by BK Munn
It looks like John Martz has decided to pull the plug on Drawn, the long-running and popular group-blog devoted to the art and history of illustration he started in 2005. Originally known as Drawn!, the site migrated to Tumblr a few years ago and dropped the exclamation mark, but through the years and many changes in personnel and Martz’s own blossoming illustration career, the site has lost a bit of its heart and relevancy, to the point where Martz has finally put it to sleep. It was just last summer in an interview with Sequential that Martz stated “I’m happy to still have the site as an outlet for sharing things, even if, in 2012, it is but one Tumblr among millions. If people are still getting something out of it 8 years later, even as it has morphed into something different than when it started, then that’s enough of a reason to keep going.” A year later, things have obviously changed and Martz has unilaterally put the kibosh on the whole operation, claiming in a new note on his own blog, “by the time I get around to posting something interesting on Drawn, it’s already made its way around the Twittersphere and been reblogged on Tumblr a thousand times over. In a 2013-era Internet that allows artists to share their work easier than ever and to a bigger audience than ever, and for anyone to start a Tumblr or a Pinterest account to collect and curate their own inspirations and influences, a 2005-era link blog like Drawn grows increasingly irrelevant. It starts to look more and more like the dinosaur it is.”
Over the years, Drawn was a source of inspiration to thousands of designers, illustrators and cartoonists, and helped to launch or boost the careers of many. The blog always had a strong comics focus, not least because many of the contributors are themselves cartoonists, from Martz himself, to established greats like Jay Stephens, to young turks like Dustin Harbin, Adam Koford, and David Huyck. The site also benefited from a historical perspective on illustration that often served to unite the world of print and provide insights into the life and work of obscure Canadian creators, a special interest of Sequential. In this regard, I always particularly enjoyed the posts of Jaleen Grove (working on a Phd on Canadian illustration and national identity) and Leif Peng (illustrator and amazing collector/researcher).
Drawn may be dead, but I hope its spirit and the work of its contributors live forever.
TRIP unites the solitudes!
Book Launch of three new bilingual titles!
TIBONOM, SILENT WORLDS & CHRONICLES OF A WANDERER
Saturday, May 18th 2013 in Montréal at Cheval Blanc, from 3 pm to 8 pm
Éditions TRIP invites you to its annual comic book event & launch at Le Cheval Blanc!
After travelling to Helsinki in 2012, where all existing titles were successfully received, Éditions TRIP goes international in 2013. TRIP presents our three new titles: Tibonom, Silent Worlds & Chronicles of a Wanderer.
For more than 25 years Billy Mavreas has been an important figure of the Montreal Comics Scene. One of the original creators of EXPOZINE and co-director of gallery Monastiraki. Mavreas is known for his posters in Mile-End, his comics, and his narrative experiments. As well, Mavreas was included in the international Abstract Comics anthology (Fantagraphics Books, 2009). TIBONOM is a compilation of short wordless stories about spirituality told with humor, heart, and original graphic experiments. With an introduction by Joe Ollmann in which he states: ”This book says a great deal about spirituality, magic and the search for answers…These strips celebrate the sacred and the profane in equal measure ”.
Carlos Santos published his first comic in 1995 and has since contributed to every major anthology of comics in Quebec. He is a member of the art collective EN MASSE. Silent Worlds proposes a narrative tour de force with a 40 pages wordless comic. The book also includes a revealing essay by Eric Bouchard on Santos’ unique method of creating a long narrative. On the Délivré website, Bouchard wrote in 2012 : ”Even in Quebec, he (Moebius) is still an inspiration to talented artists, one example is Carlos Santos and his recent book Raïo que te parta ”.
TRIP will also be launching Frédéric Cordier (aka FREDC)’s first book! Working as an illustrator and directing shot animated films, FREDC works in Montreal at Moment Factory. Passionate about narration, his book is inspired by the idea of a travel sketchbook as well as by the psychedelic imagery form the sixties. A perpetual pleasure for the eyes, Chronicles of a Wanderer is a trip inside the fantastic imagination of Frédéric Cordier.
These three authors illustrate perfectly Éditions TRIP’s desire to promote, support, and publish artists who have as much fun drawing as exploring the codes and language of comics.
