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1. Rose window 16/100 #100daysofoilcrayon #the100dayproject...



Rose window 16/100 #100daysofoilcrayon #the100dayproject #medievalmotifs #matsbootcamp2016 #lisafirke



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2. STORYTELLERS

  Storytellers to gather up on the mountain. Will you be there? It's time Arkansas had its own gathering of creative geniuses, don't you think? Join us, won't you?





 July 16-17 at Sky Vue Lodge on top of the Boston Mountains south of Winslow, Arkansas. Writers create in many ways: Storytelling is only one. We write plays, poems, novels, non-fiction, we paint, sing, write and play music. Visit our website/Events

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3. Interview Time! John Patrick Green in Conversation with Eric Colossal

Who? What? Where? When? Why?

It’s a blog tour, kiddos!  A tour of bloggy goodness.  More than that, it’s a graphic novel blog tour done to celebrate Children’s Book Week in all its fancypants glory.

The subject of today’s interview is none other than Eric Colossal.  Colossal, if the name is new to you, is the author of the danged funny RUTABAGA series.  I’m a big fan of those books as they combine two of my favorite things: quests and eating.  And in a bit of a twist, I won’t be doing the interview here today, though.  That honor goes to John Patrick Green, author of the upcoming HIPPOTAMISTER.

Take it away, John!


  • Colossal, EricYour series is about a plucky adventurer who constantly finds himself in sticky situations that he manages to get out of by cooking delicious foods. How did this concept come about?

Growing up, I loved fantasy stories filled with weird beasts and mystical magic but I was always confused about why no one talked about the food in these lands. I mean, here in the real world we eat some pretty strange stuff. We eat bee barf and call it honey, we grind up a rock and put it on our food and call it salt. How come people who live in these magical lands never eat the strange beasts they fight in the bottoms of dungeons? So I created Rutabaga to do just that!

 

  • At the back of each book are a few complete recipes that readers can cook. How do you come up with those? I’ll admit, even the fictional recipes Rutabaga makes on his quests look tasty! Where do you get the ideas for those?

There are two criteria I have for making a recipe to share: Does the recipe contain a fun activity and does the final product look unique. For instance, there’s nothing new about dipping grapes in chocolate but taking that idea and adding steps to the recipe that make the final product look like a chocolate spider with a big ol’ squishy butt, that’s a perfect recipe for Rutabaga! In fact, that recipe is in book 2 and it’s one of my favorites! 

 

  • What is your creative process like?

9781419716584I watch a LOT of documentaries on food and food culture. My favorite ones talk about why people eat what they eat. Sure it’s fun to find out HOW to cook something but if you tell me WHY a culture has the diet it has you don’t just learn about food, you learn about people, and stories are about people. Other than that, most of my time is spent at my computer writing and drawing. I make the entire book digitally which is really handy when you have 2 cats who like to chew on paper!

 

  • Which do you love more: food or comics? Please explain your answer in a piechart. Or maybe just a pie.

It’s a tough choice but I’m going to have to say I love food more. A comic can take up to a year to write, draw, and color but you can cook a huge 3 course meal in about 2 hours. Imagine if it took a year to make breakfast! And just for fun here’s that pie chart you asked for:

 

  • What else are you working on? Can we expect further adventures of Rutabaga and his trusty kettle, Pot? Maybe an entire cookbook?

I have so many Rutabaga stories to tell, you have no idea! I probably have enough material for at least another 8 books! As long as there are people who want to read about my goofy little chef and his metal pal, I’ll keep making them!

  • What comics or children’s books are you currently reading?

Below the RootThe last book I read was a young adult book called “Below The Root” by Zilpha Keatley Snyder. It’s an older book about a society of people who live in cities built on gigantic trees. They wear long flowing robes that allow them to glide around in the air to get from branch to branch. They’re an extremely peaceful race, they don’t eat meat, they don’t fight, they won’t even write on paper because it would hurt a tree to make the paper. The books follow a group of children as they uncover the history of their people and the sinister things that have been done in the name of protecting them. It’s a three book series and I greatly enjoyed it!


 

Thanks for the interview, guys!  And what a fantastic book to end on.  Honestly, it would have been even more awesome if you’d mentioned the Commodore 64 game of Below the Root that was based on the book (to the best of my knowledge, the ONLY children’s book to be adapted into the Commodore 64 gaming system format), but we’ll let it slide.

 

Want to read more of these interviews?  Here’s the full blog tour:

Monday, May 2ndForever YA featuring Gene Luen Yang

Monday, May 2nd  – Read Write Love featuring Lucas Turnbloom

Monday, May 2ndKid Lit Frenzy featuring Kory Merritt

Tuesday, May 3rdSharp Read featuring Ryan North

Tuesday, May 3rdTeen Lit Rocks featuring MK Reed

Wednesday, May 4thLove is Not a Triangle featuring Chris Schweizer

Wednesday, May 4thSLJ Good Comics for Kids featuring Victoria Jamieson

Thursday, May 5thThe Book Wars featuring Judd Winick

Thursday, May 5thSLJ Fuse #8 featuring Eric Colossal

Friday, May 6thSLJ Scope Notes featuring Nathan Hale

Friday, May 6thThe Book Rat featuring Faith Erin Hicks

Saturday, May 7thYA Bibliophile featuring Mike Maihack

Saturday, May 7thSupernatural Snark featuring Sam Bosma

Sunday, May 8thCharlotte’s Library featuring Maris Wicks

Sunday, May 8thThe Roarbots featuring Raina Telgemeier

Thanks to Gina Gagliano and the good folks at First Second for setting this up with me.

