Sam Ombiri on the art you consume vs. the art you make – and Sally with news updates from Ronald Wimberly, Tee Franklin, America Chavez, Zora Neale Hurston, Richie Pope, and Rick Mays.
Sam Ombiri here: I like this idea that the work one is interacting with is different from the work that is being made. I remember first hearing of this from Markus Popp/Oval talking about how he mostly listens to death metal for this somewhat vague reason. Maybe it’s just my memory being foggy. Then the next time I heard it was from Frank Santoro specifying that what he was interested in making wasn’t necessarily what he read. Then I heard it from CF expressed in a nearly similar manner – I can’t remember whether he was talking about his music or his comics, so I’ll just make the assumption that he was talking about his comics as well as music.
Another time I heard this idea was when Brian Chippendale, who kind of hilariously said that if someone were to give him a comic that was done snake style, he would be frustrated and confused and say something like “Why don’t you just make the panels go in order!? Just why?”
I heard Sammy Harkham say something like the media you consume can be really important to the work you’re making. Anya Davidson cited some work that I can’t remember and said it gave her a huge boost of confidence and the ability to resume in the place she was in.
CF once or twice expressed his complete distaste for forcing work to head a certain direction, or a specific route. He likened it to trying to be such a good host you end up being a bad host. I think that might go along with his comment of making what he’s interested in making. I think I heard him once say that when he draws he aims for his experiments to end in failure. I heard Dash Shaw say something similar – that he’s more into making immature works that constantly, clumsily reinvent themselves, and often fail.
I feel what Sammy said expresses the effect media has. I once heard him say that he thinks when someone sees violence on the screen it affects them. This seemed like more than the obvious statement. It was like as much as people felt the violence on screen affected them, supposedly Sammy felt the effect was bigger than they imagined. (As a side-note Jesse Moynihan wrote this super cool thing on violence, though it’s going a different place than what I think Sammy might have been saying.) Sammy also talks about how sadness is a better experience when it’s not blatant tears being shown, but rather something that feels like it is following the character, regardless of expression. – Sam Ombiri
Sally here: There is a fantastic interview on The Comics Reporter with Ronald Wimberly – originally conducted as part of Tom Spurgeon’s annual Holiday Interview series, but posted just recently. Having met Ron myself last month, and having spoken to him casually about his comics making (and the state of the world, etc.) I find myself nodding along to Tom’s opening statements about Ron:
“Ronald Wimberly is an artist and comics-maker with as high a ceiling as they come. His prodigious skill set as displayed on the page is matched by a formidable ability to explain, dissect and present to others his strategies and reasons-why when making art. Just his influences, what Wimberly is looking at and processing at any single time, could fuel a week of lectures. I greatly enjoy looking at his comics pages, and knowing the amount of effort channeled into them is a thrill.“
The interview mostly digs into Prince of Cats, which Image Comics re-released last fall in a new format. The book is an intriguing riff on Romeo & Juliet, and so Ron and Tom talk Shakespeare, tragedy, acting, and Tybalt, who is the focus of the story.
“SPURGEON: You end with Tybalt… that’s a brutal ending if you end with Tybalt. Romeo and Juliet can be interpreted as rich kids falling prey to what’s soaked into the bones of Verona. It just happens that these two kids… and suddenly now it’s news. The earlier deaths are just as tragic as one where we see the romance. It’s a fatalistic idea; it’s even reinforced by the meta in that we are super-sure Tybalt dies in any incarnation of this story. It’s grim. [laughter] It’s a serious way of looking at that world. The basic course of the narrative is reinforced. But man.