Montréal book launch for TIBONOM, SILENT WORLDS & CHRONICLES OF A WANDERER
Le Cheval Blanc
Saturday May 18th 2013, from 3pm to 8 pm
809 Ontario street E, Montreal, QC H2L 1P1
Late to post, sequential is still enjoying a bit of down time post TCAF.
Hosted by actor and comedian Scott Thompson the best in Canadian comics were honoured at the 9th annual Doug Wright Awards. The fun and unpredictable ceremony was attended by more than 300 people including some of North America’s best cartoonists.
This year’s recipients of the top honours were:
Best Book: The Song of Roland, by Michel Rabagliati
The Spotlight Award (aka “The Nipper”): Nina Bunjevac for Heartless
Pigskin Peters Award: Hamilton Illustrated, by David Collier
Held as a feature event of the 2013 Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF), the evening also saw Albert Chartier inducted into The Giants of the North, the Canadian Cartoonists Hall of Fame.
The winners were decided by a jury that included: Joe Ollmann, PascalGirard, Jonathan Goldstein, Natalia Yanchak and Julie Delporte.
Read more of the awards nominees and winners at www.wrightawards.ca
“You Know This Man Has Translated The Chinese Name of Coca-Cola…”
184 pages, black and white, hardcover
review by BK Munn
Chihoi Lee, who creates comics under the pen name Chihoi, is one of the leading figures in Hong Kong’s tiny alternative comics scene. While most of the comics market in China is dominated by Japanese manga and the Japanese-inflected manhua industry, represented in North America mostly by a handful of genre exercises published by the same people who publish Sailor Moon and Bleach, for the past decade or so a small core of writers and artists, influenced in part by the wider world of art and literature, as well as European comics in general, have carved out a niche for themselves producing personal and sometimes political work for a growing audience. Emerging from the 90s magazine collective Cockroach, Chinhoi has gone on to co-found the group Springrolllll, made up of 5 of the most well-known “alt” cartoonists at work in the HK scene.
As evinced in this collection, the first English-only translation for the artist after a series of European publications, and the flagship title of Canadian publisher Conundrum’s new “International” imprint, Chihoi is a very subtle cartoonist, more concerned with self-expression and memory than some of his contemporaries. While not exactly a crackerjack draftsman, his cartooning is nonetheless very evocative and gestural, with an attention to body language, atmosphere, and pacing; adept at creating a feeling of space and interesting patterns, with a meandering line and regular panel grids. While some of the stories here are traditional pen, brush and ink productions, with a moderate amount of hatching and deep blacks, others are reproduced from pencils, full of sketchy lines, smudges, and shading. In this regard he has much in common with some of his more avant garde North American contemporaries like C.F. and even Kim Deitch, although he also cites Anke Feuchtenberger, Amanda Vähämäki, and the FRMK artists as influences.
Chihoi comes across as a very literary cartoonist, in the sense that many of his stories remind us of Modernist fiction touchstones like Borges and Kafka, replete with dreams, doppelgangers, labyrinths, libraries, and odd transformations. The title story, “The Library,” follows an anonymous library patron as he searches for a book mentioned in a text he inherited from his grandmother. A malevolent library clerk lets our hero into the stacks, but confiscates the incriminating book, tearing out the reference and tossing the remaining binding onto a passing cart. The hero then descends through a series of increasingly tiny and more-hellish reading rooms, until arriving in a cramped, Alice-in-Wonderland-style cave where he sits between two skeletons (his grandparents?) and reads the book he has been searching for. The same clerk reappears in the next story, “Borrowed Books,” reprising his role as bespectacled agent of bureaucracy, as part of a narrative in which an old man attempts to accumulate, by hook or by crook, all the books his dead wife ever read, in order to burn them at her shrine and them immolate himself in a fatal fit of loneliness and heartbreak.
Of the other stories, “Sorry” has a Killoffer vibe, “The Sea” and “I’m With My Saint” are almost post-Impressionist, and “Summer” and “Father” read as poignant surrealist-autobio, a la Chester Brown. Chihoi has a lot to say about family, love, and anxiety and his stories reward careful contemplation and rereading. His art is funny, absurd, depressing, and poetic in almost equal measure and the comics in The Library are a welcome addition to the ever-widening world of comics.
