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.

Operating as usual

From the ICYMI files, we play catch-up with Marchenoir and Solrad, whose Ryan Carey takes a turn at deconstructing and r...
07/06/2020
Is A Picture Really Worth A Thousand Words? Ryan Carey Reviews THE MARCHENOIR LIBRARY by Alex Degen - SOLRAD

From the ICYMI files, we play catch-up with Marchenoir and Solrad, whose Ryan Carey takes a turn at deconstructing and reconstructing A. Degen’s latest, the Marchenoir Library. Ryan starts by applauding Degen’s “audacity” in sticking to sticking to his guns at his new home here at Secret Acres. We agree with Ryan that “that’s likely the best way for anyone to be introduced to Degen’s ouevre, given that compromise has never been part of his repertoire. Time and spatiality and narrative simply work differently in his comics, and never more so than here, where he tells the story of titular character Marchenoir.” There’s no getting around the Marchenoir Library, a cover gallery from a non-existent sci-fi mystery romance series; you just have to go through it: “The inherently fragmentary nature of his admittedly loose narrative gives the project a dreamlike quality to it that’s pitch-perfect given that Marchenoir herself is a guardian (of sorts, at any rate) of both dreaming and waking life.” Yes, the Marchenoir Library is a comic, but more than that. Ryan puts it best, describing this book as “a present-day exploration of a past phenomenon,” in which “the very phenomenon of identity itself is even subtly called into question in these pastel-hued pages.” We swear you’ll have a good time at the Marchenoir Library. As Ryan writes, “you may find that hard-and-fast solutions are a lot less fun than simply pondering the myriad of possibilities that Degen lays at your doorstep.” Thank you, Ryan and Solrad!

Ryan Carey takes some time today to explore the fragmented nature of THE MARCHENOIR LIBRARY by Alex Degen, published by Secret Acres earlier this year.

At the Comics Journal, Brian Nicholson fills in the blanks on A. Degen’s the Marchenoir Library. What Degen gives the re...
06/10/2020
The Marchenoir Library |

At the Comics Journal, Brian Nicholson fills in the blanks on A. Degen’s the Marchenoir Library. What Degen gives the reader here is a Who’s Who and a covers gallery, complete with back cover plot summaries and teasers, for the series, Marchenoir - which doesn’t exist. As Brian puts it: “The result is a numinous object with practical application, an orb to brain the devil with.” What Brian gives the Marchenoir Library is a set of instructions, a how-to for a book that wants to liberate your mind and the medium. Brian deals specifically with Degen’s use of tarot cards in Marchenoir, “where they are posited as a sort of threat - that to have a fortune read and future foretold presents a danger, when one reads narrative into symbolism. This is how comics’ language of signs generally works, but what’s hinted at here is the liberatory power of symbols ungoverned by specificity.” The Marchenoir Library can be read and re-read, like tarot cards, because you never tell yourself the same story twice. Degen doesn’t give us everything, but everything we need. “A reader might wish for a real world version of a complete Marchenoir library, but why? Such consumptive habits only serve, ultimately, as ways of furnishing a tomb... ...It posits instead that the modern comics landscape is continually generating exciting and invigorating work of a kind unimaginable at any point in the medium’s history.” So, now that you know what to do, go do it. The Marchenoir Library is officially on bookstore shelves today. What a way to celebrate Marchenoir’s birthday! Thank you, Brian and TCJ!

I started a dream journal at the end of last year, in hopes of gaining insight into my own psyche or, fingers crossed, the nature of larger reality. The closest I came was a dream where I tried to describe to someone the plot of the book I was reading, and upon waking realized it shared a summary wi...

Secret Acres's cover photo
05/08/2020

Secret Acres's cover photo

Welcome back to the year 2020, which is still happening, believe it or not, and we can prove it: Publishers Weekly is fi...
05/06/2020
Comics Book Review: The Marchenoir Library by A. Degan. Secret Acres, $21.95 trade paper (104p) ISBN 978-0-99-919358-7

