Bill Watterson and Richard Thompson interviewed on the state of cartooning

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Yep you head me right. This weekend the Billy Ireland Cartoon Museum and LIbrary in Columbus Ohio will open two incredible shows,
The Irresistible Force Meets The Immovable Object: A Richard Thompson Retrospective and Exploring Calvin And Hobbes and in advance of the show Jenny Robb has interviewed Bill Watterson and Caitlin McGurk has interviewed Richard Thompson. You’ll obviously want to read the whole thing. Watterson, in an extremely rare interview, revisits his greatest creation:

JR: It’s been almost 30 years since Calvin and Hobbes launched, and almost 20 since it ended. How did it feel to revisit the strip for this exhibition? 

BW: Oh, it’s fairly weird. There’s a sort of jet lag when you time-travel to your own past.


He also talks about the current state of cartooning, wondering if any can find an audience with so much competition but pointing out “The gatekeepers are gone, so the prospect for new and different voices is exciting. Or at least it will be if anyone reads them. And it will be even more exciting if anyone pays for them. It’s hard to charge admission without a gate.”

Richard Thompson calls the end of print “sad and confusing” but adds “Comics are, as they say, blowing up. The chance for invention is great but the chance for moneymaking is small. Right now creators are pretty much screwed.”

SO perhaps look at the dual show as the last celebration of an artistic and financial era era of comic strips now as lost as vaudeville and radio drama. OR to be more upbeat, a celebration of two amazing artists who have unforgettably touched our hearts.

The opening for the exhibits is tomorrow night. We’ll be awaiting the tweets and blogs posts eagerly.

This is a great weekend for comics in Columbus. There’s also a Lilli Carré exhibits at the Columbus Museum of Art.

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.

 

 

 

Team Cul De Sac Auction Goes Live!

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Richard Thompson and his charming Cul de Sac comic strip have numerous fans in the comics community.  So, when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, his personal friend Chris Sparks started educating himself on the disease and the best ways to help. His research lead him to create Team Cul de Sac, a division of Team Fox and The Micheal J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.

Many of you have heard about and seen Bill Watterson’s painting of Petey Otterloop (scroll down if you haven’t).  What many have overlooked is that numerous cartoonists, both from comic strips and comic books, have created original artwork to benefit Team Cul de Sac.

A benefit book (seen above) will be published by Andrews McMeel in June, and the art is currently being auctioned by Heritage Auctions, with final bidding Sunday, June 10 in Dallas.  All 148 lots can be viewed online, and if you register, you can bid on the artwork.

This is an incredible auction!  Not only is it for a great cause, but you’ll find original artwork here from many artists!  Yes, Bill Watterson is known for being a recluse, never showing his paintings to anyone, but many other comic strip creators rarely attend comics conventions or do sketches.  I’ve selected some of the more interesting pieces and posted them below, but please visit the Heritage Auctions website and place a bid!  If you can’t afford the original artwork, click on the book link above and order a copy of the hardcover.  There’s a Google Preview available, which shows the artwork in color, along with the a foreword from Richard Thompson, and a profile reprinted from the Washington Post.

Go read the comic strip for free! It’s as good as Calvin & Hobbes, but different.  Or, if  you like your comics the old fashioned way, buy the books!

Bill Watterson
R. Sikoryak

Stephan Pastis


http://comics.ha.com/c/item.zx?saleNo=510&lotNo=93
Patrick McDonnell

http://comics.ha.com/c/item.zx?saleNo=510&lotNo=78
Roger Langridge

http://comics.ha.com/c/item.zx?saleNo=510&lotNo=71
Karl Kesel

http://comics.ha.com/c/item.zx?saleNo=510&lotNo=70#Photo
Dave Kellett

http://comics.ha.com/c/item.zx?saleNo=510&lotNo=28
Jim Davis

http://comics.ha.com/c/item.zx?saleNo=510&lotNo=23
Danielle Corsetto

http://comics.ha.com/c/item.zx?saleNo=510&lotNo=12
Jerry Borgman and and Jerry Scott

http://comics.ha.com/c/item.zx?saleNo=510&lotNo=4
Sergio Aragones

http://comics.ha.com/c/item.zx?saleNo=510&lotNo=66
Lynn Johnston

Read it and Weep: The Cartoon Crier

BY JEN VAUGHN – Read it and weep! Go have yourself a good cry (probably at a Disney movie). In the tradition of occasionally free newsprint tabloid comics like the one-shot Caboose and quarterly Smoke Signal, a collaborative comic will be available this weekend at MoCCA! Official press release below:

The word “comic” has always been a bit of misnomer and The Cartoon Crier hopes to set the record straight. Sorrow and woe is the focus of this free 36-page newspaper tabloid that highlights the work of members of The National Cartoonists Society and of The Center for Cartoon Studies’ community.

The Cartoon Crier will premiere on Saturday, April 28 at The Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art Festival (MoCCA) in New York City.

The Cartoon Crier features the saddest strips from iconic comics like Family Circus, Beetle Bailey, Dennis the Menace, B.C., and For Better and For Worse. The Cartoon Crier also includes comics by Ivan Brunetti, Mell Lazarus, Melissa Mendes, Joe Lambert, Tom Gammill, Hilary Price, Laura Park, Richard Thompson, and Mo Willems as well as new work from the paper’s editors Cole Closser, R. Sikoryak, and James Sturm.

The Cartoon Crier will be available as a free download on May 1 from cartoonstudies.org.

Jen Vaughn is ready to weep tears in four colors: CMYK.

2011 Reuben Award winners

Reuben 2011

The 2011 Reuben Awards for the best in cartooning and related fields were presented at the annual National Cartoonists Society meeting on Saturday. Richard Thompson beat out Glen Keane and Stephan Pastis for THE Reuben as cartoonist of the year. Jill Thompson won the Comic Book category for BEASTS OF BURDEN, and Joyce Farmer won the graphic novel category for SPECIAL EXITS, while Jeff Parker and Steve Kelley’s DUSTIN won for best comic strip.

Thompson blogged his reaction:
The NCS handed me this last night for which I’m grateful in countless ways, not the least being that I didn’t fall over.

Alan Gardner the whole list of winners:

TELEVISION ANIMATION

Dave Filoni – Supervising Director / Production Designer, “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”

FEATURE ANIMATION

Nicolas Marlet, Character Designer, “How to Train Your Dragon”

NEWSPAPER ILLUSTRATION
Michael McParlane

GAG CARTOONS

Gary McCoy

GREETING CARDS
Jim Benton

NEWSPAPER COMIC STRIPS

Jeff Parker and Steve Kelley “Dustin”

NEWSPAPER PANEL CARTOONS

Glenn McCoy “Flying McCoys”

MAGAZINE FEATURE/MAGAZINE ILLUSTRATION
Anton Emdin

BOOK ILLUSTRATION

Mike Lester “The Butt Book”

EDITORIAL CARTOONS
Gary Varvel

ADVERTISING ILLUSTRATION

Dave Whamond

COMIC BOOKS
Jill Thompson “Beasts of Burden”

GRAPHIC NOVELS

Joyce Farmer “Special Exits”