§ Speaking of design, which we were the other day, Rob Harrigan has a gorgeous website and says he’s starting some interviews focused on comcis and design. First up, the great Rian Hughes. Above graphic shows his Wednesday Comics logo and some proposed designs:

Everything is converging. Digital media means that magazines, online content, comics, video – everything that can be reduced to zeros and ones – is blending into a new hybrid medium. Comics are two media combined – words and pictures. This is comics’ innovation, its USP (Unique Selling Position). When all these other media combine, we’ll see something new begin to appear, but I’m not sure anyone knows exactly what that might look like. We’re like early manufacturers of cars who put horses heads on the front to help communicate what this strange new invention was supposed to be. Only later did the car evolve its own symbolic language of shape, colour and meaning that is all its own. We’re currently using signposts from the past to point our way to the future. I think we’re very much in one of those bridging periods between the old way of doing things and the new, and I’m excited to find out what that new way of doing things might look like.

§ Truthout looks at graphic journalism via Sarah Glidden, Edward Said, Joe Sacco, Ted Rall, et al.
By contrast to the typical, sterile establishment reports from Iraq, Glidden’s comic report is full of life: she thrust herself into an underreported story halfway round the world, spending her own money and devoting countless hours translating interviews into images and shaping an accurate and compelling narrative that brings her subjects to life and, hopefully, “tricks” her world-weary friends past their cynicism. And comics journalists like Glidden, reporting in a marginalized medium on marginalized stories of marginalized people, hope to bring the color back to the mainstream media, to make not just comics – but journalism itself – a respected, popular muckraking art once again.

§ Up north, there’s a new indie comics show on the way! VanCAF, the Vancouver Comic Arts Festival, run by Shannon Campbell who is interviewed in the second link above. The show dates are May 26-27, 2012.

Our goal with VanCAF is to create something distinct and complimentary to Vancouver’s other events: an open festival that is free for the public to attend, entirely focused on comics, and that brings in a number of out-of-town artists while still featuring plenty of locals.

VanCAF is a registered non-profit, so every cent we bring in will go directly into the show. This is our first year, so our budget is fairly modest. But we’ve received lots of great support from the community, including the Roundhouse, and we’ve had a few interested sponsorship inquiries which should make funding much easier. We wanted to our artist tables as inexpensive as possible, and we’re certainly going to be doing a lot of fundraisers throughout VanCAF in order to raise money for 2013 and beyond.

§ Charles Forsman’s JAWS/Peanuts Mash-up Print is now sold out of its first printing; a second is on the way.
§ I don’t know too much about ICO: CASTLE IN THE MIST, a new Viz tie-in with the video game — a prose novel by Miyuki Miyabe — but I do like the Giorgio de Chirico-inspired box art. Well, did I say inspired…I meant “homaged”” but…yeah, it’s still cool. Director Fumito Ueda has acknowledged the homage. MORE DE CHIRICO HOMAGES IN VIDEO GAMES!

§ David Brothers has an excellent survey on what’s good about Marvel and DC’s minority characters over the years that should be the standard for all such surveys:

While Marvel Comics has always had a stronger track record with regards to race than DC Comics, both Marvel and DC have made some very real strides in terms of racial diversity over the past few years. It’s worth pointing out that for all of the times that editors point to green-skinned aliens as examples of racial diversity or characters are put into stories with extremely problematic undertones, they are trying. They may make missteps sometimes, but let’s take a look at the times that Marvel and DC have gotten it right with race.

§ In Australia, they have a whole conference on superheroines as cultural icons planned! Look at these scholars cogitate!

”I’m aware that this can be seen as a frivolous thing to be passionate about,” says Karen Healy, novelist, PhD candidate and keynote speaker at the conference.

”After all, why worry about the clothing and origin stories of imaginary superheroines when real women are so frequently getting shafted?”

For Healy and many others, though, this stuff counts. By Healy’s reckoning, any cultural artefact plays a role in endorsing or subverting dominant ideas. ”In criticising cultural artefacts of any stripe, you are criticising that culture and hopefully changing it.”

§ Artist Vera Brosgol (ANYA’S GHOST) writes about how comics helped her assimilate to life:

I was only five when my family left Moscow as religious refugees, so the earliest parts of my life exist only as what my mother remembers. But I do remember being the kid in elementary school with big glasses who ate the weird food and went to the weird church. We didn’t have a lot of money, my parents were divorced, and I couldn’t help noticing that my life didn’t quite match that of those around me. I could draw, though, and that was my ace in the hole. I could sketch X-Men and Rescue Rangers characters and the other kids would gather around and ask to keep the drawings. It was pretty great.

§ An interesting piece from the Guardian on evolving forms of storytelling:

Stories are memory aids, instruction manuals and moral compasses. When enlisted by charismatic leaders and turned into manifestos, dogmas and social policy, they’ve been the foundations for religions and political systems. When a storyteller has held an audience captive around a campfire, a cinema screen or on the page of a bestseller, they’ve reinforced local and universal norms about where we’ve been and where we’re going. And when they’ve been shared in the corner shop, at the pub or over dinner they’ve helped us define who we are and how we fit in.

§ Finally, an interesting tidbit from Brian Wood on how DMZ came this close to being a TV show:

We also had a near miss with setting DMZ up as a television show, at a verrrry respectable network, and its a bit crushing. I had hoped the whole new “DC Entertainment” mean they’d be better about this sort of thing… and this deal seemed like a gift from heaven… but apparently not.