The Dirty Diamonds booth at this year’s Small Press Expo was impossible to miss, both because of its bright signage and because of its eye-catching display of tote bags, zines about Weird Al Yankovic, and, of course, the Dirty Diamonds all-woman anthology.
Brighter still are its co-editors, Claire Folkman and Kelly Phillips, who were among the most ardent lovers of comics in the room -- and with good reason. The Dirty Diamonds anthology series is their passion project, collecting semi-autobiographical comics by women since 2011, and it's enjoyed particular success of late. Their recent Kickstarter was a hit; the Library of Congress singled Dirty Diamonds out for inclusion in its permanent collection; and the contributor list for the latest volume reads like an Ignatz Award nominations list from 2020.
Eager to learn more, ComicsAlliance hunkered down behind their bustling booth to talk the future of crowdfunding, apartments full of books, and just how rad the women of comics really are.
The story of five-year-old Torontonian Jeffrey Baldwin is about as sad as it gets, but out of that heartbreaking story has come something uplifting.
Jeffrey died of starvation and septic shock in 2002 after years of physical and emotional abuse by his guardian grandparents, who kept him and his sister locked up in a filthy room. The grandparents were convicted of second-degree murder in 2006 and sentenced to 20 years for the grandfather and 22 years for the grandmother without parole.
Speaking at an inquest into the circumstances surrounding Jeffrey's death, Jeffrey's father, Richard Baldwin, talked about how much his son loved Superman, and how he had always wanted to fly. Todd Boyce, a dad in Ottowa, was so touched that he launched a campaign to honor Jeffrey's memory.
If you've not heard of Patreon yet, it's a service not dissimilar to Kickstarter, in that it allows you to donate money to projects and artists you'd like to support, sometimes for rewards, but largely because it's something you're invested in and would like to see continue. It's also different in that you can pledge ongoing support; giving a certain amount of money each month- say a dollar- although there's the option available to cancel at any time. As you can imagine, these factors make Patreon better tailored for those working and producing art online, as evidenced by the number of more established online artists doing well on there- KC Green, Anthony Clark, Meredith Gran, Ryan North, and more.
With so much projects and content to sift through, it's easy to miss some perhaps lesser-known, but equally excellent comics worthy of wider attention, so I thought I'd spotlight three of my favorites here. Regardless of whether you choose to support them or not, at the very least hopefully you'll be introduced to a few great comics that you may not have been aware of.
Metropolis, Illinois, has a Superman statue. Philadelphia has immortalized Rocky in bronze. Detroit has a much-publicized Robocop statue. Why shouldn't Edmonton be home to a statue of its fictional hero, Wolverine?
About 3,000 people have signed a Change.org petition calling for the mayor and city council of the Alberta's capital city to put up a life-size statue of the Marvel superhero in City Hall. At least one city councillor says he isn't opposed to the idea.
A day may be coming when comic book creators no longer have to turn to the kindness of others to help them pay their medical bills, but that day is not today. Writers, artists, colorists, letterers -- virtually everyone involved with making your favorite comics works in a freelance capacity, where healthcare remains a financial burden in America.
As you may have read a few months ago, Schmuck writer and photographer Seth Kushner has been diagnosed with leukemia and needs a bone marrow transplant. This week, his family started a GoFundMe page to raise $50,000 to make it happen.
Spike Trotman is a visionary. She sees possibility where others throw their hands up in defeat. She sees innovation where others see stagnation. She is fundamentally optimistic about the future of comics — and why shouldn't she be? Trotman has conducted massively successful Kickstarters — plural — organized some of the best talent in comics into anthologies like Smut Peddler and The Sleep of Reason, made money-producing Poorcraft (a comic about not having money), and, all the while, maintained Templar, Arizona, her long-running and beloved webcomic.
Comics have been good to Spike Trotman, but her success is very much the result of hard work and fresh thinking rather than chance—hard work that has left her one of the most interesting people in the industry. So, naturally, ComicsAlliance tracked down her booth at San Diego Comic-Con to talk Kickstarter foibles, “porn for chicks,” and a new golden age for comics.
While Captain America is perhaps fictional history's best-known Hitler-puncher, he is far from the only hero to sock old Adolf in the jaw -- and now Canada gets its turn courtesy of Francis Manapul's fundraiser sketch for the Johnny Canuck Kickstarter. The Toronto-based Detective Comics co-writer and artist filmed himself as he sketched, and the video offers a fascinating glimpse of his process.
Like Nelvana of the Northern Lights and Brok Windsor, Johnny Canuck is one of the lost Canadian comic heroes of the 1940s, a time when American comics weren't allowed into Canada because of restrictions on non-essential trade. Long out of print, a new generation may get to enjoy his adventures thanks to this Kickstarter.
Canada offers an impressive range of comics talents, but its comic industry has usually been overshadowed by the buying power of the U.S. market -- but for one brief period in modern history. During the Second World War Canada restricted the import of non-essential items -- and that included comic books. For much of the 1940s, Canadians could only read Canadian comics. The era has become known as the Canadian Golden Age.
Hope Nicholson was a researcher on a documentary about the characters created during this era, Lost Heroes. Fascinated by the subject, Nicholson and her partner Rachel Richey launched a project to restore and republish the stories of one of the first comic superheroines, Adrian Dingle's Nelvana of the Northern Lights. With that book now in print, Nicholson has launched a Kickstarter to revive another lost Canadian hero; the square-jawed action man Brok Windsor.
If you've ready any of writer/artist David Petersen's Mouse Guard comics from Archaia, you may recall a handful of scenes in which the mice play a game called 'Swords And Strongholds.' It sounds a little bit like chess and looks a little bit like the Chinese game Go, but there are cards involved.
As it turns out, Petersen didn't really have any rules in mind for the game when he dreamed it up for the comics, so he asked the creator of Burning Wheel and the Mouse Guard RPG, game maker Luke Crane, to come up with some. He did, Petersen designed a board, and they've gone to Kickstarter to get some funding for a limited run. Just a few days in, it's already funded at $18,000, so if you contribute $30, you're guaranteed a game.
Publisher Locus Moon press has been working on the new anthology book, Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream, for about two years now, and it's asking for fans to help make the long journey come to fruition.
The book,which tasks creators including Paul Pope, John Cassaday, Jill Thompson, Cliff Chiang, J.H. Williams III, Craig Thompson, Carla Speed McNeil, Mike Allred and Roger Langridge, with drawing new, full-page Little Nemo strips in the style of series creator Winsor McCay, will come out in the fall if Locus Moon can raise $50,000 via Kickstarter. The project launched Monday morning, and by mid-afternoon, it was at around $13,000. Not a bad start.
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