* it's hard to imagine that the wider comics community can ever argue they don't have enough money to fund things, when something like this goes over $10k. Anyone that wants art created by others to specifically suit themselves, I want to actively root against them.
* could anyone with information about an award or awards program named after the late Mark Campos I've seen a whisper here and there but nothing comes back on basic searches. I was fond of Mark, and would like to boost word of it.
* I don't know if it's innocence or obstinance that I still get confused by multiple forms of media other than comics making up a component of a comics show. The thing is, I'm not unaware of the history, the early Comic-Con in San Diego had multiple tracks of non-comics things to do, especially movies. I'm also aware how all the nostalgia arts kind of stood next to one another behind tables for years and years before anyone thought to reconfigure in a festival sense. Still, I will always wish for comics to have a featured role, and I feel less of this from many of the latecomer shows.
* finally: voting for the Eisners continues. You should vote for all the established awards; it is required you agree with every strategy they employ. We're almost always better off as an artistic community improving and reshaping than razing and rebuilding. So much other stuff to do!
* finally: Ted Jouflas has a new comic up, always worth a look. Apparently this one ties into a recent subscription push by the humor magazine American Bystander, information available through the link.
* for some reason I've kept not posting basic calendar information on CAKE 2019, but I've caught up now. That's a fun, compact, passionately executed show, perfectd for an overnight trip. I hope you'll go. Here's their site.
Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked: Publishing News
By Tom Spurgeon
* here's a cover reveal for Maria Scivan's Scholastic-published Nat Enough.
* from Johanna Draper Carlson comes the first I heard of a last issue for the John Allison-written Giant Days. That's too bad. I think Allison is a talented creator, and while I didn't enjoy this title anywhere nears as much as Allison's solo efforts, I do have about all of them published to date. The idea that companies might find way to used certain creators in a way that flatters the way they know to best sell comics is an intriguing one and may suggest a bigger and more powerful industry engine than actually exists.
* it's not a TCAF until Jamie Coville turns in his photos (TCAF/DWAs) and audio recordings (TCAF/DWAs).
* I've said for a while that I think the X-Men properties are a weird sleeping giant at Marvel because of how long they've been locked into a certain set of stories and for how few of the works within that set have been hits on their own. (I think the similar set of stories at DC is the Legion of Super-Heroes, although the Legion would require a more severe tonal shift because its favored story set is more specific.) It would take one of the writers able to work at that scale to do it (I think they could do it without an A+ artist), and Marvel had access to one such writer in Jonathan Hickman, whom they were able to hire. The stories I hear from retailers about recent Marvel sales performance in general indicates a real opportunity for a point-towards hit, and while it's not a personal item of importance it'd be nice to have more compelling comics in the Kirby Comics part of the market.
Comics By Request: People, Places In Need Of Funding
By Tom Spurgeon
* several people pulled me aside to say that the recent spate of comics folks -- some prominent -- signing up for Patreons is to secure better terms with the service. I'm sorry I missed it, but I'm also glad it wasn't some spooky conflation of spiritual events.
* this is the first time I didn't hear about any specific fundraiser, although there was a tiny bit of chatter about the 2dCloud effort. In general, there is a giant disconnect at most shows I attend between issues of practical publishing survival and the more complex version same that gestate on Twitter, private chat rooms and more active Facebook pages.
* I don't think anyone didn't know this at this point, and probably needs to go to a next step in most panels and presentations on same, but the reach/marketing effect of social-media driven pay structures is like 92 percent of the point.
* I was impressed with Zainab Akhtar's TCAF presence and its quick shifting of the basic Shortbox model involving curaton and gathering material together to breaking it out of the box for shows -- and potentially other venues. I was happy to pick up a copy of the publisher's work with Emily Carroll for CXC rather to risk one of the copies we had between us, and I took a long look at some others in a period I'm pledging not to buy for a while. Structure models sometimes get locked in, particularly when they're successful like that one is. That table should be a must-visit at every show.