 

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4. National Short Story Month - Sex Coffee by Desiree Cooper

Thought we'd start off National Short Story Month with  a read of an online journal short story. "Sex Coffee" by Desiree Cooper comes to us from Blood Orange Review. This is a great little flash piece that starts off:

 

You walk into the coffeehouse and pick a seat beside the thin woman whose beauty is coiled into tight vines of hair. Never seen her here before, you think as you slide into the bench beside her, careful not to get caught looking in her direction.

You take off your coat, power up your laptop, check your cell phone for messages. You coyly lay your trap.

 

I generally like second person point of view pieces--one thing I've found is that those that have made it into publication are usually written very well. I almost think that a little extra care must have gone into each one to help the story/poem/novel/essay get past whatever hang-ups an editor might have had about the point of view.

I like how, even though this is a pretty short flash, Cooper was able to find something to use as a thread from beginning to end--from the third paragraph:

 

The skinny, clear-skinned woman looks up, a gazelle at the watering hole.

 

From later toward the very end of the piece:

 

She leans so close to your lips, you can smell the savannah in her pores.

 

It's an example to me of the little things that Cooper does within her stories, both flash and the longer pieces, that elevates her work. Examples like this are easy to spot throughout Cooper's stories. "Sex Coffee" is an excellent flash capturing a certain type of dude just perfectly. While short in length, it doesn't lack any power, not wasting any words or space on the page. A great start to the month and just one more great effort from Desiree Cooper.

 

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5. The Commuter Van

My cold not quite over –
With sniffles and cough –
I had a commitment
I couldn’t blow off.

The thought of the subway,
Its rush-hour crush,
Was turning my insides,
Congested, to mush.

But then I remembered,
A few blocks away,
Commuter vans idled
Each morning, each day.

And so I inquired –
How much? Was there room?
I paid and was welcomed,
Or so I assume.

In 15 short minutes
I made it downtown,
Preventing my usual
Subway ride frown.

For just 7 bucks
I could sit and relax
With no getting-stuck-underground
Panic attacks.

I don’t commute daily
But next time I must,
I’ll splurge on the van –
Let my wallet adjust!

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6. ALSC Member of the Month – Melissa Morwood

Each month, an ALSC member is profiled and we learn a little about their professional life and a bit about their not-so-serious side. Using just a few questions, we try to keep the profiles fun while highlighting the variety of members in our organization. So, without further ado, welcome to our ALSC profile, ten (plus one) questions with ALSC member, Melissa Morwood.

1. What do you do, and how long have you been doing it?

Courtesy photo from Melissa Morwood”

“Courtesy photo from Melissa Morwood”

I am a Senior Children’s Librarian for the Palo Alto City Library, and I have been here for 11 years. I present weekly storytimes for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers, host class visits, plan and present school-age and family programming for our customers, and help folks on both the kids and adult reference desks.

2. Why did you join ALSC? Do you belong to any other ALA divisions or roundtables?

I initially joined ALSC to feel a sense of community with other children’s librarians across the country, since for many years I was the only youth services staff person at my branch. I have gained so much through my membership- the ALSC blog posts are always fantastic, and they help me to grow as a librarian, and to provide better service to our customers.

3.  Are you ready for Summer Reading?

I’m in charge of our library’s Summer Reading Program for the third year in a row, so I’ve been thinking about Summer Reading since January! We’ll be doing early Summer Reading registrations as part of a kindergarten library card campaign this year, so it’s only a few more weeks until we have to be ready for the program to go live. And I always look forward to our Kick-Off party, which features music, ice cream, and lots of happy families.

4.   Are you starting to make plans for retirement?

Yes! I’ve still got 19 more years until I can retire, but my husband and I are already making plans to move to California’s north coast where we went to college at Humboldt State University. We love the smaller towns, the laid back atmosphere, and the combination of redwoods, farmland, and desolate beaches. It’s a gorgeous area with friendly people.

5.    What’s the last book you recommended to a friend?

Phoebe and Her Unicorn, by Dana Simpson. I just read it last week, quickly followed by the sequel Unicorn on Wheels. The books are humorous yet sweet, and it cracks me up how endearing Marigold is to the reader, despite being such an egomaniac. Some of my other favorite graphic novels include Roller Girl, Baba Yaga’s Assistant, and This One Summer.

6.    What’s your favorite piece of technology?

My iphone. When I’m not at work, I enjoy not being tied to a desktop computer if I need to send a quick email or get directions. I also love having my phone’s camera capabilities ready at all times for when my 11 month old twin niece and nephew inevitably do something super cute.

7.   Do you have any family traditions?

Every year on Christmas Eve my husband, dog, and I curl up in our pjs and watch Love Actually. It’s been our annual tradition for close to 10 years now, and I always look forward to it.

8.   What is the last song you sang?

The More We Get Together. It’s my closing song each week at Baby Storytime, and we do the sign language along with it. I do two Baby Storytime sessions every Tuesday morning, and I had over 140 attendees between the two programs this morning!

