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"Best Comic Store" 2002-2017

Thanks San Francisco Bay Guardian readers! XOXOX

Comic Making Classes @ Isotope University

Since 2011 the Isotope has hosted a series of comic making classes designed to ensure success in the comics industry for students. Our recent focus has been on classes for kids but later this summer we will be hosting two new classes for adults, WRITING FOR COMICS and BOOKBINDING COMICS. More info on these in July.

(Current classes held for SF Girl Scouts)

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The Isotope Communique
Daily news and updates by Personality James Sime and the Isotope Staff
Debian Perl Signing & Space Disco

Isotope proudly presents the pre-launch party of DEBIAN PERL: DIGITAL DETECTIVE featuring the entire creative team! Lauren Davis (author), Mel Hilario (author), Katie Longua (artist), Brittany Currie (colorist) and Sean Marney (designer)!

We could not be more excited about this candy-colored sci-fi graphic novel that teaches kids computer coding, a little lit of algebra, and algorithmic problem solving! Everything about this book is cool. Can futuristic technomancer Debian and social media guru Digits find a way to re-program a malfunctioning 100-year old robot?! What is the mystery behind Ray-Bot’s mysterious past?! And what is the sinister secret behind ancient robots being overclocked without their permission?!

AFTERPARTY: 8pm – Midnight (21+ please)

The afterparty features the triumphant return of DJ BEARZBUB, San Francisco’s best, spinning the hottest in Italio Space Disco – Electro-Funk – Eurodisco – Krautrock – Spacesynth tunes! And, for the first time ever, unlimited visual delight and optical stimulation by Deadtech’s VJ CONVEX!

Definitely an Isotope event you won’t want to miss!

All day long the DEBIAN PERL team will be gifting unique pins to the best kids and adult costumes. And at the afterparty they will be hosting a Space Disco Dance-Off for an original Katie Longua designer art toy. So be sure to wear your best SCI-FI / ROBOT / KAIJU / ALIEN / ASTRO-FUNK gear!

If you haven’t already please do give a quick read of the Isotope’s Social Conduct Policy. Thank you!

Harassment Policy

Free Comic Book Day 2019

Join us again for Free Comic Book Day! For 17 years the Isotope has been celebrating FCBD with you all here in San Francisco and hosting our own unique approach to comics’ most popular holiday.

As is tradition we will be giving away around 4000 free comics that day. 11am-6pm, arrive early for the best selection! Of course we will have our amazing crew here to help you find the perfect comic book reads (and also restock the ever-dwindling FCBD stacks). Come show our extended family some love! Josh Richardson will be returning for his 12th year, Kate Mattingly for her 3rd year, and San Francisco’s greatest just-signed comic artist (her new book arrives this August!) Katie Longua for her 4th year, and of course James and the traditional end-of-day Kirsten appearance too!

We have *so many* comics to give away this year that we even donated hundreds of FCBD AVENGERS comics to the Oakland Public Library this year. We’re happy to know we’re going to be getting these comics this year to some of the Bay Area’s most underprivileged kids, thanks to OPL’s Head of Teen Services. Thanks Oakland Public Library!

But we still have over a thousand comics for all of you, too! Bring your favorite kiddos and come enjoy a huge smorgasbord of awesome reads as only the Isotope can do!

Check out the official Free Comic Book Day site for info on some of the books we will be featuring this year, http://www.freecomicbookday.com. See you then!

Passport 2018 with Katie Longua

The San Francisco Arts Commission and the wonderfully talented cartoonist Katie Longua are teaming up with the Isotope for PASSPORT 2018, a multi-venue art crawl and unique do-it-yourself art collecting experience.

This 10th annual public art event takes participants on a neighborhood art crawl, this year through Hayes Valley the city’s sexiest neighborhood, and into SF’s most stylish venues to collect artist-designed “passport stamps” in a once-in-a-lifetime PASSPORT booklet. What could be more fun than spending a day getting to meet so many of the SF Bay Area’s greatest artists and collect up your own original art work in a limited-edition Moleskine book? We participated in this event with artist Jamaica Dyer way back in 2010 and had a total blast so we couldn’t be more excited to get to be involved in the grand finale of this annual San Francisco tradition!