* finally, I solved my lack of Canadian funds on the floor the old-fashioned way: I made Dustin Harbin loan me $20 and I made a sad face at a publisher until he game me an older comic book for free until I can get it back to them. Don't try this at home.
* I don't read a whole lot of Facebook list stuff because I don't really collected Facebook friend according to my intense interest in their taste in art of various kinds. I do know that Charles Vess might have a whole lot of interesting books to list given his reading on the subject matter of his art and comics. So I might start here and poke around.
* not comics: I'm sure I'm not the only one that reads management articles and tries to figure out which superhero team they describe. I'm pretty sure you can do a great big-projects oriented article on the first Avengers movie, right down to the role that the Hulk smashing plays. This one was "Original X-Men," by the way, with the no-no being the new X-Men through about #150 when the teams stopped being compared all of the time.
* finally, here's a by request extra: count Colin Upton among those from the 1980s/1990s cartoonists that are experimenting with Patreons. I can't find him except for this automatic video from Facebook, although that kind of dissonance is common to older-cartoonist patreons.
The winners of this year's Doug Wright Awards were named in a ceremony Saturday night held during TCAF, in a room at the Yorkville-Floor Marriott I personally hoped while writing in advance would be bigger than the smaller room to which the awards were shifted last year.
Winners were Hartley Lin and Young Frances, Doug Wright Best Book Award (Best English-Language Book Published in Canada); 100 Days In Uranium City Ariane Dénommé (Conundrum Press), Doug Wright Spotlight Award AKA The Nipper (Cartoonist or Team Deserving of Wider Recognition), and Retomber and Xiaoxiao Li, the Pigskin Peters Award (Experimental or Avant-Garde Comic).
Here are the winners as spotlighted in bold against the nominees
DOUG WRIGHT BEST BOOK AWARD (English-Language Book Published In Canada)
* A Western World, Michael DeForge (Koyama Press) * Young Frances, Hartley Lin (AdHouse Books)
* Evie And The Truth About Witches, John Martz (Koyama Press)
* Somnanbulance, Fiona Smyth (Koyama Press)
DOUG WRIGHT SPOTLIGHT AWARD AKA THE NIPPER (Canadian Cartoonist Or Team Deserving Of Wider Recognition)
* 100 Days In Uranium City Ariane Dénommé (Conundrum Press)
* Woman World, Aminder Dhlaiwal (Drawn & Quarterly)
* Dark Angels Of Darkness, Al Gofa (Peow Studio)
* Stay and You Don't Have Be Afraid Of Me, Victor Martins
* All We Have Left Is This, Sylvia Nickerson
* Our Wretched Town Hall, Eric Kostiuk Williams (Retrofit Comics)
EXPERIMENTAL, UNCONVENTION OR AVANT-GARDE COMIC AKA THE PIGSKIN PETERS AWARD
* Eggshell 2, William Dereume (ddogg)
* Winter's Cosmos, Michael Comeau (Koyama Press)
* Promising Jupiter, Ron Hotz
* 310, 310, Mushbuh (Peow Studio) * Retomber, Xiaoxiao Li
Alootook Ipellie (top) and Fiona Smyth (first category) were inducted into the Giants of the North Hall of Fame.
The nominating committee consisted of Ehab Arafeh, Alex Hoffman, Betty Liang and Sabrina Scott.
This year's jury was Rotem Diamant, Rebecca Roher, Joe OllmanN and Dalton Sharp.
For No Particular Reason Here Are Photos From CALA 2017
I found a bunch of photos for CALA 2017 on my hard drive and thought I might share them here. Please enjoy. As I recall, this was either the first or second time away from their first neighborhood at the space with the basketball court.
An annual tradition of Toronto's glorious TCAF returned the morning of May 12 as one of the foundation's of that world scene, Anne Koyama and Koyama Press, announce their Fall 2019 / Winter 2020 book list. One of the strongest such line-ups in the publisher's history, the new group touches on many of the publisher's favorites as Koyama's presence begin to round into its final offerings: GG, Connor Willumsen, Keiler Roberts, Patrick Kyle and Michael DeForge. The list's debut is Ben Passmore.
