Sally here with Chris Ware and Caitlin McGurk’s incredible CXC 2017 interview, Ed Piskor’s X-Men Grand Design, Aidan Koch x 2 for the week, and much more!


Chris Ware and Caitlin McGurk during CXC 2017, photo by Ray Lavoie

I have been dying for the CXC 2017 interview between Chris Ware and Caitlin McGurk (who was interviewing who, in the end?) to be put online, and it’s finally up on The Wexner Center for the Arts website. You can listen to the full interview HERE.

Adam Griffiths masterfully broke down his impressions of this talk, and it’s worth revisiting – find it in his CXC 2017 report HERE. Here’s the best bit:

We as an audience are becoming redundant in order to allow Ware to mirror the brain’s experience of memory for us. Where did Ware get the concept of “comics as an art of memory?” Why in fact, Ware states, rather meekly, he got it from a paper that his stagemate, Caitlin McGurk wrote!

The room warms to Ware as the surprised McGurk, suddenly joyful, becomes flustered and confused, flushed and slightly embarrassed. Ware has delivered his sweet, sweet punchline…

The agreement that Ware has set us up for here is that we’ve been having a discussion about McGurk, not Ware, since we began, and that we will now remember, “Comics are an art of memory,” in all its redundant, charitable, pitiable human glory. Too clean!”

Caitlin herself wrote recently on social media:

Back in September I had the privilege of interviewing Chris Ware (by his request!) in front of a sold-out theater at Wexner Center for the Arts as part of Cartoon Crossroads Columbus. This was one of the most exciting and terrifying experiences of my professional life, but about halfway through there was a moment in the interview that made it genuinely life-changing for me. I am overwhelming grateful not just for Chris’s work, but for his generosity, kindness, and support.”

This interview is one of my favorite memories from the past year, simply as an audience member, so take the time to give it a listen and prepare to have your mind messed with and your heart warmed.


Ed Piskor signing copies of X-Men Grand Design #1 for Sally Ingraham, at Phantom of the Attic, Pittsburgh, PA, 12-20-17

I’m so excited about Ed Piskor’s X-Men Grand Design! #1 came out on Wednesday of this week, and I tried to be early to Ed’s signing at Phantom of the Attic, but there was already a lengthy line. The comic sold out within an hour. In fact, if you didn’t pick up a copy on Wednesday you might have to wait for the reprint, as I think the issue is sold out everywhere! And it’s really, really good. I couldn’t help myself, and I wrote the gushing review, as an Ed Piskor AND an X-Men fan, which you can read here on Comics Workbook.

About the comic itself I wrote:

The comic is a remarkable formalist masterclass. The 4-tier variations are unusual, especially the tall thin panels, and very exciting, keeping pace with the quick action of the story while harking back to comics from past ages, including the 1940’s. The use of color coding riffs on things Piskor did in Hip Hop Family Tree, but is utilized even more perfectly here (Magneto’s purple powers, Professor Xavier’s psychic communication, and especially the use of bright white in otherwise full color/sepia-toned pages, as a sort of guideline through the story). Piskor’s take on the characters are fun and feel right, and many of the pages are really beautiful, due to content and execution.”

And then perhaps even more remarkable is the legacy of Ed Piskor and his work:

It’s worth mentioning that Piskor is from Pittsburgh, the city of bridges. With this project he has become a new bridge in his own right, spanning the divide between alternative and mainstream comics, between Fantagraphics and Marvel. No one has ever really done both – or at least not successfully.

From his humble beginnings – self-publishing Wizzywig, and creating markets where there were none, putting work out online like Hip Hop Family Tree before getting noticed by Fantagraphics – until now, Piskor has operated with a true DIY spirit and worked really, really hard everyday at his craft. With this dedication and drive he developed unique projects, and built a fan base in the alternative comics scene that is rivaled by few.

Now with Piskor’s work on X-Men Grand Design, those fans will follow him over to mainstream comics, and similarly the potential for fans of X-Men to start picking up Hip Hop Family Tree and other alternative comics is huge. This is Piskor as the bridge, creating new comics readers and fanning the flames of a struggling market. This is good news for every comics maker in the industry today.”

Read the whole review HERE.

For another look at the comic and the thoughts of Ed Piskor himself, check out this interview on The Comics Beat, conducted by Al Frost.


Austin Lanari writes about the work of Aidan Koch over on Foggy at Best. The article is called Between Geometry and Gesture: (Some of) The Work of Aidan Koch, and it more specifically digs into After Nothing Comes, which collects a series of zines from across several years (Koyama Press, 2016). Lanari begins by saying:

The work of Aidan Koch stands out to me among a lot of other work because I believe you can read a single Aidan Koch comic and understand, in a deep way, what she’s all about. Other work that makes a strong first impression for me does so through its novelty or virtuosity. But reading Koch, I notice two things: that I feel like I’m part of the creative process in an intimate way and that I feel like she’s really onto something.”

Read the whole article HERE.


Other Comics News of Note

  • Laura Park is profiled on Hyperallergic and talks about her autobiographical work and her “exhibition connected to her three-week residency at the Columbus Museum of Art“. The show is up at the Museum through Feb. 11th 2018. Read about it HERE.
  • Henry Chamberlain interviews Hillary Chute about her new book Why Comics? From Underground to Everywhere over on Comics Grinder. Read it HERE.
  • Pittsburgh’s The ToonSeum gets a write-up on SyFy Wire with a focus on the current show Wonder Woman: Visions, which features the work of Trina Robbins and many local female artists. Check it out HERE.
  • Emil Ferris My Favorite Thing is Monsters tops the 2017 PW Graphic Novel Critics Poll. Read about it HERE.


Frank Santoro and Simon Hanselmann, CAB 2013 – photo by Chris Anthony Diaz, colored by Graham Willcox

The Winter Semester of thee Santoro Correspondence Course for Comic Book Makers starts January 16th 2018! 8 weeks – 500 bux – coaching for as long as you need. The course is hard, but Frank will push your comics making practice to a new level, getting you to think about timing and color in new ways. His experience and ideas have influenced the likes of Connor Willumsen, Michael DeForge, and Simon Hanselmann (quote “I consider Frank Santoro to be my L. Ron Hubbard”) among many others. Dig into something new in the new year!

Full details and how to apply can be found HERE.


Comics Workbook’s Daily News is taking a holiday break the week of Dec. 25-29!
Our news team will return, refreshed, on January 1st 2018.

Happy Holidays from all of us here at Comics Workbook!


Suzy and Cecil – 12-22-2017 – by Gabriella Tito

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