This year saw the long-awaited return of Bizarro Con to its full glory. Bizarros from all corners made the trek to Portland, Oregon to attend workshops and panels, perform readings, make merry, form bonds, and crush the competition during the Ultimate Bizarro Showdown. Most of all, to celebrate the best in Bizarro Fiction for works published in 2022.
Best Collection: The Last 5 Minutes of the Human Race by Michael Allen Rose & Jim Agpalza (Madness Heart Press)
I saw the last five minutes of the human race, and it was beautiful.
In this apocalyptic alphabet primer, award-winning author Michael Allen Rose teams up with famed Bizarro artist Jim Agpalza to walk through the end of humanity one letter at a time. Beautifully illustrated and powerfully written, this primer offers up 27 apocalyptic visions and accompanying illustrations. Each spread features a short story written by Michael Allen Rose with an original piece of art created for this book.
Raised on an island in the Pacific Ocean, Jim Agpalza now lives outside Portland, Oregon, where he works as a freelance illustrator, cover artist, character designer, and storyboard artist. His work has appeared in a multitude of formats, including cartoons, books, slot machines, comics, and t-shirts. Jim is the co-creator of the animated show Spacefish, the novel Fantastic Earth Destroyer Ultra Plus, and the comic book Crusader of Sin.
Michael Allen Rose is an award-winning author, musician, and performer based in Chicago, IL. Originally from the frozen wastes of North Dakota, Michael’s plays have been produced in New York, Chicago, Portland, and other major cities. He’s been seen on stage at Chicago’s famed Second City where he spent a year studying at the conservatory. He is the host of BizarroCon’s Ultimate Bizarro Showdown, and releases industrial music under the pseudonym Flood Damage. Support him on Patreon for zines and chapbooks every month! He loves cats and tea.
Best Novel: One Hand To Hold, One Hand To Carve by M. Shaw (Tenebrous Press)
Two halves of a human cadaver awaken on a cold morgue slab. The two distinct personalities, Left and Right, remember nothing of their previous life as a singular body. Bound by necessity to carve out an existence on the fringes of society, the two brothers have very different ideas of the life they want. Their impending schism will lead each on his own frightening path; one forward to a new life, one backward to the origin of their struggle.
One Hand to Hold, One Hand to Carve is a Weird and surreal Body Horror journey that redefines familial bonds and what it means to be an individual. Featuring interior illustrations and cover art by Echo Echo.
M. Shaw is a graduate of the Clarion Writers’ Workshop (class of 2019) and an organizer of the Denver Mercury Poetry Slam. They live in Arvada, Colorado, which is like Denver but not. According to their colleagues, the common tropes in their work are dream logic, non-sequiturs, lack of closure, internet references, strange obsessions, 90’s video games, 90’s loneliness, deer, and the self-destruction of the gender binary. M is genderqueer and uses they/them pronouns, in case that was at all unclear from the above info. Whatever you’re reading, they probably wrote it in an empty art museum after midnight. Indulge in all they have to offer with a menu offered here.
We support indie publishing and will always link to their direct stores whenever possible. If you should buy from another site, we strongly suggest Bookshop.org which has the same mission and also supports our work here at Bizarro Central. Pick up The Last 5 Minutes of the Human Race and One Hand to Hold, One Hand to Carve.
Congratulations to the winners, runners-up, honorable mentions, all the authors and publishers from your friends at Bizarro Central. We are excited to see what art blossomed in the wake of 2023 and what 2024 will bring.
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