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1. 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.

2 Comments on SPX memories…like a magical unicorn, last added: 9/19/2014
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2. 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.

4 Comments on Move over Haspiel, there’s a new shirtless cartoonist in town, last added: 9/19/2014
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3. 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.

9 Comments on Alison Bechdel wins a MacArthur Foundation Grant, last added: 9/20/2014
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4. 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.

4 Comments on Michael DeForge’s shelf porn is made for action, last added: 9/12/2014
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5. 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

1 Comments on Chris Ware reveals his love of sitcoms, last added: 9/7/2014
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6. 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.

10 Comments on Yale Stewart apologizes after accusations of harassment, last added: 8/23/2014
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7. 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

24079by

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.

 

2 Comments on Denis KItchen on The Best of Comix Book–”One of the Greatest Things Stan Lee ever Did”, last added: 8/21/2014
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8. 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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9. 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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10. More on Mike Dawson and finding an audience

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There’s been a lot o’ talk this week about Mike Dawson’s essay on his perceived failure to find an audience. Dawson followed up on it with more thoughts.

The main point of this essay was to discuss my own shortcomings as person unable to build “an audience” for his work. I didn’t even bring up in the original post that I co-hosted a well-known comics-podcast every week for five years, as well as another show on and off over at The Comics Journal. The thing I’m failing at, is taking the dim name-recognition and modest track record that I have, and converting that into future readers for my future work.

He points out several things, including how his worry was not making a living from being a cartoonist—he has a day job—but as an artist trying to find an audience. Anyone interested should read the follow up.

Abhay Khosla also followed up on his advice, which many perceived as tough because, well, Abhay is one of the tough talking folk of the comics internet. I hope I may be forgiven for jumping to one of his concluding thoughts:

I’m not criticizing him or his books, and still I have to put on clown makeup and have a little horn I blow after every sentence like “haha or maybe I’m wrong, keep reaching for the stars, everything is okay, life is fun”-???  That’s bonkers.  That’s straight-up bonkers.  I’m sorry if your feelings or anyone else’s feelings were “hurt” or if I wasn’t “nice enough” about all the failing going on, but whatever part of me is supposed to cower about my opinions I guess is broken or I’m the bad guy or whatever but… I’m not living in a mumblecore movie when the conversation is about marketing and selling product.


So you now it turned out Dawson and Khosla had the same goal all along! Self expression.

All joking aside this kind of painful self examination and frank talk are not much seen in alt.comix outside of late night room party talk in Bethesda. And Khosla is dead on correct about the comics world’s aversion to honest discussions about finding an audience, the meaning of success, marketing vs selling out, and other practical matters, especially when this talk is delivered with brio. This is a world of overwhelmingly nice people and overwhelmingly supportive people. A dozen tumblr followers is enough success for some folks, and having the gumption to say aloud that’s a pretty low bar is seen as a social faux pas.

While I’m loathe to blast apart a world of niceness and cheerleading, I’m equally torn over whether getting tougher, as a group, will help matters either. We got this far on twinkles and a belief in self-expression as its own end. Some creators get more serious about climbing the ladder, and doing whatever it takes. And some are content with their own world, as little as it may be. Dragging people up or down may not mean more success for any one.

I guess all I can say is questioning is always good, and public questioning has been positive in this case. I’ll give the final word to Dawson:

My priority is to continue expressing myself in this medium. I am very driven to do so. I don’t think it’s an option for me to walk away, as appealing as that thought can often be.


In this, I know, he speaks for many of us.

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11. Must read: Mike Dawson on being a mid-career cartoonist

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Mike Dawson is talented cartoonist, a witty raconteur and a fine podcaster— you can hear his work with Alex Robinson here at Ink Panthers. And as of yesterday he was a Tumblr king with a post calledAdvice to the mid-career cartoonist who has failed to build an audience. It’s honest and in some parts brutal.

My first “graphic novel”, my three hundred page debut memoir Freddie & Me, was published by BloomsburyUSA in 2008. The final sales tally (the book is now technically out of print) was 4,805 gross and 2,748 net. I think that means I sold 2,748 copies. Not great by Bloomsbury’s standards, but by my standards, that’s my bestseller.

