04/20/2018

Sally Ingraham here with work and news from Anya Davidson, Ramona Fradon, Gabriella Tito, and many more!

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Anya Davidson, for The FADER‘s spring issue

Leah Mandel speaks to Anya Davidson about her work and the comic she made for The FADER – part of a comics feature in the spring issue where six cartoonists were asked to imagine a “future earth”.

Anya’s piece is like trading cards for the 2045 election, and she’s envisioned a race between a sea creature, the general of the Human’s Resistance Army, a cryogenics CEO, his kill-bot underling, a rat-human hybrid, and a Bernie Sanders-like Professor Roland Fredericks, Leader of the Democratic Republic of New Hampshire. Beauregard Trask, CEO of Traskorp Cryogenics, is the Republican nominee. His tagline? “Life begins after death.” All in all, not too far off.

Anya is asked why she made a one-pager comic that isn’t necessarily narrative driven. Her answer:

I feel like some people are marathon runners, some are sprinters, and some are in between. As a cartoonist, I’m a marathonist. My normal format when I’m working on books, left to my own devices, is making longform works. When I’m asked to do shorter form work, for me the idea of putting a narrative on a single page is like, How would I even…? I love writing long dialogue. I’m kind of a maximalist, so the idea of trying to fit any kind of a narrative in that small of a space — I know it’s possible and there are people who do it beautifully — but how would I fit a story on a single page?

Anya is working on a new book for Breakdown Press and doing her weekly podcast – Mindkiller – plus playing out more often with her band Lilac. She’s busy! Read more about what she’s up to and her thoughts about the future HERE.

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Ramona Fradon at Big Apple Con 2018 – photo by James Romberger

James Romberger has a con report for Big Apple Con at The Comics Beat – he snapped a pic of Ramon Fradon and scribbled this info about her:

Fradon deserves a lot of appreciation for the quality of her work and as perhaps the only female artist to rise to prominence at DC Comics in the Golden Age up through the Silver Age and beyond. She has always drawn with great fluidity and dynamism. Her beloved works include a long run on Aquaman and her co-creation, the incredibly bizarre Metamorpho and later in the seventies on Plastic Man, Super Friends and a series of moody, exceptionally expressive stories for DC horror titles. So she surely saw it all in her career, and yet she persevered in comics, eventually taking over the Brenda Starr daily/Sunday strip from 1980 to 1995.

James Romberger’s other big discovery at the con was of particular interest to me, and it is unrelated to women in comics – HOWEVER, Sy Barry (pictured above) was a guest at the con, and he turns out to be the mysterious uncredited artist behind the famous Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story comic (which I wrote about recently)…!

Now, the truth is at last revealed. Barry says that he was given the job by the Capp Studio, which was run by Li’l Abner cartoonist Al Capp’s brother, Elliot Caplin. Barry stated that his name had been on the cover of the very first edition of the MLK comic, but for later printings his signature was replaced by a text box.

Read more about this and the rest of the Big Apple Con HERE.

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Gabriella Tito has a new comic out called Heartsick. You can get a copy by emailing her – the info is above! Here’s a look inside.

Gabriella Tito is a Floridian cartoonist and an alumni of the Santoro Correspondence Course for Comic Book Makers. She has completed two residencies in Pittsburgh at the Comics Workbook Rowhouse Residency, and has been co-creating the Suzy & Cecil comic strip with me (Sally Ingraham) for over a year. Keep up with her HERE and be sure to grab a copy of this rad new comic!

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While We’re on the Subject

  •  Françoise Mouly writes about Eleanor DavisWhy Art? for The New Yorkerread the review HERE.
  • Keren Katz was a recent guest on the Process Party podcast – listen HERE.
  • The Doug Wright Award nominations have been announced – among the nominees for Best Book are GG, for I’m Not There (Koyama Press), and Connor Willumsen, for Anti-Gone (Koyama Press). More details HERE.
  • Check out Jessica Campbell’s new gallery show, Who Dis?, which features her “carpet paintings” – plus a radio interview on Chicago’s WDCB 90.9 FM – HERE.
  • The Comics Journal has a feature piece on German cartoonist Olivia Vieweg. Her comic Endzeit was recently released in Germany, and is being serialized in English HERE on the web. Read about her comics and film projects HERE at tcj.com.
  • Heidi MacDonald shares thoughts on her participation on a recent comics projectThe 100 Pages that Shaped Comics list that Abraham Riesman initiated for Vulture. If you haven’t seen the list yet, it’s some good weekend reading – HERE.

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Suzy and Cecil – 4-20-2018 – by Gabriella Tito

 

04/13/2018

Sally Ingraham here with Nancy and her new artist, Olivia Jaimes, plus many more “Inking Women”!

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Nancy, as drawn by Olivia Jaimes

The Washington Post reported earlier this week that for the first time in 85 years, the comic strip Nancy will be drawn by a woman! Olivia Jaimes takes on the legacy, and the future of the strip.

