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‘Christmapus’ launching with author signing event in Vegas on Dec. 10

Paul Mattingly, F Andrew Taylor

Paul Mattingly, F Andrew Taylor

Writer Paul Mattingly and illustrator F. Andrew Taylor will celebrate the release of the new paperback, color edition of their twisted yuletide tale, Christmapus: The Christmas Octopus, with a special event on Thursday, Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. inside Barnes & Noble Booksellers, 567 N. Stephanie St. in Henderson, Nev., featuring a reading of the book by RJ Owens, who plays Bebe François in Mystère by Cirque du Soleil.

Christmapus, which has been called “a fun gift for the person in your life who enjoys a bit of sideways humor,” tells the story of Chris the octopus, who finds himself transformed into Christmapus when Santa’s lost hat lands on Chris’ head. It’s a rhyming tale that’s as funny as it is touching. The book is now available in print for $7.99 or for your Kindle device for only $2.99.

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‘Christmapus: The Christmas Octopus’ wraps its tentacles around readers this holiday season

christmapus cover

christmapus coverChris the octopus was content as could be under the sea. He knew nothing of Christmas or holiday cheer. That was until, one day, Santa Claus lost his famous hat–and it found a new home on Chris’ head! In Christmapus: The Christmas Octopus, writer Paul Mattingly and illustrator F. Andrew Taylor tell the hilarious story of what happened next to Chris in this rhyming tale set to the meter of “A Visit from St. Nicholas.”

Christmapus was conceived on a cruise ship,” said Mattingly. “During Thanksgiving dinner, my friends and I were talking of traditions and we thought of the thing kids do where they trace their hand and make that into a turkey. I thought it would be fun to use both hands to create an octopus. Soon, we were joking about a Christmas octopus who gave meat to kids on the holiday. I was inspired and wrote the story-slash-poem in one marathon session that night.”

“When he got back on dry land, Paul performed Christmapus at a sketch show, where I was in the audience,” Taylor said. “After the show, I told him I was interested in illustrating it and he told me he had planned on asking me to illustrate it. Really, it’s mostly Paul’s madness. I added a few elements when I drew it, but it was mostly there in Paul’s text already.”

Mattingly and Taylor self-published the 34-page story in 2013 as a coloring book, which quickly delighted readers of all ages with its twisted humor and cartoonish illustrations. Pop! Goes the Icon helped distribute the original edition through our website and at trade shows, and based on positive reaction to the tentacled yuletide tale, we decided to publish the book in a mass-market edition, just in time for the 2015 holiday season.

“At comic conventions, we’d sell out copies of the black-and-white edition no matter what time of year,” said Pop! Goes the Icon publisher Pj Perez. “This was too charming of a book to stay hidden for very long. We knew Christmapus needed to stretch its tentacles!”

This new paperback edition has been entirely remastered from the inside out. In addition to producing an entirely new, full-color cover, Taylor colored all of the interior illustrations using a limited palette of muted tones, intended to replicate the look of mid-20th-century children’s books.

“The story of Christmapus is ultimately a hopeful one and a call for everyone to expand their spirit of giving all year long, not just during the holidays,” Mattingly said. “The story is unique and quirky and if I’ve done my job, perhaps reading Christmapus can become a favorite holiday tradition for your family.”

Christmapus: The Christmas Octopus (ISBN 9780990568827; $7.99 US) is now available for pre-order, shipping Dec. 1.

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The summer of Pop! Goes the Icon begins!

Comic convention season is upon us, and we’re giving you all sorts of opportunities to meet, greet and heckle the hard-working writers, artists and editors who endeavor to bring you the freshest alternative comics this side of the Mississippi. Here’s the run-down for the next month or two:

Pop! Goes the Icon Commander-in-Cheif Pj Perez heads to the Mile High City for Denver Comic Con from May 31-June 2. He’ll be at Artist Valley table J-5 (not far from future Omega Comics Presents contributors Dan Schkade and Jesse Snavlin at I-13 and Tales from the Boneyard/Tales from Fremont Street contributor Deryl Skelton at J-12) with the full line of Pop! Goes the Icon comics (currently in print), plus he’ll probably be shaking hands, doing sketches and trying really hard to get good phone reception.

