10/20/2017

Sally here with Ann Nocenti, Julia Wertz, Sarah Glidden, and many more women and comics and news!

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Ann Nocenti

The Comics Beat has a great interview with the incredible Ann Nocenti (above). Edie Nugent sat down with her at NYCC to discuss her upcoming project –  the “sci-fi political thriller The Seeds with artist David Aja for the Dark Horses’ newly minted Berger Books imprint“, and her legendary career as a comics writer and editor.

She speaks of her experience working in comics in the 80s, compared to later on:

“Nocenti: What’s strange is that there were so few girls in the industry, that it was the opposite of sexism, I think. You know, I had Archie Goodwin and Denny O’Neill coming into my office talking to me about story–asking me if I wanted to write a story.

I had, you know, Larry Hama, Al Milgrom, he had all these wonderful men in comics.They were all really encouraging. Ralph Macchio gave me the Daredevil to write. Denny gave me my first story, and they were extremely encouraging of the idea that a woman wanted to make comics…even the idea that a female wanted to write Daredevil.

Nugent: So you felt industry support. Going all the way back.

Nocenti: I wouldn’t call it industry support so much as it was bullpen support. This is pre-Internet So everyone was right there in the office. I was mentored by Louise Simonson, who basically taught me everything. Across the hall, you had Joe Duffy writing Star Wars, and then in the bullpen, we had Marie Severin…a powerhouse. So between me and Marie’s generation, we did have sexism. I mean she did so much in the industry and in the business, and she’s kind of unrecognized.

She was right there on staff doing sketches when they needed them and covers when they needed them. So her generation–I think there was maybe more sexism than in the ’80s, ’cause you’re talking a post-’60s, ’70s culture, post-women’s liberation, you know, and so we were encouraged.

I probably I felt more sexism when I came back to comics at DC and I was working with Gotham, in the Bat family. All those guys [at DC] individually are really nice, but it definitely felt like a boy’s club.

She goes on to talk about The Seeds (which I can’t wait to see – David Aja’s art in Hawkeye was so good! so that paired with Ann’s writing?!) and close to the end of the interview she speaks eloquently about why comics always pull her back. It’s a great interview with a powerhouse of the comics industry in her own right.

Read the whole thing HERE.

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From Julia Wertz’s Tenements, Towers & Trash

I can’t wait to get my hands on Julia Wertz‘s new comic, Tenements, Towers & Trash, which reviewers are calling “dazzling” among other sparkly things. She herself hasn’t been able to say much about the book or go on her planned tour for it, as the fires in CA have called her home to be with her family. But The New York Times and Hyperallergic both have reviews of the comic this week and plenty to say.

From Parul Sehgal’s passionate review on The New York Times:

The city rises majestically in these pages. The crowded panels evoke the jostle of urban life. Your eye doesn’t know where to settle; there’s so much to absorb. Wertz loves New York down to its guts: the pneumatic tubes that stretch the length of the island and were once used to send gusts of letters from one post office to another. She loves the arteries of the subways, the lungs of the parks. She goes uptown to sketch movie theaters in the Bronx and peers down to the bottom of the Hudson River, the “ watery grave” where illegal pinball machines were dumped by the city in the 1970s.

She unearths so many strange, wondrous facts that my exclamation marks in the margin resemble elaborate Morse code.

Read the rest HERE.

Hyperallergic offers more pages from the book to tantalize you in their review, and is equally glowing. Read that one HERE.

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From Sarah Glidden’s The Art of War

The Nib is running Sarah Glidden‘s comic The Art of War, which was originally published in Spanish in El País Magazine. She draws herself (above) looking at Goya’s painting titled “3rd of May at Prado”. The comic is about the interaction between a viewer and a famous piece of art, and like all of Sarah’s work, is thoughtful and thought-provoking. Check it out HERE.

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In other words/images

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Connor Willumsen says ‘Cartooning is a lot like magic’ in this video, directed by Fatine-Violette Sabiri. It offers a glimpse into his head space and a look at his new comic, Anti-Gone (Koyama Press, 2017).

Read Brian Nicholson’s review of Anti-Gone, HERE.

Get a copy of Anti-Gone, along with two zines by Connor – a 20 page bootleg, and a special collage zine – as well as a unique Anti-Gone drawing, as part of the exclusive Connor Willumsen bundle from Comics Workbook – available HERE.

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Suzy and Cecil – 10-20-2017 – by Sally Ingraham

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Cozytown – 10-20-2017 – by Juan Fernandez

10/19/2017

Sam Ombiri on Katie Skelly’s My Pretty Vampire, Sally with comics and news from Sheena Howard and Barbara Brandon-Croft, and more!

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Sam Ombiri here: When I first saw My Pretty Vampire as a book I was surprised by how much bigger it was than what I had imagined it to be. Then I was even more surprised that Katie Skelly’s drawings were in color, and the color looked especially good at this size. At first I didn’t have much interest in buying it as a hardbound book – like something in the back of mind was more excited to read her work as mini comics. Nurse Nurse was exciting because of how low key it was as a mini comic and how amazing it was to read. At the back of my mind I thought I really preferred to read Skelly’s work as a mini comic, but My Pretty Vampire put those reservations away. The color not only looked fantastic, but also served as a new tool, which Skelly used to better convey certain feelings or sensations that the characters have.

