Category Archives: News

Comics Journalism for the Southwest Minneapolis Patch!

Hey, everybody!

This message (below) comes from a dear pal-o-mine, Jon Collins. He’s edits the Southwest Minneapolis Patch and is looking for cartoonists to develop stories for his site. Patch is an AOL initiative specializing in hyper-localized online news writing. It’s pretty cool! And there might be some money in it for you. Which is also cool!

Southwest Minneapolis neighborhoods include: Armatage, East Harriet, Fulton, Kennedy, King Field, Linden Hills, Lynnhurst, Tangletown and Windom. I don’t think you need to live in one of those neighborhoods to contribute, but it couldn’t hurt!

Anyway, read his little all-call and get in touch with Jon if you have any questions.

+ Sarah M.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

So I’m the editor of a new online community newspaper covering Southwest Minneapolis (typically anything south of 36th street). I’m looking for creative ways to cover the news (local politics, nbrd issues, development). Comics would be awesome!

Not sure if it’s something that appeals to folks, but a sort of Ted Rall or Joe Sacco look at neighborhood issues could be great and unique. We just spent a lot of coverage on this dog park that some folks thought disrespected a MLK memorial. Could we tell part of that story in comic form? As editor, I could clue you in on an issue and help you find the angle (like I would with a normal reporter).

As you can tell, I don’t have anything definitive in mind, it could be opinionated or straight (comic) journalism, but I would love to hear any proposals or pitches. Not sure what normal compensation is for comic artists, but we could talk.

Jon Collins
Editor, Southwest Minneapolis,

Let’s Talk… Cartoonist Conspiracy Message Board Restructured

The Cartoonist Conspiracy message board had never been all that active, but in recent years it has become a real ghost town. With other forms of communications being popularized, message boards in general have become less active parts of the conversation on the internet. I think this is unfortunate… more and more conversation on the internet is going into corporate-controlled “gated-communities” like facebook, where one can only see and participate in the conversation if one chooses to be a member.

So, I’m attempting something that hopefully may make our board a little livelier.

Our message board has always suffered from “topic bloat.” When I first put it up, I figured that it made sense to organize the conversation into different conversational buckets… I now think this was an error. While in theory this made sense for browsing what you are interested in, in reality it just fragmented the conversation so you had to dig for what interested you.

The community button on the site now links directly into the new section of the message board for community driven-discussion.
This is the first area people will see when they go to look at the message board. You can post on any topic you wish to there.

You can still access all the old topics and content here… and all of our cells still have their own sections there… but now the conversation on the board will hopefully be driven by users rather than topic buckets.

Cartoonist Molly Norris Goes Into Hiding

This is just horrifying. It’s probably the worst thing I have heard of happening to an American cartoonist since Mike Diana was imprisoned for obscenity in Florida.

If a significant number of papers in the world had found the courage to publish the Mohammad cartoons when they were world news, these religious zealots would have a lot harder time making targets out of people. If a significant number of cartoonists had drawn Mohammad when the Mohammad cartoons were world news, Molly Norris would probably not be going into hiding now.

May you all find the courage to draw and write whatever you feel you need to draw and write regardless of the potential menace of all the no-good, simple-minded shits in the world.

Minnesota Cartoonists on the Radio

Recently, there have been a lot of Minnesota cartoonists on the radio.

Minnesota Conspirators Lance Ward, Athena Currier, Bud Burgy and Ted Anderson recently started a delightful weekly comics-focused pop culture broadcast, The Geek Report:

Subscribe here.


The excellent comics news and review blog, The Daily Crosshatch, has started podcasting, featuring Minneapolis’ own Sarah Morean with her co-hosts Brian Heater and Alex Cox. You can hear the first episode here.

Subscribe here.


Finally, Britt Aamodt (author of the upcoming and eagerly awaited book from the Minnesota Historical Society Press, Superheroes, Strip Artists and Talking Animals: Minnesota’s Contemporary Cartoonists) recently put together a two-part documentary on Minnesota cartoonists that you can listen to here:

Minnesota Cartoonists Part 1: Indie Comix

Produced by Britt Aamodt

Producer Britt Aamodt descends into the world of underground comix, and interviews a slew of independent cartoonists in this two-part documentary about Minnesota’s vibrant doodle community.

