Weekender: ‘Henchgirl’, Shinji Tsuchimochi, and Karaoke at Papa John’s
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!
EVENTS AND AWARDS
The year’s ramping up, which means we’re still at a point of set-up rather than being right in the thick of a whole forest of comics news. It also means that the industry is now preparing its myriad awards. The Eisners opened up for submissions last week, for example, and have followed it up this week by announcing the first half of the Hall of Fame inductees for 2017. The Eisner judges typically choose two inductees ahead of time, and two more are selected by the voters from a shortlist --- but with this year being Will Eisner’s centenary, the organizers have decided to double up.
That means Wonder Woman co-creator H.G.Peter, Spy Vs Spy creator Antonio Prohías, legendary cartoonist Dori Seda, and multitalented artist Milt Gross have been automatically selected to enter the Hall of Fame at this year’s ceremony, while voters will chose from talent including Los Bros Hernandez, Walt Simonson, and Jackie Ormes. See the full list here.
Meanwhile, we have a slew of other awards now open for submissions and entrants, including Slate’s fifth annual Cartoonist Studio Prize. Each year Slate offer a $1,000 prize to two winners, which has in the past recognized talents including Noelle Stevenson and Boulet. Anybody can submit their work for consideration into the two separate categories: Print Comic of the Year and Web Comic of the Year. The winners will be announced in April. Head over here to take a look.
A month back or so, Weekender featured the illustration work of Shinji Tsuchimochi, who spent three years creating a collection of images called "100 Views of Tokyo." Following that, I was contacted by Anne, the director of a series of videos spotlighting Japanese creative talents as they guide viewers through the places that inspire them. Tsuchimochi happens to be one of the most recent featured talents in the series, and it’s delightful to watch him walk through Shitamachi, talking about his interests, inspirations and guides. I had to share it!
Kristen Gudsnuk has recently completed her three-year webcomic Henchgirl, which first came to life in Summer 2013. The story --- set in a town once famous for it’s pancakes, and still faintly obsessed with them --- sees a world where heroes and villains run amok, fighting one another in a constant battle for supremacy. Into this strolls Mary Posa, a mostly lazy girl who comes from a strong line of great superheroes. Only… Mary’s a villain, when she can be bothered to be anything, and the series follows her through her daytime life and her extracurricular activities at night.
It’s a really funny webcomic, spiralling off into tangents in order to give greater illumination to the roster of engaging, likeable characters. You can also see Gudsnuk improving as a cartoonist as the story moves forward, and it’ll be interesting to see where she heads next --- more stories set in this world, or perhaps something entirely new and different?
And here’s one from artist Miranda Harmony, recounting a magical moment at MICE last year that illustrates just how wondrous it is to enter a Papa Johns. God bless you, employee of Papa Johns. You are truly the finest of us all.
Ardo Omer has arrived at Slate, and her first piece looks at a comics adaptation of Octavia Butler’s Kindred, by Damian Duffy and illustrator John Jennings. Taking the original story and bringing it to the comics medium changes the experience of the narrative, and Omer explores how the visceral nature of the artwork creates a jolt of shock that contrasts with the relative complacency people feel today, especially around the topic of slavery. Culture has almost created a rose-tinted security blanket that shields us from the real-life, real-world grotesquery of what actually happened to people. Omer handles her analysis deftly as always, creating a vivid portrait of what sounds like a thoroughly compelling piece of work.
Jen Bartel wrote a sizeable response to an aspiring artist on Twitter who asked for advice on how you make that leap from hobbyist through to full-time freelance illustrator. Bartel goes through her own path as occasional illustrator towards finding a path into comics, which has only grown over the last year or so. It’s especially of note that she says it was only when she stepped away from her occasional gigs and chose to do some pieces for herself --- focusing on things that interested her rather than taking on paid gigs that didn’t represent the type of artist she wanted to be --- that things picked up. And on that note, it’s only fair that I also link to Bartel’s new-look digital store!
Finally, the introduction of a trans character in Detective Comics makes this piece from Arnar Heidmar especially timely. Heidmar looks at several comics that have introduced trans characters either in positive ways or in ways that felt reductive. It’s a fascinating piece, and one with plenty to take away.
Longtime readers of Weekender and ComicsAlliance know that Neill Cameron is basically a comics superhero himself, an all-ages writer and artist who has produced brilliantly energetic work including Mega Robo-Bros and The Pirates of Pangaea. As we covered earlier this week, he’s started up a new project designed to help people discover their inner creative spark, in the form of Comics Club.
Starting off by posting a number of weekly "challenges" via the new website set up for the club, the project is planned to open up over time to give advice on how to make comics; how to share your comics passions; and most importantly how to encourage younger readers to discover their inner artist.
Have a great weekend, everybody!