Presenting the world premiere of Amoeba Adventures #32!

My brand new comic book is now available as a digital release. It’s the 32nd issue of Amoeba Adventures, which I’ve been writing/drawing in some form or another on and off since 1990 (urk)!

I’m a biased fellow, but this might just be my favourite issue yet, and it’s turned out to be the longest comic I’ve written and drawn in many years. It’s an epic adventure full of shocking returns of beloved characters and a roller-coaster of emotion in a tale I just had to call “Seedling.” Ninja Ant, Prometheus, Dawn and Spif face a challenge spawned from the darkest days of the All-Spongy Squadron’s past.  Download the digital edition PDF for free right now by clicking on the link below to view on the computing device of your choice. Enjoy!

Download Amoeba Adventures #32!

Or, take a look at the first three pages for free right here!

As always, a strictly limited-edition print version is being published too, because hey, I like physical media! It’s a mere US$7.50 to ship anywhere in the whole wide world to you from glamorous New Zealand in just a few weeks’ time. Send your money via PayPal to me at dirgas@gmail.com and sit back and wait at your mailbox.

STILL AVAILABLE:  Plus, there are still a handful of copies left of the print editions of Amoeba Adventures #30 and Amoeba Adventures #31, and the special 25th anniversary reprint of Amoeba Adventures #27, now with eight pages of bonus art and interviews! When these are gone, these are gone, so if you want a print copy grab one – Amoeba Adventures #28 and #29 are all now SOLD OUT! 

Thanks again as always for your support in my never-ending quest to draw weird comics in my free time. If you like it I’d love some feedback, and if you haven’t liked/followed the Amoeba Adventures by Nik Dirga page on Facebook yet, please do – besides my comics work, it also features regular links to my other writing, journalism, reviews and more! Cheers, pals!

The Lost World of Small Press, Part I: Bruce Chrislip makes history

Most of us learn it when we’re kids – all you really need to make a comic is a pencil and a piece of blank paper. That’s the beauty and the charm of small press comics, wonderfully explained in a brilliant, extremely niche book of comics history I read recently that I highly recommend, The Minicomix Revolution 1969-1989

Bruce Chrislip is one of the foundational members of the small press “scene” of the 1970s and ‘80s and his book is a hefty old tome that captures the beginnings of an essentially ephemeral, ever-changing world. Improved printing technology and the spirit of underground comics led to a world where basically anyone could publish their own comic, even if nobody bought a copy for the 7 cents they were asking.

The Minicomix Revolution is a sweeping, if by its very nature incomplete, history of a creative movement that still animates culture today – after all, what is internet “content” from influencers but yet another way of doing it all yourself, and taking your work directly to the people? 

There’s dozens of names in here, from the notable to the obscure, and Chrislip keeps his narrative from turning into a dry list by bringing them to life with tales of late-night jam sessions, friendships made and always, madcap invention. Chrislip also notes those who started in small press who went on to much bigger things, like Simpsons guru Matt Groening and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles creators Eastman and Laird. 

Chrislip’s book ends just at the time I came into the small press scene circa 1991 or so, but many of the names he covers were familiar to me as press icons such as Matt Feazell and Steve Willis, or the late great artist and “reviewzine” editor Tim Corrigan, who gave me some of my first “real” reviews of my own comic Amoeba Adventures when I started it in 1990.

Chrislip includes dozens of comics covers that capture the beautiful anarchy of small press, where a comic can be everything from a goofy superhero riff (cough cough) to highly personal autobiography or a series of self-portraits or just sheer dadaist gags. (The book is available directly from him directly, and you can look him up on Facebook, contact him via email clgbruce@cinci.rr.com or mail him a check or money order at 2113 Endovalley Dr. Cincinnati, OH 45244 – it’s $45 postpaid, beautifully produced and well worth the cash if you’re into rare comics history.) 

There are brilliant artists working in small press that few comics fans will ever hear about. That’s kind of sad to me, but it’s an artist’s life, too. A few very noble efforts to collect some classic minicomics have been published but it’s a bit like attempting to collect snow – for every mini “superstar” like a Matt Feazell there’s a dozen others who may have only sold 10 copies of their comic, but it’s still grand fun.

I wish there was a way to completely capture the vast breadth of small press – efforts like Ricko Bradford’s Poopsheet Foundation or official archives held by academic institutions help. 

