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1. Meanwhile in Angoulême: Charlie Hebdo gets special prize; Comixology coverage and just how big is it?

1 3 LAUREAT2015 CH2 Meanwhile in Angoulême: Charlie Hebdo gets special prize; Comixology coverage and just how big is it?

The 42nd Angoulême International Comics Festival is well underway, wrapping up the second day of exhibits as you read this, and the year is dominated, of course, by the Charlie Hebdo killings. Matthias Wivel is offering on the scene reports, and security is very high for the festival this year the checkpoints and bomb sniffing dogs.

BIZARRO WORLD A rain-drenched Angoulême has been preparing for the annual influx of people from all over the world for weeks, scrambling to take the necessary precautions against possible terrorism. Bomb-sniffing dogs around the Noveau Monde comics tent and body searches with portable metal detectors, backing up visitors at every entrance is the new reality at Angoulême.

Angou2015 CH memorial 2015 01 29 650x866 Meanwhile in Angoulême: Charlie Hebdo gets special prize; Comixology coverage and just how big is it?
The Charlie Hebdo massacre looms large everywhere, even as people are trying to carry on as usual. The Lewis Trondheim-designed festival mascot appears on the cover of the official program brandishing the ubiquitous JE SUIS CHARLIE sign, while absent festival president Bill Watterson’s delightful official poster, hanging in shop windows around town, reminds one of a (seemingly) more innocent time in comics.

Charlie Hebdo itself has been given a special prize, and the names of those slain loom over the entrance to the festival, a shown in the photo above by Wivel.
comixology angouleme Meanwhile in Angoulême: Charlie Hebdo gets special prize; Comixology coverage and just how big is it?

• Comixology is back at FIBD and has a big All Access Angouleme program going on via TwitterTumblr,Facebook, and Google+ channels.

ComiXology, the revolutionary cloud-based digital comics platform, celebrates this year’sAngoulême International Comics Festival with a sale spotlighting comics, bandes dessinées (BD), graphic novels and manga from all over the world from January 29th through February 1st. ComiXology will also be covering the show through their social media channels under the “All Access Angoulême” moniker – giving fans around the world a way to experience the festival. The AngoulêmeInternational Comics Festival takes place in Angoulême, France and runs from January 29th to February 1st.

 

They also have an Angoulême sale going on and just announced a deal to carry Humanoids comics. Both sections reward browsing.
Prixjeunesse Meanwhile in Angoulême: Charlie Hebdo gets special prize; Comixology coverage and just how big is it?

• LES ROYAUMES DU NORD by Stéphane Melchior and Clément Oubrerie (Aya), an adaptation of Phllip Pullman’s The Golden Compass won the YA prize. I already like it better than the movie.
A65380 Meanwhile in Angoulême: Charlie Hebdo gets special prize; Comixology coverage and just how big is it?

• Local resident Jessica Abel has a few tweets of note:


AND she has a new book, Trish Trash! Finally!


And her eating guide in case you haven’t figured out how to buy a crepe.

§ The Sodastream controversy continues, with an open letter signed by 110 cartoonists and allies protesting the sponsorship by the Israeli company that has factories on the West Bank. Festival director Franck Bondoux has responded:

“We are no longer in the same situation as last year,” remarked Bondoux, whom we reached last night. “SodaStream announced in 2014 that the factory under discussion will be moved. This means that the problem is in process of being resolved and has been understood.” The executive director of the festival further believes that the letter “moves into a broader proposal with terminology that goes much farther in its call for a boycott.” “We have moved from a discussion where one speaks of a specific problem to a total generality.” “This is an incitement to a stronger, more militant form of resistance.” Bondoux refuses to “judge” or “comment” if only to say “that in the current situation [reference to Charlie Hebdo and Kosher supermarket attacks], I’m not certain whether this is a time to welcome such proposals.”

But the petition organizers Ethan Heitner (NYC) and Dror Warschawski (Paris) have also responded:

On the eve of the 42nd International Comics Festival in Angoulême, the open letter we have sent to the festival director has more than 110 signatories, including 14 cartoonists having been awarded prizes at Angoulême and 7 Grand Prix laureates.

Additional signatures are still coming in from illustrators outraged by the contempt that Mr Bondoux displays towards them.  Several of them had initially not thought it necessary to sign this letter, feeling that the one sent last year had served as a warning, at a time when Mr Bondoux could plead naivety.  This year, with the facts out in the open, they cannot accept that the art of comics be used to whitewash the crimes of colonization and complicity in war crimes, be it in Angoulême or elsewhere.

Last year Mr Bondoux challenged the truth of the information we had provided and claimed that the Sodastream factory was not situated in territory militarily occupied by Israel since 1967.  This year, without blushing, he declared to the press that “the Sodastream firm announced in 2014 that the factory would be relocated.  The problem is being resolved.” (Sud Ouest newspaper, 23 January 2013).  Firstly, as of now the factory has not been relocated, and Sodastream is still a sponsor of the Angoulême festival.  Secondly, the “problem” is not being resolved and it is now 67 years that the Palestinians have been waiting for a solution.  Finally, cartoonists cannot accept that their art form be exploited by a firm that will, in addition, profit from the expulsion of Palestinian Bedouins in order to install its new factory on their land, and thus participate in the ethnic cleansing policy carried out by the State of Israel.

Mr Bondoux adds that “In the light of current events, I am not sure that such excessive remarks are appropriate”.  We suggest that Mr Bondoux discuss it with Willem, a Charlie Hebdo survivor, Grand Prix laureate in 2013, president of the Angoulême Jury in 2014, and a signatory of the letter.  We also suggest that he speak with the artists to whom his own festival has awarded prizes, and especially with other Grand Prix laureates (Baru, Jean-Claude Mézières, José Muñoz, François Schuiten, Tardi, Lewis Trondheim…).  It is they, rather than Mr Bondoux, who make this festival what it is.  Their voices must be heard, and the Sodastream firm must be driven out of the Angouleme festival.

 

• According to the Matthais Wivel account, China is very much involved as a sponsor in this year’s festival, so you can see cultural clashes of this kind will continue.

• It wouldn’t be an Angoulême without some kind of particularly Gallic controversy, although this year the Hebdo situation has swept most of that aside. Before the fest there was a huge controversy about Bondoux, who actually works for a firm contracted by the festival to put it on, taking aggressive steps to trademark the name of the festival, an event that got everyone’s dander up and forced the Angouleme minister of culture to make a public show of his outrage. Locals tell me that there is a three way battle over the festival between L’Association (no relation to the publisher) which puts it on, 9e Art+, the contractor, and the local government. While this tussle has been put on hold due to the greater events sweeping over the French cartooning community, it hasn’t been solved.

• Finally, this comes from the NY Post of French comics coverage, so add some salt, but along with the above controversy, there have been claims that FIBD (Festival Festival international de la bande dessinée d’Angoulême) has inflated it’s attendance figures and does not draw the 200,000 that is claimed. Quelle horreur! A lot of the evidence seems to be based on whether 40,000 is a typo for 400,000, which is flimsy, but there have been other claims about this perviously. Speaking for myself, after actually going I’d guess that 200,000 people don’t all show up every day, but there are more than 50,000 people every day, too. Also, in the rough Google translation, it seems that, SDCC-style, scrutiny is being given to the costs versus the amount spent by attendees, with a study by the local tourism board showing major expenditures: the festival costs € 4.3 million, € 1.9 million of it public money, but brings in € 1.1 million for restaurants and € 0.72 million for hotels, with visitors spending some € 1.42 million (About US$1.6 million.) That actually amounts to….$18 per attendee, so the French may also be a living embodiment of the Single Can of Tuna Theory*.

1 Comments on Meanwhile in Angoulême: Charlie Hebdo gets special prize; Comixology coverage and just how big is it?, last added: 1/30/2015
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2. Bendis on working for Marvel

powers001 cov 654x1024 Bendis on working for Marvel
On his Tumblr, Brian Micheal Bendis was asked about why he’s stayed with Marvel when so many others have gone 100% creator owned.

Seems like most of the guys from your generation (Fraction, Brubaker, Millar) made a name doing their own stuff, built up a name at one of the big 2, then left to do their own stuff but with a bigger following. What makes you stay on at Marvel? Do you think you always had different goals from the start?


and he pointed out some very good reasons to stay:

Everyone to their own path. 

but it’s weird that I keep being labeled, by some, as just marvel dude because I do produce as much if not more creator owned work as everybody else doing creator owned work. in fact with the powers TV show just a few weeks away I am as involved in the benefits of creator owned then just about anybody on the planet aside from Robert Kirkman. it just so happens that Marvel is also my home for creator owned work and have been publishing powers for over a decade

 but why Marvel? I absolutely love it. I feel an immense honor being  one of the caretakers of these characters that mean so much to so many. my kids are little and all of their friends love the guardians or the avengers and the thrill they feel when they find out I’m somewhat involved is very inspiring.  I am afforded a great deal of freedom to express myself in characters that mean the world to so many.

 so I get the best of both worlds.  why wouldn’t I do both?


You know, there’s nothing wrong with sticking with a job you love, especially when you have a “TV” show coming out that will potentially rewards the fruits of creator-owned labor over many years. Bendis has had one of the most successful careers in comics history, ad having choices is what helped make it so.

1 Comments on Bendis on working for Marvel, last added: 1/30/2015
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3. The OSU Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum acquires Tom Tomorrow’s paper

tom tomorrow1 The OSU Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum acquires Tom Tomorrows paper
OSU’s Billy Ireland library and Museum continues to amass more important collections or archival papers with the announcement that editorial cartoonist Tom Tomorrow aka Dan Perkins will be donating his papers to the institution. Tomorrow is a alt.weekly mainstay whose made the transition to the inetrent world, with his trenchant comics found in 70 papers, Daily Kos, The Nation, and The Nib.  

