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
11.May.2013 TCAF Preview Review: The Library by Chihoi
“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.
10.May.2013 TCAF Preview Review: Grey Museum by Lorenz Peter
“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.
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”.
Full disclosure, this if a personal project of the publisher of this site.
Mark Sable (Graveyard of Empires, Unthinkable) and our own Salgood Sam (Sea of Red, Therefore Repent!) would like to tell you a story, about how the young prince of wallachia lots his soul and became Bram Stokers’ Dracula.
Described as starting in young Vlad’s childhood, “he will learn hard early lessons in politics and betrayal, as a young prince in his native Wallachia. As a prisoner of the Ottoman Turks, how to inflict pain and instill fear in his enemies. And of the dark arts in a scholomance hidden on Lake Hermannstadt.”
Their Kickstarter got off to a great start but is in need of some help to make it’s goal. They are looking to raise 14k, to fund getting the book drawn, and pay for special editions created for the drive. With the bulk of the fund going to supporting Salgood Sam while he draws the book. A case of being able to directly back an independent creator while they make a book for you, personally!
They have a smart set of rewards that include a range of limited editions – drive only trade paperbacks, hand bound soft and hard leather bound editions. Art is on the table, writing chores, walk on parts for a few. One backer is even having Mark read the story to them poolside and getting swimming lessons!
Both creators have a track record in mainstream and independent comics of producing strong work. Dracula is a totally independent production, with the initial planned limited print editions being put out by Salgood’s boutique imprint Spilt Ink exclusively, And slated to be serialized in Salgood’s Revolver Quarterly for the general audience.
The same roof under which his upcoming graphic novel Dream Life will be released. Scheduled to drop at TCAF 2013 in Toronto, May 17-18th. A nearly full preview of Dream Life can be read online. It’s a different genre but contains some beautiful examples of his work. He completed that book as well with the help of a successful funding drive on Indiegogo, making this his second crowdfunding venture.
The Kickstarter dive is ending on the 17th of April, if they fall short of the goal it’s going to be by a slim margin, Mark and Sam are considering trying again there in that case, or using indiegogo perhaps. But would much rather entertain your pledges now to make it the first time.
03.Apr.2013 Review: Farm School by Jason Turner
“Disconcerting Youth Military”
by Jason Turner
b+w, 32 pgs
review by BK Munn
Over the last several years Vancouver’s Jason Turner has slowly been building an audience for his quiet, meditative mini-comics and short stories, with a regular gig in Broken Pencil and two collections of his webcomic True Loves published by Ed Brisson’s old New Reliable Press some of the higher-profile showcases of his talents. His latest, Farm School, is a concise “done-in-one” graphic novella published by Retrofit that manages to condense a nuanced character study and a pastoral post-apocalyptic travelogue into 32 sparse pages.
As a cartoonist Turner is a minimalist, closer to the John Porcellino/Tom Hart school than Alex Toth. His figures and landscapes are blocky and angular, with only the barest detail of a few lines used to establish the basic age and occupation of his characters or to register subtle emotions (a half-milimetre line is a teenage smirk; a Herriman-esque baseball bat is the sole emblem of office for a laid-back librarian bodyguard). Given these basic tools and a limited amount of dialogue, Farm School has more than its fair share of emotionally-taut scenes, including terse confrontations with former friends and employers, street fights, and slow burns.
The plot of the book follows survivalist Hester Bailey as she makes an infrequent return to what remains of civilization, checking in with the old gang and running a few errands. Along the way, she acts as chaperone for the village baker’s daughter, also heading into town to deliver bread; their brief conversations about family and the dangers of the wider world contributing substantial backstory and worldbuilding through hints and gestures. Hester is gradually revealed to be something of a Catcher-in-the-Rye type, concerned with protecting young people from the twin threats of heartbreak and the lure of “far away” –the perils of adulthood. As a hunter on the fringes of society, Hester purposefully keeps family at arms length, with the mixed result being what you might expect from a “nothing ventured” philosophy. To borrow another proverb, like the wild deer she stalks in the fields and forests, once burned by loss, Hester is twice shy of intimacy.
Farm School is also an exercise in Turner’s own brand of sci-fi comics decompression, where Hester’s days-long journey through a wasteland is an analog for our own daily routine of minor epiphanies and robotic tasks. At the core of the book is the theme of communication. Hester’s actual mission is revealed to be checking her email, a once effortless job complicated in this comic book future by illiteracy and a post fossil-fuel economy –restricting contact with distant family members to brief, twitter-like messages interpreted by a priestly caste of telegraph-operator-like civil servants. Likewise, the time and effort devoted in Farm School to returning a library book and baking a breakfast baguette remind us of the networks and connections essential to even the most simple, pedestrian joys in life.
