Cartoonist Paul Horn is at the world-famous Comic-Con in San Diego this week, peddling his line of Cool Jerk books and merchandise in the small press section of the enormous convention.
Of course, you’d know this already if you read Sunday’s U-T San Diego. The business section featured a full-page, first-person story about small comics operations and how they use Comic-Con to attract an audience.
The story, naturally, was told in comic format. Click for a larger look…
…or, if you prefer, find it here in an easy-to-read slideshow format.
Paul explains how the con operates and how the small press publishers treat it as a job — “one where you work for five days and have 51 weeks off in between,” he says.
Adding commentary is Paul’s wife: Designer and food blogger Darlene Horn.
Paul tells us:
I was contacted by U-T San Diego business editor Diana McCabe to produce a full-page comic detailing the business of exhibiting at Comic-Con. Since I can only talk from first-person experiences, I talked about Small Press. The piece was mostly autobio with very little goofiness/hyperbole. But I did manage to get some Cool Jerk flavor (and products) in there.
I also included the voices of a couple creative friends of mine who had to leave Small Press under similar circumstances but with different approaches.
Paul also throws in an amusing success story.
Paul is coming off a pretty severe injury to his drawing hand: He fractured his thumb in November, requiring surgery. He wore a cast for a full month and then went through physical therapy for two more.
He tells us:
My thumb is still not 100% and it gets really achey after cartooning (because of the demands of using a brush for inking). I discovered these limits while inking this package, which is about 5x more area to draw/ink than the typical Cool Jerk.
A 1991 graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno, Paul spent a year as an illustrator for the Daily Sparks Tribune of Sparks, Nev., before becoming assistant graphics editor of the Reno Gazette-Journal in 1990. He moved to the San Diego Union-Tribune in 1994 and worked there nearly 12 years before “retiring” in 2006 to concentrate on his free-lance graphics work and on his strip, Cool Jerk. Which I really enjoy.
A 1995 graduate of San Diego State University, Darlene spent nearly eight years as an editorial design assistant for the Union-Tribune. In 2005, she moved to the Los Angeles Daily News as a business section desk editor and designer. She moved again in 2006 to the Orange County Business Journal and leaped to the San Diego Business Journal a year later. The SDBJ laid off a number of staffers earlier this year, including Darlene.
Darlene is perhaps best known as the creator of the food blog My Burning Kitchen. She recently posted her annual piece on where to eat — and where not to eat — while in town for the convention. Find that post here.
The two of them collaborated on a really cool book they launched during last year’s Comic-Con:
Find that book for sale here.
Paul, of course, has published several collections of his Cool Jerk work and one of additional material.
He has a new one out just in time for this week’s con: Volume Four of Cool Jerk, entitled Thinkulus.
As soon as Comic-Con ends, Thinkulus will go on sale at Paul’s online store. So remind yourself to buy a copy of each of his and Darlene’s books — which range in price between five and twelve bucks apiece.
Or, if you like, buy ’em from Amazon. Paul’s stuff is available there now, too.
If you’re at Comic-Con this week, make sure you stop by Paul’s table. It’ll look something like his setup recently in Denver:
Paul tells us:
I’ll be in Small Press, K10 (back of the Exhibit Hall, near the bathrooms aka vomitorium/cosplay emergency repair station).
Full disclosure: I love Paul and Darlene. They came to see me in my second or third week here in Southern California. Darlene even cooked for me. And Paul personalized a drawing of my favorite Cool Jerk character. It hangs by my desk here at home.
Comic-Con runs through Sunday. Both Paul and Darlene are live tweeting as much as they can — Darlene a little more, probably, because she has one more good thumb than Paul has. Find Paul’s twitter feed here and Darlene’s Twitter feed here.