Webcomic Alert: Roy in Hollywood by Gilbert Hernandez


Gilbert Hernandez has a new weekly comic at Vice.

So one good thing happened this week.

Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 10/2/14: Film Festival!

Cartoonists doing thing, blabbing about it.

§ Reminder — we’re doing our 31 Days of Halloween countdown of spooky art, comics and animation. Send us your links!

§ Congratulations to Noelle Stevenson on finishing Nimona, her webcomic which will be published by Harper Collins in May of 2015. Reminder: the link is a spoiler so beware!

§ Simon Hanselmann continues his press tour with a revealing interview in The A.V. Club.

§ I wanted to do a more in depth analysis of this piece enumerating the Top 100 Events in the United States 2014; Comic-Con in San Diego is listed as the top entertainment event, beating out Sundance. The Academy Awards are the #1 awards event and SXSW is the #1 music festival. (Does CMJ even exist any more?) But then I ran out of time.

§ Steve Morris reprints an excellent list of how to submit writing samples to comics publishers—in many cases you can’t. Breaking in as a writer is still an uphill battle.

§ David Hine writes for the Huffington Post on his comics adaptation of Victor Hugo’s The Man Who Laughs.:

The Man Who Laughs is not an easy read. It was written late in Victor Hugo’s career when he was living in exile on Guernsey, and his contemporaries dismissed it as an inferior work. It’s certainly a pretty turgid read, crammed with long-winded exposition and with a non-linear timeline that annoyingly gives away all the best plot twists too soon. I felt like scrawling “Spoiler Alert!” in the margins when I wasn’t skipping the endless inventories of titles, ranks and possessions of the English aristocracy. But while I was often infuriated by the book’s structure I found myself gripped by the underlying story. Here was a truly enthralling tale of love and humanity, of ordinary people struggling to survive in an unjust and unequal society. At it’s core is the story of a young man who is kidnapped, mutilated and sold to travelling entertainers, yet who retains his integrity and his dignity through the love of his adoptive ‘family’, the eccentric philosopher Ursus, his pet wolf Homo and the beautiful blind girl, Dea.

§ The Boston Globe reviews Michael Cho’s Shoplifter:

In order for a graphic novel to be memorable, it must fulfill both parts of its genre label: The graphics must be arresting enough to justify their presence on the page, and the words must be well-composed. Michael Cho’s “Shoplifter’’ is that rare thing, a graphic novel debut in which text and illustrations fit together like two halves of the same mind; as a result, the taut story told here makes an impact and manages to show distinctiveness while doing so.

§ Also in Boston, a cartoonist claimed making a watermelon joke in a comic strip about President Obama wasn’t racist; many disagreed.  Eyeroll. SMH.


§ Gilbert Hernandez has a wide ranging chat with CBR about his two graphic novels out this fall, Bumperhead and Loverboys.

This year you’ve made “Bumperhead” and “Loverboys” plus a new “Love and Rockets” plus a reprint of “Fatima.” Is this your new normal pace?

It’s something that I can do. It’s work and it’s tiring. I don’t plan on doing so many graphic novels at once, let’s put it that way. It’s just the way that things are scheduled with the publishers. After I finish a book, I can’t just go back to the same publisher and do another one. I jump to another and start a new project. I have to be ahead all the time, producing material. That’s why it ended up coming out at the same time. “Loverboys” might be the quickest long story that I’ve ever done. The time that I put into it was pretty brief, just a couple months. None of it’s rushed. I put the same care into it that I put into everything. But I can imagine a day when I go, “Hey, I can’t put out two new graphic novels a year anymore.” [Laughs]

Disclosure: Gilbert Hernandez is tied as my favorite cartoonist ever, so I’m just gonna keep plugging his stuff until they make me stop. Bumperhead is easily one of his best works ever and serves as a perfect entre to his work without having to plunge into the deep end of Palomar’s tangled generations. I have no idea what Loverboys is about but the cover looks like primo Beto, and what more would you ask for?

§ Is Stan Lee The Watcher?


Cartoonist Cat Staggs and her partner, writer Amanda Deibert are featured in the Target video about building a nursery for a new baby.


