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Industry people discussing roles open in creativity.
By: Nick Eskey
In today’s world, with the level of connectivity we all share, and all the available options for entertainment, there is a greater need to stand out from the competition. To achieve this, there’s a greater need for creativity. Creative jobs exist in all different avenues, whether it be comics, movies, television, or that brand-new-fangled thing called the “internet.” Dawn Rivera, Evan Spiridellis, Brook Keesling, Andy Cochrane, Scott Campbell, and Kim Makey, all individuals who in some way are connected to creative roles. They all represent their various industries at this year’s Creative Careers in Entertainment panel.
Back in the earlier days of the internet, Evan Spiridellis and his brother began to create animated flash videos, and got wide recognition. In 1999, the brothers founded Jib Jab Studios, around a time when they felt the internet looked promising for storytelling. But when they weren’t seeing much in terms of revenue, they eventually realized, “interweb cartoons are BAD business.” At the suggestion of Evan’s brother, in 2007 the pair started Jib Jan Ecards. Their ecards allowed customers to customize them, to the point of placing their faces in the animation. “The beauty of the internet is that you can do whatever you want. There’s more room for creativity,” said Evan. And two years ago, Jib Jab launched what they felt would be the equivalent of “Sesame Street” if launched today. “Storybots is fun, safe, and with teacher approved apps such as storybooks… Storybots’ mission is to fuse art, technology, and fun to further entertainment.”
Dawn Rivera, talent development and outreach for Disney Animation, discussed the Disney legacy and mindset. “Disney believes in making compelling stories, appealing characters, and believable worlds.” Right now, Disney is working on a new movie called Big Hero 6. It will be their first Marvel inspired film since their acquisition. If interested in Disney, they have their own school of animation.
Sitting somewhere between the level of Jib Jab and Disney, Cartoon Network Studios is always on the lookout for new talent. Brook Keesling, talent development for Cartoon Network Studios’ art program, talked of the various in house cartoons that they currently have in production, such as Adventure Time, Regular Show, and Uncle Grandpa. They all are from artists that work directly for the studio. “I’m always looking at work from students, all the way to professionals.” Aside from cartoonists, Brook also spoke of how they are always looking for storyboard artists. “They’re the ones that actually do the writing.” If you’re interested in working for Cartoon Network, look up “Cartoon Network Next Generation.”
Kim Mackey, head of recruitment for Dreamworks, talked on how the studio is always looking to grow their business, not just from the movie side of things, but also in publishing, television, and graphic design.
In videogames, such as World of Warcraft and Starcraft, Blizzard Entertainment is known for their large scale environments and their high attention to detail. Artistic recruitment lead Scott Campbell described all of the different cogs that go into their designs. Aside from the game art itself, there is also the 2D and 3D visual elements, concept art, and props that fully flesh out their games. “We rely on our cinematic artists, creative developers, texture artists, environment artists, character artists, and prop artists for the visuals of our games.” If interested in positions in Blizzard, check “Jobs.Blizzard.com.”
And the largest in my opinion in this creative pool, is one word: Mirada. Guillermo Del Toro, filmmaker and effects artist, founded the studio. What do they do specifically? Andy Cochrane, interactive and new media director, as well as FX supervisor, joked about how hard it is to describe what Mirada exactly does. “We do so much. It really depends on who we are working with or what we are working on… We’ve described a few times as ‘Guillermo Del Toro’s imaginarium.’” Mirada can range from anywhere between animators, to visual effects artists, to audio mixers. Guillermo Del Toro founded Mirada because from what he feels, “There are two people in story telling; one’s on the front of the ship looking forward, and those on the back… looking at how far they are moving away from where they came from.” Mirada is part of those who are on the forefront of where story telling is going.
From all these industries, we can see how large of a scale there are for creative individuals. If you are someone who wants a job in artistic work, research what companies are out there, and what openings they might have that match what you’re looking for.
He was just at HeroesCon, running around, smiling and putting this amazing work (done with Scott Hampton) in the auction (I know it doesn’t photograph well but it had everyone amazed), but according to social media, legendary horror artist Bernie Wrighton has been hospitalized following a series of small strokes. Steve Niles has been updating Wrightson’s condition and says he’s doing well. The initial report came from Wrightson’s wife, Liz.
Okay, y’all first: Bernie is in the hospital, having suffered a series of SMALL strokes. Tests are happening; surgery may be in the cards. His cognition and spirits are good, but convention appearances look unlikely for the next few weeks. Overall he is okay, as we got him to the hospital FAST. Send good thoughts and all that… -Liz
Anders Nilsen—Don’t Go Where I Can’t Follow, Big Questions, Rage of Poseidon—is surely one of the finest cartoonists of the last decade. Big Questions won lots of awards and helped further the cause of the graphic novel’s literary worth when it came out in 2011. The fold-out book Poseidon is an object d’art in addition to being a multi-leveled parable of humanity and divinity.
And now he’s taking on Amazon. In an email, he announced two new projects:
The first is that I just self-published a book called God and the Devil at War in the Garden(monologuist paper update IV) It’s 24 pages, 9″ x 12.25″, black and white, with a fold-out back cover. It has a story about the Devil that wasn’t quite ready for inclusion in Rage of Poseidon (it’s going to be in the German language edition of that book later this year). It’s in that format – the silhouettes. There’s also a short collaborative piece I did with a friend, novelist Kyle Beachy, and a piece about a vacant lot in my old neighborhood in Chicago. And there’s some drawings and things. It’s $15.
The first orders will also include a little 13 page minicomic about the other thing I’m writing you about. It’s called Conversation Gardeningand it’s both a comic and the beginning of a little experiment. It’ll be inserted into the binding of the big comic.
This mini is perhaps the most metaphysical analysis of the Amazon Hegemony by an author released yet. I imagine the shelf of “Dialectic mini comics about the Amazon Hegemony” is slim, but Nilsen has it nailed.