Part of my appreciation for what Turner does in this book is attributable to the very real sense of place he creates, a highly subjective experience since most of the setting of Farm School seems to be based on Turner’s familiarity with my own homebase of Guelph, Ontario, the University town where Turner spent his teen years. Hester’s journey through devastated suburbia and smalltown Thunderdome can be easily mapped* onto a short local bus route, a half-hour trip that, in another act of decompression, Turner transforms into an epic walkabout that involves two nights of sleeping under the stars. Despite whatever future conflagration serves as prequel to this story, it’s nice to see certain Guelph landmarks escape into the future. Hester treks over the Hanlon Expressway and down Paisley Street to a decimated downtown where the banks on St. George’s Square look like they took a hit, and the Quebec Street Mall is nothing but rubble (so long, Dragon comic shop!), but the Bookshelf, Red Brick Cafe, and against all odds, the hideous building that replaced the Crystal Palace arcade after it burned down, survive in something like their current forms. You don’t need to be a Royal City refugee to enjoy Farm School, but this kind of detail adds a delicious extra layer to the cake Turner bakes.
26.Mar.2013 On the Shelves: Who’s On First? by John Martz
a cute kids book by cartoonist John Martz, based on the classic comedy routine by Abbott and Costello.
“Who’s on first. What’s on second. I Don’t Know’s on third.” One of the classic comedy sketches of all time is now transformed into a priceless picture book—and it’s a great read for kids of all ages. Follow the mistaken identities, confusion, and lots of laughs as Rabbit and Bear act out this scene. The book will appeal to Abbott and Costello fans, baseball fans, and anyone who enjoys funny banter-driven picture books. Illustrated in full color with slightly retro stylized illustrations.
“The book is stunning ~ dad and Bud would be proud!!”—Chris Costello, Daughter of Lou Costello
NOTE: Bumped up from last month, to add this link to Conundrum Press’ announcement page. The big news is that the book has moved publishers from D+Q to Conundrum and has been retitled “Science Fiction”. As Joe Ollman notes on his own blog, “my latest book called Burden was supposed to come out from Drawn & Quarterly in January. It didn’t. They feel this book is not a good follow up to Midlife and decided not to publish it. I think Burden is a good book which is decidedly more serious in tone than the farce quality of Midlife, but it’s the book I want to do right now. So, the book is now being published by my old friend the good Andy Brown at Conundrum Press, and should debut at TCAF in May. As the book was already listed in catalogues and websites, we decided to change the name to simplify the publishing process.”
From January 2013:
by BK Munn
As you may know, we’re big fans of cartoonist Joe Ollmann here at Sequential (read our review of his last book Mid-Life in our print edition here). That’s why we’re pretty excited about Ollmann’s newest book, Burden, scheduled for release later this month; to our minds the first big book of 2013.
This preview, available at the creator’s website as a pdf, gives a taste of the book’s deliciously dry-ronic flavour.
According to Drawn and Quarterly’s solicitation,
“Burden follows the slow, often wryly funny, disintegration of a relationship. Mark and Susan have been together for five years, and, despite Mark’s occasional bouts of depression, they have always had a strong bond, prompting envy and jealousy from their friends. A movie rental sets in motion events that test their relationship’s strength and their faith in one another. When Mark’s suppressed memory of being abducted by aliens is uncovered while watching an alien abduction film, Susan is forced to deal with the repercussions. Though she tries to be supportive, it grows increasingly difficult, as Mark becomes obsessed with alien abduction chat rooms, and refuses to leave the house. With all the keen observational wit and incisive, self-deprecating dialogue of Mid-Life, Burden is Joe Ollmann at the top of his form. Another hallmark of Ollmann’s style–his ability to write page-turning stories–is in strong evidence throughout. With a self-aware quip and a never-finer drawn line, Joe Ollmann has done it again. “
I draw comics … how can I share this with him?
by Geneviève Castrée
Drawn and Quarterly
review by BK Munn
I’ve been a fan of the Quebec-born cartoonist and musician Geneviève Castrée for some years now but her small body of published comics hasn’t really found a large audience in North America. To date, a few short books published in French by boutique Montreal publisher L’Oie de Cravan, some art accompanying her recordings (she has performed as the uniquely-named Woelv and as Ô PAON), and two short comics appearing in the anthologies Kramers Ergot and Drawn and Quarterly Showcase are almost all that we have seen from her in 10 year since her debut. That’s why the publication of this autobiographical graphic memoir by D+Q is something of an event; the first long-form comics work by a unique talent with a fully-evolved style and distinctly beautiful worldview.
