Juan with the Pittsburgh Zine Fair’s Winter Market; Frank Santoro on The Art of Vanesa R. Del Rey; Erotica in the NYPL; Richard McGuire and tiny drawings; Gabriella Tito does Suzy and Cecil. 


Pittsburgh, PA – The Zine Fair’s Winter Market

The Pittsburgh Zine Fair (PZF) partnered up with WorkshopPGH (5122 Penn Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15206) to host a small and cozy winter zine and print market last Friday, December 2, from 7 – 10 pm. This event was free and open to the public! I organized it with Maggie Negrete, Christina Lee and Raiona Gaydos. It was a blast.

Exhibitors included: Jenn Lisa, Ceci Ebitz, Small Press Pittsburgh, Jayla Patton, Higu Rose, Copacetic Comics, Madeleine Campbell, Maggie Lynn, Danny Devine, Jerome Charles, the Pittsburgh Comics Salon, Comics Workbook, Lizzee Solomon, Christina Lee, City Slicker Press & more!


Since its debut at AIR: Artists Image Resource in 2011, the PZF has attracted a diverse group of artists, writers and activists from across the region whose content may vary but the format remains the same- the zine. An icon of DIY ethos and radical info sharing, the zine decentralizes media and vaults individual expression while remaining inexpensive. Almost 700 people attended our main event last October – if you’re around Pittsburgh, keep an eye out for more events and announcements for next year!

Here are some photos I took! Wish you coulda been there:

The Salon and local CW crew – Lane Graff, Sam Ombiri, Sally Ingraham and Elisha Rush
Maggie Lynn Negrete & Madeleine Campbell
Em DeMarco and the CW Crew


Karen Lillis
Christina Lee and Lizzee Solomon
Nat Sampson and Jayla Patton
Bill Boichel and Nate McDonough
Da team: Christina Lee, Maggie Negrete, Juan Fernandez, Raiona Gaydos (Pittsburgh Zine Fair Organizing Committee)


 Pittsburgh, PA – The Art of Vanesa R. Del Rey

Thee great Vanesa R. Del Rey has generously agreed to let Comics Workbook publish selections from her sketchbooks. We designed it to look like a 1980’s comic book artist’s art book. The text is a transcription of an interview she did at The Comics Workbook Rowhouse Residency in 2016. Vanesa is a once in a lifetime talent who studied with George Pratt and who has worked with Grant Morrison.

We are offering pre-orders now at a lower price than we will be offering the book for in the new year. Great stocking stuffer. Follow her on Instagram – @vrdelrey – and http://vrdelrey.com/

$15.99 plus shipping – We had Frank chime in on what makes Vanesa such an unstoppable, ferocious force in comics:

FS: “Vanesa, I’m quite taken aback by your sheer technical ability which seems to be married to a poetic sensibility. There’s a lightness there. Sometimes illustrators with that ability get heavy-handed. Yet you manage the push-pull between these two sides of yourself–because you’re like a samurai. The humble samurai.”

VRDR: “It’s about trying to remember that. I can get all this praise, I can get all these amazing responses from strangers, but at the end of the day—I’m still a student. I’m still learning. The crown doesn’t fit. The crown should never fit.”

This exchange was taken from an interview Frank did with Vanesa R. Del Rey which took place here at the Comics Workbook Rowhouse Residency in Pittsburgh, PA USA. In May. 2016.

 FS: I first encountered VRDR at a comics festival in Toronto (TCAF) in 2014. She had just started making comics professionally after a stint as an animator. Startled by her chameleon-like ability to switch styles, I asked to see more.

She unearthed piles of sketchbooks from her days in Cuba studying Soviet Realism and from working with George Pratt, a master of painted comics. Vanesa’s very education as an artist smoothly balances high and low as well as east and west. It’s an astounding foundation. She is, at once, aware of art history, comics history and animation history in a NEW way that almost seemed impossible fifteen to twenty years ago.