But Nilsen has also issued a call to action for those who would join him:
I’m asking people who buy one of my books (any of my books, not just this new one) at an independent bookseller (or from my online store) to send me 1) the receipt, (a formality to show it’s not from Amazon) and 2)a question or idea written on a piece of paper. I will then make a drawing in response on the piece of paper and send it back to them. I’m planning to do 100. Signed and numbered.
I have a few other cartoonists lined up to be guest artists on the project, to be announced over the next several months as they have new books coming out. The first will be Zak Sally, with the release of Recidivist #4 later this Summer.
The idea is to start a series of symbolic ‘conversations’ – questions and responses – in order to a) create an incentive for readers to buy my work from people who actually care enough about art and literature to make selling it their livelihood and b) encourage people to see their cultural exchanges as real, human level relationships. I wanted to do something that would amount to a positive response – creating something new. A boycott or an anti-trust case or vaguely shaming people for shopping on Amazon are all fine, too, but they are negative responses that try to keep something from happening. I wanted to make something new happen.
Considering the tone of Nilsen’s body of work—where the frailty and uncertainty of emotional interaction become a quest for meaning in a barren landscape—this seems like an intensely personal and cool thing to do. So let’s go buy some Anders Nilsen books and strike a blow for personal interaction.
With his extreme simple line style, and talking and thinking dogs, Barsotti was most often compared to James Thurber, and his whimsical humor was firmly in that vein. Panhandlers, kings, harried businessmen…all the icons of New Yorker humor got memorable treatment in Barsotti’s work.
In 2007 a collection of his dog cartoons was published called They Moved my Bowl.
On his blog yesterday, cartoonist Derf announced the end of his strip THE CITY after 24 years. It’s a miracle any alt-weekly cartoonist was still going, but Derf’s humorous look at Cleveland life had a good run, outlasting most of the papers that once carried it. He wrote:
I know some of you will lament this decision, and I thank you.
It was never my plan to produce The City this long. Nearly a quarter of a century? How the hell did THAT happen? But I’d be nothing without this cranky, quirky, little comic strip. Still stuck in a lame daily newspaper job, or, more likely, laid off and lamenting the end of my career. The City by itself is a minor blip in the comix landscape, but I look back with pride at a body of work that was consistently good, and, for a few periods, even exceptional. But it’s time to putThe City to rest. This strip means too much to me, and I owe it too much, to let it wheeze on as an afterthought.
BY his own admission, Derf is now better at graphic novels, such as his classic Dahmer, than he is webcomics. However, he’s still doing a biweekly strip called The Baron of Prospect Avenue. And next year, his graphic novel about trash collection will be out from Abrams. Add a Comment
While walking around TCAF a ton of conversations I overheard involved boarding, backgrounds and other animation type gigs. One publisher even wondered aloud what would happen if Adventure Time went off the air. And this Deadline story tells the story: LA-Area Animation Jobs At All-Time High. While there’s lots of film work, it’s also in TV:
Jobs in TV animation are also on the rise. “The work has really increased on the television side,” Hulett said. “There’s more storyboard work and design work, and it’s all driven by animation’s profitability. Animated television shows have been a great cash cow and profit stream for the conglomerates. They can make them for at a competitive price, and they have a long shelf life.” New media is also creating jobs for animation workers, he said, noting that DreamWorks is producing Internet content for Netflix. Hulett noted that the good times in animation are creating many good-paying jobs for other workers in the industry as well, including voice-over actors, editors, and sound technicians. “The growth here,” Hulett said, “is coming from all the preproduction work – the storyboards, layout, animation scripts, character design and key backgrounds.”
I can’t even keep count of how many indie cartoonists make a living doing animation work, but the number of them moving to LA is an indication, as is this Tumblr post which asks: WHY IS STEVEN UNIVERSE SUCH AN AMAZING SHOW?!
Jamie Coville has done his usual amazing job of recording panels from TCAF, including several from the librarian and educator conference, Trina Robbins talk on Nell Brinkley, and the Doug Wright Awards. He also has photos up here and here.
Toronto Comics Arts Festival (TCAF) 2014 (May 9 – 11) – 210 Photos
Note: Friday May 9th was Librarian & Educator day. For the general public TCAF was May 10-11th.
The Brinkley Girls, WWI and American Patriotism in Women’s Comics: A talk by Trina Robbins. (38:58, 35.6mb)
The Introduction is by Dr. Barbara Postema. Trina talked about Nell Brinkley with a big touch screen TV (which she liked). She also talked about Nell’s work, what it was saying, ran through some highlights
of some stories she told with her art and talked about her politics and humour, among other aspects. Trina then answered a variety of question about Nell, rediscovering her, why traditional comics history
don’t touch on female cartoonists and Nell’s original art.
Great Creator Visits! (50:05, 45.8mb)
Moderated by Scott Robins, this panel featured Lynn Johnston and Raina Telgemeier talking about their visits to schools and libraries. Lynn opened up about not liking to do schools where the kids are
forced to be there. She said they can be disruptive, a lot like she was at that age. She prefers events where those in attendance want to be there. Raina talked about having to deal with rowdy kids.
Lynn said she doesn’t like overly long introductions because they drain the energy of the room. They gave a list of don’t for events and among them were staff not aware of the event, no
advertising, not being able to sell their books after the show, no bathroom or coffee breaks between events and friends of the organizer wanting to dominate your time after the show. They also talked about
good creator visits they did. Both of them spoke about the struggle to make deadlines while doing visits, the age level they prefer talking to, doing visits on Skype and interviews via twitter. The
audience asked questions about their gay characters and what response they got from them. Lynn also talked about her decision to age the characters as the strip went on and how that affected merchandising.
Lynn said she really liked Rania’s book Smile and gave Rania a big public stamp of approval for her work as a cartoonist.
Collection Maintenance. (1:05:38, 60.1mb)
On the panel was Robin Brenner, Scott Robins and Max Dionisio. It was moderated by Lindsay Gibb. They started by talking about their libraries, what they carry and what moves really well. Each
gave which websites they follow for keeping up with comic news. The method in which they house their collection was discussed. They spoke about how they handle Manga and buying series (full series or the
first few volumes). They talked about weeding out books that just don’t circulate, something they all have to do. They discussed how to avoid pigeon holding their Libraries collection. Max talked about his
unique situation in an all-boys school in handling GLBT books. He finds them scattered around the library all the time so he knows they are being read, but they don’t get taken out because kids are afraid of
outing themselves or just getting teased/bullied when others see their name on the Library card. They also discussed how digital access to comics has affected their circulation.
