08/10/2018

Sally Ingraham here with Penelope Bagieu’s “California Dreamin'” – plus a look at “Dakota North” and other news and comics!

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I thoroughly enjoyed Penelope Bagieu‘s California Dreamin’: Cass Elliot Before The Mamas & the Papas (2017). It’s a great use of the comics medium as a vehicle for biography. Bagieu tells the story of Ellen “Mama Cass” Elliot’s life leading up to the formation of the band The Mamas & the Papas, using the narrative voice of dozens of people who were part of her life. Her childhood and teens are revealed by members of her family and her first voice teacher, and then the story is picked up by friends, lovers, and bandmates. A complexity of prose-based biography is introducing and keeping straight all these people who surround a famous figure – providing the context for their relationship and explaining why their view matters. Handled poorly, it can be confusing and boring.

However, Bagieu uses comics to neatly circomvent any such issues – each chapter simply begins with the name of the new narrator, and then plummets into their version of the story. Bagieu’s characterizations brilliantly capture the personality of the narrator while continuing the construction of the larger-than-life Cass Elliot. The humor and warmth of her drawings make the story wonderfully compelling.

Cass is lovingly brought to life, full of passion and awkward grace. The musical world she tumbled through is well captured, and somehow even the sound of her voice seems to float up out of the pages of the book. The moment when she and future members of The Mamas & the Papas begin to write California Dreamin’ is a highlight of the comic, hilariously revealed from the viewpoint of Cass’ mother.

Penelope Bagieu is a French cartoonist who has followed up her first graphic novel – (Exquisite Corpse, 2015) – with two terrific offerings published in America recently – this book (2017), along with the excellent 2018 collection Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World. Keep an eye on her – I can only assume and hope that she will continue to make good work that will entertain and enlighten us!

Check out Michael Cavna’s Washington Post review of California Dreamin’ HERE for more thoughts on this comic.

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There’s an excellent writeup on Dakota North over on The Comics Journal, a “revisit” by Keith Silva of the 1980’s 5-issue series. I am really fond of this series, but am somewhat astonished to note that there is a deluxe reprint now available. Exciting times! The series was the only comic written by Martha Thomases (ever), and it’s female, regular-powered hero, was remarkable for it’s time. Keith Silva has all the details on how Dakota North came to be, what the series was up against, and why it was cancelled, so I won’t reiterate that here – read the article.

Briefly:

And yeah, like any (super)hero worth her salt, Dakota does indeed ride a motorcycle out of a service elevator and into a New York fashion shoot. She also rides the same motorcycle up an escalator in a chic Manhattan department store. She shakes off sheikhs, battles a bloodthirsty raptor, and outfoxes a monster truck in Rockefeller Center. And does so with fierce aplomb, style, and a sense of adventure. Dogged and defiantly independent, Dakota North is a fashion-forward comic whose style never caught on.

To say Dakota North was an outlier is a disservice to outliers. The moment Ms. North starts stylin’ is when the ground began to shift under comics—Dakota North #3 comes out the same month as Batman: The Dark Knight #4 and Watchmen #1 [Sally: this detail is slightly inaccurate – see comments on the article]. Now, it would be an act of hubris and hyperbole to say two neophyte creators like Thomases and Salmons (even with a wily vet like Hama at the helm) would come close to equaling the murder’s row of Frank Miller, Klaus Janson, Lyn Varley, Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons, and John Higgins. Proximity to greatness does not make something great, and Dakota North is not on par with the craft, canniness and inventiveness of those ’80s masterpieces. And yet what Dakota North lacks in artistic pedigree it makes up for in chutzpah, idiosyncrasy, and how it outdistances its peers in representation and female agency. So subtle is it in its subversion, representation, and agency it almost passes as insignificant, almost. What Dakota North wanted was be seen as an equal in her world and the world writ large. She was a disruption of the status quo and way ahead of her time, perhaps even today. That’s why Dakota North matters.”

