I don’t know why I didn’t think of her earlier. Becky Cloonan was featured in Oprah’s magazine for crying out loud. [Read more…]
Here’s a special treat, everyone – Laura Howell, creator of Hell on Toast, The Bizarre Adventures of Gilbert & Sullivan, and the FIRST female cartoonist to draw for The Beano. Yes! The very first! Incredibly fun, handy with a pun, and excellent at delivering gags, Howell is one of the UK’s most underappreciated cartoonists. She also, her twitter feed informs me, REALLY likes biscuits. Incredibly prolific, she takes part in several mini creative events online every year, such as her strip-a-day marathon. Furiously funny, you can see more on her website, or find her on the twitters!
I first came across Kate Brown’s work via the now defunct DFC Library, for whom she produced a gorgeous comic called The Spider Moon, a fantasy adventure with distinct Studio Ghibli undertones. I still harbour the comic fan’s popular dream of seeing that story finished one day, but Brown has since moved on. In 2011, she produced her first graphic novel, Fish and Chocolate, a collection of allegorical stories exploring the themes of grief, motherhood and family, which was decidedly more adult in material and audience and marked her evolution as both a writer and artist. Evocative and literate, disturbing and beautiful, Fish and Chocolate signaled Brown as a rapidly rising talent.
More recently, she wrapped up the The Lost Boy, a stranded desert island tale, for brilliant weekly children’s comic, The Phoenix, and is currently still contributing to that publication. Brown’s art is what makes her work instantly recognisable: combining features of manga with a clear, fine line, along with her distinctive colouring choices- it’s striking in a unique way. While I really enjoy Brown’s child- friendly work, I hope she gets the opportunity to build upon the path she began to lay down in Fish and Chocolate: exploring more complex and interesting subject matter in an adept and progressive manner.
It was an inevitability that I’d mention Fionnuala Doran as one of our 24 women cartoonists. Having had work featured at various galleries around Ireland (where she hails from), she recently joined Studio YOLO under the keen, never-swaying eye of Dean Haspiel. Her work has a brilliant use of structure and style, cramping panels together in different and interesting ways to accentuate the important points in each sequence. Expressive and off-kilter, her artwork points her out as somebody I think we should all be watching out for in future. She’s my favourite!
She also has an obsession with corgis. You can find more from her over on her site!
The creator of 164 Days, Kirsty Mordaunt has a lovely sense of style in her character designs, which boosts them off the page. Based in Lincoln, the flattest place in the world, Mordaunt won the Northern Design Award for illustration in 2009, and has been pushing forward with her work ever since. After setting up 164 Days in 2011, readers have seen her linework become crisper and cleaner, and her art improving with every new page. I hope she builds up a gigantic audience over the next few months, because she’s brilliant. You can find 164 days right over here, or follow her on the twitters!
When I saw Clark and Lois 4ever seven years ago, I knew Ming Doyle was going to be something. Ming started out on various anthologies like Jennifer’s Body (BOOM! Studios), Popgun (Image Comics), and doing a weekly webcomic with Kevin Church called The Loneliest Astronauts. The story is basically what if Steve Martin and John Candy from Trains, Planes and Automobiles were stuck in distant space with no way to get back to Earth. Every week that went by the duo became better storytellers and gave more depth to the story. Due to scheduling conflicts the series ended in January 2012. Shortly after the cancellation, Ming and Church co-created created a Star Trek fan fiction web comic called Boldly Gone. The series lives on but the art duties were handed down to Bruce Mcckindale.
She used to host a snazzy podcast with Alexa Rose called Make Believers. They discussed what they saw on Netflix that weekend, fashion tips, music and books they were into, and gave listeners mixed drink recipes that were named after comic book characters.
Her prolific webcomic work seized the attention of the industry and landed her on a Girl Comics anthology that featured the Women of Marvel. Doyle was recently partnered up with Brian Michael Bendis to pencil Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Infinite Comic. This past December Brian Wood, Jordie Bellaire and Ming debuted a six-part comic called Mara at Image Comics.
Ming’s one of the most prolific artists in the last decade and she has a bright future ahead of her.