And we will be representing for Cartoonists + Ninth Art + Sequential Art in high style with San Francisco’s next breakout superstar author / artist Katie Longua, of HER SPACE OPERA, MUNCHIES, GWAR: ENORMOGANTIC FAIL, THE LIVES OF SEAMONKEYS, SPACE TRASH, KATIE LONGUA’S LINES, and what will surely be the biggest all-ages book of 2019… Lion Forge Comics’ DEBIAN PERL: DIGITAL DETECTIVE!

This event also kicks off a gallery show featuring a gallery of Katie’s art adorning the Isotope walls into January. Which will truly be the pinkest / purplest / aquaest the Isotope has ever been! Not to be missed!

Featuring Katie Longua @ Isotope
Sunday 10/21/18
Noon – 4pm

Get your PASSPORT Book here
More info about PASSPORT 2018 here

We couldn’t be more excited to have Katie back for another event and to get to watch her blow everyone’s minds with awesomeness during the city’s coolest art crawl! And what better way to celebrate her beautiful work than with our friends from the SF Arts Commission and all of you?! Come get a stamp!

If you haven’t already, please do read our Harassment Policy. Thank you.

Ed Brubaker @ Isotope!

Isotope proudly presents a one of our most beloved comic authors ever… Ed Brubaker!

Ed Brubaker‘s brilliant, diverse, and influential writing carer has been one of the comic artform’s greatest highlights since he broke onto the scene in the 1990s. Currently one of the writers of the fantastic WESTWORLD tv show, Brubaker’s also is famed for writting dozens and dozens of the very best superhero comics published by Marvel and DC Comics of the last two decades, including CAPTAIN AMERICA: WINTER SOLDIER, DAREDEVIL, BATMAN, GOTHAM CENTRAL, UNCANNY X-MEN, SECRET AVENGERS, IMMORTAL IRON FIST, THE MARVELS PROJECT and CATWOMAN (with the amazing Darwyn Cooke!). To indie autobio books like LOWLIFE, mind-blowing science fiction and supernatural comics like DEADENDERS, PREZ: SMELLS LIKE TEEN PRESIDENT and DEAD BOY DETECTIVES. And most famously his creator owned instant-classic crime noir comics like FATALE, FADE OUT, CRIMINAL, INCOGNITO, VELVET, SCENE OF THE CRIME, INCOGNITO, SLEEPER, THE FALL, KILL OR BE KILLED and the highly anticipated upcoming original hardcover graphic novel MY HEROES HAVE ALWAYS BEEN JUNKIES.

We couldn’t be more excited to have Ed in for MY HEROES HAVE ALWAYS BEEN JUNKIES, a romance / noir graphic novel steeped in late 70s-early 80s pop culture obsessions. Written by Brubaker with jaw-dropping art by the masterful Sean Phillips and colored by Sean’s son Jacob Phillips.
The perfect book for us to have Ed back in after a 10 year absence!

Saturday, October 13th, 2018
8pm – Midnight
21+ please

A late night bash with Ed featuring the best comic crowd anywhere on the planet, once-in-a-lifetime bespoke refreshments by master mixologist Kirsten Baldock, and cracking CBGBs-era tunes with DJ BEARZBUB to make you smile. These events are the stuff of legend in the comic industry, here’s your chance to find out why.

We will have lots of copies of MY HEROES HAVE ALWAYS BEEN JUNKIES on hand but if you’d like to ensure we have a copy for you that day, please call or email hidden; JavaScript is required to reserve your copy.

If you haven’t already, please do read our Harassment Policy. Thank you.

Rafael Albuquerque & Rafael Scavone!

SATURDAY: Isotope proudly presents a very special day-long event with Rafael Albuquerque & Rafael Scavone, the Brazilian comic superstar duo behind the adaptation of the upcoming NEIL GAIMAN’S A STUDY IN EMERALD graphic novel!

Rafael Albuquerque‘s utterly gorgeous art has been one of the most beloved parts of all of our your comic reading for the past few years, from AMERICAN VAMPIRE to BATMAN to HUCK to EI8HT to UNCANNY X-FORCE to TUNE 8 to TALES OF FEAR AGENT to BATGIRL and also so many amazing comic book covers it is mindblowing.

Rafael Scavone, is the author of ALL STAR BATMAN (with Scott Snyder), WONDER WOMAN 75TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL, a heart-wrenching story in WHERE WE LIVE: A BENEFIT FOR THE SURVIVORS IN LAS VEGAS, and an upcoming run on Mark Millar’s HIT GIRL. Together with Deb Dorneles, the Rafaels formed Stout Club in 2014, a comic imprint from Brazil that is revolutionizing the South American comics scene.