Perkin’s collection has a large historical value, as he explained in a statement: “At this point, it represents not only a history of my own work, but of the alternative press itself, and I hope there’s some value in that for some scholar someday.  So when Curator Jenny Robb said The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum would be interested, I was thrilled — not only is all this material going to be preserved and accessible, but it will be in the biggest cartoon library in the world.  I can’t think of a better home for it all, though it does rob my young son of his eventual inheritance of many boxes full of old newspapers.”

With more and more papers being donated to various comics-friendly institutions, not only is the life of the packrat vindicated, but future generations and scholars are the richer for it.
TomTomorrow2 The OSU Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum acquires Tom Tomorrows paper

0 Comments on The OSU Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum acquires Tom Tomorrow’s paper as of 1/26/2015 2:53:00 PM
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4. Phoebe Gloeckner’s Diary of a Teenage Girl wows them at Sundance

DOATG Phoebe Gloeckners Diary of a Teenage Girl wows them at Sundance

518DtXCE33L Phoebe Gloeckners Diary of a Teenage Girl wows them at Sundance
Every few years, a comic book movie that is based on real life appears, and most often they appear at Sundance, the January-set indie film festival that rival Comic-Con for celebs, parties and standing in the street looking for a place to drink free alcohol.

The American Splendor film triumphed at Sundance back in 2003; more recently Save the Date, based on the work of Jeffrey Brown, had a more modest debut.

But this year, The Diary of a Teenage girl, based on the hybrid novel/comic by Phoebe Gloeckner, and directed by Marielle Heller is getting very strong reviews. The film stars 22-year-old Bel Powley as Minnie Goetz, a teenage girl whose emerging sexuality finds an outlet in an affair with her mother’s boyfriend. (Kristen Wiig and Alexander Skarsgard play the mother and boyfriend.) Strong reviews have led the way to the film already being picked up by Sony Classic Pictures.

diary of a teenage girl Phoebe Gloeckners Diary of a Teenage Girl wows them at Sundance

Todd McCarthy at The Hollywood Reporter loved it:

In this gutsy, intimate and assured debut, Marielle Heller accomplishes just about everything all young independent filmmakers say they want to do when starting out: to create a personal, fresh, distinctive work in their own “voice” that will then, of course, make their careers. Heller has pulled this off in a remarkably vibrant and frank look at one precocious teen’s emerging sexual life — a film with the stuff of life coursing through its veins and sex very much on its brain. The Diary of a Teenage Girl is the kind of film Sundance prays for every year: one that indelibly puts on the map a talented director the festival can then forever claim as one of its own. This will be one of the significant indie titles of the year and a good commercial bet — a film many young women will see more than once.

 

Anisha Jhaveri of Indiewire gave it an A-

Shocking but genuine, poignant and hilarious, “Diary of a Teenage Girl” could well become one of the more memorable entries in the Sundance Film Festival’s U.S. competition. Minnie’s story may be a singular one, but its essence will undoubtedly strike a chord — not just for women, but for anyone who recalls the befuddling emotions that plagued and enriched their teen years in equal doses.

Variety’s Dennis Harvey also liked it:

Translating tricky source material to the screen with flying colors, actress Marielle Heller’s feature directing debut, “The Diary of a Teenage Girl,” manages to plunge into the too-precocious sex life of a 15-year-old girl without turning exploitative or distasteful. This adaptation of Phoebe Gloeckner’s heavily autobiographical novel is ideally cast and skillfully handled, making for a salable item likely to stir some attention-getting controversy and win favorable reviews in territories where the subject matter (which is depicted not graphically, but with a fair amount of nudity) doesn’t create daunting censorship problems.

Gloeckner is a powerful storyteller and she has found a sympathetic collaborator in Heller, who previously adapted the material into a stage play; animations based on the comics part of the book are used throughout the film. The cartoonist, who currently works as a professor at the University of Michigan, was on the set for filming and went to Sundance for the premiere. Several interviews with Gloeckner about the experience are available: this audio interview and a profile here.

Bonus video: Wiig and Skarsgard talking about their characters.

 Phoebe Gloeckners Diary of a Teenage Girl wows them at SundanceThe acclaim for the film will hopefully give some of Gloeckner’s other works some attention as well, although they aren’t that easy to find. A Child’s Life, which collects most of her comics, including ones which expand on the events of Diary, is OOP, although you can readily get a used copy. Hopefully that will change soon, and also maybe Gloeckner will do some more comics? A voice as honest and clear as hers is always needed in comics.

1 Comments on Phoebe Gloeckner’s Diary of a Teenage Girl wows them at Sundance, last added: 1/26/2015
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5. Marge and Bill Woggon selected for the Eisner Hall of Fame, 13 on the ballot

Marjorie “Marge” Henderson Buehl, the magazine cartoonist who created Little Lulu, and Bill Woggon, creator of Katy Keane, an early example of crowd sourced comics, have been selected for the Will Eisner Comic Awards Hall of Fame by this year’s judges. An additional 13 names will be on the ballot for the awards: Lynda Barry, John Byrne, Chris Claremont, Howard Cruse, Kim Deitch, Matt Groening, Denis Kitchen, Frank Miller, Francoise Mouly, Paul S. Newman, Lily Renée Peters Phillips, Bob Powell, and Frank Robbins. Four will be selected for the Hall and announced at the ceremony at Comic-Con.

Online voting is now open for industry professionals (writer, artist, cartoonist, colorist, letterer, editors, publishers) as well as retailers, graphic novels librarians, and comics historian/educators. The deadline is March 31.

eisners2015 hof buell 1 Marge and Bill Woggon selected for the Eisner Hall of Fame, 13 on the ballot

Marjorie Henderson Buell (“Marge”) (1904–1993)
Marge started drawing Little Lulu for the Saturday Evening Post in 1935, creating a mischievous tot with a spark for ingenuity that we know to this day. Lulu was created as a foil to the existng character Henry. It was turned into a comic strip eventually and the comics by John Stanley and Irving Tripp. Although the Stanley Lulu stories are the best known today, Marge’s Lulu was very popular in its own right, with many licensing deals—including one as the mascot for Kleenex from 1952-1965–and an animated series. Marge was a cartoonist from the age of 16 and created other comic strips and illustrated many books.

Marjoriebuell Marge and Bill Woggon selected for the Eisner Hall of Fame, 13 on the ballot

eisners2015 hof woggon 1 Marge and Bill Woggon selected for the Eisner Hall of Fame, 13 on the ballot

Bill Woggon (1911–2003)
Bill Woggon created “Katy Keene, the Pinup Queen” for Archie Comics in 1945, a fashionable character far above the usual Riverdale shenanigans. readers were encouraged to send in their own designs for clothes and other series props, and Keene would use them in the strips, giving credit to readers. The strip was revived in the 80s with some newer artists but Woggon was still around to take an active hand. He also worked on Millie the Lovable Monster for Dell, and his elegant, streamlined style for perfect for the fashions that the strip spotlighted.
po Marge and Bill Woggon selected for the Eisner Hall of Fame, 13 on the ballot

2 Comments on Marge and Bill Woggon selected for the Eisner Hall of Fame, 13 on the ballot, last added: 1/24/2015
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6. The cartooning world—and the rest of the world—reacts to the Charlie Hebdo attack

January 7th, 2015 will always be a grim date in for free speech, tolerance and French cartooning. As we all know, 12 people, including 10 staffers and four cartoonists were killed in a terrorist attack on the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo yesterday morning. The attack—which some called the 9/11 for France—left grieving and reeling for those lost and for a world in which such a senseless act could occur. The four cartoonists killed—Georges Wolinski, Charb, Tignous, and Cabu—included one Angouleme Grand Prize winner, Wolinski, who won in 2005. It was a grievous toll.

Some developments: The two gunmen were quickly identified when they left their ID in a vehicle they abandoned. As I write this there are conflicting reports about whether they have been apprehended, but nothing definite enough to link to.

10367683 10152482798576612 299126935450636576 n The cartooning world—and the rest of the world—reacts to the Charlie Hebdo attack

• Rallies were held around the world last night, with thousands showing up at various vigils in France. (Below The cartooning world—and the rest of the world—reacts to the Charlie Hebdo attack is from Lyon.) A rally was also held at Union Square in NYC, with Art Spiegelman photographed there.

 

• The world of editorial cartoonists quickly reacted with many drawing showing their solidarity with those slain in the name of free speech. The Washington Post has a fine round up.

• This cartoon by James Walmesley found a lot of support.

Screen Shot 2015 01 07 at 7.37.21 PM The cartooning world—and the rest of the world—reacts to the Charlie Hebdo attack

• Craig Yoe sent me this one.

• Comics scholar, and French comics expert Bart Beaty wrote an excellent piece explaining the role that the editorial cartoonist has in France:

Unlike in the United States, where comic strips, comic books, and editorial cartoons are generally regarded as only distantly related wings of the same art form, in France the integration of the three is much closer. Each of the four cartoonists killed today worked not only for Charlie Hebdo, but for other newspapers, and for French comic book publishers. The publishing industry in France is both smaller and more central than it is in the United States. With so many cartoonists living in and around Paris, the overlap between different media are quickly eroded in a context where it can sometimes seem that every working cartoonist knows every other one and works across publishing platforms.

• Controversial editorial cartoonist Ted Rall wrote a fine piece for the LA Times where he recalled meeting the Hebdo staff on a trip to Angouleme, and reiterating the power of editorial cartoons to inflame passions…and even thought:

Not to denigrate writing (especially since I do a lot of it myself), but cartoons elicit far more response from readers, both positive and negative, than prose. Websites that run cartoons, especially political cartoons, are consistently amazed at how much more traffic they generate than words. I have twice been fired by newspapers because my cartoons were too widely read — editors worried that they were overshadowing their other content.

Scholars and analysts of the form have tried to articulate exactly what it is about comics that make them so effective at drawing an emotional response, but I think it’s the fact that such a deceptively simple art form can pack such a wallop. Particularly in the political cartoon format, nothing more than workaday artistic chops and a few snide sentences can be enough to cause a reader to question his long-held political beliefs, national loyalties, even his faith in God.

That drives some people nuts.

