Sam Ombiri brings more thoughts on originality and Sally Ingraham follows up with comics by Shannon Wright and Keith Knight, a quick visit with Yona Harvey and Roxane Gay, the Winter Semester of the Santoro Correspondence Course, and Connor Willumsen’s Punisher pages for sale – plus March: Book 3’s big award.


Sam Ombiri: A Shout-out to David O’Reilly

I had more thoughts I wanted to share about originality that I didn’t mention last week, or I guess I feel I didn’t clarify. This is all concerning me, and how I approach originality – I am not an authority to impose.

I’m not anti-originality, I guess I’m more thinking I’m anti-concern and preoccupation with originality. I’m not fully sure in which particular context that this struggle for originality would fit. I’m not sure even how to fully name a context of originality.

The only thing that comes to my head is how when Lil Dicky became popular, he kept saying in interviews how he’s “different and original” and he repeats that so many times in different interviews to the point where it feels like a joke. Even if you forsake all these other underground hip hop artists, like say Heems,  Busdriver, Open Mike Eagle, Danny Brown, Kittyof course I have to mention Ride, or even if, as some of Lil Dicky’s fans were claiming, Lil Dicky meant in a more mainstream context that he’s so different – there’s the other context. (But even in that context he’s not in any way different.)

Even then, as much as anyone can insist they’ve achieved originality and therefore they should be praised, someone can always come along and deny that.

In the essay by David O’Reilly that I’ve been thinking about there’s an awesome quote by Tarkovsky – I won’t quote it for a couple reasons, a minor one being that it’s irrelevant. So I’ll just quote a different one, and for the sake of me making a point we’ll pretend he used this quote instead.

Tarkovsky said that when he saw The Trial of Joan of Arc, he was touched by “the absolute independence of the spectator in regard to this film. A total independence in the sense that the film never appears to be a spectacle, but rather nature, life itself. If one wants to watch, one watches, if one doesn’t, one doesn’t. If one wants to see it as art one may, otherwise not. Such a strong independence from public and critical opinion remains for me the exemplary attitude of a director towards his audience.

He says later in the interview “when people tell me during the shooting of my film that a certain scene is in a way reminiscent of Bresson – and this has happened – I will immediately change the approach to avoid any resemblance. If there’s such an influence, it doesn’t show on the surface of my work. This is an influence of a deeper nature. It’s a moral influence between artists, without which art cannot exist.

Sammy Harkham said how he was really influenced by Brian Chippendale’s Ninja mini comics while Sammy was doing Somersaulting where the “melodrama is demilitarized” and the events made minor. It’s probably that type of indirect influence.

I don’t know if Tarkovsky’s intentions were concerned with originality. It seems to be an altogether different impulse, similarly to the other quote in David O’Reilly’s essay (disregard the first sentence in the quote in relation to the last quote):

A preoccupation with originality of form is more or less a fruitless thing. A truly original person with a truly original mind will not be able to function in the old form and will simply do something different. Others had much better think of the form as being some sort of classical tradition and try to work within it.

I think everything but the last sentence is on a different wavelength than Josh Bayer’s idea of originality being a red herring. I think I would replace the last part of the quote with Josh Bayer’s thoughts on originality being a red herring.

Sam Ombiri


Sally here with some other comics and news from this week.


From the Washington Post:

“March: Book 3,” a graphic novel about the later years of the civil rights movement, won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature on Wednesday night in New York.

Congratulations to Rep. John Lewis and the creative team behind the book (including illustrator Nate Powell)! Co-writer Andrew Aydin had two take-aways from the big win, one being that the story of the civil rights movement could continue to be passed on to young people. The other was “Let the prejudice against comic books be buried once and for all!” We applaud that sentiment.

Read the rest of the Washington Post article HERE.


Shannon Wright is still making almost daily comics and sharing them on her Instagram. A recent strip:

Follow Shannon at @shannondrewthis for more.



Essence has a feature on Yona Harvey and Roxane Gay’s work on the Black Panther spin-off series World of Wakanda – they talk about some of the challenges of taking on a Marvel Universe storyline.

Storytelling is storytelling, so it’s not that different, save for working within the comic format of panels,” said Gay. “The biggest difference for me was thinking more explicitly in terms of scene.” Harvey’s challenge was the formal outline. “I felt so resistant to the outline. In poetry, I experiment and draft and then shape the story through the placement of the poems. Total opposite of writing comics.” via Essence

Read the rest of the article HERE.


Keith Knight on The Nib recently:


He has more Th(ink) strips on his website – check them out HERE.



Comics Workbook has announced the Winter Semester of the Santoro Correspondence Course for Comic Book Makers – course starts Dec. 29th 2016!

10 spots available – apply by Dec. 13th 2016 and get $100 of course fee!

Email santoroschoolATgmail for more details.

Santoro School Application guidelines:

-3 figure drawings done on blank 3 x 5 index cards

-3 landscape drawings done on blank 3 x 5 index cards

-3 still life drawings done on blank 3 x 5 cards

-draw in a contour line style – Think Matisse – no under-drawing – draw directly in ink

-just send me small jpgs of images – dont post to your blog pls

-specific url links to any comics work you have done.

Send applications to: santoroschoolATgmail


Connor Willumsen is selling the original pages from his Punisher story – check them out here.

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