Susceptible tells the story of Castrée’s childhood and adolescence as an only child raised by a single mother in Quebec City and her growth as an individual and artist. Her narrative stunningly and sensitively captures isolated memories of emotional extremes (innocence, confusion, terror, self-pity, love) delineated with sumptuous brushwork and inventive cartooning. Starting from her earliest childhood memories of being abandoned by her Anglo father, Castrée leads us through the labyrinth of a complex, suffocating relationship with her mother and antagonistic stepfather, past elementary traumas (housefires, The Montreal Massacre), teenage rebellion (drugs, booze, Sonic Youth), on to eventual rapprochement with her birth father in the wilds of British Columbia and adult freedom.
Baptized by a sorcerer in the woods of Quebec (no, really, it’s in the book!), Castrée’s cartoon world is the hybrid offspring of Hergé, Croc magazine, and Claire Bretécher; her clear-line drawings have an organic fluidity, with plenty of inky grey washes, globular word balloons and diaristic cursive lettering giving her comics a distinct personality chock-full of memorable individual images and pages. Susceptible is a lyrical, snowy, atmospheric introduction to a major talent.
Adventures of Superhero Girl
by Faith Erin Hicks
(colour by Cris Peter)
Dark Horse Books
FC, 112 pages; HC, 10 13/16″ x 6 5/8″
Age range: 10
When I read this as a webcomic originally created for The Coast weekly newspaper, I enjoyed this more than anything I’ve seen by Faith Erin Hicks, who specializes in young-adult oriented adventure comics. Now that it’s a full-colour book, the story of a young Halifax woman who reluctantly and humourously takes on the mantle of super-powered evil-fighter, while dealing with cute boys and coffee-shop culture, should be a fun read with a wide appeal.
from the publisher:
“What if you can leap tall buildings and defeat alien monsters with your bare hands, but you buy your capes at secondhand stores and have a weakness for kittens? Cartoonist Faith Erin Hicks brings charming humor to the trials and tribulations of a young, female superhero, battling monsters both supernatural and mundane in an all-too-ordinary world.
A lighthearted twist on the superhero genre!”
PRESENTATION AND SIGNING AT:
LOS ANGELES • FRI FEB 15 • 7:30 PM • SKYLIGHT BOOKS
CHICAGO • SAT FEB 16 • 7 PM • QUIMBY’S
TORONTO • MON FEB 18 • 7 PM • THE BEGUILING
MONTREAL • TUES FEB 19 • 7 PM • LIBRAIRIE D+Q
BROOKLYN • WED FEB 20 • 7 PM • DESERT ISLAND
PORTLAND • THU MAR 7 • 6-9 PM • FLOATING WORLD COMICS
SEATTLE • SAT MAR 9 • 6-9 PM • FANTAGRAPHICS BOOKSTORE
16.Jan.2013 Koyama Press: 4 New Books for TCAF
DeForge x2, Delporte, Kerlow
by BK Munn
Koyama Press has announced four new books for its Spring 2013 line-up. The books are scheduled to debut in May (well, one in June), just in time for the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, and include two titles by Michael DeForge. The DeForge books are the collection Very Casual and the fifth issue of DeForge’s one-man anthology Lose. Also on the slate: Journal, the first English translation of work by Montreal’s Julie Delporte; and Everything Takes Forever, by New Yorker Victor Kerlow.
If you are like me and lie awake at night worrying that DeForge might release a minicomic at some American festival that you will never see, then the publication of Very Casual should help ease your anxiety. Along with the upcoming collection of his Ant Comic serial by D+Q, Very Casual goes a long way towards ensuring that a large amount of DeForge’s non-Lose stories will be collected in something more permanent than photocopied and stapled self-published minis.
6 x 9 inches, 152 pages, b&w and colour interior, colour softcover.
Publisher’s description: “Culled from mini comics, online comics and anthology contributions, Very Casual collects notable short stories from DeForge’s prolific oeuvre. Included are stories about litter gangs, meat-filled snowmen, righteous cops, beagle/human hybrids, and forest-bound drag queens. Very Casual also collects Spotting Deer, which won the Pigskin Peters Award for best non-traditional, non-narrative or avant-garde work at the 2011 Doug Wright Awards.”