9.   If you could bring back any extinct animal, which would it be?

Definitely dinosaurs (preferably herbivorous dinosaurs…) Regardless of how badly all of the Jurassic Park movies end, I still always turn to my husband and say “I’d TOTALLY visit Jurassic Park!”

10.  How do you incorporate STEM/STEAM activities in your work with children? 

I’m actually doing my very first STEM-based program tomorrow afternoon! We’re having an Engineers at Work program, where kids in grades 2-5 will be challenged to create marble runs out of household materials, and then we’ll have races to see how well each run works. I was inspired to try STEAM programming after watching ALSC webinars presented by Amy Koester, who makes STEAM programming look so fun and easy.

11.  What’s your favorite thing to do when you are not working?

Hanging out with my husband and talking about children’s literature. He’s a kindergarten teacher, and it’s so much fun to recommend books for him to read to his class- they love the Mercy Watson and Princess in Black series. It’s great to be able to geek out regarding the ALSC Book & Media Awards, and have him not only listen but actively participate in the conversation. He’s super supportive of my dream to serve on an ALSC award committee someday.

*********************************************************************************

Thanks, Melissa! What a fun continuation to our monthly profile feature!

Do you know someone who would be a good candidate for our ALSC Monthly Profile? Are YOU brave enough to answer our ten questions? Send your name and email address to alscblog@gmail.com; we’ll see what we can do.

The post ALSC Member of the Month – Melissa Morwood appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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7. Best Translated Book Awards !

       They've announced the winners of the Best Translated Book Awards, and the fiction award went to Signs Preceding the End of the World (by Yuri Herrera, translated by Lisa Dillman).
       (The poetry prize went to Rilke Shake (by Angélica Freitas, translated by Hilary Kaplan).)

       I was certainly impressed by the Herrera -- and it is also one of the finalists where the translation-achievement is perhaps more obvious than elsewhere, making it an even more obvious choice. It was presumably somewhat of an outsider -- a slim volume, up against heavyweights like Lispector and the concluding Ferrante (I suspect the concluding Knausgaard, two years from now, will make a stronger showing as far as series-finales go) -- but I can't imagine there will be much criticism of the selection: this is a deserving book, and translation.

       (Note, however, that this means we won't see a Best Translated Book Award - Man Booker International Prize double this year, as the Herrera wasn't a finalist for the MBIP. (The winner of the MBIP will be announced 16 May).)

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8. ‘Loop’ by Michal Socha

Never ending loops of people seeking to be ideal.

The post ‘Loop’ by Michal Socha appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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9. BLUE PRINT 2016 - ine beerten : zesti

Zesti - aka designer Ine Beerten) will be exhibiting at Blue Print in booth 35. Ine is very excited to be doing her first solo show after exhibiting with the Forest Foundry Collective at Surtex for the past two years. If this colourful kitchen collection (above & below) is anything to go by then you will see wonderful things from Zesti at the show and Ine's portfolio is certainly not to be

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10. I am Jazz -- A Community Read Aloud

1st graders explore the cover before
reading. Photo by S. Chapman
Last Thursday, my entire school took part in a school wide reading of I Am Jazz, a picture book about Jazz Jennings.  Students from the 4s to 8th grade all read the book aloud and had discussions about different things ranging from the idea of "you are who you are", to being supportive allies, to bathroom politics.  The classroom conversations were all different based on the age of the students and the amount of information they brought to the rug. The high school library curated a collection of books featuring LGBTQ youth, and pushed out information from the Human Rights Campaign.

I am reminded time and time again, that my school is a pretty special place.  Yes, 4 year olds can talk about what it means to be transgender, as can 7 year olds, 10 year olds and 17 year olds. There are different entry points to these discussions and different directions that they can take.

Our community read aloud came about because of the Human Rights Campaign surrounding the cancellation of a read aloud of the book to support a transgender student in in Mount Horeb, WI.  From the HRC website -

       “Transgender children and youth are being targeted by anti-LGBTQ lawmakers and hate groups,” ... “Now, more than ever, they need to hear from adults who support and affirm them and help others understand who they are. And that can be as simple as sitting down for story time and opening a children’s book.”

Oftentimes teachers and librarians shy away from having discussions or sharing books that may provoke a reaction from some of the community.  It is important to realize that by not sharing stories about all people, whole segments of our communities are silenced.  As has been stated again and again in the We Need Diverse Books campaign, books are windows and mirrors.  And when young readers don't ever see themselves, they often feel lost and alone.

So if you've been avoiding booktalking or reading aloud certain titles, just dive in and do it. Chances are someone in the audience will breathe a huge sigh of relief, and others will have their eyes opened.

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11. Tom Stoppard profile

       In the Evening Standard Katie Law profiles Tom Stoppard.
       A bit gossipy (and hair-obsessed -- he: "still has a mane of thick curly hair" (though that photo sure suggests he's getting a bit ... threadbare); his latest wife is: "girlish and goldilocked at 61"), there's still some decent stuff here, as well as the usual fun-at-his-expense about his (not-quite-)use of e-mail and the like.
       And:

"I've very rarely emerged from writing something which I feel deserves an alpha plus." For which of his plays would he award himself an alpha plus ? The Invention of Love, his 1997 play about A E Housman, "presses all my buttons," he replies, and then he pauses. "But I think it's rather bad taste to start proposing your own A-stars."
       (And while The Invention of Love is a great play, it is of course Arcadia that is his masterpiece.)

