11/14/2016

Juan here with the good stuff: Juan Fernandez on CAB 2016; Heidi Macdonald’s CAB recap; Ben Jones interviewed; Angela Stempel at the NY Comics and Picture-Story Symposium; Four takes on Noah Van Sciver’s Blammo #9; Eleri Mai Harris on the American election; CBLDF on Rayma Suprani.

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⚡️I went to CAB with Jenn Lisa last Saturday. I had a ball and I wrote about my time here on the site. Seeing everyone come together in a gymnasium like that lit a flame that very few things are going to be able to stamp out in the coming months. I’m ready to face the coming winter.

Gabe Fowler’s got the market place down to a science. So, naturally, I’m interested to see the ways in which CAB continues to evolve.  Will it stabilize into being an amped up zine fest and wild style art book fair that focuses exclusively on the marketplace? Will someone step in to lend a hand to the team to develop some track of programming during the weekend or the week before? To return to it’s BCGF format. Does that matter? Who’s ready to step up to the plate?

On the floor I heard some people discuss this being the last CAB. And damn, that’s a little pessimistic. For what it’s worth, CAB can’t be beat for a lot of reasons. Easy access via transportation. Trains, plains, buses, cars all make their way easily to NYC. For the most part either you know someone in the City or there’s an affordable place to stay for a night or two. The crowds are great. People are squeezing CAB into their busy Saturday. It’s just one of many things they’re doing so they bring an incredible energy into the space. Most people likely just heard that there was something cool with comics going on in that one church in Brooklyn. That’s a good place to be. Gabe’s curation can’t be beat. You wan’t to find the coolest books published in a year? You can’t do any better in the US than coming to CAB. Oh and people come ready to spend money. Real money.

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⚡️Heid MacDonald shared her CAB Coverage over on Publisher’s Weekly. Her big take away was similar to mine:  Though scaled down in Size, robust sales.

Because the show was planned a bit later than usual, there were fewer debut books. Indie mainstays Fantagraphics and Drawn & Quarterly were represented by artists like Drew Friedman and Adrian Tomine, but did not have booths. Nevertheless the books that did make it sold out quickly, including several very limited editions from even smaller publishers, such as the third volume of Connor Willumsen’s Treasure Island, an experimental comic from Breakdown Press; and Charles Burns’ Free Shit from French art publisher Le Dernier Cri.

Although the event served to spotlight the number of talented cartoonists who still call New York home, many of the same artists cited the difficulty of maintaining a small press comics scene amid the rising costs and rents of New York City. “It’s harder to have a scene when everyone is broke and stressed out about money,” Skelly observed.

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Installation view of “Ben Jones: Comics” at the Hole, 2016 (courtesy The Hole)

⚡️ Ben Jones did a killer interview over on HyperAllergic with Nicole Rudick focusing on his recent exhibition at The Hole NYC. Very inspiring, very enlightening. It cuts across all artistic disciplines and argues for drawing as a fundamental practice in the 21st century. My words, not his 😉

Nicole Rudick: Are these paintings of new comics?

Ben Jones: I want to give you the two narratives. There’s the concept of the show, which is hopefully how the audience perceives it and how I approached it creatively — to make a zine first and then to have a meta-art show where I’ve hung the “originals” from the zine. Typically, you’d show the originals in this way at a comic-con or a coffee shop or something like that. I intentionally wanted to present the show in that conceptual context, as a novelty. I took that to the furthest extent by adding the fake red dot you’d see at a coffee-shop art show, to indicate that the work had been bought.

As a painter, I’m constantly chasing that magical, ethereal line or stroke or gesture that is half muscle memory or trance action. You get a lot of that with handwriting and with quick sketching. I’ve fabricated ladders and furniture and video installations that take months of concepting the installation and executing the animation. This is something entirely different — it’s a one-to-one connection with an idea or a drawing or a mark. There’s a narrative to a lot of these pieces and a linear way to think about them, but then we also get to think about comics and about the formal aspects of comics, because comics aren’t just linear storytelling and gags. There is a nuanced, visual-language fuckery that I think is important. Think of Saul Steinberg changing the way people draw in the 1950s or Robert Crumb in the sixties — there are one or two people who have really changed the way we think and draw and understand line drawing. So this is also me firing a shot across the bow.

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⚡️ Have you seen Bill Kartalopoulos’s Instagram? He’s posting a lot of protest art from the last 50 yrs or so. Find something that moves you and research it. There’s extremely fertile ground in these images.

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⚡️Eleri Mai Harris is coming back to America. Thank god. In this political climate, comics stateside need her more than ever. She’s got a new comic on identity, politics and patriotism over on the NIB. Don’t sleep on this Australian-American journalist and cartoonist.

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⚡️ CBLDF on Rayma Suprani, Venezuelan Cartoonist’s Political Exile

Rayma Suprani has long been one of the best-known and most fearless political cartoonists in Venezuela, but for almost a year she and her work have only been “in” the country virtually, through social media. After El Universal, the newspaper where she had worked for more than 20 years, was bought by anonymous supporters of President Nicolas Maduro in 2014, Suprani was fired in short order and eventually forced to flee to Miami where “I can be more useful [to Venezuelans back home] because my creativity can flow without worrying.”

Suprani had often skewered Maduro’s now-deceased predecessor Hugo Chavez and stood up to the oppression of his populist movement known as Chavismo, but journalist Cesar Miguel Rondon tells PRI’s The World that Maduro’s government is even worse:

They behaved like punks on a street corner. You don’t have the rule of law here. Every single day it’s more openly the exercise of a dictatorship instead of a democracy. So, ‘we don’t like Rayma. Rayma, you should go.’ It’s as simple as that.

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angelastempel_still⚡️Angela Stempel on Picturing Worlds: abstraction, rhythm and “reality” in animated spaces. This Tuesday at the NY Comics and Picture-Story Symposium!

In this presentation, Angela Stempel will present her works of experimental animation that explore abstract shapes, the dissolution of the physical form and of photographic certainty in narrative and non-narrative pieces. She will discuss her influences, contemporary work and how she deals with the representation of time and energy.

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⚡️ Four Shots get fired at BLAMMO #9: , , ,  blast through Noah Van Sciver’s latest release. Enter the dude zone, haha. It’s good to see a single issue of comics get unpacked to this degree. More of this, please!

For the past decade, cartoonist Noah Van Sciver has been publishing his one-man anthology series, BLAMMO. Kilgore Books has recently released the latest in the series and we here at Comics Bulletin were so impressed with it that we knew we had to devote some time and energy into unpacking our reactions.

Each of the following writers were tasked with choosing a single page or panel from Blammo #9 and use it as a platform for talking about the book as a whole. None of the writers read what the other was working on during this process (Ed. Note: Except for Elkin — he sees everything). As testament to the thematic unity of Blammo #9, the writers all ended up talking about the same ideas of spirituality, artistic integrity, and the human desire to connect.

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In case you missed it, our indefatigable Sally Ingraham started an eBay store to help out the Comics Workbook Rowhouse Residency and also her own comics-making projects. Check it out HERE!

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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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