“Nancy has been my favorite sassy grouch for a long time,” Jaimes says in a syndicate statement. “I’m excited to be sassy and grouchy through her voice instead of just mine, and I can complain to the whole world about things that bother me instead of just my friends and family.”

Read the rest of the Washington Post story HERE.

In a new story from yesterday, the Washington Post digs in deeper, covering the origins and history of Nancy, why Roz Chast loves it, and what Olivia Jaimes brings to this new iteration of it – along with a look at her first strip, which was published Monday.

The internet continues to be “mums the word” on who Olivia Jaimes really is (the name is a psyeudonym) and what the webcomics that so impressed her new syndicate were… Heidi MacDonald and Mike Peterson have both theorized that her webcomic may have been a bit too “naughty” to sit in company with Nancy. We shall see where all this leads.

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Here’s a very worthy addition to the comic historian’s bookshelf. As much as I’ve been attempting to thoroughly familiarize myself with female cartoonists working in America, the tradition of women working in comics in the UK is just as lengthy and rich – and here’s the proof. In fact, editors Nicola Streeten and Cath Tate state that women have been making comics in England since 1760…! Britain’s first true comic character, Ally Slopper, was created by a woman named Marie Duval. I have bumped into info about Marie Duval before, and wrote about her HERE, but this was a new one to me:

In 1920, Mary Tourtel created Rupert Bear for the Daily Express, and nearly a hundred years later her character is still going strong.

A Rupert Bear comic from later in the comic’s history – drawn by Alfred Bestall- more about this comic HERE.

Mary Tourtel wrote and drew Rupert stories for 15 years, before her eyesight began to fail and Punch cartoonist Alfred Bestall took it over. There’s a bit more about Mary Tourtel HERE.

There is more info on The Inking Women HERE on the publisher’s website, as well as in this article. This is definitely a book I need to track down in person, however – I’ll get on that ASAP!

Incidentally, The Inking Women editor Nicola Streeten is one of the founders of Laydeez Do Comics, a woman led comics forum in the UK (with branches increasingly worldwide) . Read about the project HERE.

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Hazel Newlevant and Julia Gfrörer at MoCCA 2018

Chris Anthony Diaz shares a terrific photo journal of MoCCA 2018 for Comics Workbook – check it out HERE!

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Weekend Snacks

  • Leela Corman has a new comic up on Tablet Magazine about a visit to Buchenwald which left her feeling defiantly alive – read it HERE.
  • Hillary Brown looks at Penelope Bagieu’s Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the Worldfor Paste Magazine.
  • Jessica Campbell takes on the tricky topic of “when your friend becomes a famous artist” – for Hyperallergic.
  • Do you hate Cathy (the comic strip by Cathy Guisewite)? If so, you are far from alone, but Juliet Kahn wants you to question why you hate it/her and asks you to consider why Cathy is perhaps one of the more important comic strips of last few decades. HERE on The Comics Journal.
  • While you’re on the Journal, check out Alejandra Gutiérrez‘s A Cartoonist’s Diary which has been going live this week and will be wrapping up today.
  • Hazlitt has an interview with Anna Haifisch about her new comic Von Spatz and other weirdness – HERE.

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Joanie and Jordie – 4-13-2018 – by Caleb Orecchio

04/06/2018

Sally here with words and images from Lynda Barry, Hilda Terry, Jillian Tamaki and Eleanor Davis, and Huda Fahmy – plus much more!

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Lynda Barry

The National Cartoonists Society announced the finalists for its annual Reuben Award for outstanding cartoonist of the year. Lynda Barry is once again on the list of 5 finalists, as well as Hilary B. Price (and Glen Kean, Stephan Pastis, and Mark Tatulli.) The Washington Post has more details HERE. Lynda Barry’s comments regarding the nomination are great:

“My personal reaction as a cartoonist is a feeling-combo of honored, giddy and delighted,” Barry says of the Reuben nomination. “My deeper reaction as a professor … is much more than that. Showing people how to make comics and tell their stories by drawing and writing things by hand on paper in a way that is nondigital, non-searchable, non-‘scrapeable’ or monetizable now feels like something of a revolutionary act. Being a cartoonist and being recognized as a cartoonist means more to me now than it ever has.

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Teena by Hilda Terry

Speaking of the National Cartoonists Society, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund wrote about some of the first women to be recognized by the Society. Hilda Terry was the first women to be nominated to join (by her husband, Gregory D’Alessio) in 1950, but she had to fight a fair amount of push back from the organization, which was historically all men. Discovering nothing in the rules that prevented women from joining, Terry wrote a biting letter which demanded that the Society either change its name to “National MEN Cartoonists Society”, or admit women. With the support of folks like Milton Caniff and Al Capp, Terry was eventually recognized by the Society, along with Edwina Dumm, and Barbara Shermund. Terry quickly set about nominating other women and years later won an award for animation from the Society.

Read Terry’s excellent letter in defense of her admittance, and see examples of all three cartoonists work HERE.