• Showing caution, many news outlets did not show the controversial Hebdo covers which led to threats against the magazine.

• For something of an alternative take, Jacob Canfield at The Hooded Utilitarian suggests that Free Speech Does Not Mean Freedom From Criticism and that Hebdo’s cartoons were deliberately provocative, Islamophobic and racist.

• Although Canfield certainly doesn’t suggest this, I did see a bunch of places suggesting that the “Je suis Charlie” show of solidarity around the world should not be used because it supports racist cartoons. I would gently suggest that racism is a horrible and bad thing, but it is not punishable by death, and showing solidarity for people who were murdered for expressing their views in a non violent way is probably not a terrible thing. Just because you supported “Boston Strong” after the Marathon bombing doesn’t make you a Red Sox fan.

• I doubt anything I just wrote will settle this issue.

• Probably the smartest thing I read all day yesterday was by Middle East analyst Juan Cole. (Yes I know he is controversial himself.) Cole writes that the killings were not really about the cartoons at all but rather a recruiting tool for extremism: by ginning up anti-Muslim sentiment in France and around the world, currently non-secular Muslims will be more receptive to recruitment.

The operatives who carried out this attack exhibit signs of professional training. They spoke unaccented French, and so certainly know that they are playing into the hands of Marine LePen and the Islamophobic French Right wing. They may have been French, but they appear to have been battle hardened. This horrific murder was not a pious protest against the defamation of a religious icon. It was an attempt to provoke European society into pogroms against French Muslims, at which point al-Qaeda recruitment would suddenly exhibit some successes instead of faltering in the face of lively Beur youth culture (French Arabs playfully call themselves by this anagram). Ironically, there are reports that one of the two policemen they killed was a Muslim.

Al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia, then led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, deployed this sort of polarization strategy successfully in Iraq, constantly attacking Shiites and their holy symbols, and provoking the ethnic cleansing of a million Sunnis from Baghdad. The polarization proceeded, with the help of various incarnations of Daesh (Arabic for ISIL or ISIS, which descends from al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia). And in the end, the brutal and genocidal strategy worked, such that Daesh was able to encompass all of Sunni Arab Iraq, which had suffered so many Shiite reprisals that they sought the umbrella of the very group that had deliberately and systematically provoked the Shiites.

The goal of 9/11 was not to knock down the World Trade Center, or even to shut down state fairs because of terrorist fears. Its well documented goal was to throw the West into such a foment that the entire world economy and established political alliances were destabilized. The plan worked perfectly and bin Laden won. It would be horrible if the Hebdo murder were another triumph for extremist propaganda.

• All that said, cartoonists around the world showed solidarity for their slain colleagues with this “Weapon of Choice” meme. I’ve culled a few from my FB and Instagram feeds…there are dozens more. Here’s a small gallery. Ultimately, art outlives death.

 

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Mark Chiarello

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Janice Chiang

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Lauren Panepinto

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Dave Dorman

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Dan Panosian

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Cully Hamner

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J. Scott Campbell

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Denys Cowan

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Laura Martin

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Derf

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Bill Sienkiewicz

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Dean Haspiel

1 Comments on The cartooning world—and the rest of the world—reacts to the Charlie Hebdo attack, last added: 1/8/2015
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7. A sad day for cartoonists...


A sad day for cartoonists... 

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8. Interview: Gregg Schigiel on Creating and Promoting ‘Pix’

By Matt O’Keefe

A few months ago, editor-in-chief of The Beat Heidi MacDonald shared on social media that she’d been interviewed for the comic book podcast Stuff Said. I really enjoyed her conversation with host Gregg Schigiel, and soon after listening to that episode I devoured the rest of the show’s catalogue. I learned that Gregg Schigiel is also a very talented cartoonist, best known for his work on SpongeBob SquarePants comics. He has a new original graphic novel called Pix available now online and coming out through comic stores on February 11th. I spoke to Gregg about the book, from its development through marketing Pix with interviews like what you’ll read below.
PIX OWW Title 685x1028 Interview: Gregg Schigiel on Creating and Promoting Pix
 
You originally drew the first two chapters of Pix as a black and white ashcan. Why did you decide to make the graphic novel color?
Originally, I was pitching it over at Image in 2007/2008 under their Extreme line of books that Casanova and Fell came from. The concept I had at the time was that each chapter would be 20 pages and you could collect every 5 and it would be a $1.99 book for younger readers. The ashcans were black and white because it was cheaper to go into Nickelodeon and use their photocopiers and print black and white copies. The intent for the book was always to be color if and when it got printed
Why did you decide to self-publish?
I’ve wanted to self-publish forever. Well, forever’s probably overstating it, but I’ve been interested in self-publishing even since i was an assistant editor at Marvel. People like Jeff Smith and Terry Moore did really interesting work when I was in college and are still doing interesting work now, really making self-publishing work for them. I found the process super interesting and wanted to at least understand what it took to see something from start to finish. At a certain point with this project, I also saw that the self-publishing process would be faster than trying to shop it around and get somebody else to publish it. I knew what I wanted from it and the most efficient way to get that final result was to self-publish.
PIX OWW 03 695x1028 Interview: Gregg Schigiel on Creating and Promoting Pix

The first page of the prologue.

Why did you start the preview on the Pix website with Chapter 1 instead of the prologue?
I thought the prologue would be a nice treat for someone who read the first chapter online and then picked up the book and saw that there was something before Chapter 1. Also, a lot of the prologue is going to be in a book trailer that I’m working on when I’m not working on other things, so it will show up in some format. But I thought Chapter 1 worked as its own chunk of content. It seemed like a good intro to the character and the world.
PIX OWW 07 676x1028 Interview: Gregg Schigiel on Creating and Promoting Pix

The first page of Chapter 1.

The first page of Chapter 1 was a lot of exposition, but it’s really good exposition. I love how it takes advantage of the comics form, in that you can flip back to it if you forget something about a character like their name.
Yeah. I wanted this to be an entry level book where you knew what you had. It’s an incredible advantage of comics that you can do a lot in a single page and share that information very quickly.
PIX OWW 14 675x1028 Interview: Gregg Schigiel on Creating and Promoting Pix

Gregg Schigiel describes the art in ‘Pix’ as his natural style.

You spend a lot of your time drawing SpongeBob, who you have to draw exactly the right way for licensers. Is Pix more your natural style?
Yes, Pix is much closer to how I draw. Although, I’ve done so much licensing work and that’s had a… this will sound pretentious but it’s given me an eye for style. A lot of that is in the finishing so I could do Pix in a different style if I chose to but, for efficiency’s sake, this is the closest to my natural style at the moment. it’s always developing and shifting and changing. I tried to work a little looser on Pix to work a little faster because I can, like so many people, really overthink and over worry about a drawing. Making lines perfectly smooth, making sure not a single thing is out of place. So I tried to chuck that and tell the story. I spent more time on the construction and making the figure work solid and less time on the final linework.
PIX OWW 20 675x1028 Interview: Gregg Schigiel on Creating and Promoting Pix
Like I imagine many did, I first discovered your work through your podcast. Why did you start Stuff Said?
I started it in 2011 because I didn’t hear a podcast like it and I wanted there to be that show out there. I found the conversations on podcasts like Bullseye hosted by Jesse Thorn and WTF with Marc Maron super engaging and wanted that sort of thing in comics and cartooning. After listening to enough shows and complaining to friends it got to a point where if I thought I could do it, I should do it. So I went ahead and did it.
It’s nice to get the perspective of a cartoonist. Doesn’t seem like there’s enough of that in the podcast world.
Thanks. Yeah, it’s funny because that was clearly what I was going for, but it didn’t quite dawn on me that it was what i was doing until I spoke to Jamal Igle early on. He said that our talk was a different kind of conversation because we were coming from similar places. It was a peer to peer conversation as opposed of fan to pro or store to creators. It’s hopefully a little bit interview, a little bit commiserating as fellow professionals in this business.
PIX OWW 22 675x1028 Interview: Gregg Schigiel on Creating and Promoting Pix
Has the podcast helped build your name in the industry?
I don’t know. That’s a great question. I think it all depends… I’m not sure. I was at NYCC and had people come up and say they liked the show. Some of them were people in the industry and some who I presume were just fans who came across the show. I have no idea who knows who I am. I tend to think I’m a certain level of obscure but then people know who I am. I was at SDCC 2011 after two episodes had aired and met Skottie Young for the first time. I mentioned I did this podcast and he was like, “Oh yeah, I know.” I asked, “How do you know? The show is brand new!” He said he’d heard about it from somebody so I guess some people are listening to the show. I don’t have the full information on who’s listening to it and who knows who I am by name. I don’t think it’s that many people, though, and that’s not me being modest. I genuinely think that it’s not that many people. I wish it was more and interviews like this will hopefully help get my name out there.
PIX OWW 40 675x1028 Interview: Gregg Schigiel on Creating and Promoting Pix
After years of SpongeBob and now a self-published graphic novel, do you have any interest in working on a project that’s more mainstream for typical comic fans?
I might have at one point, but I haven’t worried about it much lately. I mean, Pix is certainly is certainly not geared towards a mainstream comic book fan, though I do think a mainstream comic book fan would like it and enjoy it and get something from it… No. The answer is no because I’ve seen over the years what the various fanbases are like and there’s something very, very satisfying about the reactions of kids when they read stuff and are super into it. I feel that with SpongeBob and I feel it when sitting next to Chris Giarrusso at conventions. Kids and families are super into G-Man. Raina Telgemier’s work draws a huge audience. There’s something very heartwarming… this might sound a little sappy… about seeing that kind of reaction. I see it less with mainstream comics. That’s not to say mainstream comics fans don’t appreciate the work, but I’ve become less concerned with appealing to that specific fanbase. I have been part of that fanbase and am not dismissing that fanbase. I just don’t do those kinds of comics at this point. I think my stuff is more suitable for a different audience.
PIX OWW 44 675x1028 Interview: Gregg Schigiel on Creating and Promoting Pix
What’s next for you?
Next for me is promoting and trying to sell Pix to comic stores and elsewhere. That’s the biggest and hardest challenge of this project so far. It’s the one thing I’ve not been able to have the most control over because to sell the book I need to promote the book. To promote the book I need people like you, thank you very much, to talk to me. Or I need distribution and need a distributor to sell the book on my behalf. When it comes to drawing it, I can just do what I do. Writing and drawing is the easy part and the fun part.
So there’s that and more Stuff Said because that’s part of my new comics output. And at some point i need to start working on Book 2 of Pix and I still work on the SpongeBob comics because that pays the bills. I’ve also been working on a new podcast that has nothing to do with comics that I’ll announce on the December 15th episode of Stuff Said. That will launch at the end of December and I think it will appeal to comic book fans but it’s not a comic show at all. It has nothing to do with comics, which is a fun departure. There’s always stuff I want to do. Like every person making comics and telling stories the list of things I want to do that I  haven’t gotten to is only going to be longer than what i’ve been able to get done so the list continues. There’s still time, though. I’m not that old yet!
You can buy a copy of Pix in digital or print here or ask your local comic shop to order it in the December catalog: item #DEC141546.

