Weekender: Jiro Taniguchi, Fascist-Punching, And ‘Secrets of the Goat People’
The weekend is here! Take a look back at what’s happened in the past seven days. New comics, new stories, new podcasts, new art being made — it’s all part of the ComicsAlliance Weekender!
Jiro Taniguchi has passed away at the age of 69. A hugely influential and admired writer and artist, his best-known works include Icarus and A Distant Neighbourhood. Some of his best work dealt with contemplation: The Walking Man is a thoughtful piece that is absolutely as it says it will be. There is a man, and he walks. The journeys he takes are careful, cleanly constructed, and demonstrable of Taniguchi’s particularly gentle sense of humor. Without words and without taking the most obvious route, he was able to place a story in the mind of the reader which was calming, soothing, relatable.
Prolific and accomplished, Taniguchi began his career in the 1940s and through his career worked extensively both as a solo cartoonist and alongside several of his contemporaries --- including work with Moebius. He won several awards during his lifetime, including at Angouleme, as well as the Shogakukan prize, and the Osamu Tezuka Culture Award.
EVENTS AND AWARDS
One of the most admirable things about the Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in comics is that every year it searches across the broadest spectrum of comics imaginable. Not just interested in 22-page shop-shelf comics, the awards have always looked everywhere to find the best new work being made, by the most interesting voices in the contemporary world of comics. Digital media, webcomics --- everything is a possibility, and this year’s five finalists show off the full scope of the award's scale.
We have 14 Nights, by Kristina Stipetic; StarHammer, by J. N. Monk and Harry Bogosian; Amazing Forest, by Ulises Farinas, Erick Freitas and collaborators; Upgrade Soul, by Ezra Claytan Daniels; and Shaft: Imitation of Life, by David Walker and Dietrich Smith.
The third winner of the award will be announced this weekend at Long Beach Comic-Con. The panel of judges is made up of Mark D. Bright, Neo Edmund, Joan Hilty, Joseph Illidge, Heidi MacDonald, Don McGregor, Kevin Rubio, Cassandra Pelham, Gail Simone, Will J. Watkins, Matt Wayne, and Len Wein.
If that weren’t awards enough, the Will and Ann Eisner Family Foundation has announced a challenge for the Billy Ireland Museum in Columbus, which has long been a bastion for comics in the state. If $35,000 can be raised by the library, the foundation will match that amount and use the money to create the Lucy Caswell Research Award. The money would pay for academics to travel to Columbus to use the resources there. The award is named after the founding curator of the BICLM, Professor Emerita Lucy Shelton Caswell. More details on that one are coming soon.
First Second got in touch to let us know that it's about to launch its own newsletter this year. Promised as a quarterly publication, this looks like a fantastic idea for the publisher, and one that fits perfectly within its unique publishing schedule and structure. Not only is it going to feature reports on comics coming out from First Second, but it’ll also publish a series of short comics from some of the writers and artists who are working with them. Sign up!
In rather nicely timed news, First Second’s founder Mark Siegel was recently interviewed by Arizona State University about the current health of the comics industry, and how he perceives graphic novels fitting into a broader discussion about the medium as a whole.
A few Kickstarter projects this week. First up we have Coronary, a comic with a neat premise and a talented creative team. The idea of the story is that in this world, plastic surgery is not only legal, it's standard, completely free, and part of a much larger global movement that has changed society forever. In the middle of the free-for-all to get the best life coach, the best face, be the best of people... stands one of the businessmen who made it all happen. And he's about to get a bit of a shock about the world he's created. From the creative team of Ryan Burke, Joel Saavedra and Damian Panalba, this one is currently running on Kickstarter and is seeking a goal of $5,000.
We featured the first issue of Morgan's Organs a while back, and Daniel Brodie and Robert Jennex are now back for a Kickstarter to print issue #2 of their madcap splat-stick comedy. Absolute pure filth, and giddy for it, the comic has hit the funding target --- but if you like silly and dirty, now's a good time to head on over and take a look.
And hey, finally, Secrets of the Goat People is a collection of comics and poetry being published by Bleeding Heart Press. BHP is the new comics imprint spinning out of the WomenWriteAboutComics website, and 17 of the women from the site have come together for a 40-page anthology that mixes art and prose in various ways. You can find the issue here!
Vaneta Rogers is one of the best reporters in comics today, and her roundtable look at returnability in DC’s ‘Rebirth’ initiative calls on some familiar and less-known faces in retailing to explore how current trends are affecting, benefiting, and harming comic shops. Things are mostly positive (unsurprisingly) but there are some interesting thoughts offered along the way about how everything is coming together right now.
Ta-Nehisi Coates has been collecting notes, drafts, and interview segments related to his current work at Marvel, which you can read in a somewhat ramshackle form over at Vulture. The accompanying interview is particularly interesting --- at first one of those interviews that any interviewer dreads, filled with short, simple answers, but something does get brought out of Coates as the questions continue. His approach to comics is very different as a result of coming late to the form, and that perspective is interesting to see.
I thought it was worth sharing two nicely-constructed interviews today as well. First up, we have a new column debuting at MultiversityComics by Michelle White. Multiversity Keeps It Real is all about non-fiction comics, and this week the attention falls on The Influencing Machine, by Brooke Gladstone and Josh Nuefeld, which explores how the media has operated over the years.
And then there’s Scott Cederlund over at Panel Patter, who looks at Roger Langridge's Fred the Clown comic The Iron Duchess. He takes a fun approach to Langridge’s brand of humor and narrative structure, and explores the influences that prompted Langridge to create comics in the first place.
Fascists: terrible people, the lot of them. And with the apparent recent uptick in fascists thinking they should be allowed a spotlight, here’s a handy list from Mark Peters that details eight times the King of Comics, Jack Kirby, fought back against ‘em. All hail the King.
Have a great weekend, everybody!
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