Monthly Archives: January 2015

Queens of the Mat Cards Ready to Ship!

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After countless delays, all on my part, the Queens of the Mat series of letterpress greeting cards are finally ready. At least the very limited first printing is done and available for shipping in 3 Pack and 9 Pack sets. These are hopefully only the first set of blank A8 greeting cards with matching envelopes to be offered directly to fans of The International House of Zing’s Novelty Division.

As you can see, there are three images in a set. Three fictional women wrestlers past their salad days still competing in the ring.

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These very nice cards are the result of a collaboration with a fine young man in Chattanooga who runs a letterpress operation down there.We’re talking small and very intimate runs, by the way. The fellow’s name is Terry Chouinard and his press is called The Wing and the Wheel. For Terry, the letterpress is a calling. And that makes me lucky for having him available to print our cards.

The images for these cards were originally done years ago as a self-promo series I did to garner more work during a sluggish period when I was doing a lot of editorial work. The problem arose when I wanted to revive the series with Terry in a different way and I couldn’t locate the original art.

Terry needed high resolution images to make his plates (so important when doing any printing, but especially essential for letterpress) so I actually had to re-draw and re-ink the pieces. Below you can see the new original art with the printed card…for size reference.

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The back of the card is also letterpress and includes the name of each wrestler in hot pink.

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If you’d like to have a set of these marvelously rendered blank greeting cards to send to your cousin, or impress your Great Aunt Mary, or just to add to your growing collection of unique House of Zing Novelties, please find our International House of Zing Giftshop here:

http://the-international-house-of-zing.myshopify.com


HEY, LET’S EAT! A Tale of Two Covers.

In recreating a new Eddie Longo book, finding an appropriate title for the book, as well as one that would match the visual on the cover was a process like any other associated with such a project. I was lucky to already have an enthusiastic collaborator in John Gallone…a former resident of the area where Eddie Longo and I hail from, but also a long time citizen of Seattle, Washington where Eddie made his debut.

Early on, it was crystal clear that Gallone understood the Eddie zeitgeist perfectly. He was living in Seattle when the first Eatin’ Out with Eddie strips appeared in the ROCKET, and he was raised not 15 miles away from me in Pennsylvania. He knew the Eddie character from growing up in the same blue-collar-steel-belt slice of Pennsylvania where I was raised and chose to make Eddie’s original birthplace. Not surprisingly, John and I connected on many levels in brainstorming on the future of those Eddie Longo strips languishing in my flat files for so many years.

John also helped me find the right title for the book as well as acting as a sounding board for the different ideas I was considering in expanding the book into something a little more than just a collection.

The original cover I did for the mini-book,

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was just fine for that little volume. However, when the larger book was being conceived, it was too small an image and not quite appropriate for a larger format publication.

After considering several ideas for the cover, I chose to highlight one of the eateries that I had not covered in my reviews, but that had been on my short list to do as the series unfolded. One thing I found with the Eatin’ Out with Eddie column was the abundance of dives and joints that were out there. Many of these places were already well-known to most Seattlites, so I was saving them to feature more obscure and less-known cafes, planning on including the long-time favorites eventually.

Seattle residents already familiar with Eddie’s milieu would know these places by name and reputation. A short list would include the very next place that was on my list, Mike’s Chili Tavern/Parlor

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Next was Beth’s Cafe (home of the 12 egg omelet),

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…another local institution, now sadly gone since Eddie & I left Seattle, Bob Murray’s DOGHOUSE, where the slogan was “All roads lead to the Doghouse.”

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Although Eddie swore he would never do a “chain” restaurant, he was particularly fond of Dick’s Drive-Ins various locations,

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And then there was the Mecca Cafe on Queen Anne.

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Which brings me to the first cover idea I began work on. Remembering the places I wanted to review, the places that so many others wanted to see Eddie review, I thought that an image of one of the places Eddie never got to review in print might make a good cover. So I drew up a rough which I’ll share here.

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You might notice that this is also the piece I’m inking in this photo taken of me in the studio a few weeks ago for that Pittsburgh City Paper review of Second Avenue Caper

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And I was happy with this as the cover. For a while. Until I realized that I finally had to change the overall dimensions of the book to match the actual scans of the original Eddie strips.

My own book design was based on another series of books published by Fantagraphics under the “Ignatz Collection” edited by Igort. A beautiful series with a French flap cover, and really perfect stock picked for interior pages and the cover. The trim size on the Fantagraphics’ Coconino Press books is 8 3/8 X 11 3/8″. And I just went ahead with those general dimensions, but at 8 1/2 X 11″. But as my project was evolving in production it became clear to me that I really needed a narrower page to accommodate the reduced images of the original Eddie strips. Something closer to 8 X 11 1/2″.

Anyhow, the cover was almost completely inked when I decided to make this change. I thought I could rearrange the elements a bit and I probably could have made it work when I happened upon a place I had discovered months ago, long after I’d started putting the Eddie Book together. And though this place was not in Seattle, nor another place that Eddie had previously reviewed it had a certain je ne sais quoi that matched Eddie’s ultimate type of place. An ultimate sandwich, an ultimate combination of condiments ON that sandwich…

I had read about a joint called Fat Johnnie’s! In Chicago…with a sandwich called “The Mother-in-Law”.

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In the first cover idea I had Eddie about to walk into the Mecca Cafe on Seattle’s Lower Queen Anne, however, I now decided to have Eddie in front of different kind of Mecca. A Mecca that Eddie would definitely leave town to seek. And so now the cover is very different, and I will actually have an Eddie account of Fat Johnnie’s Eddie’s new Midwestern Mecca of Eats in the book.

I’m hoping this will be the best idea yet. It certainly looks that way to me…so far.