“Awrt doesn’t really imitate life, postcards do…”
The Grey Museum
by Lorenz Peter
review by BK Munn
The Grey Museum is a wonderfully weird comic book. Lorenz Peter made his mark with 2005′s Dark Adaptation, a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age graphic memoir about cancer and generational conflict on the prairies that signaled a radical change in tone and subject matter from much of his previous work. But real life is boring and there are bigger fish to fry! Peter’s new book is a heady, funky melange of concepts and cliches that seem at first glance to be working against each other in an awkward, counter-intuitive mess. The characters for the most part are all quirky “types,” introduced at the beginning of the book in one- or two-line capsule descriptions (acid case, factory worker), but through the course of the narrative and through unexpected transformations many of them come to feel slightly more substantial. Quite the trick, since, although it starts out as apocalyptic science fiction, the book quickly transforms into one big artistic environmental allegory, with the characters more-or-less intended as pawns in a larger game between alien races, abstract concepts of time and cosmic harmony, and ancient unnamed deities resembling Gaia and Hades (if Hades was a chaos-loving, shades-wearing, afro-sporting 70s pick-up artist who clothes his unwilling human mates in dresses made of encrusted serpent semen). Peter’s conceit here is that civilization ended in 1999 and Earth has become a gigantic museum of horrible conceptual art created by an alien race of coffee-swilling, spa-loving “Greys,” identical, clone-like suits who worship art historian Sister Wendy, and whose ultimate weapon is a ray that turns entire planets into postcards. The barren planet is populated by robots and the reanimated corpses of corporate shills (notably an entrepreneur who sells the skins of endangered species and a pair of naked newsanchors doomed to read the non-news to nobody for centuries). Enter our little rag-tag group, human occupants of an interstellar space ark, rescued from deep space by a pair of squabbling galactic collectors enamoured of all of Earth’s junk culture (Billy Ocean vinyl records, Ikea). The return of humans to Earth sets off a complicated series of events, including a journey though the underworld, that eventually kickstarts the mystical life process. Rendered in chaotically-controlled pen and ink (and of course, an all-suffusing grey wash), The Grey Museum is a goofy romp, its sometimes horrific scenes and cartoon violence made palatable by Peter’s fluid story-drawing, cute-creepy lithe figures, and odd juxtapositions.
“Yeah,You’re Lying Or Deluded Or Whatever The Hell, But You Did Not Buy Our Competitor’s Sour Milk Here!”
by Joe Ollmann
128 pages, duotone, tp,
review by BK Munn
Practicing helps, as the Red Queen told Alice, “sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” But somethings even practicing can’t make it perfect: believing the impossible is tough, even if your personal happiness and the happiness of the person you love depends on it. Joe Ollmann’s follow-up to the excellent Mid-Life is a wonderfully sad and funny graphic novel about the slow-motion collapse of a cozily domestic love-affair after the short sharp shock of a major dose of unreality. The tag-line of Science Fiction is “What would you do if someone you trusted asked you to believe what you thought was impossible?” and this is indeed the almost unbelievable premise that plunges the likeable-but-resolutely-boring high school science teacher Mark and cynical-but-vulnerable grocery store cashier Sue down the rabbit hole of sci-fi when Mark suddenly discovers a repressed memory of being abducted by a UFO as a young man.
Ollmann does a good job of setting up a feeling of impending doom, establishing the basic relationships and conflicts of a small group of core characters, leaning on his transcendent cartooning skills to create empathy for these haggard, mildly depressed working class drones, so when the plot of the book starts cooking, we are really gripped by their situation and rooting for them to work something out. But (spoiler alert?) avoiding disaster is not necessarily what Ollmann the storyteller is interested in exploring here. Rather, he takes us on an investigation into the mysteries of the human heart and the limits of intimacy and communication. Some of my favourite moments of this book are the slow burns, shared jokes, tiny gestures, and half-sentences that make up much Mark and Sue’s daily conversation, rendering them totally believable as long-time intimates. So that when that sense of doom we pick up on in the opening pages starts bearing down on these characters we have come to care for like a late night freight train, with Mark and Sue the stalled Chevy pick-up sitting across the tracks, we can’t look away and have to keep reading to see how things unfold. Science Fiction takes a crazy premise and against all odds constructs a human document out of the wine-fueled love, dirty dishes, and Friday night video rentals of real life.
Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez in Conversation with Tom Spurgeon
by BK Munn
The last time Los Bros were in Toronto was a generation ago, so don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime mighty meeting of titans in Hogtown.
