Sally here with work by Gloria Rivera and Vreni Stollberger, a reality check from Hannah Berry, an update on the Resist! and Comics 4 Choice anthologies, and wisdom from Hellen Jo and Jessica Abel.
Hellen Jo is interviewed on Giant Robot Media. She talks about making comics vs paintings, moving away from being an animator, Korean ghosts, and the political climate’s effect on her work.
“GR: Can you tell me where the strong women aspect of your work comes from?
HJ: When I started self-publishing comics, I was disturbed by how little representation of Asian and Asian American women I could find in comics that I could really get behind. Nearly every character I came across was either hyper-kawaii-infantile-cute, or dragon-lady yellow fever sexualized. Where the hell were the strong minded butch girls and tomboys who were gross, dirty, mean, violent, powerful? When I was a young adult, I desperately needed to see that kind of characterization; it was my aspiration, my purest personal desire, to become that type of woman, and if I wasn’t gonna find it anywhere, I was determined to build it myself. Selfishly, I also made this art to help me express this desire and to grow into this cooler version of myself; it’s a work in progress but so far so good, I think.“
The L.A. Zine Fest is this Sunday, May 28th, from 10-6 at the California Market Center. Comics Workbook student and comics maker-extraordinaire Gloria Rivera will be tabling – find her at 34B. She will be debuting her comic We come from a desert (above) at the festival. She drew some of this comic while in Pittsburgh, PA, for her Comics Workbook Rowhouse Residency in March of this year.
Michael Cavna’s Comic Riffs on the Washington Post checks in on the progress of the second issue of Resist!, the political zine that was “co-founded by New Yorker art director Françoise Mouly to spotlight female creators and issues they view as important” following the election of President Trump. Instead of simply being a free newspaper to pass out at the Women’s March in Washington, Resist! quickly became part of a growing movement.
” “While everywhere else there may be protest fatigue, from our standpoint it seems to be an exciting moment of rebirth for comics as political activity,” Mouly tells The Post’s Comic Riffs. “It feels like a return to the Charlie Hebdo of my youth in May 1968,” during the Paris student riots.
Mouly underscores the publication’s embrace of star cartoonists and young unknowns alike. “What’s unique to Resist! is the way it mixes the voices of librarians and young girls and accountants together with that of Roz Chast, Cathy Malkasian, Miriam Katin, Daniel Clowes and Art Spiegelman,” she says.“
The second issue, which received even more submissions than the first, is due to be released on Independence Day. Read more about it HERE.
Here is an interesting piece by Hannah Berry (which I found through The Comics Reporter) – it ties into something that I’ve been thinking about and having conversations about a lot recently. Hannah writes that her recent graphic novel Livestock may very well be her last, and details her precarious financial situation and the hopeless reality/impossibility for most of making a “living” from being a working cartoonist. You can read more of Hannah’s thoughts HERE (scroll down a little bit).
One cannot doubt that her heart is in the right place:
“Comics are the most sublime form of storytelling, and I will never, ever stop making them. They offer such a perfect balance of narrative freedom and restrictions, of clarity and subtlety, that whenever anyone asks me why I make comics I wonder if they shouldn’t be asking all other writers and filmmakers why they’re not, the cuckoos. Comics are everything.“
Hannah, who has been published several times and won arts council grants in the UK, and managed to gain enough traction to pick up small supporting side-comic/art jobs…is one of the lucky ones. And she is STILL tempted to quit. You just can’t make a living doing this.
Her solution to the problem is to raise a clamor and demand more funding and attention for work like hers…and mine…and ours… And I agree – but in the reality I face here in the United States, where funding and support of the arts is actually dwindling visibly…I don’t see that as a solution any more viable than us all going out to dig holes at the bottom of rainbows.
I’m tired of talking about money. Most of us are never going to make any. And most of us didn’t get into this industry to do so – we did it because “comics are everything.” So let’s go with that. In the face of capitalism, to do something “for the love” is radical. We can create spaces, build an audience, be a community of organizers so that no one person is expected to find the funding. We can incubate, we can plant seeds. I think we have to stop demanding support from a limping industry propped against a broken capitalist system. We have to be better, more inventive, more giving, more dangerous than that.
There is an excerpt from Vreni Stollberger‘s comic Nothing Feels Real on The Nib – see it HERE. You can see the rest of the story in the upcoming collection Comics for Choice: Anthology for Abortion Rights, edited by Hazel Newlevant. The collection will be about 250 pages, made by 60 writers and artists and featuring 41 stories. Learn more about the project HERE.
Jessica Abel is offering a free online workshop this Sunday, May 28th 2017 – you can register HERE. Jessica’s line these days is that “being creative is not a state of mind” – her latest project is a book about finding/developing focus in your creative life. Check it out HERE.
Just a few days left to apply for the summer semester of thee Santoro Correspondence Course for Comic Book Makers! The course starts June 1st. 8 weeks – $500 bux – the best comics coaching around. More details HERE or email firstname.lastname@example.org to apply.
Blinkers – 5-26-2017 – by Jack Brougham
Suzy and Cecil – 5-26-2017 – by Gabriella Tito