Weekender: Lion Forge Press, Cartoon Crossroads, Tintin Vs Asterix
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!
New York Comic Con delivered more comics news than you could fit on a generously-sized bagel, as has been ably covered by the ComicsAlliance team over the last few days. It’s worth returning to a few bits and pieces especially, though, as they showed off the smartest use of a convention we’ve seen in years: Lion Forge crushed it this weekend.
The dominant idea of marketing a convention has been to skip the event itself and announce all your new projects the week before, with the idea being that you get everything out there so it can be talked about during the convention, and without getting drowned out by Sigourney Weaver. However, that’s meant that convention weekend itself has started becoming a bit dull --- nothing happens!
Lion Forge, running contrary to the trend, took the opportunity to step in and launch its new, revamped approach to comics, spearheaded by senior editor Joe Illidge. For one thing, the publisher have now acquired Magnetic Press, and announced a new roster of creative talent that will include Dr Sheena Howard --- no stranger to appearing in Weekender --- and Christopher Priest.
Priest will be writing a one-shot that also introduces the second new imprint announced by the publisher at NYCC: the all-ages CubHouse line. The issue will be drawn by Marco Turini. Other writers and artists announced for upcoming projects include David F. Walker, Alex de Campi, Larry Stroman and Damion Scott. I also noticed that Desiree Rodriguez, who many will know as a writer on sites like WomenWriteAboutComics, has joined the editorial team, which is excellent news.
And then we have Vertigo, which has lured John Ridley back to comics after many years spent doing casual things like winning Oscars for 12 Years a Slave. Ridley will be reteaming with Georges Jeanty as the team bring back their series The American Way, which will be celebrating its ten year anniversary in 2017. The new miniseries will return to their hero The American as he navigates the paranoid times of the 1970s, and a government intent on using him for their own ends. The original miniseries will also be reprinted as part of the deal.
Speaking of reprints, Jason Latour came onstage at an Image Comics panel (as reported on by some enigmatic stranger) to announce that Loose Ends, his four-issue crime series with Chris Brunner and Rico Renzi, will be coming to print with the company next year.
The success of Black, which saw its first issue published last week, spurred a lot of talk at NYCC. It’s also partially inspired artist Jamal Igle to announce this week via press release that he’ll be leaving his behind-the-scenes role at Action Lab Comics in order to focus more on his creator-owned comics and creative pursuits. That’ll include more Molly Danger as well as the continuing work on Black with Kwanza Osajyefo, Khary Randolph and the rest of the team.
And finally, separate from NYCC, Janelle Asselin --- a former editor at ComicsAlliance --- took to her Patreon page to blog about the work of Rosy Press, the publisher she set up that homes the anthology Fresh Romance. She sadly reports that due to a combination of factors the publisher will be shuttering for the time being, although she has hopes of returning in order to complete the originally-planned run. She also says she’ll be stepping away from comics, and as somebody who got to work with Janelle and respects her hugely, I want to wish her all the best, and hope for her continuing happiness in whatever she chooses moving forward.
A fair few festivals are taking place this weekend, almost as a rejoinder to the mainstream maininess of NYCC. Going on right now is Cartoon Crossroads Columbus, with Stan Sakai, Raina Telgemeier, Ron Wimberly, and a highly impressive list of cartoonists. This is the festival assembled by people including Jeff Smith and Tom Spurgeon, and it takes heavy advantage of the growing comics presence in Columbus nowadays. Spread across several areas, including the Billy Ireland Museum and the local college, it’s a growing, promising event.
Entertainingly, the British equivalent of CXC just so happens to be taking place this year on exactly the same weekend. The Lakes Arts Festival is held in Kendal, England. Again, it’s a comics event that takes over the town for the weekend, dominating the windows of every shop, spreading through the local library and town hall, and featuring folks like Bryan Lee O’Malley, Duncan Fegredo, and Isabel Greenberg. There’s also going to be a debate on whether Tintin is better than Asterix, which should be a short chat because he objectively is. (Editor's note: He isn't.)
Stepping a little further to the near future, there’s also the Brisbane Convention of Alternative Press (BCAP), which will be showing off comics from all across Australia’s burgeoning and developing alternative comics scene. That one’s taking place during the week of the 23rd October!
It’s the 199.99th episode of Silence! Wait, that’s not the episode number we’re usually meant to celebrate. But 199.99 episodes is a wholly impressive number for the assorted people and galactic entities who make up the strangest podcast about comics you could imagine. Championed by mask-wearing aficionados like Al Ewing and Kieron Gillen, it’s a sprawling chat about any and all comics that come to hand, and it heads down some really funny nooks. Ahead of their 200th --- being held live in London --- why not take this as your 199.99th chance to try it out?
Have you been reading Charlotte Finn’s series on Preacher, unfolding right here on ComicsAlliance? It’s fantastic stuff --- the sort of writing about comics I’d love to see more of, with each new installment continuing across to the next arc of the series. This is perfect reading for those long fascinating nights when all you want is to curl up in the sand and read about comics.
I liked reading Megan Purdy’s take on Step Aside, Pops, largely because I found the anthology to be a poorly-collected mess that lost the coherency of Kate Beaton’s comedic voice. As Purdy points out, the strips are thrown together seemingly at random, which dulls any sense of progression from her work. Not everybody is happy to criticise the "big names" of comics, and it’s always incredibly interesting when somebody smartly puts their opinion together and sends it fluttering out into the public eye.
Ray Sonne takes to Comics Bulletin for a uniquely Ray Sonne piece on Enigma, the Vertigo series that has seriously influenced many of the biggest names in comics, and continues to inspire and influence to this day. Her take is absolutely terrific, but is wrapped up in a sense of romance that... when you read the piece, you’ll understand why. Sonne is a sparkling writer, and you can sense the twinkle in her eye as you read her article.
Jackie Ormes has been honored by her hometown of Monongahela, Pennsylvania with a historical marker, which notes her position as the first syndicated black cartoonist. The creator of Torchy Brown, her work was seen by readers throughout the 1930s and 40s. Although she passed away in 1985, her huge contribution to the comics medium will never be forgotten --- and this historical marker is another reminder of her remarkable life.
Have a great weekend, everybody!
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