Aaron here today with CW festival events for this upcoming weekend; Chinese Comics; Agnes Martin; Dog City 3; Screening Dash Shaw; Reviewing Safe Distance; Some Notable Comics of Note


Comics Workbook will be participating in 2 festivals this weekend in the U.S. and U.K.

  • Cartoon Crossroads Columbus, October 13-16. We will be hosting workshops and tabling. Join Comics Workbook, along with cartoonists Alyssa Berg and Kurt Ankeny, for an immersive weekend of comics creation. We will examine art and the grid, bringing the strong artistic practices of Berg and Ankeny together with the discipline and rhythm of the grid, as laid out by Comics Workbook founder Frank Santoro. Four hours across two days will be filled with the exploration of a variety of techniques and methods which will inspire the beginner, and challenge the established cartoonist. Comics as jazz; comics as architecture; how a simple index card can transform your sequencing and storytelling process – come join us for an hour or four and take your comics making to a new level. The full festival schedule is here.
  • The Lakes International Comic Art Festival, October 14-16. Join Frank Santoro, Aidan Koch, and Connor Willumsen for some cool workshops and visit table 67 in the Comics Clocktower to meet Oliver East and Jack Brougham, among others. We will be hosting 3 special workshops, “Visual Poetry” with Aidan Koch, “The Hammer Party” with Connor Willumsen and “Composition Competition” with Frank Santoro. Visit our event page for more information.


Chinese Indie Comix
Writer, critic, and translator R. Orion Martin has an overview of the Special Comix anthologies published in China during the past 10 years or so:

Like other iterations of Special Comix, the artists are working in a range of qualities and directing their work towards diverse, sometimes mutually exclusive audiences. Some artists use the poster format to great effect, creating dense visual landscapes that challenge the reader to interpret them. Yayi’s intricately constructed illustration guides the viewer from one symbol-laden visual to another, refusing to settle into any obvious reading. Similarly, New York-based illustrators Lisk Feng and Jun Cen contribute surreal works that seem to a capture a single moment from a much longer tale. Lisk Feng’s work depicts a troop of Boy Scouts and the creatures that haunt them, while Jun Cen presents a naked woman who has just encountered a giant praying mantis encased in a Mignola-esque crystal prison. Though both these artists come from a background in illustration, they use the poster format to build the foundation for a narrative that could develop in multiple directions.


Image above by Chihoi, I’m waiting for you to come back (from Special Comix 6: Transform).

Additionally, Martin has been conducting interviews with Chinese cartoonists and artists (Yan Cong, Li Kong, Fanqiao Wang), as well as translating work into English (Bu Er Miao).


Agnes Martin on view at the Guggenheim through January 11

One of the few female artists who gained recognition in the male-dominated art world of the 1950s and ’60s, Martin is a pivotal figure between two of that era’s dominant movements: Abstract Expressionism and Minimalism. Her content—an expression of essential emotions—relates her to the earlier group, the Abstract Expressionists, but her methods—repetition, geometric compositions, and basic means—were adopted by the Minimalists, who came to prominence during the ’60s. Martin’s work, however, is more than a bridge between the two. It stands apart by never losing sight of the subjective while aspiring toward perfection. “I would like [my pictures] to represent beauty, innocence and happiness,” she said. “I would like them all to represent that. Exaltation.”



Dog City #3
CW’s intrepid Juan Fernandez recently unearthed some copies of Dog City 3, from 2014. From his Instagram:

I found some of the LAST copies of Dog City 3 and took some to @copaceticcomics – the rest of ’em are safe and sound at my place 😉

Want to bring one of these puppies home?$27 bux postpaid. US shipping only. “The comics expo in a box.” Mad props to Closed Caption Comics for setting the bar way back when.

For those of you not yet in the know: Dog City is a small press comics magazine dedicated to publishing quality minicomics. Each issue of Dog City consists of a curated selection of minicomics packaged in an artfully designed cardboard box.

Dog City 3 features comics by: Jennifer Lisa, Sophie Goldstein, Caitlin Rose Boyle, Luke Healy, Simon Reinhardt, Amelia Onorato, dw n me, Allison Banister and Tom O’Brien with a collaborative mini, Iris Yan, D. Rinylo – prints and posters by Laurel Lynne Leake and Steven Krall + reprints a selection of strips from the now-forgotten newspaper series Who’s Zoo, which has been restored and compiled by Reilly Hadden!



Making My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea
Wednesday, October 12, 7pm, as part of the New York Film Festival, at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, 144 West 65the Street, NYC

With My Entire High School Sinking into the Sea, playing in this year’s Main Slate, celebrated graphic novelist Dash Shaw and his team have created a beautifully layered, colorful, and entertaining new animated film. Shaw’s first feature is a comic adventure about friends overcoming their differences and having each other’s backs in times of crisis, and its marvelously complex characters are voiced by Jason Schwartzman, Lena Dunham, Reggie Watts, Maya Rudolph, and Susan Sarandon. This discussion—featuring writer-director Dash Shaw, lead animator Jane Samborski, and producer Kyle Martin—will go behind the scenes to explore the making of this distinctive new movie.


James K. Hindle’s mini-comic, Safe Distance, is reviewed over at Sequential State

Hindle sets the stage of the comic with a bizarre chemical spill that only affects his apartment. The strange spill causes an overgrowth of plants and trees inside his apartment, eventually causing the destruction of his home and his disconnection from the rest of the world. The metaphor of destructive change, acceptance, and growth links closely with the way death affects families and people. No matter where you are when you start, you aren’t the same at the end. The grieving, the anger, those final questions – they all change you irrevocably.



B.A.C. 2016
The Notable Comics list from The Best American Comics 2016 has been posted, see if you (or someone you may care dearly for and/or feel massively ambivalent about) are on the list! Thanks to series editor Bill Kartalopoulos for compiling and painstakingly linking to each of the cartoonists and their individual works on the list.

And here’s a quick note from Bill K about the B.A.C. series:

As Series Editor of The Best American Comics, it is my job to attempt to see as many of each year’s most interesting comics as I can. The majority of these arrive as submissions through our public postal address (below). Others I find by attending comics festivals, consulting with colleagues, reaching out individually to artists and publishers, visiting comic books stores, endlessly scanning the internet, and generally keeping my antenna up at all times. After nearly a year of looking and reading, I forward to each year’s Guest Editor a selection of more than one hundred outstanding works. From this pool of material, the Guest Editor selects the pieces that will appear in each year’s Best American Comics (while retaining, as well, the latitude to bring in some work they may have discovered independently).

On the subject of our process, I cannot urge any artist or publisher strongly enough to submit work to Best American Comics. We have a completely open submission process, and all work that is submitted will be considered. Please send work, labeled with contact information and date of publication, to:

Bill Kartalopoulos
Series Editor
The Best American Comics
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company
3 Park Avenue, 19th floor
New York, NY 10016


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