This ad for a bankish thing features a woman who hangs out in a comics shop. The Mary Sue was excited by this example of normalization.

Ed Piskor (Hip Hop Family tree) returns to his family home, which is in tatters, after 19 years in this video for Pittsburgh Magazine. Sorry about the game last night, Pittsburghers. You can’t go home again and here’s more proof.

Beat Pal Christopher Moonlight made this half hour film at the San Diego Comic Con in 2012 about Hollywood encroachment. Among those seen, David Mack, Camilla d’Errico and Batton Lash. Learn more about this film at the FB page.

Professor X';s habit of grasping his temples in pain could give the impression of being a whiny wimp, as this supercut displays.

Did you like our film festival? Send more video links and we’ll do it again! 

The Beat Podcasts! – Looking Back at Comic-Con 2014

logo-pod-more-to-come-1400.pngRecorded at Publishers Weekly, it’s More To Come, the weekly podcast of comics news, interviews and discussion with Calvin Reid, Kate Fitzsimons and The Beat’s own Heidi MacDonald.

In this week’s episode,  the More to Come Crew discuss 2014’s San Diego Comic-Con including the long-awaited Eisner award vindication of Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez, Image Expo and indie comics, a slightly smaller presence for offsite TV and video game hoopla, digital comics, the con experience and convention safety concerns.

Download this episode direct here, listen to it in streaming here and catch up with our previous podcasts on the Publishers Weekly website, or subscribe to More To Come on iTunes

Gilbert Hernandez and Marguerite Sauvage are drawing Wonder Woman


Sensation Comics, you may recall, is the digital-first Wonder Woman series that will feature diverse folk doing diverse stories about everyone’s favorite star-spangled Amazon. Digital comics will be collected into print issues every few months. So dropped into this rather barebones exclusive story about issue #3 is the stunning news that Gilbert Hernandez will be drawing a Wonder Woman story! And Sean E. Williams and fashion-y illustrator Marguerite Sauvage will be doing another!


When Wonder Woman allows an other dimensional science-villain to capture her, she expects to swiftly deal with his android minions and save the day. But he’s able to brainwash her and that’s when things go haywire! Then, back on Earth, we share a rare moment from Diana’s rock-star days.

Can you guess which story is from Beto?

Andrew Wheeler got properly excited about this and offered some Gilbert art from Wonder Woman Day over the years.


Sauvage is also an exciting choice to draw Diana. (She recently scored the gig doing covers for Hinterkind, the Vertigo series.)

All behind this rather more typical Reis/Prado cover.


Attention world: Gilbert Hernandez’s BUMPERHEAD previewed

BUMPER.casewrap-webHow has it escaped the notice of the world for a week that Drawn and Quarterly announced that Gilbert Hernandez’s Bumperhead will debut at San Diego this year? And a cover and preview were released? For shame, comics industry, for shame. Would you ignore the new David Lynch movie? Gilbert Hernandez is our David Lynch. This standalone graphic novel picks up a bit, emotionally and chronologically, from where Beto’s acclaimed Marble Season left off, as described by the previww, with the innocent joy of childhood giving way to disaffected punk youth.

A raw, disaffected, punk rock/glam rock/drunk rock/speed-freak rock coming-of-age story about growing up in America, seen through the eyes of Bobby, or Bumperhead. Told in the subtle yet thought-provoking way that only Gilbert can, Bumperhead follows a life as it zooms by — from childhood bullying to first love to the realities of becoming a (disappointing) grownup.

CANNOT WAIT. BUMPER.interior7-11 BUMPER.interior7-112 BUMPER.interior7-113 BUMPER.interior7-114 BUMPER.interior7-115

Gilbert Hernandez wins PEN Center honor, will publish Bumperhead through D&Q

Gilbert “Beto” Hernandez’s status as One Of Our Greatest Living Cartoonists got yet more validation today when it was announced that he’s the recipient of The Pen Center USA’s 2013 Graphic Literature award for Outstanding Body of Work. The Pen Center Awards are given out each year to deserving authors in multiple categories, and as the name suggests, it honors a notable body of work. Previous winners in the graphic literature category include Matt Fraction (2010), Daniel Clowes (2011) and Joe Sacco (2012).