The announcements themselves are as follows.
6 x 8”, 48 pages, full colour, trade paper
ISBN: 978-1-927668-72-6, $10.00, January 2020
"The author of I'm Not Here turns their lens inward on anxiety and the inescapable ghosts within.
"A poetic meditation rendered in beautiful pastels and black line on managing and struggling to get through the small tasks of every day. The claustrophobia of thought and the crippling of anxiety make any house haunted, any body possessed.
"GG lives and works in the small Canadian prairie city where she grew up during the 1980s. In this pre-Internet era, isolated geographically and culturally, drawing and making up stories was the means to connect to something more. It was romantic and lonely. She made her major publishing debut in 2017 with I'm Not Here.
Bradley Of Him, Connor Willumsen
8.5 x 11”, 80 pages, spot colour, trade paper
ISBN: 978-1-927668-73-3, $15.00, November 2019
"Bradley's gone running for a role, but his life is as hazy as a hot- road mirage.
"A method actor prepares for a role as long-runner under the heat and bright lights of a near future Las Vegas. The lines between character and actor are blurring under the verisimilitude of the Vegas strip, the desert sun and the impossibly shiny surface of Bradley's shades.
"Connor Willumsen is a Montreal-based artist originally from Calgary, AB, where he received a design degree at The Alberta College of Art. He began making comics while attending the School of Visual Arts in NYC. Since then, he has drawn stories for Marvel, DC and Dynamite and illustrated the covers for Criterion editions of David Cronenberg's Scanners and Stanley Kubrick's The Killing. His Koyama Press debut Anti-Gone was nominated for the 2018 Ignatz Award for Outstanding Graphic Novel.
Stunt, Michael DeForge
8 x 3.25”, 72 pages, two-colour, trade paper,
ISBN: 978-1-927668-69-6, $15.00, September 2019
"A stunt double is hired by an actor to serve as his doppelganger in order to sabotage his career."
"Seeing your double is often viewed as an ill omen, a portent of bad luck, and an omen of death. Hiring a professional double, an actor spurs on his own demise as he and his double explore the depths of degradation and self-destruction."
"Michael DeForge lives and works in Toronto, ON as a cartoonist and commercial illustrator. His one-person anthology series Lose has received great critical and commercial success, having been nominated for every major comics award including the Ignatz and Eisner Awards."
Rat Time, Keiler Roberts
7 x 9”, 124 pages, b&w, trade paper
ISBN: 978-1-927668-70-2, $12.00, September 2019
"Keiler Roberts is a droll documentarian, unfaltering in her ability to find humour and levity in her life's unflattering moments.
"Pet deaths and parenting, embarrassing childhood memories and mental illness, Roberts documents her daily life's minutiae, its up and downs, with the deftness of an observational comedian. Her comics demonstrate that sometimes life can deal you a punch to the gut, but it doesn't have to be devoid of a punch line.
"Keiler Roberts is a Chicago-based artist whose autobiographical comic series Powdered Milk has received an Ignatz Award for Outstanding Series, and her work has been included in The Best American Comics. Her first book with Koyama Press, Sunburning, was published in 2017, followed by Chlorine Gardens in 2018."
The Death Of The Master, Patrick Kyle
6.75 x 8.5”, 224 pages, b&w, trade paper
ISBN: 978-1-927668-71-9, $19.95, October 2019
"An absurdist, art brut rumination on society's structures presented in Patrick Kyle's singular style.
"After the sudden death of a beloved patriarch who promised eternal life to his followers, a topsy-turvy society attempts to reconcile the deluded teachings of their late leader with the harsh reality he left behind.
"Patrick Kyle lives and works in Toronto, ON. He is the author of the graphic novels Black Mass (2012), Distance Mover (2014), Don’t Come In Here (2016), Everywhere Disappeared (2017), and Roaming Foliage (2018). At the 2016 Doug Wright Awards, he won the Pigskin Peters Award for New Comics #6 and 7.