Publisher’s description: “Lose #5 is the latest issue in his one-man anthology series. This issue houses three self-contained stories: “Living Outdoors” tracks two high school students as they explore a zoo and experiment with hallucinogens. “Muskoka” is the story of a cowboy on the road home to see his family. “Recent Hires” follows a young author’s descent into the criminal underworld in order to win the affections of a girl.”
Publisher’s description: “Koyama Press will also be publishing the first English translation of Montreal-based artist Julie Delporte’s autobiographical comics called Journal. Delporte is a fellow of the renowned Center for Cartoon Studies (CCS) in White River Junction, Vermont. She co-organizes Montreal’s annual “48 Heures” comics festival and newsprint anthology, runs and co-hosts the comics-centric radio show “Dans ta Bulle” (“In Your Bubble”), and has been published in French by Brussels-based publisher L’employé du Moi and Montreal-based publisher Colosse. Journal displays Delporte’s organic and immediate drawings that utilize an uncanny sense of colour and composition to illustrate their intimate, diarist narratives. Cataloguing an emotional breakup, an artist’s residency at CCS and the anxieties and joys of everyday life between February 2011 and October 2012, Delporte’s elegant illuminated diary is a private life made public and poetic.”
Publisher’s description: “Spring 2013 will be rounded out by Manhattan-born and based Victor Kerlow’s Everything Takes Forever, which is a collection of the cartoonist and illustrator’s ink-and-wash comics that blur the quotidian with the absurd. In Kerlow’s world tacos and toast have bodies and smoke, tiny men who can no longer copulate or consume sandwiches deal with existential angst, and dream logic pervades. Kerlow has worked with a diverse range of clients including The New Yorker, The New York Times, Fantagraphics, MTV, IFC Films, Random House, The Believer, Bloomberg, and many more. Kerlow also draws weekly illustrations for The Metro Diary in The New York Times.”
15.Jan.2013 On the Stands: Carousel #30
The latest issue of the literary arts and graphics magazine Carousel launched this past weekend with a new logo. Issue 30 contains work by Tin Can Forest, Jesse Jacobs, Derik A Badman and more. (Carousel has a “4 panel” comic strip section similar to the one in The Believer.) This issue also features a profile on Norway cartoonist Jason.
“Why wouldn’t I be happy? My girlfriend’s obsessed with a cat!”
Fanny & Romeo
By Yves Pelletier and Pascal Girard
(translation by KerryAnn Cochrane)
136 pages/full colour
review by BK Munn
This beautiful little book quietly slipped into bookstores at the end of 2012 like a stray cat sidling through a kitchen window in search of warmth and vittles. And while at first glance it appears a tad scrawny and undernourished, once given a chance it repays attention with some amusement and emotion.
The titular characters in this low-key romantic comedy are underachieving graphic designer Fanny and the stray cat Romeo she adopts when his previous owner (and Fanny’s best friend) moves to the Philippines to save a long-distance romance. Fanny’s own relationship to real-estate agent Fabien is on slippery ground. Fabien’s career is in the ascendant, but his passive-aggressive, emotionally-distant personality is at odds with Fanny’s desire for motherhood and domesticity, a situation she tries to rectify with her own passive-aggressive introduction of a feline child-surrogate into the mix.
Of course Romeo turns out to be a cupid in reverse, his presence shining a spotlight on the minor faultlines in Fanny and Fabien’s relationship and essentially driving a wedge between them; both sides using the cat as a club to belay the other. Fabien’s allergic reaction to Romeo transforms into a full-blown case of the breakup blues, with Fanny and the cat subsequently moving into her friend’s vacated apartment the first in a series of comic episodes, replete with relationship set-pieces and slapstick moments. True to formula, Fanny eventually gets her shit together and has a few relationship epiphanies, just in time for a holiday-themed resolution. The whole thing reads like a pitch for a made-for-cable rom-com or, if Romeo was a dog, a heartwarming Hollywood production starring Luke Wilson (writer Pelletier has credits as a director, sketch-comedy actor and television scripter).
The fizziness of the plot is more than made up for by the charm and grace of Girard’s cartooning, which transforms the cardboard characters into fleshy individuals, blushing, sweating, and mewling their way through the conventional plot. Under his wiggly pen-line and blobs of pastel watercolour, Fanny and Fabien’s tribulations are given a human, albeit super-cute, emotional dimension. Originally published as Valentin by Quebec’s La Pasteque, and ably translated, lush sound-effects and all, by KerryAnn Cochrane, Fanny and Romeo is a charming love letter from a great cartoonist and a pleasant holiday treat.
