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?").
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.
Don't you just hate it when your vacation turns into a time-loop addled adventure of mystery complete with corrupt cops? Modrecai and Rigby's immortal buddy and oftentimes mentor Skips does, and it's going to be plain to see next Wednesday, January 8 in Regular Show: Skips #3 by Mad Rupert and colorist Whitney Cogar. Featuring covers by Rupert, Corey Lewis (Sharknife), Paulina Ganucheau (Zodiac Starforce) and Michael DeForge (Ant Colony), the issue sees the plot thicken to molasses levels as the miniseries reach its halfway point.
Taking place in Bethesda, Maryland this weekend is the Small Press Expo, or SPX, arguably the biggest indie comics event of the year. And each year one of the highlights of the show is the presentation of the Ignatz Awards. Named in honor of legendary cartoonist George Herriman's Krazy Kat cartoons, the awards recognize outstanding achievements in comics and cartooning by small press creators in the previous year. This year's winners were announced yesterday, and leading the way was cartoonist Michael DeForge, who won three awards for his serialized work Lose and his anthology Very Casual, both published by Koyama Press.
We make a regular practice at ComicsAlliance of spotlighting particular artists or specific bodies of work, but because cartoonists, illustrators and their fans share countless numbers of great images 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.
Cat Person collects Seo Kim's daily comics, issues 2-5 of Michael Deforge's anthology Lose are collected in A Body Beneath, 1000 Crushes is a compilation of excepts from various books by Elisha Lim and new work, and Jesse Jacobs' Safari Honeymoon follows a pair of newlyweds into an otherworldly forest. Check out all four comic covers after the cut.
In our world breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day, but the Adventure Time kingdom ruled by Breakfast Princess and her sister Toast Princess, conventional morning grub like bacon is elevated to the most important thing of all for foods living in an entirely edible ecosystem...
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