Part 1 features interviews with:

Will Dinski, illustrator of the graphic novel, “Fingerprints”

Steve Stwalley, creator of “Soapy the Chicken”; founder of the International Cartoonist Conspiracy

Sarah Morean, coordinator of Twin Cities Zinefest and Minneapolis Indie Expo

Kevin Hoffman, City Pages editor-in-chief

Lars Martinson, creator of the four-part graphic novel, “Tonoharu”

Minnesota Cartoonists Part 2: Indie Strips

Produced by Britt Aamodt

Producer Britt Aamodt descends into the world of underground comix, and interviews a slew of independent cartoonists in this two-part documentary about Minnesota’s vibrant doodle community.

Part 2 features interviews with:

Dave Steinlicht, graphic designer for Pioneer Press

Chris Monroe, creator of “Violet Days”

Ken Avidor, creator of “Roadkill Bill”

Kevin Hoffman, City Pages editor-in-chief

Andy Singer, creator of “No Exit”

Kirk Anderson, creator of “Banana Republic”

Roger Lootine, creator of “Residue”

Here is more info on Britt’s book.

Zander Cannon and myself (Maxeem) have officially initiated the fantasy book challenge – it’s the race to end our Giant Fantasy Epics before the lesser man.

You can follow the race here:

Zander Cannon‘s The Replacement God
Maxeem‘s Ex Novo Libris

I am publishing mine online as I finish each chapter in anticipation of any printed versions that follow – and also in anticipation of Zander finishing his most awesome of books – I mean … er … losing book! The latest of mine is available here at my new site – though I warn you it is not work/family friendly and as Steve Stwalley has helped me realize, it is extremely confusing unless you are quite into it from page 1. Give it a shot :

Only 200-300 pages in about 3 chapters to go!

After the race to end our fantasy epics ends, Kevin has initiated the race to grow a Z.Z.Top worthy beard.



The newspaper industry is coughing blood and gasping on its deathbed. Newspapers lost their relevance a long time ago, and with internet media blossoming they can no longer compete. Readers and advertisers have moved on.

Unfortunately, newspapers are taking their beautiful bastard child, the newspaper comic strip, with them.

Today’s newspaper comics are much-maligned… and deservedly so. Today’s small strips, with mostly predictable, safe themes and bland characters are a pale shadow of what newspaper comics were in their wild and colorful youth.

110-or-so years from their birth, it’s been a good run. Let us not mourn the death of the newspaper comics… rather, let us have a wake to celebrate what they once were, and to build something new.

The International Cartoonist Conspiracy, Big Time Attic, and Altered Esthetics gallery are collaborating to produce an oversized newspaper comics section like they would do it today if they still did it like they did it in the old days.

It will be called BIG FUNNY, and it will be both.

The paper will premiere at a show at Altered Esthetics in August featuring some of the original art from the paper, along with historical comics pages from the dawn of the last century.

Submissions are open to all… no prior cartooning experience is necessary. While we expect to have a lot of cartoonists participate, we are hoping to also have poster artists, printmakers and artists from other disciplines represented.

We have a tight deadline… no entries will be accepted after May first. Keep in mind… newspaper cartoonists used to do this every week, plus six dailies! You have it easy!

All submissions must be funny. We are no prudes, but potty or shock-based humor is too easy… while this sort of thing won’t exclude you from consideration, please do challenge yourselves.

You can make your entry in color or black and white. If providing a color version, you must also provide a version of it in black and white. It has not been determined at this point if the entire paper will be in color or not, so the final call on whether a particular strip will run in color or black and white will be determined by the editors.

Submitted artwork should be 15.5″ (w) x 20″ (h).

Color or greyscale pages should be 300dpi. Black and white images should be a minumum of 600 and maximum of 1200 dpi.

Submit images in BMP or PSD format. Also include a 72 dpi JPG of your files at full dimensions for reading purposes.

All submissions must be submitted digitally.

While you may submit more than one page, all pages should be self-contained. A single page is certainly welcome to have multiple strips on it… however, please keep the design of the page as a whole unit in mind if you go this route.


Submitting a strip does not guarantee it will be included. Space is limited… so the sooner you get your submission in the better.

If submitting a color comic, keep in mind that color on newsprint is considerably duller than on printer paper. Thus, you will want your colors to be exceedingly bright.

In addition to comic storytelling and humor, design of the page as a whole unit will be a strong factor in what will be chosen for inclusion. Ideally, every page should be something that someone might like having framed like a poster on their wall.

Participants are encouraged to find inspiration from old newspaper comics. The newspaper comics were the primordial soup that modern comics grew out of… many of them were thematically wild, crazily inventive and beautifully drawn. Do yourself a favor and read some.