Welcome back to the year 2020, which is still happening, believe it or not, and we can prove it: Publishers Weekly is first out of the gate with a review of A. Degen’s latest, the Marchenoir Library. Ian Littauer re-opens the library, finding that “Degen (Soft X-Ray/Mindhunters) fuses superhero and sci-fi/fantasy tropes with a dollop of existential angst in this lighthearted, hypersurreal parody.” You can expect the unexpected from Mr. Degen, who takes it up a notch here. The Marchenoir Library is a gallery of the most beautiful covers from the beloved series, Marchenoir - and that’s all that’s left of the mystery of Marchenoir, “ex-celebrity superheroine, ex-singer/songwriter, now working as a hero to pay off a debt she incurred in her younger days.” Littauer writes, “eschewing a conventional narrative, Degan presents Marchenoir’s saga via a series of lavishly illustrated, two-page mock book jackets.” Fair enough, but we figure since “Degen’s illustrations and worldbuilding skills are colorful and wittily imaginative, with surrealist and ’70s retro-influenced art,” this is a mystery well worth investigating. You can check out the Marchenoir Library from our Emporium right now - and, yes, we’re open! Thank you, PW and Ian both!

Degan (Soft X-Ray/Mindhunters) fuses superhero and sci-fi/fantasy tropes with a dollop of existential angst in this lighthearted, hypersurreal parody. The description of his curvy heroine, Ma

The beautiful people of Midwest Book Review continue to spotlight the best of books in all genres and formats. We think ...
04/23/2020
MBR: Wisconsin Bookwatch, April 2020

The beautiful people of Midwest Book Review continue to spotlight the best of books in all genres and formats. We think it’s the best library checkout and shopping list around. Considering how comprehensive MBR is, we’re delighted that Joakim Drescher’s latest installment of his Motel Universe trilogy, Motel Universe 2: Faschion Empire, gets the MBR Graphic Novel shelf all to itself! Of course, you know this one picks up right after the Skins’ slave rebellion and assassination of galactic tycoon dictator, Barton Flump, and follows bounty Clara Constellation on her hunt for the ghost of Caligula through the Adonis Nebula, ruled by the Faschion Police (and the spelling of Faschion should clue you into the social commentary to go with your sci-fi escapism). PHEW! MBR keeps their takes to one-liners, so here’s the whole thing: “Presented in a unique and inherently fascinating graphic novel format, Faschion Empire: Motel Universe 2 is unreservedly recommended for those who appreciate an avant-garde approach to science fiction and will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to personal and community library collections.” See! Now go see the rest of their April list. You may never need to ask what’s worth reading again...
http://midwestbookreview.com/wbw/apr_20.htm#GraphicNovel

James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief Diane C. Donovan, Editor Midwest Book Review 278 Orchard Drive Oregon, WI 53575-1129 phone: 1-608-835-7937 e-mail: [email protected] e-mail: [email protected] http://www.midwestbookreview.com

Ryan C. over at Four Color Apocalypse, made his way out of Keren Katz’s the Backstage of a Dishwashing Webshow. We all k...
04/22/2020
A Book About Itself And Everything Else : Keren Katz’s “The Backstage Of A Dishwashing Webshow”

Ryan C. over at Four Color Apocalypse, made his way out of Keren Katz’s the Backstage of a Dishwashing Webshow. We all know Ryan to be very perceptive — and receptive. This makes Ryan extraordinarily vulnerable to Keren’s latest book, or latest neurological event, which concerns the goings-on at Mount Scopus Academy, a school for transmutation where everyone becomes who they were. Ryan gets caught in the streams of consciousness and narrative both (and, yes, there is a real story here). As he puts it: “Katz’s narrative ‘streams’ converge, go their separate ways, and come back together in unpredictable and quietly fascinating fashion, accentuating her theme of life forever changing, but the people living it returning to familiar places, mindsets, patterns of behavior, modes of existence.” Is there an inviolable self? Is it a treasure or a trap? Ryan writes that in the Backstage, “Pre-destination — or, at the very least, its less soul-crushing and onerous cousin, pre-determination — aren’t engaged with directly, but hang over these proceedings in Sword of Damocles-fashion… …they are there, and that’s enough. Sometimes it’s even too much.” Don’t worry; Keren will drop you off at home after the show. “When it all ends — or at the very least stops — we’ve likely come back to the beginning, in a manner of speaking, but we’ve explored spaces and regions scarcely imagined, much less seen, before, and we are not the same. Except for the fact that we are. And that’s both scary as hell and oddly comforting in equal measure.” Damn right it is, Ryan!

