Sally here with comics from Jessica Campbell and Gabriella Tito, interviews with Keiler Roberts and Roz Chast, a look at the book Black Women in Sequence, Mardou on Clowes, a moment with Frank Santoro, and the Winter Correspondence Course details.
I was startled to discover an illustration by The New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast on the cover of Birding, the monthly magazine published by the American Birding Association, of which I am a member. Although I often think about the parallels between the two worlds that I stand with feet planted in, this was an amusing direct collision. Roz Chast, like many cartoonists , prefers to spend her time safely indoors with her two pet birds – but has also been coaxed as far as the Pantanal to check out Jabirus, Hyacinth Macaws, caracaras, Wattled Jacanas, toucans, and wild parakeets. Her parents had parakeets when Roz was a girl, and ever since then birds have been part of her life, and often pop up in her work (her two children’s books feature a red parrot named Marco, modeled after a bird she owned in real-life). One of her famous cartoons features a very classic New Yorker pigeon:
I grew up in “the birding world”, paling around with my Dad on birding trips and to festivals where bird enthusiasts flocked, much like a comic con. I still go searching for odd birds in interesting corners of the world, and now I make comics about that, because as Roz Chast put it so well: “Birds are fun to draw and interesting to think about. I think they’re a lot smarter and more verbal than other animals. They’re like us in some ways. … I’m 100% sure birds talk to one another. I would guess it’s mostly gossip.” I agree, Roz!
I’d direct you to the full interview, but you have to be an ABA member to see the online article (you can join HERE if you’re interested in letting your bird-nerd flag fly.)
Jessica Campbell has a comic on The Nib, and as usual I find her work extremely relatable…
I picked this book up while at work at Copacetic Comics yesterday, and spent some time digging into this essential, important discussion of race, feminism, exoticism, and the social development of the comics community. Recently published by the University of Washington Press, it finds a balance between scholarly text and lively investigation – and has plenty of pictures of rare and unusual comics. (Right off the bat I learned that the very first black superheroine was The Butterfly, who debuted in Hell-Rider #1 in August 1971 – there’s a full write-up about this comic HERE for those interested.)
The author of Black Women in Sequence – Deborah Elizabeth Whaley – is an Associate Professor of American Studies and African American Studies at the University of Iowa. She has been studying how mass media reflects and shapes culture for her entire career. This book started out as an article about the representation of Catwoman over the years, but a brief search through the writing on women in comics revealed that there was NO writing to speak of about Black women in comics as producers, readers, and characters. Whaley quickly, thoroughly fixed that, and there is information in this book that until now has been almost impossible to find.
“I tried to read every comic book, comic strip, and graphic novel with Black female characters. This meant reaching back to the 1930s. I went through a lot of Black and mainstream newspapers from the 1930s to the 1990s and tried to find storylines in comic strips that addressed larger issues in culture, especially concerning politics, nation-making, gender, class, race, and sexuality.
I approached as many Black women writers and artists doing comics that I could find to conduct interviews. I worked to make connections between the print representations and representations in film, video games, and anime. I of course had to read as many secondary sources as possible, address all relevant historical contexts, and did research on the background of artists and writers and other things they were involved in like civil rights and the Communist Party. For one of the artists and writers I write about I had to obtain and then read her 250-page FBI file.” – Dr. Whaley
There’s an interview with her about the book on Sequart that gets into her research process and her hopes for the work, as well as her next project. Check it out HERE. I’ll be continuing to read the book over the next few weeks and will report back on what I find!
Rob Clough interviewed Keiler Roberts for The Comics Journal.
“Roberts is also a keen observer of character dynamics and the humor of awkwardness, as a hilarious strip about a trip to a day spa that involves comparing bodies with a friend demonstrates. Roberts writes a lot about social anxiety and the ways in which she copes with the world, but her strong storytelling and character focus prevents it from being didactic. Her stories are little bursts of truth that trust the reader to make connections, and even the most emotionally wrought situations are tapped for their humor. She won an Ignatz award for Outstanding Series at SPX 2016, a couple of years after she drew strips in which she discussed her dread in potentially attending the show. She addressed all of these topics and many more in this interview…“
Frank Santoro gave a talk at the ToonSeum last night as part of the Pittsburgh Comic Salon’s monthly lecture series. The clip below catches him speaking about his comic Kora.
There are always decent comics over on VICE – Leslie Stein is running diary comics there right now, while Dame Darcy‘s Ghost Castle series continues, and Anna Haifisch has at least Three Jolly Autumn Strips.
Sacha Mardou has a feature here on Comics Workbook this week – an essay On Being a Woman in the Manly World of Daniel Clowes. She really digs in, exploring her own relationship with the characters in Clowes’ work as much as the the topic of her piece.
“What is going on here? The women get more choices than Clowes’s men. From Clay Loudermilk to Daniel Pussey to David Boring the men inhabit this spectrum of sad indignities like Fate’s blind somnambulists. The women are operating on a more awakened level I think. Dan Clowes writes women so damn well that they overshadow the men they deal with on every page that they interact together. Why is this so? Is it because of feminism? Post modernism? Punk rock? What’s driving this?“
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 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.
Inspired by a story that originates with Bill Boichel and Frank Santoro, Gabriella Tito and I have been drawing Suzy & Cecil strips this week.
Have a great weekend folks! – Sally