My second book, Troop 142 was published in 2011 by Brooklyn based boutique publisher Secret Acres. I serialized the story online as I wrote. It was nominated for four Ignatz awards at the 2010 Small Press Expo, and won for Outstanding Online Comic. The book got nice attention from NPR and the American Library Association. It got another Ignatz nomination in 2012 for Outstanding Graphic Novel. To date, the book has sold 1,435 copies.

My third graphic novel, Angie Bongiolatti, was also published by Secret Acres. It debuted at the MoCCA Festival in NYC this past April. Last week I got my first quarterly sales report.

106 copies.

Holy fucking shit! One hundred and six copies??? How has this happened?

I’ll just send you to Dawson’s post for his conclusions from this, including his ambivalence about social media, his recent switch to shorter comics, and a frank confrontation with the “What am I doing here?” feeling that all of us have at some time.

Dawson’s graphic novel career hits a lot of spots that we have come to call typical of the indie cartoonist’s life. Freddie & Me was part of the early aughts rush to graphic novels by major publishers — a premature rush that resulted in mostly disappointing sales. Troop 142 was serialized on Live Journal and got quite a bit of attention during its run, resulting in the award nominations and notice; it could be considered an “establishing” work. Angie Bongiolatti is a more enigmatic work, from the fact that I have to look up how to spell the title every time, to a plot that defies summarization at all — it’s not an art show like many indie graphic novels, but rather a narrative about people who are confused about their own lives and look to someone who seems to be less confused via politics following 9/11. IT’s also an office drama, intermixed with the work of theorist Arthur Koestler. Like I said, there is no elevator pitch for it—it’s a heart felt, thought through work.

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All three maintain a high level of cartooning and narrative skill. Although he’s never been a critics darling, Dawson’s carved a respectable place for himself. He should be just entering a strong period of confident work. Instead, he’s wondering why he’s even here.

Dawson says what a lot of cartoonists are thinking these days. You can slave away at the drawing board every night after the day job ends, but is there even a career here for most people? What am I doing? Where am I going? Will there be a cheese plate when I get there? It’s the greatest time ever for comics but it’s still a mode of self expression not a way to make a living for many folks.

The post got recognition of another kind: a take down by Abhay Khosla:

Uh, if I can add insult to injury: who did you even think your audience was? Your graphic novels had a $20 list price, and you hadn’t really made a name for yourself before trying to charge people $20 to find out if you were any good at making comics.   Did you think there were a lot of people who take that kind of risk with their money, and if so, why?  Is that how you buy comics— you just see books and then spend $20 on them, regardless of if you’ve never heard of who made them, week after week?  What kind of comic-buying budget are you dealing with that allows you to do that?


I think some of Khosla’s point are a bit harsh—Daryl Ayo answers them here—but it’s true that finding an audience isn’t as easy as falling off a log or falling on a table at TCAF. I’m a fan of Dawson’s work, but not for reasons that readily translate to a steady audience.

In a private correspondence with Dawson, I suggested that Angie B. might have done better had it also been serialized online, the way Troop 142 was. It’s true that we have a ton of tools at our disposal to promote and disseminate all kinds of work now. It’s also true, as an agent told Dawson, that building an audience on social media is as necessary as knowing how to spell for authors these days. The rugged “self publisher” of the 80s and 90s has become the “self promoter” of the internet era. Dave Sim was right!

Dawson is a fine cartoonist with a distinctive style. His books aren’t for casual reading—he has a dense style that takes a while to read, just like a “real” novel. I haven’t seen the discussion of his essay beyond the two links above, but I suspect that a lot of cartoonists rolled it around in their heads as the day progressed.