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12. Just scribbling. #makeartthatsells #matsbootcamp2016 #lisafirke...



Just scribbling. #makeartthatsells #matsbootcamp2016 #lisafirke #medievalmotifs



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13. Deborah Marcero's URSA'S LIGHT - Guest Post


Ursa’s Light
by Deborah Marcero

PART 1: PATH TO PUBLICATION
      I have always loved writing and drawing. My love of making art took me to art school, then to New York City for a few years, which then led to me to an MFA in Poetry.
      In all those years of my twenties I collected many tools, but even after my MFA, I still wasn’t sure how I was going to use all that I had learned to build a creative life. After a few years of freelancing, I decided to take another turn altogether and dedicated myself to teaching.
      I worked in the Chicago Public Schools as a reading and writing lead teacher for three years. This job, with all its rewards and hardships, gave me an incredible gift: it re-introduced me to the books I fell in love with as a kid, and showed me NEW books I wished were around when I had been in fifth grade.
      I led enrichment programs, one of which was “Young Authors," where I stayed after school and helped my students publish their works as authors and illustrators. Working with them, made me realize, I want to do this. For real. That was 2009.
      In between then and now, I stopped teaching, started my own photography business, moved to a small city in Michigan and began to dedicate half or more of my time to writing and illustrating. In Ursa’s Light, my debut picture book, so much of my journey to publication is in her story. Ursa is a dreamer and a scientist. She embodies one of my favorite quotes from Thoreau:
“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”
     It is through being a dreamer and a pragmatist, that I found my path. And like Ursa, I have failed many times. Each of those failures shaped my journey and forced me to be even more determined, creative and patient.
      Ursa’s victory isn’t just that she becomes a shooting star in the play. It’s more than that. Her dream, her amplified study of the world, her taking risks and making embarrassing mistakes and ultimately being brave enough to be HERSELF in front of everyone - is her shining moment. To be her true self, to be seen, to be vulnerable – flaws, oddities and all – to follow the beat of her own drum, to forge her own path is Ursa’s journey, and it’s mine too.
      I am now writing and drawing every day. I wake up every morning to a life I am truly grateful for. I am still failing and learning and growing. But all those tools I’ve picked up along the way, from 1000 hours of figure drawing in art school to studying poetry, to teaching narrative writing to my fourth graders – all those tools are on my table now. They are in use, and helping me build the creative life I have always wanted.

PART 2 : ILLUSTRATION METHOD FOR URSA’S LIGHT
      Once the manuscript was approved, I composed and paced all the spreads in detail with a very fine pencil (2H 0.3 mm lead).
      Once the sketches were approved, I inked in all the lines with Black Cat India ink and a dip-ink pen.
      Then, before I moved to color, I decided on a color palette for the entire book (this is the MOST important part!). I was also given the option to create a font for Ursa (which, consequently is one of my favorite things to do) so of course, I said YES.
     Ursa’s palettes of rusts, mossy greens, sometimes-heavy blacks, brick red and navy anchor the story in a gritty pull-yourself-up-with-your-own-bootstraps kind of tone, and avoids (for example) saccharine pastels, which could have turned Ursa’s tale into something different altogether. Not that I don’t love pastels – I DO! Just not for Ursa.
      After I established the palette, I created a stack of potential textures – woodblock cuts, ink lines, watercolor, gouache, etc. on my drawing table. Then, finally, I digitally layered, pieced and collaged them into the ink line-work.


     A little more behind the scenes development of my illustration style for Ursa’s Light can be found on my blog here: http://deborahmarcero.com/coming-soon-ursas-light/.
Website: deborahmarcero.com
Twitter: @deborahmarcero

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14. BLUE PRINT NYC 2016 - flyers

We are sticking with Blue Print for this next post with a selection of single flyers for designers who will be represented at the show by the Cinnamon Joe Studio, who are also the organisers of Blue Print. Here we see gorgeous designs from Balakrishna Madana, Rachel Westhead, Rosie Maddocks, Helen Black, Kim Hawes and Luan Thomas.

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15. Featured Review: Night Speed by Chris Howard

About this book: Only those young enough can survive the pulse-pounding rush of tetra, a dangerous and addictive new drug that fuels a nine-minute burst of superhuman strength and speed. Alana West has been trained to use the drug so she can pursue the young criminals who abuse its power—criminals like...

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16. Pollution Control

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17. almost finished

I've almost finished illustrating Jinks & O'Hare Funfair Repair! I ought to celebrate by tidying my desk.

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18. Aardman Sells Persil Laundry Detergent With A Short, ‘Monster Stains’

Aardman created the characters using household stains as color.

The post Aardman Sells Persil Laundry Detergent With A Short, ‘Monster Stains’ appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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19. How to Choose & Mine Mentor Texts for Craft Moves: Teaching Writing with Mentor Texts

I've been researching and working with mentor texts for over a decade. Here's how I choose them and mine them for craft moves to teach young writers.

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20. Redefining The Ages Of British Comic Books...



.....AGAIN 

Why re-post this article since it was first published back in 2000 and several times since then?  Well, despite the "serious comics history" pundits being given the link on a number of occasions it appears I am beneath their interest. I know this because they are now stating that the Overstreet Price Guide has published 'new' info.

Here is what someone wrote on Yahoos Platinum Comics group:

"But even that big news in Comic Book History has been overturned, with the discovery of an even earlier comic book, entitled The Glasgow Looking Glass, published in Scotland, in 1825."

