Weekender: XKCD Text Books, ‘Everblue’, and Al Jaffee’s New World Record
What a week! I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to sit back and read some comics. The weekend is finally here, and the world can relax and rest once more — but the comics industry has been busy too, you know, and the last seven days have seen a flurry of comics-based news and announcements fly past at high speed.
ComicsAlliance has got your back, though: when it comes to comics, we never slow down, so here’s a look back and just what’s been going on. New comics, new stories, new podcasts, new art being made — it’s all part of the ComicsAlliance Weekender!
Amid the fuss and, uh, muss of WonderCon and C2E2, Myriad Editions quietly announced a series of new graphic novels and projects that will be released over the next few year. The news includes Darryl Cunningham’s follow-up project to Science Tales and Supercrash; a graphic novel that follows the lives of seven different scientists such as George Washington Carver and Mary Anning. Also included in there are books by Gareth Brookes, Hannah Eaton, Kate Charlesworth and Aneurin Wright --- a busy few years ahead for Myriad, it seems.
Randall Munroe, the creator of XKCD, has a new project in the works: he’ll be partnering with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to bring his comics sensibility to science textbooks. A former roboticist at NASA --- which is an amazing job that I imagine mostly consists of attempting to stop Skynet from establishing sentience --- Munroe will provide cartoons and illustrations for a range of books that will pop up in schools across the country.
She Changed Comics has smashed past its $10,000 funding goal on Kickstarter! A new project from the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, the comic will explore a series of women from across western comics history, from Golden Age innovators like Jackie Ormes through to Alison Bechdel, Gail Simone, and Mariko & Jillian Tamaki. If the project reaches $25,000 in funding, the plan is to create a teaching aid that can be taught in classrooms --- which seems like a tremendous idea to me.
Top Cow has brought in two new faces to their team in the form of Ashley V Robinson and Henry Barajas. Both are former writers for comic book websites, with Robinson best known for her contributions to ComicBook.com; while Henry is an old colleague of mine from my days writing over at The Beat. I encourage any decision that results in comics critics getting paid full time comics jobs --- hint nudge hint, industry --- so congratulations to Henry and Ashley on the hires.
The Hangout has been running for quite a while now, bringing you interviews with comics writers and artists from the comfort of their own studios. Or bedrooms. Or whichever room in the house has the best access to a webcam. This week saw Black Magick writer Greg Rucka join hosts Alison and Karen for a free-form chat about the Image series --- as well as more general thoughts on writing, and the comics industry today.
The most spirited and entertaining piece of the week comes to us from The Comics Journal, where Andrea Fiamma somehow managed to corral ten comics colorists together for a roundtable chat about the coloring business. There's a mix of familiar names and titles to unique and lesser-known works discussed throughout, but you get a real idea of the personality for everybody involved in the piece, and it leads to some fun and wild tangents.
Similarly, you can’t go wrong with a spotlight on Gene Luen Yang, who showed up at Panels.net for a short piece on how he keeps his characters looking visually consistent across a long body of work.
It was another good week for WomenWriteAboutComics! Firstly, Alenka Figa lists comics that make use of an ‘infinite scroll’ --- as in, you keep clicking further down the page, and the comic keeps expanding further and further downwards. It’s a reading experience you only get from the fixed, limited screenspace offered by a digital comic, and she picks some really fun examples.
Later in the week, several WWAC writers contributed to a really fascinating article picking apart arguments made against female comics characters. In particular, Emma Houxbois draws a line between Emma Frost --- who is slut-shamed for reasons surely now baffling to everybody, because she’s monogamous as flip --- and the overzealous scrutiny applied to trans women on a regular basis.
NEW AND UPCOMING COMICS
A webcomic that caught my attention in flickers was Everblue by Michael Sexton. Set in a world of endless ocean (a bit like Wind Waker, hurray!) the series moves very slowly, but features some absolutely lovely digital coloring on occasions. I like it best as an exercise in lush landscapes, when the characters are lazing around, dreaming, watching the sun float over the water in numerous shiny and sparkling ways. There’s some lovely visual stuff going on in the comic, which must be so tricky to do when you’re working digitally.
And how about another look at Breaks, the ongoing romancy drama from Malin Ryden and Emma Vieceli? This one’s been going for two years proud now, putting together a cast of characters who feel like real, authentic, messy people --- and who leave a trail of romantic debris which has heft and weight to it. This is just a really well-written character piece, all-round, with Vieceli offering some great expression as artist.
Al Jaffee officially celebrated his 95th birthday this week, and to remember the moment he got a visit from the Guinness Book of Records --- who confirmed that he is now has the longest career as a comics artist. Officially! He’s been working for 61 years now --- can you even imagine? Happy Birthday, Al!
Have a great weekend, everybody!