Bonus reading: Tom Spurgeon interviews Dawson interviewed at The Comics Reporter

Whit Taylor interviews Dawson at Panel Patter

Hillary Brown reviews Angie Bongiolatti at Paste Magazine

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12. Interview: Rick Geary on Kickstarter, Murder, and Billy the Kid

Anybody who has read any amount of my writing, either here and elsewhere, will probably know who my favourite comics writer is*. But I also have a favourite comics artist, whose work is a constant delight to me, and by whom I have pretty much everything I can get my hands on. It’s Rick Geary. He mostly works in black & white, has almost never done any work for The Big Two, and you could just about be forgiven for not having heard of him, but he’s been making his living as a cartoonist and comics artist for nearly forty years now, and is, for me, the comics artist whose work I cherish the most.

He worked on all sorts of things for Dark Horse Comics, and many others, over a number of years, much of which has been collected, and on a shelf right beside me, as I write. In 1987 he started work on a series called A Treasury of Victorian Murder for NBM Publishing, which now stands at eight volumes of true murder tales, which has since been joined by A Treasury of XXth Century Murder, which is up to six volumes, both of which feel like his true life’s work. I’ve always been a fan of true crime stories anyway, and to have them drawn in Geary’s gorgeous black line work is wonderful. If you want to try one – and you should – they’re all available on his Author Page at NBM. It’s not for nothing that Our Glorious Leader, Ms H. MacDonald, said ‘

No season would be complete without the latest in Rick Geary’s ongoing series of 20th-century murders: with elegant, unsettling penwork, Madison Square Tragedy: The Murder of Stanford White tells the notorious story of architect Stanford White, who was murdered by a jealous husband in a theater atop the original Madison Square Garden.

As well as his ongoing work with NBM, Rick Geary has recently taken to selling books through a series of Kickstarter campaigns, with the most recent, for The True Death of Billy the Kid, still running, until Monday the 11th of August, a week from today. It’s going to be a 60-page black-and-white hardcover graphic novel, and I can pretty much guarantee it’ll turn up right on time, too, because I’ve backed his other two projects, and they did – which is more than can be said for other fundraisers I’ve ante-ed up for, but that is something I’ll wait to address here another day, in the not too distant future.

Anyway, without further ado, here’s a quick interview with Rick Geary, which I was thrilled to be given the chance to do…

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Pádraig Ó Méalóid: This is your third Kickstarter campaign, at this stage. First of all, what made you decide to try out fundraising like this as a way to get your work out there?
[Link to The True Death of Billy the Kid Kickstarter.]

Rick Geary: The first time I tried fundraising on Kickstarter was about a year ago, simply out of curiosity as to how it works and to see how well I would do. I thought I should start out with the kind of true crime graphic novel I’m known for. This was The Elwell Enigma, and it succeeded beyond my wildest imagination. After that, I thought I’d try something different. A is for Anti-Christ: Obama’s Conspiracy Alphabet, a kind of satirical children’s book, was a bit of a harder and slower process, but it finally came through. At last, I thought I’d use Kickstarter to fund the kind of historical and non-fiction subjects that fascinate me but which aren’t precisely murder cases. The True Death of Billy the Kid comes out of my life here in Lincoln County, and has now exceeded my funding goal with several more weeks to go. So I have to say I’m very happy with my Kickstarter experience. I also must say that the experience has been made as smooth as possible by my friend and agent and production genius Mark Rosenbohm, who has managed all three campaigns.

PÓM: Yes, I’d noticed that all your campaigns were under Mark’s name. So, is he effectively acting as your publisher on these, or is that the wrong way to look at it?

RG: I suppose he could be technically called my publisher, although I like to think of these books as self-published. They all have come out under my little imprint, Home Town Press.

PÓM: What led you to want to try out an internet fundraiser like this in the first place, and why did you choose Kickstarter to do it on?

RG: There are certain projects in my mind that I know would never be taken on by a mainstream publisher. The Obama Alphabet was certainly one of them. I began my career publishing my own work and I’ve always believed in it. Why Kickstarter? At the time, it seemed to be the only one out there.

PÓM: Are there any drawbacks to using Kickstarter, do you find?

RG: The hardest part of a Kickstarter campaign, though I’d hate to call it a drawback, is the work that comes on the back end. I try to be very conscientious about packaging the books and other premiums and sending them out in a timely manner. Almost 200 mailings for my first project. It’s all well worth it, though.