And just to make it Beto’s Day, D&Q added to the news by announcing that they’ll publish BUMPERHEAD, a follow-up to MARBLE SEASON, the graphic novel of childhood which garnered Hernandez some of the best reviews of his career earlier this year. According to the PR:

To be released in Fall 2014, BUMPERHEAD is the story of a young Hispanic boy and his immigrant father who doesn’t speak English. Nicknamed “Bumperhead” by the neighbourhood bullies–due to his odd-shaped head–he frets over his dad’s inability to understand the world around him. On top of that he’s trying to gain the attentions of his dream girl and fit into American culture. BUMPERHEAD explores the intergenerational immigrant identity, and the complexities of the father-son relationship.

Although the prolific Hernandez continues his seminal Love and Rockets comics for Fantagraphics, his D&Q publishing deal allows him to do some spin-off standalones which enable new readers to get into his work. So I see it as a win win for everyone involved.

Hernandez’s other award wins include the Kirby, Inkpot, Harvey, and the United States Artists Literature Fellowship.

BUMPERHEAD will be distributed in the U.S. by Farrar, Straus & Giroux and in Canada by Raincoast Books. International rights are represented by Samantha Haywood of the Transatlantic Literary Agency.


[warning: mild spoilers ahead for CREATOR-OWNED HEROES #8 and major spoilers ahead for BLACK BEETLE #1]

Well, here it is. The final issue of CREATOR-OWNED HEROES. When you think “last issue”, particularly on a series meeting an untimely end, you might expect the rough edges left behind by a team just going through the motions until the job is done, but when you remember the team involved in COH, you might be holding out for a hell-for-leather comics A-game. This is definitely a team with a penchant for surprise endings. [Read more…]

On the Scene: Small Press Expo 2012 Day Two

By Hannah Means-Shannon

The revelries following the Ignatz Awards continued long into the night and crowded the lower levels of the conference center took over the bar and spilled out onto patios, steps, and walkways, but that didn’t stop expo-goers from taking in another day of star-powered panels on Sunday. The big names and signings on Sunday brought in a substantial crowd of one-day ticketholders also, making Sunday just as busy as record-breaking Saturday: even better news for comics sales.

In Chris Ware’s panel “Building Stories” with David M. Ball, co-editor of  Chris Ware: Drawing is a Way of Thinking, the audience got a sneak-peak at some of the personal logic behind the newly released multi-format visual storytelling work BUILDING STORIES. Plenty of attendees were proudly hauling around multiple copies of the boxed set around the show floor long before Ware’s panel, and no doubt hoping they’d hear a discussion of the much-anticipated work when Ware took to the dais.

Examining Ware’s past covers for The New Yorker, he commented on a fascination for architecture and the “spaces in which we choose to live out our lives”. These are also, he said, the “spaces we keep in our brains”, forming a mental landscape packed with information.  Ware called his BUILDING STORIES, which took him 11 years to complete, a “box of things” that he feels as strongly about as about people who he “loves”. Ware’s commentary on his works was laced with sudden theoretical asides that shed significant light on his psychology as an artist. Characterization is perhaps the most important part of his work in his own mind, achieving a degree of reality that he finds overwhelming. The internet puzzles and entrances him as a kind of pseudo-life form. Comics continue to hold primacy for Ware because they form an “honest relationship with the reader that very few other things have”.

Some of the mental landscape from his own life colored the discussion, from the geography of Oak Park where he resides, to the choices he’s made as a parent to create a “safe” environment for his daughter, and the lamentable desecration of a childhood Marvel lunchbox that inspired a later lunchbox design for Darkhorse. One thing was clear, Ware has no problem emphasizing the imperfect humanity that goes into his work, despite its visual precision and his reputation for perfectionism. “Maybe the characters don’t feel that life is as beautiful as the form says”, he warned regarding BUILDING STORIES, hinting at the paradox that may well run through all of his visually stunning work.

