Sally here, ready to shout about some cool comics and the women who make them. I’ve got notes on Lynda Barry, Julia Gfrörer, the She Changed Comics project, Lyn Chevli, Shade the Changing Girl #1, the CW Roller Derby “of the mind” League – plus an interview with Kevin Czap and Comics Workbook at CAB.
Comics Workbook will be at Comic Arts Brooklyn this Saturday, Nov. 5th – find us upstairs at table 27! Frank Santoro, Juan Fernandez, Jenn Lisa, and John Kelly will be there, with other Comics Workbook students and friends stopping by throughout the day.
Thee incredible Ronald Wimberly will be signing at our table at 2 pm!
Just when I thought it was safe to pack up the purel! I’m guesting at @comicsworkbook table at @comicartsbklyn this Saturday at 2pm. I’ll have Prince of Cats, Attack on Titan, and Something Wicked this Way Comes (The original to this is still available $300. Hit me in my DMs) #comicartsbrooklyn #comicbookworkbook #RonaldWimberly #FrankSantoro #GratNin #PrinceofCats #Hanzōbō
Also catch Whit Taylor and Alyssa Berg and Aaron Cockle tabling downstairs!
I finally had a minute to pick up Shade the Changing Girl #1 while working at Copacetic Comics this week. Steve Ditko’s original Shade the Changing Man series (1970s), and Peter Milligan’s wild reworking of the Shade stories (1990s) seemed to be lurking around, wondering what these GIRLS were going to do with the material. I was curious too (I spent a fair amount of time this past summer just staring in awe at some of those Brendan McCarthy covers of Milligan’s Shade).
The story ties easily into earlier Shade while quickly forging it’s own plot line: university dropout Loma (a big fan of lunatic poet Roc Shade) steals the “madness coat” from a museum on the planet Meta, and zips to Earth where she takes up residence in the body of a dying teenage girl. It doesn’t take Loma long to realize that dealing with high school, the uncontrollable madness, and the folks on Meta who want the coat back will make life a lot more difficult than she anticipated. Cecil Castellucci (whom I know from her work on The Plain Janes – which Jim Rugg did the artwork for) so far seems to be rocking this, and I’m pretty excited to see where the story goes.
Here’s an interview with Castellucci from July that details her own excitement about the project. Issue #2 came out this week – I’ll be aiming to get my hands on it asap.
The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund started the She Changed Comics project last year – it was a series they ran on their Tumblr during Women’s History Month. They successfully Kickstarted a book in the spring of 2016, and it has just been released. The book was another one that I managed to check out this week during my time at Copacetic Comics.
Meant to be much more than just an overview of (the dreaded phrase) “women in comics”, the book claims to be “the definitive history of the women who changed free expression in comics, with profiles of more than 60 groundbreaking female professionals and interviews with the women who are changing today’s medium“.
While a book that clocks in at 170 pages can hardly be called comprehensive, it did feel like a great who’s who of important names, drawing from the breadth of comics history and the mainstream, syndicated, and alt-comics scenes. Cartoonists, publishers, and editors all got a shout out – Edwina Dumm to Jackie Ormes to Marie Severine to Diane Noomin to Kate Beaton to Roz Chast to Fiona Staples to Francoise Mouly to Karen Berger. With two pages devoted to each person, the book is definitely a good resource and a nice thing to have on hand when some idiot wants to claim that women don’t make or read comics. Almost entirely written by women as well. My only complaint is that there weren’t enough pictures!
One of the women who gets a mention in the book above is Lyn Chevli, the co-founder of Tits & Clits – the first comic book written, drawn, and published solely by women (beating the first Wimmen’s Comix to the newsstands by just a few weeks in July of 1972). Lyn recently died, at the age of 84, and Joyce Farmer (her Tits & Clits publishing partner) provided a remembrance of her on The Comics Journal – read it HERE.
Lynda Barry of course also makes the CBLDF’s list of women who changed comics, thoroughly, constantly, and wonderfully. She is featured in The Guardian this week, riffing on “comics, creativity, and Matt Groening”. Her career has zigzagged through the comics industry, beginning in the syndicated world with the strip Ernie Pook’s Comeek (which ran for 30 years), bumping into a novel or two along the way, and now exploding in both the classroom at the University of Wisconsin (where she was recently named as the UW-Madison’s first recipient of the Chazen Family Distinguished Chair in Art) and a lively lecture circuit, where she preaches the gospel of creativity.
You can see some pages from Julia Gfrörer‘s new book Laid Waste (Fantagraphics, November 2016) over on Flood Magazine, part of an interview with Julia that digs into her interest in the Middle Ages and the origins of this particular dark story. Check it out HERE.
Kevin Czap was awarded the CXC 2016 Emerging Talent Award a few weeks ago during Cartoon Crossroads Columbus. In the words of Tom Spurgeon, who presented the award to an astonished Kevin, “…this goes to a cartoonist whom we feel has plenty of promise as a cartoonist and has shown themselves to be a solid and giving community member as well… We love everything we’ve ever learned about you, in terms of your comics community heart.”
Alyssa Berg caught up with Kevin a week later and continued the conversation about CXC, comics, and community – and the type of energy a person consciously puts into their work. Their conversation is featured here on the site today.
The Comics Workbook Roller Derby League has shared the results of a recent “roller derby bout”. The group is constantly expanding, while dialing in a deeper team practice and refining the goals and projects that we’re about. Much more to come – meanwhile, check out some comics we’ve made recently.
Have a fantastic weekend folks, and get up to some mischief. Don’t let November get to you yet – and don’t forget to turn your clocks back an hour on Sunday! – Sally (Rogue)