The “zine” scene is still alive and well bubbling beneath our TikTok and Twittified world, and dogged folks like me are still producing unique pieces of comic art that maybe only a few dozen people will read, but hey, it’s the creating that really counts, in my mind. You feel the call to make things, and you’ll never quite stop hearing it. 

In the end, it’s just about the comics, really. My collection has whittled down a bit over the years what with moving around the world and such but I’ve still kept a hardcore pile of the minicomics that mean the most to me over the years. They’re literally irreplaceable, as some creators have vanished from the scene or even died and their comics are totally unavailable today. 

All this lengthy preamble leads up to me starting an occasional blog series here on the “Lost World of Small Press” looking at a handful of these groovy handmade gems hidden in my boxes o’ comix! Look for more rare 1990s small press comics showcased here mighty soon. 

More in this series:

The Lost World of Small Press Part II: Minicomics Maestros

The Lost World of Small Press Part III: Mysterious Minicomics

It’s another Amoebargain sale and special Amoeba Adventures reprint!

It’s time for the second annual AMOEBARGAIN SALE of rare out-of-print back issues of my comic Amoeba Adventures – plus, a special reprint of one of my favourite issues of the original series, back in print for the first time in years! If you are wanting to pick up handsome physical copies of my comics, including the last few copies I have of some real rarities, now is your chance.

Just released: Amoeba Adventures #27: The 25th Anniversary Edition

It’s the final issue of the original 1990-1998 run of Amoeba Adventures, and one of my favourite comics ever. Somehow or another, 2023 marks 25 years since this bad boy came out. Way back in 1998, I was dead broke and living in a hick town in the middle of nowhere so the original print run of AA #27 was very small and quickly gone. After the carnage of “The Dark Ages,” the All-Spongy Squadron regroups for one last hurrah. Setting up the status quo for the 2020 Amoeba Adventures revival, it features Rambunny, Spif, Ninja Ant, Prometheus and Dawn one last time – and of course, a drunken bar brawl!  This special reprint also includes EIGHT pages of rare art, interviews and behind-the-scenes commentary. A mere US$5.00 – only a small amount have been printed and when they’re gone, they’re gone. 

Plus! Vintage Amoebas! Get ‘em before they go!

There’s still a small handful of vintage 1990s Amoeba Adventures issues I’ve got in storage that it’s time to set free – these are out of print original printings and once they’re gone, they’re gone forever and are going dirt-cheap!

Available are:

Amoeba Adventures #19, 20, 21, 22, 24 – $1.00 each!

Amoeba Adventures #11, 13, 14, 15, 18, 23 Sorry, all sold out!

Recent issues: Plus, if you’ve missed out on the super cool limited print edition of the most recent issues, there are just a few left. Everything must go!

Amoeba Adventures #28 – SOLD OUT!

Amoeba Adventures #29 – ALMOST gone!

Amoeba Adventures #30 – FIVE copies left!

Amoeba Adventures #31 – The most recent issue!

For a limited time, all now available for a mere $5.00 each! 

Finally, work is well underway on Amoeba Adventures #32, the FIFTH new issue – it won’t quite be ready until closer to Christmas, but if you want to pre-order the limited print edition of that now, it’s a mere $US7.50 shipped anywhere in the entire world to you when it’s available. 

Sale ends November 30, so don’t delay! How to order: Postage is $1 for 1-2 books, $5 for 3-6 books, $6 for 7 or more. Send funds via paypal to dirgas@gmail.com

Of course, if you’re a child of the modern age and don’t mind digital, a reminder that EVERY one of my comics is available as a free PDF download right here – all 32 issues of Amoeba Adventures, spin-offs, weird side projects, jams and much more. As always, thanks for reading!

Four-panel biographies – A short-lived experiment

Life has been hectic of late, so in the absence of new posts, here’s a trip in the wayback machine to 2014. I attempted to get back into drawing comics by experimenting for a few months with a few eccentric sketchbook comics, including these “Four-panel biographies.” It’d take a global pandemic for me to find the passion again a few years later by returning to my comic strip Amoeba Adventures again!

Still, I do like the concept of telling a life in a mere four panels… maybe I’ll get around to doing a few more some day… For now, here’s the Four-Panel Biographies of Franklin Pierce and Roy Orbison!

Up in the tree, dreaming of comics

Kids do weird stuff. They all do things that seem kind of, well, wacky when you become a boring adult dealing with bills and retirement funds and insurance payments. 

