas night, Buster Wade is cursed by the high voltage bite of an electric werewolf. With his life in shambles, he takes a job as the bodyguard for a grisly old miser looking to harness the bloodthirsty lightning coursing through his veins. Together, they travel a grotesque American monsterscape, sweeping up mummies that rain from the sky. Can Buster contain himself until he’s able to end his curse? Or will he sink his sizzling neon fangs into everyone around him?
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NOAH’S ARKOPOLIS
Noah’s Ark never found land. The Lord God left him and all the animals alone on a planet of endless ocean. In the coming centuries, Noah’s simple boat became Arkopolis, a floating city where Noah’s human family and all the animals of the earth bred generations of mutant citizens. Now, that animal world is on the brink of war, and their only hope is the ghost of their righteous, noble, and falling-down-drunk founder, Noah.
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THAT ULTIMO SUMBITCH
He roams the outback astride the meanest ostrich alive, a stone-cold killer with six-shooters for hands, on the hunt for wanted outlaws, reptiloid invaders, and scalp-hungry hippies. He has a name, but in this bionic, Bizarro western, they all call him that ultimo sumbitch.
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BATCOP OUTTA HELL
All the people in Guano City are bats, and upholding the law are the crime-fighting batcops. But something is rotten in the caped crusaders’ ranks. A slain officer has returned from the pits of Hell to take revenge for his family’s unjust murder and rejoin the force. Now, the lovable misfits of Precinct 7 must help their fellow officer on his bloody rampage across Guano City, all for the glory of the Batdevil.

Cover Debut: The Night’s Neon Fangs

Posted in Uncategorized on January 2, 2015 by dwbarbee

My next book, The Night’s Neon Fangs, just went to the printer, and here’s the cover art. It may still be changed slightly but it’s so impressive that I’ve been sharing it around. Thanks to Jim Agpalza for the beautiful rendering of my electric werewolf, and to my publisher Rose for designing the cover. I’m very excited for this book; it’s my favorite thing I’ve written since A Town Called Suckhole.

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BizarroCon 2014: Like Pinball in the 80’s

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on November 21, 2014 by dwbarbee

Last weekend I attended BizarroCon in Portland, Oregon, where all the weirdos gather to read, write, and to just get excited about strange books. It’s a magical time for a fan of bizarro fiction like myself, and it helps me to build and improve myself as a bizarro author. Plus there are tons of interesting folks to meet, especially this year, which saw a lot of new faces. Faces like this:

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I arrived in Portland Thursday and met Robert Devereaux at his gate. He gave me a ride in his rental car over to Edgefield, where the convention was being held. Devereaux is a great guy and one of the first bizarro writers I ever read (seriously, I read his story “Fructus in Eden” ten years ago when I worked in a children’s library). Robert speaks with both experience and a real sense of kindness. He’s extremely nice for a guy who writes sex and violence the way he does. Anyway, I got to Edgefield, checked in, and started hugging people. Later I wound up in the pool hall with John Skipp and Jim Agpalza. Jim and I made plans for something really raunchy as we each got whooped by Skipp, because he’s some sort of pool Jedi.

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I also got some awesome books. There are always too many great books and authors at BizarroCon to properly give them all a shoutout. I got to attend two workshops, one by the brilliant madman Cody Goodfellow and the other by Brian Allen Carr. Brian’s a really cool dude and a VERY smart writer. It was great to hear some of his wisdom and generally just shoot the shit. He’s from Texas, he’s a wildman, and you sort of want him to ramble on about how time is a flat circle. Great dude. Unfortunately I missed his badass reading on Friday night, but made up for it the next day at the Broken River Books reading. Cody Goodfellow did my favorite reading of the con and Michael Kazepis was a close second with my favorite line: “I am seventeen going on dust.” Just beautiful.

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That’s Kevin L. Donihe, lovingly embraced by Michael Allen Rose… moments before he gives Donihe the agonizing electrical prod that he so desperately craves. And that was just one traumatic scene from the Ultimate Bizarro Showdown, where fifteen of us stand before our peers and strive to make asses of ourselves. There were a lot of great performances and stories being told. Andy Adams gave a performance entitled “Texas Chainsaw Massacre with Umbrellas Instead of Chainsaws” and newcomer Tom Lucas laid some very too-weird-to-be-made-up shit on us. In the middle of all that, Nick Gucker came over and gave me a backrub. Super strong hands on that guy.  Ultimately, Karl Fischer won the Showdown with his Blackbird poetry, using award-winning author and Broken River publisher J. David Osborne as a prop.

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It was fantastic. I had a great time as always and it felt really good to see all my weird friends and fellow writers. I got to have some good conversations with my editor and publisher and I feel like I’m going to be growing a lot as an author in the coming year. Big things are coming. You want an example? Well, check out the second name from the top….

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Pilgrimage to Portland

Posted in Uncategorized on July 24, 2014 by dwbarbee

Last weekend I went to visit my publisher in Portland, Oregon. I’m pretty much always happy to be an author in the Eraserhead Press stable, but this was especially exciting. I got to visit with other bizarro authors without convention duties getting in the way. I got to have fun, learn stuff, and see a truly beautiful city. I got to drink a ton of fucking beer.

