Dan Nadel Steps Down As TCJ Co-Editor; Tucker Stone To Work With Tim Hodler Moving Forward
Dan Nadel announced today that he'll be leaving his gig at The Comics Journal co-editor. Tim Hodler will go solo for a week, which I'm guessing is the perfect time to prank the site, after which he'll be joined by Tucker Stone, a man created in a mylar test tube for the role of stewarding the long-time magazine in this on-line iteration.
As a continuing fan of the magazine I once edited on behalf of still-the-publisher Gary Groth, I'm grateful for a Nadel run with Hodler that was more in tune with the magazine as I remembered it as a print reader than what it became late in that run. I think Dan and Tim have done a particularly good job in the context of the magazine's overall history of covering the underground generation in winter, including serving as a repository of tributes and direct writing from members of that group of cartoonists when someone of their acquaintance has passed. I've also enjoyed many of their writers: Joe McCulloch is still the best writer about comics in the world, and they've used him well. Katie Skelly has been really interesting over there. Really, there's no one they use I dislike.
As for what Tucker will bring to the magazine, I guess we'll see. Tucker's a smart commentator on comics. He has publishing and podcasting experience that should enable him to provide a unique take on industry issues. His public persona is more performative than Dan's. If Dan Nadel is the guy who owns a car but has to be browbeaten to take you and your friends to a show in a nearby city, Tucker Stone is the guy in the backseat who talks from the moment the key hits the ignition to the second the car is fully parked. Tim Hodler wins the Artemus Gordon prize for all time if the new partnership works as well as the old. I wish them all the luck in the world, and anticipate fun times ahead.
Thanks, Dan, and congratulations on a job well done.
The Never-Ending, Four-Color Festival: Shows And Events
By Tom Spurgeon
* it would be nice if everyone would use this service, at least to see if it's useful, but I don't have a lot of faith in that happening in a time where people don't do much outreach beyond posting something on facebook and maybe twitter.
* over 200,000 tickets sold in NYCC. Congratulations to them. I'm not into the dick-measuring aspect of this vis-a-vis other shows, but with NYCC the best thing about it from an outsider's perspective is their enthusiastic and jam-packed audience, which does mean greater attendance at a lot of panels that aren't TV shows or whatever. There's a similar effect at other well-attended shows. And to think that at one time NYC seemed a risky place to have a show.
* I think this tweet means that there will be an Emmanuel Guibert exhibit at this year's Angouleme Festival, but I wouldn't go by me.
Austin English writes very passionately here about Domino Books' publishing project with EA Bethea, Book Of Daze. In a letter to CR, Austin reminded that Domino doesn't do crowd-funding and thus doesn't get that extra publicity boost that comes with making public the process of getting a book into print. Further, Austin depends on sales at the eclectic Domino Books on-line shop here. Lot of interesting stuff in there to enjoy.
* here's a bunch of journalists talking about what it's like to cartoon in the age of Trump. It's funny to me in that I hated a lot of the responses, but liked the ones from Blitt, Telnaes and especially Bors.
* Charlie Hebdocomes to America. Even leaving the issue of what a magazine like that feels its role is and what its potential audience might wish to see a magazine approach its mission, what little I've seen of the magazine lately hasn't been all that inspiring in terms of quality relative to some of the artists and writers that have worked there in the past, so it's hard for me to find a significant element of interest in an American version.
Missed It: Zunar Book Banned By Malaysian Government
Here. I'm encouraged by Zunar's willingness to keep fighting by my goodness this situation doesn't seem like it will ever get better and this is before we get to things like the actual jail time that might be served for existing sedition charges.
There was a moment where I thought Zunar might have come out on top and get past the bulk of this, but it seemed to me at the time there was some law enforcement resentment that kept the pressure on the cartoonist. It doesn't seem that way now, it seems an entire system is leaning into him and at some point I fear Zunar's indomitable will to keep expressing himself won't be enough to avoid more dire outcomes than the already-horrifying harassment and travel bans and publishing obstructions he's faced thus far. There is no limit to the attention that can be paid to his plight.
* finally, Steve Lafler has a project up. It's a modest ask, but I wanted to spotlight it 1) because I like Steve Lafler's work and 2) I think of him as someone slightly out of step with kickstarter culture which I suspect means his audience going directly to his ask.