Following up on the release this week of my fiftieth humble little comic book, Amoeba Adventures #30, I kept thinking about a weird habit I had from the age of about age 12 to 15. I was a confused pre-teenager and well, I was kind of a nerd. 

And so many afternoons after school, I’d climb up a tree in the backyard of our family home and perch on a patio cover built up there, and then I’d imagine comic books. 

I created an entire imaginary universe of comics in my head – like many comics nerds do. “The Galaxy Comics Universe” (which I played around with on and off with my old friend Chris) was a Marvel Comics photocopy which included a sprawling cosmos of spandex-clad warriors like The Arachnoid, Robotron, Manipulator, El Jaguar and The Dark Avenger. I’d imagine all kinds of adventures for these heroes, who were mostly thinly-veiled rip-offs of existing Marvel and DC comics. 

I’d sit up there in that tree in my parents’ backyard and dream of heroes for hours. 

But I wouldn’t just dream – I’d scribble and sketch, too. I drew bunches of covers for these imagined adventures (but never an actual story, which was kind of weird). And even nerdier, I wrote up Stan Lee-styled hype-filled solicitations for these imaginary comic books, embarrassingly detailed PR in the style of Marvel Age and the like for stories that didn’t exist. 

There’s no obsession quite like that of the 13-year-old. 

I wrote these solicitations for the “Galaxy Comics Universe” for a while there – and I’ve still got them all today, geek über-texts that I bound up along with my awful drawings of the era into little volumes years ago. They are truly absurd treasures to look at now – at one point I got so deluded I started pretending real comics creators like Walt Simonson and Frank Miller were working on my comics. All in all, I wrote hundreds of pages of summaries of comics that didn’t exist – is it any wonder I’m still a comics obsessive decades on? 

But I loved the thrill of imagining a universe, derivative as it surely was, and even as I’m an old man now with what’s left of my hair increasingly grey, that buzzy kick of creation sticks with me. As I get older and the real world seems to get worse, I’m more and more convinced that art keeps us alive. 

I strip-mined those old Galaxy Comics notes and sketches for ideas when, a few years later, I actually started DRAWING comics stories of my own with the first Prometheus the Protoplasm story in 1986.

I became a small press publisher in the early 1990s and hundreds of people actually read some goofy stories I wrote and drew. I took inspiration from some of those characters I dreamt up while sitting in the tree in the backyard and turned them into Amoeba Adventures characters – Dawn Star, Agnus Dei, Manipulator, Macabre and more all came from there. 

The dreams became real, or as real as stories do. Years on, I’m not a kid any more and I spent way, way too many years ignoring the thrilling charge that drawing a comic of your own creates. But I came back to comics in the age of Covid and have to admit, the years melt away a bit when it’s you, a pencil and a blank piece of paper, making up heroes. 

There’s a part of me that never left that tree, there in that backyard of a house I haven’t lived in for 30 years. 

And now, it’s Amoeba Adventures #30

All right, folks, I’ve got a brand-new comic out, Amoeba Adventures #30, and it’s now available 100% free for you to download a digital copy!

It’s an action-packed ticking clock of a tale this issue, as an ordinary afternoon for Dawn Star turns into a fight to survive when the long-missing Rambunny returns. Two of my favourite Amoeba Adventures characters take the spotlight in a story that I had to call … “Take What You Got.” I’m pretty psyched with this one and hope you like it too! 

And you can download the whole story in its entirety for free right here:

Download Amoeba Adventures #30

You can take a look at the first three pages right now:

And as a reminder, you can read more than 40 other comics published by me including all 29 previous issues of Amoeba Adventures as free PDF downloads right here.

This one also turns out to be the FIFTIETH comic book I’ve published going all the way back to me scribbling Prometheus instead of paying attention in Mr. Moore’s junior high school science classes a lifetime ago. It’s been a long crazy road for me with the Amoeba Adventures gang, and I took way too long off from the drawing table for many years, but still, it’s a pretty cool milestone. In this uncertain world of ours right now, there’s nothing quite like taking a pencil and a blank sheet of paper and making something come to life to take away the pandemic blues and keep me sane. (Well, somewhat sane.) 

Once again I’ll be producing a limited-edition print version which will be available for a mere $7.50 shipped anywhere in the entire world to you in early December. You can pre-order that by paypalling some cash to dirgas@gmail.com with your mailing details.  

