10/31/2016

Juan here with the good stuff: Chris Diaz photographs CXC 2016; Connor Willumsen’s LICAF report; interview with NYRB Comics Editor, Gabriel Winslow-Yost; Rob Clough on Patreon; Maggie Umber on great horned owls; Tom Spurgeon interviews Gabe Fowler; thoughts on CAB + APE.

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Want to see some of North America’s finest cartoonists? Chris Diaz has shared some photographs of the greats who showed up at CXC in the Diaz Archive here on the site – Seth, Sacha Mardou, Charles Burns and many more! This is just part 1 of 2, so stay tuned!

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Connor Willumsen’s LICAF report is live on the site.  Mint Cakes, sheep-gazing, his workshop experiences, and Frank’s “intuitive” driving. All detailed in full. Hilarious and inspiring. You’re not going to want to miss this one!

It is a struggle to reflect on anything without first commenting on the unfathomable number of sheep abstractly pacing between an ancient network of low stone walls up in the Lake District of northern England. I guess I saw, by virtue of my eyes being open, over a thousand sheep over the weekend. I became self conscious and learned to be discreet about my developing preoccupation with photographing them.

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 The Arkansas International has an interview with NYRB Comics Editor, Gabriel Winslow-Yost. NYRB’s comics publishing in the last year have been a delightful curation over forgotten cartooning gems. All of which have been especially visceral.  A hell of a reprint project!

Perhaps related to the abovewhat do you see as the mission of the imprint?

Our main inspiration is the NYRB Classicsseries, which we’ve both been huge fans of for a long time. It’s brought hundreds of absolutely wonderful books into English and back into print over the past decade-plus, and built an audience that is adventurous and open — readers who will take a chance on books from all sorts of times and places, and in all sorts of styles. The idea behind NYR Comics is simply that something similar could be done for comics. Because of the somewhat tortured history of comics publishing in the US, there are a lot of fantastic works that have fallen way out of print, or never really even got into print, or were never translated into English —but that are still vital and exciting. And that have an audience out there, waiting for them, if only they knew…

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Rob Clough has launched a Patreon. Clough is one of the most attentive small press comics reviewers out there. He can contextualize even the most seemingly ephemeral publication. It’s incredible. AND he makes the valiant effort to review the work of cartoonists and comics makers whose work has usually never been reviewed.
I encourage you to support his writing through patreon. We’ve gotten to read his excellent writing for years for free, it’s time we support his craft.

I’ve been writing comics criticism for fifteen years now, in places like Savant, The Comics Journal, Cicada, Sequart, Foxing Quarterly, Sequential Magazine and the Poopsheet Foundation. Of course, my home base for a decade has been my own High-Low site: http://highlowcomics.blogspot.com  I’ve been providing criticism about comics from across the alternative/indy spectrum, including shedding light on new artists, short-run minicomics, YA comics, and of course the major releases from Fantagraphics, Drawn & Quarterly, etc. Anyone who’s been following my blog for the past six months has seen that I’ve been adding reviews five days a week.

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Maggie Umber has cooked up a cool little reflection on the development of her latest long-form comics work, the Sound of Snowfalling. Learn more about the whole process over on Medium.

In my tenth grade biology class we did the usual things: dissected frogs, identified birds from slide shows, and raised plants from seedlings in paper towels. It seemed like the typical high school science experience until we were asked to write a research paper in first person from an animal’s perspective. My imagination went into overdrive. The idea took ahold of me like nothing has since. For three weeks in tenth grade I became a great horned owl.

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CAB is right around the corner this weekend in Brooklyn, NY! To get you into high gear for the comics freak explosion that will sound descend upon Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, you’ll want to check out this interview with head festical organizer, Gabe Fowler. Thanks to Tom Spurgeon for always asking the right questions over on Comics Reporter.

SPURGEON: My impression is that this year’s show was not a sure thing, and as I recall you announced a bit later than most shows might announce. Why the hesitancy? What put you over the top in terms of wanting to do another one?

FOWLER: I’m basically burned out. Organizing a show by myself is a lot of work, I care about it a great deal, and it takes a lot out of me personally. I also have seen a widespread proliferation of shows since I conceived of our first show in 2009, and I have mixed feelings about it. When I initially wanted to start a show I knew it had to be something vital to the culture and a kick in the ass.. I don’t want to beat a dead horse. I want to make an innovative and fresh show out of nothing. Since I lack the funds or institutional support of larger festivals it becomes exhausting to create a worthwhile show while I’m running a business and working on my own creative projects. But in the end, I love it, and I can’t not do it.

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 As the latest iteration of CAB approaches, I think it serves us well to think about the constant change that these kinds of festivals take in the US. Take APE or example. The show used to be HUGE. In the early 2000s it was a juggernaut that rivaled SPX. It seemed that for everyone on the West Coast, APE was a rite of passage.

‘s written a little on what it’s like today over on Women Write About Comics.  It’s welcoming to new comers and is taking a different, smaller form, as demanded by the rest of the West Coast’s comics ecosystem. Interesting.

It was held not in the San Jose Convention Center’s Exhibit Hall as I expected, but in its South Hall, a metal-framed structure that resembled more of a hanger than an actual hall. This turned out to be perfect for APE–unlike Heroes and Villains Fan Fest, APE spread out its exhibitors, leaving them with about a foot on each side instead of placing tables end-to-end. The setting was much more intimate and casual than Heroes and Villains, and, when coupled with the lack of a large crowd, encouraged dialogues and gave attendees the opportunity to mill around the booths and flip through a comic or look over the exhibitor’s art. According to veteran exhibitors and other attendees, the con has been getting smaller over the years (one person suggested that this was due to another independent comic fest in Berkeley though perhaps it has more to do with the SF Zine fest), but the size of APE was just right for my first time at an independent publishing expo.

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Even if you didn’t making it to one of the Comics Workbook-hosted workshops at SPX, CXC, or LICAF this year, you can still bring your comics game to a new level via thee Santoro School Handbook for Making Better Comics by Frank Santoro and Kurt Ankeny. Printed offset on cardstock by the professionals at The Prolific Group, Winnipeg, Canada, this is not some cheap color xerox or risograph. Looks great, feels great, and even smells great. Always available at our store HERE – free shipping worldwide!

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until next time!
Juan

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Juan Fernández

Juan Fernández

Juan José Fernández is a Pittsburgh comics community organizer, most recently named as one of “Pittsburgh’s Creative Forces: 12 People to Meet in 2017” in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and one of seven 2016 Fuerza awardees by Café Con Leche for providing Pittsburgh Latinx leadership. He co-organizes the annual Pittsburgh Zine Fair, leads the Pittsburgh Comics Salon, and provides educational outreach for the Comics Workbook and the ToonSeum. He currently works at the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council.
Juan Fernández

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