Yes, well, Denis Gifford and myself both wrote about that (he WELL before me) back in 1984 and wrote about it in 1985.

Now I do realise that some "sequential historians" look down on us regular comic folk but seriously they are ten years behind the rest of us.

So here is the cranky old article but with new illos.
I thank you.
_________________________________

Despite attempting to fill in the Lost Era of British comics from the 1940s/1950s since the 1980s it is only recently, with the invaluable help of  Dennis Ray, owner of The 3-Ds comic store in Arlington, Texas, that a small chunk of this period has been rediscovered.

Characters not listed even in Denis Gifford references have been found. These have started to appear in the Black Tower Golden Age Classics series.  As they are unlikely to be big money earners the cover prices were kept low for those interested in the subject.

Oh, and as I've proven previously, the myth of the Germans "never had comics during the war" is just that.

A myth.

And though some comics continued few survived.  Thomson's continue but in much poorer form and British comics as an "industry" are dead. 

 
Above: Dennis Gifford

Here is a slightly up-dated version of my article defining the British ages of comics from my British Golden Age Comics web site and a couple years back on CBO.

 The late Denis Gifford spent many decades chronicling the history of British comics.  It was a never-ending task and at least we still have his books to rely on –these have been so plagiarised by new ‘experts’ that it shows just how valuable any Gifford book is. For this reason,I am relying solely on Denis’s and the “Tel’s From The Crypt” feature from vol.1 no.1 of COMIC BITS [1999].

Of course,there are some who would argue that comic strips go back further than the dates I give. This is debatable and,hopefully,one day the UK will have a symposium on the subject! 
 
Looking Glass was a tabloid sized periodical published by Thomas McLean and could be purchased as either a plain or hand-coloured edition. Some 36 issues were published starting on 1st January, 1830 until December, 1832 -but from issue number 13, that was published on 1st January, 1831, it suddenly got re-titled to McLean's Monthly Sheet of Caricature or The Looking Glass.

But this was not the first Looking Glass! John Watson published The Glasgow Looking Glass on the 11th June, 1825 and it lasted five issues up to August, 1825. From 18th August, 1825 and for twelve issues up to 3rd August, 1826 as Northern Looking Glass. Not to be confused with The Glasgow Looking Glass -no connection.

 THIS is the comic 'newly discovered' by the Overstreet Price Guide!

According to Denis, the first comic magazine was actually titled…The Comick Magazine!  The magazine appeared on 1st April,1796.  The publisher was Mr Harrison of 18 Paternoster Row,London who describe the title as “The compleat Library of Mirth, Humour, Wit, Gaiety and Entertainment”. 

Most purists would argue that The Comick Magazine was wholly text,however,it did come “enriched with  William Hogarth’s Celebrated Humorous,Comical and Moral Prints”. –one per monthly issue!  These prints formed the series “Industry and Idleness” and when put together in their “narrative sequence”, argued Gifford,”they could be described  as an early form of comic strip”
 


 Above: Dr Syntax on Tour

Thomas Rowlandson  provided plates for The Caricature Magazine [1808].  On the 1st May,1809 came The Poetical Magazine and it was in this –Rowlandson the artist once more—that what is arguably the first British ‘comic’ super star was born:Dr Syntax!   The serial by William Combe,”The Schoolmaster’s Tour” was Dr Syntax’s first,uh,outing and in 1812 was reprinted in book form [graphic novel?] as “The Tour Of Dr Syntax in Search of The Picturesque”.  This featured 31 coloured plates.

Dr Syntax spawned merchandise spin offs,as any comic star does,such as Syntax hats,coats and wigs!!
 

Figaro 31st March, 1832

Inspired by the French funny paper Figaro,on 10th December,1831,the four page weekly Figaro In London appeared.  Cover and interior cartoons were by Robert Seymour.  This first funny weekly went on for eight years and was to inspire [imitation] spin-offs such as Figaro In Liverpooland Figaro In Sheffield.    We can see the future shape of the comic industry appearing here!

Punch In London  appeared on 14th January,1832 –this weekly lasted 17 issues and the last featured  17 cartoons! 

The longest lived comic magazine,of course,was Punch from 17th July,1841 until its demise in 2002! 

It is a fact that Punch,on 1st July,1843,introduced the word “cartoon” into the English language;on that date the magazine announced the publication of “several exquisite designs to be called Punch’s Cartoons”.   Two weeks later the first appeared,the artist being John Leech.  [for more info on Punch see http://www.punch.co.uk/]

 

Punch number 1

Leech also drew “The Pleasures Of Housekeeping” [28th April,1849] –described as a slap-stick strip about a suburbanite called Mr Briggs which,ten years later,was published in book form as Pictures Of Life And Quality.

In 1905 Mr Briggs was still being reprinted in six penny paperbacks.     
     
Judy~The London Serio-Comic Journal started on 1st May,1867 and,on 14th August of the same year introduced a character  who became one of the greatest comic heroes of the day…….Ally Sloper!  

Ally Sloper [so called because,when a debt collector turned up he Sloped off down the Alley!] was a bald headed, bulbous nosed figure with a rather battered hat. ..often described as a Mr Micawber type [as played by W.C.Fields and others over the years].  Ally was constantly trying to make money but more often than not never quite succeeded.

