Sam Ombiri takes a look at the anthology Warmer, and Sally brings a CXC events update and other comics and news.
Sam Ombiri here: When I was at SPX I bought a copy of Warmer from Madeleine Witt and Andrew White. A Lot of the time whenever I pick up an anthology, the anthology seems to be having an identity crisis. It is really trying to convince me that it’s something it’s not, as if the anthology is insecure about the area it occupies. If not insecure, then it’s probably going to be insular. This insecurity I project onto the anthologies I pick up comes from the extreme fear of mediocrity that most anthologies suffer from. Whenever someone is really desperate to surpass this mediocrity, they don’t have to go too far to do so. This desperation and insecurity really turns me off as the reader, and I’d rather just read the comics without considering them in an anthology altogether.
My first and lasting impression of Warmer was that it didn’t suffer from any of that! “Complacency” is the last word I’d use to describe the anthology – especially with the subject matter being tackled (climate change). It doesn’t feel like it’s “tackling an issue” as much as remaining in this space where we’re humans who are experiencing this deterioration in ourselves. Meanwhile, so is the planet, and this can be seen in things we do that are altogether unrelated to what we might do to perpetuate the pollution of the environment.
There’s no complacency in the book, just people trying to fight against that urge to be complacent both in their art and in their lives. Whenever something is contrived, which is rare in the book, it doesn’t work against the anthology because the following strip will have a good response to it. This shows the strength in numbers that can come out of an anthology, beyond having an easy way to access a variety of work – the strip before and after can strengthen the work. Some of these comics I wouldn’t read or engage with properly, if I wasn’t reading them in Warmer.
For example, the first two strips are immensely enticing. They’re followed by this strip that seems out of place. The author of this strip (William Cardini) isn’t in any rush to make a connection between the style being utilized and the words being utilized. I just found myself, as a reader, really wanting that connection. The strip also confused me tonally because of this whole vibe I had been set up for from the first and second strip (which are by Caitlin Skaalrud and Tor Brant respectively). The second strip had a more familiar looking 4 panel structure that suggested a punchline would be waiting for me at the fourth panel, but instead it beautifully invoke a longing for things to set right. Much like the first strip. Then on the third strip I get this goofy looking face, seemingly drawn by someone who I mistakenly imagine to be a gag cartoonist. I mistakenly read the tongue sticking out of the character drawn as a character mocking me for having this other expectation. Then I read more and discovered that while doing poetry comics, one can feel the inclination to jump into expression sooner than warranted, but it’s not the case at all with this book. The third strip was actually fantastic and it speaks to both the contributors of this anthology and the curation of Madeleine and Andrew.
In this whole book, the images and words further each other really well, and it’s wonderfully curated to accommodate the reader in the best way from beginning to the end. – Sam Ombiri
Keep an eye out for this anthology in the next few weeks – Andrew and Madeleine are fulfilling the Kickstarter and sold out of the copies they brought to SPX a few weeks ago! However, Andrew says Warmer will be for sale online asap – so stay tuned.
Sally here! Comics Workbook and Connor Willumsen are coming to Cartoon Crossroads Columbus this weekend (Sept. 28-Oct. 1st)!
Workshops with Connor will be almost every hour on Saturday and Sunday.
“The educational workshops hosted by Pittsburgh’s Comics Workbook focus on visual theory applied in practical fashion to any kind of comics making a cartoonist can imagine and can benefit any way a student of the form might wish to improve. This year’s special host is the remarkable visual talent Connor Willumsen, with guest-star teachers dropping in and out throughout the weekend. Walk-ins welcome.”
Just had to share the above drawing, made by Connor Willumsen during his weeklong stay in Pittsburgh between SPX and touring for Koyama Press, and his upcoming stint at CXC. For the baseball fans out there.
Jacob Khepler, “the publisher of Mothers News“, has started a new blog. So far he’s written about the zine shown above by Edie Fake, Family Circus, and books by Pushkin and Rimboud – something for everyone! Check out 100% Publishing HERE and be sure to bookmark it so you can keep up with one of the finest writers around.
The fall semester of thee Santoro Correspondence Course for Comic Book Makers starts October 1st 2017. 8 weeks of comics instruction that will bang your practice into shape – 500 bux. Full details about the course and how to apply can be found HERE.
Frank Santoro made a comic book about his parents and now he needs help making a handbound copy of the book for each of them. It’s a good story. Check out the Indiegogo campaign HERE – or if you want to contribute via PayPal, look at the campaign HERE.
Suzy and Cecil – 9-28-2017 – by Sally Ingraham