Tagged: Derf Backderf

Martha Thomases Eats Worms


More than three weeks ago, I twisted my knee somehow in a manner that causes it to continue to hurt. A lot. I happened to have a doctor’s appointment that day, and she told me to rest it, take anti-inflammatory medicine, and drink a lot of water.

Which I have. Well, “resting” is a relative term. It’s hard to rest one’s entire leg and still get around the city and do what needs to get done. I put a brace on it. Still hurts.

When I’m in pain like this, I can’t exercise. And when I can’t exercise, I lose my main opportunity think deep thoughts about comics or anything else. I just want to sit on the couch and eat worms.

Anyway, here’s some randomness. Remember, no one suffers like I do.

The New York Comic-Con has come and gone. I went for a few hours on Thursday, and even though it was the middle of a work-day, the place was so crowded that it was impossible to move anywhere. The line for the ladies room in the press area (which requires a special badge) was a half-hour long. I shudder to think what it was like on Saturday.

It was lovely to see my friends – as I left the brand-new subway station, on line to register, at booths, in artists’ alley – and I had a great conversation with the guy hyping The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore (which is awesome and you should be watching it). I didn’t get to any panels that day or any day because my knee throbbed just thinking about getting through the crowds that made the hallways impassable.

So I didn’t get to see this. I wish I had. This is the nerd experience I most crave. The rest of the throngs can go see stars log-roll each other at over-hyped TV and movie panels. Let me listen to Paul “The Frother” Krugman talk about Star Trek.

Last year I discovered the Crazy Eight Cartoon Festival and I had a great time. You can read my brilliant insights here. It’s happening again tomorrow. If you are in the New York area, I can’t recommend it highly enough. If I get back in time from my other nerd-quest this weekend, perhaps I’ll see you there.

Very few people have raved about about My Friend Dammer more than I have. I’ve given it away to dozens of people to show them the complex insights and emotions possible in the graphic story format. So you can imagine my excitement to get a galley copy of Derf Backderf’s new book, Trashed, in my Harvey Awards gift-bag.

Trashed is the story of a crew of garbage collectors in a small Ohio town, with lots of data about the environmental impact and long-term costs of our throwaway culture. Derf was a garbage collector a few decades ago and, though he says the story isn’t autobiographical, his experiences lend a gritty (and smelly and sticky) authenticity to his tale.

Although it’s not as emotionally engaging as Dammer, this book is still an amazing accomplishment. Backdoor presents not only an environmental education, but insights into the American class system that are all too rare in any medium. That he does it with humor and grace and affection makes it that much more impressive.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, my knee hurts and I need to yell at some kids to get off my lawn.

Note: I don’t have a lawn.

Molly Jackson: BEA Is All About The Book People

BEA Is All About The Book People,

Last week, I attended Book Expo America here in NYC. BEA is an industry-only event for publishers to highlight what is coming up next for the booksellers, librarians, teachers and press to incorporate into their plans. I’m still shocked they let me in year after year.

Just to paint a picture for you, the expo floor in the Javits Center was filled wall to wall with book nerds. We stood on lines, eagerly awaiting a signed copy of that book we all want. In the bags on our shoulders or by our feet, are at least 15 Advanced Reader copies handed to us on the expo floor. That is just how heaven-like this show can be.

You might remember how much I love standing on lines. And this show tops them all. I made new friends on every single line I waited on. Depending on the line, we talked about the genre, the author’s good and bad habits, another book, TV, movies or just chatted about BEA. The plus of being at an industry event is eventually the cards come out. I connected with authors, publicists, bloggers, librarians, teachers and agents while on line.

I even continued my tradition of yelling at a Tor author. Last year it was John Scalzi for messing with my emotions in his book Redshirts (a story for another time); this year it was Fran Wilde for busting my bag with her book Updraft. I literally squeed out loud while on the Felicia Day autograph line because I met a fellow group on Hufflepuffs. I got to help monitor the Ernest Cline line situation because dammit, we were all going to get copies of Armada, his new book. And, I tripped over myself trying to get a copy of the upcoming Saved By The Bell comic from Lion Forge.

Comics are a part of BEA, albeit not a large part. I did attend the Best in Fall 2015 Graphic Novels, which highlighted indie comics rather than just rehashing the big 2. The creators highlighted are Derf Backderf, Trashed from Abrams; Ben Hatke, Little Robot from First Second; Jeremy Sorese, Curveball from Nobrow; and 00 from Candlewick. I am excited that I got copies or previews of each one! I was also excited to get a chance to chat with Derf, Ben and Maggie for a very short time. Each one of them was amazingly nice and eager to meet fans.

Yes, Book Expo America is all about the books. I have the sore muscles and bruised body to prove it. And while you are lugging those books away, you are only thinking about the amazing people that you met.