02/10/2017

Sally here to finish the week with you – I’ve got work by Emil Ferris, Theora Kvitka, Valentine Gallardo, Iris Yan, and Lou Rogers to share, plus comics scholarship with Rebecca Wanzo and the debut of The Ladybroad Ledger – and much more!

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Emil Ferris‘s long-anticipated debut graphic novel is finally here. My Favorite Thing Is Monsters was a decade in the making, and then it quite literally got lost at sea last fall when “the entire 10,000-copy print run of the book was stuck on a cargo ship seized at the Panama Canal after the freight company, Hanjin, filed bankruptcy.” The A.V. Club reports:

The scope of Ferris’ story is huge as it juggles a murder mystery, family drama, psychological thriller, and love letter to classic pulp monsters while taking readers from Chicago to Nazi Germany, and the narrative is constantly surprising and hugely fulfilling.

They have a 11-page preview of the book – check it out HERE. It will be officially released on February 15th (although Copacetic Comics already has copies!) I look forward to seeing this in person – the “intensely hatched linework” is not always my cup of tea, but the story sounds compelling and Emil Ferris is a very interesting person.

In an exclusive for Chicago Magazine, Emil has shared more of her story.

Growing up in Uptown in the 1960s, Ferris was part of a diverse community of people who she says “operated outside the system.” Her neighbors included black migrants who traveled north during the Great Migration, white Appalachian miners living in abject poverty, and thousands of Native Americans who left their reservations in the wake of relocation programs. “There was an incredible beauty,” says Ferris. “These were people who suffered, but were strong. They were survivors.”

Emil was a survivor as well – born with scoliosis she was immobile for much of her childhood. This led to a vision of herself as a wolf-girl and a fascination with monsters – both of which influenced the creation of her new book. The piece on Chicago Magazine includes a comic by Emil that details the “stranger-than-fiction saga” which led to My Favorite Thing Is Monsters. The first part is below – read the rest HERE.

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Rebecca Wanzo, drawn by comics artist and scholar John Jennings

Meet Rebecca Wanzo, a comics scholar, associate professor of women, gender and sexuality studies in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, and associate director of the Center for the Humanities. She is also a founding board member of the Comics Studies Society (CSS), “the first professional organization for comics researchers in the United States.” Wow. Total badass. The Source, a publication of the Washington University in St. Louis recently sat down with Rebecca to talk about comics and education and scholarship. Her current book project – The Content of Our Caricature – brings up an interesting discussion about how African-Americans fit into a medium that has a deep history of caricature and excess.

Think about Charlie Brown, the way he’s drawn. The body is a sign. Comics depend on this language of exaggeration and excess. But it’s really easy for representations of black people to slip into racist caricature. How do you get away from caricature in a medium built upon it?

But what’s more interesting to me is when black comic artists intentionally use caricature, and to what ends. Sam Milai, the great Pittsburgh Courier editorial cartoonist, whose archives are in the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum (where Wanzo is a board member) had a gorgeous, realist phenotype for black people he thought were doing good things, but sometimes used racist caricature for people he was criticizing. You see this consistently in black cartooning.

They also get into the impetus behind forming the Comics Studies Society and what works Rebecca especially likes to teach.

I enjoy teaching excerpts from “Winmen’s Comix,” especially the early issues, which are really transgressive. Students assume representation gets more progressive over time, but that’s not necessarily true. For feminists, the 1970s were pretty radical!

The rest of the interview is also interesting – check it out HERE. I’m very excited to see the debut issue of Inks, the CSS Journal coming out later this year, and will definitely be tracking down more of Rebecca Wanzo’s writing.

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In the tradition of Wimmen’s Comix and Strumpet and other collections of comics featuring women only comes The Ladybroad Ledger. It is a newsprint compilation that features 10 female-identifying artists and plenty of diverse subject matter. It is making it’s way into stores and libraries all across the state of Vermont. It was created by Stephanie Zuppo, a cartoonist based in Winooski, VT.

There is a nice write-up about the first issue of The Ladybroad Ledger over on Seven Days.

These days, gender disparity in comics is declining, according to Zuppo… “It’s becoming more balanced, especially in alternative and indie comics,” she says. “Now, a lot of the major publishers are taking notice and hiring more women.”

That doesn’t mean female cartoonists should kick back and declare victory any time soon, adds Zuppo. “I still think featuring women in comics is an important thing, and it should be done more often,” she asserts.

Read the rest of the article HERE. Stephanie plans to release her publication twice a year. Check out more of her personal work HERE – and keep up with The Ladybroad Ledger HERE!

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Theora Kvitka is a Pittsburgh-based cartoonist who publishes the webcomic Urbanity Planet (above). It updates every Monday. Her work was featured in a roundup on The Guardian of comics throughout history that have looked at gentrification, from 1921 to 2016 – HERE.

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Valentine Gallardo

The Comics Beat featured the work of Valentine Gallardo as part of their A Year of Free Comics feature. You can read about Valentine’s Spellwich HERE – and you can read the whole comic on ViceHERE.

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Check out the work of Iris Yan (above). She is a Brazilian-born Chinese cartoonist who has been publishing the webcomic Pigs in Maputo since 2010 – read more of it HERE. These comics appear almost daily – she also has longer form work which you can see HERE.

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I – Sally Ingraham – started a Patreon to help support my comics-related endeavors! I am focusing on developing a comics curriculum for girls, building a library of women’s comics, and researching and documenting women in the comics industry. The teaching part is especially rewarding and where I really am looking for help when it comes to the Patreon. I am working on putting more classes together and establishing a “comics tutoring” clientele, but as that grows I need some help making ends meet. Consider sending me $1 or $5 or $10 a month while I build this network and create a curriculum that has the potential to really change these young girls’ lives. I’m just trying to get more ladies to make and read comics – and once they’re on board for that, to makes spaces for their work to be seen and for them to be heard! It’s fun. It’s radical. It’s necessary. Join me on this journey – check out my Patreon HERE. Many thanks in advance!

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Pictured above are cartoons by suffragist cartoonist Lou Rogers in Judge Magazine in 1912 (left) and the original Wonder Woman artist H.G. Peters in 1943 (right). I’m in the middle of reading Jill Lepore’s terrific book The Secret History of Wonder Women, which I may write about later – but for now I just wanted to give a shoutout to Lou Rogers, who was a prolific editorial cartoonist in the early 20th century. She was very involved in the suffragist movement – and in a funny “role reversal” she eventually married her colorist, Howard Smith. The artist who designed Wonder Woman – H. G. Peters – worked at the same paper as Lou did for awhile.

(Although I recommend reading The Secret History of Wonder Woman, if you can’t spare the time for 400+ pages you can get the “Cliff Notes” version via this Buzzfeed article: 8 Things You Won’t Believe About Wonder Woman’s Origins.)

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Biscuits and Gravy

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Suzy and Cecil – 2-10-2017 – by Sally Ingraham

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Joanie and Jordie – 2-10-2017 – by Caleb Orecchio

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Cozytown – 2-10-2017 – by Juan Fernandez

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Sally Ingraham

Sally Ingraham

Sally is a cartoonist, educator, and journalist based in Pittsburgh, PA. She makes comics about Pittsburgh and bird watching, and co-writes the "Suzy and Cecil" daily strip (with Gabriella Tito). She facilitates the Comics Workbook Rowhouse Residency, is a managing editor of the CW Daily News, and runs the CW Roller Derby "of the mind" League. She is focused on documenting the current and historic place of women in the comics industry, is working to build the Women's Comics Library, and is developing a comics curriculum by and for girls.
Sally Ingraham

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