As far as studies in contrasts go, you could make a pretty compelling argument that cartoonist Keren Katz’s latest book, The Backstage Of A Dishwashing Webshow, is precisely that : matter-of-…

We report to you from plant COVID-19 that the Comics Journal’s Rob Kirby is alive and well! He and TCJ are first out of ...
04/15/2020
Motel Universe 2: Faschion Empire |

We report to you from plant COVID-19 that the Comics Journal’s Rob Kirby is alive and well! He and TCJ are first out of the gate with a hot take on Joakim Drescher’s Motel Universe 2: Faschion Empire. We assume anyone reading this is like us: locked up and alternately terrified of necessary work trips, and relieved to be outside even in our Pizazz Mat suits. We have plenty of reading time, but still search for books that live up to the Moment. So, let us (and Rob) take you to the Motel Universe! Motel Universe 2: Faschion Empire continues the non-stop, big budget, sci-fi thrill-ride of the first book, following bounty hunter Clara Constellation as she searches for Captain Littlehead and the ghost of Caligula after the Skins’ slave rebellion and assassination of tycoon dictator, Barton Flump (and see what Joakim did there?). However, as Rob puts it, “the universe of Drescher’s imagination is so layered with tongue-in-cheek, phantasmogorical minutiae that readers seeking pure escapism from our current global hellscape needn’t be triggered. On the other hand, by incorporating some real-world truths, Drescher avoids his story becoming a clever but airless batch of zany non-sequitors. The saga of Motel Universe may be go-for-broke-fantastical but it’s got some meat on its bones.” MU2 goes down like candy, but we swear there’s no empty calories here. Just for fun, if you order yours through our Emporium right now, we promise to mail it out ASAP (which is about another week after self-isolating). Thank you, Rob and TCJ for the reminder that the world is alive!

Faschion Empire, sequel to the tale begun in last year’s refreshingly bizarre Motel Universe, extends cartoonist Joakim Drescher’s look at the ongoing intergalactic smackdown between good and evil, aka enslaved outcasts versus a pampered elite. This installment is another wild ride, with more in...

Since leaving the legendary, minimal rock band, Low, Zak Sally is perhaps better known for his comic, Sammy the Mouse (U...
03/05/2020

Since leaving the legendary, minimal rock band, Low, Zak Sally is perhaps better known for his comic, Sammy the Mouse (Uncivilized Books), and his graphic story collection, Like a Dog (Fantagraphics). These don’t compare to his two-time Eisner Award nominated series, Recidivist. Recidivist IV, a Best American Comics Notable Comic, is his masterpiece. As Zak puts it: “You are faced with the reality of quitting or doubling down. Guess which one this is.” We can guess. In Recidivist IV, a man searches for his lost teeth to complete his masterwork. Another embraces ghosts in an act of vengeance. Children escape from a ruined house to find a revelation. A wanderer leaves everything behind and discovers the infinite. Part resignation letter, part manifesto, the stories here concern the life of an artist, and the art of making a life, moving through the despair of obscurity to the integrity and freedom found only within it. Recidivist IV is also a medium-defying, visual experience printed in a six-color, metallic process, with some text and figures only visible in light, some only in shadow. As CBR writes, this is “a comic that forces you to engage with it but rewards you with its tightrope act, as the reading experience and the content cohere into a breathtaking whole.” Experience Recidivist IV for yourself this fall at the Small Press Expo! You may never be the same again…

Extra! Extra! Adam Griffiths’s Washington White, winner of the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo’s Cupcake Award, is a spy...
03/04/2020

Extra! Extra! Adam Griffiths’s Washington White, winner of the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo’s Cupcake Award, is a spy thriller set in a future District of Columbia—and within an engineered virus. In D.C., the President authorizes covert testing of a mind-control disease, a transgender drummer fights to rejoin her punk band, and the black owner of a local tabloid, Washington White, threatens to expose the corruption—because his evil, white tycoon dad is the one behind it. Meanwhile, a greedy developer is gentrifying the universe within the disease. Washington White is also the true story of Adam Griffiths’ grandmother, Peggy Griffiths, a lawyer for the U.S. Civil Service Commission’s Appeals Review Board, best known for winning a landmark bias lawsuit against the federal government in 1977. As the Comics Journal writes: "Griffiths has fearlessly tackled the Big Stuff—sex, politics, gender, race—through circuitous and speculative science fiction. Needless to say, Griffiths’s work is complicated and dense and us comics readers are better off for it." Read all about it in Washington White, coming your way at the Small Press Epxo this fall!