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From Why Art? by Eleanor Davis

Jillian Tamaki sat down via DM with Eleanor Davis (for The Comics Journal) and discussed Davis’ most recent book, Why Art?, her activism, her current project (a new 100+ page graphic novel!!), and a lot more. I found one part of the interview particularly interesting, and it contributed to the ongoing conversation in my head about the different way that women navigate life and the creative process:

Tamaki: I realized that we were doing that very stereotypical “woman” thing of praising each others work while criticizing our own haha. If we really want to be taken seriously we should be icy ice queens who just pontificate and never explain shit or express any doubt!

Davis: Oh my gosh, my mom said a very interesting thing. [I had just met Eleanor’s parents at a book festival in Arizona. -JT] When talking about meeting you, she said “It’s so nice that you and Jillian can be friends while at the same time you’re competitors.” But it’s never occurred to me that we could be competitors! I aspire to keep up with you artistically, but as far as “success” goes, mostly I think of it being you and me and Sophia [Foster-Dimino] & Gabrielle [Bell] and all the other women against the world, against history, against this raging current that’s pummeling all of us.

Oh goodness, and when you cite people like that it’s like, their individual things are so rich that it’s like comparing… planets. I am capable of really horrible jealousy but that’s not how it manifests, anyway.

Haha me too – I think I’m just in a mood right now, like, “competitive? me? never!” when really I’m violently competitive in a lot of ways. But luckily with the women artists who I think of as my crew (peers? contemporaries?), I’ve narcissistically chosen to consider y’alls achievements and success as also being my own somehow.

Read the rest of the conversation HERE.

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Web comics are a fascinating platform for sharing stories, making connections, and finding ways to relate to one another. For Huda Fahmy, her Instagram comic – Yes, I’m Hot in This – is a way to deal with the misconceptions she faces on a daily basis as a woman who wears a hijab. The Huffington Post reports:

American Muslim women who wear the hijab often experience bigotry and hate. It’s important to tell their stories…

“Muslim women don’t often get a platform to tell our stories or share the silly ― sometimes stressful ― idiosyncrasies of our day-to-day lives,”  [Fahmy] said.

Figuring it out as she goes, Fahmy has been drawing and posting her comic for a year now and has gained thousands of followers, who revel in her humorous look at her “mundane yet meaningful” life. Read more about Huda Fahmy HEREand follow her on Instagram.

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Announcing the Spring Semester of thee Santoro Correspondence Course for Comic Book Makers

8 weeks! $500 bux! 10 spots available!

Rolling start date because of spring break – start NOW!

Deadline to apply is April 12th.

Read all about the course HERE and email santoroschool@gmail.com for more details or to apply.

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Suzy and Cecil – 4-6-2018 – by Gabriella Tito

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Joanie and Jordie – 4-6-2018 – by Caleb Orecchio

04/05/2018

Sally here with “Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story”, plus comics by Morrie Turner, Brumsic Brandon Jr., and Ted Shearer! 

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Yesterday we marked the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., and PREVIEWSworld took the opportunity to share a particularly important comic – Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story(above).

In the late 1950s, as the Civil Rights Movement was gaining strength throughout the country, the peace organization The Fellowship of Reconciliation saw the need to promote their philosophy of nonviolent resistance to as many people as possible. To accomplish this, they used one of the most accessible formats of the day – the comic book – to tell the story of the successful bus boycotts by African Americans in Montgomery, Alabama, and the man who helped inspire them.

Originally handed out in churches and nonviolence workshops, this comic was a powerful inspiration to many. You can read the whole thing HERE.

The creation of the comic is a pretty interesting story in itself. Originally conceived by a man who didn’t allow his own kids to read comics – Alfred Hassler – it was meant to help convey the ideas of the Civil Rights Movement to the semiliterate. The comic soon became something much greater than anyone would have guessed. You can read a very thorough examination of it’s history and influence HERE. It is interesting to note that the identity of the artist who drew the comic has been entirely lost.

Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story helped inspire John Lewis to write the award winning March trilogy, with Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell. Check out that comic HERE.

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Morrie Turner, creator of Wee Pals

Wee Pals

There were a couple of cartoonists who found their work in much greater demand immediately following the death of Martin Luther King Jr. – a bittersweet turn of events, for sure.

Morrie Turner had a strip called Wee Pals (above), which was syndicated an 4-5 papers in the mid-60’s. It was considered “subversive” because it featured a diverse cast of childhood playmates. He had in fact been encouraged by his friend Charles Schulz to create the strip, after Turner had complained about the lack of black characters in newspaper comics. When Martin Luther King Jr. died, in short order nearly 100 papers picked up his strip. Morrie Turner continued to draw the strip well into his 80’s. You can read more about him HERE.

Luther

Brumsic Brandon Jr.‘s strip Luther was also picked up by numerous papers in the late 60’s, remaining in syndication for two decades. It’s cast of characters were from a poor neighborhood and were a bit more “streetwise” than Morrie Turner’s. Read more about Brumsic Brandon Jr. HERE.