PÓM: Are you still producing work through more conventional means, like with NBM, for instance? I know they published your Madison Square Tragedy – The Murder of Stanford White around December 2013, so is there anything more scheduled from them?

RG: Yes, I’m still producing murder stories for NBM. I’m currently in the midst of a project that’s a bit of a departure from the true-life cases. Louise Brooks: Detective is a fictional mystery featuring the actress Louise Brooks solving a murder in 1940′s Kansas. After that I plan to return to non-fiction with the story of the Black Dahlia murder.

PÓM: Am I right in thinking you’re somehow related to Louise Brooks?

RG: She was my mother’s second cousin. Though they never met, they grew up in the same area of southeastern Kansas. Brooks was my mother’s maiden name (and my middle name). My mother was born and grew up in the tiny town of Burden, Kansas, as did both of Louise’s parents. The graphic novel I’m working on, Louise Brooks: Detective, takes place during the brief time (1940-42) that she returned to Kansas after her Hollywood career collapsed. The action unfolds in Wichita and Burden.

PÓM: What is it that draws you towards these murder stories, do you think?

RG: It’s become kind of a cliché, but for as long as I can remember, I’ve been attracted to the dark side of human nature. Perhaps because I have such a light and sunny nature myself. Stories of anti-social behavior have the most drama and excitement. And the unsolved cases are the best of all, for the mystery they embody and the speculation they engender. I’m a big proponent of the essential unknowability of things.

PÓM: With the unsolved cases, do you have opinions of your own on who might have done them, or does that not matter to you? With things like Jack the Ripper, for instance, which has virtually mutated into fiction, do you have any ‘favourite’ suspects?

RG: In most cases my goal is to keep a journalistic detachment and not express opinions of my own. Some of the unsolved murders have, as you say, mutated into fiction, but I try to give equal weight to all the theories out there, no matter how ludicrous. Jack the Ripper is the perfect example. The endless speculation linking him to the royal family or other well-known people is pretty flimsy, though entertaining. My belief is that the Ripper had to be some faceless, anonymous East End resident, someone you wouldn’t even notice on the street.

PÓM: What is it about Billy the Kid, that made you want to do this particular book?

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RG: Upon moving to Lincoln County, New Mexico, seven years ago, I found that the Kid is a very big deal here. The town of Lincoln, where he spent much of his brief life, is a perfectly preserved little western settlement, and the local historical society is very protective of his story. Accuracy is the top priority. I noticed that no graphic novel has been published that told his true story, and it seemed a natural for my next project on Kickstarter.

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PÓM: How much research goes into doing one of these books?

RG: I do as much as I can and still fit within the deadline. I start by reading as many books with as many different points of view on the subject as I can find, and take copious notes. I fill this out with online sources, but what I find there is usually not as detailed as the information contained in books. Then I condense all the material into what I hope is a clear and compelling narrative structure. As for picture reference for period costumes, interiors etc, I usually rely on my extensive personal library. But I can also find pretty much anything I want online.

Billy 23 (1)

PÓM: Have you any plans to do more ‘Wild West’ based stories, or is Billy the Kid a one-off?

RG: Nothing specific on the horizon, but I wouldn’t rule anything out.

PÓM: What’s your feeling about fundraisers like Kickstarter, now that you’ve been through it three times? Is it the future of comics publishing, or just an interesting sideline, for you?

RG: I can’t speak for others, but my own experience with Kickstarter has been nothing but positive thus far. I don’t know if it’s the future of comics publishing, but it’s certainly my future. I plan to use it, perhaps once a year, for graphic novel projects that treat broader historical subjects and wouldn’t overlap with the murder stories I do for NBM.

PÓM: Will this, and your previous Kickstarter projects, be available for the general public to buy later on, or is this the only way to get hold of them?

RG: All of my Kickstarter books are, for the moment, sold personally by me at the SD Comic-Con and at APE, or else are available via the “RG Store” on my Website. I’ve also been selling them, on consignment, through a retail outlet in my tiny burg of Carrizozo. Whether they will eventually gain a wider distribution remains to be seen.

PÓM: Thanks very much for taking the time to do this interview, Rick.

