NICE ART

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§ 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.

PLUGS

§ 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.

§ You can pre-order Kat Verhoeven’s graphic novel Meat & Bone

§ The third volume of Moonshot: The Indigenous Comics Collection is currently being crowdfunded. Please take a look, they’re beautiful anthologies.

§ A wonderful comic by Ashanti Forston is available. My colleague Andrea Ayres had a preview earlier this year. Head over to the link for a preview!

§ 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

NEWS

§ 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

§ Gretchen Faulker-Martin talks about Akira

§ An interview with French-Canadian publisher La Pastèque’s founders

§ 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.

§ A great interview with the cartoonist legend Julie Doucet

§ Michel Fiffe on George Freeman

§ Sean T. Collins interview Phoebe Gloeckner

§ Wonder Woman expert and contrarian extraordinaire Noah Berlatsky reviews the newest volume of Wonder Woman Earth One over at TCJ

§ Vicko Alvarez talk about making comics to explain immigration to kids

§ Michel Rabagliati’s Paul dans le nord is now available as an audiobook on Radio-Canada

§ 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

Comics

§ Vanessa Davis on pregnancy

§ A beautiful comic by Michelle Theodore

§ Bianca Xunise reminds us that it’s ok to say you’re tired

§ A dramatic comic about the ongoing migrant crisis in the Mediterranean Sea illustrated by Julia Gfrörer

§ Small Religion, a comic on Twitter by Rebekka Dunlap

REVIEWS & BEST OF 2018

§ Ryan Carey reviews Anders Nielsen’s Tongues #2

§ 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

§ Sarah Horrocks on Grave Horticulture #1 and her selection of best comics of the year.

§ Zainab Ahktar’s selection of best comics of 2018

§ 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!