I’ve encountered Wee Pals and Luther before, but another comic by a black creator that was in newspapers at the time was new to me. Ted Shearer‘s Quincy appeared in 1970. He had made a variety of strips over the years, aimed at an adult audience, and they had appeared in numerous publications. Before Quincy took off, Shearer was working in an ad agency, but with the success of the strip – which, like Turner’s and Brandon’s comics, featured black kids commenting on life as they experienced it – he was able to focus on Quincy exclusively. He enjoyed syndication for 16 years. I’d really like to find the collection that was published in 1972, but for now you can see a selection of strips that kind souls have scanned and shared on the web HERE.

Read more about Ted Shearer HERE.

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Announcing the Spring Semester of thee Santoro Correspondence Course for Comic Book Makers

8 weeks! $500 bux! 10 spots available!

Rolling start date because of spring break – start NOW!

Deadline to apply is April 12th.

Read all about the course HERE and email santoroschool@gmail.com for more details or to apply.

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Joanie and Jordie – 4-5-2018 – by Caleb Orecchio

03/30/2018

Sally Ingraham here with work and wisdom from Kriota Willberg, Nicole Hollander, Deb Lucke, and many more!

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from Kriota Willberg’s Draw Stronger

Kriota Willberg calls Draw Stronger (coming out in April 2018) the comic she was “born to make”. She addresses a chronic problem she has witnessed among cartoonists and artists and creatives of all sorts – living with pain. Publishers Weekly had a great chat with her recently, and she began by saying:

In the US we have a number of familiar clichés: “No pain, no gain.” “You must suffer for your art.” “If it doesn’t hurt, it’s not working.” There’s a stereotype: artists suffer in literature and film—it’s sexy! Who wants to watch a movie about a genius artist who gets enough rest, meets their deadlines, never yells at their spouse or kids, makes incredible pain free art, and dies after a fulfilling happy career?

Wrist braces, calluses, poisoning from media (ink/paint), and lack of sleep are interpreted by many to mean that we are suffering in order to make great comics. That’s how it’s done! This is true for acting, dancing, sports, banking, science, everything. Our culture tells us that you love your discipline more (regardless of talent) if you prove through suffering that you are working harder than anyone else.

Obviously, deadlines, day jobs, and life get in the way of healthy work/rest schedules. However, the comics community is beginning to be supportive of injured artists and more aware of healthy drawing practices. Protecting a lifetime of drawing is becoming more important than the next deadline.

Kriota Willberg is the champion we need right now, determined to get this point across to legions of struggling (and not in the glamorous way) artists. Read the rest of the interview at Publishers Weekly HERE.

Over on The Comics Beat Kriota was a guest columnist recently, and shared a lengthy interview with Nate Piekos. The topic is Nate’s life-changing injury to hand/shoulder/neck which was caused by his work as a professional letterer for numerous comics publishers. Kriota calls his experience “nightmarish but hopeful”. Read about it HERE.

Be smart! Pick up Kriota’s book when it comes out, or catch one of her excellent workshops at a comics expo near you. (Pittsburgh cartoonists, Kriota will be here in June offering her workshop – keep an eye out for more details soon!)

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Nicole Hollander talks about her new book in the video above – it is called We Ate Wonder Bread, and is a memoir of her childhood in Chicago. Nicole Hollander is the creator of the comic strip Sylvia, which has been in syndication since 1981 (you can read archival strips and an occasional new one HERE).

Sylvia – March 19th 2018 – Nicole Hollander

Using Sylvia to speak her mind over the years, Nicole Hollander is an important voice and an interesting cartoonist. There’s a short but powerful interview with her on Publishers Weekly where she talks about the difference between creating a political daily comic strip, and a memoir. She also talks about what it meant to be a feminist cartoonist in the 1970’s.

I didn’t even know my career was impossible. We had features editors who were women but it meant nothing. The approval came from men sitting in an office saying thumbs up or thumbs down. There were what, three or four slots? Early women cartoonists like Brenda Starr were very feminine. Lynda Barry had a strong following, but only in alternative papers. With Sylvia, readers were always writing in complaining, saying they were “disgusted their daughter would have to read about disgusting things like having your period.” But I got away with a lot. There was so much independence in what I did.

Read the rest of the interview HERE.

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from Edward Gorey’s Art Collection by Deb Lucke

The chance to check out Edward Gorey’s Art Collection, as depicted by cartoonist Deb Lucke, was pretty much everything I could have asked for today. See the whole thing at The New YorkerHERE.

Deb Lucke is known for her series for kids, The Lunch Witch – but I really like the more incidental comics that she makes. Here’s another one about a museum visit, this time to the MOMA, from February of 2018 – check it out on The Rumpus.

