Secret Acres

Secret Acres Secret Acres is an independent comics publisher in Brooklyn, New York.

Best Independent Comics Publisher: Secret Acres “It can be hard making your way in the big city, and life as an independent comics publisher is no different. New York, after all, is home to the medium’s two goliaths—Marvel and DC. But even the presence of such monopolistic entities hasn’t deterred the efforts of Barry Matthews and Leon Avelino. This Queensbased publishing house came seemingly out of nowhere in 2006, and has been producing vibrant and essential works by the likes of Ken Dahl, Minty Lewis, Theo Ellsworth and Eamon Espey, ever since. Suck it, Batman.” - NY PRESS Best of Manhattan 2010: Arts & Entertainment “Not so secret anymore” (Douglas Wolk, Publisher’s Weekly), Secret Acres is a comics publishing company, founded in 2006. Currently, the company publishes story collections and original graphic novels. Secret Acres sells and distributes its creators’ mini-comics and other self-published works. Secret Acres can be seen exhibiting at better comics conventions. Secret Acres’ titles include: - The multiple Ingatz Award winning and Eisner Award nominated Monsters by Ken Dahl - Theo Ellsoworth’s Capacity, now in its second printins, listed among the best comics of the year by The Village Voice, The Huffington Post (small press) and the Comics Reporter - Wormdye by Eamon Espey, counted among the best 25 comics of the decade by The Comics Journal Secret Acres was made by Barry Matthews and Leon Avelino. Barry Matthews claims rural Vermont as his place of origin. He pursued and captured an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Cornell University and was named a Best New American Voice. He has worked for a large dot com ever since. Leon Avelino was born in the Philippines and raised on New York’s upper west side. Also possessed of fairly useless degrees, he has been working in comics companies large and small for the better part of his life. Says Comics Now: “They look for talent that's spurred by love of the medium; SA was created to support that talent. Content is the priority; SA simply publishes books that its owners think people should be reading… In the end, they want to be the publishing house with which their creators most want to work, a very laudable goal. Hmmm . . . a publisher that exists to enable further works by creators it admires? That, perhaps, could be the definition of ‘independent sensibilities.’” Secret Acres comics are available for purchase on the Secret Acres website, at comics conventions in which the company exhibits, from amazon.com and at the finest comics retailers and booksellers.

This week we play catchup with all things Secret Acres. (For full disclosure, there was a freak flood here at chez Acres...
07/15/2019
Microreview: Rust Belt by Sean Knickerbocker - Sequential State

This week we play catchup with all things Secret Acres. (For full disclosure, there was a freak flood here at chez Acres; many, many books were lost, but nobody got hurt or anything, so we’re grateful for little blessings, but we’re still cleaning up, etc.) First up, from the ICYMI files, is Alex Hoffman’s take on Sean Knickerbocker’s Rust Belt, up on Sequential State. Sequential State qualifies as necessary reading if you’re into good comics, and Alex is a for-real smartypants, so we’re always excited to hear what he has to say. He puts Sean in some pretty prestigious company, namedropping Segar and Schultz by way of Forsman and Van Sciver. The first two would be more about Sean’s line, which Alex describes as “workman-like.” This fits the second two pretty well thematically, as Mr. Hoffman includes Sean with Forsman and Van Sciver in the medium’s “recent tradition of Midwestern down-and-out stories.” The people of Rust Belt may not all be down for the count, however. As Alex writes: “The tragedy of Rust Belt is in its familiarity, and the understanding that, as Knickerbocker suggests, a lot of people are one good kick away from falling into the pit.” Here’s hoping that kick misses! Go the read whole thing right here. Thank you, Alex!

A short review of Sean Knickerbocker's Rust Belt, a collection of short stories about misfits, outsiders, and rejects, published in 2019 by Secret Acres.

