Sam and Sally with the Thursday comic news – featuring Anya Davidson, Yona Harvey, Ariell Johnson, Ron Husband, Cameron Weston Nicholson, and new work from Sam Ombiri himself.



Sam Ombiri here with a “Comment Section Review”:

Anya Davidson’s work got bombarded with negative comments in the A.V. Club comment section recently. I’m pretty crazy about her work, and I don’t want to act like there is no room for the folks who have dislike of Anya’s work, but I feel the commentators completely fail to acknowledging a comics scene outside of theirs, so they just see Band For Life as “a bunch of random scribbles that Fantagraphics put out.” I wonder what they read to make themselves so repulsed with Anya’s work. To some degree that’s really cool that it repulsed them to the degree that it did, because I wonder in what universe are the drawings in Band For Life considered horrible, in what universe?! I just say that because I lack that perspective.

Sammy Harkham said he feels, or I guess more so felt at the point at which he said it: that “context is everything, it’s weird, but context is everything.” I don’t know if I agree with that completely but I do agree.

Michael DeForge said that the people commenting live in a bubble and haven’t come into contact with anything like Band For Life.

Jesse Moynihan said somewhere how when he debuted with his first Adventure Time episode, he went on 4chan (I think) to see the response for it and people were saying “why are these drawings so bad?” I guess the context there is that it doesn’t resemble anime enough for them. It’s really cool that they could sense there was a different energy in those drawings though. 

What are these people in the A.V. comment sections reading, though, that’s got them so full of themselves and their tastes? They probably just don’t want their scene “contaminated.” – Sam Ombiri

Sally here, and I’m with Sam when it comes to being crazy about Anya Davidson’s work – so for the record and for the ignoramuses out there, here’s a list of recent reviews and interviews with this badass cartoonist, brought to you by folks who don’t live in bubbles:

The Comics Journal, with Dan Nadel himself blowing the trumpets – “…her comics are a joy to look at. Her thick-thin strokes dance on the page and her characters are always-recognizable graphic icons. Hers is a Kurtzman-esque cartooning technique that she can apply to any scenario of her choosing…

Paste, on Anya’s “noisy, weird art” – “Her work, which evokes the bombastic action of Jack Kirby as immediately as it does a riot grrrl zine, is bold and brash. Her bulky, blocky figures clash and collide with one another in a cacophony of pen and ink. It’s the kind of genre-busting, high- and low-culture-blending comic perfectly at home in a post-Fort Thunder alternative comics scene, and for those in the know, Davidson has been a cartoonist to follow.

The Comics Beat – “Anya Davidson’s Band for Life is one of the boldest graphic novels of the year, an eye splitting trip into the lives of an indie punk rock band and their misadventures. Call it Josie and the Pussycats for the post-iTunes generation.

You can get a copy of Anya Davidson’s Band for Life HERE.


Here’s a recent comic by Sam Ombiri:

Sam Ombiri, November 3rd 2016


Yona Harvey (from the PGH City Paper, photo by Sarah Huny Young)

Pittsburgh’s poet/professor Yona Harvey is getting ready for the Nov. 9th debut of a new Marvel series – The World of Wakanda – which she is authoring along with Roxane Gay  (they are the first black female authors to work for Marvel) and Ta-Nehisi Coates (author of the current Black Panther series, which The World of Wakanda spins off of). In conversation with Wayne Wise for the PGH City Paper this week, Yona said “I think my poetry skills helped with the voice and characterization,” – when asked about the differences between writing poetry and writing a comics script.

The Zenzi story is only 10 pages, so concision is necessary. She feels that the page-to-page and line-to-line transitions are very similar to what she does with the forms of poetry she writes. Finding the ‟voice and the music and the sound,” were important to her. Comics are a different language, but the beats and rhythms felt familiar.” – via PGH City Paper

Comics Workbook will be at Phantom of the Attic next week when the comic debuts and Yona Harvey is there to celebrate the release.

Read the rest of the PGH City Paper article HERE.

A panel from The World of Wakanda, with art by Afua Richardson

Check out more work by The World of Wakanda artist Afua Richardson HERE.


While poking around Paste I came across another recent “first black woman” story, this one about Ariell Johnson, “the founder and president of Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse, Inc. in Philadelphia, and the first black woman on the East Coast to own her own comic book store“. She has garnered an appearance on a variant cover of Invincible Iron Man #1, illustrated by Elizabeth Torque.


Ariell says it was the X-Men‘s Storm who got her into comics, and although she had to scrape bottom to find diversity in superhero comics as a kid, that is finally changing. Her comic book shop is part of that. Read the article HERE.


Cameron Weston Nicholson dug up this story about Ron Husband for us: although Floyd Norman is often credited as being the first black Disney animator, that title actually belongs to Ron Husband. Cameron is an animator himself, so he understands the amount of work that goes into just seconds of action – and knows that the title of “animator” is one that has to be earned.

“From the early days at Disney until the 1980’s, an artist had to produce 100 feet of animation to get a screen credit.”

Ron actually pulled this feat off, and you can read about his career HERE. He got into the educational side of animation as well, visiting schools and becoming a sort of ambassador, and currently runs a blog featuring process posts and other tidbits from his wealth of animating knowledge – check it out HERE.

Ron Husband


Check out some of Cameron Weston Nicholson‘s latest sketches and drawings, via his Instagram (@prof_weston):

Before bed. ?

A video posted by Cameron•Weston Nicholson (@prof_weston) on

Also, take a minute or 60 to view the footage of Cameron’s SPX 2016 Comics Workbook-hosted workshop if you haven’t yet – “Comics are a symphonic mixture of picture & word.”


Comics Workbook got a nice shout out from Down the Tubes, a British comics website that has been reporting on comics since 1999. Mel Brooks was writing about the academic workshops at The Lakes International Comic Art Festival, which Frank Santoro, Aidan Koch, and Connor Willumsen were a large part of – check out the report HERE.


Check out Swinespritzen – and Portraits, the other new book from Connor Willumsen – HERE.

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