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Weekend Snacks

  • Just in time for Passover, Liana Finck shares her take on the story of Moses and The Burning Bush, in The Tough Customeron Tablet.
  • The New York Times Book Review has added two comics and graphic novel columnists – the excellent Hillary Chute and Ed Park. The Book Review will start running their column in April. Read more about it HERE.
  • Kelly Kincaid draws a hilarious webcomic called Jetlagged Comic, which is about her life as a flight attendant. Huffpost shares 25 of her best comics, and the story behind how she started making them.
  • Whit Taylor presents Leslie Stein’s Present this week on Illustrated PENcheck it out HERE.
  • SyFy Wire chats with Wendy Pini and her husband Richard on the past and future of Elfquest, which recently came to a close after 40 years. Read the article HERE.
  • Hillary Brown tackles Eleanor DavisWhy Art? over on Paste Magazine, and offers a new interview with her – HERE.
  • Lauren Purje met Neil Gaiman recently and made a comic about it – on Hyperallergic.
  • Tessa Strain reviews Sloane Leong‘s new Image series, Prism Stalkeron The Comics Journal.

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Announcing the Spring Semester of thee Santoro Correspondence Course for Comic Book Makers

8 weeks! $500 bux! 10 spots available!

Rolling start date because of spring break – start as early as March 30th 2018.

Deadline to apply is April 12th.

Read all about the course HERE and email santoroschool@gmail.com for more details or to apply.

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Suzy and Cecil – 3-30-2018 – by Sally Ingraham

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Joanie and Jordie – 3-30-2018 – by Caleb Orecchio

03/23/2018

Sally here covering over 100 years of women making comics, from Rose O’Neill to Dale Messick to Fiona Smyth to Jessica Campbell, and much more!

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Koyama Press, May 2018

Koyama Press always has a terrific lineup of new comics, and the Spring 2018 collection is no exception. I’m particularly excited for Jessica Campbell‘s comic (pictured above), the first lengthy story she’s told for a long while. Although I enjoy her comics which appear regularly on Hyperallergic (there’s a particularly funny one HERE, about “Residencies” vs. “Retreats“) and got a kick out of 2016’s Hot Or Not: 20th-Century Male Artists (also from Koyama Press), I am always left wanting MORE from Jessica Campbell. Therefore, I am thrilled to report that the new work, XTC69, is chapters long (120 pages!). And a quick look at review copy PDF proves that it is funny and weird and drawn in a 6-panel grid…and I made myself stop reading since I want to save my joy for the real thing. Coming out in May! Here’s the blurb on it:

Explorers from an all-women planet have found men to breed with, but have they found studs or duds?
 
Commander Jessica Campbell of the planet L8DZ N1T3 and her crew are searching for men to breed with when they discover the last human on Earth, the cryogenically frozen Jessica Campbell. With a new, but familiar crewmember, the search for men continues, but will it be worth it?

This is a great time to mention that Jessica Campbell was the most recent guest on Anya Davidson‘s podcast – listen to Mindkiller Episode 12 HERE.

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Koyama Press, May 2018

I am perhaps equally excited for Fiona Smyth‘s collection Somnambulance, also out from Koyama Press in May. Another cartoonist whom I want more of in my life, this is 300+ pages of Fiona’s work, spanning her career by showcasing comic strips and mini comics and other work from the mid-80’s through 2017.

Over thirty years of comics that feature Fiona’s world of sexy ladies, precocious girls, and vindictive goddesses is revealed in all its feminist glory. This is recommended reading for sleepwalkers on a female planet.

Black and white, and color, this is going to be a real pleasure to dig into. Fiona Smyth has been working steadily for 30 years, and is a real inspiration to me. With this collection, I look forward to having something new to put into the hands of other women who are interested in reading and making comics!

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If you are in any of the cities listed above, be on the lookout for Aline Kominsky-Crumb, the force of nature herself, on the move along with her new book Love That Bunch (Drawn & Quarterly, May 2018) which collects her autobiographic comics and tells the tale of a woman “coming of age” in the 1960’s as only Aline could.

HERE is the list of events and details about who Aline will be caught in conversation with.

Love That Bunch will be another career-spanning collection, with comics from the 1970’s along with a new story. You can read more about it HERE, and see an excerpt from it HERE.

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Gladys Parker

The Fabulous Fifties is one of those “fabulous” archival blogs, where a collector posts scans of old comic strips, etc. This one is run by Ger Apeldoorn, and he has a vast collection of stuff. The blog is a treasure chest. A recent post offers up several dozen comic strips, all of which were published on Apeldoorn’s birthday, Sunday March 15th, 1959. I skimmed through the list with great pleasure, and found a couple of strips to share here today.

Above is a strip by Gladys Parker, one of the very few female cartoonists who was working between the 1930’s and 50’s. She took over Ethel Hays‘ popular strip Flapper Fanny Says before developing her own strip, Mopsy, in 1939. Mopsy was very successful, and Gladys drew it until 1965.

Below is one of the Brenda Starr, Reporter strips by Dale Messick. The series began in the mid-40’s and was at the height of it’s popularity in the 50’s. Dale Messick drew it until 1980, after which it was carried on by a couple of individuals or writer/artist teams – all of them female. Ramona Fradon took it over from Dale Messick, and when the strip concluded in 2011 (!) it was being written by Mary Schmich and drawn by June Brigman.