Read the rest HERE.

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Other News of Note

Cover by Lale Westvind

  • Phoebe Gloeckner is the Guest Editor of 2018’s Best American Comicsmore info HERE.
  • For any UK readers – Posy Simmonds has an exhibition of original artwork and unseen sketches – details HERE. Also, Paul Gravett recently listed Posy Simmonds’ Tamara Drewe as one of four highly recommended graphic novels – HERE.
  • The New Yorker has a short feature on it’s Women Cartoonists – Then and Now.
  • The Harvey Award nominees have been announced – lots of good stuff on the list – check it out HERE.

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08/03/2018

Sally Ingraham here with a look at Aisha Franz’s Shit is Real – plus other news and comics!

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Aisha Franz‘s new comic – Shit is Real (Drawn & Quarterly 2018) – begins in a wilderness at the edge of a city. The main protagonist, Selma, is crawling toward a city, and you realize that this may be a sort of dream or fantasy – one that she abruptly snaps out of, just in time to be dumped by her boyfriend.

Selma drifts in and out of this fantasy world as the comic continues, which accurately portrays the ways that such fantasies both help us through difficult times, while probably causing more harm than good. Selma struggles, for the majority of the story, to relate to her best friend, to connect with other people she encounters, to do laundry or cook for herself. She is lonely and just as lost in the urban monotony of the city as she is in the bizarre sci-fi world of her dreams. The only creatures whom she seems to connect to are a giant fish (who occupies the fantasy) and a cat who belongs to the woman in the next apartment.

When Selma discovers that she can access this apartment, some of the fantasy becomes reality, and the line between the two blurs. 

Aisha Franz uses the comics medium quite effectively to tangle and untangle the threads of the story. There are many quiet moments, where the sequencing of simple movements or no movement at all conveys immense emotion. The comic is about the inner life of Selma – whether that is inside her head, or inside the lonely space she occupies in her life – and Franz is able to show this very well. The fantasy sequences mesh with the slightly futuristic urban environment of the “real” world, and there is a vibrancy to the drawing despite the softness of the pencil lines.

Thoughtful and actually funny in a few spots, this is an excellent followup to Earthling (which also dealt with female loneliness). You can read an excerpt from Shit is Real HERE.

For other reviews of the comic check out these ones at Publishers Weekly and Broken Frontier. LA Review of Books also has an interview with Aisha Franz HERE.

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Comics News of Note

  • The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum has a spotlight on their Nicole Hollander collection – read about it HERE.
  • Lauren Weinstein is the guest on Episode 31 of Comic Book Decalogue – HERE.
  • Philippe Leblanc has his Small Press & Indie Comics Galore roundup on The Comics Beathe always finds the good stuff!
  • Margaret Stohl talks Captain Marvel and why now is the best time to be a female hero – on The Guardian.
  • Columbus Alive has a feature about Annie Koyama and her donation to The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum – read it HERE.

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Suzy and Cecil – 8-3-2018 – by Gabriella Tito

07/27/2018

Sally Ingraham here with comics and news from Nick Fowler, Annie Koyama, Believer Magazine, and much more!

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Nick Fowler – drawn in Pittsburgh, PA, at the Comics Workbook Rowhouse Residency

Here on the site Nick Fowler writes about his recent Rowhouse Residency:

One of the most important things that was cemented for me during my time at the Rowhouse was the immense importance of environment. In both a social sense…and a more literal, spatial sense. The room at the Rowhouse had a bed, a table and a box of Love and Rockets (#17-28 if I remember correctly). And nothing else. Every day I would wake up and take two steps to the drawing table to either draw, or to read Love and Rockets and then draw. For the week I was there, there was nothing else I had to do. It felt like a splash of cold water on my face.

Read the rest of Nick’s Residency Report HERE.