NEIL GAIMAN’S A STUDY IN EMERALD from Dark Horse Comics is an original comic graphic novel adaption of Neil Gaiman’s famous Sherlock Holmes short story that runs our hero, together with his ever-present partner Watson, against the nightmares of H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu. Expect full-on Victorian horror, fog-choked London alleyways, horrific labs from St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, hallucinogenic terrors in caves of Afghanistan, and something terrible lurking in the shadows of 221b Baker Street. Truly a story that Albuquerque and Scavone were born to tell!

Since these gentlemen are coming so far to visit the comic loving people of San Francisco for the first time, and so few North Americans have gotten the chance to meet them before, we’ve scheduled a day-long duo of awesome events for your convenience. A great daytime autograph signing session and a late night afterparty as only the Isotope can do!

Saturday, July 28th 2018
2pm – 6pm

The Isotope’s intimate afternoon autographing session for our all-ages crowd. Sure, there will be a line for this, but here at the Isotope we’ve completely redesigned the signing experience to ensure our events are casual, fun, low pressure affairs. If you haven’t been to one before we think you’ll like the way we do things.

Saturday, July 28th 2018
8pm – Midnight
21+ please

Our late night afterparty features the best comic crowd anywhere on the planet, once-in-a-lifetime bespoke refreshments by master mixologist Kirsten Baldock, and amazing tunes with DJ BEARZBUB to make you smile. These events are the stuff of legend in the comic industry, here’s your chance to find out why.

We will have lots of copies of NEIL GAIMAN’S A STUDY IN EMERALD on hand but if you’d like to ensure we have a copy for you that day, please call or email hidden; JavaScript is required to reserve your copy.

If you haven’t already, please do read our Harassment Policy. Thank you.

PHOTOS: JH Williams III @ Isotope 2018

Oh guys, this was the *perfect* event, I am over the moon! Writing this report on the event took me all week long and, as you’ll see, so full of really special moments that I will never forget. My heart is absolutely bursting with happiness!

Click Here For Photos From This Event

You probably are aware that JH Williams III (or “Jim” as the Isotope family all knows him) doesn’t do many public appearances and given how much my staff and customers treasure him and his work we really wanted to make this one a special night. But what I could not predict was just how special it would truly be!

The weekend was a team-up with our friends at the California College of the Arts​ MFA In Comics Program and the Isotope, so it was a full weekend long celebration of this extraordinary comic creator who has truly re-defined the comics artform in the 21st century. Jim had a talk on Friday night at CCA’s Timken Lecture Hall in celebration of CCA’s MFA in Comics graduate students. I have to say that the CCA students right now are just *incredible*, and the energy behind the whole program is just fantastic, I love what they’re doing there and it’s no exaggeration when I say that I think that school is going to make a huge impact on the future of the comics industry. The JH Williams III talk with professor Justin Hall on Friday night was incredibly insightful and inspirational. And of course full of mind-blowing art. If you haven’t been to one of CCA’s public talks with cartoonists I can’t recommend it more highly. Afterwards Kirsten and I set up a small table with SANDMAN OVERTURE, PROMETHEA, BATWOMAN and WHERE WE LIVE at the CCA reception. In 17 years we’ve never set up and sold comics outside of the Isotope’s four walls but we made an exception because this was such a special event. I pretty much just hung out talking with the amazing art students while Kirsten did all of the work. The weekend was off to an awesome start and we had a blast working with the staff of CCA’s MFA In Comics Program (thanks Matt Silady and Anuja Silady and Justin Hall and Ed Luce). And it was about to get even better…

Our party the next night on Saturday was sublime. Beyond even my highest expectations and hopes. Over the years our parties had been getting just too over-stuffed, even with me intentionally under-promoting our events(!), so last year Kirsten and I decided to take a bit of time off from posting parties to slim down the crowds a bit. A huge success! We had the perfect sized crowd for this!

And the result was everything I could have ever hoped for. Jim’s intricate work is incredibly time-consuming and absolutely not conducive for quick scrawl-out pictures. So it is understandable that he doesn’t tend to draw much in public. I’ve known Jim for 13 years and the Isotope has had the pleasure of hosting several events with him over the years but I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen him do so many mind-blowing drawings for fans before. Just phenomenal. Those of us who got to watch him draw and those who got to take home those sketches home. Wow. Talk about a once in a lifetime event!

But it got even better…!