* festivals extra: Nick Mullins wrote about APE 2017 and I'm not certain I ever linked to it. He reached out to me personally to drive my attention to the article so I feel like doubling up is less of a sin than risking I skipped it.
* Dan Gearino profiles Jim Hanley, with photos to die for.
As far as I can figure out, the state of cartoonist Stephan Pastis' current home -- as of now it has survived -- was the only immediate dangling thread from news posted about the homes of Jean Schulz, Craig Schulz and Brian Fies earlier this week, as well as earlier, welcome word that no one in the comics community had lost their life and that the Schulz Museum has as of yet suffered no direct fire damage.
There is much in this story yet to come specific to what was lost and what might be replaced, and where people go from here.
Every sympathy to the horrifying losses for all that have suffered.
Assembled, Zipped, Transferred And Downloaded: News From Digital
By Tom Spurgeon
* I haven't processed the particulars of this article, but it makes sense that there will be opportunities for comics and comics-style interfacing as corporate initiatives aimed at children proliferate.
* Katie Skelly's personal reminiscence about being the subject of harassment and the necessity for supportive harassment policy is today's must-read above all other things. All respect to the writing and publishing of that piece.
A Quick Word Directly From Brian Fies About His And Others Situations Re: The California Fires
Received this quick word from the graphic novelist (Mom's Cancer) and very nice man Brian Fies several moments ago, an update on the Santa Rosa cartooning scene ravaged by fire:
Just taking a few minutes to catch up on things and noticed your mention of me re: the Santa Rosa fire. Thanks for that. Here's the best I know about comics-related people:
My wife and I escaped from our home around 1:30 Monday morning with about 15 minutes warning. I lost virtually all my original art from Mom's Cancer, Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow, two new graphic novels I've been working on, and everything else I've ever drawn or painted in my life. However, I grabbed my computer backup so should have digital files. Haven't had the time or courage to check yet. Much of my little collection of other people's original comics art is destroyed; however, I saved my Winsor McCay "Gertie the Dinosaur" (my Grail Piece), a couple of Schulz sketches and a Pogo.
Jeannie and Craig Schulz both lost their respective homes but escaped. The Schulz Museum, Studio, and Ice Arena complex is fine, though it was very close. Paige Braddock says the Schulz Studio staff is all safe and accounted for.
Stephan Pastis was out of town; fire surrounded and swept past his home but he tells me it and his family are all right for now.
Tom Beland is OK. Brent Anderson is OK.
That's all that comes to mind. There's a lot of cartooning talent around here; I'm sure we'll be commiserating for a long time.
My heart and I'm sure many of yours goes out to Fies and his family and others in that community for all they've lost. Let's all hope for those backup files.
Lakes Festival Battered By Criticism + Handling Of Same; Apologizes; Apology Accepted; Fallout
Two issues have raged through the comics Internet over the last two days: a return to issues of sexual harassment and violation ignited by Harvey Weinstein being outed as a serial rapist, and this weekend's LiCAF in England suffering through a period of criticism, further criticism, guest departures, open letters and apologies in what has been a tumultuous lead-up to this weekend's show.
The former is still best accessed in its raw form as I think there are still permutations to come, but I liked this Bleeding Cool write-up of the LiCAF material as a starting point for working outside in on what happened.
I hope that the focus there will remain less on rhetorical tactics than on the ongoing need to listen and adjust and really push for diverse representation at comics shows, an area in which constant evaluation and ongoing, marked improvement are necessary.
* finally, recent Robert Crumb on Kurtzman and Hefner. I like how older cartoonists a lot of times prefer to talk about their foundational figures more than anything that's come to the forefront over the course of their career. He's not respectful when it comes to Hefner.
Festivals Extra: CXC Participates In Local Charity Campaign
The comics festival for which I work, Cartoon Crossroads Columbus, is participating in a local/regional charity campaign called The Big Give. The Columbus Foundation has set up a way to give to charities of one's choice while they eat the credit card and provide bonuses. It's a classy, community-minded way to feed local events and organizations of value.
We're still a new show, and we're going to try everything we can to raise money for what we hope will one day be a premier comics event. In the meantime, we still insist on relatively low table costs, honoraria for those that help us with programming preparation (moderators and presenters) and free attendance to everything possible for us to keep free. If you're inclined to give money this way, we'd sure put it to good use. Thanks.