In “Life After Alternative Comics” with Daniel Clowes, Gilbert Hernandez, Jaime Hernandez, Adrian Tomine, Bill Kartopoulos, panelists took on the history and development of indie comics and expressed some degree of chagrin over the kitsch corners that indie comics have inhabited over the years from fanzine illustrations by the Hernandez brothers to perplexity of the mainstream in classifying ground-breaking work. A recurring theme was the struggle between indie work and the expectations established by superhero comics in this “frontier territory”. Gilbert Hernandez continually wrestled with reactions to LOVE and ROCKETS during its early publication and the attitude that the series was a “comic about superheroes but the superheroes are not there”. Dan Clowes addressed the “wasteland” of comics in the early 1980’s and the origin of his LLOYD LLEWELLYN series and the strange, often intriguing piles of fan mail he received from readers and prison inmates. Adrian Tomine clarified that he had a less “angry” attitude toward the mainstream at the outset of OPTIC NERVE, and the role that indie comics played as part of his artistic graduation from superhero comics into finding a more personal form. Since LOVE AND ROCKETS was already on the shelves in his late teen years, he “didn’t have to scrounge around for inspiration” the way his mentors did.

Four of the panelists commented on the comedic aspects of producing comics with adult themes around their young children, influencing when they work and how in the context of their home life. Clowes, particularly, feels that parenthood has affected the way he thinks of characters, since observing children has convinced him of a strong innate personality from day one of existence that “inflects” childhood. Gilbert Hernandez said that a “steady paycheck” from comics is a great relief raising his daughter but keeping the “naughty stuff away from her” can be a challenge in the face of increasing curiosity about his work.

The “Images of America: Real and Imagined” panel took on the individualistic vision of America expressed through comics and featured Nick Abadzis, Dean Haspiel, Stan Mack, Ben Towle, and Isaac Cates. America, panelists agreed, can be well represented in comics in terms of focusing on a representation of a specific “place”, but it becomes quite a feat to try to express the breadth, scope, and size of the American experience. Abadzis, an international traveler and US resident who hails from the UK, talked about the difficulty of creating continuity in his comics that span national boundaries. Haspiel confided somewhat facetiously, “I don’t know if I know America, being a native New Yorker”, but believes his works STREET CODE and the various BILLY DOGMA visual narratives express “place” in a strong way. Mack brings a “reporting” sensibility to his approach to American history and feels that allowing characters to “tell stories in their own words” succeeds in creating cultural groups and regional difference. Toll recognizes that there are plenty of “big city” stories, but hopes this doesn’t deter readers from recognizing that there are “lots of other stories” out there for comics to express.

When asked how they expect a changing America to be represented in comics, Occupy Comics came up in discussion, and Haspiel said that he feels a certain amount of “responsibility” to “react”. “We can all react”, he commented, as a way to give back and show an awareness of changing times. Panelists felt that blogging is paving the way for change in comics, as well as an evolution in visual language when when the “speed of reaction” from readers and citizens is increasing. “Are we reporters” Haspiel asked at one point, challengingly, a question posed, essentially, by the intersection between comics and digital media. The perhaps unwise “speed” of reaction expected in digital media may be countered by the reflective qualities comics can provide as American experience and identity is continually updated.

It was difficult to top sales, panels, or enthusiasm after the opening day of Small Press Expo, but by the time the clock struck to close the show on Sunday, there hadn’t been a significant sense of lull at any point. In fact, there was a run on many books and sales items, and quite a few back order sheets were drawn up right up until closing time. Reactions from the floor echoed the sentiment that this had been the “best SPX ever”, both for creative input, unexpectedly high sales for many self-employed creators, and a sense of indie comics having “arrived” commercially as a bigtime draw with its own con culture.  SPX celebrated its own “rock stars” in record fashion and expo-goers took home some of the most consistently high quality indie works in the history of SPX.

Hannah Means-Shannon writes and blogs about comics for TRIP CITY and Sequart.org and is currently working on books about Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore for Sequart. She is @hannahmenzies on Twitter and hannahmenziesblog on WordPress.