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9. Angoulême fest announces line-up of exhibits and spotlights: Watterson, Kirby, Moomins, Taniguchi

The Angoulême Festival International de la Bande Dessineé for 2015 has released the schedule of art exhibits, spotlights and other goodies. They attached this as an English-language pdf which I’ve inserted below.

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There are several amusing typos on the list, see if you can spot them. All that aside, this is a pretty stunning—and cosmopolitan—line-up, with comics from around the world including the Finnish Moomin saga, the Americans Jack Kirby and Bill Watterson, manga giant Jiro Taniguchi and so on. When they say exhibits, these are museum-quality shows that enhance your experience of even familiar projects. Truly Angouleme is the temple of comics. I think extending its esthetic to more comics is a great development.

There are obviously a lot of changes coming to this most Franco-Belgian of all comics events, and a lot of behinds the scenes turmoil which I’ll be reporting on in a separate post.

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10. The New Yorker’s Cartoons of the Year is out, with Wheeler and Karasik

Screen shot 2014 11 13 at 6.19.53 PM The New Yorkers Cartoons of the Year is out, with Wheeler and Karasik

Although The Beat is a loyal New Yorker subscriber (it’s the only thing that holds our attention whilst on the elliptical) just beause you’re a subscriber does’t mean you get the Cartoons of the Year special edition. However if our email is to be believed, this issue includes several new pieces that may necessitate a trip to the newsstand.

Michael Maslin has an index of the cartoons reprinted within—among them Emily Flake, Shannon Wheeler and Liana Finck. HE also made a screenshot of the cover, so we can find it on the newsstand.

comicteaser The New Yorkers Cartoons of the Year is out, with Wheeler and Karasik

Shannon Wheeler has also drawn a 3-page comic strip about Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson (no relation) the “father of the comic book.” His granddaughter Nicky Wheeler-Nicholson (an occasional Beat contributor) sent out a teeny preview to whet our appetites.
anatomy of a gag The New Yorkers Cartoons of the Year is out, with Wheeler and Karasik
Paul Karasik has also written a two page article dissecting a Charles Addams cartoon. He also sent along a preview!

CoverStory Time Warp Richard McGuire 690 949 13173805 The New Yorkers Cartoons of the Year is out, with Wheeler and Karasik

This week’s regular issue has a cover by Richard McGuire referencing HERE, which comes out any day now. There’s the usual cover feature explaining it:

“As I walk around the city, I’m time-travelling, flashing forward, planning what it is I have to do,” Richard McGuire says about this week’s cover. “Then I have a sudden flashback to a remembered conversation, but I notice a plaque on a building commemorating a famous person who once lived there, and for a second I’m imagining them opening the door. This is the territory of my new book, ‘Here,’ playing with time in both a historic and personal way.”

 

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11. DesignerCon Tells a Toy Story All Its Own

By David Nieves

Even though Los Angeles is the entertainment capital of the world, ten years ago, you’d be remiss to find comic conventions, toy shows, or most other forms of pop culture gatherings. The monthly mini show at the Shrine Expo was at times more a flea market than a convention and Frank and Son’s collectibles is always basically a swap meet. Today, there’s an overabundance of conventions and expos in L.A. for every facet of fandom. Seems like very weekend, fans of the popular arts have a place to gather somewhere in Southern California and that’s far from a bad thing.

This weekend in Pasadena CA; artists, toy makers, and vinyl sculptors of all kinds gathered at the convention center for DesignerCon or Dcon as it’s commonly known. If you’re an art connoisseur or a collector of unique toys this show is for you. Dcon smashes together collectible toys and designer goods with urban, underground and pop art. The show is over 70,000 square feet and features over 300 vendors, art & custom live demonstrations, and much more. Attendees can get prints by quirky artist Michelliezoid, the barbwire covered bat from Skybound Ent, or something from Prints On Wood by Tara McPherson and Greg “Craola” Simkins.

Dcon also host a limited number of informative and fan panels covering topics such as crowdfunding, character design, and building a style all your own.

However the real star of the show is the floor. Traversing the straightforward rows of aisles is simplicity. A person could walk the entire floor to get the lay of the land and easily find the booths they want to get back to. One of the most interesting parts of Dcon is that no two booths are even remotely alike. First you see the adorable art of Unicorn Crafts and then turn around to look at the zealously detailed horror dioramas of Jackorama. One of our favorite exhibits was the Lego recreations of some iconic comic book covers by ComicBricks. The Iron Man: Demon in a Bottle cover was exquisite right down to its tiny bottle of hooch.

The show has a very niche appeal. If you’re looking for comics, or figures from Mattel you won’t find them here. But if you enjoy innovatively designed toys like Giant Robot or gallery quality art by masters like Jeff Soto then this show is well worth the low low price of $7 for entrance.

Dcon continues Sunday from 10am-5pm at the Pasadena Convention Center. Find out more info at DesignerCon.com. Check out a few pics from the show below.

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12. James Sturm hits a nerve among cartoonists with ‘The Sponsor’

1 8MG0 KVU3JiBL0VNc7u7A1 James Sturm hits a nerve among cartoonists with The Sponsor

On Monday, James Sturm, cartoonist and director of the Center for Cartoon Studies, posted a cartoon at The Nib called “The Sponsor”. I’m sure if you are a cartoonist you’ve already read it, since it was the talk of the town for a few days. Basically it concerns cartoonists, jealousy, the low bar for success, anxiety over one’s abilities, tumblr hits, Kickstarter and more. All in 24 panels. I’d call that a good job.

The basic conceit is that as in various 12-step programs, (the subtitle is “The first step is admitting you have a problem”) cartoonists have sponsors they can call in moments of stress. A young cartoonist named Casey calls his sponsor, Alan, in the middle of the night to fret about another cartoonist named Tessa who has a six figure Kickstarter, a line out the door at a Rocketship signing,  and a book deal with D&Q. Tessa’s success sends Casey into such a tizzy that he has to work things out and consider grad school, despite Alan’s insistence that Crumb never thought about hits. And despite his “stay strong” rhetoric to Casey, Alan soon picks up the phone to call his OWN sponsor.

Of course we all know that judging your own success by someone else’s is a short cut to despair. By the same token, we’ve all done what Casey does, looked at other people’s book deals, Facebook likes, retweets or dinner companions and found ourselves feeling shitty about someone else’e\s perceived success. It’s human nature. You do it, I do it, we all do it. And then, if we want to actually be a success in some measure, we move on.

1 kQnfDwOEK1ZxkSLxlxUhvA James Sturm hits a nerve among cartoonists with The Sponsor

I know this cartoon ignited much talk in cartooning circles, but the one I caught spun out of this one by Colleen Frakes:

You can see the responses from MK Reed, Johanna Draper Carlson, Mike Dawson, Alison Wilgus and more. To be honest, the gender question here is, for once, a red herring. I think Sturm’s satire—and it is a satire, not an autobiographical comic—was based on the image of two white guys fretting over the success of a younger female cartoonist. That was kinda the POINT. This cartoon was about the toxic effects of jealousy not about gender relations—that the more successful, nimble cartoonist is a woman backs up setting as the twilight of the “pap pap era” that is implied by the reference to Crumb.

Another subtext of “The Sponsor” is that Alan and Casey are only reacting to the external aspects of Tessa’s career, and eschewing an examination of the artistic merits of her work that might lead to inspiration as opposed to mere envy. We get better at what we do by studying better things, and applying what makes them better to our own work, in a sensible way. Easier said than done, I know.

BTW, for those who think this is a lonely cry for acceptance by a put upon white male cartoonist, more of those thoughts are publicly expressed in this Metafilter thread, including guesses as to the real Tessa and so on. Come on people…IT’S A SATIRICAL STORY. I am well aware that all art is filtered through the social status of the creator, but but interpreting all storytelling as confirmation bias is the ultimate no-win situation. Can you imagine if Dan Clowes’ “Dan Pussey” came out today?

No, “The Sponsor” is about insecurity and the trivial uncontrollable fretting that destroys your own creativity. A few years ago I linked to this piece by Rob Liefeld called “How to Beat The Haters”, and you know, if Rob Liefeld can do it any one can—although external criticism is far from the corrosive internal struggle discussed in “The Sponsor.” But some of the same rules apply. You can only control one person’s work—your own. And yes, I am aware of the irony of quoting a cartoonist whose entire career seems oblivious to the painful self-examination Casey and Alan are dealing with.  The way forward lies somewhere in the middle.

Kind of tangential to this, but I’ve updated the Beat’s “How to Get Into Comics and Survive Once You’re There” page with a few links. It’s still only an outline. Share more resources or self-help or ideas for what Casey and Alan should do in the comments.

And a final PS: Man, the Nib is awesome. That is all.

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13. Buy a copy of The Walking Dead Vol. 1 with an original oil painting by Ben Templesmith for an absurdly low price

Walkingdead5 Buy a copy of The Walking Dead Vol. 1 with an original oil painting by Ben Templesmith for an absurdly low price

Well, $412 seems absurdly low to us, anyway. 