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Kickass Annie by Mickey Z

Annie Koyama has announced that she is changing the way in which she supports artists. She will conclude her time as a publisher in 2021, closing the doors of Koyama Press. Her focus will shift to channelling her financial support and incredible positive energy directly into the hands of specific artists whom she chooses to be a patron of. She spoke to The Comics Journal about “switching gears”:

“I will not tell the artists how to do anything,” Koyama said. “There are no strings attached. Once I decide to work with an artist, as I have always done with the press, I put enough trust in them and their project not to interfere. They don’t need my creative help, they need money.”

How this next venture will work is still being formulated. Though the projects she supports will not be owned by Koyama, recipients of these “micro-grants” will be expected to fulfill their end of the bargain, whether if be self-publishing the project, offering a performance, or whatever Koyama and the participating party agree to.

Additionally, the publisher expects to continue to pursue broader methods of support by hosting financial and business literary workshops and supplementing residencies. Her support will not be limited to cartoonists, either. Koyama recently supported a feature film and is already contributing support to projects with several fine artists.

“I am choosing the artists because I like their work,” Koyama said. “I feel that they deserve a higher profile. I know that they can’t do it on their own. What I am most interested in is taking people who are known for one discipline and for example, helping them to try another discipline. For example, people who are good at drawing already but really want to work on a little stop motion animation. Or they want to go off and learn to play the trumpet, try sculpture, learn printmaking or start community art related initiatives.

Read the rest of the article and full announcement HERE.

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Leela Corman

Believer Magazine has updated their website and built an archive for the comics that have appeared in the printed mag. Above is a page from Leela Corman‘s story Krautread the rest HERE.

You will also find comics by Andrea Tsurumi, Ann Xu, Jennifer Camper, Anna Haifisch, and others. Check out the archive!

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  • Hyperallergic features an article about Carol Tyler and her new comic Fab4 ManiaHERE.
  • Lauren Weinstein‘s Normal Person now appears at popula.com – here’s the latest strip!
  • Mimi Pond also has a new comic up at PopulaBlind Dates of the Near Future.
  • Jessica Campbell‘s latest comic on HyperallergicMusings About Life Todaycan be read HERE.
  • Anders Nilson writes about the process and responsibility of finishing a friend’s last book – A Bubble, by Geneviève Castrée (who passed away in 2016) – on The Comics Journal.
  • Here’s an excerpt from Nancy Peña’s Madame Caton Paste Magazine.

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Suzy and Cecil – 7-27-2018 – by Gabriella Tito

Rowhouse Residency Report – Nick Fowler

Nick Fowler is a cartoonist based in San Francisco, CA. He joined us in Pittsburgh, PA, for a weeklong Comics Workbook Rowhouse Residency in June of 2018. Here are his thoughts about visiting the city and his Rowhouse Residency experience.

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Nick Fowler here: I was very nervous on my Greyhound ride from New York to Pittsburgh. I didn’t know exactly what to expect from my time at the Rowhouse and it was a fairly spontaneous decision to take part in it. The weeks leading up to my residency were spent packing all my belongings from my three years in New York City at The School Of Visual Arts, and then shipping them back home to San Francisco. It just so happened that there was a last-minute opening at the Rowhouse the week I was scheduled to move back home, so I jumped at the opportunity, thinking it would serve as a buffer between three confusing years of art school (think Art School Confidential with cartoonists) and my indefinite time back home. There, I would be looking for part-time jobs, reacquainting myself with the friends I had left and relearning, in some ways, a vastly different San Francisco from the one I left three years ago.

Panel from Love and Rockets

In an attempt to quell my fears and distract myself, I read Connor Willumsen’s Anti-Gone on the Greyhound. It blew me away – a comic about the role of entertainment in a capitalist dystopia reminiscent of J.G. Ballard’s Drowned World by way of Moebius’ Airtight Garage in which, for the majority of the comic, the main characters spend their time buying things. Talking about this comic any more would require writing an entire article.

The first night, Sally Ingraham picked me up from the Greyhound station and we talked about our respective comic-making histories. She showed me around the Rowhouse and introduced me to the other permanent resident, Audra Stang.