Dale Messick

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Last but not least

Rose O’Neill

  • Smithsonian.com has an article about Rose O’Neill (b. 1874) and her iconic creation – Kewpies (one pictured above). These benevolent elves/cupid-like creatures were an national sensation, starring in comics and becoming a doll, etc. Rose O’Neill started out as the only woman on staff at Puck magazine, but the success of Kewpies brought her fame and wealth, and a better platform to fight for women’s right to vote and other issues of gender and racial equality. Read all about her HERE.
  • Lynda Barry (herself!) covers Pénélope Bagieu‘s Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World for The New York Times Book Review – read her thoughts HERE. (There’s an interesting discussion of the dramatic difference that a small decision made: removing Bagieu’s handwritten text – in French, for the strips as they originally appeared in Le Monde – for generic “handwritten” block text in the English version…)
  • Meredith Gran is running Octopus Pie again from the beginning – so new readers, now is your chance to hop on board. I would say that this is a pretty rare occurrence for a webcomic, and there is even an article on Slate about that, and why you should read it. Octopus Pie kicked off (again) on March 19th 2018 – read it HERE!
  • Philippe Leblanc reviews Kiku HughesThe Ghosts We Are and the Ghosts We Will Beon The Comics Beat.

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Announcing the Spring Semester of thee Santoro Correspondence Course for Comic Book Makers

8 weeks! $500 bux! 10 spots available!

Rolling start date because of spring break – start as early as March 30th 2018.

Deadline to apply is April 12th.

Read all about the course HERE and email santoroschool@gmail.com for more details or to apply.

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Suzy and Cecil – 3-23-2018 – by Gabriella Tito

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03/22/2018

Sally here with work by Shequeta Smith, E. Simms Campbell, and CM Campbell, plus much more!

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Shequeta Smith, creator of Rayven Choi

A recent article on the Los Angeles Sentinel celebrated Women’s History Month with a terrific roundup of Black Women in Comics.

One creator whom I was excited to discover is Shequeta Smith (pictured above). She is a powerhouse, making the Rayven Choi series, running Shero Comics, and digging into the screenwriting industry as well. You can see a preview of Rayven Choi Chapter #3: The Bounty Hunter HERE.

The L. A. Sentinel article also lists Micheline Hess (creator of Malice in Ovenland), Myisha Haynes (The Substitutes), Taneka Stotts (Beyond: The Queer Sci-Fi and Fantasy Comic Anthology series), and familiar names like Marguerite Abouet (the Aya comics), and Jackie Ormes (Torchy Brown, etc.)

Check out the whole list HERE.

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E. Simms Campbell’s nightlife map of Harlem, from 1932 – click HERE for a bigger version

Here’s an article on Slate from 2016 about E. Simms Campbell – one of the first successful black cartoonists. His work appeared in numerous magazines of the day, many of them in Esquire, which launched in 1933. I thought the map pictured above was terrific, and if you are a jazz fan it is worth noting that Cab Calloway’s band appears at the bottom left-hand corner.

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CM Campbell

CM Campbell shares a lengthy and interesting comic on Hyperallergic for “anyone who has ever asked, “How do I draw a black guy?”Read the full thing HERE.

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Extra, Extra!

  • Check out Ronald Wimberly on the Comicidal Podcast – he talks about new and ongoing projects like Sunset Park, and LAAB Magazine. Listen HERE.
  • Ta-Nehisi Coates (the writer behind two successful years of Black Panther) is going to start writing Captain America. He scribbled a brief essay for The Atlantic that announced the new project, and details why it “scares the hell out of me.
  • The Nib has a feature called Comics By Response, where they pose a question or concept and cartoonists respond – here are Four Cartoonists on Their Favorite Unsung Black History Heroes – with work by Keith Knight, Robyn Smith, Ben Passmore, and Mariah Rose-Marie.
  • Illustrated PEN on PEN America’s guest editor Robert Kirby showcases the work of fellow guest editor Whit Taylor, throwing light on the final story in her collection Ghost Stories – the story is called Maker and you can see it HERE.

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Announcing the Spring Semester of thee Santoro Correspondence Course for Comic Book Makers

8 weeks! $500 bux! 10 spots available!

Rolling start date because of spring break – start as early as March 30th 2018.

Deadline to apply is April 12th.

Read all about the course HERE and email santoroschool@gmail.com for more details or to apply.

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Joanie and Jordie – 3-21-2018 – by Caleb Orecchio

03/16/2018

Sally here with a look at work by Paty Greer/Cockrum, notes on the Drawn to Purpose show at the Library of Congress, and new comics by M. S. Harkness and Eleanor Davis!

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The Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 1 No. 264, May, 1985 – art by Paty

A comics long box find inevitably leads to an internet wormhole…which I both love and hate…but it is all in pursuit of expanding my knowledge of the women who worked and continue to work in comics. An issue of The Amazing Spider-Man from 1985 surfaces, with art by “Paty” – WHO IS PATY?