RG: Entirely my pleasure, Pádraig. Thanks for everything.

Some Links:
The True Death of Billy the Kid Kickstarter page
Rick Geary’s own Website
Rick Geary’s Author Page at NBM
Rick Geary’s Facebook Page

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[*It’s Alan Moore, in case there was any doubt.]

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13. SDCC 14: Jeff Smith Spotlight, the Head of Comic’s Cool Table

By David Nieves
If you’re a lifer, comics have always been the cool thing. Certain people personify what’s “out there” and distinct about comics more so than any other industry; and at the very top of that list is Bone creator Jeff Smith. On SDCC Saturday afternoon, moderated by his friend Tom Spurgeon(The Comics Reporter), Jeff talked about all things Jeff Smith during his spotlight panel.

Opening with the news from Scholastic, Bone vol 1 will see a special Scholastic Anniversary edition of the book with colors and an eight page poem about the Rat Creatures alongside a whole bunch of pinups from Scholastic artists like Kate Beaton. Scholastic is set to release it in the Spring of next year.

You could tell by Jeff’s laid back demeanor and rocking back and forth in his seat that Tom held the opening talk with Jeff as if they were just having lunch together looking over comic books.  Jeff enlightened his buddy, along with the room 9 audience in attendance, about off-the-wall character design, getting older in comics, and meeting a larger age ranges of fans.

Jeff praised about the Rasl sculpture that was at his booth. A group of art students 3D built it for him, they took the little hints in the darkness of the engines to build something that resembles a Tesla Coil and an alternating engine. Seeing the final piece astonished Smith because he himself never knew what the inside of the engines never looked like because they were always draped in shadows, only showing hints of what was inside.

Smith was asked if SDCC was a better place to present your projects than when he started? “it’s a very different landscape then when I came into it. In 1991 there was only two kinds of comics; the mainstream Marvel and DC, then there were the alternative comics,” Smith explained. He defended the extravaganza known as Comic-Con for its potential to attract new readers.

His latest work, TUKI, is out first digitally with a print version available shortly after. What’s great about the print version is that it’s still read horizontally true to its digital roots. Unlike other digital to print books that have to crop pages in awkward ways. Jeff took the simple notion of keeping things the way they were meant to read.

One question he hears a lot was asked during this panel. Other company owned characters he’d like to do?
DC Comics said he could come do the second half of Shazam and the Monster Society of Evil whenever he wants but has no plans to do so in the near future. Unless he gets, “really bored or really broke.” The Rocket Raccoon 1 cover was also shown and he chalked that one up to it simply being, “up his alley.”

A fan asked Jeff, “when did he decide to make Bone more epic?
According to the cartoonist, the moment happened organically when he decided to turn the jokes it was based on into story. Particularly the stories he liked such as the works of Tolkien. It was a time where he couldn’t hide behind the Donald Duck style comics purely laced with jokes and running gags. In his words, “he had to come out.”

The last question was about how Smith transitioned Bone from college comic strip to real comic book. He had opportunities to bring bone to publishers but it would have required him changing or eliminating things like the Rat Creatures and selling his copyright. Before that time he’d never been inside a comic book store and during his first time inside one, saw that there were people self-publishing their own comics. It gave him the epiphany to create his own company and all the stories he’s done in his career.

With that the panel came to an end. You can listen to the full spotlight below (note: delay at beginning starts at 0:09) full of all Smith’s quips and insights about the industry. You can find Rasl, Tuki, and all things Bone on his website Boneville.com

 

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14. SDCC ’14: Careers in Creativity

 

Industry people discussing roles open in creativity.

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.

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15. Bernie Wrightson is in hospital but doing well

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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

Good thoughts are indeed going out.

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16. Cartoonist Anders Nilsen is taking on Amazon with two new projects

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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.

The mini and the experiment it launches were prompted by all the bullshit Amazon has been pulling lately. Maybe you’ve been following it.


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.

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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.

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17. RIP: Charles Barsotti

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Famed New Yorker cartoonist Charles Barsotti has passed away at age 80. He was 80. Barsotti had been suffering from brain cancer since last year, and he died quietly at home yesterday.