Comics and Undergrads. (53:33, 49mb)
Moderated by Lindsay Gibb, the panellists where Marta Chudolinska, Dr. Dale Jacobs and Dr. Barbara Postema. They started off talking about how they got involved in comics and how it relates to their current
academic work. They discussed what they like about comics, specific books they use in their teachings, how wordless comics are good for education, assignments they use comics to teach, how much they use
their library for their lessons, if they got any pushback to their work and how some of the theory between comics and picture books have a lot of overlap. Barbara mentioned that sometimes wordless comics get
called picture books. Marta talked about how the Library she works for tries to provide access to things that is out of reach for many people due to cost or scarcity, like artists editions books and comics
2014 Book Talk: Kids. (34:36, 31.6mb)
Andrew Woodrow-Butcher spoke about some upcoming kids books that would be good for libraries. Among the books he mentioned were the new Amulet Vol 6, Cleopatra in Space, Salem Hyde, Star Wars Jedi Academy,
the Hilda series, Zita the Spacegirl, Jellaby (now back in print), A Cat Named Tim, Cat Dad King of the Goblins, new Amelia Rules books, The Dumbest Idea Ever, a new Battling Boy book, Anna and Froga,
Courtney Crumrin Vol 5, a new Lego book, A Regular Show book, a bigger, full colour reprinting of Dragon Ball Z, the Marvel Digests, itty bitty Hellboy and Aw Yeah Comics, Samurai Jack, Power Lunch, the
Sonic the Hedgehog and Megaman crossover book, Mermin, Dinosaurs, The Kings Dragon, Hidden, Gajin, Maddy Kettle, new Adventure Time books and WWE collections of their comics. Within the panel was Kazu
Kibuishi talking about Amulet and it’s evolution. Kazu also revealed his serious health problems prior to doing the book where he got so sick he went into a coma. John Martz talked about a Cat Named Tim and
Jim Zub talked about Samurai Jack going from a mini-series to ongoing.
Note: I cut out about 4 minutes from the audio where they do a door prize giveaway.
In Conversation: Kate Beaton and Lynn Johnston. (1:11:11, 65.1mb)
This was moderated by Raina Telgemeier. Chris Butcher started the evening off with small talk about TCAF and how they try to be inclusive of all genders and show a diversity of people from different
backgrounds. He mentioned this year they are getting international press coverage and have artists from 20 different countries this year, which he’s really happy about. He made a sly Rob Ford joke about
being sorry he named it the Toronto Comics Art Festival. Chris also thanked their sponsors of the show as well. Rania asked a variety of questions and they started with how the two of them got started in
comics. Lynn talked about her and Jim Davis (of Garfield fame) starting out at the same time. Throughout the show she talked about her previous jobs working in animation and a medical artist. Kate talked
about starting her web comic at a fortunate time when there was a lot less competition for people’s attention on the internet. The two talked about their role models and particularly female role models.
Kate said Lynn was one for her. Raina mentioned that Lynn was the first female and Canadian winner of the Reuben Award and asked her what that was like. Lynn said it was very stressful because at the time
some people wanted Jim Davis to win (and some didn’t) and she felt she was too young and hadn’t really done anything yet to deserve the award at the time. In particular she mentioned a lot of MAD artists
(like Mort Drucker) who hadn’t won the award yet and should have gotten it before her. She also told a funny story about how she handled other cartoonists when she was president of the Cartoonists Society.
The two talked about criticism from men. Family was a topic with how far you go, if they regret putting something out there and if they felt later that they overshared information. They talked about how fans
shared personal stories with them. This lead into Lynn talking about the outing of a gay character in For Better Or For Worse and the reaction she got from readers and newspapers. She thinks it was the best
story she did and the one she’s the most proud of. They talked about their efforts to help out young artists. Lynn mentioned how when she has something personally bad happen to her she’s thinks it will be
turned into a great story. Rania asked if they still love comics as much now as they did when starting out. Kate said she still does. Lynn talked about how her father loved the comics and comedy in general
and would read comics to her, point out the details in them, and would run films back and forth to show how it was all choreographed. Lynn also revealed she loves comedians and wanted to be one. Rania asked
what keeps them coming back to the drawing board. She also asked each of them what she is doing now. They also took some questions from the audience. Lynn said she really enjoyed working on the animated
For Better Or For Worse cartoon, said it was great working with all those people doing different things (music, artists, sound effects, etc..). She also revealed from working on the cartoon she drew her
strip with more detail as the animators needed detailed everything about her strip in order to make the cartoon. Kate talked about her growing up in small town and being like the only artist there.
Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips Spotlight. (55:48, 51mb)
Heidi MacDonald moderated this panel. They started off with how the two ended up working together and in particular how Sleeper came about. Ed was very outspoken during the panel, saying he wished he had retained ownership of it. Sean talked about his art and where digital is used to create it. The two spoke about their process of working together today. They revealed they hadn’t seen each other in person in 5 years, but e-mailed each other daily. Ed said that he signed on to work with Marvel to publish through their Icon imprint. He also said the imprint was started for Bendis but they brought on David Mack’s book so it didn’t appear that way. He revealed that he got just got the rights back to Criminal a week ago and will be moving the series over to Image. He said that Icon was a imprint that was used as a favour to people who did their superhero books and didn’t want his career to be at the mercy of favours from other people. He also revealed that Dan Buckley had to justify Icon to the shareholders as Marvel doesn’t make much money from it. Ed said for a while he was paying creators out of pocket for a while on Criminal. Regarding his writing, Ed likes adding subtext in his stories so people get a lot out of it and it’s not a quick read. He wants people to get something new out of the story when it gets re-read. Ed expressed appreciation for something Sean does that he sees no other penciler do is actually write in where the lettering would go to ensure that there is room there for the word balloon. So many other artists don’t do that, which leaves not enough room for the dialogue and that leads to production issues. They also went over how Sean doesn’t do splash pages very often. Ed brought up the “Archie” story within Criminal and what he was reacting too when he wrote it. He revealed he’s been talking to Joe Hill about horror and wants to delve into that. Ed discussed the reason he does crime stories because when he was on the wrong side of the law in his youth, involved in shoplifting, doing and selling drugs to
other kids in his school and he likes the stories about the desperation of committing a crime and the twisted version of the American Dream. Ed revealed there is a new book coming about the 1940s+ Hollywood
with blacklists, the studio system and other issues. He said he had family that was working in Hollywood at the time and he wants to incorporate that information into the book.