She is Paty Greer, who became Paty Cockrum when she married Dave Cockrum (the artist/writer behind X-Men characters like Nightcrawler). Paty Greer/Cockrum worked in the Marvel bullpen of the 1970’s under both names, and often just Paty. She did a lot of production work, but was also a colorist and occasional artist. In addition to the issue of The Amazing Spider-Man shown above, I know that she was the artist on The Claws of The Cat #3 (along with Bill Everett; a page from the comic is shown below).

The Claws of The Cat (1972) was a short-lived series written by Linda Fite, and was one of the first Marvel attempts at bringing a female superhero to the comics page. (I’ll write more about this series soon – I desperately want to get my hands on the first issue, which was penciled by Marie Severin.) The title character – when she isn’t The Cat – is named Greer Nelson, which naturally leads me to believe that Linda Fite and Paty Greer were pals in the Marvel bullpen. Like Paty, Linda Fite was a production and editorial assistant at Marvel (and she married Herb Trimpe soon after).

I found a piece of an interview with Paty where she describes the Marvel bullpen in her day, and specifically the day she noticed Dave Cockrum using the Xerox machine…read that story HERE.

I’ll be keeping an eye out for Paty’s name as I continue to dig through long boxes and fall down internet wormholes…

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An early Little Lulu strip, actually drawn by Marge Henderson Buell

Check out the official website for the fantastic show that is on display this year at the Library of Congress – “Drawn to Purpose: American Women Illustrators and Cartoonists“. I recommend taking a look at the Online Exhibition, which offers a taste of the full show (which is so large that it will be completely switched out half way through). If you are in the D. C. area anytime this year be sure to check out the events associated with the exhibition as well – recently Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden and the show curator Martha H. Kennedy had a conversation with Whitney Sherman, Barbara Brandon-Croft and Jillian Tamaki. There’s plenty more going on – keep up with it HERE.

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M. S. Harkness‘s new comic Tinderella (partially inked during her Comics Workbook Rowhouse Residency last summer) will be coming out as part of the Kilgore Books & Comics 2018 Releases – consider preordering a copy HERE.

If you can’t wait until June for more Harkness then order Normal Girl, another new release, from her HERE. It is sold gold. Or anyway, the cover is gold so you probably need it in your life. See what else she is up to HERE.

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From Why Art? by Eleanor Davis

HERE is an excerpt from Eleanor DavisWhy Art? on The New York Review of Books. And HERE is a review of Why Art? by Eleanor Davis on the A.V. Club.

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Suzy and Cecil – 3-16-2018 – by Sally Ingraham

03/09/2018

Sally here with Katie Fricas, Eleanor Davis, Fiona Smyth, Karabo Poppy Moletsane, and a lot more!

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From Checked Out by Katie Fricas

Katie Fricas has a new comic that is being serialized on Spiral Bound via Medium. The comic is called Checked Out and is about “library life”, a.k.a. her observations and experiences at work, and so far I love everything about it! The subject matter is very relatable for me, and I always enjoy her lines and use of color. I appreciate that she’s using the grid with this comic as well – it makes for a very nice rhythm to each story, and provides some structure for her to hang the wild drawings on. (This comic finally made me sign up for a Medium account, and I may just cough up $5 a month so I can keep up with this story and the numerous other comics that appear in the Spiral Bound section of the site – learn more about this publication HERE.)

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Eleanor Davis‘ new book Why Art? is reviewed on The Red & Black, by a reader who also attended a slideshow presentation by Eleanor Davis on the book, in Athens, GA. Eleanor has been on tour doing a lot of these presentations with this book, and getting really good turnouts. The author of this particular piece, Lara Strydom, writes:

Probably one of the most thought-provoking moments was during the introduction, when the various purposes of art are described and the novel reveals that sometimes art will remind us of things that we’d rather forget.

We often reject what we don’t want to hear or see because of the way it might make us feel. This idea is then represented by a completely blacked out page in the book, almost as if it is representing how we shield our eyes from unwanted emotions or ideas.”

Strydom spoke to other folks who attended the presentation, and got their thoughts on the work.

“[There’s] that whole cyclical idea of ‘We create our own lives and destroy our own lives, we create our own worlds and destroy our own worlds,’ and there’s this constant cycle of birth and destruction,” said Melissa Link, an audience member and Athens resident.”

Read the rest of the article HERE.

In his piece for the Copacetic Comics website on Why Art?, Bill Boichel mentions “a surprising – and intriguing – twist that longtime comics readers will recognize as a thematic recapitulation of the late-’50s/early-’60s work of Steve Ditko(!).Get a copy of the comic HERE.

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CHEEZ 555 by Fiona Smyth

Here’s your reminder to keep up with Fiona Smyth‘s weekly strip CHEEZ. The most recent piece is above – the rest are HERE.

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From Ntsoaki’s Victory by Karabo Poppy Moletsane

From Nov. 1989 by Anna Haifisch

From Aarthi the Amazing by Isuri

In celebration of International Woman’s Day yesterday (March 8th, 2018) the Google Doodle featured 12 comics by women from around the world, including familiar names like Tillie Walden and Anna Haifisch. You can see the archive of the project HERE, and check out the work of the other women featured.