On the Scene: Small Press Expo 2012, Day One

By Hannah Means-Shannon

Things were buzzing at the Small Press Expo even before it officially began. A crowded hotel lobby, constant chatter, and a general sense of anticipation partly due to this year’s much-hyped stellar guests, erupted in substantial lines to get onto the floor once doors opened Saturday morning. Along with the outstanding list of guests this year, including Daniel Clowes, Chris Ware, and Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez, there were a wide range of new releases in self-publication and from presses like Fantagraphics and Top Shelf. Well-orchestrated panels featuring star guests also contributed to high attendance, and plenty of fans who waited in the briskly moving but substantial lines to get their copies of LOVE AND ROCKETS signed by the Hernandez brothers also attended packed conference rooms downstairs to hear what their favorite comics creators had to say.

SPX has always boasted some international connections, but the presence of British-origin presses like Nobrow and Selfmade Hero this year, in particular, resulted in some much-needed discussion about the indie market in the US and UK. The panel “British Comics: Does it Translate” kicked off the SPX line-up with Nick Abadzis (LAIKA, HUGO TATE), Sam Arthur (Nobrow), Glyn Dillon (THE NAO OF BROWN), Ellen Lindner (UNDERTOW), and Luke Pearson (EVERYTHING WE MISS), and was moderated by Rob Clough. The three topics that received the most attention during the panel were recent works including Abadzis’ HUGO TATE from Blankslate, Pearson’s HILDA books from Nobrow, and Dillon’s THE NAO OF BROWN from Nobrow. Abadzis explained that HUGO TATE, a long-running strip, parallels his own migratory patterns in life from the UK to the US while he continues to create works both for the UK, US, and French market. Dillon’s return to comics after pursuing storyboarding for filmmaking has resulted in an OCD character with an unusual obsessional pattern that “traps” her “in a loop” as she attempts to engage with life. Pearson’s HILDA books, including the newly released HILDA AND THE MIDNIGHT GIANT, attempt to “break down the cartoon form” according to Pearson, and are heavily influenced by manga styles. The array of indie output from British presses seems to suggest that the British market is currently poised between European expansion and American demand, finding new practical ways of increasing distribution for works that are often cutting edge in terms of concept and design.

In “Publishing During the Apocalypse”, our own Heidi MacDonald of The Beat and Publisher’s Weekly led a discussion with Leon Avelino (SECRET ACRES), Box Brown (Retrofit Comics), Anne Koyama (Koyama Press), and John Porcellino (KING-CAT COMICS) about the enormous pressures indie publishers are navigating right now.  When posed with the question “What are the biggest obstacles that you’ve faced as publishers”, Avelino cited the shift to book market distribution for graphic novels, and Brown and Koyama agreed that carefully planning distribution and dealing with shops occupies a lot of their time as the market shifts from sales by subscription to the publisher to sales from shop stock. All felt that an increase in small regional indie comics shows have helped them expand readership in recent years.

MacDonald broached the subject of Kickstarter with varying responses. Brown felt that any method of defraying printing costs, which are often prohibitive, is a good thing while Koyama finds herself pushing worthy creators toward Kickstarter campaigns when she simply can’t accommodate all the good work that comes her way as a publisher. Avelino prefers a “mate for life” approach when signing artists to his company, focusing on their output rather than individual works, which ensures greater stability for their careers. The wider benefits of Kickstarter, Brown pointed out, are that it can be used by anyone for anything that they may find “out of their reach” otherwise, however, he feels that the current boom in Kickstarter campaigns may need wiser strategies from creators in the future to ensure success. With indie comics production on the rise, Porcellino reminded the audience that the “inside counts” also, and all the “pretty books” people are putting out right now due to technological advancement for self-publishing can cause creators and fans to lose sight of the strong storytelling essential to indie comics. All of the publisher-panelists had promising news about their future moves in the industry, suggesting that the apocalypse can be weathered and continuity with the strong indie comics of previous years maintained as well as built upon.

When Daniel Clowes sat down with Alvin Buenaventura, the editor of the retrospective THE ART OF DANIEL CLOWES: MODERN CARTOONIST, and scholar Ken Parille, it was standing room only in the largest conference room at SPX. Clowes, who appeared energetic and amused by such a large crowd commented that working on the retrospective book with Buenaventura was a welcome thing because he’s “lonely and working all the time” so it was “fun to have someone to hang out with”. This was met with guffaws of laughter from fans, who no doubt believe that Clowes is sustained by knowledge of his own artistic greatness rather than human company. Little details provided by Buenaventura and Clowes about the research process set the scene for comedy, including Buenaventura rifling through Clowes’ closets constantly and “measuring his art” while Clowes wondered what dirty laundry the writer might dig up that he had forgotten about.