We return to the Comics Journal for Rob Kirby’s take on Joakim Drescher’s Motel Universe. Rob, for full disclosure, ...
06/28/2019
Motel Universe | The Comics Journal

We return to the Comics Journal for Rob Kirby’s take on Joakim Drescher’s Motel Universe. Rob, for full disclosure, reviews comics on the regular, but he is also a helluva cartoonist, so we beam with pride over this rave review. Motel Universe does a lot; it’s a big budget, sci-fi car chase about a slave race, hunted for their hides by the rich and famous, and it’s a geopolitical allegory for our hellish, IRL Moment. What makes Motel Universe work is its LOL humor. As Rob writes, “Drescher sneaks in some potent tropes about scapegoating and the exploitation of the most vulnerable members of society, but his satire is offered up in such over-the-top surreality that it all goes down quite easily. Drescher is clearly having a lot of fun with his creations and that fun is contagious.” We think Joakim has a unique genius for complex storytelling that goes down sweet. To quote Rob once more, “...he remains a sui generis talent, and his extravagant satire hits the spot in these crazy-weird times.” Enough of our blather! Go read Rob’s entire take right here. Thank you, TCJ! Thanks, Rob!

The intergalactic adventures of Motel Universe unfold in seemingly free-form fashion, driven by creator Joakim Drescher’s delightfully go-for-broke imagination in both storytelling and visuals, along with his seriously loopy sense of humor. Drescher sneaks in some potent tropes about scapegoating ...

Right now at the Comics Journal you can take a quick trip to the Rust Belt. Sean Knickerbocker’s intimate look at the ...
06/26/2019
Excerpt: Rust Belt | The Comics Journal

Right now at the Comics Journal you can take a quick trip to the Rust Belt. Sean Knickerbocker’s intimate look at the people living in America’s changing, post-industrial exurbs is in stores now and, of course, ready to ship in our Emporium. There’s a lot going on in this chapter on TCJ, and we might slap a trigger warning on it: these are people you probably know, but may not want to know. We promise that you won’t be able to take your eyes off them because Sean makes them live and breathe. Sean himself is taking a breather after his big debut at the Chicago Alternative (K)omics Expo, aka CAKE, but will be back on the road for the Small Press Expo in the fall. Meantime, take a gander at TCJ!

Check out a twenty-page excerpt from Sean Knickerbocker's Rust Belt, released this week from Secret Acres.

Yes, we were on the road when Ryan C. of Four Color Apocalypse posted his take on Joakim Drescher’s Motel Universe. Fr...
06/20/2019
It’s “No Vacancy” For Squares In The “Motel Universe”

Yes, we were on the road when Ryan C. of Four Color Apocalypse posted his take on Joakim Drescher’s Motel Universe. From the ICYMI files or not, this ranks as one of our favorite reviews ever. Take Ryan’s initial reaction (from a tweet that he quotes in full): “Like Mark Beyer on four hits of bad acid with his non-drawing hand stuck in a blender.” Ryan goes on to make reference to Jesse Jacobs, George Wylesol, Gary Panter and Fletcher Hanks, in case you were wondering if he knows what he’s talking about. Ryan gets very excited, writing things about Joakim’s mind like “It takes in everyone and everything we mentioned — plus some out-of-left-field elements like the ghost of Caligula and relevant “real world” analogues like real estate mogul/asshole Barton Flump (I trust I needn’t elaborate) — breaks them into a million tiny kaleidoscopic pieces, shakes the living sh*t out of them, dumps them into the slicer-and-dicer, sets it on “high,” and stands back and gets out of his own way as things transform, transmogrify, and eventually coalesce into something hitherto unseen and, frankly, unimagined.” Need we say more? Thank you, Ryan! Just wait till part two…

I tweeted something after reading Joakim Drescher’s Motel Universe that sums up my feelings about the book (just released as a full-color hardcover by Secret Acres after an earlier, riso-prin…

Once again, Publishers Weekly beats everyone to the punch with their review of Persephone’s Garden by Glynnis Fawkes. ...
06/18/2019
Comics Book Review: Persephone’s Garden by Glynnis Fawkes. Secret Acres, $21.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-9991935-6-3