Enter the Marchenoir Library, a different kind of graphic novel from A. Degen, an artist Michael DeForge (Lose, Ant Colo...
03/03/2020

Enter the Marchenoir Library, a different kind of graphic novel from A. Degen, an artist Michael DeForge (Lose, Ant Colony, Leaving Richard’s Valley) says is “one of the smartest and funniest cartoonists in the game.” All that’s left of the beloved (and fictional) romance/adventure/sci-fi comic series, Marchenoir, is a gallery of its most beautiful covers. Amazingly, it’s all we need to tell the story of of the titular Marchenoir, an ex-celebrity singer/songwriter working as a superheroine to pay off her debts - and defend our dreams and reality - as she searches for a terrestrial paradise. It turns out you can read a book by its covers. Nonetheless, a limited edition, single issue of Marchenoir will be coming out alongside the Marchenoir Library. You probably know A. Degen from his first two graphic novels, Mighty Star: and The Castle of the Cancatervater and Soft X-ray/Mindhunters (Koyama Press), or his short comic, “Crime Chime Noir,” a Best American Comics selection. Recognized as an innovator in the comics medium, the Marchenoir Library stands as A. Degen’s most innovative work to date. The library opens in stores on June 9th following its debut at the Chicago Alternative Comcs Expo, but you can pre-order yours in our Emporium right now!

This week, we take a look at Secret Acres in 2020 aka the Year of Perspective (or Hindsight). First up, we present the t...
03/02/2020

This week, we take a look at Secret Acres in 2020 aka the Year of Perspective (or Hindsight). First up, we present the triumphant return of Joakim Drescher with Motel Universe 2: FASCHION EMPIRE! As you may recall from the first installment, the Skins’ slave rebellion and the assassination of tycoon dictator, Barton Flump, left the Motel Universe in tatters. A lone bounty hunter, Clara Constellation, searches for Captain Littlehead and the still at large ghost of Caligula. From Planet Pear, where screentime is all the time, to the Adonis Nebula, an empire where the Faschion Police rule with an actual iron fist, the adventure never ends! Don’t take our word for it, either. Check out the Comics Journal on part one: “Drescher, a Danish cartoonist and illustrator, has a naïve, slightly ratty line that reminds me a little of early ‘80s Lynda Barry, while his childlike, awkward, surpassingly strange character designs and penchant for patterning recall Mark Beyer. But he remains a sui generis talent, and his extravagant satire hits the spot in these crazy-weird times… …Though we’re only halfway through the year, Motel Universe is already on my list of favorite comics of 2019.” Check into Motel Universe 2 at the 2020 Museum of Comics and Cartoon Art Festival in New York on April 4th. Motel Universe 2 will be out of this world and out in stores everywhere on May 26th, but you can pre-order yours right now in our Emporium!

Secret Acres's cover photo
02/24/2020

Secret Acres's cover photo

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY (which we kind of hate, but whatever)! Last up from the ICYMI files, Philippe Leblanc covers the L...
02/14/2020
Ley Lines Announces their 2020 lineup with Xia Gordon, Simon Moreton & More

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY (which we kind of hate, but whatever)! Last up from the ICYMI files, Philippe Leblanc covers the Ley Lines 2020 lineup for the Beat. No, this is not a Secret Acres thing, but it’s definitely a family thing. As you may or may not know, our very own L. Nichols, maker of Flocks, co-publishes Ley Lines with our other from another mother, Kevin Czap, and with support from none other than comics godmother, Annie Koyama. L. often describes Ley Lines as a fine art fan zine. Cartoonists and artists respond to artists’ works with their own visual examination of their relationship to them. So, yeah, a fan zine. Upping the incest ante for us in 2020, Ley Lines brings Brendan Leach, maker of Iron Bound and Pterodactyl Hunters in the Gilded City, out of hiding with his take on Lincoln Center, San Juan Hill, and West Side Story. Go check out Philippe’s entire rundown. We couldn’t be more excited if this were one of our own (and frankly, it feels illegal)!

Ley Lines Announces their 2020 lineup with Xia Gordon, Simon Moreton, Bendan Leach & Victor Martins

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