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Con Artists #03 – StocktonCon, pt. 3

Con Artists #03 – StocktonCon, pt. 3

In the final episode of this initial experimental run of Con Artists, the second and final day of StocktonCon has come to a close and rather than have an exhausted (which they were) drive home, Kyrun Silva of Taurus Comics and D. Bethel again probe into different aspects of reading, making, and selling comics. They probe the circumstances that would have to occur to go pro, the processes of writing and editing comics, the different facets of indie comics, and dive deep into nostalgia to close out the weekend.

Creating this podcast ended up being a very enlightening process, shining light on angles of creativity previously hidden by ignorance, willful or otherwise. We hope you’ve enjoyed Con Artists and, with luck, there will be more in the future!


  • Con Artists #01 – StocktonCon, pt. 1 : The drive home from the first day of the show. Kyrun and D. discuss making sales, confidence, and the comics they grew up reading and enjoying.
  • Con Artists #02 – StocktonCon, pt. 2 : The drive to StocktonCon to start Day 2 of the show. They discuss the importance of continuity, the level of fan engagement and ownership over continuity, and Dan’s strange reading habits growing up.


  • Kyrun’s favorite cover from his favorite run of Darkhawk:
Cover to Darkhawk #22 (1992). Art by Mike Manley.
  • D. Bethel’s favorite cover from his favorite run of X-Men:
Cover X-Men #7 (1992). Art by Jim Lee.


Special thanks to Kyrun Silva for agreeing to this experiment (and for driving us to and from the convention). Thanks to Ben Schwartz of Empire’s Comics Vault for hosting the table.


-Kyrun Silva of Taurus Comics


-Tascam DR-40


Empire’s Comics Vault


Long John


-“Road Music” by D. Bethel

Shortcast 31 – The Secret Was the Clap

Shortcast 31 – The Secret Was the Clap

WEEK IN GEEK: D. Bethel doubles up this time to talk about a personally exciting moment he experienced while at this year’s Alternative Press Expo in San Jose, CA, as well as seeing the new cinematic version of (half of) the Stephen King classic, It, while Andrew discusses playing SteamWorld Heist.

D. Bethel’s comprehensive recap of his time at APE 2017:



For all intents and purposes, that was an episode recap.


-“Thunder Busters” by Wax Audio

Shortcast 25 – The First Second Time

Shortcast 25 – The First Second Time

Summer break is back with a vengeance, so the Shortcast run returns!

After a slight tangent discussing The Transformers and nostalgia, Dan and Andrew share their weeks in geek.

WEEK IN GEEK: Andrew plays Bioshock from the Bioshock: The Collection released to PC and consoles last year. Dan actually finishes a book before discussing it. This time, it’s the Kickstartered Wild Times: An Oral History of Wildstorm Studios by Joseph Hedges (now available for purchase).



For all intents and purposes, that was an episode recap.


-“Thunder Busters” by Wax Audio

*audio clip sourced from The Transformers: The Movie

Episode 135 – Pure Chaos

Episode 135 – Pure Chaos

WEEK IN GEEK: Fueled by the emotions generated by the recently released trailer for Star Trek: Discovery, Andrew slipped back into the Star Trek pool by spinning up Star Trek Online and Star Trek Timelines while D. reads the first trade collection of Eric Powell’s (formerly of The Goon) newest comic series, Hillbilly, from Albatross Funnybooks.

EXHAUSTED DESPAIR: D. Bethel saw the newest entry into the venerated Alien/Aliens franchise, Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant, and definitely had feelings about it. Fueled by an online discussion generated by The Hollywood Reporter article, “‘Why Alien: Covenant’ Is Actually a ‘Blade Runner’ Sequel in Disguise” by Josh Spiegel (and because Andrew hasn’t seen the new movie yet), it seemed only right to bring on friend of the show and Alien enthusiast, Taylor Katcher, to talk what worked and what didn’t work in this new movie.

Isle of the Dead” (fifth version, 1886) by Arnold Böcklin. This is homaged in Alien: Covenant.
To bring it back around, H. R. Giger painted an “Isle of the Dead” homage titled, “Hommage à Boecklin” (1977) whose art book, Necronomicon, directly inspired Ridley Scott’s first Alien film (and to hire Giger to design the creature).

UPDATE: Thanks to listener, Johnny Flores, for pointing out the tweet that has the shot from Alien: Covenant that recreates Bocklin’s painting.

David’s Garden, from Alien: Covenant. You can see why D. Bethel audibly gasped when he saw it in theaters.


Spiegel, Josh. “Why ‘Alien: Covenant’ Is Actually a ‘Blade Runner’ Sequel in Disguise.” The Hollywood Reporter. 20 May 2017.


Couch, Aaron. “‘Alien: Covenant’ Screenwriter on the Michael Fassbender Scene That ‘Easily Could Have Gone Wrong.’The Hollywood Reporter. 21 May 2017.