WIMBERLY: If someone feels sad about Tybalt, I think that’s good, because he didn’t get that opportunity originally. He was a plot point. [laughs]
If anything, maybe I can contribute to one of the intents of the original. Depending how it’s performed or staged it can have that element. But usually not. In the prologues, it’s set out. It says the same thing. It tells you what’s going to happen. For this beef of the ages to rest, there has to have been a sacrifice. What my point is that the sacrifice continues to happen, and the beef doesn’t stop. I’m sure in the case of Romeo and Juliet, those two houses… a generation passes… we all know Italy is a bunch of warring — it’s still a bunch of warring states! [laughter] Right? At the end of the day, it’s senseless. But the life that’s led isn’t necessarily senseless. The light on it can be humane. It can add value to it. That’s the difference between an existentialist and a nihilist right? In showing it, looking at it, living it, there’s some value to it.“
Get a copy of Prince of Cats from Copacetic Comics – HERE.
From writer Tee Franklin, who created #BlackComicsMonth in 2015, comes the project Bingo Love – “the black queer love story that the world needs”. From an article about the comic on The Huffington Post:
” “It’s rare in the comic industry to have two black women leads, especially written by a disabled, queer black woman,” she said. “Now to have these protagonists queer and older? This will never happen in the comics industry unless someone does it on their own.” “
Tee Franklin is therefor doing it on her own – with the help of a creative team that consists of artist Jenn St-Onge, colorist Joy San, letterer Cardinal Rae, and editor Erica Schultz, and a Kickstarter that has already raised $25, 998. She hopes to put the comic out later this year. Check out the Bingo Love Kickstarter HERE. Read more about the comic an Tee Franklin HERE.
The Guardian writes about America Chavez – AKA unmasked avenger Miss America – for their ‘the month in comics” feature.
“Marvel has finally realized her potential as a standalone hero: this month’s America #1 launches Chavez as the headliner of her own ongoing comic series. Taking time out from team-ups, she has enrolled at Sotomayor University, an advanced campus that includes a Department of Radical Women & Intergalactic Indigenous Peoples and a Fifth Element-obsessed sorority called the Leelumultipass Phi Theta Betas. Before long, she is teleporting through time and space to ace a tricky homework paper, in the process offering a fairly definitive position on the morality of punching Nazis.“
The article writer Graeme Virtue credits all this “exuberance” to the “atypical” creative team behind the comic: artist Joe Quinones (of Marvel’s Howard the Duck) and making her comics debut, writer Gabby Rivera – “the young, queer Latina author of YA novel Juliet Takes a Breath“.
” “I’ve always dreamt up wild, powerful and carefree superheroes that look like me and my family,” Rivera recently told the Washington Post: “Thick, brown, goofy, beautiful.” “
Hillary Brown of Paste Magazine interviews Peter Bagge about his new book Fire!!: The Zora Neale Hurston Story. The comic (which was colored by Bagge’s wife, Joanne) is his second biography of a “cranky” woman. (Previously he told the story of Margaret Sanger, who founded Planned Parenthood).
“Paste: How does it feel to make a shift toward biographic nonfiction at this point in your career? You’re a veteran cartoonist and you’ve suddenly produced two books of relatively scholarly biographical nonfiction in a row.
Peter Bagge: I’ve grown tired of both writing and reading fiction, for one thing. It’s a common old-age affliction! I have less patience reading made-up stuff these days. Reality is far more fascinating. And I’ve been writing nonfiction (including biographical) comics for the past 20 years or so. They’ve just taken a more ambitious turn lately.“
Richie Pope just announced that he has a new comic in the upcoming anthology Shortbox #4. It’s called Super Itis and he describes it like this on Instagram:
“A tired construction worker gets stuck in a dream made entirely of the soul food he ate for lunch.“
Pre-order Shortbox #4 HERE – ships in May.
Frank Santoro is auctioning artwork by his childhood friend and mentor, comics artist Rick Mays. These are original comics pages from projects like Spider-Man Ultimate Vol. 3 #2, and Spidey Loves MJ #13 – all proceeds will go to Mr. Mays. Check out the auction HERE.
Blinkers – 3-23-2017 – by Jack Brougham
Suzy and Cecil – 3-23-2017 – by Sally Ingraham
Joanie and Jordie – 3-23-2017 – by Caleb Orecchio