At around 10pm we stopped the party. Which is something I almost never do. But this party was special. And we were about to have one of the most special moments in Isotope history unfold before our collective eyes. Jim is a very by-the-rules guy and he’d promised Entertainment Weekly the chance to debut his pages to the world when the time is right, sometime later this year or early next year. But, as long as no photos were taken of the work, he’d agreed to show the Isotope faithful the *entire first issue* and most of the second issue of his upcoming ECHO LANDS series. And not just show us, but Jim walked us through each and every page, describing the story and characters, pontificating his techniques, and laying bare the thoughts, artistic ambitions and challenges that went into every page.

ECHO LANDS really is unlike anything anyone has seen in comics before. And, of course, Jim’s art is just breathtaking. A pre-eminent master at the top of his game, pushing himself beyond anything we’ve seen him attempt before. And clearly having the time of his life doing it. Despite the whole thing being totally mind-blowing, Jim kept the talk super casual and relaxed, happily answering questions from fans and students and professional comic creators alike.

I could listen to endless hours of Jim talking about his art, transfixed and hanging on his every word. Anyone could tell you his art is incredibly deep and awe-inspiring but getting to hear about the amount of thought he puts into the creation of those pages you feel his work on a totally different level that is somehow even more astonishing and miraculous. My favorite thing is as superlative as his work really is I don’t know any comic artist who describes their work as “fun” as much as Jim does. It just makes your heart sing to hear that.

Speaking of making your heart sing… one of the most special things of the night was that our beloved Katie Longua (of MUNCHIES and HER SPACE OPERA fame) had just her upcoming graphic novel DEBIAN PERL: DIGITAL DETECTIVE announced the day before in a huge way… on the Hollywood Reporter! We’re so excited for her!

I couldn’t be more proud of Katie and spent a good portion of the party just introducing her to people and telling them about her upcoming book. So many of the party’s attendees were art students and future comic creators so it was extra cool to see how inspired by her work and excited everyone was. And even better was later in the night Katie pulled out a flyer she’d saved from her very first Isotope party ever and it was JH Williams III in 2008! I remember meeting Katie and hanging out with her and her fellow the Academy of Art students that night. But what I did not know… and this is the coolest thing… is it was on that day, when she first met JH Williams III at an Isotope party ten years ago. that Katie decided she wanted to make comics! And here we were, the day after her huge Hollywood Reporter announcement, having a party with JH Williams III again!

Just… wow. I was blown away just thinking about that! And definitely one of the happiest moments in my entire 17 year long (so far!) comics career.

Another great moment at the party was when I spotted FAE ARCHAIC creator Kirt Burdick, one of San Francisco’s greatest unsigned comic creators, sitting at the drafting table getting his JH Williams III comics autographed. I quickly grabbed a copy of FAE ARCHAIC and slid it in front of Jim, “This is Kirt’s book…” Jim was instantly excited and enthusiastically exclaimed “Oh, I was looking at that earlier! This is YOURS?!” (laugh) So cool. Kirt was utterly speechless.

As if my heart could not contain more joy my longtime friend Maureen Minn walked in the door of the party. My jaw hit the floor. Back when we lived in Wisconsin Maureen was the person who took me to my very first comic convention ever! “I’m driving to Chicago to go to Chicago Comic Con – and you’re coming with!” It wasn’t long after that she started working at a comic book store. I was so envious! So Maureen will forever be one of the coolest people in my entire world. She lives here in San Francisco but has kiddos and has never made it to one of my parties before. AWESOME! I had a blast introducing her to everyone and telling people she’s responsible for my entire comics career (laugh)! Maureen had come with her next door neighbor, Heather Nodelman, who I had helped pick out books for her twin daughters only weeks before. So sweet. Thank you for sharing your photos with us Heather!

I kept saying “this is perfect, this is perfect, this is perfect” to myself, the happiest mantra, all night long. And it really was.

Jim and Wendy Williams are some of our favorite people on Earth so it was great to spend time with them again. My sincerest thanks to DJ Bearzbub who we haven’t had the pleasure of having at one of our parties in well over a year. I was downright giddy setting up his equipment up once more and to see him up there on the mezzanine doing his thing all night long. Even my beloved friends Adrienne Rappaport​ and Jim Cox who I hadn’t seen in forever were there. And with Josh Richardson was behind the bar with Kirsten, Katie Mattingly at the register, Andrew Gapen and Ash Aiwase at the door? This is perfect, this is perfect, this is perfect.