“Sho’t Left” – A Zine on South African Occupations by Karabo Poppy Moletsane

Of the artists who were new to me, I particularly liked the work of Karabo Poppy Moletsane. She is from Johannesburg, South Africa, where she does mostly illustration and graphic design work. However, as you can see above, she has made a few zines and comics as well, and I hope she does more in the future! You can check out the rest of the “Sho’t Left” zine HERE.

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Shade, the Changing Woman #1– cover art by Becky Cloonan

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Suzy and Cecil – 3-9-2018 – by Gabriella Tito

03/08/2018

Sally here with Regine L. Sawyer, the “Black Pulp” exhibition, new work from Derick Jones, and more!

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Regine L. Sawyer, creator of The Ripper, Ice Witch, and Eating Vampires and founder of the Women in Comics Collective NYC

Here’s a good article about the recent BAM Black Comix Expo, which features mini-interviews with a number of creators, among them Regine L. Sawyer (pictured above). She got into comics through X-Men.

It’s a series that had so many women—and particularly women of color—with characters like Storm or Psylocke or Jubilee. Storm just jumped out to me because she was so regal and strong and beautiful. She will forever be my favorite character because of those aspects of how she carried herself. I knew, This is for me. I have to create comics.

I created my first series, The Rippers, when I was about 17 years old. I created it because there were books that I was seeing where I really didn’t like how women were portrayed. So I created a character named Rhiannon O’Cair who’s an intergalactic bounty hunter that’s accused of a crime she doesn’t remember committing.

Do you feel like your identity, gender, or ethnicity made it difficult to break into the comics community?
As a woman of color, starting out I wasn’t really considering who I was in that sense. I just felt that I was a writer—I had written comics and prose my whole life—and I just felt like I had something to give. So when I came into the community, and it became a “thing” that I was a woman and that I was black—it’s not that I wasn’t prepared for it, but I just felt like, “Oh man, are you serious?” I just really wanted people to read my books and not worry about what I looked like. When I realized that that was an issue a few years later, that’s when I founded Women in Comics and said, “OK, well if you’re going to look at me, you’re going to listen to me, too.” I had a lot to say about who I am and what is important to me. It’s so important that us as women of color have a say about how we’re portrayed in the media. So, now you can’t shut me up.
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Do you feel excited about being in a fair that’s celebrating black creators?
I feel very fortunate to be a part of this movement. I’ve been going to shows and doing this for about 12 years, so I’m just very happy to see so many people that are here at this particular show who are out supporting not only us, but getting excited for Black Panther. To see this turn out is really really amazing, and again, I’m so happy to be a part of the movement.

Read the rest of the article HERE.

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Renee Cox’s print “Chillin with Liberty” (1998)

There is an essay about the exhibition “Black Pulp” at the African American Museum in Philadelphia (through April 29the 2018) on Whyy. The exhibition showcases various forms of mass media, but there are a lot of comics involved, which is timely, considering the incredible success of Marvel’s The Black Panther film. One of the curators, Mark Gibson, remarked on what is interesting about that story in the context of more historic representation in comics and “pulp”.

It was significant for Gibson to see people like himself represented in comic books. “I’m 38, and thinking about what comics meant to me, I would analyze the black characters to see if they are believable,” he said. “That wasn’t the same as with white characters.”

Gibson was impressed with the identity of the character. “He’s a black king from a country that has never been conquered by colonialism.”

Previously, comics with black main characters or by African-American artists were often restricted to a Negro audience. “Torchy in Heartbeats” is a serial about the romantic and work life of a beautiful young Negro woman in the 50s. “All-Negro Comics” (1948) was an anthology comic book that included “Dew Dillies,” about baby Negro angels. In 1965, Dell published “Lobo,” a collector’s book about a black cowboy fugitive.” 

Read more about the “Black Pulp” exhibition HERE.

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New work by Derick Jones above – you can keep up with what he’s been drawing and thinking lately HERE.

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  • Vice offers a look at Jackie Ormesread it HERE. And then read Nancy Goldstein’s Jackie Ormes: The First African-American Woman Cartoonist, which the article draws from, for the full story.
  • HERE is a review of Incognegro: Renaissance #2 by Mat Johnson – look for this new series on the shelf at your comic book shops.
  • The Knox News has an article about Oliver (“Ollie”) Wendel Harrington, one of the first black political cartoonists – HERE.
  • Samir Barrett drew the character Static every single day in February – see the drawings HERE. Read about his project HERE.
  • Ramon Esono Ebale, a cartoonist from Equatorial Guinea who was jailed 5 months ago while visiting his home country to renew his passport, has had all charges against him dropped – but he’s still in jail.
  • Whit Taylor writes and Chris Kindred draws this comic for The Nib about how the Tuskegee Experiment made African-Americans distrust the medical system – HERE.

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Vision Box – 3-8-2018 – by Cameron Arthur

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Joanie and Jordie – 3-8-2018 – by Caleb Orecchio