Sports Is Hell, Ben Passmore
8.5 x 11”, 60 pages, two-colour, trade paper
ISBN: 978-1-927668-75-7, $15.00, February 2020
"Some wars are for religion and some are for political belief, but this one is for football.
"After her city wins the Super Bowl for the first time, Tea is separated from her friend during a riot and joins a small clique fighting its way through armed groups of football fanatics to meet a star receiver that just might end the civil war or become the city's new oppressive leader.
"Ben Passmore is a Philadelphia, PA based cartoonist and illustrator best known for his award-winning comic Your Black Friend, which deftly tackles issues of racism, identity and alienation, and was adapted into a short animated film. His political cartooning appears in The Nib, and he self-publishes the post-apocalyptic Daygloahole. He will be partnering with Ezra Claytan Daniels (Upgrade Soul) to bring the body horrific BTTM FDRS (Fantagraphics).
I Know I'm In Toronto Because Everyone's Being Nice To Everyone Else, Including Me
* I always forget if you go to the main airport in Toronto, they park your plane in Milwaukee and you walk the rest of the way there.
* I still like working in hotel lobbies and I hope they never take that from me.
* if you ever feel like you have too many friends in the comics industry, injure your back and spend the afternoon facing away from your peers and taking a pass on moving any more than three feet away for your next meal. Hi, Johanna. Hi, Sean. Hi, Erica. Hi, Brigid. Hi, Heidi.
* that Clyde Fans slipcover is something to see. Congratulations, Seth.
* a thing to keep in mind at TCAF is that while the show has a typical comics-culture orientation Chris and Peter are first and foremost (or at least equally) very effective booksellers. When someone does a panel there, it's frequently as much to get that person -- and their books -- in front of buyers as its their contribution to the conversation of comics in North American (and the World). This gives them a focus for programming as strong as any other show around. Plus everyone is here.
* ran into Fabio Moon in the lobby -- he's on the library's third floor this weekend with Gabriel Ba, Gillen and McKelvie, and Chip Zdarsky. The idea of anchoring folks on different floors isn't is new -- Raina Telgemeier's legend was built in part on this show's second floor, not its first -- but they used the strategy more comprehensively now, I think.
* finally: I don't know if she tells it to people not sitting in a lobby between herself and the coffee, but Brigid Alverson has a really interesting Stephen Hawking story.
Release here. In addition the prize picked up by Nora Krug's well-regarded "visual memoir," an honors prize was announced for Tillie Walden's crackling, sprawling and intimate science fiction epic On A Sunbeam.
As one of the year's major awards specifically for the graphic novel form, one hopes there will be a deepened appreciation for Krug's sober exploration across any number of media within the wider comics umbrella.
Belonging was published by Scribner and On A Sunbeam by Macmillan's First Second imprint.
Named for groundbreaking silent narrative woodcuts maker Lynd Ward, the prize comes with $2500 and the two-volume Library of America set devoted to Ward. A ceremony will be held this Fall on Penn State's campus.
The Prize's selection jury is drawn from academic department that use the graphic novel in teaching and research, drawing on addition student and alumni representatives familiar with the form.
* here's a list of best Marvel/DC crossovers pulled from one of Tom Breevort's on-line outposts. I can't think of a single comic of that type I'd like more than others, so I guess they're all good to me. I like where both Spider-Man and Superman were as characters when they teamed up, so it's hard for me to imagine that I'd get equal enjoyment out of a similar comic from the '80s, '90s, '00s.
* go, look: there are a surprising amount of comic books featuring The Red Bee, a suprising amount of lingering interest in his bee-like powers, and a surprising number of quality artists that contributed art to those comics. It's usually the last of these that garners the comic a look.
* finally: I did not know this had happened to the late-'80s comics censor Thomas Radecki.
Go, Look: Looks Like Tony Millionaire Is Back And That Seems Like A Very Grand Thing
We deserve as many good things in life as it is possible for comics to give us, and giving us more Tony Millionaire strikes me as a bunch of those things. Millionaire faded from immediate -- and exhausting -- relentless weekly creation built on an alt-weekly production schedule, just without that entire industry to keep pace with him. What is next will be welcome. More as we know it.
