here are the photos from the 8/10 show! thanks to everyone who came.

pre-show!

show!

after the show!

A.T. bares it all

frog farm interviews..

A.T. PRATT

cartoonist

making comics, secret identities, touring all around, his thoughts on frogghoul, and more!

posted 7/21/2023

Ahead of our next show on Aug 10 we decided to give A.T. Pratt a call and get a read on what’s going on in his world. I hope you enjoy...

Hey Andy how’s it going?

Is this the pre-interview? We need to do a pre-interview now so that we have a mutual understanding of what style of questions I will consent to be assailed with and what style of questions are off and/or under the table.

Although I have unveiled the masque of the Mysterious Man and revealed that it was in fact my self, “Master of Horror” A. T. Pratt the entire time, the answers to certain questions pertaining to my styles and techniques may still be off-limits to the readers of this interview. The masque of the Mysterious Man has not been entirely cast aside but may in fact remain in front of my visage at at least 50% opacity. Still concealing my most mysterious and confounding features.

We’ll get back to Mysterious Man and Master of Horror in a bit, but I just want to ask you first: what comic do you plan on reading for this upcoming Frog Farm?

Many people are calling me Spider lately, and it’s not very difficult to understand why.. The tale of Spider is coming to Frog Farm, but maybe not yet.. May not be time yet for the Spider to reveal its webs. Eight eyes.. Eight legs as well.. All the features of the Spider will be revealed. No, this time the tale to be unveiled will be HOUSESWARMING as read in Toronto and Los Angeles, but never before in my home city, at the Frog Farm.. HOUSESWARMING comes home.

Oh great I love that one - it’s in Cram #2 (from CRAM Books) and was a major highlight for me. Maybe my favorite comic of yours. If I may ask, what circumstances, if any, inspired this hilarious but often terrifying story?

I need a lot of prep time for someone to enter my living space. I share this trait with The Batman: give him enough prep time and he may defeat anyone, including The Man of Steel or any other adversaries. If a visitor to my living space is the fight against crime, I am like Batman if he usually doesn’t fight anyone most of the time. The tale of terror depicted in HOUSESWARMING is the horror of three of my respected colleagues and time honored friends, Seth, Chester Brown, and Joe Matt, (together they call the four of us the four fabulous famous friends) all arriving at my home unannounced. Friends, even best friends as they are, shouldn’t do that to a reclusive genius like myself. You will see how it turns out for them.

Is Pando, your beloved cat, really so vicious?

Cats are wild animals. They live with us and we love them but they are born to hunt. At times when we play she sinks her teeth and claws into my flesh. This is to be expected, for the cat to play is to hunt. Pandora also must be fed, on the schedule she demands which is whenever I pass by the kitchen. If I do not surrender to her demands, I suffer consequences.

When/why did you christen yourself “the Master of Horror?”

I became a Master of Horror around the time in 2019 when my friend George asked me to illustrate the first 100 picks for best horror movie from his podcast The Best Little Horror House in Philly, all together in the Horror House Party Poster. Most of my comics have been directly horror genre or featuring horror genre elements for years, so I printed “Master of Horror A. T. Pratt” on my business card. Since then nobody has challenged me on it. You can print whatever you want on a business card, seems like nobody can stop you. My first fiction as “official” MoH was last year’s Negative Space: Spiky Spooky Slippery Slimy Scare Sampler. I have started preparatory work on the followup, Positive Place: Super Special Spiky Spooky Slippery Slimy Scare Sampler Sequel Spectacular.

For a second you dubbed yourself “the Mysterious Man” then you revealed your mystery which was that you were in Rome for a comic festival…that was in an underground dungeon? Can you talk a bit about all the shows you’ve been going to, and keep on planning to go to throughout this year?