Michael DeForge and Friends. (55:15, 50.5mb)
On the panel were Jillian Tamaki, Annie Koyama, Patrick Kyle, Michael DeForge and Ryan Sands. The creators (everybody but Annie) are involved in Youth
in Decline. They revealed there is a Lose collection coming about that collects issues #2 to #5. Michael said #1 does not fit in with the rest of the stories so he’s not putting it into this
book. The group talked about how and what they choose to put online vs. what’s for print. They talked about collaborating with others and how they handle differences of opinion. Doing anthologies and their
growing popularity, Jillian also asked questions to Michael and kind of co-moderated the panel. Annie revealed she has seen creators online that she was interested in publishing, but there was no contact info
for the creator so she moved on. Michael was credited as being a good writer by Jillian and wondered if the change in his drawing style has affected how he writes stories. They talked about a new book that
is coming out, took questions from the audience, and talked quite a bit about the need for validation among their peers. They also talked about needing a trusted another set of eyes to look at their work and
give feedback prior to publication.
Trina Robbins Spotlight. (57:44, 52.8mb)
During this panel Trina went though some parts of Pretty in Ink, her final book about female comic artists. She went through some of the earliest comic artists, starting with the first comic strip drawn by a
female and ending with the Women Comix anthology and a photo of the 40th reunion of the Women Comix anthology. After that Johanna Draper Carlson interviewed her about why she did the new book. She had
revealed she was very unhappy with her last book due to all the typos. She was really unhappy with her editor on that book and was not shy in saying so. Gary Groth of Fantagraphics asked her to do
this book and she had a lot of new information and wanted to correct some bad information in her previous books. She said Gary worked with her to make sure there wasn’t a single typo in this book. The
audience also asked questions and she revealed that she would love to write Wonder Woman but DC would never hire her. She also felt that DC/Marvel female editors did not support female creators, but would
say they did in order to sell that there was no sexism in comics – in order to keep their jobs.
History/Nonfiction Comics. (58:33, 53.6mb)
This panel was moderated by Brigid Alverson. On the panel was Nick Bertozzi, Nick Abadzis, Diana Tamblyn, Nate Powell, Meags Fitzgerald and Tyrell Cannon. The group talked about why they choose to do
Nonfiction works, how doing it helps them as creators, how they deal with the facts getting in the way of telling a good story, the visual research and how important it is, if the subject is still alive and
do they reach out to them, if they worry about their audience reaction to the book, how they deal with direct quotes when it doesn’t work with the script.
Ed Brubaker: Writing Comics Noir. (55:22, 50.6mb)
Andrew Murray and Adam Hines from Guys with Pencils podcast moderated the panel. Ed talked about how he got involved with Noir as a child. He also talked
about his past, saying one story from Lowlife was actually autobiography. He revealed that his parents worked in the Navy and when he was young he lived in Guantanamo Bay for a couple of years. He explained
what Noir means to him and if he thought Noir characters had to be bad people. He discussed what TV shows he likes (or liked), mentioning the Sopranos and a Canadian show called Intelligence that he said was
cancelled because of politics, specifically citing Prime Minister Stephen Harper as being the reason. Ed said his uncle was a CIA operative that was outed in the 70s (presumably in Inside the Company:
CIA Diary book). The Captain America: The Winter Soldier movie came up and he said what it was like being an extra on it and being happy it was a good film. Ed mentioned that he spends half his time writing
TVs and movie screenplays, saying he wrote a remake of Maniac Cop. Regarding Criminal, they are now hiring cast for it. There were questions from the audience and he told us who inspires him today to be a
Stuart Immonen and Sean Phillips in Conversation. (1:01:10, 56.0mb)
While the two talked there was a slide show of art going on in the background which sometimes came up in the conversation. They started off with some very early work and how they got published. Sean talked
about inking, painting covers, photo-referencing & design. Stuart talked about using 3D models; both said they looked at other peoples sketchbooks to keep with what younger artists are doing. They discussed
the tools they used to make art with, they showed some work outside of comics that Sean did and got into page/panel design. This brought out questions from Ed Brubaker who was in the audience,
asking about the grid design used in their books (which got some laughs from the audience). Stuart talked about doing digital comics in that the entire thing was designed to be read on a tablet or phone,
and the amount of re-thinking about the effects of reading comics this way that it took, both in terms of the size of the screen and the non-traditional gutter space. There were other creators in the audience
that also began talking about contributing to digital comics (the panel became a round table discussion for a couple of minutes), Sean talked about a job he had to turn down, Stuart talked about a small
Pirates of the Caribbean story that he did in a completely different style and how it lead to the work he did on Nextwave.
The Doug Wright Awards 2014. (1:20:18, 73.5mb)
The ceremony went as follows:
Introduction of the nominee’s and sponsor appreciation by Brad Mackay.
Doug Wright’s youngest son Ken Wright spoke on behalf of the family.
Opening monologue by Scott Thompson.
Pigskin Peters Hat/Award: Emily Carroll for Out of Skin.
Jeet Heer explains why the jury chose Carol’s work.
Don McKellar (minus 1 tooth) read the nominee’s for the Spotlight Award.
Spotlight Award (AKA “The Nipper”): Steven Gilbert for The Journal of the Main Street Secret Lodge.
Nick Maandag explains why the Jury picked Gilbert’s book.
Michael Hirsh gave his history in recovering and preserving the archives of the Canadian Whites.