Once again, Publishers Weekly beats everyone to the punch with their review of Persephone’s Garden by Glynnis Fawkes. PW describes Glynnis’ collection as “a hilarious and moving meditation on girlhood, motherhood, and the unyielding passage of time.” We agree, of course, and what amazes us about Persephone’s Garden is the spectrum of emotions that it touches. Sure, per PW, Glynnis sports “a wonderfully lithe, Thurber-esque line, which adapts effortlessly to the humorous and quotidian.” Her ability and technique as an illustrator make these stories come to life - but there’s so much of life in these pages. Time itself plays a huge part in Persephone’s Garden. You could call it a memoir and you’d be right, but the making of it serves as a defense against the erosion of our lives and ourselves over time. Not surprisingly, PW pulls our favorite line from the book for a quote: “The jaws of my memory want to close on this house so hard.” Nothing (but everything) lasts forever. Thank you, PW, for your very kind words!

Inspired to retell the myth of Persephone, which ancient Greeks used to explain the cycle of seasons, Fawkes presents this autobiographical collection as a hilarious and moving meditation on girlhood,

We did it again! We had our CAKE and ate it, too, and here is your Scuttlebutt. More to the point, Sean Knickerbocker ki...
06/05/2019
Secret Acres

We did it again! We had our CAKE and ate it, too, and here is your Scuttlebutt. More to the point, Sean Knickerbocker kicked off his ongoing Rust Belt tour in style at Quimby’s on CAKE eve. We witnessed a terrible traffic collision, but L. Nichols and Flocks flew in safely. The Chicago Alternative (K)omics Expo remains it unexpectedly awesome self. We picked up a helluva haul. We managed an all-night pinball bar crawl. We got Rust Belt out of the box at last and sent Sean along on his merry way. This trip was a trip and we are wasted. Thank Big Baby Jesus, it’s summer break. But! We do have some news on what’s coming your way when the leaves turn and the wind blows cold. THANK YOU, all you wonderful people who make CAKE, to all the people who come to CAKE, and especially Simon Moreton. We’ll be back here in a few, so meantime, you can just read this here Scuttlebutt over and over again, longingly…

SWEET JESUS, what a rush! So, first of all, we must thank the lovely legions of the legendary Quimby’s for hosting our guy, Sean Knickerbocker. Sean kicked off his big Rust Belt tour on Friday night, following up Aaron Renier and Alex Nall for the Quimby’s special CAKE (that’s the Chicago Alte...

Sean Knickerbocker knocks the rust of off Rust Belt with a surprise show tonight at Quimby’s in Chicago! Starting at 7...
05/31/2019
CAKE FRIDAY EDITION of Drink n’ Draw at Quimby’s « Quimblog

Sean Knickerbocker knocks the rust of off Rust Belt with a surprise show tonight at Quimby’s in Chicago! Starting at 7PM sharp, join Aaron Renier and Alex Nall for the CAKE (that’s the Chicago Alternative (K)omics Expo) edition of Qumby’s Drink n’ Draw, followed by Sean reading stories of the forgotten, the doomed and the dreamers in Rust Belt. Quimby’s calls this the CAKE edition as this is the eve of the big show, where Rust Belt finally makes its long-awaited debut. If you can’t make it to Quimby’s, you have to at least get yourself some CAKE. We’ll be hanging there all weekend before Sean goes on tour. You’ll have plenty of chances to catch Sean, we promise. See you in a few...

It never stops! Benjamin Welton of New York Journal of Books visits Sean Knickerbocker’s Rust Belt and lives to tell t...
05/30/2019
a book review by Benjamin Welton: Rust Belt

It never stops! Benjamin Welton of New York Journal of Books visits Sean Knickerbocker’s Rust Belt and lives to tell the tale! “Rust Belt,” says Benjamin, “is an undeniably sobering graphic novel that is as much journalism and sociology as it is fiction.” This is true in several ways. Sean treats the subjects of these stories, those trapped and isolated and escaping from America’s forgotten post-industrial cities, with such a neutral eye, it can make it hard to remember that they are, in fact, characters. There is still sympathy for these people, even in journalistic objectivity, though, or as Benjamin writes, “The fact that they fail is not a black mark against them, but rather a commentary on the inherent tragedy of life.” Enough with the spoilers, you should read the entire take - and you can right here! Thanks, Benjamin and NYJB!

