Weekender: Rina Ayuyang, 2dcloud, And Apes Ripping Heads Off
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!
At the start of 2015 we first heard about VATMOSS, the term given to the “VAT Mini One-Stop Shop” EU Regulation. Designed to stop tax-dodging from major corporations (which it did not do), VATMOSS instead had an opposite effect: it broke the back of cartoonists who primarily made their money online. The idea was that if someone sold digital services, they had to charge the client VAT based on where they used the service --- but it also meant that those retailers then had to pay VAT on everything they sold. On top of that, the administrative side of making sure you were registered was a nightmare.
VATMOSS was a disaster, and many people involved with digital comics simply decided to close up shop rather than get involved in a system that was impossible for them to keep up with. However, good news has apparently come through this week, as the EU has announced reforms to VATMOSS, including a €10,000 threshold for retailers, which could fix some of the problems --- and get online stores back in action. Heather Burns at WebDevLaw explains things more clearly than I can, but we’re going to look into this further and see where this might leave people once the proposed reforms come together in 2018.
Oh, but uh, that upcoming Brexit means things will likely remain difficult for cartoonists based in the UK.
Outside of the EU, IDW has announced a new imprint this week called Woodworks --- named after their VP of marketing Dirk Wood, who’ll be the creative director. With a new office opening up in (where else) Portland, the plan is for Woodworks to print a high-end magazine that will feature commentary and discussion on comics and other culture. Keep an eye out for more from that side of IDW, which has spent spent 2016 seriously diversifying its interests.
First Second announced its next wave of graphic novels across a series of websites this week. The publisher routinely puts out fascinating comics, and the fall 2017 line sees work from Tillie Walden (who apparently never sleeps), Ben Hatke, and Gene Luen Yang. Check out a full rundown here on ComicsAlliance.
Fantagraphics has also been busy, announcing a new interconnected series of comics featuring superhero characters, and some of the last work of the late Herb Trimpe. The artists on the books will vary wildly, it’s promised, but it seems that writer Josh Bayer will stick around for each issue.
Over in good ol’ Australia, this weekend sees the Women in Comics Festival take place in Melbourne, with guests including Savannah Ganucheau, Mandy Rex, and guest of honor Hope Larson. There’ll also be several local comics creators exhibiting across the two days, along with panels, workshops, and more. It sounds brilliant!
Here’s the press release for MOCCA 2017, which offers a lineup including Blutch, Cliff Chiang, and Becky Cloonan, among others. Taking place April 1-2 at Metropolitan West in New York City, the festival is run by the Society of Illustrators, and is set to host over 400 exhibitors next year. Applications for exhibitors are currently open --- but will close on 31 December, so there’s not much time to get in!
Oh, and speaking of exhibitor applications, CAKE over in Chicago has opened up its application form for next June’s event, held at the Center on Halsted. This deadline is even closer, as you’ll need to get your application in by the 12th December to be considered for the 2017 festival.
The latest edition of Process Party, hosted by Zack Soto and Mike Dawson, features Rina Ayuyang as the guest. The show has been breaking itself in over the last few episodes, and seems to be settling into a more confident, put-together format, as the trio talk about composition, conventioning, and comics creation in general. Ayuyang is best known for her comics with Yam Books, as well as her Ignatz Award-nominated comic Whirlwind Wonderland.
NEW AND UPCOMING COMICS
2dcloud is back with a new Kickstarter, seeking to set up a slate of comics featuring work from Kim Jooha, Tommi Parrish, and Carta Monir, amongst several others. It seems sure that the current political atmosphere has really spurred on the publisher this time round: the Kickstarter opens with a short essay filled with fire. If that’s the tone for the various comics and projects they have in mind for this next wave of publications, we’re in for something really special here.
The Nib revived itself a short while back, and has been publishing some terrific comics. Perhaps it’s my personal bias in finding the Great Barrier Reef an utterly fascinating part of the world, but I thought Kate Moon’s comic about its slow death was totally engrossing. Collecting segments from interviews along with factual statistics from this past year, Moon explores how 2016 saw unprecedented decay and "coral bleaching" caused by increasing temperatures. 30,000 square miles have been recorded as lost so far --- an area the size of South Carolina. A distressing thought in a well-structured piece from Moon.
Terry Moore's next project is Motor Girl, and I really enjoyed this interview over on CBR with Michael C. Lorah. Rather than the question-answer format that folks like myself usually employ, Lorah mixes the whole thing together for a newspaper-style profile piece that gives a little more atmosphere and context to Moore’s answers and thought process.
The Comics Journal seem to race through more interview pieces than any other site on the internet, and some of them are total belters. This week a belter emerges from Alex Dueben, who was given the golden interview offering of Kerascoët, whose comic Beautiful Darkness still rises into my memory to terrify and disturb at 4am on random mornings. Among other things, there’s mention of the fact that they’re currently working on a project with Malala, which promises to be a very exciting collaboration.
Here’s a Facebook group doing the good work. Fans For Accessible Conventions have been crowdsourcing ideas and constructive feedback for comic conventions in order to make their events more accessible for everybody. Whenever I speak to convention organizers, this topic comes up as one of the big issues they want resolved --- of course everybody wants their show floor to be accessible --- but it’s also a question that can be extremely difficult to solve, especially when the organizers don’t have much experience to bring to the table.
This group has been running ideas on what should be fixed and how it could practically be fixed. If that’s a topic you could contribute to as well, or if you run a convention and want some advice, then head on over and have a look!
Have a great weekend, everybody!
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