Sam Ombiri on Gabrielle Bell’s Everything is Flammable – plus other comics and news!


Sam Ombiri here: The reason for my enthusiasm for Everything Is Flammable by Gabrielle Bell is hard to pin down – but I’ll try! I liked how everything flows without interruptions. There’s a seamless transition between what’s going on in her head and what’s happening around her, in what’s treated by her as her reality. She doesn’t treat any incoming moment with more reverence than the last.

I got a surprising amount from the book – I just expected to have some fun reading another Gabrielle Bell book, but I kept feeling a lot from panel to panel. I’d read it and keep reading it, and I’d savor it. Gabrielle throws you these incredibly insightful things about life, but they are given no more weight than what was happening earlier. What’s great is that they are open ended insights – ones that you as the reader continue to work out as her stories continue.

There’s a part in book where Gabrielle is saying how she is wanting to go see if her Mom is alright after a house fire, but it’s so that she can be a hero – it’s really funny and speaks to the spirit of the book, that spirit of celebrating these minor victories. I’m addicted to reading them. The quests aren’t minor, but the triumphs aren’t a bigger event than those small, small moments of failure we might experience. Everything moment is given the same weight as far as the way they are portrayed.

The stories in the comic aren’t desperate to build for “a moment”. For example, Gabrielle may have a part where she’s about to check on her mother after an accident happened, and she says “And I have to admit my own selfishness in wanting to go. First, to draw comics about it…” This attitude doesn’t show, exclusively, an attempt to exploit every possible event. Gabrielle tells very little and conveys a lot.

Take the little things you love about people – you don’t have to escape into fantasizing and romanticizing these things about people. You don’t have to look too far to find them, every detail in life doesn’t always lead to a climatic ending. It’s consistent in Gabrielle Bell’s fiction and her auto bio that she seems uninterested in big endings or big conclusions, based on the work I’ve read. I think, as a result, there’s more of what I can believe in the reality that Gabrielle Bell portrays.

Related to this: I’m thinking of Gabrielle’s segment in Tokyo! – the Interior Design part directed by Michel Gondry. In contrast to the rest of Gondry’s filmography, it felt like the most nuanced and layered portrayal of this certain (for lack of a better term) mysterious nature of life. Even Gondry commented, and this might be him speaking as a comics maker himself, on how much Gabrielle can convey in just one panel. – Sam Ombiri

Get a copy of Everything is Flammable by Gabrielle Bell HERE.


7-27-2017 – by Sam Ombiri

on the eve of Microsoft Paint’s passing – more info HERE


Sally here – Ronald Wimberly did some character designs (above) recently for LeSean Thomas’ new animated short Children of Ether. The Blerdgurl writes:

What I think makes Thomas’ Children of Ether so significant is that not only is he an African-American artist and director who worked exclusively with a Japanese team to create Children of Ether, the main character, Rhonda, is also woman of color, a rare image in the world of anime.

Read more HERE.


Above is an excerpt from a comic about Abdi, part of a 14 comic series about various Somalian people published by PositiveNegative.

In collaboration with the Open Society Foundations (OSF) we produced a series of fourteen comics, based on personal testimonies, that highlight integration issues of the Somali communities across seven cities of Europe – London, Leicester, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Malmo, Oslo and Helsinki. The focus of the project was to accompany the OSF policy research on the same subjects and locations and to engage a wide, general audience and challenge negative media stereotyping of the Somali community.

Read all of the comics HERE.

Read about the Somali diaspora HERE.


It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Thee Comics Workbook Composition Competition 2017 has been announced! This year it’s a riff on the 6-panel grid, in the traditional North American comic book size – but with a twist!

Full details HERE.


Suzy and Cecil – 7-27-2017 – by Gabriella Tito


Joanie and Jordie – 7-27-2017 – by Caleb Orecchio

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