Rust Belt by Sean Knickerbocker book review. Click to read the full review of Rust Belt in New York Journal of Books. Review written by Benjamin Welton.

We return to our Scuttlebutt blog on the occasion of our trip, this very weekend, to the Chicago Altenative (K)omics Exp...
05/29/2019
Secret Acres

We return to our Scuttlebutt blog on the occasion of our trip, this very weekend, to the Chicago Altenative (K)omics Expo, better known as CAKE! This time around, our big, fat debut book comes in the form of Rust Belt by Sean Knickerbocker. Rust Belt takes us all the way into the lives of the doomed and the dreamers in the cold places of America. You know these people, but you don’t often get to see them live and breathe like this. Funny how long this book has been in the making, because it’s never been more relevant than it is now. Tag-teaming with Sean at CAKE will be none other than the leader of the Flocks, L. Nichols, which we think makes a perfect pairing to take the marginalized center stage. Sean’ s big road trip only starts with CAKE, and you can find a map in here of where he’s headed next. We even have a bit of pre-gaming on CAKE eve, happening at the legendary Quimby’s in the Windy City. More on that later, because we gotta pack right now, but you can get all the deets right here. See you in a few…

FIRST OF ALL, we must thank Desert Island and Gabe Fowler in particular for hosting Joakim Drescher‘s Motel Universe coming out party. We should also thank L. Nichols for tag-teaming with Joakim and bringing his Flocks home to Brooklyn. We even need to thank Sadiya Abjani, now an official Secret A...

Secret Acres's cover photo
05/29/2019

Secret Acres's cover photo

Front-running candidate for smartest guy in the room, John Seven at the Beat, offers up a twofer of a review, with both ...
05/28/2019
INDIE VIEW: Echoes of lost old worlds in ‘Rust Belt’ and ‘Yellow Yellow’

Front-running candidate for smartest guy in the room, John Seven at the Beat, offers up a twofer of a review, with both Yellow Yellow by Frank Asch, and our very own Rust Belt by Sean Knickerbocker, in his sights. While Yellow Yellow puts Rust Belt in some estimable company, forgive us if we focus on the latter. We appreciate Seven’s takes because he always comes up with something we missed. For us, Rust Belt is a good look at the doomed and the dreamers in a changing, post-industrial America. These folks are people we know, but might rather not, the casualties of un-friending. John, of course, gets all that, and more, looking at the way Sean “captures not only the experience of his central characters but the way they affect people around them.” But here’s our favorite part: “he’s also delving into the way personal experience can obscure a view of wider issues and obstruct the ability to create solutions for yourself.” Ain’t that always the way? Thank you, John Seven, for being so thoughtful!

John Seven reviews ‘Rust Belt’ and ‘Yellow Yellow’

Once again, Publishers Weekly gets to call first! This time, the folks at PW take a deep dive into Keren Katz’s upcomi...
05/20/2019
Comics Book Review: The Backstage of a Dishwashing Webshow by Keren Katz. Secret Acres, $21.95 trade paper (208p) ISBN 978-0-9991935-5-6

Once again, Publishers Weekly gets to call first! This time, the folks at PW take a deep dive into Keren Katz’s upcoming wonder the Backstage of a Dishwashing Webshow. In typical Keren fashion, she does indeed bend minds. We follow young Rivi to Mount Scopus Academy, a school where everyone becomes who they were before. If you’ve ever had the thought that you were dating your parents, this book is for you. Hey, it’s cheaper than therapy! PW focuses mostly on Keren’s inimitable, dancerly, exquisite art. How we dig these reference points: “Katz’s art loosely recalls highly stylized Art Noveau illustrators like Aubrey Beardsley or Harry Clarke crossed with a jumbled surrealist sensibility.“ Nice one, PW! The Backstage of a Dishwashing Webshow airs at the 2019 Small Press Expo. We know, that’s September - but we swear it’s worth the wait. Thanks again, PW!

