The weekend is here! Put down your paperwork, throw your stationery out of the window, and do a victory spin in your office chair, because it’s time to catch up on that greatest of all media: comics! What’s been going on this week? There’s so much comics that there’s no way anybody can keep up with all of it — so Weekender is here to catch you up on some of the stories you may have missed, and some of the best writing about comics from the past few days.
The weekend is here! Put down your paperwork, throw your stationery out of the window, and do a victory spin in your office chair --- it's time to catch up on that greatest of all mediums: comics! What's been going on this week? NYCC has fallen upon us all like a giant comfy pillow filled with news, so Weekender is here to catch you up on some of the stories you may have missed, and some of the best writing about comics from the past few days.
San Diego Comic-Con is underway, bringing over 130,000 people to enjoy the pop culture extravaganza taking place inside and outside the convention center. There is a lot to see and do every day during SDCC. More likely than not, if you don't go in with a plan for experiencing the things that you most want to check out, you'll miss them!
If you haven't been following it, Youth in Decline's Frontier is a comic that you should buy every single issue of --- and you can start anywhere. Frontier is created by a different cartoonist every issue, and the only real through-line is that it highlights talented creators. For that reason alone, it's worth checking out. Each one also offers the opportunity to see those creators do an interesting story that maybe they don't have another space to publish. Some of the great creators that have told stories in Frontier include Emily Carroll, Sam Alden, Jillian Tamaki, and Hellen Jo --- with creators like Michael DeForge and Becca Tobin to come.
The butter tart is one of Canada's great cultural contribtutions to the world. The Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) also fits squarely in that category. So it's apt that these two juggernauts of the North have come together this weekend --- the very weekend of TCAF --- in the form of a handy map of Toronto's finest butter tarts created by two of TCAF's critically acclaimed guests; Super Mutant Magic Academy author Jillian Tamaki, and Ant Colony author Michael DeForge. If you're hitting up the festival this weekend, you may want to set aside a little time for a butter tart pilgrimage.
Image held the latest in its series of one-day Image Expo events in San Francisco on Thursday, putting a spotlight on a slate of new titles for 2015, and introducing some new creators to the Image family. In concert with the expo, Image also released a new Humble Indie Bundle that includes an Image Expo Preview book containing art from the newly announced titles, plus some forthcoming books that were previously announced.
Titles featured in the preview include Savior by Brian Holguin, Todd McFarlane, and Clayton Crain; Injection, by Warren Ellis, Declan Shalvey, and Jordie Bellaire; No Mercy, by Alex De Campi, Carla Speed McNeil, and Jenn Manley Lee; Island, by Brandon Graham and a whole host of artists; RunLoveKill, by Eric Canete, Jonathan Tsuei, Leonardo Olea, and Manu Fernandez; and Starve, by Brian Wood and Danijel Zezelj; the book also includes a one-page ad for Marjorie Liu's new book with Sana Takeda, Monstress, and an ad for the second season of Pretty Deadly, by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios.
SPX, the Small Press Expo, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, and to celebrate, it's centering its entire 2014 convention on a much-read -- but not-often-discussed -- type of independent comic: strips from alt-weekly newspapers.
Late last week, organizers announced the first three major guests: Lynda Barry, the cartoonist behind Ernie Pook’s Comeek from The Chicago Reader; Jules Feiffer, the so-called godfather of the alt-weekly newspaper comic, and James Sturm, who co-founded The Onion and Seattle's The Stranger in addition to being an accomplished cartoonist and graphic novelist.
A prophetic child, full of microscopic earthworms and coated in pollen by bees. The child's nihilistic, sociopath of a father. A cowardly police officer. A pair of homosexuals beginning to drift apart. An infertile female. These are the ants of Michael DeForge's graphic novel Ant Colony, the collected, book form version of his once-serialized strip Ant Comic.
Readers follow them through the weird, black comedy of the waning days of their home colony—some of which is caused by the ants themselves, most of which is due to a war with a colony of red ants—as these survivors wander away and consider forming their own, new colony.
DeForge's ants are his own, centaur-shaped, many-legged creatures with human-ish faces of bright, primary colors and visible organs shining through their black exoskeletons. Their world is full of strangely-designed insects, ranging from bees shaped like the sort a young child might draw, and a giant, human-shaped, scary H.R. Giger goddess of a queen ant.
Despite their shapes, his ants live, think and act like humans...or is human life maybe not so different from that of ants? That's one of the many existential questions one can meditate on while reading Ant Colony, when one's not digging the semi-psychedelic character designs or the razor sharp sit-com gags (Typical punchline? "Should we kill this baby?").
DeForge is currently touring in support of the book, and we took the opportunity to ask him where these his strange insects came from, how his gag strip about ants evolved into a sweeping epic and how he learned to draw like Michael DeForge.
Koyama Press has unveiled six new books it has coming out this fall, and they run the gamut from avant-garde horror to cultural satire to funny-animal hijinks for all-ages.
Check out the full list of titles from cartoonists Renee French, Patrick Kyle, Michael DeForge, Walter Scott, John Martz, and Britt Wilson, with solicitations, below.
We make a regular practice at ComicsAlliance of spotlighting particular artists or specific bodies of work, as well as the special qualities of comic book storytelling, but because cartoonists, illustrators and their fans share countless numbers of great pinups, fan art and other illustrations on sites like Flickr, Tumblr, DeviantArt and seemingly infinite art blogs that we’ve created Best Art Ever (This Week), a weekly depository for just some of the pieces of especially compelling artwork that we come across in our regular travels across the Web. Some of it’s new, some of it’s old, some of it’s created by working professionals, some of it’s created by future stars, some of it’s created by talented fans, and some of it’s endearingly silly. All of it’s awesome.