The first day at the residency, Caleb Orecchio drove me to Copacetic Comics where Sally was working. On the car ride over, we talked about Dash Shaw, Connor Willumsen and SVA.
I have been going to comic book stores my whole life, and I honestly think Copacetic is one of the best, if not the best I’ve ever been to. It’s often hard to find a comic store that has a thorough collection of both old back issues and small press stuff. Usually, I find that if a store specializes in one, it’s significantly lacking in the other. Despite being a fairly small store, Copacetic somehow has both in spades (and more).

While at Copacetic, Caleb and Juan Jose Fernandez started a conversation about why Craig Thompson’s Blankets doesn’t hold up for them. The conversation, as I remember it, was centered around the way Craig’s loss of faith was portrayed in the comic. The details would be hard for me to articulate here, as it was gloriously convoluted and drew from their past experiences with Christianity and Catholicism, most of which was lost on me, as I was raised culturally Jewish. Nevertheless, to hear such an impassioned discussion about Blankets and its place in the pantheon of comics history was a thrill. I stood there smiling like a doofus. I felt like I was where I needed to be.

Afterwards, seeing how overwhelmed I was with the store, Juan gave me some great recommendations and I went home with an issue of Street Angel and the 2003 edition of The Ganzfeld.

One of the most important things that was cemented for me during my time at the Rowhouse was the immense importance of environment. In both a social sense (as demonstrated above) and a more literal, spatial sense. The room at the Rowhouse had a bed, a table and a box of Love and Rockets (#17-28 if I remember correctly). And nothing else. Every day I would wake up and take two steps to the drawing table to either draw, or to read Love and Rockets and then draw. For the week I was there, there was nothing else I had to do. It felt like a splash of cold water on my face.

The Rowhouse drawing table

On my fourth day, I decided to take a break from drawing and walk around the neighborhood. Pittsburgh itself feels special. It’s a quiet, beautiful city with tons of history. It’s the kind of place where people watch Frasier with the door open.

Eventually I found a baseball field in an alcove down a long set of stairs, surrounded by trees. I sat there as the sun set, watching a man fly a drone in the middle of the diamond while a deer looked on and the sound of passing trains echoed throughout the park.

The day before I left, I went down the block to Frank’s house. Having both lived in San Francisco, we compared our respective SF’s. His being the romantic-sounding post-earthquake, pre-dot com boom and mine being the nebulous post-dot com boom, pre-tech boom. The conversation eventually turned to bay area punk, Cometbus, Kembra Pfahler, and inevitably, comics. Having just returned from a trip to Europe, Frank was ready to lay out his bountiful experience and frustrations with the North American comics landscape. Frank is a walking comic history course. At a certain point, he mentioned how when he was younger, he would listen to Bill Boichel of Copacetic Comics go on these long, weaving tangential rants, and just say, “What next?” Egging him on and soaking up everything he could. This was exactly how I felt talking to Frank. He ended the conversation by telling me, “You’re going to struggle.”

The various car rides and conversations with Sally, Caleb, Audra and Frank were equally as inspiring as having unlimited drawing time. Advice I’d give to future residents is to balance your time between drawing and socializing with the Rowhouse crew. I tried to achieve a balance myself, but ended up spending most of the time indoors drawing.

Some pages from my stay:

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Keep up with Nick Fowler HERE!

For more information about the Comics Workbook Rowhouse Residency visit this page or email santoroschool@gmail.com

07/20/2018

Sally Ingraham here with a look at Lale Westvind’s Grip Vol. 1!

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I am usually swept along by Lale Westvind‘s work, but her latest comic – Grip Vol. 1 – swept me away. It “grips” you immediately, as your eye catches sight of the bright screen-printed cover and the lovely risograph interiors. The rise of riso printing has brought a wealth of pretty books, but a pretty book does not always equal a great comic. Lale’s voracious drawing style and the way she bends the comics medium to her will is in this case thrillingly complimented by the work of Chicago-based Perfectly Acceptable Press.