 Merchandise abounded, Sloper Pewter mugs, figurines, bottles and much,much more.  And you can learn a great deal more on a wonderful web site –

There was an Ally Sloper comic in 1948 and some might think that was it.  However, Walter Bell drew the old lad in Ally Sloper, a British comics magazine published by Denis and Alan Class in the 1970s.

Note: since this was first written the Ally Sloper's Comic Bits was shelved and also, in an interview with Alan Class, he told me he was NOT publisher of the 1970s fanzine!
 

Above the 1948 Ally Sloper comic.

Ally has certainly lived longer than his creator, Charles Henry Ross, could probably ever have imagined!  

Into the 20th Century and there was the rise of many illustrated text stories and comic strips with text under each panel.

D.C. Thomson had titles like ADVENTURE and ROVER.  Alfred Harmsworth’s, and later his Amalgamated Press’, COMIC CUTS was the first comic though.  Issue 1 was published on 17th May,1890 and the final issue was published on 12th September,1953 with issue number 3006!    
 

But the 1930s saw a virtual explosion in comics from small publishers outside London.  These included Merry Midget, no.1 dated Saturday,12th September,1931 and published by Provincial Comics Ltd.,Bath –and the other  title from this publisher was Sparkler.  Also publishing from Bath were Target Publications who produced Rattler and Target. 

Now these were traditional humour strips and gags along with text adventure stories.  But in 1939 something happened that ended the Diamond Age and saw the beginning of the Golden Age. 

On the 8th July,1939,the Amalgamated Press published, in Triumph, the strip “Derickson Dene”, drawn by that "mysterious" comic great 'Nat Brand'.  Gifford described the strip as “a four page serial strip that established him [Dene] as the first British super hero in the American comic book style”.  

 
And then,on the 5th August,1939, in Triumphno.772,compilations of the Siegel and  Shuster Superman newspaper strips started.  On the front cover,flying through space and drawn by John “Jock” McCail was The Man of Steel.   

These two very significant strips, in my opinion, ushered in the British Golden Age. 

There was only one little problem.  Across the English [or French] Channel,a little twerp with a silly moustache started a “bit of a tiff” we know as World War Two.  Paper restrictions and the banning of imported goods such as comic books,meant that British publishers had to use whatever they could. Comics were printed on brown wrapping paper,silver paper[!] and other inferior stocks. Many comics simply vanished. 

No new ongoing titles could be published so smaller publishers began to issue one-off eight pagers. 
 
The best known publishers  remembered today are the Amalgamated Press and D.C.Thomson,at the latter not just Lord Snooty and his Gang but also Eggo and Desperate Dan took on the Germans.

 
But Gerald G. Swan deserves a mention for books such as War Comics, Topical Funnies Special Autumn Number, Thrill Comics, and Slick Fun. .  Swan gave us Krakos the Egyptian and Robert Lovett:Back From The Dead. 

A. Soloway produced All Fun and after the war Comic Capers[1942] and  Halcon Comics [1948].  R & L Locker published Reel Comics and Cyclone Illustrated Comic.  Newton Wickham published Four Aces and Martin & Reid produced Grand Adventure Comics.
 
Gifford himself, later to work on Marvelman -and there are VERY strong rumours Marvel comics will be reprinting the 1980s series*, produced Mr Muscle.  Cartoon Art Productions of Glasgow published Super Duper Comics [1948].  W. Daly gave us Crasho Comic [1947].  Cardal Publishing of Manchester gave us the Gifford drawn Streamline Comics [1947]…….. 

There were so many publishers and titles and these titles included Ally Sloper, Ensign Comic, Speed Gale Comics, Whizzer Comics, Super Duper, The Three Star Adventures, The Atom, Prang Comic, Marsman Comic, Big win comic, Big Flame Wonder Comic, Evil Eye Thriller, The Forgers and many,many more –super heroes,science fiction, humour, detective,war comics the lot.  

However, there was soon to be a revolution.  Publishers started declining and the big companies continued on.  Then,on 14th  April,1950, ”launching British comics into the new Elizabethan Age,and the Space Age” appeared The Eagle, starring Dan Dare.  This date can be seen as the start of the Silver Age of British comics. 
 
New characters would appear who would engrave themselves on the new generations of comic readers. 

In the Amalgamated Press’  Lion no.1,23rd February,1952 Robot Archie made his debut.  In 1953, rivals D. C. Thomson featured General Jumbo in The Beano.  Miller, of course, brought us Marvelman and his family of comics. 

More uniquely British characters followed and into the 1960s we saw “The House of Dollman”, ”The Spider” (created by Jerry Siegel despite what some UK pundits write. I spoke to the man in charge at Fleetway who when younger handled the scripts with Siegel's name on and told how the office was a-buzz about "the character -created by one of the men who created Superman"), ”Steel Claw” and ”Rubberman” appear.   

In the mid –to- late 1970s titles began to get cancelled more and more frequently with Thomson and Fleetway/IPC seemingly not sure just where they were going comic –wise. In February,1977, 2000 AD made its debut and it was a pivotal point for British comics [not to mention for the US industry which later  recruited many of the talents involved to help its rapidly sinking comics in the mid-1980s.   

 From all of this we can define the ages of British comics.