NOTE: You must register here for FREE tickets!
TCAF 10th Anniversary Kick-Off Event
Featuring Gilbert Hernandez and Jaime Hernandez, in conversation with Tom Spurgeon
Friday, May 10, 2013
@ The Bram and Bluma Appel Salon, Toronto Reference Library
789 Yonge St, Toronto, Ontario, 2nd Floor
Doors at 7:00pm. Ticket valid until 7:20pm. Rush-line admtitance from 7:20pm-7:30pm
Come kick-off the 10th Anniversary of the Toronto Comic Arts Festival with us on the evening of Friday, May 10th! TCAF will welcome to the stage alt-comix legends Gilbert Hernandez and Jamie Hernandez, as they engage in a lively career-spanning conversation with The Comics Reporter’s Tom Spurgeon! Both artists will also sign autographs and meet with fans at the event. Selections from their complete comics library will be available for sale at the event.
Plus! A look back at ten years of TCAF with some very special guests.
Presented by Toronto Reference Library and The Beguiling Books & Art, with support from Drawn & Quarterly Books and Fantagraphics Books.
TCAF: Other Tongues: International Cartoonists Discuss Their Work in Translation
by BK Munn
The poster features Ulli Lust, David B. Frederick Peeters, Judith and Vanistendael, but I’m not sure if any or all will be in attendance for the event?
Here’s the PR from the facebook page:
“Have you ever wondered what your favourite French, Belgian, and other European artists think about the English translations of their books? What jokes or turns-of-phrase wouldn’t quite work in any other language? Between words and pictures, what gets lost in translation? What new meanings emerge? This is your chance to hear some of TCAF’s European guests speak in at least two languages in an informal setting, and even ask them some questions yourself! Hosted by The Beguiling’s Peter Birkemoe, and featuring a bevy of TCAF’s Featured guests.”
The Pilot Tavern
22 Cumberland St., Toronto
7pm – 10pm
(a licensed event)
by Bk Munn
The Toronto Comic Arts Festival runs this weekend, May 11-12, at the Toronto Reference Library. Admission is free and there will be tons of unique world-class cartoonists (and their books and art!) on display. Let’s see, what last-minute news is out there? Julia Wertz and Blutch will not be in attendance, it seems. Cosplay and anxiety are actively discouraged.
TCAF is traditionally the place where many hotly-anticipated books are debuted, with artists working all year, right up to the last minute, trying to have a new book ready for the fest. TCAF trumpets a massive list of debut books on its site, including many from their international slate of headline guests, but I thought I’d highlight a selection here on Sequential, based on a few posts and tweets I’ve seen around the net and the odd email that creators have been nice enough to send my way. I’ll be posting a separate list of short reviews Friday of TCAF debuts I’ve actually seen and read, but here are some of the lesser-hyped unseen artifacts that you might want to check out at the show:
Item! Marc Bell will be exhibiting as part of the Wowee Zonk-curated small press section at TCAF. The latest thing from Bell’s Half World Books imprint is the just-published Cowabunga Schnauzer, which reprints in part a selection of full-colour strips he did for Maisonneuve magazine last year, as well as “several thoughtfully arranged details from new artworks including ‘Mr. Giant Stroller’, ‘Lucy Honeychurch’, ‘On/Off Solo Schnauzer Live!’” and “a modified version of Marc’s appearance in the March 2013 issue of Esquire UK.” In addition, Bell has hinted in correspondence with Sequential that he is “also making two others that may or may not happen. One is a tribute to [Norwegian comics collective] Dongery made with Tom Devlin.”
Item! I’ve enjoyed Roman Muradov’s comics in the NoBrow anthologies but I’m not that familiar with his other printed comics work. In preparation of the show, he has just completed the third issue of his The Yellow Zine, which you can see previewed here and read digitally here. Muradov will also be in the Wowee Zonk space at TCAF.
Item! Montreal’s Dan Kim is known for being recognized by a Japanese prize for his manga-inspired NNN webcomic and for an astounding kickstarter fundraiser for the same book that raised $40,000 over its $6000 goal. All of his comics have an atmospheric painterly inkwash look, great pacing, and bravura character design. Kim will have a number of poster prints and maybe even some actual print versions of his shorter comics for sale at the show.