Thanks to all of you who joined us and filled my night with smiles. You made a perfect event more perfect than I could ever hope to ask for.

I can’t wait to throw another party.

– James

New Comics: Wuvable Oaf Space Fuzz

Isotope is truly honored to get to present the World Debut of Ed Luce‘s WUVABLE OAF: SPACE FUZZ comic… today! In a far-flung future, millions of years after the extinction of humanity, Wuvable Oaf finds himself re-cloned from a hairball by hyper-intelligent felines (the descendants of his pet cats). This full-color magazine-sized book is not available at any other shops and won’t be officially released elsewhere until San Diego Comic Con. You are going to love this sexy, weird, b-movie pulp sci-fi science fiction adventures of everyone’s favorite bear!

The World’s Hairiest Comic Magazine – Be the first on the planet to get your copy!

Isotope & CCA Proudly Present:

Isotope has teamed up with our friends at the California College of the Arts’ MFA in Comics Program for a weekend-long celebration with JH Williams III, the artist who blew all our minds on SANDMAN OVERTURE, BATWOMAN, PROMETHEA, DESOLATION JONES, BATMAN, and so many more jaw-dropping books.

Few artists have a more stunning body of work or have been more influential on the evolution of the artform of comics in the 21st century. Williams is also the only artist to have worked with each of the most important writers of several generations, including Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Grant Morrison, Warren Ellis, Greg Rucka, and Alejandro Jodorowsky. Not to mention his work with two of the greatest bands ever (check out that work here and here). Simply put, we here at the Isotope we are of the opinion that Mister Williams is the single greatest artist working in comics today.

On Friday, July 13th the California College of the Arts’ MFA in Comics Program is having an-depth talk with Williams as part of their summer lecture series at their San Francisco Campus’ Timken Lecture Hall (more info here). Moderated by queer comics historian Justin Hall. Yes, we will definitely see you all there!

And on Saturday… an epic party at the Isotope! Featuring a perfectly curated setlist by San Francisco’s own DJ Bearzbub, all our favorite local creators, a whole bunch of comic-making CCA students, and all your best, comic-loving friends here at the Isotope!

Williams is a long time member of our family and we have had so many wonderful times together with him… so for those of you who have yet to get to know him… we want to bring that experience to you too. As always Jim will be happy to sign your SANDMAN OVERTURE hardcovers, PROMETHEA omnibii, BATWOMAN paperbacks, vintage CHASE comics, BLONDIE and THE SWORD albums, and anything else he’s ever worked on. And we don’t even mind if you’ve bought those things elsewhere, this isn’t about us, it’s about you and Jim getting to say “hi.”

Saturday, July 14th 2018
8pm – Midnight
21+ please

An intimate late night afterparty with the best comic crowd anywhere on the planet, once-in-a-lifetime bespoke refreshments by master mixologist Kirsten Baldock, and delightful tunes by DJ BEARZBUB. This event is a casual backstage-after-the-show vibe and gives you all an opportunity to actually hang out and get to know our guest of honor JH Williams III… the way we think an in-store appearance should truly be!

We will have lots of copies of Williams’ books on hand but if you’d like to ensure we have a copy of something for you that day, please call or email hidden; JavaScript is required to reserve your copy.

If you haven’t already, please do read our Harassment Policy. Thank you.

New Comics: Lost In Guyville

Local author / artist Marie D’Abreo (of BEAUTIFUL: A GIRL’S TRIP THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS and SKY ORB fame) stopped in today with her latest graphic novel, LOST IN GUYVILLE, a comic about an artist with big dreams and an ever-increasingly confusing love life. We really love D’Abreo’s charming slice-of-life comics. She’s been self-publishing her comics since 2015 and we’re thrilled to hear they’ve really started catching on online and she’s now doing comics full-time. Congrats Marie, we couldn’t be happier for you!

You can check out her work here at the Isotope, or on the Isotope’s digital comics store here and here.

NHK World Interviews Isotope

The nice folks from NHK World were in today to interview James about SHONEN JUMP MAGAZINE and the cultural impact of Japanese comics in America. They also talked to local comic creator Katie Longua (HER SPACE OPERA, MUNCHIES, and got lots of gorgeous shots of the Isotope. These interviews will be broadcast into over 290 million households worldwide, 160 different countries, and who knows how far the webcast will reach. We will let you know when the show is released!


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