The nice people at Big Red Comics in Downtown Orange invited me to sell books and sign autographs as part of their Free Comic Book Day celebration. (FCBD is always the first Saturday in May, but it has taken me many years to get that straight in my head.)
     Incidentally, I did not make that name plate for myself, the nice people at the store did. I would not have referred to my own comics as "awesome," although mayhaps they are.
     See the free bookmarks with tassels? I gave away 60 of those motherfuckers! Anthony cut out and hole-punched every single one of them, and we put the tassels on together at the kitchen table the night before. I'm a fan of tassel-related projects.
     I did a lot of doodling that day, beginning at breakfast and continuing at the event.

Sketch inspired by Anthony's "bananas foster pancakes" at IHOP.
Bananas Foster's randy gay brother.

Alice and the Cheshire Cat, just because.

Sketch done for a really cool kid who suggested I draw a wizard monkey. Because wizards are cool, and monkeys are cool,  so, "a wizard monkey would probably be REALLY cool."

I was challenging myself to see if you could draw the Cheshire Cat NOT smiling. As you can see, it's mostly unsuccessful and unsatisfying.

     Right as I was drawing that hideous spraying Cheshire Cat, which is very wrong and regrettable, this cute family came up to see me in Wonderland-inspired costumes. I quickly flipped my sketchbook to a less offensive page.
     The mother had hand-made a Queen of Hearts dress for herself and a Mad Hatter outfit for her daughter. They were there to get a signed copy of Wonderland, and it was very flattering and fun. Dad was a cool guy, too, and told me about this website called Spoonflower that his wife uses to actually have her own original designs printed on fabric, which she uses for the outfits. Pretty cool idea.

     All in all it was a very successful day. I sold some prints, some copies of Wonderland, Stitch, Skelebunnies, Royal Historian of Oz, Smells Like Library Vol.1, and Smells Like Library Vol.2. I was there from about 10:30 to 5pm.



Me staggering to the car with a box full of my books.
Very cool poster to advertise the event
     So I was invited by Anat Herzog at Chapman University to participate in their first "Salon," in conjunction with Anaheim's WonderCon 2015. The topic was "Comics As Social Change," which I thought was a great topic.
     Chandra Jenkins spoke first, introducing the topic and giving a brief overview of the history of comics and graphic novels, particularly as agents of social change. Then I spoke for about 10 minutes, then Andrew Vo, and then David Brown. Andrew is a student who did an award-winning thesis on comics as propaganda in WWII. David won an award from the NAACP for a black superhero comic he did, inspired by the L.A. Riots.
     One coherent and possibly on-topic thing I said was that if ideas are like viruses, comics are an ideal vector for spreading them fast and efficiently. Comics are usually cheap, and because they are largely visual, the ideas can be processed quickly by the reader, and handed off to the next person with a, "Hey, check this out!"
     I also talked about how people sort of EXPECT comics to contain controversial or edgy material.

     Part of the evening's program stated that Tommy Kovac (that's me) would be visually documenting the discussion. So I made sure to doodle on the butcher paper table-cloth while people were talking about stuff, and while I was thinking of what to say.

     And here are some close-ups of some of the doodles...

Group shot of all involved. David Brown, Anat Herzog, Andrew Vo, Me, Chandra Jenkins, and Ahmed Younis.


Tommy & Skeletor (?), BFF!

"Fairy Dust" Gays & Disney panel discussion. Some... colorful types there.
What am I doing here? I mean, other than being gay and having blue hair, why the fuck am I on this panel?
One of my favorite former students (in the middle), and her friend (on the left. because obviously that's me on the right. duh.)

Some notes to gather my thoughts, even though that gigantic scary drag queen did most of the talking.

Jotted quotes from the discussion. And other impressions.

This is actually completely true: my friend Angela and I used to sing this horrible song when we were in high school, referring to any guy who identified too much with Disney, because that meant GAY. I was still in the closet then, and a total hypocrite. Angela doesn't remember this song, but I SWEAR it's true. Somewhere there's a VHS home video tape of her singing it. We were terrible people back then, but now we are ANGELS and never say or do anything mean.

My WonderCon purchases. Adorable blue ram & Ghostface from the Scream movies. BFF!



Thursday, April 2nd, I'll be participating in this (FREE!) pre-WonderCon event at Chapman University, and selling & signing my books:
April 2, 6-8pm, Argyros Forum, room 119A
(Flyer artwork by Ross Loehman)
4/2/2015 UPDATE: Here's the final version of the Salon flyer:

Saturday, April 4th, I'll be signing from 5pm-6:30pm at booth #809 (Prism Comics).
Then at 7pm that same day I'm participating on this panel:
Fairy Dust: LGBTQ Disney FandomSaturday, April 4, 2015, 7:00p.m. – 8:00p.m., Anaheim Convention Center Room 211
Disney is popular around the world.  And Disney characters, films, comics, media and theme parks are especially popular among the LGBTQ community.  Young or old, LGBTQ folk identify with the stories, characters, the fantasy and the imagination. Since you are next door to the “Happiest Place on Earth” join Prism Comics and Disney fans as they explore why the queer community loves all things Disney. Panelists include Dusty Sage (Founder and CEO of, Tommy Kovac (SkelebunniesWonderland)Momma (Anaheim Gay Days; expert on Disney Parks and Disneyana), Jimmy Sherfy (Disney Cosplayer and Animation Enthusiast), Sarah Sterling (Disney Fandom YouTuber, Feminism and Queer Studies Specialist), Joseph Titizian (Disney Historian and Featured Blog Writer) and Barry V (Disney Cosplayer and Animation Enthusiast). Moderated by Ted Abenheim (Prism Comics Board Member).   
     It's kind of a funny topic, because LOTS of people are obsessed with Disney, not just the gays. And I do NOT love "all things Disney." I hate that goddamn Little Mermaid, I hate the "Disney Princess" cult, I find "Finding Nemo" to be a big bland yawn, Cinderella is a passive twat, and I dislike musicals in general. But I think the Prism organizers know this, and have invited me anyway. So I will politely bring my rotten little contrary attitude to the table.
     Here's some Disney I DO love: The original animated "Alice In Wonderland," the Alice In Wonderland ride, the Haunted Mansion ride, Mary Poppins, the movie "Return To Oz," "Sleeping Beauty," the Peter Pan ride, and adorable animated squirrels and bunnies.


