ed piskor

Fear, Loathing, and Comics

Comic book artist, Ed Piskor

If you’re walking the streets of Pittsburgh at night, be prepared to encounter an intimidating gang of comic book artists. There’s Ed Piskor, who wears sunglasses indoors, has a different Public Enemy t-shirt for every day of the week, and who Rolling Stone calls “the next big thing in books”. There’s Tom Scioli, who stutters a tad with delight when retrieving a comics-related file from his encyclopedic mind, and whose work on Godland and American Barbarian is compared to that of the eminent, Jack Kirby. Then there’s indie artist, Jim Rugg, whose books Street Angel and the Eisner-nominated Afrodisiac have made big waves in the small press scene. He also co-hosts a podcast called Tell Me Something I Don’t Know with artist, Jasen Lex. BFFs since college, they grill folks, such as Hellboy’s Mike Mignola, on what it means to live and work as an artist.

If these guys are excited about something, so am I. So when they invited me to film them at a “special event”, I jumped at the opportunity. Then they told me the shoot would take place in a subterranean warehouse in the middle of nowhere.

Jack Kirby’s 2001 series, in the basement

“No, you see, this basement is legendary,” they said.

“Uh-huh,” I said.

Ellwood City, Pennsylvania is a small town 45 minutes outside of Pittsburgh. In 1895, it became the first place in America where seamless steel tubes were pierced. Nowadays, Ellwood City is most synonymous with the New Dimensions Basement Sale – a bi-annual event during which a pop culture treasure trove of over half a million comics and magazines is opened for public perusal and consumption. Comic lovers from Toronto to Alabama drive tractor-trailers over the Pennsylvanian landscape to buy and sell a store’s worth of illustrated matter. Each book is priced at one dollar, whether it’s a Jack Kirby back issue that will never again be reprinted or Prophet #4, one of the most sought-after books from the 90’s comic boom.


Film / 5 Comments
September 25th, 2012 / 12:41 pm