Induction of all 200+ creators of the Canadian Whites into the Giants of the North Hall of Fame.
The last two surviving cartoonists Gerry Lazare and Jack Tramblay were there and gave their acceptance speech. They were followed by Adrian Dingles youngest son Christpher.
Best Book: Paul Joins the Scouts, Michel Rabagliati (Conundrum Press).
Closing by Brad Mackay.
Then Hope Nichols and Rachel Riley talk about the just published Nelvana of the North (created by Adrian Dingle) Collection.
Photographer and comics writer (Schmuck) Seth Kushner is one of the really good guys and just a few weeks ago he was spotted at MoCCA FESt happily manning the Hang Dai Studios booth and talking about his successful Kickstarter campaign for SCHMUCK. Thus it came as a complete shock to his friends in the NYC comics community and his family when a few short days afterwards, after complaining of what felt like the flu for a few days, he was diagnosed with leukemia. Seth was immediately checked in to the hospital where he has been undergoing chemo therapy. His friend Hannah Means-Shannon has more on the situation.
While Seth has been fighting this with the spirit we all knew he would, it has been determined that he needs a bone-marrow transplant, and he is looking for a donor. His wife, Tara sent out the email below. Please join me in sending all the good wishes in the world to Seth, Tara and their son, Jackson, and if you can help in other ways here’s how to do it.
As you may know, Seth will need a bone marrow transplant. His transplant doctor is starting the process to search for potential donors through the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP), which maintains a national registry of potential matching bone marrow donors. Many of you have inquired about how you can find out if you qualify to be a potential donor.
Basically what you do is register via online or phone & swab your cheek. Here are a couple organizations you can use.
Delete Blood Cancer – I personally went to this website, registered online from my iPhone, received a swap in the mail with 24 hours, mailed back the swab & was told it will show up in the register within 3 weeks. They claim to be the quickest.
National Donor Registry – this is the registry that is directly associated with the NMDP.
More specific details are laid out on the websites above. If you decide you want to be a donor, you can:
• register online (they will send you a kit through the mail to swab your cheek that you will mail back- prepaid postage included)
•go to an approved center to swab your cheek (locations listed on sites)
•organize a bone marrow donation drive or “swab” party.
As far as I can see, the basic criteria for potential donors are:
•lives in the US
•not in the US military
•haven’t already joined the registry
•willing to be a potential donor to anyone*
*Perhaps the most important point about volunteering through the national registry is that you cannot specifically sign up to donate to Seth. It is a big commitment to join the registry, and your efforts can be enormously rewarding, but the process is designed to find patients anywhere in the country or world who may benefit by being a match to you. Therefore it does not provide an option to specify who you wish to help.
I’ll keep you updated on the matching process as things move along.
I meant to get this post up many days ago but it’s been that kinda week. Last Friday I went to SVA’s comics/zine fest Fresh Meat where seniors—and some undergrads—learn how to sit behind a table and smile while selling their print comics. It’s valuable training for would be cartoonists, and a sharp preview of what’s to come. There are always a few stars to be found but as I’ve been going to the event nearly every year, it sure has changed.
This year’s event was packed when I got there but mostly with youngsters, fellows art students or comics lovers, I’m not sure. The trend has been more and more towards women over the years but this time it was probably 75/25 female to male. The most accomplished students were probably Molly Ostertag (above) and Hazel Newlevant. Newlevant has gotten lots of attention here and elsewhere and Ostertag’s Strong Female Protagonist (Written by Brennan Lee Mulligan) already has a following.
Once long ago, an SVA class was mostly guys who wanted to draw Spider-Man or Batman but there were no superhero artists among the ones I saw. Then manga style ruled the day but there was no overt manga that I spotted, although a lot of manga-infused work. The work was really all over the place—personal, unfiltered and, yes, fresh. It’s the “modern” style that mixes American, European and Japanese influences all over the place. Jillian Tamaki, who teaches at SVA has a little portfolio of seniors here and you can see what I’m talking about firsthand. (I share her enthusiasm for Aatmaja Pandya.) I’m not sure what kind of career anyone has in mind but the publishers I heard mentioned most were First Second and Vertigo.
Most cartooning students everywhere are now women, according to my informal inquiries. I’m not sure what this says about the future of the medium or the cartooning profession…I don’t think anyone does. Is it just a trendy “thing”?
A few more images.
It’s a little hard to see, but her jacket has a panel from Normal Rockwell’s “Gossips” — she made it from a curtain but apparently YOU CAN BUY THIS CLOTH ONLINE. Holy shit. Mind. Blown.
The guys who were there either weren’t very prepared, or had a whole concept down, like these fellows.
Just some of the diverse participants. he woman on the left had a little comic about female murderers — I think that would so well in the Snapped environment.
Saturday night at a rockin party at the Socirty of Illustrators, the winners of the 2014 MoCCA Arts Festival Awards of Excellence were announced. Winners were all on sale at the festival and were selected by a jury consisting of Gregory Benton (a winner last year), D&Q’s Tracy Hurren, AdHouse publisher Chris Pitzer, designer Chip Kidd and James Sturm of the CCS.
Five winners were announced — all got handsome coin-like awards and a Wacom tablet.
There is to be a documentary about Bryan Talbot, the creator of he Tale of One Bad Rat, Luther Arkwright, Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes, Grandville and many more. I can’t think of a better storyteller among our contemporary cartoonists, so he seems like a great subject for a documentary. The trailer has folks like Andy Diggle, Neil Gaiman and Pat Mills talking so…add it to the list.
The film will be available for download and DVD on May 24th but I don’t know too much more about it. There’s a website here.
The Fourth and Final Season of the Boondocks animated TV series will premiere Monday, April 21 at 10:30p.m (ET/PT) on Adult Swim.
The beautifully produced animated series based on Aaron MacGruder’sBoondocksComics Strip (but done without MacGruder’s involvement) follows the adventures of the Freeman family: cantankerous Robert “Granddad” Freeman and his rambunctious grandkids Huey and Riley.