10.Dec.2012 New Ho Che Anderson Art
In a recent blog post, comics writer Ian Daffern revealed a new page of art from his collaboration with cartoonist Ho Che Anderson, a short story called “Pin”. A rare thing: the artist hasn’t been doing much in the comics way since 2010′s Sand and Fury (Fantagraphics) and has switched his focus to the world of film. The complete story is scheduled for the next issue of Daffern’s self-published anthology series A Nail in the Heart, due sometime in 2013.
27.Nov.2012 Ryan North’s To Be Or Not To Be
Comics Writer Launches Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Shakespeare Kickstarter, Raises $140,000 in First Week
by BK Munn
Dinosaur Comics and Adventure Time writer Ryan North has written a “Choose-Your-Own-Adventure”-style version of Hamlet and launched a Kickstarter fundraiser to hire illustrators and get the book published. With a stated $20,00 fundraising goal, and launched November 21, the effort has already garnered over 4,000 supporters and $147,092 in pledges. Ryan has had previous success with this publishing model with Machine of Death.
North describes To Be or Not To Be as “80,000 words of comedy and mayhem that I lovingly crafted together myself over the past year. 80,000 words is about what you’d call an “actual book-length book”. So why the Kickstarter? One reason, really:
We are going to decide how amazing this book is going to be.
The more money we raise, the better the book will be. Paperbacks and hardcovers and nice paper stock are a given, but we’ll also be adding PICTURES. And not just any pictures: PICTURES DONE BY SOME THE BEST VISUAL ARTISTS AND ILLUSTRATORS ALIVE TODAY.”
This list includes a who’s who of up-and-coming indie comics artists, led by Kate Beaton and including Emily Carroll, Dustin Harbin, and John Martz, among many others.
07.Nov.2012 La Pasteque Publishing News
I haven’t really been keeping up with the output of the great Quebec-based French-language comics publishers lately but a few news items relating to Michel Rabagliati’s (and Chester Brown’s!) publisher La Pastèque caught my eye recently. One of the big books they’ve released this Fall is the graphic novel Jane, Le Renoir, et Moi by illustrator Isabelle Arsenault and Fanny Britt, the latter previously known as a playwright, kidlit author and translator. The book is apparently a take on the hot topic of bullying and tells the semi-autobiographical tale of a young girl who is bullied and finds refuge in the works of Jane Austen. Beautiful comic art from Arsenault. You can read a French language profile of the book and its creators in this Canadian Press article.
Other books from the publisher this season include Renaud le petit renard by Katty Maurey and Véronique Boisjoly, Virginia Wolf by Arsenault and Kyo Maclear (the English version was nominated for a Governor General’s Award), and a translation of Scott Chantler’s Two Generals. You can see the full list here.
Chantler as well as David Turgeon are among the authors profiled in this piece at Canoe.ca (Turgeon’s book is La muse récursive, published by La mauvaise tête).
24.Oct.2012 Cameron Stewart Takes Sin Titulo to Dark Horse
by BK Munn
Cameron Stewart has finally wrapped up the long-running serialization of his graphic novel Sin Titulo and has announced he will publish a hard copy edition with Dark Horse. Begun in 2007 as a webcomic serialized on the Tranmission X collective site, the noirish, semi-autobio mystery story was one of the popular superhero comics illustrator’s first ventures into self-published creator-owned work. On the webcomics’s site, Stewart wrote, “I have signed a publishing contract with Dark Horse Comics to release the complete Sin Titulo in hardcover in 2013. The book will be printed “landscape” format, preserving the format of the webcomic. Price is as yet undetermined but I am told that it will be affordable. I will be doing some revisions, mainly tidying up lettering and colour, so that it looks its best in print.” During the course of its serialization, the comic won both an Eisner and Shuster Award in the digital category.
23.Oct.2012 Canzine Toronto 2012 – Comics Survey
By Dalton Sharp
They could have called it Canzine: The Return of the Comic Book. There was huge number of new books on offer. It seemed like every second table was a cartoonists. The following is a small sampling.
Dave Lapp and Nina Bunjevac tabled for Conundrum Press. Both are enjoying great reviews, Dave for People Around Here, Nina for Heartless. If you’re not following their blogs, well, you’re cheating your eyeballs! davelappcomics.blogspot.ca and ninabunjevac.com
The men from Nipple Factory: Adam VanHorne (Counter Balance) and Rodrigo Bravo (Counter Balance: Jungle Fever) have books that tie in with each other. Each has beauty art and wonderfully strange storylines. Buy their stuff now, so you can say you knew them when. http://nipplefactoryinc.tumblr.com/