I’ve never met Hannah Berry, but the thing that has always struck me from her online presence (and a somewhat reluctant one!), is that she comes across as such a lovely person: level-headed, and funny and -this is important- having a life beyond comics. But that doesn’t really tell you much about her work, apart from the fact that it’s nice to have creators you admire as people too. So here we go: Berry has had two books published to date, Britten and Brulightly, and Adamtine- both from stalwart British publishers, Jonathan Cape and both are vastly different.
Being a crime/mystery fan, I remember picking up Britten and Brulightly and being totally immersed in the completeness of the gloomy noir, water-colour world Berry had created. I know, you’re thinking ‘noir’ -how overused is that word? But this is no ordinary noir, as the silky tones of M&S would remind us, this is a detective with a talking teabag for a partner. And the ending…. that ending, one of the most unexpected I’ve ever read. You should definitely get ahold of a copy, I promise it will be unlike anything you’ve come across in comics.
Last year, Berry released Adamtine, in which she changed genre completely (a choice I admire greatly). Adamtine is a horror. but not the slash or creep kind: it’s all suggestion and what you don’t see (the first 20 pages or so of that book are available for free to download on her site if you’re interested). Berry has a way of drawing her characters with large square, sombre faces, big noses and hooded eyes that gives them an air of melancholy and unknowability: you never get the idea something good is about to happen in a Hannah Berry comic. I don’t know if she’s working on another long-form work at the moment, but I hope so, and I hope she continues to surprise and excel as always.
My first experience with Sarah Glidden’s work was via her debut, How To Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less (published by, of all people, DC Vertigo!). That book saw Glidden take the ‘Birthright Tour,’ an Israeli government funded initiative traversing through Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Masada and other places, where she constantly finds a conflict between her pre-conceived notions and what she’s experiencing, and you can’t help but feel an affinity for her as she attempts to navigate knotty political and personal waters.
She has since been making political, informative comics for various online platforms- Cartoon Movement, the Jewish Quarterly and Symbolia Magazine amongst others. This is going to sound incredibly stupid, but I find it very difficult to engage with long prose non-fiction texts, so I’m glad to see the slow expansion of the same genre in comics, and I really appreciate Glidden’s presence in comics, and her smart, thoughtful, and clear take on things.
I was very pleased to hear, then, of Drawn and Quarterly’s announcement at the beginning of this year, regarding the publishing of her second book, Rolling Blackouts (due for release in 2014), another graphic journalism work which finds Glidden following reporters in Iraq, Lebanon and Syria. Her comics are intelligent and informative and you should definitely check them out.
First off, Kate Leth is a fan of The Spice Girls, so immediately you should be ready to welcome her into your world with open arms. Secondly, her webcomic series Kate or Die! is a fantastical piece of work, with each strip offering something new, but all drawn in her bouncy, glamorous style. Each new strip could be anything – something that happened to Leth in real life, a dream sequence, a quick gag, or a detailed explanation of how to apply othic makeup. It’s autobiographical, fantastical, informatical, hydromatical… like greased lightning! Erm, anyway. She’s currently working on a fair few projects including Adventure Time with Fionna and Cake for Boom, as well as continuing on with Kate or Die. You can find more on her site, or follow her over on the twitters!
Andrea Tsurumi is a freelance illustrator and cartoonist working on a number of platforms. She’s a Harvard graduate currently pursuing an MFA at the School of Visual Arts, but in the meantime her work has been published by Penguin Books and The New York Times. Her long work DANCE PARTY (featured above) appears on her website, and shorter comics work YAKITORI can also be found there. She also contributes, with Keren Katz, to the site UNCANNY EATING, documenting the metamorphic and bizarre qualities of food across cultures. Recently, she’s also started blogging about comics events for THE RUMPUS. Tsurumi’s style is innovative and expansive, taking in the bizarre and grotesque while infusing them with a sense of humor. Her panel designs often break the frame and expand into full page spreads populated with active figures and mysterious vistas. She draws influence from film, pop culture, and the world of illustration and has a lot in common with a multicultural weird tales tradition in her art.
