So, I’m getting kicked out of SF at the end of this month, and I’m not sure when I’ll be moving back, so I’ve dedicated a little bit of time to a place everyday to go and do some drawing!
Mission comics is run by SF native Leef Smith in the heart of the Mission, a section of the city where my grandfather grew up, Santana became famous, and home to the richest area of art and culture in SF. Leef, as only someone who is completely ingrained in this city can do, has created a venue that reflects the the mission district and San Francisco with perfection. This is one of many reasons why Mission comics has become my venue and my place to connect with comics people in San Francisco, a city that has an extensive and colorful history of underground comics publishing. Leef puts a big focus on local artists, and Mission Comics was the place where I debuted my first issue of Popapocalypse. It turned out to be one of the best days I’ve ever had, and the most successful launch party I’ll probably ever end up hosting, with all of my friends and family there to celebrate it. I can honestly say that it wasn’t until I had successfully started selling my comic at a place like Mission Comics that I had started to feel like I could actually be a comics creator professionally. It felt like validation. That’s the kind of comic shop that Leef runs.
A couple of quick stories about Leef’s store:
- When I first started to go to Mission Comics, there was a neighborhood rooster that would frequent the shop and take over the couch, chasing away anyone that would get near to his area. I remember the first time I saw said rooster was when I was digging through the dollar bins like a nerd, and he just strolled right in through the front door like he owned the place, and flapped his wings at a kid that was playing with a toy and chased him away.
- I freelance from home most of the time when I work, and every Wednesday I’d wake up and head to Boba guys for an iced coffee boba (one of my favorite things in the world) and go and buy some comics over at Leefs store (one of my other favorite things), and one time I was walking back from Leef’s and I passed an open garage with a classic 1960’s Cadillac in perfect condition. I stopped for a second to check that bad boy out, when I noticed that there was a big fat guy leaning through the back window of the car and adjusting a wig on a manikin lady and saying “you look so pretty. You look soooo pretty.” In the background somewhere, there was a cat meowing. I got the hell out of there as fast as I could.
One of the aspects about Leef’s shop that differs from a lot of retailers is a very active nightlife, with tonight being a great example. Two of my teachers from AAU, with whom I worked with on Ultrasylvania, and who’s classes I took to develop Popapocalyse, had their first big break-in comic released tonight at Mission Comics. I’m really proud of these two dudes and the work that they’ve done with Jack Black Ketchum, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what they do next! Throughout my journey of being a student to becoming a professional, both Jeremy Saliba and Brian Schirmer were there through the good times and the bad, with an invaluable level of support and understanding that I’ll be thankful for during the rest of my career. They’ve taught me a lot about making comics, but the most valuable lesson that I’ve learned from them is the art of hustling your work and breaking into the industry. I’ve never seen before the level of tenacity and heart that these two have to contribute to this industry, and it’s something that I hope to one day be able to match. I’m proud to say that I look up to these two as not only role models but as friends. SO, for my drawing tonight, I did some fan art of their lead character Black Jack Ketchum: