PORTLAND MERCURY talks to Jason Leivian of Floating World Comics about his role in Arthur’s return to print

From The Portland Mercury:

Arthur Magazine Raised from the Dead, with Help from Floating World
Posted by Ned Lannamann on Thu, Nov 15, 2012 at 3:44 PM

The news spread quickly this morning that late, lamented Arthur Magazine has been resurrected. Arthur was a free, bimonthly music and culture publication that also dabbled in incisive political commentary, and when it departed the physical plane—it ceased publication in 2008 and existed on the web for a few years, before publisher Jay Babcock officially pronounced it dead in 2011—a gaping, literate hole was left in the landscape of music discourse. (That last, terrible sentence reminds us of why Arthur was so important.)

Now Arthur is back! (Arthur 2: On the Rocks, perhaps?… hello?) It ain’t free anymore ($5), and it will be on newsprint instead of sleek, paper-cutty magazine stock, and its publication costs will be predominantly reliant on the purchase price rather than advertisers to stay afloat. The new version of Arthur is due in large part to a new partnership forged with Portland’s own Floating World Comics and its proprietor Jason Leivian. We asked Leivian about the new Arthur, and how both he and Portland will be involved in the new incarnation.

The new Arthur (Issue No. 33) will be available December 22, and can be pre-ordered now. (UPDATE) There will be a First Thursday release party for the new issue at Floating World Comics (400 NW Couch) on Thursday, January 3 at 6-10 pm. Leivian says Babcock may fly up to make an appearance, although that is not yet confirmed. [I can’t be there, unfortunately! —Jay]

 

MERCURY: How did you get involved?
JASON LEIVIAN: I am really excited about Arthur’s comeback. It was such an influential and important magazine to me when I used to find them at Jackpot Records (usually) back in the day.

It’s interesting for me to recall the steps that brought Floating World and Arthur together. I discovered this bizarre Steve Aylett project ‘The Caterer’ in the pages of Arthur. I went on to reprint that comic. I was publishing a newsprint anthology called Diamond. I submitted an issue to Bull Tongue and they reviewed it. I was so stoked! So Jay knew who I was just from those two projects.

When the magazine was online only I took over as the comics editor for Arthur Magazine. That was how I first started working with Jay. That was a fun gig. It led to more publishing on my end and I think Jay was looking at the newspapers I was publishing as a potential format for Arthur’s resurrection.

MERCURY: Will Arthur be markedly different from its first incarnation?
JASON LEIVIAN: The first few issues of Arthur were on newsprint, so this is a return to that form in some ways. Although you’ll see the dimensions and format of the new issue are larger and laid out differently. I haven’t seen the Indesign files yet but I imagine it’ll be more like a daily newspaper, the way it folds over, etc… I believe this issue that we’re releasing was actually in production before Arthur went on hiatus before. [It’s a different & fresh animal, actually. — Jay] So it will probably have a similar feel to the previous run, but with an all new layout. Anticipate that the next issue after that will be built fresh from the ground up. Jay’s handling all the editorial but I suspect I’ll be sharing suggestions like “Hey Jay, have you heard this new Psychic Ills record? Hint hint.” I want to think of something cool for new comics content.

MERCURY: Will it be published in Portland? Do you know if there will eventually be Arthur CDs/DVDs as well, or other supplements?
JASON LEIVIAN: I’m using a web press printer in Oregon, the same printers that I’ve worked with on most of the newspapers I’ve published. I’ll be handling the distribution from Floating World. Jay and I definitely hope to do more, but we’ll have to review the sustainability after this issue hits the stands. If we can find a magazine or book distributor to help us with shipping and handling I feel like that would take a huge load off my shoulders.

D.I.Y. MAGIC book by Anthony Alvarado

D.I.Y. MAGIC by Anthony Alvarado
40 b&w illustrations, cover design by Lord Breaulove Swells Whimsy
First edition letterpress silver foil cover limited to 1000 copies, 176 pages, 5″ x 8″, $13.95
Shipping $5.30 US, $11 INTL, $8 CANADA
Now available to order

What is magic? It is the fine and subtle art of driving yourself insane! No really, it is just that. It is a con game you play on your own brain. It is the trick of letting yourself go crazy, and when it’s done right, the magus treads the same sacred and profane ground where walks the madman…

We can read descriptions of myths, of the practices of shamans, but the descriptions we might read by a Pentecostal believer, or a voodoo practitioner ridden by the loa, will be meaningless to us unless we have already been in the state they describe. These are wholly subjective experiences.

If you take these many practices, from across countless fields, cultures, religions, modes of being and systems of ritual (hypnosis, song and dance, duende, speaking in tongues, enchantment, faith healing, divination, out of body experience, sweat lodges, drumming, yoga, drugs, fever and on and on), we find that we are really talking about the same thing: a state where the mind lets go of the normal way of being and is opened up to an experience of existence as a whole that is bigger and without time. These states are all really different forms of the same thing, or if not the precisely the same thing, then near and adjacent territories in a realm that lies parallel to this one, reachable by many means.

In short, rather than advertise this as a book of magick, it could just as well have been labeled a book of psychology hacking. Or a cookbook. Think of it as jail-breaking the iPhone of your mind. Teaching it to do things that its basic programming was never set up for. Advanced self-psychology.

Featuring over 40 b&w illustrations by: Lala Albert, Farel Dalrymple, Ines Estrada, Maureen Gubia, Kevin Hooyman, Dunja Jankovic, Aidan Koch, Jesse Moynihan, Luke Ramsey, Ron Rege Jr. & more!

“What makes this book vastly different from many other books on magic is that there’s no doubt in my mind that the author has actually done the things that he says he has. What’s more is that he has derived a great deal of pleasure and meaningful experience from the doing. And, so will you.” – Aaron Gach, Center For Tactical Magic

“Anthony Alvarado has concocted a cookbook for vivid living: poetry that’s lived rather than written. His “spells” are actually practical suggestions by which the reader may coax the extraordinary from the everyday—and from themselves.” – Lord Breaulove Swells Whimsy, author of The Affected Provincial’s Companion

“Few books are as immediately useful as this delightful, inspirational tips ‘n’ tricks tome. I’m having a backyard betel nut party in five minutes and everyone’s invited!” -Jay Babcock, editor of Arthur Magazine

Read some of the original articles on Arthur Magazine that inspired this book: http://www.arthurmag.com/contributors/diy-magic-by-anthony-alvarado/

GREAT DARKNESS NATIONAL PARK by Maria Sputnik & Van Choojitarom

“Just because it is totally dark does not mean there is nothing to see.”

Maria Sputnik does the pictures. She’s been living in New York studying science writing and thinking about chromosomes and the moon. She misses Oregon. Van Choojitarom collaborated on the writing. He’s in Bangkok preparing to join a monastery.

Illogical Comics #7 – Thomas Toye

Thomas Toye is an artist living in Patterson, NY. He and his brother print all kinds of stuff out of a shed in their backyard. They both run Portal Prints. They are watched over by Gumpster Pussy and the Great Cobra.

I came across his art on one of Mickey Z’s blog posts.  I thought it was cute that he did two versions of a silkscreen poster, a Sega Genesis version with red blood and a SNES version with green blood.

He has self published 8 issues of Illogical Comics so far.  We decided to share issue 7 with you since it is out of print and otherwise unavailable.  All other back issues are available for purchase on his blog.