Buenaventura narrated slides from the accompanying exhibit of Clowes’ work, currently in Oakland and its impressive design components, from photo references for Clowes’ 8 BALL series to panel breakdowns on a wide range of works. Clowes commented that since he never sees his own art from more than “8 feet away” due to the confines of his home, he sees the detail and minutiae that he feels are imperfect and “sloppy”, whereas viewing them on display in Oakland was quite an eye-opener. In fact, he joked (or maybe he wasn’t joking) that his work at that distance appears to have been produced by a “psychopathic malfunctioning robot”.

Clowes gave some insight into his characters, prompted by “diametrically opposed views” from fans over WILSON, clarifying “I’ve never done a character I fully hate. I find a way to love them by the end of the story”. The Q and A period of the panel produced wide-ranging commentary from Clowes, including measuring his life in “nine inches of space on a bookshelf” through the books he’s created, his ongoing use of the writing table he acquired at age 15, and promises regarding his next, secret project currently at 100 pages. “If I described it, you would think I was insane,” he warned, “Maybe you’ll never see it”. He sounded almost relieved by this possibility, but this time, at least, the audience hoped he was joking.

Panels finished up for the day in plenty of time for some more perusing of books on the expo floor, and this year extra time was intentionally built in to the evening to allow for off-site meals before the Ignatz Award Ceremony. Long before closing time on Saturday, there were rumors that the day had produced record sales for indie comics, making the evening even more of a cause for celebration.

Hannah Means-Shannon writes and blogs about comics for TRIP CITY and Sequart.org and is currently working on books about Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore for Sequart.She is @hannahmenzies on Twitter and hannahmenziesblog on WordPress.





On the Scene: The 2012 Ignatz Awards at SPX

By Hannah Means-Shannon

The Ignatz Awards are known for their quick-fire pace and sense of humor but that doesn’t mean they downplay the often very personal extremes indie comics creators face in pursuit of publication.  Jerzy Drozd acted as MC of the 2012 awards and crammed a lengthy shopping list of emotional highs and lows typical of comics production into a few brief moments of reflection. The circumstances he listed as typical were typical enough to be universal and recognizable to the audience. Comics creators work full-time jobs, Drozd said, jeopardize friendships and health, and give 5 years of their life and soul to a project, whose demands are immediately forgiven when a proejct finally reaches publication. Misunderstood by friends and family, the work often goes unread and “thrown in the trunk of a car”. Drozd’s fast-talking narrative reached its crescendo with a visual aid, a slide declaring “I AM GOD HERE” at SPX, a voice of triumph for professionals given one night, at least, on which to be understood. Drozd attested to his experience teaching comics that indie comics are “5 years ahead of the comics curve”, because they continue to “tell a story with singular vision” in a field full of “courageous people”. Drozd honored not just the Ignatz winners or nominees in his statement, but all the attendees engaged in the production of comics in many forms.

The award for “Outstanding Mini Comic”, was presented by Sally Carson who lauded minis produced with an “idea, some paper, and some courage”. It went to THE MONKEY IN THE BASEMENT AND OTHER DELUSIONS by Corinne Mucha, published by Retrofit Comics who had a very strong presence at SPX this year.

The award for “Outstanding Story” was presented by John Green who reminded us that comics creating is one of the few professions where you can “do it without pants” and the fact that you can “manage to make all these comics without wearing any pants” is remarkable. The category was thronged with worthies, but went to “Return to Me”, from LOVE AND ROCKETS NEW STORIES #4, by Jaime Hernandez and published by Fantagraphics. Jaime thanked voters for “breaking a perfect record of no awards this year”. The presence of the Hernandez brothers at SPX this year brought a great deal of energy, and often hilarity, and the Ignatz awards were no exception.

Mark Mariano presented the award for “Outstanding Comic” to Brendan Leach’s PTERODACTYL HUNTERS from Top Shelf. While the work seemed to be a fan favorite, the win was unexpected enough to prompt surprised and lengthy applause.

