Sally Ingraham here to start the week off with news out of Angouleme, highly anticipated comics of 2017, new work from Noah Van Sciver, comics by Leah Hayes, Gabriella Tito, and Caleb Orecchio.
“The Paste Comics Crew” has a new list for us – this time it’s the 35 Most Anticipated Comics of 2017. As they enthusiastically put it:
“…a metric ton of sequential art gold is scheduled to hit shelves. Curiously, our list is light on mainstream capes and cowls despite the genre’s outstanding frequency. Instead, a slew of other genre and indie work has us feverishly thrilled. A new adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods will transition to panels, helmed by the author’s Sandman collaborators Craig P. Russell and Scott Hampton. The sci-fi corner will embrace a deeper shade of nihilism via James Stokoe’s Aliens: Dead Orbit and Jonathan Hickman’s delayed Frontier—a return for the creator to design-driven illustration alongside his winding plot development. Michael DeForge, Jillian Tamaki and Eleanor Davis will debut new projects and collections that will probably make our best of ’17 list (let’s be honest) and C. Spike Trotman and Jess Fink will continue to show why comics are the new home for female-friendly sexuality. Speaking of: don’t even get us started on the untitled Fall surprise from Tula Lotay and Becky Cloonan. We’ve also included a few early-to-mid January releases that are definitely worth your time.“
There will be a lot more buzz this week about the 44th Angouleme International Comics Festival, but beating everyone else out of the gate is this fantastic story about the first South Korean cartoonist to be honored with a prize from the festival. Ancco, (the pen name of Choi Kyung-jin) was awarded the Prix Revelation for her comic Bad Friend. The festival has served in recent years as a gateway for Korean comics to find their way to European readers. The festival organizers, who had nominated Bad Friend for the Best Comic Book award as well, wrote that Ancco:
“…paints an uncompromising picture of Korean society torn between tradition and modernity, haunted by the ghosts of history and shaken by Western materialistic civilization.” They also said of her work: “She appears as the spokesperson of Korean youth’s malaise through a cartoon centered on the daily lives of teenagers. Freeing the long-repressed language of Korean youth, it has become a reference for a whole generation.” – via The Korea Times
Winning the Prix Revelation – which is given to up-and-coming cartoonists who have published no more than three comic books in French – will garner Ancco attention from all over Europe. She spoke to the Korea Manhwa Contents Agency (KOMACON) about the experience of being at the festival this year and winning the award:
“I used to consider myself to be someone who led a weird, lonely life in Korea. But now I am here. This is, I think, the power of comics… My particular thanks to Kim Dae-jung, CEO of Sai Comics, who introduced me to the festival and told me, ‘You are not the only strange one. There are so many people like you out there.’ ” – via Yonhap News
Bad Friends, or Mauvaises Filles as the French edition is titled, will hopefully make it into English someday soon. Meanwhile, you can see more of the book HERE. And a bit more about the author can be found HERE.
In somewhat related news: Posy Simmonds (who was president of the jury at the 44th Angouleme International Comics Festival) is working on a new book about a “fat, rich, greedy, stupid and criminal” member of the British upper middle class, according to the Malay Mail Online.
Posy Simmonds is the author of Tamara Drew and Gemma Bovary (both of which have been adapted into films). She was recently nominated for induction into the Will Eisner Hall of Fame. Now aged 71 and able to draw for only 10 minute spurts, she nevertheless says the book is “well advanced” and I am hopeful that we will get a peak at it soon. Good luck Posy!
France 24‘s Olivia Salazar-Winspear spoke to Posy Simmonds recently about her well-known work, about presiding over the jury at Angouleme and the increase in comics festivals, about women making comics, and about the good handbags that French ladies have…! It’s delightful. Check out the video HERE.
Here’s a bit more about her adventures as the president of the jury at Angouleme – if you can read French (or are willing to pound that Google translate button and wade through it!)
There is an article about the comics newspaper RESIST! over on Hyperallergic with a lot of scans of the pages – good news for those of you who didn’t managed to get your hands on a copy of this already rare item.
The New York Times has hurt a lot of feelings recently with the announcement that they are discontinuing their graphic novel bestsellers lists.
“The Times Book Review editor Pamela Paul confirmed that the paper will discontinue a number of its lists, including Hardcover Graphic Novel, Paperback Graphic Novel and Manga, effective Feb. 5.
The sense of loss among authors and publishers, readers and retailers is profound.” – Michael Cavna for the Washington Post
Despite some tweets that seem to indicate that Pamela Paul has a poor opinion of comics in general (I’m referring to comments that she made about John Lewis’, Andrew Aydin’s, and Nate Powell’s March which began with “hey, kids” and finished by calling March a “children’s book“), she has gone on to say that cutting these lists will allow the Times to actually expand its “graphics-book coverage.” We’ll see about that.
Over on The Comics Beat Alexander Lu puts the ramifications of this bluntly:
“The fact that comics had a bestseller list devoted to them was a symbolic sign of the medium’s importance to one of the nation’s most respectable media outlets and their importance to the nation at large. Moreover, there are few stronger marketing loglines than “New York Times bestseller.” While the Times is foremost a media outlet and not a marketing firm, the way their endorsements affect sales and popular discourse cannot be ignored. The decision to eliminate these lists will have implications for our conversations and our bottom lines.“
It’s hard not to be annoyed by this whole thing, especially when Pamela Paul piles the graphic bestseller lists on top of other “genre” lists that the Times has been planning to cut since last year. COMICS ARE A MEDIUM NOT A GENRE! For the millionth time…come on, people.
Meg Lemke presents Leah Hayes’ Not Funny Ha-Ha for the Illustrated PEN. Read Meg’s thoughts about the comic and an excerpt from it HERE.
Noah has been serializing his own graphic memoir nearly everyday via his Patreon – it is called One Dirty Tree and is “about growing up in a poor, unsteady Mormon family and its affects 20 years later in my life trying to hold together a relationship of my own and while making a name for myself in alternative comics.”
You can see a 3-page excerpt over on his website – HERE – but to read the rest, consider supporting Noah’s Patreon. He is one of the hardest working cartoonists you’ll ever meet whose work is consistently funny and heartrending. I hope he continues making them forever – and it would be nice if he could have a real live cat someday…!
Bits and Bobs
- Jack Mendelsohn, creator of the brief but brilliant comic strip Jacky’s Diary (1959-1961), among many other comics projects, past away on Jan. 25th 2017. Dan Nadel writes about Jack’s life and work over on The Comics Journal.
- Rob Clough wrote about Marnie Galloway’s mini-comics on High-Low last week.
- Heidi MacDonald says (via The Beat) that the TV show Riverdale, which is based on Archie comics…is pretty good. Should we try it out?
- Tom Spurgeon is updating his massive list of “all things comics-related by metropolitan area“. Last updated in 2014, it needs a careful overhaul – help Tom out HERE.
- There is an Instagram account devoted to “showcasing the most beautiful scenes, colours, sets and abstract compositions of The Simpsons.” Juan Fernandez showed the account to me and then riffed: “No cropping involved – just screen capping (moments chosen as opposed to aspects of moments chosen). It’s more about what is latent in The Simpsons than how the person curating this blog has chosen to present and eliminate – i.e. these compositions have all passed in front of viewers eyes, and to me that’s interesting.” Check out @scenic_simpsons.
Needed: more comics in the world. If you want to make comics but you don’t know how to start, consider a crash course in the methods of the Santoro School – check out the handbook HERE!
Suzy and Cecil – 1-30-2017 – by Gabriella Tito
Joanie and Jordie – 1-30-2017 – by Caleb Orecchio