In the beginning of the book for example, the main character, Clover (a vampire), after a fantastic nightmarish dream sequence, is given blood to drink. She is so focused on the blood that her robe changes color, and the whole room changes color. This was maybe a design choice because the blood is black, and Clover’s robe was black, but if that’s the case than it serves the two functions. I’m sure Katie was aware of this, as the whole room turns black in the service of Clover’s dread. Then, as Clover drinks the blood, Katie employs an effect that conveys satisfaction, and then a clear interruption of satisfaction, as her feeling changes to disgust. It communicates that for Clover, drinking blood is almost rather aesthetically driven. She later says she’s starving, and what it is that she’s starving for we see in the chapters that follow.

There’s also the suggestion that Marcel, Clover’s brother, has, at the very least, an incestuous lust for Clover, or something to that effect. It’s even conveyed with the accusatory, albeit ambiguous looks and apathetic, condescending, sarcastic voice of the housemaid. The housemaid is a great addition to the story, as she’s very sympathetic to Clover. This tells me as the reader that Clover is having a miserable time, without Skelly manipulating me as the reader with pure shock. As a result I sympathize with her more than I would’ve if she went the other route.

Maybe Clover could bear to drink oxblood, which disgusts her, if there weren’t so many other unbearable things she had to deal with. These unbearable things are only implied, masterfully, by Skelly, using such a small amount of exposition – instead she conveys a feeling left up to interpretation. There’s a page where Clover is looking at her invisible mirror, as if to say “I can’t even see where I was bit.” We only get hints of her suffering. When Clover is crying, it’s not the crying that gets to me. What gets to me is how, when she refers to her torment, it’s rather unspecific both as to the quality, and circumstance. – Sam Ombiri

Get a copy of My Pretty Vampire (Fantagraphics, 2017) HERE.

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Sally here – there’s an interview with Sheena Howard on Vice that is worth wading into. Sheena is the first black woman to win an Eisner Award for her book Black Comics: Politics of Race and Representation. She is also the creator of the Encyclopedia of Black Comics, which came out this year. She sat down with Noel Ransom to discuss that book, comics academia, and black women in comics.

Going back to blackness in comics. One of the things that surprised me was how much shit I just don’t know, and how few resources there are out there in educating me.
A lot of those things surprised me too. I mean, I knew that there were black women in the comic industry that weren’t getting any chances to write monthly comic book strips with publishers, and you can tell in my Encyclopedia that I made a concerted effort to include women, even if they just self published things, and that was important to me. Some people were even mad about that because for every spot that’s taken up in the book, that’s one spot where people didn’t get into this first volume. You’ll hear people say, “oh there aren’t many black women writers that can write monthly series for publishers.” What I’m trying to say is that simply isn’t true, and here there they are. A lot of them have their own social media followings, and have self published comic book content and are doing really well but just need a chance to get into a more consistent monthly series with a publisher.

And I also thought it was really crazy that there hasn’t been a black female writer for Marvel until 2017. [laughs] That is really, really crazy.

Read the whole interview HERE.

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I wrote about Brumsic Brandon Jr. and his Luther strip a few weeks ago, but I neglected to mention his daughter, Barbara Brandon-Croft, who was a syndicated cartoonist in her own right and was in fact one of the first black female syndicated cartoonists – and part of one of the only instances of a father/daughter cartoonist relationship…! Here’s one of her strips, from Where I’m Coming From, which ran from 1991-2005 in numerous papers across the US (making her the first nationally syndicated black female cartoonist):

Here’s a bit more about her from the CBLDF.

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Connor Willumsen says ‘Cartooning is a lot like magic’ in this video, directed by Fatine-Violette Sabiri. It offers a glimpse into his head space and a look at his new comic, Anti-Gone (Koyama Press, 2017).

Brian Nicholson reviews Anti-Gone, calling it the “book of the year”. He also says:

Let’s begin with the title: Stating an opposite of “gone” implies presence. “Here” is already claimed by Richard McGuire. That book riffs on place while Anti-Gone is more about presence of mind, as held by its characters, who rove about a vast dreamscape of a world. Partially, it’s about the struggle to take in the world around you as the world around you, without say, immediately spitting up references to movies. It’s a struggle to see the world without mediating it through your memories of other mediated experiences. This struggle gets spoken of explicitly through dialogue. At a formal level, the book is all about commanding your attention, and holding it firmly, as you experience it without knowing where it’s going.

Get a copy of Anti-Gone, along with two zines – a 20 page bootleg, and a special collage zine – as well as a unique Anti-Gone drawing, as part of the exclusive Connor Willumsen bundle from Comics Workbook – available HERE.

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Suzy and Cecil – 10-19-2017 – by Gabriella Tito

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Cozytown – 10-19-2017 – by Juan Fernandez [1] [2]

10/13/2017

Sally here with Thi Bui, Lale Westvind, Sophie Goldstein, Jackie Kirby, and much more!

