§ This month’s nice art is by Zane Zlemeša, a Latvian artist whose done some work with Kuš! Comics. Her work has a lot of textures, bold colours, an interesting way to add layers of gray for depth and a unique style. It’s really neat, you can find her work directly at her website
§ Sloane Leong has launched a newsletter to complement her upcoming Image comics Prism Stalker, a psychedelic sci-fi comics that looks absolutely stunning. I’ll be reviewing it in a few weeks, but in the meantime, do subscribe to her newsletter
§ There’s an animated version of Ben Passmore’s Your Black Friend, one of the best comics of 2016.
§ I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my own work on a different site. I wrote about Uncivilized Comics Structures series over at Your Chicken Enemy
Call for Submission
§ The TDC Beatrice Warde Scholarship is also accepting submission. This scholarship is focusing on typography, which is comics-adjacent enough that I decided to include it here. Their submission is also quite specific, but many readers and comics makers fit this category: The TDC Beatrice Warde Scholarship is sponsored by the Type Directors Club and Monotype in the amount of $5,000. The scholarship is open to matriculating female (by birth or identified as such) bachelor’s degree students currently enrolled in their junior undergraduate year. Scholarship funds will be applied directly to her senior year tuition, which begins September 2018 and concludes in May 2019. Graduate students are not eligible.
You can find all the details at their website
§ The biggest story this month in the small press and indie comics world was the reorganization of 2dcloud. Founder Raighne Hogan is stepping down and co-publisher Kim Jooha is taking over main publishing duty. The reason for this is that 2dcloud let go of two of their main contributors in less than a month due to sexual harassment complaints. Here’s the original tweet and the follow-up longer statement they released. I’m impressed that such a small publisher was willing to take a financial and reputation risk to make sure their house was in order. I’ve been enjoying most of 2dcloud’s comics output these past two years and am looking forward to seeing what they have in store for 2018 and beyond. Kim Jooha has a unique vision of comics and it should keep 2dcloud at the forefront of experimental comics for years to come.
§ The other big story in comics is the targeted harassment of Darryl Ayo on Twitter by online trolls. It’s been highlighting issues with online engagement, racism and bad faith arguments from some segments of comics fandom. It’s incredibly disheartening. Darryl Ayo has been an interesting voice in comics criticism and his comic work itself is quite heartfelt and moving. I enjoy his quick analysis of comics on Twitter and wish him the best. Support him if you can.
§ Anya Davidson recently launched Mindkiller, a new podcast where she interviews different artists about “their origin stories, fears and coping strategies for fighting anxiety, depression and burnout.” Anya is a wonderfully accomplished artist and a very nice person. She’s a great person to lead a podcast to discuss with other artists.
§ The Comics Journal has uploaded their contributor’s best of 2017 comics. It’s a pretty comprehensive list on some of the best comics of last year
§ Riad Sattouf announced the release date and revealed the cover of L’arabe du future IV, the latest in his ongoing autobiographical tale of growing up in the Middle East
§ Erik Kostiuk William has a new monthly comic strip called The Twink Rage Revue
§ Netflix debuted the adaptation of Charles Forsman’s The End of the F****** World to great critical acclaim. I’ve yet to watch the whole thing, but I liked the first episode. Forsman posted a photo of his first issue from almost 7 year ago. A really interesting look at the progression of this project.
§ Speaking of Charles Forsman, his new comic AUTOMA will be serialized on Patreon and you can get printed comics directly through his patreon.
§ Elise Gravel is a fantastic cartoonist and her work for kids are always great. Here’s a short one-page comics explaining consent to kids (also available in French) and a one-page comics explaining the scientific method (also available in French)
§ In an odd bit of news, BerBer comics, a small and relatively recent comics publisher in Quebec, had put out a graphic novel on the story of Just for laugh right before the founder and President Gilbert Rozon became the French-Canadian Harvey Weinstein and was forced out of his role. This made the Just for Laugh brand somewhat toxic at the time until they resolved their internal issues. BerBer comics lost a lot of money on this project and was sitting on thousands of nearly unsellable comics. This was a big hit for a fairly small and new publisher and it could have tanked their business, but Just for Laugh agreed to buy their stock at cost so they wouldn’t be losing money on this project. A happy ending!