That same weekend, right here in Sin City, Tales from the Boneyard/Tales from Fremont Street contributor F. Andrew Taylor (plus special guests?) will be manning the first-ever Pop! Goes the Icon Pop! Up Store at the spring Neon Bazaar in downtown Las Vegas on June 1. It’s a fun, one-day pop-up retail event featuring mom-and-pop retailers, artisans, food trucks, and much more, all in the center of the New Downtown action! If you ask nicely, Andy will probably do a sketch for you, too … or maybe tell you about the secret project we have lined up for the near future.

Two weeks later — yes, only two weeks! — it’s back to Las Vegas for Pj Perez as he holds court at the first-ever Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con, happening at the South Point Hotel & Casino from June 14-16. There’s a really great line-up of superstars for this first-time event, so come for the big wigs, stay for the indies!

And don’t think we’ve forgotten you Midwest folks — our ever-busy, ever-booked Omega Comics Presents writer extraordinaire, Russell Lissau, will be appearing at Anime Midwest in Rosemont, Ill. from July 5-7. There, he’ll join Amala’s Blade writer Steve Horton for a panel discussion on Saturday called “Ghosts, Assassins, Zombies, and Murderers,” during which Russell will talk about his upcoming crime graphic novel he’s working on with John Bivens, Old Wounds, which we’ll be happily bringing to the world in the next year.

Phew! That’s a lot of great creators covering a lot of square mileage across this here U.S. of A. We hope you can make it out to one of these fine shows, and if not, well, stay tuned to our events page for all of our upcoming appearances. Or subscribe to our fancy-schmancy newsletter! Or if you spend your days on Facebook, we’re there, too. Or Twitter. Or Tumblr. We’re social like that.

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Taylor and Perez hit the Arizona desert for Phoenix Comicon

F Andrew Taylor & Pj PerezFaces will be rocked, sketches will be scribbled and babies will be kissed when Pop! Goes the Icon founder Pj Perez and Tales From the Boneyard contributor F. Andrew Taylor hit the Southwest’s largest comic book/pop culture/awesomeness gathering, Phoenix Comicon, on May 27, 28 and 29.*

Yes, if you visit table 237 in the convention’s Small Press area, you’ll find Perez and Taylor selling comics, signing undergarments and shooting rubber bands at passers-by. And we expect to see you there.

Phoenix Comicon expands this year to five floors combined across the North building of the Phoenix Convention Center and the Hyatt Regency, and includes top-shelf guests such as Stan Lee, Wil Wheaton, Leonard Nimoy, J. Scott Campbell, Todd McFarlane and lots of others whose names we didn’t bother looking up. It’s also pretty cheap to attend — four-day passes are only $35! Crazy, right?

So, yeah, we’ll see you there. Let us know you’re coming on Facebook!

*We won’t be there on Thursday, because we’re awesome like that.

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'Utopian' release party kicks off 2011 schedule of creator appearances

pj perez, hernan valencia, russell lissauLast month, the 120-page trade paperback collection of Pj Perez’s The Utopian debuted. And this Saturday, Jan. 22, Perez and cover artist Hernan Valencia celebrate its release at Alternate Reality Comics in Las Vegas. From noon to 3 p.m., you’ll not only be able to pick up and get signed your copy of The Utopian, you’re also encouraged to bring donations for The Shade Tree shelter for women, children and pets. Donors will receive raffle tickets to win fabulous prizes from Alternate Reality and Pop! Goes the Icon.

In addition to the above event, here are some other places you can find the talents behind your favorite indie comics across the country in the coming months:

  • Jan. 21, Sunrise Coffee, Las Vegas – Pj Perez will be selling and signing copies of The Utopian at a benefit for Spread the Word Nevada from 5 to 8 p.m.
  • Feb. 26, Comix Revolution, Mt. Prospect, Ill.Omega Comics Presents contributor Russell Lissau will join  Trevor Mueller to promote Hope: The Hero Initiative, a benefit for the Hero Initiative charity, from 2 to 4 p.m.
  • March 18-20, Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, Chicago – Russell Lissau and OCP collaborator John Bivens will both be guests at this second annual comic fest.
  • April 16-17, Stumptown Comics Fest, Portland, Ore. – Pj Perez will be exhibiting at the Northwest’s largest creator-focused comic book convention all weekend.
  • May 26-29, Phoenix Comicon, PhoenixTales from the Boneyard contributors F. Andrew Taylor and Pj Perez will be holding court in the small press section of the Southwest’s biggest pop culture convention.

As always, we’ll have more information as these dates (and others) approach, so be sure you’re receiving updates via e-mail or RSS feed.