§ Happy New Year everybody. I hope everyone’s had a fantastic Holiday season. We’re back with the first installment of Small Press & Indie Comics Galore for 2019. Let’s start this year off with the lovely art of Michelle Theodore, a Canadian artist from Edmonton, Alberta, currently in Toronto. There’s this interesting quality to her work, how she uses shadows, how her characters moves. I’ve also highlighted one of her comics in the COMICS section below. You can follow Michelle Theodore on Twitter, Instagram or on her website. She’s also on Twitch and Ko-fi.
§ Nicole Marie Burton & Hugh Goldring’s graphic novel The Beast is available as a free download courtesy of the Digital Press of the University of North Dakota. If you m it, it’s a great way to see that book. You can order a paper copy too if you want.
§ The third volume of Moonshot: The Indigenous Comics Collection is currently being crowdfunded. Please take a look, they’re beautiful anthologies.
§ Youth in Decline announced their 2019 line up for Frontier and it is an eclectic mix of fascinating artists. Subscription are open now until Valentine’s Day.
§ Kind of a half-plug, half comic, Short Box made a comic that explains the concept behind it. It’s pretty neat. Also, if you haven’t been following Shortbox, 2019 is a great time to start doing so. Their published comics have been consistently excellent.
§ This is a few weeks old, but cartoonist Kat Fajardo could use some help with moving fees. She’s taking commissions
§ Steve Morris talks to Mira Ong Chua over at Comics MNT
§ Siris won the ACBD award with his graphic novel Vogue La Valise. An English translation of this work came out late in 2018 under the title The Vagabond Valise from Conundrum press. There haven’t been a lot of press on this comic, but it’s an excellent one.
§ This is a really good source for suggestions for small independent creators. It’s a fairly new website, but it’s already getting a lot worthwhile content.
§ Abraham Riesman with a rare interview of Olivia Jaimes, the cartoonist behind the Nancy revival
§ I don’t normally plug things from our own site, let alone superhero-related one, but my colleague Joe Grunenwald made a very thorough oral history on the character of Jason Todd, the second Robin in Batman that eventually got killed by the Joker in the infamous Death in the Family storyline. It’s an interesting look at the behind the scenes of one cape comics seminal event.
§ There’s been a lot of buzz, negative or otherwise, about Shelfdust compiling the best 100 comics of all time. Steve Morris contacted over a hundred critics and asked them what they thought the top 10 comics of all time were and eventually provided what could be called “definitive” best comics list. Full-disclosure, I sent in my selection as well, though the only comics I listed that made the list was Giant-Size X-Men #1 and Eightball #23.
It’s a very divisive list, with many surprising and odd picks. Almost half the list consist of DC Comics in there, there’s three manga picks, Pax Americana, the Grant Morrisson homage to Watchmen made it higher on the list than any issues of Watchmen, Love and Rocket doesn’t make it in the top 50 which was quite surprising. There’s a huge generational divide, and a distinction between “history-making” selection that you can see in the picks too which made for an interesting and polarizing list. I’m not sure I’d say three issues of Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye should be in the top 50 comics issues of all time, same with very recent issues of The Wicked and The Divine or Bitch Planet though, but what do I know, I’m just a comics-critic by night after all. It’s worth a look, if only to see what the pulse of the comics community is at this very specific point in time.
§ And finally, congratulation to Rob Clough on 10 years of High-Low
§ Small Religion, a comic on Twitter by Rebekka Dunlap
REVIEWS & BEST OF 2018
§ Speaking of Ryan Carey, he also made a few best of the year list on different topic, original graphic novels, single issues, ongoing series, contemporary collection. archival and vintage collection, and special mentions
§ ActuaBD picks their best mangas, comics, graphic novels and children’s comics of the year. Marianne Saint-Jacques also highlights some of the best French-Canadian graphic novels
§ Wendy Brown reviews Alien III, a comic adapted from William Gibson’s original screenplay over at Women Write About Comics
§ And finally, Your Chicken Enemy asked comics critics what they thought were the best three comics of the year. The list of contributor includes Rob Clough, Kim Jooha, Alex Hoffman, Keith Silva, Ryan Carey, Steve Morris, Austin Lanari, Nick Hanover, Sara L. Jewell, Jason Sacks, Mark Stack, Francesca Lyn, David Fairbanks, Kawai Shen, Josh Hicks, Matt Vadnas, Justin Giampaoli, Michael Bettendorf and Daniel Elkin. I contributed to this list with my three picks, which are quite similar to the ones I included in the Comics Beat Best of the Year list with the exception of a single page comic by Shee Phon, which I thought encapsulated a lot of what makes comics exceptional, movement, clear storytelling, mastery of colour and, most importantly, emotions.
§ If you see something I should know about, tell me in the comments or tweet at me @Leblanc_Phil. I’ll be back next month!
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.