Renowned horror/fantasy artist Templesmith has been experimenting with hand-painted covers for several books, and this is an original one of a kind oil painting done on a copy of The Walking Dead Volume 1. The painting was varnished, and I don’t know if you can read the book inside, but it seems to me that this is a pretty darned sweet collectible…especially for Halloween.

Also…Christmas is coming.

More Templesmith stuff at the 78Squid retail website.

1 Comments on Buy a copy of The Walking Dead Vol. 1 with an original oil painting by Ben Templesmith for an absurdly low price, last added: 10/20/2014
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14. Dave Gibbons named the first Comics Laureate in the UK

dave gibbons Dave Gibbons named the first Comics Laureate in the UK

Hm let’s see, we need an ambassador of comics who can work with schools, educators and more to show how comics can contribute to literacy and learning. We need someone who is smart, distinguished and universally loved…

I know! Let’s get Dave Gibbons!

And so it has been announced at this year’s Lake Festival which is being held this weekend.

Bestselling graphic novelist Dave Gibbons is to become the first Comics Laureate. The announcement was made by internationally acclaimed comics authority and graphic novelist Scott McCloud at the launch of new charity Comics Literacy Awareness (CLAw) at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival on 17th October.

The role of Comics Laureate is to be appointed biennially to a distinguished comics writer or artist in recognition of their outstanding achievement in the field. Their role is to champion children’s literacy through school visits, training events for school staff and education conferences. Dave Gibbons has won universal praise for his comics and graphic novel work for Marvel and DC Comics including the ground-breaking Watchmen (with Alan Moore), as well as the UK’s own 2000AD and Doctor Who. “It’s a great honour for me to be nominated as the first Comics Laureate,” he says. “I intend to do all that I can to promote the acceptance of comics in schools. It’s vitally important not only for the pupils but for the industry too.” Dave Gibbons takes up his two-year position from February 2015.

Comics Literacy Awareness (CLAw) is a new UK charity formed by a group of passionate, highly experienced professionals from the fields of education and comics. Its primary aim is to improve the literacy levels of children and to promote the variety and quality of comics and graphic novels today, particularly in the education sector.

The Board of CLAw’s trustees includes renowned graphic novelist Bryan Talbot, winner of the 2012 Costa Award for Best Biography for Dotter Of Her Father’s Eyes (a collaboration with his wife Mary Talbot). He says, “In many other countries, comics and graphic novels have been used extensively in literacy drives. The sheer accessibility of the medium, the way in which complex information can be easily absorbed through its combination of words and pictures, actively encourages reading in those intimidated by endless blocks of cold print.”

The other trustees are Julie Tait, Director of the Lakes International Comic Art Festival; Ian Churchill, comic book artist for DC and Marvel, and writer/artist on his Image Comics title Marineman; Emma Hayley, Managing Director and Publisher of UK’s independent graphic novel company, SelfMadeHero; Paul Register, school librarian and founder of the Stan Lee Excelsior Award; and Dr. Mel Gibson, comics scholar and senior lecturer at Northumbria University.

Alongside the Comics Laureateship, CLAw will work closely with schools on a number of initiatives, including staff training events and classroom visits by comics professionals. They will liaise with museums and galleries on a variety of comics-related projects, and provide reading lists and general guidance to school staff and parents unfamiliar with the comics medium, demonstrating the wider educational benefits it can offer.

1 Comments on Dave Gibbons named the first Comics Laureate in the UK, last added: 10/18/2014
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15. Jen Wang Aims To Give Gaming A Real World Context For ‘In Real Life’

Jen.Wang  695x1028 Jen Wang Aims To Give Gaming A Real World Context For In Real LifeBy Kyle Pinion

IN REAL LIFE, a graphic novel collaboration between journalist/author Cory Doctorow and comics creator Jen Wang, centers on a young gamer named Anda who becomes enraptured by an massively multiplayer online game (MMO) called “Coarsegold Online”. While logged-in, she makes new friends, including a gregarious fellow gamer named “Sarge” and a “gold-farmer” from China named Raymond. It’s the latter whose activities, which center on illegally collecting valuable objects in the game and selling them to other players from developed countries, begin to open up Anda’s perspectives on the concepts of right and wrong, and the power of action towards civil rights.

The book was a true eye-opener for me, as I’m not a gamer by any stretch of the imagination beyond the occasional dalliance on my console system at home. I was delighted when I received an opportunity to chat with Jen Wang about the origins of this project, its underlying themes, and how much of her own gaming experience played into the development of the narrative.

How did IN REAL LIFE (IRL) find its genesis? Did you know Cory Doctorow prior to working on this project?

Prior to IN REAL LIFE I was familiar with Cory Doctorow as a blogger and activist but I hadn’t read his fiction. ANDA’s GAME, the short story IRL is based on was actually the first piece I read. My publisher First Second sent me a link to the short and asked if I’d be interested. After reading that, it was hard to say no!

What is it about the subject matter that drew you in initially?

I like that it takes gaming, which many people see as frivolous entertainment, and gives it a real life context. The internet is inherently a social platform and it makes sense that it reflects our darker tendencies, such as exploiting people. I also like that it touches on the tension between China and the West. There’s just so much interesting material to explore and at the end of the day it’s still a simple story about two teenage gamers from different countries who become friends.

Your previous work, KOKO BE GOOD, also published through First Second, was solely written and illustrated by yourself. Do you find that there are inherent advantages in the collaborative process, and is there a method you prefer over the other? 

It’s definitely a lot easier to illustrate your own work, that’s for sure. The collaborative process is more challenging, but you also get a second point a view and a direction to work towards. Sometimes in your personal work it takes a lot of soul searching to figure out what you’re trying to say but a collaborate project allows you to bounce off other people’s ideas and that’s really refreshing.

InRealLife 2P 12 1000x670 Jen Wang Aims To Give Gaming A Real World Context For In Real Life

On the day to day work on the graphic novel, what was the working relationship between Cory and yourself? Were you in constant contact? 


During the scripting phase of the book we were sending a lot of emails. I would write a draft, send it to Cory, and he would send some notes and bounce some ideas back. We went through maybe 8 or so drafts so it took a little while to nail down the final. I was pretty much left alone at the drawing stage, however.

How much of a specific vision did Cory have in the initial “Anda’s Game” script, and how much input did you have on character design before the development of IRL? Do you feel like Anda specifically has your “stamp” on her?



I had pretty much free reign as far as design went, so that part was fairly easy. When First Second approached me to do the project they wanted me to feel comfortable writing my own take, so mostly it was me pitching ideas to Cory and him giving me notes. I do feel like I have my stamp on Anda but then again I don’t know how it wouldn’t have happened naturally. She’s a nerdy teenage shut in and having been one myself I can relate to that a lot.

The gaming details throughout are very specific, do you have a significant gaming/MMO background as a user? If not, is that an area where Cory contributed significantly?

I don’t really have a background in MMOs but I played World of Warcraft for a couple weeks prior to starting the project. That plus a combination of sandbox games I’ve played were the inspiration for Coarsegold online. I mostly tried to create a game that felt familiar and yet tailored it to things I like in games. I’m very much into customization and resource management so it was fun to add things like to the book.

How do you sense that communication has changed for Generation Y and The Millennials? Do you find that you side more with Anda or her mother in what technology brings to social interaction? 

I’m definitely on the Millennials side. I can’t imagine what my life would be like now if I didn’t have access to the internet as a teenager. I met so many other young artists online and they really motivated me to create and challenge myself. Without it, I would’ve had to seek these people out in college in person and I would’ve been a lot more lonely and isolated. There are risks to putting yourself online but there are risks to be alive in the real world as well.  The best you can do is exercise caution and be smart about your privacy in the same way you would anywhere.

Is there anything from your own experience pulled into Anda’s story, at least from a characterization standpoint?

 Do you see Anda as a role model? Was that the intention all along?

I was a lot like Anda in high school. I was a teenage hermit who spent a lot of time connecting to peers online within my community of choice. Like Anda, I found my identity online because I was able to meet other people like myself. I see Anda less as a traditional role model and more as someone readers could relate to. Like Anda, most young people now are discovering the world through the internet and it can be a difficult place to navigate.

InRealLife 2P 14 761x1028 Jen Wang Aims To Give Gaming A Real World Context For In Real Life

What drove the design of the world of Coarsegold? Any specific influences?

World of Warcraft is the main one, but I also looked at the Final Fantasy games, Skyrim, and more open world games like Animal Crossing, The Sims and Second Life.

What was the thought process on the color-design that differentiates Coarsegold from “the real world”?



I definitely wanted Coarsegold to be more bright and colorful by contrast as a reflection of Anda’s feelings toward both realities. I used different filters and colored textures so that real life was a little more tan and monochromatic while Coarsegold looked lively and exciting.

When Anda somewhat bridges the gap between the two by changing her hair color to match her avatar, what kind of sea-change does that indicate for her personally?

At that point in the story Anda has finally found purpose and confidence in her role as a Fahrenheit. Not only has she befriended Raymond and discovered this world of goldfarming, but she’s taken on the task of helping him. It’s a decision she’s been able to make for herself separate from what her peers have led her to believe, and changing her hair color is a symbol of this newfound confidence.

IN REAL LIFE defies expectations a bit in that it shifts a bit touching briefly on females in gaming (with the very succinct hand-raising scene in the classroom and some of the concerns of “Sarge”) and then moves into an area centering on economics and specifically civil rights. Do you sense a strong correlation between the two themes?

Oh, for sure. As in real life, the conflict within Coarsegold comes from who is considered an “other.” As a young girl in gaming, Anda is a minority, yet she’s in a position of power compared to Raymond who is not only a foreigner who doesn’t speak English, but also a goldfarmer. They’re able to connect as outsiders of this gaming establishment and both are fighting for the right to be themselves and be seen as equals.