Boondocks Comic Strip
Moving from the South to a suburb of Chicago, GranddadRobert is hoping to enjoy his golden years in peace. But 10-year-old revolutionary Huey, and 8-year-old member of contemporary Rap culture Riley, are not about to just lay down and enjoy their affluence. As always, they will be torturing each other as well as challenging and provoking their neighborhood. John Witherspoon (Friday After Next) voices Robert “Granddad” Freeman with Regina King (Southland andRay) voices both grandkids Riley, and Hughie.
The Final Season’s storylines will inclue Granddad dating a long lost Kardashian sister; obsessing over his i-Phone and Siri; as well as a lethal involvement in a black market of the hair-care industry ala “Breaking Bad.”
There will also be a healthy helping of familiar Big Names lending their voice talents: Busta Rhymes, Snoop Dogg, Ghostface Killah, CeeLo, Lil Wayne, Aisha Tyler (Archer), Tavis Smiley, Katt Williams, Marion Ross (Happy Days) and Cedric the Entertainer among others.
JR: It’s been almost 30 years since Calvin and Hobbes launched, and almost 20 since it ended. How did it feel to revisit the strip for this exhibition?
BW: Oh, it’s fairly weird. There’s a sort of jet lag when you time-travel to your own past.
He also talks about the current state of cartooning, wondering if any can find an audience with so much competition but pointing out “The gatekeepers are gone, so the prospect for new and different voices is exciting. Or at least it will be if anyone reads them. And it will be even more exciting if anyone pays for them. It’s hard to charge admission without a gate.”
Richard Thompson calls the end of print “sad and confusing” but adds “Comics are, as they say, blowing up. The chance for invention is great but the chance for moneymaking is small. Right now creators are pretty much screwed.”
SO perhaps look at the dual show as the last celebration of an artistic and financial era era of comic strips now as lost as vaudeville and radio drama. OR to be more upbeat, a celebration of two amazing artists who have unforgettably touched our hearts.
The opening for the exhibits is tomorrow night. We’ll be awaiting the tweets and blogs posts eagerly.
Straight from the offices of Publishers Weekly, it’s More to Come! Your podcast source of comics news and discussion starring The Beat’s own Heidi MacDonald.
In this week’s interview special, Publisher’s Weekly’s Calvin Reid interviews indie comics master Dean Haspiel about his beginnings as well as his latest work, including The Fox from Archie Comics and Fear, My Dear: A Billy Dogma Experiencefrom new publisher Z2 Comics. Haspiel, known for his work on such books as “The Quitter” with Harvey Pekar and “The Alcoholic” with Jonathan Ames is also a co-founder of the web comics collective Act-I-Vate. All that and more on PW Comics World’s More To Come podcast.
It is not every day you see Fantagraphics associate publisher Eric Reynolds and legend Abe Vigoda in the same place (as seen on Reynolds’ FB page.). But it happened last night at the Society of Illustrators opening for Drew Friedman’s Old Jewish Comedians show. Also in attendance: Gilbert Gottfried, Paul Shaffer, Robert Klein and JAY EFF Joe Franklin. And from the arty/comicksy crew many people, including Mark Newgarden, Bob Sikoryak, Stephen DeStefano, Karen Green, Cliff Galbraith, J. David Spurlock, Jim Salicrup, Charles Brownstein, Anne Bernstein, Kriota Wilberg, Scott Eder and many people I’m forgetting. It was one of those “only in New York” times. Sadly, I arrived too late to catch Mr. Vigoda, whose existence I recently celebrated here.
Friedman’s painstaking, eerie and unforgettable portraits of the vast world of old Jewish comedians have been collected in three books, all from Fantagraphics, available as one rib tickling compilation. The exhibit includes some items—presumably from Friedman’s own collection— of books, puppets, and other tchatkes of the Vaudevile-to-Catskills world, now long vanished. However, I did learn from the biographical cards accompanying each art piece that Jack Carter and Marty Allen are still alive, both in their early 90s! VERY old Jewish comedians.
The work itself is a monument to this world so far behind us in the rearview mirror, disturbing yet familiar, creepy yet humane. Friedman’s originals are tiny, they are actually blown up to be reproduced, but his level of detail survives in such a scale, and somehow gain a patina of memory. From Jerry Lewis to Buddy Hackett to Sophie Tucker, it’s a twilight world of schtick, and we’re fortunate that Friedman has captured it for posterity.
Also up at the Society — a huge display of the art of Jeffrey Catherine Jones, including Idyll and most of his most famous works. It’s probably the biggest display of his work ever mounted, and perhaps the only one. There will be a big event for this show in the 21st, including a showing of Better Things, the documentary of Jones’ life, directed by Maria Paz Cabardo. That will doubtless be another only in New York evening.
After quizzing a cross section of the attendees I came to the conclusion that the fanbases for Jones and Friedman don’t overlap too much. Perhaps the Venn diagram includes only Heidi MacDonald. But both are well worth seeing, as is the MoCCA gallery show of Charles Rodriguez.
I’ve been going to SoI events for a while, but I have to say since director Anelle Miller started expanding the membership and the events calendar, it has once again become a true clubhouse as it was in the great days of illustration—and last night’s vastly entertaining event was just one example.
Since 2008 Jeff McComsey has been immersed in all things FUBAR. The New York Times best selling zombie series has consisted of three anthology-style graphic novels and a number of individual issues. In September Jeff ran a wildly successful Kickstarter for Mother Russia, the first FUBAR graphic novel to feature one extended story. I talked to him about writing/drawing the book – and a lot more!How did FUBAR Press first come together? FUBAR was originally just supposed to be a convention book. Something with an attention grabbing title that for a few bucks more you got a custom WWII zombie sketch in. Jorge Vega and I put together a bunch of WWII zombie stories from some of my fellow small press creators and Steve Becker put together this gonzo booth complete with replica machine gun. We sold FUBAR: European Theater of the Damned at a few shows in 2008 and I saw a response from people who bought it that I hadn’t seen before. For the first time we thought we might be on to something fun that would also sell. We kickstarted our next book FUBAR: Empire of the Rising Dead and managed to land it on The New York Times Best Selling Graphic Novel list! Since then we’ve just been focusing on putting out more content and having something new for fans when they come by at the next convention.