I must admit as a student and fan of comics makers who truck in blending “high and low” and in “painted comics”—I have never seen such a skill set. Ferocious. Unstoppable. A fierce competitor. Michael Jordan-esque? Is that possible in comic book making? I’ve always said that there would be a “vertical invader” in comics who could employ the “naturalism” of the Noel Sickles / Alex Toth school but who could paint like an Alice Neel or a Jenny Saville. I think that “the invader” has arrived in the form of Vanesa R. Del Rey.


Aubrey Beardsley, illustrations for Aristophanes’s ‘Lysistrata’ (1927)

New York, NY – Erotica in The New York Public Library

Here’s something for you: Erotica through the ages. Ancient Erotic Dreams and Explicit Scenes in the New York Public Library Collection. Porn in print. Claire Voon has collected a wonderful assortment of images from deep in the NYPL archives over on Hyperallergic.  It’s from earlier this year, but well worth revisiting. NSFW, though you might be able to claim that it’s for a historical research project. Maybe save it for later so it can help you get to sleep 😉

The NYPL has never censored anything or kept especially arousing printed matter under lock and key, its librarians stress heavily (although the Gray Lady may have you think otherwise). It does have a “triple-star” system, and although that name may sound like it polices X-rated artifacts, that classification is really intended to protect certain items from vandalism, theft, or damage. Comic books, for instance, often receive the distinction; there was a copy of Bambi (yes, the children’s story) deemed triple-star because of its sheer fragility.

“It’s not kept separately, and everybody has access to it,” curator Madeleine C. Viljoen said of the library’s steamier materials. “They receive no special treatment, and we don’t perceive them as being any different from any other artwork in the collection. That’s not our goal here. We are not censors.”


Richard McGuire/Pantheon

New York, NY – Richard McGuire: Virtuoso of the Tiny

If you haven’t already come across Richard McGuire’s latest book, Sequential Drawings: The New Yorker Series, the collection of his drawings for the New Yorker, Luc Sante waxes some poetic on the book over on the New York Review of books. Check it out! Super versatile cartoonist, his latest book of cartooning – Sequential Drawings: The New Yorker Series – definitely invites discussion on why it isn’t or is comics. This look at McGuire is great. Really nice at contextualizing McGuire’s latest endeavor. (Of course, there is still the discussion of Sequential drawings… constitute as comics. Is it comics? We here at CW tend to be purists so you’ll likely imagine where we stand on this (ever present) taxonomic pedantry  😉 )

Luc Sante: Consider the spot illustration, the unsung toiler of the magazine page. It is small; it does not call attention to itself; it is missed by many insistent readers as they chase the progress of a story across columns and ads. It is kin to the textual space filler at the bottom of a page, but its language is visual, so it is there to make a spark as well as to balance out column inches. It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the protean Richard McGuire has been quietly reveling in the form.

From Copacetic Comics’ Bill Boichel on this book:

This chunky little book contains 250+ individual (very) clean line drawings – each appearing alone on its own, faced by a blank, numbered page, for maximum concentrated focus on each single drawing – by the masterful designer/illustrator/comics-maker who brought us the startlingly original Here, Richard McGuire. The volume leads off with an erudite introduction by fellow New Yorker contributor, Luc Sante, that serves, among other things, to help put McGuire’s drawings in a specific cultural / art historical context, after which we are treated to the simple joys of following a sequence of drawings to see where it goes; 28 discrete – and ingenious – sequences in all, each with a unique twist.  More fun than you might think!

You can purchase Sequential Drawings: The New Yorker Series from Copacetic Comics and it enjoy its simple pleasures at home! Buy it here. 


Suzy and Cecil 12-3-16 by Gabriella Tito
Suzy and Cecil – 12-4-16 by Gabriella Tito

Orlando, FL  – The latest Suzy and Cecil strips by Gabriella Tito!

Suzy and Cecil is a collaborative daily comic strip project based on characters invented by Bill Boichel and Frank Santoro. It is primarily drawn by Gabriella Tito and Sally Ingraham, who are teammates in the Comics Workbook Roller Derby League. The strip is part of their continuing development as cartoonists – follow @suzy_and_cecil on Instagram to see the project unfold and keep an eye out for guest strips drawn by other Comics Workbook students and friends! New comics Daily!


Until next time!

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