I have to admit that the term “gold farming” is fairly new to me (as a non-gamer), and IRL paints a very morally grey picture around that activity, what do you feel as though readers should take from the book’s portrayal of that subject?



Gold farming was new to me too until I started researching for this book. There is a lot of grey area and it’s still evolving. What I do hope the readers takes away from IRL is the ability to keep an open mind about the people on the other side of the tracks and be empathetic to their struggles. On the surface the gold farming community appears to be taking advantage of game-makers and the “purity” of the game. On the other hand the gold farmers themselves are actually big fans who can only participate by being taken advantage of.

What inspired the creation of Raymond? Both in the look of his avatar and the character’s plight in China?

I wanted the goldfarmers to look small and vulnerable compared to everyone else.  They haven’t been able to level up their characters and they’re not customized so Raymond doesn’t look any different from his peers. I also wanted them to not look human so as to “otherize” the goldfarmers in the eyes of Anda and Lucy at the beginning of the story. For Raymond’s human backstory I took a lot of inspiration from a book I read called FACTORY GIRLS: FROM VILLAGE TO CITY IN A CHANGING CHINA by Leslie T. Chang. It paints these very compassionate portraits of young female migrant workers and the everyday victories and struggles they face.  Raymond comes from a very disadvantaged background but he’s also clever and ambitious enough to get what he wants (to play Coarsegold) with the means that he has.

Do you feel a sense of responsibility to educate as a creator publishing a book within the Young Adult literary genre? Does that affect the kinds of stories you hope to tell?



I don’t make it a point to be an educator, but I hope my stories reflect the world I’d like to see and the problems I’d like us to overcome.

If there was one-key take away or message from IN REAL LIFE that should highlighted, what would that be?

Be compassionate to others and be aware of how your role in the community may be inadvertently hurting others less privileged than you.

What’s next on the horizon for you post the release of IRL next month? Any new projects that you can share?

I have a couple new projects I can’t really talk about yet, but I’m excited to share I’m co-organizing a new comics festival in Los Angeles called Comics Arts LA. It’s a one day event that will take place on December 6th. We’ve got really great exhibitors lined up so it’s going to be fun. If any readers out there are in Southern California that weekend, I encourage you to come check it out! http://comicartsla.com

IN REAL LIFE will be available in a bookstore near you on October 14th through First Second

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16. Seth’s Dominion documentary is showing in Montreal

unnamed 2 Seths Dominion documentary is showing in Montreal

A film has been made about Seth, the single named Autuer of Clyde Fans, It’s A Good Life If You Don’t Weaken, Palookaville, and countless illustrations. It’s called Seth’s Dominion, it’s directed by Luc Chamberland and it is described as “a hybrid documentary/animation film exploring the life of master cartoonist Seth.”

Given that Seth is a perfectionist, you’d expect no less of a film about him, so to no one’s surprise the film has won the Grand Prize for Best Animated Feature at this year’s Ottawa International Animation Festival.

The film will be shown this week in Montreal as an official selection of the Festival du Nouveau Cinema.

Saturday, October 11th, 4:30 pm: 
Auditorium Alumni H-110, Hall Building 
Concordia University, 1455 boul. de Maisonneuve Ouest 
Tickets available here. 
Seth will be present and signing at this screening only!

Thursday, October 16th, 3:00 pm: 
Pavillion Judith-Jasmin Annexe 
UQAM, 405 rue Sainte-Catherine Est 
Tickets available here.

Add this to Root Hog or Die, the John Porcellino movie, Rude Dude, the Steve Rude movie—ON SALES TODAY, I might add— and some others in the works and you have a nice library of in depth films about comics makers beginning.

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17. SPX memories…like a magical unicorn

spx2014 3 SPX memories...like a magical unicorn

You can read my official SPC report at PW, with news and notes, but I’m guessing that  everyone who was at SPX is probably, like me, realizing that the magic is over and we have a whole year to go, or maybe a few weeks if you count APE, but in the meantime, I can keep the magic going a few moments more by rounding up some of the magical, mystical memories of SPX. I said there were a few people who didn’t have a good time, and you can find one of two on Tumblr who sat outside hotel rooms sadly waiting for the person with the key to come back. But if you could open your heart, SPX would make you love it. As the above picture shows, SPX is the only con where you can find Julia Wertz and Renee French just sitting and smiling with each other. It’s also the only place where someone would leave their computer just sitting out on a table (as one prominent comics personage di don Friday)and feel pretty secure that it would be just fine.  There is a reason why people puts up so many pics and blog so much about this show—it’s a full on love affair.

§ Webtooner Even Dahm gets right to the heart of the matter comparing SDCC with SPX—really the indispensable alpha and omega of US shows:

SDCC was fun but kind of discouraging, and presents an image of what is now, I guess, the Entire entertainment industry in a bluntly capitalistic way: the most space is given to the companies with the most money for it, and the events and products are talked about according to a similar hierarchy. I don’t like it but it makes its own kind of sense and it’s how things are: work that makes money has more mobility in the culture, and barring any strongly-principled management at events like this, the amount of money the work makes will be the thing that decides its place. I try really hard to not get pessimistic about this. And of course popular things can be quality things! I like a lot of popular things. But the connection between popularity and your or my specific notion of quality is tenuous.

I leave SDCC and shows like it having spent huge amounts of money the exhibit there and feeling like what I’m doing is insignificant and untenable. I want to emphasize that this is an issue I have with the philosophy of the show, not with the attendees. I have met some very excellent people who attend SDCC every year.

I came out of SPX this year extremely excited about the huge volume of beautiful and idiosyncratic work being produced by artists working outside of entrenched & monied institutions. It’ll never be the same amount of room as the Marvel Cinematic Universe or whatever, but there is room in the culture for this stuff, in terms of attention and money and enthusiasm. It’s hugely inspiring to me to see so many people making work independently or with publishers they know personally and believe in, and seeing that a lot of that work is sustainable for them, and seeing that a lot of it takes full advantage of its independence by being brutally honest, or strange, or socially conscious.

§ Loser City’s David Fairbanks, an occasional Beat contributor, made his first journey and was swept off his feet:

The next two days were a blur of comics with SPromX right in the middle, and I can honestly say I have never been in an environment that was so pro-comics. Whether you had been making minicomics as long as folks like John Porcellino and James Kochalka, you were a cartoonist fresh out of (or still in) school, or you had never once put pencil to paper to craft a comic, you were among peers. I think I speak for most of the attendees when I say that the environment at SPX felt like home, despite knowing virtually no one there before my plane landed. Over the course of the first twenty-four hours, I made fast friends with artists and fans, and I get the feeling these are friendships that are going to last. From the (sometimes exhausted) smiles I caught on the faces of nearly everyone there, I would imagine I was not alone in my joy, and I think a great deal of it stemmed from the communal feeling of SPX.

§ Even grizzled veteran Derf shared the love:

This year’s theme was a celebration of the alt-weekly cartoons, from Jules Feiffer to the end, which I believe was reached sometime last week. It’s something that is long overdue. The peak of the genre, from 1985 to 2000, produced, in my opinion, the finest, most original comix of the time. Discounting hacks like me, of course.  We were always kind of the bastard stepchildren of both the mainstream comic strip community and the indy comix community. I always felt like an outsider to both. Now I’m a B-minus Indy Comix Star, so those days are behind me, as are comic strips, but it’s nice to see the genre get it’s due.

 

§ Jane Irwin, like many, had a stellar show sales wise:
This year I had the best SPX I’ve ever had — but for some reason I neglected to take any photos other than the sad, blurry one at the top of this post (the lettered balloons were to identify the blocks of tables — I was in the “L” block). It may have been because I was just so busy at my table — the crowds were incredibly heavy and were extremely generous — I heard some folks could barely stop selling long enough to go to the bathroom, and several people sold out of books entirely on the first day, including C. Spike Trotman and my next-door neighbor, Pregnant Butch author A.K. Summers. I sold out of Clockwork Game mid-day on Sunday, but I was able to take orders for a few more copies (they went out this afternoon, and should arrive soon!) and I know I could’ve sold a dozen more, if I’d only had them on hand.
§ Roger Langridge didn’t even break even and he still had a great time:

I attended SPX this past weekend. As usual, I had an excellent time. Despite it not being a successful trip from a financial point of view (although I covered my biggest expense, I’m still somewhat out of pocket at the end of it) I’m really glad I went. I find I need SPX in my life every so often as a kind of course corrective; a reminder of the kind of comics I ought to be doing.

I have a really strong attachment to this show. SPX was the first show I ever attended in the USA, back in 2000. I was just there as a visitor, not even as an exhibitor; it was the year Will Eisner was there, I remember. I bought minicomics from Craig Thompson. I met Dean Haspiel for the first time, who went out of his way to make me feel like a part of the community, which I will always be grateful for. Attending that show energised me to turn my Fred the Clown webcomic into a self-published comic book, which in turn has led to every opportunity I’ve had in comics since then. Without SPX, it’s probably fair to say that my subsequent career wouldn’t have happened.

So I keep coming back. Not every year, but I try to do at least every other year. And each time, I feel like it’s a timely reminder that these are the kinds of comics I ought to be doing: comics straight from the cartoonist’s brain to the reader’s hands, without compromises.

 

§ It’s not just a place to hang out! You can get work!!! Game designer \ Daniel Solis says it’s a great place to find new talent. And I know animation scouts go every year:

I came into the fandom a bit late, but it’s such a welcoming and vibrant community that I never felt out of place. After weeks of awful news coming from gamer culture, it was such a positive experience at SPX seeing diverse creators and fans in a niche community all supporting each other. It can happen, people! I’ve seen it! But I really recommend SPX to tabletop game designers because it is an excellent place to network with lots of undiscovered and rising talent. You can check out the artists I talked to at SPX on my pinterest board here. Specifically for “SPX 2014″ tag in the description. Also check out the SPX Tumblr and Twitter feeds for more cool arts.