Item! Nina Bunjevac, jewelry designer: “A little while ago I teamed up with the Toronto-based jewelry designer BBJ to create a small but exclusive collection of pendants, brooches and key-chains that feature my art. This year the festival falls on the Mother’s Day weekend, so come by and pick up something nice for that special lady in your life.”
Item! Some PR from UK outfit Great Beast Comics about cartoonist Adam Cadwell’s “Northern Slacker Vampire series” Blood Blokes the third issue of which will debut at TCAF: “Blood Blokes #3 sees Vince awaken in the vampire house with more than a few questions. When he discovers the hard way that going home isn’t an option he finds the life of a vampire to be alarmingly familiar, yet Vince still longs for a certain someone.”
Item! Russian mystery-man Uno Moralez is the feature artist in the first issue of Frontier, a new monograph art and comics series from Ryan Sands’ Youth in Decline publishing house: “Frontier #1: Uno Moralez is the first print collection of the mysterious and tantalizing work of talented Russian illustrator, Uno Moralez. Includes a number of full page spreads, narrative comics, and GIF art in printed form. (32 pages, Risograph-printed in black, fluorescent pink, burgundy, and teal ink.) Moralez is not at the show, I don’t think, but Sands is sharing a space with NYC’s Benjamin Marra.
Item! Wowee Zonk co-founder Patrick Kyle self-publishes under the Mother Books umbrella but has just made as far as I know his first venture into publishing the work of others with this new series by Keith Jones. I like Mr. Jones’ stupid plots and even stupider cartoon characters quite a bit. Described as containing “Jones’ newest work ‘Donut Daze’ where rival drivers clash in a garbage encrusted drag race through a post-apocalyptic roadside donut den. Scrawled masterfully in Jones’ unmistakeable erratic style” (24 pages, Colour Risograph, $5). I’ve seen someof this previewed on Jones’ tumblr and am very excited to get a hold of a print copy. His work is also on display in an ongoing art show (“Budsies”) at Capital Espresso (1349 Queen Street W) and at the take-out joint he owns, Hot n’ Dog (216 Close Ave off of Queen St. W). It looks like publisher Kyle will also have some of his own new comics, smartly titled New Comics, on hand for the show.
Item! I thought the first issue of Eric Kostiuk Williams’ Hungry Bottom Comics was a smart and sophisticated autobio comics debut and was part of the team that nominated it for a Doug Wright Spotlight Award. The second issue of Williams’ series is set to drop at TCAF. I think this might be one of the included pieces? Worth checking out, especially if candid, academically-tinged, and graphic youthful ruminations on relationships in the Toronto gay dating scene are your bag.
“Seeing Is Believing” / Rutu Modan Keynote Speaker
by BK Munn
The fourth iteration of this academic comics conference returns, just in time for TCAF. Run under the aegis of the The Canadian Society for the Study of Comics and by organizer Andrew Lesk, the conference consists of short paper presentations and a talk by visiting TCAF guest Rutu Modan. The full schedule is below.
New Narrative IV: Seeing is Believing! Voire c’est croire!
