This Saturday! Act-i-vate Does D.C.!

Members of the New York City-centric Web comics collective ACT-I-VATE will be in the area on Saturday signing copies of their first anthology book, The ACT-I-VATE Primer.  You’ll be able to meet Harvey Pekar collaborator Dean Haspiel (Billy Dogma, The Alcoholic), Simon Fraser (Lilly MacKenzie, Nikolai Dante), Joe Infurnari (ULTRA-lad!, the Process, Mush!), and Washington’s own Jim Dougan (Sam & Lilah, Crazy Papers, No Formula). ACT-I-VATE was founded by Haspiel in 2006 and has been growing tremendously since then, by inviting new cartoonists and offering oodles of free Web comics. You can catch the creators in person at two locations, where you can buy the book and ask such searching questions as “How do you make any money off the Web anyway?” and (for Fraser) “Is living in Brooklyn really better than Scotland?”

Details after the jump:

The creators will be at Big Planet Comics Vienna (426 Maple Ave. East, 703-242-9412) from 2 to 4 p.m., and then at Politics and Prose (5015 Connecticut Ave. NW, 202-364-1919) from 6 to 8 p.m.

Press Release from Mike Rhode of Washington City Paper.

The Act-i-vate Primer makes The Gray Lady's Christmas List!


In his NY Times holiday guide to graphic novel gift giving, George Gene Gustines has included The Act-i-vate Primer! Here's what he had to say,

'Act-I-Vate Primer'

The “Act-I-Vate Primer” is not for everyone, but it opens a window to the world of free, online comics. Named after the Web collective that created the collection’s 16 stories (some of which contain strong language and sexual situations), the anthology is a mixed bag. Dean Haspiel’s “Bring Me the Heart of Billy Dogma,” a love story between the title character and Jane Legit, is one of the best. It continues the bombastic tone, sexual escapades and striking color palette of the continuing Web series. Other highlights include “The Boy Who Came to Stay,” “Veils” and “Memoirs of the ‘Kid Immortal.’” (IDW, $24.99)
Now hopefully more folks' holidays will be illuminated by the illustrated stories in The Act-i-vate Primer and by the glow of computer monitors browsing! Click the link to purchase a copy at or visit your local comics retailer.

Comic Critique Reviews The Act-i-vate Primer!


Adam McGovern has written yet another astute and discerning review over at! This time he doles out the praise in his usual eloquent reportage. Here's a quote:

Peering into the faux-yellowed, off-register murk of Infurnari’s ULTRA-lad! we find a forgotten pulp potboiler concealing a serious graphic novel – concerning an amoral Captain Marvel-esque eternal child-hero inside a series of unworthy adult personalities – that flies toward the scary tension of superlatives without ideals.

That's all he devotes to my story, but what a grand prose it is! Adam is truly a reviewer without peer and he is by far one of the most intelligent readers of comics I know. He closes his piece with this:

The range of interests, level of storytelling and sheer wealth of style are staggering. I haven’t been this anxious to curl up with a colorful collection of the medium’s possibilities since The Great Comic Book Heroes in nineteen-seventy-never-mind. The golden age of comics gets its restart here.

Comic Critique scores the Primer a 4.5 out of 5! To read the rest of this review, click here.

Comic Book Resources Reviews The Act-i-vate Primer!

PrimerMockup In his four star review of the Primer, Chad Nevett had this to say about "Memoirs of the 'Kid Immortal'":

…classic comic-looking work of Joe Infurnari on “Memoirs of the ‘Kid Immortal,’” a fantastic story where he does two regular-looking comic pages on each page, telling the story of a wrestler who shares his time with a superhero counterpart.

Click here to read the rest of the review. Thanks, Chad!

Act-i-vate at King Con this Weekend!

KingConPoster I'll be visiting Brooklyn's Comic Convention, King Con, this Saturday November 7th! I'll be participating in the Act-i-vate panel on Saturday and working the table selling Primer's all day. Please stop by and say hello. If you haven't already got your copy of the Primer, this is a great opportunity to have it adorned with signatures and sketches!

