Once upon a time, there was a Seattle comics quarterly edited by Marc Palm called Intruder. After publishing 20 issues of one-color, full-page comics on newsprint, the core artistic collaborators ultimately got more demanding art jobs and disbanded.
After reading The Stranger's pre-postmortem for Intruder, Ryan Tiszai and Simon Lazarus Vasta, two bartenders at Captain Blacks with a love of the form, took the baton and relaunched the project as Thick as Thieves. With a vow to be more inclusive in their selections (Intruder was considered a boy's club), Tiszai and Vasta plowed ahead with seven more issues.
Last February, that project parted ways with Vasta, and the remaining contributing artists were left to figure out a new direction. Now comics artists Regn Siisel and Asya Yaschenko have joined Tiszai to help rebrand, organize events, and run back-end operations for the newspaper.
They've ditched the "stoic" Thick as Thieves moniker for the more upbeat Hair Flip, which Siisel says beat out Lil' Baby Comic Papey and Trap Door as potential names, but only barely. The new crew is planning to throw bigger launch parties, broaden the community of participating artists, and develop more of a web presence.
The inaugural issue of Hair Flip features full-page comics from locals such as C.M. Ruiz, Sarah Romano Diehl, Grace Kroll, Carl Nelson, Noel Kat, and others. The theme they're working with is "emerging summer." Diehl's contribution, Mutant Dandelion Summer, imagines a world where very tall dandelions begin mysteriously to grow all over the city. The piece is a breezy, surreal take on the fleeting nature of the season.
Attacking the summer theme on all levels, Ruiz translates into comic form the entire story arc of a deeply strange 1990s Nintendo game called StarTropics. The story, which was dreamed up by Genyo Takeda (who's more famous for creating the NES game Punch-Out!!), follows a character named Mike Jones on a tropical adventure to save his uncle, who has been abducted by... something. Armed with only a baseball bat and a yo-yo, Jones rides dolphins, fights mummies in dungeons, battles galactic supervillains bent on world domination, and, strangely, jams bananas in his ears to cure a headache. God, I love Nintendo games, and Ruiz's hilarious refiguring of this one is truly pleasing.
Hair Flip plans to throw a birthday party for itself at Fred Wildlife Refuge on June 6 at 7 p.m. Local bands Familiars (moody yacht rock that kinda sounds like Talk Talk) and Great Spiders (rock 'n' roll with a junky country filter) will play.
Jordan Rundle, aka DJ Sick Sid, will spin. My colleague Dave Segal claims Rundle excels at creating "dystopian ambient auras" and "rugged, jagged" beats that "sometimes take the form of truculent tech-house."
Victoria Holt will create a thematic photo booth for all your Instagram needs. Other local comics artists—James the Stanton, Max Clotfelter, and Push/Pull Gallery—will table their wares.
As with previous Thick as Thieves parties, there will also be a raffle, which means you'll have a chance to win Instax cameras, original prints, light tables, and various gift cards.
And—because it is a birthday party—there will also be a huge-ass 100-person sheet cake. Go pick up the new issue and help them blow out the candles.