     The first weekend of November (yeah, over a month ago and I'm just now getting around to posting this) we drove to Vegas for the Vegas Valley Comic Book Festival, which is part of the annual Vegas Valley Book Festival. The Comic Book Festival was a one-day event on Saturday, November 3rd at the Clark County Library and its environs.

     The Clark County Library had invited me to be a special guest, along with Aaron Alexovich and Drew Rausch, at our publisher SLG's booth. Drew and Aaron have a dark and Lovecraftian new hardback graphic novel called Eldritch.
     It's like, really cool, and they drew a pretty picture in my copy just for me. Here it is:
Drew drew, and Aaron... aaroned.

     I was promoting The Royal Historian of Oz, Skelebunnies, Stitch, and my newest lil' cutie, The Weirdling Woods. (see THIS post)
     The festival organizers had also asked me to present 2 one-hour-long writer's workshops, and even though I feel like I barely know what I'm doing, I said sure. Confidence, bitches!
      The plan was to limit each writer's workshop to 12 participants, who had to sign up beforehand at the festival registration booth. About 15 minutes before the first workshop, Anthony and I swung by the registration booth to check out the sign-up sheets. I was fully expecting either NOBODY, or just a few people interested. To my surprise it was actually over-filled, and I ended up with about 18 participants for the first session.
     Ever the pessimist, I thought, "Well, I'm sure it's just because people really want writer's workshops, not because any of these people have ever heard of ME before." Which is totally fine, of course! Really. But then during the first session when I had people introduce themselves and say what they're interested in writing, a woman with two teens said, "Actually, we're just here because they're both big fans of your work, and we just wanted the chance to get to meet you!"
     So that was a really nice surprise.
     For the second session, the festival organizers tried to keep to the 12-person limit, and we only ended up with one or two more than that. They said they had to turn a bunch of people away, because there was so much interest in writer's workshops!
     In case you're wondering what I did for a whole hour, I used a PowerPoint to introduce myself and show my various works. I had everyone introduce themselves by name, what they want to write, and one thing they hoped to learn in the workshop. (Don't worry, I allowed shy people to "pass.")
     After sharing my own experiences regarding the creative process, and how I personally ended up getting published, I then talked about the importance of dialogue, particularly in comics. I described how a lot of my ideas begin as characters that form in my head and start talking. Dialogue is usually the first thing I start writing for a new project. I love that stage in the creative process when these different personalities are forming and having conversations, and it's like you don't even have to "try," you just let them speak and try to catch it all on paper.
     I reminded them that when we're kids, we ALL do this, EVERY DAY. It's what our childhoods are made up of, mostly. Inventing personalities and dialogue and adventures for our Star Wars figures, our Transformers, our Barbies, Smurfs, Monchichis, whatever. And it's EASY when you're a kid. Do you remember ever sitting down with a pile of action figures and sparkly accoutrements and saying, "Uh... I don't know what to say... I don't know what kind of story to tell..."
     As we get older, we tend to start losing that ability to freely play and create. Writers need to retain that, or to recapture it.
     So then I bossily guided them in a dialogue-writing exercise in which I passed around a big canvas bag full of all sorts of toy figures, and had each person select two. I gave everyone a sheet of lined paper and a pencil, and told them they had 5 minutes to write a dialogue between the two characters. They weren't going to have to show it to anyone, either, it was just for THEM. For FUN. I suggested they look at the characters and try to figure out what their individual personalities might be like, and how they might relate to each other. Maybe they didn't even like each other.
     I loved seeing the participants pair the Creature From the Black Lagoon with a pirate, or a dinosaur with a Bratz Baby. And almost all of them wrote like crazy, not wanting to stop until I called time, and even then hurrying to finish a thought. It looked like fun.
     I think I even said, "Language is a writer's toybox." Later I thought, Wow, that's such a hippy-dippy douchey kind of thing to say! But I did mean it, and I wasn't even smoking weed.




Dame Darcy and Tommy Kovac at The Comic Bug, 2006
     I was going through some old files, and found this picture of Dame Darcy looming balefully at my side from a November 2006 signing at The Comic Bug, in Manhattan Beach. It was a group comic book signing featuring Dame Darcy, Crab Scrambly (not pictured, he's shy), and Tommy Kovac, which is me. I was promoting Wonderland and Autumn, as you can see from the table display.
     Darcy wore a giant gold ribbon in her hair, played guitar and banjo, and chattered about raw food recipes. When she found out my husband is diabetic, she insisted that she'd have to have us up to her house in L.A. and make a raw foods dinner for us because we would love it. Of course that never happened. But it was exciting to talk about anyway, in that way you do when everyone involved knows it won't really happen because you're all too busy and self-involved but if you WEREN'T that way, you'd maybe be actual friends. Maybe.
     A week or two after the signing, there was a terrible fire at The Comic Bug, which you can see an after shot of HERE. As far as I know, I had nothing to do with that.
     So, yeah, this happened 6 years ago.