* congratulations to Matt Davies and Clay Jones for each cartoonist's recognition within the Herblock Prize program. That is always a great place to find people working in respectable mainstream part of editorial cartoon making industry, which for me also gives it a nostalgic pull. It's such a nice tradition, and it's never stopped being one no matter what you might think of its power and influence within opinion-making and newspapering more generally. The world's certainly changed around it though, even within the lifetime of those of that still take note of these honors.
* count Carl Antonowicz amongst those working artist that is supplementing their income, if only in some extra for supplies, through a Patreon account. I know Carl's comics and theater work from my other job and figure that's the kind of cross-discipline work that may be best supported by efforts like crowdfunding.
This Isn't A Library: New, Notable Releases From Comics' Direct Market
Here are the books that make an impression on me staring at this week's no-doubt largely accurate list of books shipping from Diamond Comic Distributors, Inc. to comic book and hobby shops across North America.
I might not buy all of the works listed here. I might not buy any. You never know. I'd sure look at the following, though.
JAN190846 VIOLETTE AROUND THE WORLD HC VOL 02 NEW WORLD SYMPHONY $12.99
This book seemed old fashioned in a good way, but that doesn't make it a reliable measure of books to come.
MAR191961 5 WORLDS GN VOL 03 RED MAZE $12.99 MAR191962 5 WORLDS HC GN VOL 03 RED MAZE $20.99
Hey, it's the latest from Mark Siegel and gang as they crest the halfway point of their thriller.
OCT181246 WAVES ORIGINAL GN HC $14.99
I don't see a lot of this kind of broad mainstream fantasy from companies like Boom, but I'm always interested to look how they fit in once they arise.
FEB190557 ASTRO CITY AFTERMATHS HC $24.99
I'm reminded a bunch that the Astro City suite of characters and adventure will soon wrap things up.
MAR198246 DOOMSDAY CLOCK #8 (OF 12) 2ND PTG $4.99 MAR190560 WONDER TWINS #4 (OF 6) $3.99 MAR190950 AGE OF CONAN BELIT #3 (OF 5) $3.99 MAR190820 UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL #44 SUJIN JO MARVEL BATTLE LINES VA $3.99 MAR190819 UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL #44 WR $3.99 MAR190913 UNSTOPPABLE WASP #7 $3.99 MAR190914 UNSTOPPABLE WASP #7 SUJIN JO MARVEL BATTLE LINES VAR $3.99
I'm either confused or confused by the comics on this list. Not sure why finishing the Watchmen work wasn't a bigger priority given how valuable that milieu has been for the publisher,.
MAR190057 COPRA TP VOL 02 (MR) $19.99
This is one of the Michel Fiffe books and by this time you kind of either get a thrill from his approximation of collective creative delights from 1975-1990 superhero comic book or you sort of don't. It still has a lovely, general look.
MAR190261 DIE DIE DIE AF 2-PACK (BLOODY) $60.00 MAR190260 DIE DIE DIE AF 2-PACK (COLOR) $60.00 FEB191005 THOR BY JASON AARON COMPLETE COLLECTION TP VOL 01 $39.99
I'm a little worried about stunt comics this closely aligned to growing hits, but I suppose anything that allows a creator to foster and support new work is worth exploring in its positive aspects. Jason has done solid work on Marvel's Thor character for a very long time now, and there hasn't been a lot of consistency of any kind at the House Of Ideas.
MAR191318 CEREBUS WOMAN $4.00
I was curious as to what this might be, but that feeling went away when it came time to some actual research. Most of the recent run of Sim books are very, very odd.
JAN192021 GHOST HOG GN $12.99 JAN192022 GHOST HOG HC $21.99 MAR191775 ISLAND BOOK GN $22.99
Two solid performers in the chaotic field of indy-alt all-ages book, Joey Weiser and Evan Dahm, both of whom I think of as fun visual artists given over to lengthy narratives. We could always use a couple more.