Also, this is a great excuse for me to post photos from the show, now nine days in the rearview mirror.
above: derf. we want to make all cartoonists as happy as derf is here
Various Sources: Schulz Homes, Fies Home Reported Destroyed In California Fires; All Families Safe
The best information I have at 5:30 AM ET on Tuesday, October 10:
Here was the initial report I saw on the Jean Schulz home, a post questioned by some for its particulars but then reinforced by word from those close to the Schulz-related community via various postings on Facebook. This was since expanded to include the home of Charles Schulz's son Craig Schulz.
My best information as of this time says the Museum and its holdings have not been touched by the fires in any way.
As for Brian Fies, one direct source and this tweet indicate the Mom's Cancer author and his family are safe but that they lost their home and all possessions, including original art.
All of this information could be exchanged for better information, as well as supplanted by additional information as time progresses.
I don't really have anything to add except another low whistle of "how awful," relief for the families' safety and the general reported safety of the entire Schulz Museum crew, and a resolve I'm sure many share to help if there is anything to be done. All sympathy to everyone losing homes and the memory-filled items within, in addition to those affected by lives lost.
* not comics: I was not aware of this particular film, derived from the work of the late, great Ronald Searle. There are a lot of things of which I'm unaware. Comics has the lowest threshold of works you have to read to be consider a wide-ranging reader. There are so many efforts in the cartoon arts yet to be explored.
* David Shrigley has been named guest director of the 2018 Brighton Festival. I'm sure something similar to this has happened before now -- a cartoonist or visual artist who works in comparable visual art being named to such a position at a general arts show -- but I'm not sure another example springs to mind.
* not sure exactly how this happened, but NYCC is pretty much the publishing announcements show of the moment. It makes sense that 2018 would line up with a previous year's October in terms of what's ready to be publicized, and you're Christmas-adjacent there for remaining 2017 hype, but I'm sure there other factors in play. I wish there were fewer books being announced right now, and more support for existing ones, but that's just me.
CARTOON CROSSROADS COLUMBUS CELEBRATES THIRD YEAR IN STYLE; ONE HUNDRED THIRTY ARTISTS DESCENDED UPON COLUMBUS FOR WEEKEND OF PANELS, PROGRAMS, BOOK DEBUTS AND FILM PRESENTATIONS; CXC AWARDS A MASTER ARTIST, TRANSFORMATIVE WORK AND EMERGING TALENT AWARD; FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES DATES FOR 2018.
COLUMBUS, OHIO (October 5, 2018) -- Cartoon Crossroads Columbus (CXC), a nonprofit arts organization in Columbus, Ohio, marked the conclusion of its third annual festival, held September 28 to October 1, with a brief report on attendance, awards and forthcoming show events.
"Attendance for CXC surged in most categories in 2017," said Executive Director Tom Spurgeon. "Our biggest gains were in programming, where we met attendance goals in 80 percent of our panels, up from just under half in 2016.
"Our Chris Ware keynote interview moderated by Caitlin McGurk in support of Ware's new book Monograph and the preview screening of My Friend Dahmer with artist Derf in attendance answering questions filled our venue -- with tremendous demand for the screening leading to hundreds of people on the waitlist. We were also Standing Room Only for our Cartooning in the Time of Trump panel on Saturday with Ann Telnaes, Signe Wilkinson and Nate Beeler, and our new Kids programming bloc on Sunday exceeded expectations.
"Our Expo overall gained significantly attendance-wise on Saturday and held on Sunday last year to this one, and it was a buying crowd," continued Spurgeon. "Our tracked half-dozen model exhibitors marked out at about 20 percent gains over last year; some veterans of the convention scene had best-ever days."
The 2018 festival featured three awards.
CXC's Master Cartoonist Award was given out on Friday to Kyle Baker. Joining Baker onstage during a break in the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum's 40th anniversary reception was Howard Cruse, awarded the CXC Transformative Work Award for his groundbreaking, autobiographically-informed 1995 graphic novel Stuck Rubber Baby. On Saturday, on the Expo Floor, the CXC Emerging Talent Award was given to Kat Fajardo. The Emerging Talent winner receives a $7500 cash prize provided by Jeff Smith and Vijaya Iyer.