Lale’s storytelling is particularly good in this comic. It begins with a transformative encounter with a force that sets the hands of the protagonist in motion. Her hands remain the focus of the story throughout, visually and thematically. She moves from one adventure to another, from one job to the next, meeting people and traveling, and her hands manipulate and influence what happens around her both at her will and perhaps against it.

Without words and using only a few written sound effects, Lale Westvind crafts a moving tribute to working women, a wild celebration of female power and skill. Whether sorting mail, serving tables, piloting aircraft, traversing mountain heights, or sharing long significant eye-contact, the women in Lale’s comic are moving, building, holding the world together while tearing it apart.

Although there is no regular rhythm in the structure of the panels, there are a lot of interesting design choices from spread to spread. There are visual rhymes and mirroring that I find satisfying, and a color scheme that balances and harmonizes with the lines.

Grip Vol. 1 mixes reality with fantasy in a way that feels familiar to me. It’s like Lale got inside my head – and likely the heads of many women – and illustrated how the work of the moment, the task at hand, is transformed by the inner fantasies and landscapes of the heart, the joyous and violent riot of thought that leads to action or survival. Whether physically or metaphorically, often getting a grip and keeping it becomes the only motion that really matters.

Recommended. Get a copy of the comic HERE!

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Suzy and Cecil – 7-20-2018 – by Sally Ingraham

 

07/13/2018

Sally Ingraham here with news and comics from Rachel Masilamani!

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A panel from Rachel Masilamani’s project “Nonpartum”

Rachel Masilamani lectured at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh last night, and in a lead-up to the event 90.5 WESA’s Bill O’Driscoll ran a feature about Masilamani and her comics. She talked about how Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics made her turn to the medium:

“I had never thought to look critically at what I was doing when I read a comic, and then that made me really excited to try to do it on my own,” she said. “I thought, ‘Here I am, I’m a person who loves to tell stories and a person who loves to draw. Why didn’t I try this before?’”

“It became really exciting to me to realize that there was a way that you can build stories and really welcome people in a new way, different than standing and talking, different than just writing, and different than illustrating someone else’s words,” she said.

Masilamani’s main comics project of the last few years has been Nonpartum, which has been serialized on Mutha Magazine (read it here). This comic is her examination of pregnancy and motherhood and how the eyes of society view both from all angles.

“I really want everybody to think about motherhood, and to think about how children are born, how we think about women, how we approach motherhood as a whole,” she said. “And I think that the form that I’m using opens a whole topic up to a new set of people who might not have realized that they wanted to read about it and they wanted to think about it.”

Read the rest of the article and listen to the radio spot HERE.


Juan here! Last night was really important for me as Rachel is a friend and an inspiration. She, in combination with Bill Boichel, are the very reason that I started making comics in Pittsburgh in 2010. I snapped some photos for posterity. Here’s hoping we can record a talk like this with Rachel to share with you online!

Rachel Masilamani signing books at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Main (July 12, 2018)

 

Rachel offered up some great riffs and thoughts to serve as connective tissue across all her work. She’s making some truly titanic, contemporary comics that I can’t wait for you to see in the coming years.

I wanted to appreciate Rachel a little with you all, she is quite simply, the primary reason why I started making comics. I made my first self-published comic,in response to a zine of Rachel’s that I’d found at Copacetic Comics’ old location in Squirrel Hill. It was this small, black and white zine for a $1 ‘Singing Contest’ was this amazing, relatively wordless story about a young girl living at the American-Mexican border. All the humans essentially don’t speak in words. All the word balloons are just filled with images. And there are these magical helpers, and they’re just animals from the desert and end up helping this girl in the story.