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Lale Westvind

First of all, can we please collectively freak out over this Lale Westvind cover on the upcoming Kramers Ergot 10…?! I can’t stop looking at it, and April 2018 seems like a very long time from now…

Lale has a comic inside the collection as well, and it will also include work by Anna Haifich, Noel Frieberg, Adam Buttrick, Archer Prewitt, Andy Burkholder, Will Sweeney, Dash Shaw, James Turek, Rick Altergott, CF, Aisha Franz, Kim Deitch, Ron Regé Jr., John Pham, Robert Crumb, Sammy Harkham, and I think Simon Hanselmann just Tweeted something about having a page in it…! So it’s going to be a good one, obviously.

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Michael Tisserand (author of Krazy: George Herriman, a Life in Black and White) interviews Thi Bui on The Comics Journal. Her comic, The Best We Could Do, has been garnering praise and acclaim while starting important conversations since its release earlier this year. It is the story of her family’s escape from 1970s Vietnam and the reverberating impact of that on her life. It’s a difficult, but beautiful memoir – and the interview is excellent too. Thi had a lot to deal with when it came to making this comic (which she worked on for 12 years.) She has thoughtful responses to questions about working around the American narrative of the Vietnam War, and releasing her work into the present moment where the issue of immigration is so volatile.

Images we pick up from movies stick around for a long time. If your idea of what Vietnamese people look and sound like comes from movies like Full Metal Jacket and Platoon, then I have a lot of work to do to replace those caricatures with carefully observed characterizations of real Vietnamese people. Some people are able to do this entirely in prose; for me, drawing was in my arsenal, so I used it. My hope is that my images will stick around and influence people’s ideas of Vietnamese people for the better — not because I portrayed them all as model minorities, but because I showed them as fully formed human beings who can be wonderful, average, or total assholes, just like everybody else.”

In a time of so much anxiety and quickly moving bad news, I hope to bring a slower kind of thinking to the table. If you can give yourself a little time and headspace to filter away the 24-hour news and its effects on your psyche, the divisiveness of politics, and the way hurt triggers more hurt in a vicious cycle, you can more clearly see what matters, at the end of it all. And then you know what you have to fight for.

Read the whole interview HERE.

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PHANTAPHO URSTIK 045 / KIRBY CUT-UPS / JACKIE KIRBY 2017

Jackie Kirby is cranking out work this fall – from her own creations to these terrific “Kirby Cut-Ups” (above, riffing on Jack Kirby and Stan Lee’s Fantastic Four) she posts something on her blog almost everyday. Follow her on Tumblr or Instagram (@musclegirl2666) for a good example of how to keep your hand moving, your mind sharp, and your comics-making practice on point. Check out more of her comics HERE.

Also be sure to read her article for Comics Workbook from this past summer, on Meter, Geometry and Comic Form!

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From House of Women by Sophie Goldstein

Here in Pittsburgh there will be a release party for House of Women by Sophie Goldstein on Saturday, Oct. 14th, at Copacetic Comics (7 PM- 9 PM). Event details are HERE.

You can see a preview from the book on Sophie’s website, and get a copy HERE.

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The Candy Store

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Suzy and Cecil – 10-13-2017 – by Gabriella Tito

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Cozytown – 10-13-2017 – by Juan Fernandez

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Joanie and Jordie – 10-13-2017 – by Caleb Orecchio

10/12/2017

Sally here with announcements and excitement from Adam Griffiths, Kyle Baker, Derick Jones, Ronald Wimberly, and more!

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Adam Griffiths

East City Art featured an official shout-out regarding Adam Griffiths‘ forthcoming graphic novel Washington White:

Science fiction meets the aftermath of the 1960s civil rights movement in Adam Griffiths’ forthcoming self-published graphic novel, Washington White, a pseudo techno-thriller about corporate greed, gentrification, and corruption set inside the District of Columbia.

Drawn in pencil with digital coloring, Griffiths has been working on the 600-page book for nine years; the first installment will be published as a 70-page newspaper tabloid. Written in the form of a spy thriller, the civil rights science-fiction plot and the mad-cap challenges that the story’s range of characters face make for a bombastic, silly, and disturbing experience.

If you’re in the D.C. area keep an eye out for this newspaper and perhaps catch Adam at CAB this year with copies of the comic. Adam gave Frank and I a peek at the manuscript of this work when he was here in January for a Comics Workbook Rowhouse Residency, and I can tell you right now, it exists in a parallel dimension. I am eagerly anticipating this one!

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Like Derick Jones says, sometimes you gotta just use brute force to dig into a comics project, or page, or panel…! Above is part of a page from his new minicomic Rhythm Man, written by Storme Smith and recently published by Buno (which was founded in 2016 by Ulises Farinas and Storme Smith). You can see more pages and learn some of Derick’s thoughts behind them over on his Instagram – @skudsink – and get a copy of the comic HERE.

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An exciting announcement that came out of the New York Comic Con last week was that the Milestone imprint is coming back to DC Comics. A number of characters will return to or be born in the world of Earth M, including Static Shock (above) drawn by Kyle Baker and written by Denys Cowan and Reginald Hudlin. Cheers of delight met the announcement, made by Kyle Baker himself, as the character is a fan favorite. I’m just excited or anything and everything drawn by Kyle Baker, so we all must keep an eye out in 2018 for Static Shock #1…!

Read the full report HERE on The Comics Beat.