 

§ Joshua O’Neill of Locust Moon captures the unique nature of Camp Comics at the Marriott:

As usual, half of the reason for the glory of SPX is due to the Bethesda Marriott Hotel, whose comfy confines are given over completely to the endless array of misfits that we call a comics industry. It’s more than just a con venue — it’s the eye of the storm, for one brief weekend this one building is the center of the comics universe. You exhibit there, you drink there, you draw there, you sleep there. (You eat elsewhere and abruptly realize there’s such a thing as outside.) By the end of the weekend it feels like home. I’m not sure Jesse Reklaw ever put on a pair of shoes. To the maids and bellhops it must be kind of like going to the zoo, if the animals were all inside of your house. Their hospitality was stunning, and can in no way be attributed to the eight bazillion dollars they generated in overpriced drink sales.

 

And visual representations:

And so on and so forth….I probably could have found a half dozen more similar tributes, but I’ll leave with just a few representative photos.

spx2014 4 SPX memories...like a magical unicorn

Am I the only person who caught the TV in the bar switching from football to vibrator infomercials on Friday?

 

spx2014 2 SPX memories...like a magical unicorn

Can you believe these people are all FIRST TIME SPXers? Okay Chris Butcher went before, but he hadn’t been to the “new” venue, which is really the only venue most people know. Amy Chu, Louie Chin, Murilo, Butcher and Brigid Alverson were all converts by the end of the weekend.

 

spx2014 1 SPX memories...like a magical unicorn

Fun and frolic at the SPromX. Looks like it will be back next year…and so will I.

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18. Move over Haspiel, there’s a new shirtless cartoonist in town


We’re all for body confidence here at Stately Beat Manor, so go Simon Hanselmann! A lot of brides tone it down after getting married, but he is staying fabulous.

15245078526 72f01f60bc z Move over Haspiel, theres a new shirtless cartoonist in town

Meanwhile, tour mate Michael DeForge managed to MAKE A COMIC WHILE ON TOUR. Move over rest of the comics industry.

The Deforge/Hanselmann/Kyle tour is coming to a town near you.

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19. The Beat Podcasts! – Mike Dawson interview

logo-pod-more-to-come-1400.pngRecorded at Publishers Weekly, it’s  More To Come, the weekly podcast of comics news, interviews and discussion with Calvin Reid, Kate Fitzsimons and The Beat’s own Heidi MacDonald.

In this week’s podcast  Heidi interviews comics creator, Tumblr personality and podcaster Mike Dawson, creator of Freddie & Me and Troop 142 about his trials as a mid-career creator, his recent Tumblr musings on the subject and the unexpected comics blogosphere notoriety that followed.

Download this episode direct here, listen to it in streaming here and catch up with our previous podcasts on the Publishers Weekly website, or subscribe to More To Come on iTunes

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20. MariNaomi begins Cartoonists of Color Databse

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Cartoonist MariNaomi is starting a database of cartoonists of color (COC) and you can upload your details as explained in the link. There’s a FAQ:

What is a Cartoonist of Color?
Cartoonists of Color (COC) is a play off of the acronym “POC.” POC stands for “person of color.” A POC is anyone who identifies as non-Caucasian (non-white). In these forthcoming pages, you’ll find comics creators of various ethnicities: African American, Korean Canadian, Indian Singaporian, Turkish American, Iranian British, Japanese American and so many more. 

Why a Cartoonists of Color Database?
For visibility. For academia. For inspiration. For community building.

How can I submit my info to this database?
To submit a creator (yourself or anyone), please fill out this form.

2 Comments on MariNaomi begins Cartoonists of Color Databse, last added: 8/21/2014
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21. Yale Stewart apologizes after accusations of harassment

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Oh god where to begin. The short version is that Judge Dread artist Ulises Farinas calling out Yale Stewart over what Farinas deemed ill-advised charity efforts then led to Stewart, the artist of the webcomic JL8, being outed as a naked selfie sender, and then apologizing while putting his webcomic on hiatus.

 

farinas1

IT ALL STARTED when Farinas, above, who is something of an opinionated Internet user, called out Stewart’s practice of selling wallpapers themed to various events in the news for $1 with proceeds going to charity. What put Farinas over the edge was this one, which referred to the situation in Ferguson:
Farinas wrote:

Every fucking time there’s some big tragedy, this dude makes a wallpaper to benefit (insert charity) and it just looks like a shameless ploy at self promotion.
Instead of making a cutesy little wallpaper of DC heroes you don’t own, supporting media entities that already ignore brown people, that have news companies that spin a narrative that blames the victims of police brutality and not the aggressors, why don’t you just shutup and privately donate as much as you want to ACLU, whenever you want, and not just when #ferguson is all over twitter.
Putting two images of SPACE COPS as your “SUPPORT FERGUSON” wallpaper, and offering it for a DOLLAR, is fucking gross. And i hate that we can’t distinguish between support and capitalism.
You know the only reason the dollar is going to the ACLU, is he because the product he’s selling isn’t a wallpaper, its himself.

jl8-ferguson-625x351

This took place a few days, and led to a lot more back and forth and then, over Twitter, an increasing number of references to “Dick pics” with Stewart at the center, perhaps spurred by this Tweet of Farinas:


As far as The Beat can ascertain, rumors of Stewart sending unsolicited pictures of himself in a depantsed state have been around for quite a while. The new Twitter flutterings grew and grew, leading to Stewart to take down his twitter account and then announcing that he was putting JL8 on hiatus. Jl8 is a very adorable strip that Stewart has been drawing for a few years that is basically a “Lil JLA” strip. It is COMPLETELY unauthorized by DC—although Stewart was eventually hired to work on some officially licensed Capstone books featuring DC characters— and if there is one thing that amazes me about this whole thing is that he was able to get away with this for so long!

Anyway, while many people seemed to be aware of Stewart’s exhibitionist texts, it wasn’t until Unleash the Fanboy offered a spirited is muddled defense of him with a post called Ulises Farinas Is A Jealous Idiot. I Stand Behind Yale Stewart that the cries for proof got louder. And it all grew when Stewart, who lives at home, said that since the outcry began, his mother had received a threatening phone call regarding the situation.

While some doubted the accusers with the usual abuse, over night a picture of Stewart, tool in hand, was finally posted on 4chan, leading to his public apology:

Good morning.

As some of you may be aware, there have been some rumors circulating about my personal conduct with women in the comics industry. The accusation is that I’ve sent unsolicited intimate photos of myself to fans, colleagues, or possibly both.

Sexual harassment is incredibly serious business, and I believe anyone who has followed me for any period of time knows that I often speak against it. No one should be subject to such behavior. It’s invasive, disrespectful, and occasionally dangerous.

Have I sent intimate photos of myself to women before? Yes. I’ll absolutely admit to that. As a 26 year-old bachelor with a relatively healthy sex life in the internet age, these things happen. However, every photo sent was in direct response to either a photo received or a specific request.

Or so I thought.

Two years ago, I was engaged in two separate relationships with women whom I was sexually active with. Given the nature of these relationships, my experiences in past relationships, and various dialogues with these women, I thought it had been established within each relationship that intimate or explicit photos were acceptable, possibly even desired.

I GROSSLY misread the situation.

It has been brought to my attention that both of these women were uncomfortable with my behavior, and needless to say, I’m absolutely disgusted with myself. How I could so horribly misinterpret the situation confounds me, but that confusion pales in comparison to the shame of knowing that I did the very thing to these two women that I openly chastise people for on a regular basis. Also, beyond that, that these women felt this way for TWO YEARS without me knowing and attempting to make amends, which is wholly unacceptable in its own right.

I have reached out to both of these women and have made private apologies, but I felt it was my responsibility to make a public one as well. As stated earlier, I believe sexual harassment to be an incredibly serious issue, and while the harassment in question was a terrible and ignorant mistake, it does not change the fact that that’s what this was, and I accept full responsibility.

I strive to treat everyone with respect, as I feel those who know me personally or follow my comics work would attest, and as such I hope that helps frame how sorry I truly am that all of this happened. The best I can do is own up to it, acknowledge that I made an incredible error in judgement, and finally, make sure that I learn from this mistake and never repeat it moving forward.

In addition, if there’s anyone else out there who feels like I’ve made them uncomfortable, on any level, please let me know. Clearly I’ve misread situations before, and I don’t want to go years again thinking nothing’s wrong only to learn I’ve hurt someone.

Finally, I’ll be making a donation of $1000 to RAINN, as they’re an organization at the forefront of both preventing and aiding victims of sexual harassment and assault. Hopefully my small donation will in some way help them in educating even just one person, preventing another situation such as this.

My deepest, sincerest apologies to all.

-Yale

 

A couple of observation about all this:

• Sending naughty texts is a perfectly normal thing to do. Sending unsolicited pictures of your junk to people is not okay, however. It’s my understanding that Stewart had been accused of doing this for quite some time, and had seemingly unwittingly built a bad reputation over this.

• Now that’s he’s had his sensitivity raised and apologized—and made a $1000 donation to RAINN—after a suitable amount of time Stewart can concentrate on what he does best, drawing, IF HE BEHAVES HIMSELF. I don’t think there’s any real disconnect between doing a kids strip and doing adult things in other spheres of your life. As long as they don’t cross over, you’re good. Someone called Stewart the Anthony Weiner of comics and you’ll recall that Weiner—the one time NYC mayoral candidate who was caught sending pictures of his franks and beans to women while still married and running for office—tried a comeback and what stalled it is that he kept on sending pictures of his junk to people! The key to a comeback is learning from your mistakes and not harassing people any more.

• It’s shameful that the women who were on the receiving end of Stewart’s texts were doubted and tarred with the usual slurs and counter-accusations. Why is this it hard to believe that a male cartoonist would send out naked selfies? If I were to question anything in this WHOLE STORY it would be the threatening phone call because…

• WHO THE HELL TAKES TIMES TO MAKE THREATENING PHONE CALLS OVER COMIC BOOKS? Seriously this is becoming a thing now whenever there’s a comic book kerfuffle. That is also SO NOT COOL, people. Stop it, just stop it.