The Platinum Age                   ~ 1796-1938
The Golden Age                       ~ 1939-1949
The Silver Age                          ~  1950-1976
The Modern [Bronze Age]      ~  1977-1995

And there you have it;a brief  break-down and definition of the Ages. of British comics.  What we see today are little cliques of Small Pressers who come and go by the dozen every few months. Those who continue to declare there is an industry are rather sad as they depend on a non-existent thing to boost their ego and "be someone".

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* Need I point out that this snippet has, again, proven 100% accurate despite those "in the know" ridiculing the idea when I wrote this.

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21. Baseball Books

Recommend me!Baseball Books for Kids Aged 7-12

The Hero Two Doors Down: Based on the True Story of Friendship Between a Boy and a Baseball Legend: A Story of Friendship Between a Boy and a Baseball Legend

By Sharon Robinson
Ages 8-12

Based on the true story of a boy in Brooklyn who became neighbors and friends with his hero, Jackie Robinson.

The year is 1948, and the place is Brooklyn, New York. Stephen Satlow, a local Jewish boy, is an avid Brooklyn Dodgers’ fan but a mediocre athlete, at best. When Jackie Robinson moves into his predominantly Jewish neighborhood and befriends Steve, his status changes instantly.
Their bond deepens when Jackie commits a well-intentioned blunder. He mistakenly gives Steve’s family a Christmas tree. As the tension clears, acceptance of Jackie’s gift of the tree becomes symbolic of two families from different religious and cultural backgrounds finding common ground. The friendship between the two families grows over the next few decades, when enormous social changes sweep the nation.

Scholastic Year in Sports 2016
By James Buckley Jr.
Ages 8-12
Featuring the latest and greatest superstars, this is a must-have guide for sports fans of all ages!
For sports fans everywhere, the 2016 edition of Year in Sports features full-color action photographs throughout, completely updated facts and stats, and a colorful interior design. Features info about all of the top athletes, championships, and legends from the major and secondary sports. Including your favorite stars like LeBron James, JJ Watt, Clayton Kershaw, Serena Williams, Lionel Messi, and McKayla Maroney, Scholastic Year in Sports 2016 is perfect for sports beginners, as well as the most devoted of fans.

Little Rhino #1: My New Team
By Ryan Howard and Krystle Howard; Illustrated by Erwin Madrid
Ages 7–10
From Major League Baseball superstar Ryan Howard and his wife, Krystle Howard, a former elementary schoolteacher, this exciting new series is a fun read for sports and book fans alike.
One afternoon, after a long day of second grade, Little Rhino comes home to find out that Grandpa James has signed him up for a baseball league. Little Rhino will finally be a part of a team. But Little Rhino will quickly learn that it is not always so easy to be a good teammate, especially when there’s a bully wearing the same uniform as you. See also the other Little Rhino books. 

The Way Home Looks Now
By Wendy Wan-Long Shang
Ages 8–12

Twelve-year-old Peter Lee and his family are baseball lovers, who bond over back lot games and talk of the Pittsburgh Pirates. But when tragedy strikes, the family flies apart and baseball no longer seems to matter. Is that true? Peter wonders if just maybe the game they love can pull them together and bring them back, safe at home.

Game Changers #3: Heavy Hitters
By Mike Lupica
Ages 8-12
Ben and his friends, the Core Four Plus One, are so excited to play in their town’s All-Star Baseball league. But in the first game of the season, Ben gets hit by a pitch. It’s never happened to him before and it shakes him up. Another player on Ben’s team, Justin, is acting really strangely. Ben has known Justin for a while and they’re friendly, but he’s not one of Ben’s closest “boys.” Justin is the team’s best hitter, but his behavior on and off the field is erratic.
Ben discovers that Justin’s parents are getting a divorce and Justin is thinking about quitting the team. Like good teammates do, Justin helps Ben deal with his hitting issues while Ben is there for his friend while his family is struggling.

42: The Jackie Robinson Story
By Aaron Rosenberg
Ages 8-12
A novel based on the movie 42—a biopic about Jackie Robinson’s history-making signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers as the first African American Major League Baseball player.

Champ
By Marcia Thornton Jones
Ages 7-10
Riley is awful at sports. He wants to quit the baseball team, but his dad won’t let him give up. So when one bad swing brings a three-legged dog into his life, Riley feels like he’s been thrown a curveball. How can he take care of a dog and make his dad proud? Champ is a former champion show dog. But when the accident that leaves him with Riley also leaves him with three legs, this dog has to learn some new tricks. Can Champ show Riley that winning doesn’t always mean coming in first? Together, Riley and Champ make a great team, but not everyone thinks so. Could they be separated?

Down to the Last Out: The Journal of Biddy Owens, The Negro Leagues
By Walter Dean Myers
Ages 8-12
Seventeen-year-old Biddy Owens is part of the Birmingham Black Barons baseball team and dreams of becoming a major league baseball player. However, in 1948 most black players can only play for the Negro Leagues. Jackie Robinson has just recently integrated and is playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers, but the white owners are reluctant to add too many blacks to their rosters. The Birmingham Black Barons are some of the best players in the league. But as they travel around playing ball, Biddy realizes that not everyone is ready for blacks and whites to play on the same team. Can Biddy prove he’s good enough to be part of the game he loves, no matter what color his skin is?