In a traditional sense, she draws expertly in a naturalist mode. She works with color in a gorgeous way where she can lay another layer of meaning in her work just with the color, but it is not about the “good” drawing taking the work to this next level. Rather it’s about the way that the drawings and the words interconnect. Her ability to stitch and weave meaning and braid thoughts together. She’s able to achieve this lyrical prose that is just like utterly poetic in the combination of the images and the words.

Her approach, he said, is experimental but accessible. What a godsend.

She’s doing really deep, complicated communication and she’s able to do that and not lose you. Rachel does a really amazing job at inviting people to share that space with her on the page. She’s the reason why I started and is one of the reasons why I soldier on, trying to make beautiful things with images and words in this land that we call, comics.

With that, I’d like to invite you to read all her work over on Mutha Magazine!

Above is a page from the 4th chapter of Nonpartumread all of it HERE.

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Weekend Reading!

  • Lisa Lim shares the story of her “Bad-Ass Grandmother” on Mutha Magazineread it HERE.
  • Check out Angie Wang‘s comic about searching for a cherished dish – Water-Boiled Fish – on Eater.
  • G. Willow Wilson (co-creator of Ms. Marvel) is going to take over the writing of Wonder Woman in November...Paste Magazine has the details.
  • Hyperallergic takes a look at Eleanor DavisWhy Art?HERE.
  • The London Free Press has a quick feature on Lisa Hanawalt‘s upcoming Coyote Doggirl.
  • Here’s your quarterly reminder to check out the Women Write About Comics website!

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07/06/2018

Sally Ingraham here with news and comics from Ulli Lust, Hannah Berry, Joana Mosi, and more!

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Ulli Lust has an exhibition at Cartoonmuseum Basel, June 30-Oct. 28th 2018. She composed a photo report about the show HERE, for those of us likely to miss it. There is also an article about the retrospective on Aargauer Zeitung, which is a passionate testimony to the effect Ulli Lust and her work has on people. It begins (excuse the rocky translation out of German by Google translate…!):

None draws as furiously as the Viennese Ulli Lust – and no one shows them as affectionately as the Cartoonmuseum Basel.

The greeting in the Cartoonmuseum is clear: The painted face of Ulli Lust on the glass pane at the entrance to the exhibition, hair wild, look adventurous. Behind this glass front, so much is now clear, hides an artist who prefers to fall mercilessly, than cautiously gropes. Rather than miss a pretty label. Behind this glass front is Ulli Lust and she does not mean for no reason.

Decipher the rest HERE – or if you speak German, I hope you enjoy this article.

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From Britten and Brülightly by Hannah Berry (2008)

There is an interesting and quite funny interview with Hannah Berry on Comics Grid about how her comics relate to her interest in law, and vice versa. She is a British cartoonist and the creator of Detectives Britten and Brülightly, among other works. Berry’s work is dark, and serious, and very British (they talk about this in the interview) but as you might expect, she mixes in the right balance of humor.

Thomas Giddens: Just thinking a bit more about the kind of ways you engage with particular issues. Is humour important? It seems like there’s some moments of your work that are quite amusing. In Britten and Brülightly for instance, it’s very dour, it’s very sombre, it’s very serious, and then there’s a talking teabag.

Hannah Berry: Yes, yes, I do try to sneak the odd little joke in here and there, because I think you can reach people; there’s something about humour that really connects people. I think it’s a way of really getting onto a person’s wavelength. I mean, maybe some of my humour falls flat—as much as I’d love to be, I’m not looking over everyone’s shoulder as they read my books. Someday, hopefully, with the internet, but who knows. But I do think there’s something with humour that really helps you connect with the reader. It’s a similar thing to horror, I suppose. There’s sort of a build-up and you’re trying to get a very distinct reaction from a person, and I think I can do that. I do a weekly cartoon strip for the New Statesman which is again not really political. I tweet them every week or thereabouts, and the ones I think are the absolute successes, the ones that will probably win me some kind of future prize, they’re the ones that do alright, you know? They’re okay. But the ones that I sort of do in a hurry and I think are less good, they’re the ones that do really well. So maybe my sense of humour is not what everybody else’s is, or maybe I just can’t understand Twitter, I don’t know; maybe I’m doing something a little bit awry, perhaps. But I do think it’s an important factor, yes, and also because, you know, it’s nice to read a funny book every now and then.