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For all intents and purposes, that was an episode recap.


-“Stayin’ in Black” by Wax Audio
-“Alien Nation” by Scorpions

Spotlight: Free Comic Book Day 2017

Spotlight: Free Comic Book Day 2017

This was written for and originally published on D. Bethel’s webcomic site,

Despite having missed last year’s Free Comic Book Day celebration at Empire’s Comics Vault, this year’s event passed like no time was lost. I’ll be honest, the main reason why I like to go back is to hang out for a day in a room with a bunch of people I know––some of whom I’ve known for years, a situation in which I rarely find myself. Personally, I looked at the event as a welcome reprieve as I had just collected about a hundred final portfolios from my writing classes (my day job) and had no problem delaying my head-first dive into them.

FCBD helped to delay the inevitable. D. Bethel at his desk with 97 writing porftolios. Photo by Shelley Blanton-Stroud

I was tabled between old friend and fellow webcomicker, Melissa Pagluica (who makes Above the Clouds), and artist Julie Okahara. All of us in our row were pretty much chit-chatting the entire time which made the time pass somewhat quickly (most of us had arrived by 7:30 am; it was a long day).

Because of the early hour, Ben (the owner of the shop) had allowed us to set up the day before the event. I fretted quite a bit with my table setup, but I ended up pretty happy with the final layout. Tabling at a show is an art in its own right, relying on visual rhetoric and some fundamental grasp on 3D design; I know a little about the former and go by feel for the latter. Ultimately, I was pretty happy with how it ended up.

D. Bethel’s table at FCBD 2017.

This event marked the debut of the Logan-inspired print, “Legacy,” as well as my sketch collection, BackMatter (which is now on sale in the store!) and though “Legacy” may not have been the most appropriate piece for this all-ages show, most people got a chuckle out of the Long John, volume 1 cover with kids pointing in shock, joy, or horror as they waited in line to grab their free comics.

Ben also allowed us who setup early the chance to grab what we wanted from the FCBD offerings, so I picked through having only glanced at what the titles would be.

Dan’s haul of the Free Comic Book Day books. Clockwise from the top left: 2000 AD, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, I Hate Image, Guy Delisle’s Hostage (from Drawn & Quarterly), Bad Machinery, Boom! Studios 2017 Summer Blast, and Doctor Who.

So far, I’ve only sat down and read through Skottie Young’s I Hate Image, a short story featuring the protagonist from his hit Image book, I Hate Fairyland, and it is hilarious especially if you are familiar with some of the faces of key players at Image Comics. I’ve read through the Doctor Who book as well and found it a rather clever use of art to delineate different Doctors within the story. Bad Machinery was a surprise for me because I have been a fan of creator John Allison’s work for years back when he did a webcomic called Scary-Go-Round which he shuttered and replaced with a spinoff, Bad Machinery. While still doing webcomics, he has found success with the print comic, Giant Days, which he writes for Boom! comics. So, it was nice to see webcomics represented in the mix of Big 2 (Marvel and DC) and other major publishers.

I also picked up the most recent two issues of Melissa’s comic, which you can also get from her Etsy store (where issue 6 is on pre-order).

Issues 4 & 5 of Above the Clouds by Melissa Pagluica.

Lastly, I indulged in the very generous sale the store was having and picked up some books I had my eye on for awhile but never had the guts to take the plunge. I have not been shy about my love for the work of Becky Cloonan. I first really saw her work when she did a fill-in issue on Batman during the New 52 run and was blown away by her style. Soon after, I found her store online and bought her stuff, focusing on her single-issue short stories that are rather opaque but beautiful. These comics were called Wolves, The Mire, and Demeter. Opaque may be the wrong word for it; they’re just very sparse and open for interpretation. Reading her work is challenging and begs for re-reading. However, she has done work in more mainstream comics (as with Batman) in between her creator-owned passion projects. One of her early forays into sequential art was a series called Demo for Dark Horse Comics. Written by Brian Wood, it is a series of 18 stories each about a different teenager with a power of some kind. Since finishing, it has been made available in a big omnibus collection which I picked up at reasonable discount.

Books bought on discount at Free Comic Book Day (left to right): DC’s Wonder Woman, volume 1 (New 52) and Dark Horse Comics’ Demo.

Also, with the Wonder Woman movie arriving in June, I figured I should not be a poser and actually read some Wonder Woman. Of DC’s initial “New 52” launch (many books were cancelled and new ones introduced later in the New 52 lifespan), I remember hearing very positive things about what Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang were doing with Wonder Woman. At the time, I liked keeping my net shallow and the only New 52 book I read was Batman. But now that the New 52 is done and that story is completed, I figured that (with a sale, to boot) it would be the perfect chance to go back and check out this run on a classic character. I haven’t dug into it yet but Nicole––my spouse––has thoroughly enjoyed it so far.

I came away from the day exhausted with some good sales and even better conversations. With luck, I look forward to doing it again next year.