“Outstanding Anthology or Collection” went to Kate Beaton’s HARK! A VAGRANT, continuing her winning streak from the previous week’s Harvey Awards.

Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez presented the “Promising New Talent” award to Lale Westvind for her self-published comic HOT DOG BEACH. Having received her brick from the mighty Hernandez brothers, it’s not surprising that she declared “I’m going to do comics forever”.

The award for “Outstanding Online Comic” was presented by Ashley Quigg and Kasey Van Hise, and it went to SUPERMUTANT MAGIC ACADEMY by Jillian Tamaki, another win that prompted a great deal of affirmation from the floor.

Chris Hastings, presenting the award for “Outstanding Series” took a moment to challenge the attendees to “recognize exceptionalism” in comics in “a world where not necessarily the best things always happen”. For Chris, this was an opportunity to set the world to rights by handing the award to Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez for LOVE AND ROCKETS NEW STORIES from Fantagraphics. “See what happens when you keep doing comics”, the Hernandez brothers quipped, perhaps as much a warning and as an encouragement to comics creators.

Nick Abadzis presented the award for “Outstanding Graphic Novel” in his “comedy British accent”, and moved through a series of “funny voices” including a German intellectual and a radio announcer before handing it over to BIG QUESTIONS by Anders Nilsen, published by Drawn and Quarterly, with great aplomb.

There seemed to be a particular build-up to the final award for “Outstanding Artist”, only confirmed by its distinguished presenter, Francoise Mouly. The award went to Jaime Hernandez for LOVE AND ROCKETS NEW STORIES, published by Fantagraphics, and produced a definite high note in an already exuberant evening. That tallied a total of three wins for the Hernandez brothers, but their buoyant presence at SPX as well as all their signing and sketching for fans was just as much fun for attendees as seeing them accept their awards.

Tom Spurgeon also took the stage to present the first ever “Golden Brick Award” for lifetime achievement in the Ignatz Award’s 15 year history to Richard Thompson, who was also honored at this year’s Harvey Awards for CUL DE SAC as “Best Syndicated Strip”.

In a year already boasting record sales at SPX and the largest number of vendors ever accommodated on the expo floor, the Ignatz Awards also brought home the astonishing array of talented individuals currently working in independent comics setting and raising the bar on production. The ground-swell of support within the community at the expo and the awards also reinforced the truism that comics creators are also comics readers who have a voice in putting forward and supporting works that deserve to be recognized for, as Drozd put it, their “singular vision”.


Hannah Means-Shannon writes and blogs about comics for TRIP CITY and Sequart.org and is currently working on books about Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore for Sequart. She is @hannahmenzies on Twitter and hannahmenziesblog on  WordPress.




Jen's 2012 Indie Comic-Con Photo Diary

BY JEN VAUGHN – Fun photos from San Diego Comic-Con! I’m no ‘virgin’ to cons but this was my first time at the BIG SHOW and working at a publisher (Fantagraphics) instead being a freelance cartoonist. Still, I managed to sneak in some photos during my bathroom breaks. More fun below:

Lines, we all stand in them at some point. My favorite was waiting for Zack Giallongo‘s book, Broxo, not officially out yet but I won a copy. Zack and I met back at MeCAF 2009 when he whispered, “Hey, kid, wanna see some thumbnails.” Fast friends ever since and it feels good to see the fruit of his many years of work in comic form.

Top Shelf’s Nate Powell and director of marketing, Leigh Walton, ogle IDW’s Groo by Sergio Aragones. This heavy-ass book is being shipped back to me, I couldn’t carry it home on the plane!

Took a break from the Fantagraphics booth to volunteer at the Cartoon Art Museum’s Sketch-a-thon with Zack Giallongo (again!) and Kraig Rasmussen. If you’re in the Berkeley area, check it out! Andrew Farago and the rest of the museum is dedicated to cartoons and comics as a craft and art.


Of course, I started off right with Nickelodeon’s most bad-ass female character (aside from Korra): Toph from Avatar: the Last Airbender. Just earthbendin’ a little chair with a cup holder. And yes, I’m enjoying the HELL out of Dark Horse’s runs of Avatar comics called Lost Adventures and The Promise.

