Sally has the comics and news today – Ronald Wimberly and Jim Pluk on tour, Ladycastle on shelves, Aya on the big screen, Adam Griffiths in Pittsburgh – and Sam Ombiri brings thoughts on changing minds.
From Ronald Wimberly:
“Happy Black History Month
The last two years, to celebrate the impact black people have had on our history, I’ve drawn 12 Black luminaries, past and present, alongside their own words. This year I’ve drawn 14 new ones and collected them and those from the last two years together in a book coming out on the 8th (2/8/2017) from Image Comics. Ask for it at your local book stores, galleries, museum shops, etc. You can even cop it on your kindle or comixology. I’m even working on an audiobook version where I describe the picture to you while simultaneously reading the quote. Nah.
This month I’ll be making several stops alongside the east coast, signing and talking. If you’re around, please come say hi!
- 2/15/17 1900-2100: WASHINGTON D.C.; FANTOM COMICS Catch me at Fantom Comics from 7 till 9pm signing books and chatting with the homie Julian Lytle.
- 2/19/17 1300-1700: COLUMBUS, OHIO; CMA I’ll be doing a signing followed by a closing reception for my show at the Columbus Museum of Art. Come by, drink some wine, eat some cheese and chat me up.
- 2/22//17 1800-2000: PITTSBURGH, PA; COPACETIC COMICS Still working out the details on this, but pretty excited to check out your town Pittsburgh!
- 2/24/17 RHODE ISLAND TBA “
We are super excited that Ron is coming to Pittsburgh this month, and if he is coming anywhere near you be sure to look him up!
I paused my perusal of the excellent tumblr Superheroes In Full Color to go look up what Marguerite Abouet has been doing lately. She is an Ivorian writer who currently resides in Paris, and is the author of the award-winning series Aya (the artwork is by her husband Clément Oubrerie). The series was adapted into a movie, which has recently been screened at a number of French and African film festivals. In November of 2016 Aya of Yop City was screened at the 4th Ake Arts and Book Festival, in Abeokuta, Nigeria. Nmadiuto Uche sat down with Marguerite to talk about the film and the comic series and their conversation was recently posted online.
“You have mentioned on two different occasions here at Ake that you were not sure how Nigerians will receive Aya. Why were you so anxious?
Even though Nigeria and Cote D’Ivoire are not far from each other geographically, the culture may not be familiar. Thus, there is a lot of prejudice. Nigerians think that Ivoirians are people who party all the time and drink a lot. I mean, someone even asked after the movie screened if I was sponsored by a beer company. Often, we have a simplistic vision of other African countries and this is not good. I am African first before being Ivoirian. I do not allow countries in the West to speak badly about Africa and we should not do the same among ourselves. When I mentioned I was coming to Nigeria, people said I was crazy and the country is dangerous. As I said, I do not like prejudice. In every country, there are dangerous and good places.
So, all of this was going through my mind before Aya was screened. I was happy that people laughed and had a good time with the film. It is important to respect others. We share almost the same customs. For example, when Adunni and the Nefertiti band performed, I loved it. It reminded me of something similar from an ethnicity in Cote D’Ivoire, which is why we have this profession, to create dialogue and discuss. Even though, I do not like to fly, I make the time to travel and have conversations with people at festivals like this.“
Sam Ombiri here: This one guy was telling me that he doesn’t like comics, but he was lumping all comics to fit the singular context of “the comics that he read that he wasn’t too fond of”. “Comics” were one thing in his mind, and this wouldn’t shift. No matter how much I tried to change his trajectory of thought regarding “what comics are”, his stance wouldn’t budge. He kind of presented a similar attitude when talking about what magical realism is. He said “No, I don’t like comics I like books.” While I had the floor in the conversation, he kept repeating “Comic books? Graphic novels? Comic book? Graphic novel? Comic book? Graphic novel?” One thing I can’t quite explain was the subtle tone he was using when he was saying “Graphic novels? Comic books?” He wasn’t abnormally impolite, he was just super opinionated about comics and what they are. It felt like terminology he was really hanging onto…and I find here, just as I found in that conversation, that I’m very bad at explaining things.
There was this other guy I was talking to about different rappers whom we were familiar with – and then out of the blue he asks “Are you talking about rap or hip hop?” To which I respond ??? – as this was a distinction that he had clearly created in his mind, which only he had access to. It kind of reminds me of when people say “Oh, X genre is not music.” To which I say “Who cares?” I certainly don’t. The associations barely play a role in how I interact with the work (or at least I try to keep it that way, and I fail more often than not. Haha.)
This person going around insisting on what’s music and what’s not is, again, creating a distinction in their mind that only they have access to. Which is fine, I’m fairly certain everyone does this – but this expectation that everyone will automatically be on board with it seems a bit…(I can’t come up with the word).
