Weekender: Kazimir Lee, Limerence Press & Grand Master Mignola
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!
The big news for the week was Oni’s announcement of an Ari Yarwood-headed imprint called Limerence Press, which is looking to publish sex-positive and educational comics. Since arriving at Oni Press, Yarwood has been an advocate for female-friendly and queer comics and creators at the company, and this seems to be tying together several of her passions into one place.
Limerence’s focus on erotica and sex-ed comics will begin with the publication of the first three volumes of Oh Joy Sex Toy, the ongoing webcomic from Erika Moen and Matthew Nolan. The first two are getting republished through Limerence, while the third volume will come to Limerence-assisted-print at the culmination of a current Kickstarter campaign, which has already completely blasted beyond the target. No further books are yet announced, although Oni doesn’t put out too many books at once, and we're promised more announcements this summer.
We’re fully in the age of Gene Luen Yang, who this week announced that he’ll be returning to FirstSecond in 2018 for a graphic novel that he’ll both write and draw. Dragon Hoops retells the events of Oakland’s Bishop O’Dowd High School’s boys basketball team in 2015, following several of the boys through their personal and athletic lives. It’s a seemingly completely random topic for him to create a story around, until you realize that Yang used to be one of the teachers at the high school, where he taught computer science for 20-odd years. I have no idea what to expect from the completed project, but it’s certainly one worth keeping an eye on.
This week ComiXology has a big sale on books featuring the work of Darwyn Cooke --- including the rightfully acclaimed New Frontier and Parker, in which he showed his complete mastery of the form. It comes as sad news to hear that Cooke has recently been treated for a bout of "aggressive cancer", for which he is now receiving palliative care. Cooke is an iconic artist --- and I used the much-overused term literally, as his work is genuinely iconic --- and he has created the defining visions of many of the most famous and popular characters in the history of comics. Our thoughts are with Cooke and his family during this difficult time.
The newest Humble Bundle is one centered on Garth Ennis’ work over at Dynamite --- mainly comprised of The Boys, which no doubt we’ll see optioned for TV any day now. Ennis has managed to create a whole subgenre of comics that are hazily cast around all his general interests, and this Bundle curates a lot of his more recent, lesser read, and therefore somewhat intriguing work.
Heidi Mac notes that this year’s Ignatz awards have opened for submission, celebrating the best in studio comics and self-published work. You have to send over six copies of your work if you want to be considered for the awards, which will be given out this year (as ever) at the Small Press Expo in Maryland. The deadline for submissions is June 7th so ---- considering they’re asking you to physically post them your work --- best get your comics across now if you want to be involved!
Spectrum held its annual awards for sci-fi this week, recognizing art and comics in several categories. Of most note though was the naming of Mike Mignola as this year’s Grand Master. Firstly, that’s notable because ‘Grand Master’ is an awesome thing to call somebody, but secondly, because he joins a very short (all-male) list of artists including his frequent collaborator Richard Corben. The award is shaped like a naked woman holding a skull so, uh, get that on your mantlepiece?
If you enjoy arts festivals then this week has you in clover, as the East London Comics Arts Festival (ELCAF) launched for 2016, going for three days as opposed to the typical two. All the publishers you might expect will be there, including Avery Hill, Myriad and Jonathan Cape, with a line-up which includes Dilraj Mann, Rachael Smith, Paul Paetzel (whose art we featured at the top of the page), and more at the fifth annual event this June.
TCAF has made some impressive announcements ahead of this weekend’s festival, as it has unveiled a Masonic temple (!) as one of the hosting venues. Running 14-15th May, TCAF 2016 has a line-up that includes Boulet, Kate Beaton, Lisa Hanawalt, and Raina Telgemeier.
I enjoyed this lengthy piece on Seven Day, a Vermont-based blog, which profiles cartoonist Kazimir Lee. Lee’s work was new to me, but the piece goes into detail about what he’s put into his career as an artist, making this a must-read to see the heart and soul that every artist puts into their craft. One of Lee’s pieces was featured on Slate last year, so you can get a look at his style right here.
David Harper is back for one of his long-form pieces on Sktchd this week, this time focusing on the topic of comics piracy. He notes that a number of higher-quality websites have set up over the last few years, each offering a professional looking experience that allows users to kid themselves that they're not doing anything illegal by pirating comics. The article offers a lot of perspective into the world of piracy, and no easy answers.
Artist Christopher Peterson, whose work you may have seen at a variety of places including the Grindhouse comics by Alex de Campi over at Dark Horse, is raising money to have his Cintiq repaired. The device is his means of work, and having it out of action damages his career and momentum on any and all projects he's working on. If you’ve enjoyed his work and can help, go pledge some money!
Have a great weekend, everybody!