Kyle Baker is one of the most facile drawing and writing talents to every work in cartooning. his early work Why I Hate Saturn was named to The Comics Journal's Top 100 list of 20th Century Comics. Baker's graphic novels and serialized independent work such as Saturn, The Cowboy Wally Show, You Are Here, King David, and The Bakers have made him a leading light in art comics. He has also enjoyed a parallel career as a mainstream craftsman working at the highest level, creating memorable runs and contributing to the mythos of characters such as Captain America, The Shadow, Hawkman, Plastic Man and Deadpool.
"Baker's ability to effortlessly slip between serious and silly with equal facility makes him a unique talent in the history of comics, one whose work deserves far greater scrutiny and study," says critic Robert Clough.
Howard Cruse is an underground comix legend known for his groundbreaking work on series such as Barefootz and Wendel. Stuck Rubber Baby is his first and only major graphic novel. Its sobering yet hopeful take on a gay man's struggle with personal identity against the backdrop of the Civil Rights movement made it one of the most honored books of the 1990s. It further served as a clarion call that any artist at any stage in their career could complete a major work and that the underground generation in particular had many stories left to tell. Stuck Rubber Baby remains current with today's creators as a key autobiographically informed work and as a testament to Cruse's herculean efforts to see the book to completion.
Kat Fajardo is a Brooklyn-based cartoonist who received an education in comics and cartoon-making at SVA, where she worked with teachers and working cartoonists including most memorably for her Jessica Abel. Fajardo has split her recent professional time between expression and editorial advocacy related to lifting up her Latinx heritage while at the same time finding professional illustration and commercial kids comics work. Fajardo is a former CBLDF volunteer who has since worked with the Fund, and is described by her peers as both "giving" and "relentless." She received a rousing ovation from the comics-makers in attendance. Ms. Fajardo was a special guest at this year's show of CXC sister show SOL-CON, working with the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.
All three artists received an award crafted by Columbus artist Nichole Vitchner, with an assist by Tom Gaadt.
CXC has also announced firm dates for its 2018 show and a pair of tentative dates for intitial steps in the pre-show process.
CXC 2018 will be held September 27-30.
The 2018 festival is set to continue the basic format of the 2016 and 2017 CXCs. This means an array of events up on OSU campus Thursday the 27th and Friday the 28th, and then a curated comics Expo featuring 100 tables in the downtown branch of CML with satellite events on the weekend days, the 29th and 30th.
The announcement of the first six guests for CXC 2018 is currently planned for December 1 and exhibitor applications should open February 1st, 2018.
For more information on this year's show and confirmations of the above, keep an eye on www.cartooncrossroadscolumbus.org or follow @cxcfestival on Twitter.
For more information, high-res images or to speak to anyone involved, contact Tom Spurgeon or Melody Reed at email@example.com.
* CXC 2017 graphic by Katie Skelly with design by Sonia Harris and Katie Skelly. Photos by Ray LaVoie.
* here's Michael Cavna on Hugh Hefner. I think Hefner's reputation as a cartoonist's best friend has a lot to which careful histories might reject, but I certainly see how influential he was in both American culture and comics culture.
The Thought Bubble Young People's Comic Awards shortlist has been released. The program has in the past run in conjunction with the British Comic Awards, but those will not take place in 2017.
The shortlist is:
* The Legend Of La Mariposa, James Lawrence (self-published);
* Hilda And The Stone Forest, Luke Pearson (Nobrow Press);
* Good Dog, Bad Dog, Dave Shelton (David Fickling Books);
* Bunny Vs. Monkey Book 4, Jamie Smart (David Fickling Books);
* Arthur And The Golden Rope, Joe Todd-Stanton (Nobrow Press)
Judges were Abby Bulmer, Nadia Shireen, David Monteith, Tom Oldham and Woodrow Phoenix.
The nominated books are sent to schools and reading groups where they are processed and voted for by actual young people. The PR notes that most of the participating groups are in and around Leeds.
The guest editor this time around is Ben Katchor, and both lists strike me as a melding of those two smart guys' sensibility. I don't envy them the task. The comics world is big enough that even a focused list these days will be seen as a personal betrayal by someone.
Kartalopoulos is in tune with a number of comics' hidden nooks and crannies publishing-wise in addition to beating the bushes for submissions, so his lists may tend to have a lot of work with which there's not a ton of widespread knowledge.