08/25/2017

Bon voyage to Caitlin Rose Boyle, and to Suzy & Cecil too – plus weird longbox comics finds and other news!

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Caitlin Rose Boyle‘s work was featured on the cover of Pittsburgh’s City Paper this week, and inside there’s an interview with her, on the eve of her departure for L.A. After a successful stint as the artist for Jonsey, Caitlin is ready to focus on animation for awhile and wants to be nearer to the studios where she hopes to collaborate. One of the things she’ll miss about Pittsburgh however are the comic makers here.

There are too many wonderful artists in this city. John Peña taught a comics class at CMU that kind of helped jumpstart my comics making process. Juan Fernandez has been a constant friend since our time at school and he’s one of the hardest working comics people I know! I’m always inspired after a conversation with Juan. Jenn Lisa’s drawings are so full of life and heart; her comics & drawings supercharge me when I look at them. Lizzie Solomon’s work pushes me to be bolder and weirder, Rachel Masilamani’s work is so powerful and raw and makes me want to share my heart on the page. I’m very lucky I got to share a space with Pittsburgh artists and comics-makers for awhile.

Caitlin also makes note of her influences and the changing comics scene.

I wasn’t super into American comics growing up, and the male-dominated atmosphere was a big part of it. I gravitated towards manga, which had a huge selection of female creators to choose from in a bunch of different genres. There’s still totally an old guard of comics dudes making really stale stuff with the bigger publishers, but there are honestly SO many women and non-binary people doing amazing work in comics right now, here and all over the world. A large chunk of it is independently published, or published online, but it’s accessible and there’s so much of it that I frequently have a backlog of amazing work to read through.

Read the rest of the interview HERE – and good luck to you Caitlin!

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Gabriella Tito and I are releasing a collection of Suzy & Cecil strips! Pulling from the comic strip that has been shared daily on Instagram and here in the Comics Workbook Daily News since November 2016, it will feature 44 strips picked out of the hundreds that we’ve made so far.

Please pre-order a copy HERE!

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Diana Sasse, 1999

Digging through longboxes is often how I discover new-to-me comics makers who happen to be women. As with any sort of hunting, there are good days, and bad days, and just weird days. It’s interesting and informative to add names to my mental list, and file comics titles away, but not surprising that there is a great deal of chaff to sift through.

Above is a comic by Diana Sasse, which at first glance I thought was a story by Donna Barr, who made those wild Stinz comics about centaurs. There are talking animals and centaurs galore in Diana Sasse’s Frenchie Doudou series, which follows a French soldier through a fantasy version of Europe in a time similar to WWI. The centaurs, and their more humanoid biped strain of being, are the Germans.

Diana is Swiss, and began publishing comics in 1988. I think her most recent project was this Antique White House series from the early 2000’s (a European fairy-tale-style take on JFK…) I guess the wind has blown away much other traces of her work.

Doom Patrol #69, 1993

Far more interesting – probably I should have led with this one – is one of Rachel Pollack‘s Doom Patrol issues, with art by Linda Medley. Rachel Pollack took over the writing on Doom Patrol when Grant Morrison left, and scribbled issues 64-87. Fans were heartbroken when Morrison left, but Rachel Pollack did some pretty interesting stuff with the series despite being a newcomer to comics – most notably, introducing a transgender character. Here’s an interview with Rachel from 2014 where she talks about some of what she tried to do with the series.

DC is actually finally collecting Rachel’s run of Doom Patrol – Doom Patrol Book Four will be released in February of 2018.

Doom Patrol #69, Linda Medley

Rachel Pollack’s run of Doom Patrol featured a number of different artists, but the issue I found was penciled by Linda Medley. She, of course, went on to be the award-winning creator of Castle Waiting, a series she started publishing in 1996 with the help of a Xeric grant, and continued to self-published for years on her own. Fantagraphics collected two volumes of Castle Waiting, but as of now Linda is working on volume 3 and is back to funding it herself (with a little help from her friends, hopefully).

The Desert Peach #2, 2009 reprint

One more longbox find – and this one IS by Donna Barr. No centaurs – instead we have the adventures of the (sadly fictitious) younger brother of the notorious German general the Desert Fox (Erwin Rommel). His little brother is Oberst Manfred Pfirsich Marie Rommel, and he is the Desert Peach. An openly gay German soldier during WWII is somewhat intriguing, and his misadventures as the commander of the 469th Halftrack, Gravedigging and Support Unit of the Afrika Korps, are pretty bonkers. Supposedly this unit is for the fellows who are really not “fit for service” in the German Army, the weirdos and strays who were nonetheless enlisted. The Desert Peach mainly tries to keep them out of any fighting, beyond what fighting they do among themselves. From the looks of issue #2, the series is pretty lively, and it appears that Donna aimed to bring a few more dimensions to the good vs. evil story-line of WWII. I guess I’d have to read the rest to see if she succeeded…

Earlier this year Donna Barr announced that the San Diego State University Library had released her Black Manuscripts – a series of 12 “ornate” works that collect what she was writing and drawing about in the mid-1970’s, soon after she got out of the army – things she never expected to see published (like many girls of the time, she noted). You can peruse the manuscripts in the digital library HERE.

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In Addition

  • Andrea Ayres digs into the barrier breaking/industry leading work of Kelly Sue DeConnick and MariNaomi over on The Comics Beat, laying out the resources both women have created to combat the problem of diversity in comics. Read the article HERE.
  • Sara Lautman gives a shoutout to her “Microgeneration” on the New Yorker.
  • Check out new online magazine Anomaly 25, featuring the work of a bunch of rad women – HERE.
  • Melissa Mendes shared a comic she created based on a Twitter thread written by Julius Groat that deals with the recent white supremacist activity in Charlottsville. Read it HERE.

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Suzy and Cecil – 8-25-2017 – by Sally Ingraham

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Joanie and Jordie- 8-25-2017 – by Caleb Orecchio

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