Plunked
By Michael Northrop
Ages 8-12
When a young slugger gets hit by a pitch, he needs more than practice to get back his game.
Jack Mogens thinks he’s got it all figured out: he has his batting routine down, and now that he’s in sixth grade, he has a lock on a starting spot in Little League. (Well, almost. Okay, not really. It’s a two-man race, though, so he has a shot.) And if he can manage to have a not-totally-embarrassing conversation with Katie, his team’s killer shortstop, he’ll be golden. But when a powerful stray pitch turns his world upside down, Jack discovers it’s going to take more than a love of baseball to get back his game.

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22. BLUE PRINT/SURTEX 16 - harriet mellor

Harriet Mellor is a British artist and designer based in Germany who will be exhibiting for the very first time at both Surtex and Blue Print and is represented by Brenda Manley.

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23. Siggi Odds

Siggi Odds

Sigurður Oddsson, also known as Siggi Odds, is a designer and illustrator currently living in Reykjavík. Having grown up in Vancouver, Odds is highly influenced by Northwest Coast aboriginal art and its use of limited forms and colors. He is currently an art director at Jonsson & Le’Macks and has pursued numerous side projects such an interactive music composition entitled The Infinite String Quartet, collaborating on a line of quilts, designing album covers, and creating a series of posters using the phone app Doodle Buddy.

Siggi Odds

Siggi Odds

 

 

 

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24. Comics: The Cowards Remain Silent and The Bullies Continue


If there is one thing that I have learnt over my many years in UK comics it is that there is no "one thing" wrong with it.

Comic publishers were businessmen and only produced comics to make money and they knew all the tricks of double and triple book keeping.  Doing hand shake deals with distributors so that comics were hardly delivered. "1% of books returned" -cancel book and merge it with another for the tax benefit and all the other little "perks" that came with it.

It took me thirty years of speaking to former comic management and bosses before it all made sense.  With 1% returns of a title the company was STILL making good money -what was the sense in cancelling a book making money? WHY was distribution, even into the 1980s so bad?  The books went out so where were they?

Spot a kid who can hardly draw -get him onto 2000 AD, say he's "hot young talent" but don't say you are only paying him less than half the pro going rate per page (that goes into your pocket). Kid vanishes because he started asking for more money as he was a "hot young star".  Next!

WHY did I and other script-writers have to produce a second copy of our work to accounts? Because there was so much fraud going on they wanted to make sure it was actually work they were paying for.  Why was the warehouse where IPC/Fleetway kept all the original art unknown to editors or people below management?  Theft.  Or as it was explained to me "original art walking off". There was quite a bit of trade in stolen comic artwork.

And who replaced the tried and trusted, dependable, professional script-writers and artists? People with over blown egos, mates of mates -all of who were willing to be a great pal....until the chance came to stick the knife in the back -even of people who helped them.

Not greatly talented "yes" men who sucker up to editors and put a few very bad words into the thick editorial ear to brown-nose even more and to kick the real talented pros who made British comics what they were out of work. Little fat heads who declare openly that they never asked for "creators rights" and that the "bosses should pay what THEY think is fair even if not much because they are the bosses".  Dregs.

You point unfairness out to these little back stabbing turds of poison and they try bullying.  They alter emails, they hide comments that counter anything they say. And if that does not work then they, and their equally slimy little pals of low IQ, will launch a trolling campaign. They do not just inundate your email inbox but they go onto every UK comic site they can where they lie outright and malign peoples character and work.  Complain, as a few have found, to those sites monitors and they will defecate themselves in fear of getting the same treatment.  Or, they are a part of this cowardly system and state it is "free speech" -but you cannot respond.

There are people out there who have no career and will start these flame wars and fan those flames because "I was merely stating a point of view" and so it goes on.

Most of this small group of Z list creators profess to be the "nice guys" of comics.  They smile and shake your hand but they've just slandered you to a group of other people.  They are known by everyone who works in comics for more than a month. Here is the thing: those who know will sit back, they will not speak out.  They allow friends and people who have helped them through very hard to be maligned.  They will not speak up.  They sit back.  Some will even agree with the ugly little wretches "because" they do not want to get the bad treatment.  These little dregs do not control UK comics or the industry because there is no UK comics industry.

These people are sitting back and allowing this to go on.  I hear from people who get this bad treatment.  Those who know or turn a blind eye to all of this are nothing more than spineless cowards and UK comics have paid the price of all of this.

They conspire and trash talk people on their private blogs and groups and here is the other thing: many of those organising UK comic conventions know all of this.  Yet they give free passes to these people to continue their bullying and harassment at those events. These organisers are also cowards.

Do not contact me privately and ask me not to cite you as an example. Speak out on your own blog.  Your Face Book page or even in comments on CBO.  I am no longer interested in your "I don't want to be bullied any further" -you can get legal protection from internet bullying and even report these people to their ISPs.  You let them get away with it then you must like it.  You are adults.  Act like adults.

If you want to get into comics then self-publish.  Have nothing to do with UK comic sites. Be your own boss and all that entails.  This is 2016.

Leave the untalented little men to live in their own little power fantasy worlds because they have no careers.  Most of them are stabbing each other in the back -I get the emails and it's almost comical.at times.  Their worlds are collapsing around them.

You do not need these people to produce and sell your own comics. Kablam!, lulu and other print on demand companies are out there.  Until the cowards speak-up the UK comic scene will remain stagnant and dying.

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25. My new picture book - Freesland Fresh Air: Teacupke´s Rose

    Here some pictures from my new picture book by Elena Folkerts.








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