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Ronald Wimberly is the featured artist at Superchief Gallery NY tonight (Oct. 12th 2017), so if you’re in the area you should go hang out with him from 7 PM – 12 AM.

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Suzy and Cecil – 10-12-2017 – by Sally Ingraham

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Cozytown – 10-12-2017 – by Juan Fernandez

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Joanie and Jordie – 10-12-2017 – by Caleb Orecchio

10/06/2017

Sally here with original artwork by some rad ladies, a bit more about CXC 2017, and other comics news.

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Mary Fleener, 2002

To pick up where I left off last week…at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, in Columbus, OH, or thereabouts…

In the midst of the CXC excitement last Friday afternoon, I found time to poke around in the Reading Room at the BICLM, and although my eyes strayed to huge Prince Valiant originals and Noel Sickles paintings, and I was distracted by the comments of Mimi Pond and Chris Ware and Derf Backderf as they circled the room simultaneously…I was able to zero in on some fantastic pages by several of the female cartoonists I write about here all the time (see the Mary Fleener page above).

Aline Kominsky (not yet -Crumb)

I believe many of the pages that I got to enjoy were from a recent donation, part of a 113-piece collection given to the BICLM this past summer by Scott Jonas. Above is one of Aline Kominsky-Crumb‘s earliest comics. Below are pages by Dori Seda, and Lynda Barry.

Dori Seda, 1986

Lynda Barry

Here’s the lovely Mimi Pond looking at pages in the Reading Room:

This is easily my favorite thing about Cartoon Crossroads Columbus – you have the chance to hang out with your peers and your heroes as you all share together the experience of looking at artwork by the cartoonists who came before us. Everyone exclaims. Everyone cries. It’s wonderful.

Then too you can learn from each other and share the things of your heart/hands. I attended Leslie Stein‘s watercolor demo and appreciated getting to see her process and listen to her stories. So did Signe Wilkinson, the Pulitzer-prize winning editorial cartoonist, and afterward in her turn Signe shared her experiences in the trenches and a whole other world of cartooning.

And then when my own number was called, on Saturday afternoon when our Comics Workbook-featured workshop leader Connor Willumsen was needed for a panel, I stood up and led a workshop on comics-making.

Making comics in isolation still has its place, but increasingly it seems that if we want to keep this community thriving, it’s got to really embrace its punk side. Share and share alike. Growth, education, everyone lending a hand in order to keep these plates spinning.

Cartoon Crossroads Columbus feels like a show that is constantly striving to embrace that spirit.

For more on the show please see Caleb’s beautifully exuberant Monday morning post, HERE, and Adam Griffiths’ detailed and thoughtful notes on his own experience, HERE.

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Connor Willumsen teaching at CXC 2017

I have to touch on Connor Willumsen’s Comics Workbook-hosted workshops at CXC, as that is where I spent much of my time on Sat./Sun. of the show. Connor had workshops almost every hour during the show those two days, and he was able to translate his thoughts on shoebox vs. “forensic” comics-making to audiences made up of all adults, as well as a lively group of kids during one workshop. Here’s a “forensic”-style comic by Zoey (which really is how most kids make comics):

I will be cutting together a highlights reel of Connor’s workshop, so keep an eye out. Many thanks to Tom Spurgeon and the other CXC organizers for providing us with the space to bring this transformative take on comics-making to Columbus, OH. Back again next year for more!

For the record, you can get a really unique package of Connor Willumsen books and zines right now from Comics Workbook – full details on the official “Anti-Gone Bundle” can be found HERE.

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News of Note from Elsewhere

  • This is cool (but also annoying in its way) – Marvel canceled The Black Panther series recently, but now Paste Magazine announces that Marvel has hired the incredible Nnedi Okorafor to write a new Black Panther series (for digital publication on Marvel and ComiXoligy) – full details HERE.
  • The Comics Journal has an interview with the unstoppable Tillie Waldentry to catch up with her, HERE.
  • Also, this came out while I was at CXC, so if you too missed it be sure to check out the interview with Sophie Foster-Dimino conducted by Annie Mok on tcj.com.
  • Check out Leela Corman‘s latest comic on The NibIt Only Masquerades as Entertainment.
  • Laurel Lynn Leake writes about Ariel Ries‘ webcomic Witchy, using the comic to comment on ideas of power and uselessness. Pretty interesting – read it HERE.
  • Hit your translation button to read this German review of Ulli Lust‘s new book (compared favorably to work by Chester Brown and Jason Lutes, although Ulli isn’t sure she agrees with the Lutes comparison!) – HERE.

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Suzy and Cecil – 10-6-2017 – by Sally Ingraham

 

10/05/2017

Adam Griffiths with an intro to his Cartoon Crossroads Columbus 2017 notes, Sam Ombiri on work by Jason Lee, and more cool items found in the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum!

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Adam Griffiths will be bringing us an extensive overview of Cartoon Crossroads Columbus 2017, starting later today. We offer a teaser now, in the form of his intro to what will be a 3-part series on the show.

A Comics Id is Tenderness : Notes on Cartoon Crossroads 2017

The first book I purchased on the expo floor at this year’s CXC was Kyle Baker’s.