Was there a big learning curve with running a small publisher?
There definitely is but there’s also a fantastic community of other guys and girls doing the same thing who are there for questions and support. From the beginning we grew FUBAR organically being careful to not go overboard and spend outside our means. We were fortunate to come up at a time where crowd funding was just getting to be a bigger force in indie publishing. We combined that with a big convention presence and year after year we’ve been able to grow the label and publish more and more.
You ran successful Kickstarter campaigns before Mother Russia. FUBAR: American History Z raised over $17,000. Then Mother Russia raised almost 96k. Were you prepared for that level of interest?
We were ready for it but I’m still surprised by the number of backers we ended up with in the end. Kickstarter was kind enough to feature us in their “Projects We Love” e-newsletter that goes out to almost the whole Kickstarter community during our campaign. As a result we ended up with a lot of backers that normally don’t back comic projects which is awesome for us and comics on Kickstarter in general.
A page from FUBAR: Mother Russia.
How’s fulfillment going?
It’s going great. Right now I’m plugging away on MOTHER RUSSIA and making sure the stretch goal comics and other stuff is ready when the book is done and printed. So far we have the T-shirts and onesies printed as well as four out of the five stretch goal comics are printed or at the printer.
A lot of creators using Kickstarter have struggled with the added cost of stretch goals, particularly in regards to shipping. Has that been an issue for the Mother Russia?
I think because we had done a few campaigns before this one we had good figures for exactly what each reward costs in terms of shipping going into it. We designed the stretch goals to be very economic but still get us and the backers the most bang for their buck. We chose to focus on adding comics as goals because they are both affordable to print and ship. Also as someone who backs a lot of comic projects on Kickstarter I like getting extra comics :)
Mother Russia is the first FUBAR graphic novel, and a comic with four-interconnected plots is a bonus in the Kickstarter. Are longer-form stories the future of FUBAR?
We have at least one more big anthology we want to do in the near future called FUBAR: BY THE SWORD that expands our historical zombie series to include all of world history and ancient history. After that we’ve got some things cooking for stand-alone material we’re excited to get out there, too.
How will Mother Russia be released for non-backers?
If you missed the campaign you can read the first eight pages here. If you like what you see you can still pre-order MOTHER RUSSIAhere.
After the exclusive kickstarter printing we want to run MOTHER RUSSIA as a three issue mini series in shops sometime in the late Summer or early Fall.
Now that you’ve built a big fan base, are there plans to further grow FUBAR brand?
Heck yeah. As I mentioned above we have FUBAR: By The Sword in the pipeline as well as both Steve Becker (FUBAR art director and MOTHER RUSSIA cover artist) and Jeff McClelland (FUBAR story editor) are working up their own stand alone projects. In addition to that FUBAR is participating in Free Comic Book Day this year. We have a stand alone one-shot called “The Ace of Spades” written by Chuck Dixon with art by Steve Becker and myself. Chuck wrote an action packed zombie spec ops story for us and I’m excited to have worked on it and that it gets to be part of FCBD 2014.
FUBAR’s FCBD 2014 offering.
In addition to making comics, you’ve also been working as a freelance illustrator. Has this Kickstarter allowed you to devote yourself to FUBAR full-time?
It has. I was just about there before the campaign but now I don’t think I could pull it all off without having that extra time to devote to this project without going full-time. Really it’s two projects. First up is finishing the book and all the extra content and then it’s fulfilment time. Both of those are heavy duty projects. I have excellent help for both of those so I like our chances :)
Do you have any interest in working for one of the big comic book companies?
Absolutely. I love what we do with FUBAR PRESS and the freedom we enjoy writing and drawing our own books but there are some ace publishers I grew up reading that I’d love to work with. Companies like Dark Horse and Oni Press are a big reason why I do what I do. I’d love to get something in the new Dark Horse Presents. That book was a HUGE influence on me in my formative reading years and It’s been a goal of mine to get something in there since they relaunched it.
Are you pursuing adaptations of FUBAR into other media?
Not at the moment. I’m not against the idea of MOTHER RUSSIA the game or MOTHER RUSSIA the movie but making MOTHER RUSSIA a hot shit comic book first is my number one priority.
What have been the biggest surprises from the FUBAR: Mother Russia Kickstarter?
The biggest surprise is how fast my basement filled up with shipping supplies and comics for this campaign. It’s getting out of control down there!
Jen Sorenson has become the first woman to win the Herblock Prize, awarded each year to an editorial cartoonist “to encourage editorial cartooning as an essential tool for preserving the rights of the American people through freedom of speech and the right of expression.” Along with the praise, it offers a $15,000 prize. Sorenson’s Slowpoke Comics have been delivering pointed laughs for over a decade. She was a runner-up last year and won the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award in 2013, so you could kind of call this long-expected.
Clay Bennett of the Chattanooga Times Free Press was the finalist.
I’ve seen it noted widely that Sorenson is the third “alt cartoonist” in a row to win, following Matt Bors and Dan Perkins (aka Tom Tomorrow) last year, but in this day and age, with Sorenson and Tomorrow’s long-established careers and online comics the current delivery method, I’m not sure what is really so “alternative” about them.
The prize was judged by Perkins, Tony Auth and Sara Duke of the Library of Congress, and they said of Sorenson “Jen Sorensen’s strong portfolio addresses issues that were important to Herblock, such as gun control, racism, income inequality, healthcare, and sexism. Her style allows her to incorporate information which backs up the arguments she presents. Her art is engaging and her humor is sharp and on target.”
“As more people are able to make a living doing it, I think we’re moving into an atmosphere were creators are able to define their careers more than creators in the past have been able to,” he observes. “Relying on Marvel and DC is no longer becoming a viable option, because the contracts aren’t viable and the rates aren’t set. They make the rules. A lot of people have fooled themselves into thinking that’s stability but are now realizing that it’s the exact opposite. The real stability is controlling your own career and being in a position to hire yourself, generating ideas that are enough to make you a sustainable income, and also controlling those ideas and your own destiny. That’s the new stability and that’s something people are realizing. I’m very optimistic that it’ll be something that is here to stay.”