One last note – if you’ve been hankering after some physical copies of rare Amoeba Adventures comics from the 1990s, as I know a few of you have asked about, prepare yourself for a special AMOEBARGAIN SALE coming in early December! 

Be sure to give my Amoeba Adventures Facebook page a like to keep in the loop and as always, thanks to those who read and like my little scribbles. 

What I’ve been working on

Get ready for the 30th issue of Amoeba Adventures, featuring the long-awaited return of fan favourite Rambunny in a story full of thrills, spills and twists, debuting October 31.

More details soon, and don’t forget you can always download every single previous issue of Amoeba Adventures going all the way back to 1990 right here on the website as free PDFs, or last year’s super-sized Amoeba Archive publication full of rarities and more!

Introducing… Amoeba Adventures #29

A noir detective story about a crime-fighting ant and his protoplasm pal? Come on, who wouldn’t want to read that?

I’ve spent the last few months working on it, and my new small press comic Amoeba Adventures #29 is now available to the world. The second all-new issue of AA for a bold new era, it’s 24 pages of ant antics and protoplasmic perils written and drawn by yours truly.

Get ready for a madcap detective adventure as Ninja Ant, private eye teams up with Prometheus to unravel a mystery that brings back an old friend and features shocking twists and turns galore and callbacks to some of the very first Amoeba Adventures stories. It’s “Who Is Raoul the Boy Cockroach?”

Sneak preview of first few pages below:

You can view and download a 100% free digital PDF of the whole issue right here:

Amoeba Adventures #29

And don’t forget you can download and read literally every other issue of Amoeba Adventures since 1990 and many other comics by me right over here: Protoplasm Press

For those who dig it when it’s tangible, I’ll be producing a limited-edition print version of Amoeba Adventures #29 which will be available for a mere $7.50 shipped anywhere in the entire world from New Zealand to you, and will even include a special personalised Prometheus sketch, whatever you like! You can pre-order that by Paypalling me some cash right here:

Donate with PayPal

Once again, my grateful thanks to those who’ve encouraged my return to the occasional cartooning scribble after far too long. I only wish it hadn’t taken me quite so long, but I’m having a blast rediscovering this world again, and plans for Amoeba Adventures #30 are already well underway!

Sneak preview: Amoeba Adventures #29!

Hey, it’s time for an Amoeba Adventures update!

It’s been a few months since Amoeba Adventures #28, but I’ve been busy – Amoeba Adventures #29 is all pencilled and lettered and will be 24 pages of all-new wacky adventures featuring twists, turns and shocking returns with Prometheus and Ninja Ant together in one wild detective mystery.

Look for it to premiere both digitally and with a limited-edition print version hopefully sometime in June! In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek at my old-school pencils and lettering:

And remember that all 28 previous issues of Amoeba Adventures are available right over here as free PDF downloads. As always, give the Facebook page a like if you haven’t already!

And now, after 22 years, Amoeba Adventures #28

Well, this isn’t something I expected to be doing at the start of this year. But as I’ve been chronicling all year long, the weird world of 2020 has had me revisiting my old 1990s small press comics days, and now, I’m pleased to announce there’s a new issue of my comics zine Amoeba Adventures, the first since 1998!

Amoeba Adventures #28 collects three short stories – the first new Amoeba Adventures story in 22 years, “Tempus Fugit,” first seen in the Amoeba Adventures Archive earlier this year; “Prometheus Drinks Coffee,” published just the other day online, and to cap it off, an all-new Ninja Ant short cartoon!

This one is yours to download as a PDF entirely 100% FREE right here, so enjoy!

Download Amoeba Adventures #28

And due to popular request, I’m also releasing Amoeba Adventures #28 in a limited print edition for anyone who’s interested – digital is by far the easiest way to distribute these days, but hey, I love a good print comic myself too. I’m now accepting pre-orders for the print copies which will ship in January.

Due to the costs of printing and shipping overseas, AA #28 will run $8.00 US for orders anywhere but New Zealand; NZ$4 for any orders from here in New Zealand. You can pre-order it right now by Paypal and download the digital copy to read in the meantime:

Donate with PayPal

Once again thanks to all who’ve supported my return to this comics-scribbling hobby after all these years, and thanks to Rick Bradford for plugging me over on the PF Minimart. Onwards to 2021, and brighter days!