HEY, LET’S EAT! Reference…

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This new, expanded collection of Eddie Longo knowledge includes pages that go beyond the regular restaurant review strips that appeared in the Seattle ROCKET and the Everett Herald. Eddie likes pie. Coconut cream is his favorite, but he’ll finish off a slice of just about any pie that’s plated for him.

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day and Eddie would certainly agree that you gotta start off each day on the right foot. And that means a hearty breakfast. Eggs and sausage, hotcakes, bacon, waffles and omelets…he could go on and on about sittin’ at the counter and ordering breakfast.

But honestly, cuz, Eddie is all about SANGWICHES…all kinds of sandwiches, from all over this great country of ours…from the simple Loose Meat Sangwich in Iowa…

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…to the mammoth Fried Pork Loin in Indiana…

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…Eddie loves them all.

Usually you’d think of New York when you’re thinking Reubens, but Eddie is remembering a road trip through Nebraska and Reuben sangwiches he had in Lincoln and Omaha, the sangwich ostensibly invented by an Omaha grocer back in the 1920’s…

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But there are a lot of states to travel to and dig into good sandwiches. A Sloppy Joe called The Dynamite, which hails from Woonsocket, Rhode Island, which is a sloppy joe burger made with onions, bell peppers, and celery. Eddie likes THIS one because it’s spicy!

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Or the classic Cuban from Florida…

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So you see, it’s not really a matter of what to add as much as what to include and what to leave out for a second ( or third) book.


Creating HEY, LET’S EAT! – A New Eddie Longo Compendium (Part 1)

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Since I’m putting this book together now, I thought I’d share part of the process here on this blog. I’m new to the whole blog affair so if I make weird missteps or I’m unclear in some way, please let me know.

So, back to making this book. From digging up the original strips long buried in flat files, discovering what strips are gone forever, and which missing strips I could re-create, to scanning for reproduction and the additional challenges I’ve been encountering along the way, I’ll lay it out here on this HOUSE of ZING blog.

I created the character, Eddie Longo. and the restaurant review comic strip columns back in the mid 1980’s while living in Seattle. They were originally done for the now long-gone, but not forgotten Seattle ROCKET – a Seattle entertainment tabloid that came out monthly.

I had done some food writing when I was living in San Diego some seven years before moving to Seattle and I found that I missed the food scene. This time, however, I wanted to combine my former love of food writing with my new love of creating comics. So the Eatin’ Out with Eddie strips were born. Happily, the character Eddie Longo and comic strips were quite popular and well-matched to the readership of the ROCKET, much as I suspect these strips would appeal to any alternative newspaper reader looking for a unique way to cover the local restaurant scene.

And yes, the comic strips were actual restaurant reviews with the fictional character, Eddie Longo as your culinary guide to the region’s eateries.

From the start, I only wanted to do restaurants that I really liked. It seemed crazy to spend all that time eating somewhere, writing the review and then sitting down to draw it. I wanted the entire experience for me and the reader to be enjoyable.

In fact, Eatin’ Out with Eddie became so popular that a local KING radio talk-show host invited me on the air first as Mark Zingarelli, the creator behind the Eatin’ Out with Eddie strips, and then subsequently as Eddie Longo himself. And truth be told, Eddie Longo was as close yo an alter ego I could have so the stretch wasn’t that great. It made for good midday entertainment and a lot of listener interaction.

And since Eddie’s backstory was that he was originally from Pittsburgh, I put on the “yinzer” Pittsburghese accent so well-known to people from the Pittsburgh area when I was on-air as Eddie Longo.

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The image above is the cover for the first self-published and self-printed mini-comic… The Eddie Longo Reader.
About ten years ago, I put together an inexpensive mini-sized comic book collecting all the Eddie strips. It was an okay compendium as it was, but I quickly realized that the strips should be reproduced larger (my original art was over 200% of the printed size in the ROCKET and in the min-comic) and there seemed to be a need for additional material. Foodie stuff. An expansion on Eddie’s love of condiments, the kinds of sandwiches he liked best and maybe a few recipes. Yes, the collected Eddie book needed more.

Moreover, when I put together the first mini-book, I also realized that some of the original Eddie strips were missing. One, I could re-create, because I still had the pencil rough for it and at least two other strips were missing. After a short run of the mini-book, I decided to shelve the project until I could devote the time and energy to making a proper book.

Look for Part 2 of this series when I discuss finding a great collaborator (and long-time fan) from Seattle to help move this project along and how I began the task of re-scanning the original art and filling in the missing pieces.

So in the parlance of Eddie Longo, “Until next time, cuz, let’s eat!”

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New Projects from the House of Zing

With the beginning of the new year, and the completion of the Hill & Wang graphic novel Second Avenue Caper at the end of 2014, there is much look forward to in 2015. First up are the new letterpress Queens of the Mat A8 greeting cards with matching envelopes. There are three images and each set will include three of each (a total of 9 cards & 9 envelopes) for a price of $22.50 plus shipping.

A limited edition of the first 20 sets sold will be signed by me!

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Pittsburgh Journalist Gets to the Nitty Gritty of creating and producing SECOND AVENUE CAPER by Joyce Brabner and Mark Zingarelli

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I had a creative crisis halfway through production on the graphic novel I was working on with Joyce Brabner. I’d lost my muse, my enthusiasm for the project, and my ability to sit and work on the book. Writer Danielle Fox starts her review of the book Second Avenue Caper – When Goodfellas, Divas, and Dealers Plotted Against the Plague, with that pivotal moment when Joyce drove in from Cleveland to kick my ass. Bless her heart, it worked!

Here is the story/review from the Pittsburgh City Paper:

http://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/mark-zingarelli-illustrated-a-new-book-length-comic-about-a-little-known-tale-of-the-aids-crisis/Content?oid=1799766