Friday, May 10th, 2013
9am – 6 pm
UC140, University of Toronto, 15 King’s College Circle, Toronto, ON
Free to Attend
Panel 1: Performance 9:00 – 10:10 – Moderator: Andrew Lesk (Toronto)
Kalervo A. Sinervo (Concordia)
“Empty Speech Balloons: Aleatory Comics and the Adventures of Nitnti”
Benjamin Woo (Simon Fraser)
“’Maybe they’ve mixed me up with Joe Sacco?’: Reportage, Autobiography, and the (non-)Touristic Gaze in Guy Delisle’s Graphic Travelogues”
Frederik Køhlert (Montreal)
“Serial Teenager: Ariel Schrag’s Autobiographical Comics”
Panel 2: History / Nostlagia 10:20 – 11:30 – Moderator: Kalervo Sinervo (Concordia)
Callie Metler (Waterloo)
“Young Neil and The Smashing Pumpkins: The Power of Nostalgia in Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life”
Barbara Postema (Ryerson)
“Silent Comics and Reader Empathy”
Austin St Peter (Detroit Mercy)
“Origin and Ursprung: Comics Studies and the Politics of Historical Narrative”
Panel 3: Gender . . . and Sex 11:40 – 12: 50 – Moderator: Barbara Postema (Ryerson)
J Andrew Deman (Waterloo / Wilfrid Laurier)
“’Oh Superman” vs “Oh Well’: Julie Doucet and the (Counter) Discourse of Conquest”
Emma Vossen (Waterloo)
“Laid to Rest: Sex and Monogamy in The Walking Dead”
Gwen Athene Tarbox (Western Michigan)
“Seeing is Self-Articulation: Visualizing Gender Fluidity in Contemporary Comics”
Lunch 12:50 – 1:50
Panel 4: (En)Gendered Visual Narratives 1:50 – 3:00 – Moderator: J Andrew Deman (Waterloo / Wilfrid Laurier)
Jane Tolmie (Queen’s)
“’Can you just not be perfect at something for once?’: Anorexia, Superwoman, and Control”
Glenn Willmott (Queen’s)
“(En)gendering Wonder in Comics”
Alisia Grace Chase (SUNY Brockport)
“’Crying is a kind of thinking…’ Matrixial Narratives in the Work of Megan Kelso”
Keynote: Rutu Modan 3:15 – 4:15
AGM: Canadian Society for the Study of Comics / Société canadienne pour l’étude de la bande dessinée (CSSC/SCEBD) 4:30 – 6:00
by BK Munn
Saturday, May 4 is Free Comic book Day across Canada. Comic shops will be giving away select free comics and many shops will be hosting special events with comics creators.
Montreal publisher Drawn and Quarterly has prepared two kid-friendly comics to be given out from their international catalog of cartoonists. First, they are offering a comic book-sized preview of Marble Season, the new graphic novel from U.S. cartooning master Gilbert Hernandez about life as a kid in the 1960s. Second, a short excerpt from their Pipi Longstocking series, written and drawn by the original writer and artist of the Pipi stories from the 1950s.
See here for a full list of books on offer.
According to the FCBD website, stores in Hamilton, Brampton, Toronto, Ottawa, Mississauga, Saskatoon, Laval, Kitchener, Nepean, Ottawa, Burnaby, Nanaimo, and Calgary, have scheduled special appearances. But I’m pretty sure most shops are participating in this in some way. Check out Comic Shop Locator for a store near you.
Bonus: Here is a great map of the Halifax-Dartmouth area and participating comic shops!
by BK Munn
The Montreal comics publisher is celebrating its fifteenth (!) anniversary with an exhibit at the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal. 15 of the the cartoonists published by the company will reinterpret 15 works of art hanging in the museum, in comics form, and the pairs of works will be exhibited together, with the results collected in a book. Isabelle Arsenault, Pascal Blanchet, Paul Bordeleau, Pascal Colpron, Cyril Doisneau, Patrick Doyon, Jean-Paul Eid, Pascal Girard, Réal Godbout, Janice Nadeau, Michel Rabagliati, Marc Simard, Rémi Simard, Siris, and Leif Tande are the participants. The exhibit will run from November to March of 2014.
article in Journal de Montreal
by Bk Munn
Happy May Day, everybody!
This is the day celebrate all the workers and since this is a comics blog, here’s to the comics workers of the world!
Things are tough for comics workers, these days. Everybody loves comics, but not enough people want to pay for them. I’m glad when comics workers stick together to fight the new status quo and unite against unfair practices and ripoffs. It makes my heart fairly glow!
Just the other day a cartoonist acquaintance of mine mentioned online how he lost a job with a major book publisher because he “thought author/artists should be paid royalties for original work that may be reprinted and resold in perpetuity. They strongly disagreed, and offered a one-time payout.” Whatever happened to royalties??? It seems like traditional book publishing is going the way of traditional comics publishing, just as some comics publishers have begun to behave like traditional publishers, offering equitable deals, royalties, and far-seeing transmedia options. But maybe we’ve been living in a bubble? Regardless, stay strong and vigilant, comics workers!
On the other side of the coin, the few people who write ABOUT comics as journalists and critics suffered a blow this past weekend when AOL shuttered its Comics Alliance news site, thus eliminating another scarce source of paying work for writers. With the ongoing death of print and the work for free mantra of the web, comics workers and their livelihoods are being hemmed in on all sides. Solidarity, brothers and sisters!
On this day, let’s take a moment to consider ways we can work together to make the travails of our fellows in the art form and industry of comics easier, more fulfilling, and sustaining.