Katz reflects a distorted fun house version of modern college life in this experimental graphic narrative that follows Rivi, a former air traffic controller who enrolls in Mount Scopus Academy, a “sch

Right now, you can read yourself a good chunk of our latest book, Motel Universe by Joakim Drescher. The Comics Journal ...
05/17/2019
Excerpt: Motel Universe | The Comics Journal

Right now, you can read yourself a good chunk of our latest book, Motel Universe by Joakim Drescher. The Comics Journal plays host to a semi-NSFW excerpt of Joakim’s big budget, sci-fi epic. In fact, you get pretty much the first chapter. Warning: there are creatures with breasts and geopolitical overtones. Get a load of this teaser ahead of Joakim’s debutante ball next Thursday, in our hometown, at Brooklyn’s own Desert Island. He’ll even be tag-teaming with our man, L. Nichols. If you can’t make it to the party, you can always pick up your own Motel Universe in our Emporium. Though that’s not as much fun, really. Thanks, Comics Journal people! See you in a few…

Check out a 16 page excerpt from Joakim Dresher's Motel Universe, released this week from Secret Acres.

We made it! The Toronto Comic Arts Festival came to a close in its typically spectacular fashion. TCAF feels like a worl...
05/15/2019
Secret Acres

We made it! The Toronto Comic Arts Festival came to a close in its typically spectacular fashion. TCAF feels like a world comics symposium, with exhibitors from seemingly every nation and visitors from what we suspect is the most international city on earth. You want diversity? TCAF has you covered. Also, TCAF knows how to party. A busted leg and a busted car posed no match for the Secret Acres gang. Joakim Drescher came all the way from Denmark to check Motel Universe into the show. L. Nichols took Flocks to the North for the very first time. Our man, Edie Fake, kept the Wow in Wowee Zonk. Our very own Canuck, Aaron Costain served up Entropy and served as ambassador. We tricked Adam Griffiths into hanging at the table all weekend. Sadiya, our mule extraordinaire, kept the wheels turning all the way up and back. With a gang like that, who needs legs? We went broke for our haul, we stuffed ourselves with dumplings and faux hog, we saw everyone from everywhere and we partied naked. We want to thank everyone who made it happen - especially the volunteers who remain the best in the business. Thank you, everyone who came to the show, all you beautiful people buying beautiful books. We’re inviting all y’all to a party next week, on Thursday, in our hometown Brooklyn, at Desert Island, with Joakim and L. both. It’s the least we could do! See you in few. Meantime, get all the Scuttlebutt dirt and deets right here.

ROUGH STARTS happen. Our troubles began with the car that wouldn’t start. The night before, we packed for the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, while Joakim Drescher flew through space and time, from Denmark. We were locked, loaded and ready to head for the North with Motel Universe in the boot. Then c...

At last, the time comes to knock the rust off. We welcome you to our first Scuttlebutt post of the year, marking the occ...
05/07/2019
Secret Acres

At last, the time comes to knock the rust off. We welcome you to our first Scuttlebutt post of the year, marking the occasion of our first show of the year, the Toronto Comic Arts Festival. If you read these little blog posts on the regular, odds are you already know that TCAF remains and will forever be the biggest comics party of every year. Allow us to introduce the star of our comics coming out party, Joakim Drescher. Joakim hails from Denmark, enjoys bedroom pop, poke bowls and dropping his debut, Motel Universe on unsuspecting Canadian masses. We swear you will love Motel Universe, a timely and quite batsh*t, big budget, sci-fi franchise if ever there were. Joakim rolls in with a gang, too. Behind the Secret Acres table and roaming the TCAF floor, are none other than actual Canadian and Entropy man, Aaron Costain, the Gaylord Phoenix himself, Edie Fake, and the leader of the Flocks, L. Nichols. Also, we need a gang this time out, as yours truly is on crutches, so if you come say hello, I can’t run away from you. There’s plenty more in this post, so read up for the deets - and we will see you on the other side...

WE LIVE. Sorta. Your can find yours truly on crutches at this weekend’s Toronto Comic Arts Festival. Don’t worry, Secret Acres is ganged up fierce as ever for this trip. We’re sporting at least nine fully functional legs between us. We promised never to miss a TCAF so long as we’re invited, ...

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