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.
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1 Comments on RIP: Charles Barsotti, last added: 6/18/2014
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18. Derf ends THE CITY comic strip

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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.
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0 Comments on Derf ends THE CITY comic strip as of 5/16/2014 10:32:00 AM
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19. Boondocks Returns to Adult Swim for 4th and Final Season

by Pam Auditore

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’s Boondocks Comics 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

Boondocks Animated

Moving from the South to a suburb of Chicago, Granddad Robert 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 and Ray) 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.

5 Comments on Boondocks Returns to Adult Swim for 4th and Final Season, last added: 3/22/2014
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20. There’s a movie about Bryan Talbot…and here’s the trailer


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.

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1 Comments on There’s a movie about Bryan Talbot…and here’s the trailer, last added: 3/26/2014
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21. MoCCA Award of Excellence Winners announced — and here’s where you can get them

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.

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David Plunkert for Heroical

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Greg Kletsel for Exercise the Demon

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Luke Healy for Of The Monstrous Pictures of Whales (which you can read online for free in this link)

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Jess Ruliffson for Invisible Wounds

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The Art of Alexandra Beguez for Narwhal

So as you can see, comics are just fine, as far as artistry goes. Poke around all the artists links above…you’ll spend a pleasant moning/afternoon.

2 Comments on MoCCA Award of Excellence Winners announced — and here’s where you can get them, last added: 4/7/2014
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22. A few notes on SVA’s Fresh Meat 2014

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The guys who were there either weren’t very prepared, or had a whole concept down, like these fellows.

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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.
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And more of the crowd.

4 Comments on A few notes on SVA’s Fresh Meat 2014, last added: 5/10/2014
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23. Help Seth Kushner Find a Bone Marrow Donor

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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.
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From Terra Kushner, wife of Seth Kushner:

Bone Marrow Donations for Seth Kushner

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.
(deletebloodcancer.org)

National Donor Registry – this is the registry that is directly associated with the NMDP.
(BeTheMatch.org)

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:

•age
•health
•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.

Let’s pray that we quickly get a donor!

Xoxo
Terra

— with Seth Kushner.

1 Comments on Help Seth Kushner Find a Bone Marrow Donor, last added: 5/12/2014
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24. TCAF panels in audio: Brubaker, Phillips, Robbins, Johnston, Beaton and more!

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.

http://www.thecomicbooks.com/pics/index.php/Toronto/TCAF/TCAF-2014



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
criticism.




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
better writer.




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 (May 10) – 26 Photos




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.

2 Comments on TCAF panels in audio: Brubaker, Phillips, Robbins, Johnston, Beaton and more!, last added: 5/17/2014
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25. Comics’ secret economy: animation hiring boom

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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?!

mc-burnett:

BECAUSE REBECCA SUGARIAN JONES-QUARTEYKAT MORRISBEN LEVINJOE JOHNSTONJEFF LIUPAUL VILLECORAVEN MOLISEELAMAR ABRAMSALETH ROMANILLOSHELLEN JOHILARY FLORIDOKATIE MITROFFELLE MICHALKADANNY HYNESCOLIN HOWARDANGIE WANGSTEVEN SUGAREMILY WALUSJASMIN LAIAMANDA WINTERSTEINTIFFANY FORDEFRAIN FARIASKEVIN DARTSTU LIVINGSTONLAUREN ZUKE, LAUREN HECHT, MATTANIAH ADAMSNICK DEMAYOJACKIE BUSCARINO, CAROLYNA ROBEZZOLI, ALAN PASMANCHRISTY COHEN, LISA ZUNICH, CHUCK AUSTEN, CARDER SCHOLINAIVI & SURASSHU AND A BUNCH OF AMAZING FREELANCERS, OVERSEAS ANIMATORS AND POST-PRODUCTION PEOPLE AND ALSO THE WHOLE CAST HAVE WORKED REALLY HARD TO MAKE IT AMAZING!!!!!!!!

How many familiar names can YOU spot there? Chuck Austen!

3 Comments on Comics’ secret economy: animation hiring boom, last added: 5/19/2014
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