Oh that being said, I found one of the BEST cosplay costumes of Korra and best cosplay costumes out there. Korra is tough, loveable and protective. And she rides a giant Labrador retriever/polar bear hybrid!

Friend and partner-in-crime, Jacq Cohen, found HER favorite cosplay, William Riker from Star Trek: NG.

And while you could barely gaze upon the floor without seeing a Doctor Who, the more prevalent Who-ian costumes were ladies walking around as cute (not sexy, there is a difference) version of the Dalek and the Tardis. I applaud their use of anything to make the costume – is that a tennis ball?!

The only cosplay I participated in was saluting Young Romance (edited by animation superstar Michel Gagné and published by Fantagraphics) with my “Sick of Men” leggings featuring a comic from Young Romance #65, published in the early 50s. Read the story here.

Aaaand cartoonist critic, Douglas Wolk, forced me to try on those ‘brain wave’ reading ears. It was more like reading my eyebrow muscles but still an interesting focus on how much people facially emote.

To most cartoonists’ dismay, San Diego isn’t all comics and cosplay but I did run into some cool things. Such as the MakerBot station where the Thing-O-Matics (3-D printers) were warming up to make small plastic replicas of Batman and Yoda. This heart could be twisted (Young Romance-style!) and rent any many directions, the pieces practically pulsing and turning like clockwork.

Over in one of the several My Little Pony areas was Chanel James’ ‘Tinker’ the winner of a design competition. Me and 8,000 children wonder if she’ll show up in an episode, possible in some inventor capacity.

We can’t forget that mermaid sculpture with butt cleavage, can we?

Back to comics! The booths were large and full of bookcases, fancy CCI-purchased padding but most importantly delicious comics. Oni Press has seen a big shuffle in their workforce recently and George Rohac is now the Operations Director and still a hoot to be around. We must have seen him handsell 10 copies of Scott Pilgrim: Evil Edition to people who had only seen the movie.

First Second may not have had giant banners suspended above their booth but every book is slam-dunk, home-run and so beautiful to hold in your hand. Publisher Mark Siegel and editor Calista Brill work the bookth while cartoonist Dave Roman is interviewed.

One of the newest, slickest releases from Top Shelf is Ed Piskor‘s Wizzywig, an online comic about a kid hacker. I remember reading Wizzywig in Ed’s three self-published perfect-bound softcovers so it pretty sweet to see it as one massive tome.

The only way I was able to run into Austin friend, Chris Roberson, was at his own MonkeyBrain happy hour. Since quitting the Big Two, Roberson has launched his own digital publishing company and become The Freelance Writer to Have. Here he’s talking to Game of Thrones calendar artist, John Picacio.

And the con would not be complete without making new friends! Fabio Moon has been a favorite cartoonist of mine and much mischief was had at the Tr!ckster events and Eisners with this gentleman.

Zack Carlson, writer of Destroy All Movies, showed us around San Diego quite a bit in a cool, big brother type way. He works at my favorite place in Austin, TX: Alamo Drafthouse!

Comics Bulletin journalists, Danny Djeljosevic and Morgan Davis, were at every party, bar and comics location I attended so they must be doing something right!

The next generation of cartoonists is knocking at the door, teen Natalia Hernandez is one of them. I was lucky enough to pick up “Return of Crystal Girl #3″ while escorting Natalia and her dad, Gilbert Hernandez around.

My haul was small but AMAZING, including those 1980’s Amethyst Comics. I’ll be reading these books for the better part of a month! Thank to everyone who was sweet and didn’t step on my feet at Comic-Con International in San Diego.

Jen Vaughn is cartoonist and cartoonist-wrangler, new to Seattle so please recommend good places to draw. She loves cons because she can hang out with journalists like this Chris Sims guy from Comics Alliance.

Nice art: Gilbert Hernandez's Master of the Universe

Everyone else has lauded this illustration of the Masters of the Universe by the great Gilbert Hernandez, and we will not be the only ones to miss out on the action.

Via Andy Khouri’s weekly art dump, which is really pretty amazing.