Ah, Jane Mai, she who I am a little bit in love with. I think a lot of people were a little surprised by Mai’s first book release, Sunday In The Park With Boys, from Koyama Press late last year: finding the subject matter of mental quicksand, psychological cages and depression was largely at odds with the work she had produced til date. Yes, her comics can be cute and culturally referential, but that’s Mai’s forte: she can go from whimsy and rainbows to stuff that’s atmospheric and unsettling, often mixing the two for acerbic and biting commentary.
And she doesn’t do it through writing alone -compare the images above and below for example, and observe how the change in art style contributes to the feel and emotion of the narrative at hand. So yes, Mai is pretty damn talented, and while I’ll check out anything she makes, I particularly hope she produces more long form comics that continue to explore her interests and capabilities in as fruitful a manner as her current output.
Aside: I love how Mai draws on coloured backgrounds (the choice of colour usually reflects the tone of the piece)- I’m sure other artists do this too, but I associate it only with her and it’s very fitting somehow.
Cynthia “Cindy” Martin worked in mainstream comics at the very WORST time to be female in mainstream comics — the 80s and 90s — despite this, she racked up a solid run on Marvel’s STAR WARS that’s considered some of the definitive comics work on the title. She also drew Wonder Woman and Spider-man. In recent year’s she been illustrating a number of non fictionYA graphic novels for Capstone. She’s also been made an honorary member of the 501st Legion—the Stormtrooper cosplay organization.
They say that behind ever Madman is Laura Allred. Fine, no one has ever said that but I still think it’s true. [Read more…]
About a month ago, Steve asked me who my favourite comic creators were, and horrible as I am at answering on the spot questions, I did manage to provide him with one name: Julia Gfrorer. If you follow mainstream comics, your most beloved authors put out work regularly, but at indie central, you get a mini-comic or a book a year, with perhaps a few contributions to anthologies. Despite this, Gfrorer’s work is consistently excellent, featuring themes of myth, folk lore, mysticism and spirituality, coupled with her fine-lined, evocative art.
She also manages the seemingly possible: discussing sex in a way that’s interesting, sexy, varying degrees of disturbing, and all disgusting fluids at the same time: her work is never patronising or affected. Her excellent first longer length comic, Black is the Colour, is due to be published by Fantagraphics in autumn, and you can currently read it in full over at the Study Group Comics site, and hopefully that should be enough to convince you to pick up a print copy when it’s out!
Here’s a sneak peek from an upcoming interview with The Beat, where Gfrorer talks about how she ‘got into comics':
‘When I moved to Portland in 2007, I had just made a mini called “How Life Became Unbearable,” about Saint Francis of Assisi. I took it to Pony Club Gallery to consign it, and that was how I met Dylan Williams, who was a member then. Around the same time, I was in a show at Launch Pad Gallery, and I was doodling a little comic at the opening, and Sean Christensen zeroed in on me like I had flashed the comix beacon. So those guys were my first friends in my new city, and they introduced me to their friends and encouraged me to be part of their projects, so before I knew it comics were my whole world.’
Recently seen as co-creator on Bucko with Jeff Parker, cartoonist Erika Moen is one of the many higher beings who works within Periscope Studios. Perhaps best known for her ‘naughty’ comics including DAR, her work is confrontational in the very nicest of ways. She’ll do something which you should be shocked by, only you’ll find – to your surprise – that you’re giggling along with it instead. Clean and vibrant, her art style is instantly recognisable, and she can jump from fart jokes to poignancy in an instant. Bucko was recently collected by Dark Horse, and you can find out more on her site, or over on the twitters!
Writer, artist, and part-time jouster, Emma Vieceli is best known for her work with long-form works including Avalon Chronicles, Dragon Heir, and Vampire Academy. Brilliant at conveying excitement from her characters, her work has been much sought after – when not working on projects about King Richard III, she’s giving talks on creativity or contributing to anthologies and back-up strips for books like Comic Book Tattoo or Phonogram. She’ll next be seen on the next Alex Rider graphic novel adaptation by Antony Johnston, working her magic on the young spy’s next adventure. Find more on her site, or follow her on the twitters!