I could kind of peer into the mind of the first person whom I was talking to (or trying to talk) about comics with. He kind of had a dismissive tone when talking about these “Comic books? Graphic novels?” I couldn’t bring myself to bring, say, “art comics” or, uhhh, “literatury comics” into the conversation. I feel that if our conversation had gone on, and I might have gotten him to say something other than “Comic books? Graphic novels?” He’d probably have eventually thought, “I could probably find comics that I’d like, but who has the time?” It was a tad frustrating, and I wish I could hide my frustration better and act calm and collected, but it was like, “Not all books are Twilight or whatever – why apply this principle to comics like this guy is?”
I guess what this has got me wondering is (and this is putting my question in a very clumsy way – this question is still abstract in my mind, and I’m not too good at forming it) “What role do these associations play?” Or no, maybe it’s “Are these associations there to make a space for people to speak with authority, even when they’re still ignorant of what they’re talking about, and are unable to bring up specifics, or interact with what they’re talking about?” Or no, maybe that’s still not my question well represented… – Sam Ombiri
This Is Totally a 4-Panel Comic – Sam Ombiri
Ladycastle #1 was just released! I’ve been eagerly awaiting this new feminist take on the princess left in a tower trope… Ladycastle is a 4-part mini-series written and created by Delilah S. Dawson, with art by Ashley A. Woods (who is also part of the creative team for the series Niobe: She Is Life).
Geeks of Doom describe Ladycastle as a “candid look into what would happen if all the knights and soldiers went off to war and (mostly) got themselves killed. Bordering on satirical, this story focuses on a group of ladies that refuse to accept the roles that their society tries to place on them. From a picky princess who isn’t going to marry a prince just because the king insists, to a blacksmith’s wife who is apparently just as good of a ‘smith as her husband.“
Back in November the ComicsAlliance spoke to Delilah Dawson and Ashley Wood about the project (which comes from Boom! Studios):
“CA: Feminist takes on fantasy and princess stories seem to be having a real moment right now, especially in comics. Do you see this book as part of a conversation or movement?
DD: I come to comics from the world of novels and mainstream publishing, where Young Adult books led the charge for putting women in power. Both publishing — especially Science Fiction and Fantasy — and comics can often feel like arenas with a tradition of older straight white dudes being in power, and I love that new voices are bringing in better representation of the real world and new ideas of who gets to wield power there. It feels less like a moment and more like a much-needed charge for balance.
AW: Most definitely. Delilah tackles certain tropes head on and flips them around to show that all female characters aren’t the same, just like women and people in real life. What I like most about the princess of Ladycastle – Aeve – is that she refuses to let another person define her life or put her in a box. She rejects that with every fiber of her being, from the way she expresses herself (not what one would typically call “ladylike”), to the way that she dresses.
I think redefining who a princess is and how she acts is a powerful way to show young female readers that they don’t have to wait to be rescued to be their own person.“
Read the rest of the interview HERE – and look for Ladycastle in your local comics shop.
Also be sure to check out Niobe: She Is Life (#4 just came out) which is written by teen actress Amandla Stenberg and drawn by Ashley A. Wood. It is, to quote Amandla, “officially the first comic book to be written by a black girl, starring a black girl [Niobe Ayutami], and illustrated by a black girl [Ashley A. Woods].” More about the comic and Amandla’s mission HERE.
Jim Pluk and the Starchild Tour 2017 is coming to your town – if you live in Berlin or Rome, that is! Catch Jim Pluk – a fantastic cartoonist from Columbia – in Berlin on February 3rd and in Rome on February 11th.
At both events Jim will be releasing new fanzines and his comic Canosa’s Welcome (Perfectly Acceptable Press, 2016) along with 150/200 drawings and paintings. In Rome there will also be a little conversation about Canosa’s Welcome with Gabrielle di Fazio of the blog Just Indie Comics.
If you’re in the area be sure to go see Jim in person. Check out more of his work HERE – get a copy of Canosa’s Welcome HERE.
Adam Griffiths has joined us in Pittsburgh for a week-long Comics Workbook Rowhouse Residency. He is a cartoonist from Takoma Park, MD, whose mission in life is to “Draw forever!“
About his work, Adam has written:
“In its purest form, cartooning is a medium for simple, intellectual storytelling. I approach my cartooning as a visionary agent, skating the edges of contemporary art, illustration, outsider art, and underground comics art.
Through my drawing process, I can play out the various symbolisms and mutabilities of historical imperialism and the class system. The images I complete are a mix of preconceived ideas and stream-of-conscious drawing; I want the drawings to pose conceptual riddles about the structure of society.“
It is a great pleasure to host Adam this week and we look forward to seeing more of what he makes here, and in the future. Keep up with Adam via Instagram – @grifftones.
For more information about the Rowhouse Residency visit this page – and keep up with the project via @rowhouseresidency
- I missed this when it came out and now it’s extra depressing but…Keith Knight has a comic essay on Fusion that is a tribute to Obama.
- Here’s the New York Times Book Review’s take on the new George Herriman bio – Invisibly Black: A Life of George Herriman, Creator of Krazy Kat
- Chris Ware also writes about Krazy Kat for The New York Review of Books – To Walk in Beauty
Suzy and Cecil – 2-2-2017 – by Sally Ingraham
Joanie and Jordie – 2-2-2017 – by Caleb Orecchio