§ The End of the F*ing World was discussed on Radio-Canada’s literary show if you’re so inclined to hear a French perspective on the show and graphic novel
§ Colour me surprised, there’s a Scott Pilgrim doing amazing things in Montreal but he’s not the Scott Pilgrim we know!
§ CBC has put together a list of indigenous comics and video games. It’s obviously not a comprehensive list, but it’s a really good starting point. I knew of Kagagi and the leap it took from page to screen, but now I need to go look at Napi.
§ The upcoming Black Panther is turning out to not only be a really big deal, it’s also bringing the best out of people. There’s been movement by community organizations in the US and Canada to create special events for kids to attend special screenings of the movie. There is such an event that was widely reported on in Toronto, but it’s happening in many other cities across the country. It’s a really neat idea and I’m glad to see this type of initiatives. I’m really excited to see it too!
§ Speaking of Black Panther screenings, Lion Forge comics (the owners of this very site) have also been sponsoring the Hero Nation Black Panther Youth Screening.
§ One of the surprisingly most-anticipated comics of 2018 was Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles. It turns out it’s a bit of a success here in Canadian comics store since Mike Feehan, the artist, is from St. Johns, Newfoundland. He spoke with Tom Power on Q about the series and his artistic and career path.
§ CBC Books make a list of 12 graphic novels to look out for in the Spring. It’s a really interesting and varied selections and each of those should prove to be excellent read. I’m particularly excited about Michael Comeau’s Winter’s Cosmos and Alison McCreesh’s Norths. My son for his part will love reading Elise Gravel’s Mushroom Fan Club
§ The Breadwinner was nominated for best animated feature film at this year’s academy awards. It’s a young adult novel by Deborah Ellis and it was recently adapted into a graphic novel as well.
§ You gotta love the CBC for keeping such thorough archives. They recently pulled out of their archives a video of Stan Lee in 1980 on a show called Beyond Reason, a show that was called television’s first psychic panel show. They’re essentially trying to figure out who the guest is based on questions they can ask him. Only one person come close to figuring him out. Stan Lee is also smoking a cigarette on national television!
§ Continuing on the CBC archives, here’s a discussion with Charles Schulz in 1961 about his characters in Peanuts
§ Jed McGowan has a new sci-fi comic called Uninhabitable. It’s free to read online and you can buy physical copies if you’re so inclined
§ Tegan O’Neill is back and reviewing comics on The Comics Journal! I liked her review Days of Hate #1, Sugar Town and of old The Saga of the Sub-Mariner comics. Tegan’s writing is exceptional and I’m glad she’s back talking about comics. Plus I like Namor as a character. I guess one could say that I’m enamored with Namor.
§ Unrelated to comics, but Kate Willaert looked at the fan reaction to The Empire Strikes Back and looked at how it compares to the reactions to The Last Jedi. I liked the movie quite a bit and was surprised by the online backlash against this movie. The only fair criticism I heard came from 9 year old nephew who said “there wasn’t enough lightsaber fights”. Willaert points out that many of the negative reactions were similar to what we’re seeing today, if only magnified by the long reach of the web.
§ Kim O’Connor on Chris Ware’s massive autobiography Monograph over at Prospect Magazine. She’ll also be hosting a round table on Ware at her blog. If you’re interested in throwing you perspective, check out her blog and what she wants to achieve.
If you see something I should know about, tell me in the comments or tweet at me @Leblanc_Phil
Philippe Leblanc is a Canadian comics journalist. In his regular life, he improves Canadian medical education, and is the co-host of the Ottawa Comic Book Club. He reads alternative, indie and art comics at night and write about them for the Comics Beat.