Happy May Day from Sluggo and Fredric Wertham
May Day: The Progressive Cartoon Tradition in Canada
So Who Needs A Union? Notes on Comic Book Industry Unionization
Class War Comix by Skip Williamson (1969)
by BK Munn
Conundrum Press announced yesterday they will publish the English-language translation of Antony Huchette’s graphic novel Brooklyn Quesadillas, scheduled to be published by Cornelius in French later in 2013. Conundrum plans to have their own edition on hand for the Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival in November. The French-born Huchette currently lives in Brooklyn, where he works as an animator. He has previously published the graphic novel La Marée Haute through 6 Pieds Sous Terre and the series Love Machine Comics (self-published). According to Conundrum, “The book follows a young father as he navigates the surreal streetscapes of Brooklyn, trying to produce a tv show hosted by a coffeepot, while tracking down forgotten sitcom stars from the eighties who live on a ‘fantasy’ island.”
The Huchette book joins the upcoming The Library by Chihoi in Conundrum’s “International” imprint. The book will be translated by Edward Gauvin. English rights were negotiated through Nicolas Grivel Agency, the representative of Canadian Nina Bunjevac and several international names like Igort, Ulli Lust, and Blutch.
This weekend is the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo, taking place April 26-28 at the BMO Centre, Stampede Park. Hopefully you bought tickets in advance, since there are no onsite sales.
Comics guests include Neal Adams, Joe Benitez, Ryan Benjamin, Simon Bisley, Mark Brooks, Michael Cho, Doug Sneyd, Camilla D’Errico, James Davidge, Anthony Del Col, Ken Steacy, William Stout, Arthur Suydam, Adam Warren, Jim Zubkavich, Omar Dogan, Ray Fawkes, David Finch, Alan Grant, K.C. Green, Scott Hepburn, Adam Hughes, Wendy Pini, Dan Parent, James O’Barr, Erik Larsen, and Stan Lee.
The only programming I have been alerted to is the Jack Kirby panel on Sunday at 2:00pm in Palomino room H, with Erik, Michael Cho, and Tim Lasiuta, in conjunction with the Kirby Museum.
Happy Birthday to John Macleod, creator of Dishman, king of the Canadian superheroes!
Fan Expo Vancouver totally was a thing!
I was totally unaware this event was happening, sorry. That didn’t stop it from actually happening, though, and happen it did, this past weekend, April 20-21 at the Vancouver Convention Center, 1055 Canada Place, Vancouver. There was a cohort of local comics creators (James Stokoe, Ian Boothby, Pia Guerra, Camilla d’Errico, Ed Brisson, David Boswell, and many more) on hand, but I haven’t seen much yet from that front. Instead, we have these items:
Item!One of the big comics guests was Stan Lee. I ranted a bit in the comments section of a Global tv news report about how Stan is usually written about in the popular media “Correction: Stan Lee is not ‘the man behind Spiderman’ (sic). The character was co-created by artist Steve Ditko and dialogue writer Stan Lee. Ditko created the design of Spider-Man, including the costume and all the supporting cast and villains (Green Goblin, Sandman, Dr. Octopus). He also wrote the plots and drew all the stories for the first years of the comic book. Ditko gets very little credit and no money. Ditko lives in poverty in a New York City apartment. Stan Lee is a millionaire. Stan Lee was the cousin of the owner of Marvel Comics and hogs much of the credit for the creation of Marvel.” Lee was also interviewed by CTV and The Vancouver Sun.
Item! On the other hand, the fight for creator’s rights is mentioned in this Stuart Derdeyn interview with Neal Adams for the Vancouver Province: “he sought the return of original artwork from publishers to the artists so they could use it to earn additional income through sales. In 1987, he won his battle. Subsequent changes to the industry meant that legends such as Jack Kirby and Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster received long-overdue remuneration and more.”
Item! The podcast Dread Media covers the show (episode 295): “Robin Bougie from Cinema Sewer joins us to talk exploitation cinema and hot grandmas. Artist Jason Copland stops by to talk about Kickstarting the printed version of his popular webcomic Kill All Monsters. We talk with artist Nat Jones of Image Comics’ ’68 about the resurgence of Vietnam in film and literature and Frank Frazetta. Finally, the master of modern realism in comic books, Neal Adams, tolerates Desmond’s fanboy drooling for several minutes!”