• Cartoonists doing shady, kinky things is nothing new. Neither is such behavior being talked about over dinners and drinks. BUT things have changed. This is the latest example of how harassment issues are played out over social media, and while I don’t see this going away any time soon, crowd justice is rough justice, so people, if you’re doing something bad and about to get caught, better to stop doing that bad thing and taking appropriate steps in private.

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22. Denis KItchen on The Best of Comix Book–”One of the Greatest Things Stan Lee ever Did”

The Best of Comix Book: When Marvel Went Underground

is in B&W/  and Full color, HardCover  an exclusive Kitchen Sink Press imprint under Dark Horse  ISBN:978-1-61655-258-9

Intro by Stan Lee

Forward by Denis Kitchen

Designed and Edited by John Lind

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Pam Auditore

Tall, affable, plain spoken Wisconsinite, Denis Kitchen smiles wistfully, “I loved putting this collection together.  It’s a nice anniversary.”  Hardly the hippie, bomb throwing revolutionary Nixon might  associate with with the words: “Undeground Comic Artist.”

In 1973 Denis Kitchen and Stan Lee pulled off what can only be considered, in hindsight, a  coup.  Bringing together the Marvel and Underground Comic Book Creators in almost unimaginable collaboration.  Taking place during the turbulent spill over from the 1960s with the The Vietnam War winding down; Watergatewhite flight from citiessocial unrest  and a New York City as grey and dilapidated as “Taxi Driver” depicts.

At the time, Stan Lee and his bullpen at Marvel were struggling to churn out Super Heroes, Westerns, Science Fiction, Fantasy, War Comics, Hot Rods, Romances and whatever would keep the company alive and paying their bills.

NightGwenStacyDied

Reacting to and expressing the societal upheaval and the angst of the times, Underground Comics emerged first in Head Shops, then local Bookshops.  Artists like SpainBill GriffithR. CrumbTrina Robbins were free to do what creators at DC and Marvel could not, express freely and personally what they saw going on in their own lives and the world around them without having to censor for  profanity, nudity or subject matter. Expressing their own visions through writing and artwork.

It may seem quaint now, in the time of a Deviant Art Digital hyperspace, where one can upload  and share  with just about everyone anything conceivable,  from Justin Beiber fan fiction to Banksy’s or Shepard Fairey’s latest and greatest.  Yet, once, Underground Comic Art was not only ground breaking, but dangerous and could have serious consequences such as shutting down businesses, along with jail time and financial ruin.

Back then, the US Mail was your only delivery system or your car.  Your tools–paper, pencil, ink, mimeographs, with  Xerox Copiers expensive even for Marvel.  Your only means of distribution were friends, Comic Shops, Head Shops, and some BookshopsMarvel’s were mainly Newsstands, local groceries, local bookstores and candy shops.  Getting kicked off of any one of those racks could mean never making a cent again.

 

Among those first to collect and publish his own Underground Comics was Denis Kitchen with his Mom’s HomeMade Comics in 1969. Issues of which Kitchen sent to publishers like Stan Lee and Harvey Kurtzman.  Kitchen later went on to publish other Comic Book creators under Kitchen Sink Press.  Such legal  issues of censorship and community standards is why Mr. Kitchen is one of the Founder of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund

By the ’50s and ’60s Marvel, DC, and Harvey Comics  were squarely  aiming at the growing demographic of Baby Boomers while laboring under a self imposed Comics Code to protect minors.

Which made the explosion of Underground Comics during the hey day of suburbia and the middle class all the more “subversive” and “scandalous” with its humor, nudity,  crudity,  and profanity, would feel so refreshing and right for the times.

Clearly not meant for the young teens or little kids the major Comic Book publishers were catering  to.  These comics dealt with political and social issues were generally called, “anti-establishment”, made for a slightly older, “hipper” crowd–late high school to college crowd. Many Underground Cartoonists would find their way into the glossy folds of “Mad magazine” and “National Lampoon“, but others like Mr. Kitchen and, others of his cadre like  Art Speiglemen, were charting a more independent, less conventionally commercial path.  Creating space for other self-published  Independent Comics to flourish in the ‘80′s, like those of  Charles Burns, Daniel Clowes, and the Hernandez Bros, then Terry Moore and Peter Bagge in the ‘90′s and so on into the future.

With ever a sharp eye on popular culture, Stan Lee, no doubt , was eager to capitalize on the Underground audience hoping to expand Marvel’s.

Maus--Marvel Comix Book

Maus–Marvel Comix Book

According to Kitchen,  his collaboration with Lee, “Stems from  a time when Underground Comics were florishing and suddenly we had what we called ‘the Crash of ’73.”  A glut of material in Head Shops and local book stores and a Supreme Court ruling that threw obscenity laws into local jurisdictions. It was deadly to the Undergrounds, a lot of Head Shops and Bookshops were suddenly paranoid that they would be busted due to obscenity.  I genuinely feared Kitchen Sink Press and all my cohorts would go under.”

Luckily, Denis had been corresponding with Lee.  “We had this curious pen pal relationship.  He offered me a job a couple of times.  Of course, I was flattered but said, ‘No,’ until the Crash. He happened to call and I said, ‘Let’s talk.’  I flew to New York City and found he was amazingly receptive to an experimental magazine. One where we hoped to take the essence of the Underground and plug it into Marvel’s distribution system.

It took a lot of negotiating to find out how far Marvel could compromise.  Stan ended up being amazingly receptive to using four letter words, and we even got away with full frontal nuditity, anything we wanted.”

Katrina Robbins

Comix Book –Wonder Person by Katrina Robbins

But don’t think it was a collaboration without conflict.

“There were fights over copyrights and getting art back, too “But we wore him (Stan Lee) down, so by the Third issue he said, “Goddamit, you can have your rights back, you can have your art back.’  So all this stuff that they had never done before, I was able to persuade him to do.”

The end was nigh when word of this new magazine began reaching the ears of Stan’s regular bullpen of writers and artists “it turned into a Pandora’s Box for Stan.  The regulars and freelancers were like, ‘How come you’re doing this stuff with these Hippies? And you’re not letting us?  We’ve been with you longer?’  And it was hard for Stan to walk that back.”

Consequently, “After the third issue, Stan pulled the plug.  I had a couple of issues in the can and I asked him if he’d let me print the rest under Kitchen Sink, and he agreed, which was amazingly generous. ”

The Corpse Goblin Ogre by S. Clay Wilson

The Corpse Goblin Ogre by S. Clay Wilson

“In retrospect it’s kind of astonishing. When I look back at it now, that it happened at all and the kind of latitude we had.  Artists like S. Clay Wilson, Justin Green, Trina Robbins, Art Spieglman (including the first national appearence of “Maus”).  You can go down the list, all the big guys in Underground Comics, except Crumb, were in it.  And most Underground Comic fans today don’t even know it happened.”

“When we decided to collect it Stan, graciously agreed to the intro.  He actually called it one of the greatest things he ever did,” Denis Kitchen beams.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Denis Kitchen and Stan Lee signed a special insert in 250 special copies ot the The Best of Comix Book only available only from Things From Another World, Dark Horse’s online retail outlet.

 

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23. Chris Ware reveals his love of sitcoms

 

Photo: Nicolas Guerin/Contour

Photo: Nicolas Guerin/Contour

Chris Ware is only the second cartoonist to get the Paris Review interview treatment—Robert Crumb was the first—and it’s said to be one of his longest and most revealing interviews ever. With scholar Jeet Heer doing the interviewing, how could you expect less. But in a surprise twist, you can only read the whole thing by purchasing a copy of The Paris Review! However there is an online excerpt just to set the table:

Television was probably my first real drug. I have little doubt that it fired off the same dopamine receptors in my brain that marijuana later did. Specific hours of my childhood day would be tonally defined by what was on. Monday through Friday at three-thirty meant Gilligan’s Island, and so that particular half hour always took on a sense of bamboo and Mary Ann’s checkered shirt, later to be replaced by the tweed and loafers of My Three Sons. I was sensitive to the broadcast vibe of ABC versus CBS versus NBC versus PBS and to how their particular programs made me feel, even how the particular resolution of each channel was different.

So yeah, go buy a copy of The Paris Review already.

Photograph: Nicolas Guerin/Contour

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24. Michael DeForge’s shelf porn is made for action

shelf 1 Michael DeForges shelf porn is made for action

Zainab Akhtar’s excellent Comics and Cola blog runs a feature called “Comics Shelfies” which includes pictures of various comics collections. Usually the Expedit or Billy is called into play, but for Michael DeForge, the plastic milk crate is the basic storage unit. I can definitely relate, as for years my life was based around the much loved “Mard” from Ikea, which they stopped making ten years ago. DeForge’s collection is gorgeous and somehow poised for just the kind of action you’d expect from the animator/cartoonist.

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25. Alison Bechdel wins a MacArthur Foundation Grant

 

bechdel 2014 hi res download 1 2 Alison Bechdel wins a MacArthur Foundation Grant

Alison Bechdel has been named one of this year’s MacArthur Foundation grant winners, often known as a genius grant.

Bechdel was cited for being

…a cartoonist and graphic memoirist exploring the complexities of familial relationships in multilayered works that use the interplay of word and image to weave sophisticated narratives. Bechdel’s command of sequential narrative and her aesthetic as a visual artist was established in her long-running comic strip, Dykes to Watch Out For (1983–2008), which realistically captured the lives of women in the lesbian community as they influenced and were influenced by the important cultural and political events of the day.

The grant confers not only recognition as a leading thinker, but a stipend of 625,000, paid in quarterly installments over five years. Recipients are chosen for their future potential and the grant allows is intended to “encourage people of outstanding talent to pursue their own creative, intellectual, and professional inclinations.”

Bechdel’s achievements in furthering the medium of the graphic novel—and her immense potential for future work—indeed makes her a worthy recipient. As if being a great cartoonist wasn’t enough, the musical adaptation of her book, Fun Home is coming to Broadway next April.

Cartoonist Ben Katchor was the first cartoonist to win a grant in 2000.

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