Earlier this year, I had seen Baker speak at the Schomburg Center in New York about his book, Nat Turner, to a roomful of kids. At the time, I had been struck by his ability to communicate; his engagement with the audience seemed intrinsically connected to his unabashed and explicitly mercantile use of language. Odd, how this seemed to captivate both his panel members and the audience, young and old.

The persona of the salesman is an American motif – a motif that, under our current political climate, is being reduced to prideless status by the huckster in the Oval Office. When exactly did Americans need to believe that a good businessman’s success is dependent upon rhetorical violence and winner-take-all bullishness? I chose the term ‘A Comics Id is Tenderness’ for this write-up because Baker’s work revisited me several times during this expo. Over the course of the week, it became more and more clear to me that Baker has been a creator who has deftly championed the stories he feels are important to him alongside of his commercial work, who has kindly informed peers of his intentions, who brushes from shoulder the allegedly unforgivable concept of sacrificing creativity for financial gain.

Wow. Adam’s report, like the show as a whole, is terrific. Look for the rest of the Part 1 later today, and parts 2/3 over the weekend/next week!

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Sam Ombiri here: At SPX Jason Lee, whom I see here in Pittsburgh every now and then, kindly gave me an installment of a new series he’s doing called Pyramid Inch (which appears in Sporgo 2, above). The title creates the feeling of a sharp, piercing, and somewhat distantly fading force. The comic reeled me in – it’s an amazingly accommodating comic.

It’s a relief to read something like this. For a comic this rough, so to speak, to actually be this structured (and to have a narrative that flows with such ease,) to emerge in a setting like SPX, is great. Especially with my expectation of what might entail when I get a mini comic in a setting seemingly informed by a redundant sense of design. (Not just at SPX, but in a good amount of mini comics I see.)

These rough drawings also work specifically well for Pyramid Inch. I’m grateful that the drawings don’t oversell the decadence that’s implied when the story is something like this: a character living in L. A. working on some art installation for Vice. With a setting like that, it would seem to demand that the design of the cartooning be a bit more posh, a bit more trendy and poppy. It’s very good that it doesn’t, because – as is written on the cover “a millennial gothic” – the dark underbelly is more readily apparent, especially towards the end where the main character is having a conversation.

To clarify, this dark underbelly isn’t what excited me most about the comic. It feels like a perfect marriage in this case, where the art raises awareness to what would be otherwise hidden in a setting like the one in the story. This setting, by the way, is very alive, and I can understand why the characters are affected in the way they are. What’s more satisfying is that the art style isn’t announcing itself (not that it’d be a bad thing if it did). For the direction this comic is headed though, it’s what feels most needed – for the art style to not keep announcing itself and telling me to see the darkness through it.

While the conversation toward the end of the comic is magnificent on the author’s part, the two characters’ conversation did test my patience. I was thinking to myself, “My god how long is this conversation gonna go on for?” That’s not to say that the conversation didn’t serve any purpose, or that I didn’t enjoy being forced to sit through it. It did tug on my heartstrings quite a bit at a certain point. It just feels that if the scene was redrawn another way it could’ve yielded a horrible reading experience.

What I’m saying is that there are drawings I’ve seen Jason do that are way better than what’s drawn here in this comic, but evidently he didn’t make the comic based on the best drawings he could do – he prioritized the story first, and it yields much better results. It’s a really comfortable comic to read through, but the drawings don’t make it too comfortable to the point where it becomes unbearable to read.

It’s also a really funny book. In fact it’s so funny that it doesn’t have to shove a gag down my throat every other panel, to remind me how funny it can be, at the expense of the story.

Jason has been putting these comics out as Laura Pallmall, which is a pretty funny name in the most subtle way, and it’s emblematic of the humor in the comic. It’s also emblematic of the tone too – by replacing Palmer with Pallmall it simultaneously evokes a gothic feeling, and the mall part speaks to the idea of a valley girl, but it’s Laura Palmer who is a “valley girl”.

Jason sets this tone by saying this “valley girl” version of Laura Palmer wrote this book – this book with fantastic drawings, sequences, dialogue, and a well told story. – Sam Ombiri

Get a copy of this comic HERE.

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Sally here – above is a comic I found at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum last weekend during CXC – it was part of the Tales From the Vault: 40 Years/ 40 Stories exhibit, which pulls especially interesting, groundbreaking, or controversial comics from a 250 year span of items in the museum’s collection.

The comic above is a Luther strip, by Brumsic Brandon Jr., from 1973. Luther was launched the year after Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated (1969), and was one of the first nationally syndicated comic strips made by an African American creator that featured a black main character. The strip ran until 1986.

Here’s a page of Krazy Kat, by the wondrous George Herriman, from 1943, also on view at the BICLM:

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Suzy and Cecil – 10-5-2017 – by Gabriella Tito

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Joanie and Jordie- 10-5-2017 – by Caleb Orecchio

 

09/29/2017

Sally here with Edwina Dumm, Tove Jansson, Sophia Foster-Dimino, Carol Tyler, and plenty more…!

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Once again I am writing from on the road, as the Comics Workbook team is in Columbus, OH, for Cartoon Crossroads Columbus. I really enjoyed this show last year, and look forward to a rewarding and profitable venture again this year.

We pulled into Columbus around 2 PM yesterday and rushed straight to the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum to catch Kevin Huizenga‘s “Talk and Teach” (above). He dug into the ideas about deep time in his series Ganges. It was a nice way to kick off the show.