Good resources for old newspaper comics, and many examples of them, can be found here:

Note that we are not recommending aping styles or themes from the old comics, necessarily… just breathing in some of the comics that modern comics grew from and reacting to them.

Here is a resource on scanning large images:

Note that it is easier to scan large pages that are broken into panels.


Register here on the Altered Esthetics website.

Send your submissions via mail to:

1618 Central Ave. NE Suite 216
Minneapolis, MN 55413

Or, email kevin at (replace the word at with @) to arrange how you want to transfer files. Please write BIG FUNNY in the subject heading of all emails to Kevin.

Obviously, by submitting work, you are offering us the right to put it in BIG FUNNY on acceptance, and we make no claims on it otherwise. Artists retain all rights to their artwork.

If accepted for publication, you will be invited to send your artwork to Altered Esthetics to display at the August exhibit. Further details will be provided.

Note that it is not required that you sell your original art, although it is strongly encouraged. The gallery will get a 30% cut of any original artwork sold, so you will want to price it appropriately.

Altered Esthetics is a good cause… we are a non-profit, non-traditional, artist-run gallery. In the event there are any profits, they will go toward our continued service to the arts community.

There is no fee to submit artwork. Accepted artists will be asked to contribute a $30 exhibition fee to the project, plus an additional $10 if you are out-of-state to cover shipping costs of your comp copies. This exhibition fee goes towards the cost of printing the publication and promotional postcards for the event, as well as the gallery itself during the brick-and-mortar exhibition. No artist will be turned away due to lack of funds – a limited number of waivers are available to artists in extreme financial circumstance.

There is no additional fee in the event multiple pages are selected for publication.

We are not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged artwork.

If you have further questions about any aspects of the BIG FUNNY project, contact (replace -at- with @)


-It is going to be a whole lot of fun.

-This is a very rare opportunity for artists to work in a large, color, poster-size format publication. As newspapers disappear, it is likely that the presses to print them will disappear or become prohibitively expensive… this could make this sort of project very hard to repeat.

-Accepted artists will receive multiple copies of BIG FUNNY. The number of copies received will be based on participants’ submission fees divided by the cover price of copies, minus shipping, if shipping is required. There may be additional copies available for artists at the gallery for the show opening event and closing.

-You can sell your artwork in the gallery.

-Keep in mind your participation supports a great non-profit gallery, us! If this is your first time hearing about Ae, you can read more about who we are and what we do here:



The International Cartoonist Conspiracy

Altered Esthetics

Big Time Attic

Join Big Funny on any of the following online communities:




Some Twin Cites Cartoonists on KFAI’s Wave Project

Zander Cannon, Kevin Cannon, Danno Klonowski and myself (Steven Stwalley) were interviewed by Britt Aamodt this evening (December 14th) on KFAI’s Wave Project about cartooning. The show will be online for the next two weeks. You can hear the interview here.

Note: The broadcast mp3 begins with the Somali Oromo radio show that preceded it… it starts at 1:38 in the file.

HOT INK: Comic Art in Minnesota

Hot Ink: Comic Art in Minnesota is an exhibit opening October 3rd (and staying up until January) at The Minnesota Museum of American Art. Featured artists include a number of folks in the Conspiracy… here is the full list…

Big Time Attic
Kevin Cannon
Zander Cannon
Will Dinski
Tom Kaczynski
Reynold Kissling
Lars Martinson
King Mini
Tyler Page
Evan G. Palmer
Brittney Sabo
Zak Sally
Barbara Schulz
Tim Sievert
Andy Singer
Tom Spence
Steven Stwalley

The opening party is October 3rd. It costs $10 to get in to the opening ($5 if you are a member or student), but is free if you visit another time. For the opening there is a members preview from 7-8PM, and then it is open to the public from 8-10PM.

Minnesota Museum of American Art
50 West Kellogg Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55102

Second Annual City Pages Comix Issue Out TODAY: When the Elephants Come to Town

Above: Tim Sievert‘s contribution to the Comix Issue.

The second annual City Pages Comix Issue that many Conspirators contributed to is out today! The theme was “When the Elephants Come to Town,” which is a reference to the Republican National Convention in St. Paul this year. Many items that did not fit in the issue were included online. The print issue will be all over the Twin Cities for the next week.

Among many other things, Kevin Cannon has contributed another one of his enormous, chicken-fat-filled cartoons:

Click the images to go to the City Pages Comix Issue, and see the above cartoon much, much larger!

Note that you can leave comments on the feature on the City Pages website here.

UPDATE: The City Pages Comix Issue was just featured in the Comics Reporter here.