Read the whole interview HERE.

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Work by Joana Mosi, 2017

Check out work by Joana Mosi, a Portugese cartoonist and teacher based in Lisbon. Above is part of a short comic that I enjoyed – see the rest HERE. Her most recent book is Spineless Cactus (Nem Todos os Cactos têm Picos) which you can see more of HERE – and read a review about HERE.

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Weekend Snacks

  • Nicole Hollander is the guest on Episode 279 of RiYLcheck it out HERE.
  • Publishers Weekly talks to Lisa Hanawalt about her upcoming comic Coyote Doggirl (Drawn & Quarterly, Aug. 2018) and all her “weird little horses” – HERE.
  • The Comics Alternative podcast digs into the entire spring catalog from Koyama Press – including new comics by Jessica Campbell and Fiona Smyth. Listen to Episode 285 HERE.
  • The Portland Mercury has a review of Geneviève Castrée‘s last book – A Bubble – published two years after her death, and made for Castrée’s daughter.
  • Frank Young reviews Cathy Malkasian‘s Eartha for The Comics JournalHERE.
  • Paste Magazine sits down with Alisa Kwitney, the writer behind Mystik U. Read the interview HERE.
  • Mariko Tamaki is the latest guest on Inkstudslisten HERE.

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Suzy and Cecil – 7-6-2018 – by Gabriella Tito

07/05/2018

Sally here with new Italian interviews and commentary on Frank Santoro’s Pompeii!

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Photo by Pietro Badiali

Noman Alani has an interview with Frank up on C4 Comic, part of the C4 Chatter column. The interview was conducted during the Naples Comicon 2018. Here is part of the interview:

C4C: How was the choice of Pompeii created to set your comic book?

FS: I was living in New York during the attack on the Twin Towers of September 11th. When the planes hit the buildings we were all motionless to stare at the scene. I remember that by the time the towers collapsed and an immense cloud of smoke rose, I thought that we could relive an experience similar to that in Pompeii. Obviously it didn’t happen, but it left me thinking for a long time. Some time after I visited the ruins of Pompeii and so I decided to tell something about where I come from and that is such a powerful concentrate of stories and sensations different for every visitor. In my intentions, at a time when everyone was facing the world of graphic novels, it was also to create a product accessible to all and not hermetic and in this the fact of talking about one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world was definitely helpful. I could concentrate so much more on what I wanted to tell seriously, behind the costumes and facts that are known there were people with their stories and there was the pathos.

Read the whole interview HERE!


Also on C4 Comic there is a review of Pompei by Luca Parri. Titled Pompei, between classic and theoretical experimentalism, it begins:

Almost as if it were a virtual return to the homeland of Ameriana Memory, Pompeii of Frank Santoro lands on Italian soil five years after its original American publication. And we can only rejoice in knowing that a comic that treats an episode so tragic but at the same time founding of our cultural heritage, realized with wise love by a foreigner, has finally arrived in our bookstores.

But it is not only for the engaging and convincing celebration of Classical culture Mediterranean (and Italian in particular) that this volume should be recognized as one of the most important comics of the Decade; The Book of Santoro is also fundamental for a theoretical-scientific progress within the Ninth art.

The review continues:

The research and the educational process to a markedly theoretical conception of the comic is a question which concerns and concerns Santoro both as a cartoonist but also and above all as theorist, scholar and teacher. Pompeiè therefore almost to be understood as a wise omni-comprehensive of all that the author has been able to collect and elaborate in several years of research and practice alternating three figures (the reader, the teacher and the author) until they are converged towards a single entity ; The individual parts communicate and coexist by influencing each other. All that the American has been able to learn about the harmonies, the rhythms and the emphasis that can be evoked in an unintentional way, but then meticulously and mathematically desired, recur in the Centoquarantaquattro pages of his comic strip.