Afterward I went to the BICLM gallery to check out the two shows on display. One is a history of the BICLM itself, detailing the founding acquisitions and how they came about. The other exhibition pulls unique comics from the collection and shares the stories behind them – whether they were groundbreaking strips, or controversial, or by an innovative creator. Everything caught my eye, each comic or strip was totally fascinating and a few brought me to tears (we’re talking original Peanuts strips here, pencil smudges and all).

I’ll just share one thing with you today (all stops will be pulled next week!) I was delighted to find about 5 of Edwina Dumm‘s editorial cartoons on display (pictured below). She was the first woman to work full-time as an editorial cartoonist in the US. Her cartoons ran from Dec. 1916 to July 1917 in the Columbus Monitor. The newspaper folded, and she moved to New York City where she went on to create the nationally syndicated strip Cap Stubbs and Tippie, which ran for 60 years.

An early version of Tippie seems to appear in the comic below – the dog sitting next to the money bag. Tippie morphed into a more terrier-like dog later in the strip, but at the beginning he looked quite a lot like that odd little fellow!

This second strip delighted me due to the glorious “before” picture hanging on the wall. Poor little NEWS!

Okay, I can’t resist, here’s one more thing – a drawing by Hal Foster (of Prince Valiant fame) that he made as a child (below). The BICLM has a bunch of his sketchbooks from 1901-1904, and as any great future cartoonist should, he busied himself copying the comics he enjoyed as well as coming up with his own.

Hilarious.

Today I am zipping out the hotel door to make it back over to the BICLM by 10 AM to catch Leslie Stein talk watercolor techniques, and then hear Signe Wilkinson review her career (she’s the first female Pulitzer prize-winning editorial cartoonist), and Jamaica Dyer discuss autobio comics. The reading room at the BICLM will be full of items from the archive picked out to be displayed by some of the CXC special guests, and tours of the archives themselves will be happening every hour. Oh yes, and around 3 PM the entire Comics Workbook crew at the show will be sure to attend the keynote spotlight on Chris Ware. PHEW! What a day.

Obviously there will be plenty more to report on in the next few days – follow CW on Instagram (@comicsworkbook) and Frank Santoro (@santoro.frank) and my own Instagram feed (@sally_ingraham) for “live” updates. Once again, check out the full CXC schedule of events HERE.

For the moment, however, I’ll turn my eyes to other parts of the world.

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There’s a lovely little article in The Guardian about Tove Jansson and the female characters that populate the world of the Moomins, which were often based on the women in Tove’s own life – her mother, friends, and lovers. She never spoke of herself as a feminist, but she was one in the truest sense.

In part thanks to the support of these women and the characters they inspired, Tove’s entire life was filled with bold decisions: selling satirical cartoons mocking Hitler; opposing war; choosing not to marry or have children; and turning down Walt Disney’s offer to buy the Moomin brand. She was the writer, illustrator, designer and controlled the business side of her creation, not trusting anyone else to do it justice. “She wasn’t willing to compromise on her beliefs,” says Sophia. “Her work says: ‘This is me. This is who I am. Take it or leave it.’ ” 

Read the whole article HERE.

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Sophia Foster-Dimino‘s Sex Fantasy (Koyama Press, Sept. 2017) was reviewed on Publishers Weekly.

“Each tale is intimate and mysterious, the fantasy of the title often a denial of the harmful effects of desire. With her deceptively simple line, Foster-Dimino has captured deep, dark places where the conscious mind rarely goes.”

Read the whole review HERE.

Get a copy of Sex Fantasy HERE.

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Carol Tyler, ladies and gents.

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Okay, what else – let’s see here….

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The fall semester of thee Santoro Correspondence Course for Comic Book Makers starts October 1st 2017. 8 weeks of comics instruction that will bang your practice into shape – 500 bux. Full details about the course and how to apply can be found HERE.

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Frank Santoro made a comic book about his parents and now he needs help making a handbound copy of the book for each of them. It’s a good story. Check out the Indiegogo campaign HERE – or if you want to contribute via PayPal, look at the campaign HERE.

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Suzy and Cecil – 9-29-2017 – by Gabriella Tito

09/28/2017

Sam Ombiri takes a look at the anthology Warmer, and Sally brings a CXC events update and other comics and news.

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Sam Ombiri here: When I was at SPX I bought a copy of Warmer from Madeleine Witt and Andrew White. A Lot of the time whenever I pick up an anthology, the anthology seems to be having an identity crisis. It is really trying to convince me that it’s something it’s not, as if the anthology is insecure about the area it occupies. If not insecure, then it’s probably going to be insular. This insecurity I project onto the anthologies I pick up comes from the extreme fear of mediocrity that most anthologies suffer from. Whenever someone is really desperate to surpass this mediocrity, they don’t have to go too far to do so. This desperation and insecurity really turns me off as the reader, and I’d rather just read the comics without considering them in an anthology altogether.

My first and lasting impression of Warmer was that it didn’t suffer from any of that! “Complacency” is the last word I’d use to describe the anthology – especially with the subject matter being tackled (climate change). It doesn’t feel like it’s “tackling an issue” as much as remaining in this space where we’re humans who are experiencing this deterioration in ourselves. Meanwhile, so is the planet, and this can be seen in things we do that are altogether unrelated to what we might do to perpetuate the pollution of the environment.