FEB191760 AFTER MAN ZOOLOGY OF FUTURE HC $34.99
Hey, I had this book when I was a kid -- the visual history of an imaginary evolutionary path taken by nearby animals when men skedaddle. For a while in elementary school I was pretty sure the book was scientifically rigorous and nearly flunked out of middle-school science. Thanks for having a sense of humor Mr. Moore. I was a weird, pretentious kid and it was probably really tempting to flunk me right out of there.
FEB192182 ART OF NAUSICAA OF VALLEY OF WIND HC $34.99 FEB191541 DAN BRERETON NIGHT OWLS ARTBOOK HC $29.99
Two art books; I assume the Miyazaki is beautiful. Dan Brereton's work is a lot of fun, this weird combination of Liberatore and Richard Sala. In a world where superhero designs can drive entire projects -- a world like our own -- these are specific thrills.
MAR191856 BOOK OF WEIRDO R CRUMB HUMOR COMICS ANTHOLOGY HC (MR) $39.95
I'm looking forward to the reviews on this one, if there are a few of the engaged, combative variety. I thought Weirdo a great series, and a lot of that come from comics that are extremely difficult to engage, including several of Robert Crumb's. Running against culture in the 1980s could take an artist to some peculiar areas, many of which have a hard time holding up as worthy of inquiry to several cartoonists today. Making choices about certain freedoms and boundaries and appetites led to a lot of great work and some that is very hard to stomach. I appreciate the chance to re-examine that work. Many of the cartoonists here, say BN Duncan, it's hard to imagine in a modern context at all.
The full list of this week's releases, including some titles with multiple cover variations and a long, impressive list of toys and other stuff that isn't comics, can be found here. Despite this official list there's no guarantee a comic will show up in the stores as promised, or in all of the stores as opposed to just a few. Also, stores choose what they carry and don't carry so your shop may not carry a specific publication. There are a lot of comics out there.
To find your local comic book store, check this list; and for one I can personally recommend because I've shopped there, albeit a while back, try this.
The above titles are listed with their Diamond order code in the first field, which may assist you in finding comics at your shop or having them order something for you they don't have in-stock. Ordering through a direct market shop can be a frustrating experience, so if you have a direct line to something -- you know another shop has it, you know a bookstore has it -- I'd urge you to consider all of your options.
If I failed to list your comic, that's because I hate you.
* Scott Cederlund takes notes on Is This How You See Me?
* Agueda Pacheco Flores talks to Simon Hanselmann. One thing I like about this is that it does have Simon nailed down as a Seattle cartoonist, but as an artist of Beacon Hill. Hyper-local forever.
* I knew I might be right on my recent hunch that we're seeing a lot of significant Patreon launches when I stumbled into this one from the great indy genre comics icon of the last quarter-century Zander Cannon. He seems to me super-built for that kind of independent platform so him rolling into one know would seem to indicate a broader reach for that option no matter what confluence of events got us there.
* not comics: I can't remember where I saw this -- probably from Amy Beadle Roth -- but there's a brief analysis of presidential candidate by use of typeface.
* finally, Columbus- and Ohio-area educators please take note of this workshop pinpointing use of BD.
Bundled Extra/Missed It: Chicago Reader Ends Their Brief Comics Section Experiment
I had barely noticed that Melissa Mendes, Mike Centeno and the great John Porcellino had a small section of comics to themselves within the legendary Chicago Reader before it had gone away. I hope people keep trying comics in all sorts of places. I don't know what happy accidental confluence of events make a section of anything stick around these days but I'm also kind of certain no one else will know until someone stumbles across it. The Matt Bors-related material that's worked to varying degrees a few times in the last half-decade seemed to do so because of way their sponsoring publications valued hit counts at various times, for instance, although Matt is probably leaping to his keyboard to tell me I have this totally wrong. What I'm certain of is that very little has settled into formula this entire decade except maybe TV-style serials. Keep at it, everyone! Thank you to Melissa, Mike and John and I hope at least one of you got to check off an "I always wanted to do a strip like this" box on your own personal list.