Read the whole review HERE.

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Thee Santoro Correspondence Course for Comic Book Makers Summer Session starts NOW! Floating start date! Apply anytime between now and July 12th 2018 to join the summer course. Email santoroschoolATgmail for more details. Ask about the Fall Course if now is too busy for you! The course is 8 weeks – 500 bux for 8 weeks plus access to Frank’s coaching for as long as you need. Payment plans are available. Put your summer to good use!

Learn more about the Santoro Correspondence Course for Comic Book Makers HERE.

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Suzy and Cecil – 7-4-2018 – by Sally Ingraham

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Joanie and Jordie – 7-5-18 – by Caleb Orecchio

 

06/29/2018

Sally here with comics and news from Rina Ayuyang, Heidi MacDonald, Carole Maurel and Mariko Tamaki, and more!

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Coming this November from Drawn & Quarterly is Rina Ayuyang‘s Blame This on the Boogie. It’s the story of her childhood as a Filipina-American in Pittsburgh, PA, and how music and pop culture got her through the tough high school years, and continues to keep her sane as she navigates her present-day life as an artist and mother in Oakland, CA. Publishers Weekly has a brief review of the comic HERE.

HERE is a preview of the book!

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Vera Brosgol, Ngozi Ukazu, and Raina Telgemeier at the ALA Conference 2018

Heidi MacDonald attended the American Library Association annual conference in New Orleans recently, and published a complete report of her experience at The Comics Beat. As a former librarian myself, and a kid who considered my local library a second home and counted my librarians among my best friends…I am always interested in how librarians have been saving the world lately. Heidi concludes her detailed account of an uplifting and informative experience with these thoughts:

And that’s really the bottom line about the ALA. Librarians love comics not because it’s a secret hobby they try to fob off on other people – graphic novels are highly circulated books in libraries. There is an avid readership and a growing need for more information about all of it. I think a lot of first time ALA attendees” [from comics publishing] “thought that their job would be trying to persuade librarians to give comics a try, but the reality is that curators are way ahead of that – they’re always looking for MORE information about the publishers and authors their patrons are interested in, and more information to justify their purchasing budgets. They are hungry for more books that people can read and enjoy.

Far from the roil of the DM, graphic novels were clearly on the upswing “Graphic novels are big and they’re just going to get bigger,” someone at the Disney booth, of all places, told me.

Creator Frank Cammuso had an even more blunt assessment. “I think libraries saved comics,” he told me. Looking back at how comics emerged from the wreck of the post speculation market into the manga-fueled era of bookstore comics, and the recovery following Borders going under, library sales have risen steadily, an invisible but integral part of the business for publishers smart enough to get in on it. The numbers don’t lie: There are an estimated 119,487 libraries in the US, including 16,000 public libraries and nearly 100,000 school libraries. A hit in this market dwarfs the direct sales market, and doesn’t even show up on Bookscan.

Read the rest of the report HERE.

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Paste Magazine has an excerpt from French cartoonist Carole Maurel’s Luisa: Now and Then, newly adapted into English by Mariko Tamaki and available this week from Humanoids’ Life Drawn imprint.

A disillusioned photographer has a chance encounter with her lost teenage self who has miraculously traveled into the future. Together, both women ultimately discover who they really are, finding the courage to live life by being true to themselves. Luisa’s sexuality is revealed to be a defining element of her identity, one which both of her selves must come to terms with. A time-traveling love story that turns coming-of-age conventions upside down, Luisa is a universal queer romance for the modern age.

See the preview HERE.

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A few extras

  • PRI has a brief story on the new artist behind the comic strip NancyHERE.
  • A 13-year old cartoonist named Sasha Matthews responds to Trump’s family separation policy – HERE.

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Suzy and Cecil – 6-29-2018 – by Sally Ingraham