We reached out to him and he emailed back to say he had apologized to JMS, and the communication breakdown had been entirely his fault. He explained he has just been through, in addition to some personal matters, “a rather catastrophic move to Chicago where a bunch of my stuff is missing and I got other people’s things, that only finished yesterday. It’s been a rather stressful time.” All this took him off the grid for a while.
But, he continued, “I’m the only one to blame and am apologetic.” He promises to get back on social media soon after he gets the rest of his affairs sorted and wishes Smith and JMS luck on the book.
If we can break into our own endorsement here, while it doesn’t change the Ten Grand problem, and it was an extreme example, these things happen. Templesmith is known as a fast and reliable (and excellent) artist most of the time, and moving sucks. Hopefully everything will be back on an even keel for him very soon and we wish him the best.
Okay this is one project that really truly deserves all your support! IT’s The Scary Godmother Doll designed by creator Jill Thompson. As you can see from the pictures the detail and appearance is amazing. And for $5 you get A BRAND NEW JUST FOR THIS KICKSTARTER SCARY GODMOTHER COMIC.
A brand new, 10 page, painted Scary Godmother story created specifically for this Kickstarter. Follow the Scary Godmother and her Monster pals as they make their way to the Spectral Six Convention! The first new story in quite a long while! Plus cool pinups by some of comicdoms most excellent artists! Like Jaime Hernandez, for example!! Available to you as a digital PDF! (Wanna be IN this comic? Check out the I’M READY FOR MY CLOSE UP incentive below!)
The project has raised some money but has a bit to go, so if you want to see one of indie comics most distinctive characters get a fantastic doll, go check out all the incentives.
Indie comics folk around Brooklyn and beyond have been quietly grieving over the imminent end of Cartoon House, a giant loft in South Williamsburg inhabited by a bevy of cartoonists over the years, and scene of many someday legendary comic book people events. In the first in a series of micropress profiles for Publishers Weekly, Robyn Chapmanlooks at the history of Cartoon House and the publishing companies of its three most prominent members, Bill Kartalopoulos, Austin English and Dave Nuss.
As cartoonists moved in, the parties became frequent and, at times, legendary. The final Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival after-party last November was packed shoulder to shoulder with cartoonists from Chris Ware on and featured a spontaneous wrestling match between Hot Dog Beach’s Lale Westvind and RAV’sMickey Z.
More than being an ideal party locale, Cartoon House offered Kartalopoulos, English and Nuss a comfortable space in which to publish. In a city where the one-bedroom “micro apartment” measures just 300 square feet, it’s a luxury to have enough space to store book inventory.
Cartoon House was indeed one of a kind, and the last throwback in the city limits of the group living situation that often fired up idealized visions of New York City: a big raw space where artistic folks could be wacky and creative. It was also the place where you could dip cookies into frosting and call it a snack. Cartoon House is definitely a “you had to be there” thing, and if it wasn’t as protean as Fort Thunder, it will probably give birth to as many stories.
Bill K. informs us that the final move out date is in November—the raw space will probably be divided up into a couple of apartments which will rent for sickening amounts. Will there be one more big party? It would be sad if there weren’t.
Esteemed comics scholar Jeet Heer has just written a book about RAW and New Yorker Art Director Françoise Mouly entitled In Love with Art: Françoise Mouly’s Adventures in Comics with Art Spiegelman. Art comics enthusiasts won’t need to know much more than that, but here’s an excerpt that reveals the behind the scenes story of the famous 9/11 New Yorker cover of black-on-black towers:
She still felt that no image—painting, drawing or photo—could do justice to what she and the rest of New York had just experienced. She had another idea: What about an all-black cover? A cover that, as per her neighbor’s argument, wasn’t a cover. Spiegelman wanted his image to run but thought that if the New Yorker was going that route, it should be combined with his own suggestion: How about a silhouette of the towers against a black background, black on black? “That actually felt like the most creative solution,” Mouly says now. She drew up a cover based on their ideas. “When I saw it, even before I presented it to my editor, I was like ‘Oh my god, this actually is the answer, the negative answer, to what I was looking for because it is such a strong statement.’”
Straight from the offices of Publishers Weekly, it’s More to Come! Your podcast source of comics news and discussion starring The Beat’s own Heidi MacDonald.
In a More To Come interview special episode, Heidi talks with acclaimed indie comics creator Jeff Smith about his Eisner-winning kids’ fantasy epic Bone, his adult sci-fi tale RASL, the advantages and difficulties of being your own publisher, his new Paleolithic webcomic Tuki Save The Humansand much, much more on this episode of Publishers Weekly’s graphic novel podcast. in this podcast from PW Comics World.
Now tune in Fridays at our new, new time for our regularly scheduled podcast!
While the odds are still low on him showing up to fulfill his duties as Grand Prix winner, Bill Watterson is slightly less reclusive of late than he has been for most of the 19 years since he quite Calvin and Hobbes. For instance he has drawn the poster for the film STRIPPED, a documentary about comic strip artists which also features an interview with Watterson. The piece is billed as Watterson’s first cartoon in 19 years (he’s shown a painting since then, a contribution to Project Cul-de-sac.)
Comic strips fans were probably already on board to see the movie, directed by Dave Kellett and Fred Schroeder, but the art by Wawtterson won’t hurt. Other creators interviewed in the film include Chris Hastings (Dr. McNinja), Anthony Clark (Nedroid), Danielle Corsetto (Girls With Slingshots), Dylan Meconis (Family Man), Kate Beaton (Hark, a Vagrant!), Greg Evans (Luann), Jeff Keane (The Family Circus), Jeff Smith (Bone), Jim Davis (Garfield), Scott Kurtz (PvP), Meredith Gran (Octopus Pie), Ryan North (Dinosaur Comics), Bill Amend (Foxtrot), Matt Inman (The Oatmeal), Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins (Penny Arcade), Cathy Guisewite (Cathy) and Mort Walker (Beetle Bailey).