* here's what happens when Neo-Nazis decorate the door of a comics-smart professors that knows how images work. I can't even imagine the mess of sloppy ideology and babyperson acting out that must be going on on various campuses.
* by request extra: 2dcloud is back and wants your pledge money. That enterprises ended with a lot of noise a couple years ago, so it will be worth watching what the response is to this return. Ryan Carey has an interview up here.
By Request Extra: Bill Mantlo's Brother Michael Sends Out Thank-You Note
* Michael Mantlo, the brother of long-time, partially incapacitated comics writer Bill Mantlo, has sent out a thank you noteto his crowd-funder audience thanking them for monies needed in order to alleviate the money he's spent on his sibling's care over several years.
The initial ask is still about $35,000 from meeting that goal, so there's still some need there. It looks like a bunch of people are pitching in, though. I hope that there continues to be less need of this type no matter how we get there, and that we do all the other things necessary to take care of comics-makers the best we can. Thanks to those who have given to this campaign or that may be considering it now.
* Kate Lacour has a patreon now. It would be great to have Lacour regularly making stuff for a site the way that many are able to use Patreons that way.
* not comics: I like Roadster among the Derby horses. I'm not much of a Derby fan -- too many horses. When I bet the Kentucky Derby I usually just pick a horse or two that looks fun and that seems to have a path to the front of the race that's posting in the 20-1 / 30-1 range. I've always found pretty good value there. There's less chaotic betting to be had in the earlier races. I've never had a lot of luck with the Derby although I probably would have been forced to get a real job and stop working at the Journal had it not been for a horse called Charismatic. Good luck to all of you in attendance. Remember to save room for food in the neighborhood.
* finally: Andy Oliver extolls the virtues of small press coverage at Broken Frontier.
Creator: Tiffany Ford, Ryan Sands Publishing Information: Youth In Decline, Comic Book, 32 pages, December 2018, $7.95. Ordering Numbers:Order here.
I liked this overdue issue from the 2018 Frontier season quite a bit more than I expected. I'm not sure how to rattle off this books specific virtues without sending like a dick. This is a travel diary and a short interview by the animator Tiffany Ford, with private journal-type drawings that were done while she and her husband traveled in Japan. It is not bravura work. In fact, it's quite humble. The charm is stumbling onto an instance of secret language artist to audience that isn't trying to impress, that is simply engaged with the art involved as a way to communicate the core elements of this particular vacation.
Ryan Sands' interview at the end of the book is up to his usual quality, drawing out of its subject matter a few number of insights just as the revisiting pattern that animators get into with work that they have to review well after it is initially created. The journal entries themselves need to be examined a bit to reveal their virtues: a kind of attention to bodies in proximity as a primary signifier: a young couple finding a space for themselves to simply be. I found it heartening, and it made me want to draw.
Creator: Joe Ciardiello Publishing Information: FU Press, softcover, 72 pages, 2019, $25. Ordering Numbers: 9781683962274 (ISBN13); 1683962273 (ISBN10)
I thought this was a beautiful and even touching book, probably the best I've read this calendar year. A graphic memoir drawn from image the well-regarded illustrator has drawn of westerns, Italian entertainers and their frequent crossovers, A Fistful Of Drawings makes an expansive case for how much art has worn a cowboy hat, how much of the western leaned into an specifically European conception of the world.
In a pair of deft strokes related to family, Ciardiello connects the live western shows of the early 20th Century and actors who lived the parts they played to collaborative film, music and television enterprises with what at one point seems a revolving cast of names changed to protect the ethnicity of the working performer. Ciardiello uses the illustrators' presentation of text as a visual element to bring the loftier achievement back into the broader landscapes presented. It is a decades-long valentine from the artist to art that may not always be reognized this way, as a collective voice, as a quiet and dignified way to understand to sort things through to finally rest. A Fistful Of Drawings is mournful in a way that only a presentation with reverence for the matter of fact progression for life can be, where personal facts and coincidences split into the back of a celebratory parade.
I liked this book when I saw right through it and loved this book its choices confused. I would love to see more.