Here are some of the highlights and panels members from ACT-I-VATE are participating in:

FRIDAY - NOVEMBER 6TH 2009 - 8PM sharp

THE ACT-I-VATE EXPERIENCE - NYC DEBUT + PRE-PARTY SCREENING The story of the preeminent webcomix collective. A documentary film directed by Seth Kushner + Carlos Molina. Featuring interviews with Nick Bertozzi, Kevin Colden, Molly Crabapple, Simon Fraser, Mike Cavallaro, Dan Goldman, Tim Hamilton, Dean Haspiel, Josh Neufeld, and others as they discuss the genesis of ACT-I-VATE, its impact on the art and business of comics, and its future both online and on the printed page.


THE ACT-I-VATE PRIMER: SATURDAY 12PM-12:50PM Dean Haspiel (Billy Dogma), Mike Cavallaro (Loviathan), Leland Purvis (Vulcan & Vishnu), Tim Hamilton (Adventures of the Floating Elephant), Simon Fraser (Lilly MacKenzie), Molly Crabapple (Backstage), Joe Infurnari [ULTRA-Lad!), Tim Hall (Uplift the Postivicals), and moderator, Jeff Newelt (SMITH Magazine comics editor), discuss the genesis of THE ACT-I-VATE PRIMER, the premiere webcomix collective's first print anthology, and ACT-I-VATE'S impact on both the art, business, and future of comics.

SPOTLIGHT ON JONATHAN AMES & DEAN HASPIEL: SATURDAY 4PM-4:50PM Jonathan Ames and Dean Haspiel elaborate on their multi-media collaborations, which include their graphic novel, "The Alcoholic," Ames' latest essay collection, "The Double Life Is Twice As Good," and the HBO show, "Bored To Death."


ZUDA: SUNDAY 3PM-3:50PM Join Ron Perazza (ZUDA COMICS), Kwanza Johnson (ZUDA COMICS), Bobby Timony & Peter Timony (Minion Maze, THE NIGHT OWLS), David Gallaher (HIGH MOON, Box 13), Steve Ellis (HIGH MOON, Box 13), Kevin Colden (Fishtown, I RULE THE NIGHT), Dean Haspiel (Billy Dogma, STREET CODE) and others for an inclusive, roundtable discussion about the advantages, challenges, questions, solutions, costs and benefits of making webcomics for fun and profit. Topics include working with a publisher, self-publishing, promoting yourself, best practices, style and moving from web to print (or vice-versa)!

DIGITAL COMICS ROUNDTABLE: SUNDAY 4PM-4:50PM MODERATOR: Mike Zagari ZUDA, Ron Perazza & Kwanza Johnson ACT-I-VATE, Mike Cavallaro COMIXOLOGY, John Roberts & David Steinberger SMITH MAGAZINE, Jeff Newelt & more to come!

For more panel information, including spotlights on GRAPHIC NYC, Harvey Pekar and The Pekar Project, and Bob Fingerman, go to:

Pop Matters Reviews The Act-i-vate Primer!

PrimerMockup Zane Austin Grant has written a thoughtful and considered review of the Act-i-vate Primer over at He has lots of great things to say about a lot of the stories in the book but here's what he had to say about "Memoirs of the 'Kid Immortal" by yours truly:

Another standout story is Joe Infurnari’s Memoirs of the ‘Kid Immortal’, for example, which follows a defeated wrestler on an occult conquest to become a champion.  The art for the story is made to look like a golden age comic you might have found in a junk bin.  The page is faded and the edges are worn, but the story itself transforms the dramatic language of early adventure comics into a sad poetics that matches the main characters disappointment perfectly.

There's lots more to this review and he gives the book an 8 out of 10! I encourage you all to read the whole thing here.

Thanks, Zane!

The Act-i-vate Primer Salon at Book Court Thursday!

poster Brooklyn preeminent independent bookstore, Book Court, will be hosting a unique and exciting event this week, The Act-i-vate Salon! What makes it oh so fancy (hence the 'Salon') is that members of the Act-i-vate collective will be doing dramatic readings of some of their stories in The Act-i-vate Primer. It's a comics anthology meets performance art plus free alcohol and book signing extravaganza. Whoa, whoa there, Nelly! Don't rush off just yet, the event happens next Thursday, October 29th! Check out the poster above or the this blog post for even more tantalizing tidbits!