Item! The only traditional con report I’ve seen comes from the blog Geek Badge, written by Wyatt Fossetts, including some negative critique: “A major downfall was Saturdays clusterfuck of security lines, dopey hosts, and general disarray by all parties involved. For some strange reason, Hobby Star (the people who brought us the event) think that they can oversell and underestimate. Last year’s show was in a building at least 150% of the size of this year, yet there seems to be twice as many people here. It’s outstandingly frustrating Making interviews, proper panel viewing, and general uncomfortable feelings all around an issue.”
Item! 3 minute Youtube video.
Item! Massive photo set.
Item! Cosplay set from Comics Blend.
Item! Costume parade via radio station Newss1130.
Item! Facebook photosets: here and here.
WHEN: Saturday, April 20th, 2013 from 8pm until midnight-ish
WHERE: The Wallflower Modern Diner, 2404 Main St, Vancouver
WHO CAN COME?: Anyone who is of legal drinking age is invited.
HOW MUCH?: No admission fee. There is a $5 minimum purchase per person required by The Wallflower. They provide their full menu to order from and alcohol galore: beer, wine, highballs and shots.
**There will be a gratuity of 18-20% added to all bills because we are a large group**
Bring your own pencils/pens. Paper is provided. If you’re drawing with markers that bleed through paper, be sure to either bring a drawing surface or place extra sheets of paper under the paper you’re drawing on.
facebook event page
by BK Munn
Vancouver’s Cloudscape Comics Collective, publishers over the last 5 years of seven books, including an annual self-titled anthology, will launch a group art exhibit May 3 at Ayden Gallery in Vancouver. The exhibit highlights the work of over 30 choice contributors to the Collective since its founding in 2008, including Sam & Fuzzy creator Sam Logan, Simpsons artist Nina Matsumoto, Wasted Talent creator Angela Melick, painter Laura Bifano, video game artist Edison Yan, Much the Miller’s Son creator Steve LeCoulliard, and veteran underground comics artist Colin Upton. Arrayed before their adoring public and curious passerby alike will be pages from the upcoming anthology Waterlogged: Tales from the Seventh Sea (check out the kickstarter here) as well as comic pages and illustrations from each artist’s personal work.
Billing it as a “giant show” launching with a signing by all the involved creators, Cloudscape founder Jeff Ellis, reminds us of the origin of the retrospective: “I had a dream that I wanted to boost local comics in Vancouver, The next idea that came… [was] ‘we have all of these artists making comics – rather than spending money to do our own individual works, why don’t we work together and pool our resources to publish something?’”
Cloudscape’s Stratus art exhibit will launch on May 3rd at 7:00 pm and run until June 2nd, 2013.
Nova Scotia based Conundrum Press’s summer line press proudly declares they are “stepping up their game”, rolling out five titles at TCAF. Three authored by Doug Wright Award winners and two by featured guests of the festival.
One of those guests is Michel Rabagliati. His latest translated work, Paul Joins the Scouts will be a heavy hitter for Conundrum likely, especially given the added attention of his DWA nomination this year for The Song of Roland. Also from the BDANG line is Obituary Man. The third book to be translated from the French from Quebec City native Philippe Girard.
Another featured guest, this one appearing for the first time in Canada is Hong Kong artist Chihoi. In support of his first book in English, The Library. A book of Kafkaesque stories, it’s the inaugural release under Conundrum International Imprint.
The Grey Museum is a galactic romp from former Doug Wright Award winner, Toronto native and recently, record shop proprietor, Lorenz Peter. And Science Fiction is the follow-up to Joe Ollmann’s widely popular Mid-Life which was nominated for a Doug Wright Award. Montreal-based Ollmann won the Doug Wright Award in 2007 for This Will All End in Tears.
Conundrum & Koyama Press are teaming up for the launch of two graphic novels, both by artists being published in English for the first time. The Library by Chihoi will be presented with Journal by Julie Delporte at Librairie Drawn & Quarterly on Tuesday, May 14, at 7PM.
Conundrum’s publisher Andy Brown says he thinks it’s a significant event in part because it brings the three prominent Canadian publishers Conundrum, Koyama, and Drawn & Quarterly together under one roof for a day, ”…all the Canadian comics publishers together in harmony”.