Sally here with comics by Leslie Stein, Tyler Cohen, Anna Krzton, Posy Simmonds, and Martha Thomases, plus other interesting news and events to wrap up your week!
I read Gemma Bovery this week, the comic Posy Simmonds based on Madam Bovery which originally ran as a weekly strip in The Guardian (concluding in 1999, leaving it’s readers inconsolable, apparently.) Simmonds’ way of combining text with comics is quite marvelous, and astonishingly well done. As a reviewer wrote back in 2000:
“Simmonds has, in this sense, two kinds of blank paper staring at her every morning, and she should be honoured for filling them so perfectly, with such a combination of daring and what looks like effortlessness.” – Nicholas Lezard for The Guardian
The book is wildly entertaining, with wonderful pacing and characterizations – which comes from both Posy’s drawing chops and her storytelling. Read the rest of Nicholas Lezard’s excellent review HERE. I highly recommend this and Posy Simmonds’ other graphic novel, Tamara Drewe (which was also serialized in The Guardian.)
I went down a Posy Simmonds rabbit hole after finished Gemma Bovery, and resurfaced with this terrific piece of research and writing about the strip that started it all for her – The Silent Three – which was published weekly in The Guardian from 1977-87.
The strip was collected but the collections haven’t been reprinted, despite Posy’s continuing popularity (both her graphic novels were turned into very well received films). It’s nice then that on the blog Sunday Comics Debt there are scans of a dozen of Posy’s strips, and the writer’s thoughts on the development and content of the work. Good stuff – check it out HERE. His only real complaint is that at times the strips are SO British they can be mysterious to an American reader!
Here’s a recent interview with Posy Simmonds, now in her 70’s and not slowing down a bit – she was a judge at this year’s Angoulême festival, and is currently working on a new book. Here also is a peak into some of her sketchbooks. And there ends THAT rabbit hole for the moment!
I’ve also been reading Dakota North Investigations this week. It was a short series from 1986 written by Martha Thomases and drawn by Tony Salmons. I’ve gotten a kick out of it – I always enjoy a smart, badass investigator who has rad style, and Martha Thomases script is pretty engaging. She mentions the series much later in her regular column on ComicMix:
“Over the years, Dakota North has appeared in a few other comics, most recently in Daredevil. These takes are interesting, but they are not my story. No one has ever really understood what I was trying to do with the character. They see her as another tough broad action figure, and that’s a part of her. I modeled her physically on a friend of mine, who had the height and the hair and the beauty to capture the attention of those in any room she entered. But Dakota’s also a woman trying to win her father’s approval while she pushes him away, that tug-of-war adult children have with their parents.“
Although 20 years passed between her script for Dakota North and the next time Martha wrote for comics, she kept busy with other writing and research. She still writes regularly about comics for ComicMix, and will go so far as to say “Everything I need to know, I learned from superhero comics.“
“These three stories depict only some of the many nuances of her cartooning, starting with the realism we find both in Constant Sorrow and Early Mornings, similar for mood and topic to First Weeks, a self-published mini-comic I briefly reviewed in this Misunderstanding Comics episode (only in Italian, sorry). Room of My Own is instead a different work, less narrative and more impressionistic, an example of a dreamy mood, abstract and naive, that is an essential feature of Krztoń’s comics.” – Gabriele Di Fazio
High Tide Line
- Check out this cool event on Monday if you’re anywhere near The Strand Bookstore in NYC – I’m Drawn This Way: Cartoonists on Cartooning – details HERE. It’s the launch of Pénélope Bagieu’s new book, and a discussion with panelists Natalie Andrewson, Katie Skelly, Julia Gfrörer, and Whit Taylor, moderated by Meg Lemke of the Brooklyn Book Festival, PEN America, and MUTHA Magazine.
- The Comics Journal just published an interview with Sophie Yanow, who is a very busy lady these days – maintaining her status as one of the best non-fiction comics makers while also teaching and doing translation work – more HERE.
- Disa Wallander has a comics shop, full of her Sparkle zines and plenty of sarcasm – HERE.
- The Chicago Reader has a nice feature about Trina Robbins and her past and future work – read it HERE. She says the East Village Other strip Gentle’s Tripout created by “Panzika” was her inspiration for making her own comics – after she made the startling discovery that this favorite strip was actually drawn by a woman (underground cartoonist Nancy Burton)!
- Since we’re on the topic now, here’s an interview from last year with Nancy Burton on The Comics Journal.
- Santoro Correspondence Course for Comic Book Makers alum Mary Shyne has a comic on The Nib – Trumpian Timekeeping. “ISIS, weirdly, has not been defeated yet.“
- Rob Clough wrote about Cathy Johnson‘s Gorgeous recently – review HERE.
We are diving into a busy 2nd year of the Comics Workbook Rowhouse Residency. Gabriella Tito is here this week, already our 4th resident of 2017, and we are starting a wait list for the summer months. It’s amazing and exciting to have these aspiring and professional cartoonists alike come to work on comics in Pittsburgh, plugging into our vibrant local scene, and infusing it with fresh energy.
Interested in joining us for a week or more? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how to apply. There are still openings in April and May, with that wait list available for the summer months. After a break for show season we will be picking up scheduling once again in late October. 500 bux for a week and a life-changing experience.
Read some of our Residency Reports HERE. Email email@example.com for more info.
Blinkers – 3-10-2017 – by Jack Brougham
Suzy and Cecil – 3-10-2017 – by Sally Ingraham
Joanie and Jordie – 3-10-2017 – by Caleb Orecchio
Cozytown – 3-10-2017 – by Juan Fernandez