In fact, The Mysterious Man first appeared last summer, the first time I did two comics events in one weekend, the first being Big Milk Expo in Brooklyn and the second being SF Zine Fest on the opposite coast. It seemed like a wild swing that could be at best exhausting and at worst financially devastating, so, I merely promoted that The Mysterious Man was doing it. Who’s that? I don’t know. Nobody knows. Big mystery. It turned out good, I did well at both shows and The Mysterious Man’s identity was revealed. The Crack! Festival in Rome, similarly, was an expensive plane ticket and the first time I had taken my comics overseas for a festival. I was scared to promote my participation because, like before, it could be a financially devastating failure: what if my checked bags got lost and I could sell nothing? (A constant fear). So I donned the mask of The Mysterious Man once again, being even more vague than ever about my plans. The plane ticket was a tall mountain to climb but I made it right around the summit in the end, and when it ended up as a very cheap business trip/ work vacation to Rome I was happy to reveal The Mysterious Man’s identity once more. The festival takes place in a former fortress CSOA (Centro Sociale Occupato Autogestito (Occupied Self-Managed Social Centre)) Forte Prenestino, where people live and share their living space with cool music and art events like this. Some people were exhibiting their art downstairs in the dungeons, but I was upstairs in a tunnel with Gabriele di Fazio who runs Just Indie Comics (distributor of international comics in Rome).

After Rome I had a week at home and then I was on a plane to Albuquerque for the first ever Morgue & Krypt Horror Festival. This is another thing I am doing. As Master of Horror, I am attempting to break into the Horror Convention circuit. So far, I have done 3: Brooklyn Horror Con (only happened once, in 2019, almost nobody showed up, got 3rd place in the Cosplay Contest, never got my prizes, never happened again, doesn’t really count), Days of the Dead in Las Vegas, and this one.

How many festivals and fairs have you done so far this year? I don’t think I know any other indie cartoonist who is traveling as much as you.

I’ve set up a table at 15 events so far this year. Should be 16 but I did get fucked by a plane and couldn’t get to Chicago Zine Fest. You see, after the success of The Mysterious Man going to two events in one weekend, I was emboldened to schedule a weekend where I’d be in Chicago on Saturday, LA on Sunday for Permanent Damage. Then my early morning flight (which had never fucked me before) was delayed first 1 hour, then 6 hours, then would barely make it to chicago on time for me to get to my flight after the zine fest to get to LA so I had to dump Chicago entirely until I slid into CAKE just a couple weeks later which was a very happy turn of events.

Do you find it to be financially worth it?

That’s a good question because generally I would say that this Traveling Salesman business of busing, training, flying around the world to put myself behind a table to sell comics in new places is, obviously, a terrible business plan. I do everything as cheap as possible, cheapest tickets, cheapest places to stay if I’m not staying with somebody, but obviously the smart way to distribute is yourself sending comics in the mail (something I’m terrible at, I have joked that I am better at getting to the airport than the post office, but it is not funny because it is true). That being said, if it’s a good (comics) show I have gotten to the point where I usually make a decent profit on top of lodging, travel and table cost. If you factor in printing and materials cost on the comics, that eats into profit of course but I make sure I have a good profit margin on printing and materials. I do a lot of handmade work on most of my comics, with the pop-ups and foldouts etc. and what you really don’t want to do is factor in time spent on all that, not to mention the time spent drawing the damn things. If you calculate an hourly rate for labor, all of comics is the worst business on earth. Not going to be news to anyone reading this.

But I do put comics in parentheses when I say I make money at shows because the last two horror conventions so far are uh.. Loss Leaders? Am I using that term correctly? I have been able to make back a little more than 2 out of the 3 of table cost, flight and lodging for these last two which were both far away and 3 day conventions. For now I am happy to eat that cost because this venture into horror conventions is a grand experiment for me, and both Vegas and New Mexico are places I like to visit anyway. Each one I learned a lot and met stars of movies I love and had a great time. Now a couple of those are okay, the good shows pay for the less profitable ones, but sooner or later I have to either get better at selling to that market or only do ones closer to me. Those shows, unlike the indie comics festivals I’m more used to, are not catered to the “vendors”. They pay the celebrity talent to sit behind tables, and they get a cash guarantee. So even if they don’t sell a lot of autographs, they are guaranteed many thousands of dollars just for making the trip and getting people to come to the show. I have to admit that the celebs are the draw for most attendees and many of those attendees don’t know what the hell I’m doing or why I’m at such an event, even more than the standard confusion I am used to from someone new to my work when looking at my table. Doing this kind of thing you have to get used to people looking at your entire life’s work in one glance, and even worse than the confusion, just total disinterest. I think at indie shows, people are more drawn to something they haven’t seen before, whereas some of these fans at other types of conventions, if they don’t see something they recognize for the second they look at your table, you're done. What I really want to do is get in on the celeb racket one day. All I have to do is star in a Classic Horror Film, and then I can sit behind a table signing autographs on screengrabs of me in the classic film, and sell my comics at the same table, AND get the cash guarantee just for showing up! It’ll be a win/win/win/win/win. Any horror or any genre filmmakers reading this, please cast me in your film. I could be a scary guy, or a weird guy, or even a normal guy, believe me I can do it.