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The plane ride was okay. I got to watch some episodes of Hannibal, which is an awesome show. Karl Fischer picked me up from the airport and introduced me to the first of the many food trucks that would provide most of my sustenance. Then we hung out with Jeff Burk, who is the coolest because he let me stay at his place over the trip. Huge thanks to him and his roommates. I slept in the living room with a dog wearing a cone of shame. His snoring actually helped me sleep. So we all hung out at Jeff’s talking about geeky stuff and using foul language. I also met Squishy, Jeff’s gigantically obese cat. Meeting Squishy is like touching the fingertip of God. She’s like a big fuzzy Buddha and we all have no choice but to worship and adore her. And pictures don’t do her justice. She’s twice as big as this image suggests:

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Afterwards, we went to Lucky Lab to visit Carlton Mellick III and Rose O’Keefe, which was awesome. We talked about the direction I should be heading as an author, and I’m very excited about it. I’m working on polishing off the three novellas coming up next as well as writing the novel after that, but the pitches I’m working on now are going to be very badass. If you liked A Town Called Suckhole, you’re going to get more stories similar to that. So we drank beers and ate pizza and shut Lucky Lab down, then we went to the Eraserhead Press office so I could see where it all happens. They had a lot of books, some Lovecraftian stuffed animals, and some disgusting food. It was great! I even got to wear Kevin Donihe’s signature wig.

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Then things went crazy. The next day Jeff and I decided to go outside and conquer the fucking world. We went to a comic book swap, where I bought seventeen issues of Spider-Man 2099 and Jeff got some Amalgam Comics. We went to a bunch of comic book shops and video game stores because Portland has a ton of each. Outside one of the video game shops was a guy with a keyboard singing a jazzy song called “I’m Gonna Hurt You, Girl.” I think he was making it up as he went, and he may have also been crazy, but he was giving that song his all. Speaking of that, while walking the streets I saw a ton of homeless people, a bunch of crazy folks, and a fucking armada of hipsters.

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That’s a picture of the bathroom in Ground Kontrol, an arcade/bar that quickly became my favorite thing in the universe. Jeff also showed me around Powell’s, where I signed a copy of The Best Bizarro Fiction of the Decade. We visited Upper Playground to see Alex Pardee’s Bunnywith gallery. We drank beers down the street from Mary’s, an awesome strip club. Jeff told me where the term “Shanghaied” comes from. We went inside the Lovecraft Bar for only a few moments because that place was WAY too cool for a dork like me. We visited the infamous Voodoo Donuts, and finally we met back with Rose and Carlton for more beers and a visit with Vince Kramer, who’s a really good hugger. Jeff and I finally went back to his place and worshipped Squishy some more until it was time for sleep.

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The next morning I met with Rose for breakfast. We had a really nice talk about books and being an author and it was exactly what I wanted out of the whole trip. I’m very fortunate to work with such amazing people, with each of us sharing a passion for putting weird stories out into the world. Rose took me to the airport just as the hipster brunch crowd was starting to arrive. Thank you, Rose. Thank you, Jeff. And thank you to everyone else I saw last weekend. You’re all awesome and I had an amazing time. I would say “drink a beer for me!” but let’s be honest, you had a beer started before you even read this.

Game of Thrones Art: A Zone of Zombies

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on June 25, 2014 by dwbarbee

The fourth season of Game of Thrones just ended and it was a great season. But now we’re stuck with the annual ten months of Not Game of Thrones, the reality we live in when the best show ever isn’t on. I hate that reality. So to deal with Thrones Withdrawal, I created some art. Originally the plan was to make white walkers of the show’s dead characters, but that wound up messing with the color scheme. Plus, no blood, and there must be blood. So I made them zombies. And I made them in MSPaint, which might just be my favorite way to draw these days. Here they are:

I started with Oberyn Martell, because you start with awesome.

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Then I made Ned Stark, the show’s first big soul-shattering death.

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And for the final episode I did Tywin Lannister, fresh from the privy.

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There were others I wanted to draw (like Ygritte, Joffrey, Maester Luwin, and Qhorin Halfhand), but I’ve got books to write and flights to book. Let these pieces remind you of how awesome season four was. Game of Thrones really does get better with each season, and let us pray that it stays that way. That goes double for the books. Hear that, George R. R. Martin? Please don’t Dark Tower your readers. Please.

Praise for the upcoming THE NIGHT’S NEON FANGS

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on May 5, 2014 by dwbarbee

My next book will be a collection of three novellas, the title story of which is THE NIGHT’S NEON FANGS. This story came about through Eraserhead’s pitch-a-palooza contest, where a ton of bizarro authors pitched as many weird book ideas as they could. This was my successful entry, a story about an electric werewolf in a world where it rains mummies. If that doesn’t seem weird enough, it started out with a character who had dolphins for arms and legs. Well, after cutting out the dolphins and writing the thing, I sent out THE NIGHT’S NEON FANGS to some authors I respect and admire a great deal. One of them, Stephen Graham Jones, already responded with some very kind words:

“In my worst nightmares, the werewolves have these glowing fangs. David Barbee takes that about twenty steps farther, in here. Now I’ve got new nightmares. Better nightmares.”

If you don’t know Stephen Graham Jones, you should fix that. He rules. He’s a connoisseur of horror and has written a ton of brilliant books like “The Last Final Girl,” “Zombie Bake-Off,” and “It Came From Del Rio,” just to name a few. I’m monumentally grateful to him for these kind words, and hopefully you’ll be able to see them on the cover of THE NIGHT’S NEON FANGS soon. It might end up looking something like this: 

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