There’s no complacency in the book, just people trying to fight against that urge to be complacent both in their art and in their lives. Whenever something is contrived, which is rare in the book, it doesn’t work against the anthology because the following strip will have a good response to it. This shows the strength in numbers that can come out of an anthology, beyond having an easy way to access a variety of work – the strip before and after can strengthen the work. Some of these comics I wouldn’t read or engage with properly, if I wasn’t reading them in Warmer.

For example, the first two strips are immensely enticing. They’re followed by this strip that seems out of place. The author of this strip (William Cardini) isn’t in any rush to make a connection between the style being utilized and the words being utilized. I just found myself, as a reader, really wanting that connection. The strip also confused me tonally because of this whole vibe I had been set up for from the first and second strip (which are by Caitlin Skaalrud and Tor Brant respectively). The second strip had a more familiar looking 4 panel structure that suggested a punchline would be waiting for me at the fourth panel, but instead it beautifully invoke a longing for things to set right. Much like the first strip. Then on the third strip I get this goofy looking face, seemingly drawn by someone who I mistakenly imagine to be a gag cartoonist. I mistakenly read the tongue sticking out of the character drawn as a character mocking me for having this other expectation. Then I read more and discovered that while doing poetry comics, one can feel the inclination to jump into expression sooner than warranted, but it’s not the case at all with this book. The third strip was actually fantastic and it speaks to both the contributors of this anthology and the curation of Madeleine and Andrew.

In this whole book, the images and words further each other really well, and it’s wonderfully curated to accommodate the reader in the best way from beginning to the end. – Sam Ombiri

Keep an eye out for this anthology in the next few weeks – Andrew and Madeleine are fulfilling the Kickstarter and sold out of the copies they brought to SPX a few weeks ago! However, Andrew says Warmer will be for sale online asap – so stay tuned.

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Sally here! Comics Workbook and Connor Willumsen are coming to Cartoon Crossroads Columbus this weekend (Sept. 28-Oct. 1st)!

Workshops with Connor will be almost every hour on Saturday and Sunday.

The educational workshops hosted by Pittsburgh’s Comics Workbook focus on visual theory applied in practical fashion to any kind of comics making a cartoonist can imagine and can benefit any way a student of the form might wish to improve. This year’s special host is the remarkable visual talent Connor Willumsen, with guest-star teachers dropping in and out throughout the weekend. Walk-ins welcome.

Full schedule can be found HERE!

Connor teaching earlier this month during SPX 2017

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Pittsburgh Pirates baseball game, as seen by Connor Willumsen – Sept. 26th 2017

Just had to share the above drawing, made by Connor Willumsen during his weeklong stay in Pittsburgh between SPX and touring for Koyama Press, and his upcoming stint at CXC. For the baseball fans out there.

Check out Connor’s new book from Koyama Press – the incredible Anti-Gone, which you can get a copy of HERE.

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from Foie Gras issue #1 by Edie Fake

Jacob Khepler, “the publisher of Mothers News“, has started a new blog. So far he’s written about the zine shown above by Edie Fake, Family Circus, and books by Pushkin and Rimboud – something for everyone! Check out 100% Publishing HERE and be sure to bookmark it so you can keep up with one of the finest writers around.

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The fall semester of thee Santoro Correspondence Course for Comic Book Makers starts October 1st 2017. 8 weeks of comics instruction that will bang your practice into shape – 500 bux. Full details about the course and how to apply can be found HERE.

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Frank Santoro made a comic book about his parents and now he needs help making a handbound copy of the book for each of them. It’s a good story. Check out the Indiegogo campaign HERE – or if you want to contribute via PayPal, look at the campaign HERE.

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Suzy and Cecil – 9-28-2017 – by Sally Ingraham

09/22/2017

Sally here with Jenny Zervakis (in real life!), a big announcement from Caitlin McGurk, and other comics and news of note.

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Jenny Zervakis and I (Sally Ingraham) at SPX 2017

One of the highlights of going to the Small Press Expo last weekend in Bethesda, MD, was getting to meet Jenny Zervakis (above). Her comics are my favorite discovery of the past year, and I have been harassing everyone I know into getting The Complete Strange Growths, the collection of her work published by John Porcellino and Spit & a Half Distro. I wrote about this collection back in June (read the review HERE) and more recently about Strange Growths #14 (HERE).

Buzzing around SPX in the last hour of the last day, after having spent most of my time running workshops for Comics Workbook, it was a delight to catch sight of 3 more issues of Strange Growths on the corner of a table, and a thrilling surprise to see that Jenny herself was standing behind them.

I burbled something about how much I liked her comics, and how much I appreciated that they were about her own impressions of the world and what she saw as important or strange or beautiful, told with poetry and humor. She said her comics had been turned down a lot, and not published in comics anthologies in the 90’s because they lacked a focus on “women’s issues”. That’s exactly what I like about them – they speak of her as a person and an artist, and not “just” as a woman.

The new (to me) issues pictured above round out my collection of the “complete” Strange Growths, compiling stories and dreams and poems from 2002-2013. They are excellent!

