Sally here with Rachel Masilamani live from Pittsburgh, PA; Sophie Yanow saying “No!”; Florida witches at large thanks to Vanesa R. Del Rey and Jordie Bellaire; and much more.
The Pittsburgh Comic Salon had the great pleasure of hosting Rachel Masilamani last night at the ToonSeum. She has been making comics since 1997 and has a veritable constellation of work in print and online publications, as well as a number of self published works. Her first comics collection – RPM Comics #1 – received a grant from the Xeric Foundation. Her ongoing graphic novel project – Non Partum – appears on MUTHA Magazine in installments. Her most recent pieces are the powerful Battleground, which was part of Illustrated PEN’s series “State of Emergency”, and Who Does He Favor? from this month on the LA Review of Books.
Rachel spoke eloquently about how she uses comics to control and contextualize her experiences and memories, how “lies” illuminate the truth, and her belief in the power of making good art. She relates to Lynda Barry’s term “autobiofictionography” and names her as a main source of inspiration. Rachel pushed through her first successes and then bitter disappointments with the realty of making comics (and not making a living) and now 20 years into the game she is confident in her work and herself, and is excited about the medium.
It was wonderful to hear her speak, and to see her address a crowd of mostly women last night. Sharing our work and experiences this way is more important than ever.
Read Juan Fernandez’s discussion of Rachel’s foundational work HERE.
Sophie Yanow has captured the constant struggle of many artists to maintain their space to make their work – and turned that “NO” (so often combined with wracking guilt and anxiety) into something glorious. Thank you Sophie! This comic should go above everyone’s desk – and she has made it available as a “pay what you want” downloadable PDF so get your copy HERE asap!
Vanesa R. Del Rey and Jordie Bellaire talk Redlands over on Multiversity Comics in anticipation of the upcoming release of #1 (August 9th). I can’t wait for this comic, which will mix small town Florida with fed up witches, hopefully with wicked and wonderful results. Alice Castle interviewed the two makers about the work:
“The idea of using witches as the protagonists in “Redlands” is fascinating to me. Witches have usually been cast as figures of impurity; the kind of women who refuse to adhere to patriarchal society. What was it that drew you to this idea? What made witches the right pick for this story?
Jordie Bellaire: Women and the archetypes of crones, witches, succubi, etc go hand-in-hand. If women were sexually liberated, educated or sought knowledge or were generally unfettered by whatever social construct was pushed upon them at the time, they were written about as evil, dark and inhuman. This was in an effort to push women down and make them seem as if they were against not only men, but against god as well. It dates back to the story of Adam and Eve. This is a compelling trope that I wanted to dive into it as I think it has really set the tone for how women are seen in our culture and in our media. Women have been taking back the idea of being a witch or she-devil and owning it. The women in my story are unapologetic, flawed but liberated and real.
Vanesa, you’ve dabbled in the world of horror comics before with “The Empty Man,” which was where I first discovered your artwork. “Redlands,” from what I’ve seen, seems even more somber and atmospheric. How would you describe your approach to this series?
Vanesa R. Del Rey: The visual tone for the series is inspired by turn of the 19th-century illustration and printmaking, mainly. But I was also visiting Goya’s etching works which are pretty dark in terms of the commentary he made with the work as well as the imagery he used. I thought a hatching technique would be appropriate to illustrate the uneasiness, distress and anxiety in this land we have created. It’s also very classical, with attention to details and line weight…. I’m playing with the energy of the line to express a feeling in all ways.
Things in “Redlands” are very strange and confusing, much like the place from which we are taking inspiration, Florida; it’s beautiful and colorful, but dark and unsettling too.“
Read the rest of the interview HERE and get ye to a comics shoppe on August 9th to grab your copy of Redlands #1!
Working the Circuit
- Karen Berger announces the lineup of her new publishing imprint, Berger Books – Vulture has the details HERE.
- Katie Skelly was on Inkstuds recently, interviewed by guest host Joe McCulloch – listen HERE.
- Over on Comics Alternative Interviews Andy and Derek spoke with Gabrielle Bell about Everything is Flammable – HERE.
- Nicola Scott wades into the whys of how she’s drawing Wonder Woman for W Magazine – read the interview HERE.
- If you’re in the San Francisco area join Nicole J. Georges for an evening and celebrate the release of her new book Fetch on July 21st – part of the Comics in the City speaker series at California College of the Arts – details HERE.
Suzy and Cecil – 7-21-2017 – by Gabriella Tito
Joanie and Jordie – 7-21-2017 – by Caleb Orecchio