Do you enjoy it?

Acting? Yes, well I have been an Aspiring Thespian for quite some time and I’m just waiting for my big break to transition to On Screen Talent and leave my drawing board behind for goo- oh, tabling at comics festivals? Yes, I love it. Sure, you deal with some indifference, but being an independent cartoonist and self-publisher, these days behind the table are the only times I actually feel like a professional artist. Sitting at home at my drawing table making stuff that nobody but me is setting the deadline for, it’s really easy for me to think who the fuck cares, nobody wants this shit, what the hell are you doing. When I set up a table of work in physical form on paper that I’ve been putting out for more than a decade, and meeting people face to face, and hearing stuff like “I’ve never seen anything like this before”, then I really feel like I’m doing something. As far as online distribution and getting my stuff in stores, I remain a pretty terrible businessman but saying yes to every show and applying to almost every one I’m aware of, I know I’m getting my stuff out there and usually I’m selling it directly to them. Besides all that on the business end, I love to meet other artists and by traveling I now have incredibly talented and prolific comics friends from all over the world. I also don’t have the money to travel without at least making some of the money back, so this practice has enabled me to see so many places I never thought I would get to go.

Has any of this traveling and festival attending inspired any new comics?

No.

How did Frog Farm Fair compare to these other fairs for you?

Favorably.

Do you have any suggestions for the next FFF?

I had an idea during the first one that it should be lit entirely by candlelight. The idea of a fair for paper goods lit only by small active flames is a dangerous idea- wax dripping everywhere, publications lit ablaze.. A terrifying experience for potential customers, shambling through the darkness with nothing but a candle to light their way.

What’re your thoughts on frogghoul’s comic they read at the last show?

Frogghoul’s comic was an important, sensual work. To help us understand the frogs of this farm we must look, as well as listen.

Are you worried about the researchers who have arrived on Frog Farm?

The researchers ought to tread carefully. Science is an important topic, this much we know to be true. But not every answer can be found through the lens of a microscope, or at the bottom of a beaker. And some answers that can be found, while turning over every stone, had better be left unanswered, and the stones left unturned.

Hmm yes wise words. I’ll let them know..anything/anybody you're excited about for this upcoming Frog Farm show you’re on?

I am looking forward to all of it, but I am especially eager to learn of the findings of Dr. Scientist’s Wife.

Any new projects that WE should be excited about that YOU plan on working on in the near future?

The very next project I am going to publish is Dot Comics #1, a collection of mostly auto bio/ auto fiction short stories I have done in a dot journal, including a few I’ve done to perform at live comics readings: The Pony Man, Berry Boy, and the aforementioned Spider. Besides that and the sequel I mentioned above in the Master of Horror question, I have begun writing and designing my first full length tall tale starring Bompi (America’s Favorite Bouncy Boy), a pop up foldout musical tentatively titled “Bompi Baby Bouncy Bubble Bumper number 3: Bompi bubble ball triple trouble tall Popup bottomsup tit for tat flip for flap Family style feast prix fixe buffet.”

Then I want to do a alphabet comic for my niece (while she’s still learning the letters) called Action Baby Comics, and after that I should be getting around to my deep sea thriller, Pisquarius Plunge. Distant future I am planning a collaboration with Andrew Alexander, D. A. D. S. ( Double Andrew Detective Service ), we are both amateur private investigators so it will be semi autobiographical, choose your own adventure mystery with foldout map, envelope of clues, whole nine yards. In ongoing negotiation with Cram Books to see what that becomes. I’ve got a lot of stuff cooking and I’m not sure what will bubble to the surface sooner or later or never.

I think that will about do it. Where can we find you in the near future aside from Frog Farm, Andy?

Midsummer Scream in Long Beach CA 7/27-29, Permanent Damage Portland 8/26, SF Zine Fest 9/3. SPX 9/9. CXC 9/30, RISD Craft 10/7, PCX 10/14, Monster Mania Con in Oaks PA 11/10-12, More TBA.

Thank you for having me on the Farm!

keep up with A.T.’s comics on his instagram page…

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FROG FARM 2…

Made on mmm