You can get copies of Jenny’s work from Spit & a Half Distro, HERE, or if you’re at Cartoon Crossroads Columbus next weekend stop by the Spit & a Half Distro table.

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Above is a clip from one of the panels at SPX, featuring November Garcia (speaking), and Marc Sobel (moderating), Keith Knight, Jennifer Hayden, and Glynnis Fawkes. The panel was on autobio comics, and was just one part of a great lineup of programming that was heavily dominated by female makers. Many kudos to the organizers who made this happen (especially Rob Clough!)

Another panel featuring Luke Howard, Tyler Cohen, Summer Pierre, and Keiler Roberts

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Sketches by Edwina Dumm

The greatest bit of news I came across last week is this: Caitlin McGurk (associate curator of The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum) has been tapped to write the text for IDW’s upcoming Library Of American Comics Essentials collection of Edwina Dumm‘s Cap Stubbs and Tippie comic strip (coming out in 2018)! I knew that Caitlin had been pouring over the Edwina Dumm items in the BICLM collection throughout the summer, and I guess this is why. She is “thrilled” about the project.

On IDW’s The Library of American Comics blog Bruce Canwell wrote in the official announcement:

You see, over the span of time we’ve intermittently been working on bringing Cap Stubbs to you, we’ve met one particular Edwina fan, a highly-respected comics historian, who knows more about Edwina than I do and is even more enthusiastic about writing this Introduction than I am (and that’s saying something!). Which is why I’m pleased as the well-known punch to tell you that Caitlin McGurk, associate curator of The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, will be your guide on this particular tour of Edwina’s fine comics creations. Since one of our overarching goals is to provide you with the best information available for this, and for every book we release, I’m more than willing to yield this particular floor to Caitlin.

Bruce Canwell and Dean Mullaney have had this project in mind for over a decade, and it’ll be the first of at least two projects involving the work of Edwina Dumm. You can read more about the book HERE. Congratulations to Caitlin for getting to be involved in bringing more of Edwina Dumm’s work to the general public. I personally can not wait for this book!

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Chicken Noodle Soup

  • Heidi MacDonald shares her SPX 2017 report on The Comics Beat – The Year of Getting Woke.
  • There’s a new comic by Ulli Lust up on her site, part of her series in the magazine Exberliner – read it HERE.
  • Cathy G. Johnson recently published her graduate thesis – Developing the Cartooning Mind: The History, Theory, Benefit and Practice of Comic Books in Visual Arts Education – and she has shared some of it on her website, with the option to read it all via email request. Check it out HERE.
  • Robert Kirby reviews Hannah K. Lee‘s Language Barrier on The Comics Journalread it HERE.
  • The A. V. Club has an exclusive preview of Language Barrier by Hannah K. Lee available HERE.
  • Smash Pages interviews Glynnis Fawkes, and talks about her Greek DiaryHERE.
  • Kim O’Connor reviews Simon Hanselmann’s Portrait.
  • There’s a new comic up on Mutha MagazineThe Enormity of the Everydayness by Sophia Wiedeman Glock.
  • Sophie Yanow is serializing her new comic on Patreon – a 192-page book that is already thumb-nailed. She just needs a few cheerleaders and a bit of rent money to get it done. Check it out HERE.
  • Whit Taylor was a recent guest editor for the Illustrated PEN, and chose to excerpt Ben Passmore’s Your Black Friend, and Robyn Smith’s The Saddest Angriest Black Girl in Town – read them both HERE, as well as Whit’s commentary. Whit also reviewed Katie Skelly’s My Pretty Vampire, and Keiler Roberts’ Sunburning over on Roar.
  • The Guardian features Tillie Walden and talks about her new comic SpinningHERE.

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Suzy and Cecil – 9-22-2017 – by Gabriella Tito

 

09/21/2017

Sally here with upcoming local and regional comics events that you don’t want to miss!

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This evening in Pittsburgh, Connor Willumsen, Noel Freibert, and Patrick Kyle will be reading and signing their new books at Copacetic Comics – 6-8PM. Details HERE.

Catch the guys tomorrow in Columbus, OH, at Kafe Kerouac!

Next weekend you can find Connor Willumsen at Cartoon Crossroads Columbus as a special guest and the featured Comics Workbook workshop leader. Here’s the complete programming schedule for the show. Even though I am fresh off of a fantastic trip to the Small Press Expo, I am already raring to go for CXC, which blew me away last year with its programming designed especially for cartoonists.

Connor leading a recent workshop at SPX 2017

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Also in Pittsburgh, the 7th annual Pittsburgh Zine Fair is this Sunday, Sept. 24th 2017. 2-8PM. Full details HERE.

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Also, also – coming right up, PaperJazz Small Press Festival. Comics Workbook will be in Ohio for Cartoon Crossroads Columbus, but one of these years I’m going to make the tough choice and head to Bushwick instead…! Check out the show HERE and go to it if you’re in the area.

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The fall semester of thee Santoro Correspondence Course for Comic Book Makers starts October 1st 2017. 8 weeks of comics instruction that will bang your practice into shape – 500 bux. Full details about the course and how to apply can be found HERE.

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Suzy and Cecil – 9-21-2017 – by Sally Ingraham