Weekender: Indigenous Comic-Con, ‘Silly Kingdom’, and Luke Pearson’s Nice Neat Studio
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!
The first-ever Indigenous Comic-Con will launch later this year in Alburquerque, New Mexico. Directed by Laguna Pueblo member Dr. Lee Francis IV, the convention takes place in November, and guests include Arigon Starr, the creator of Super Indian Comics, and artiist Jeffrey Veregge. Francis says one focus of the convention is “Indigenous Futurism,” the idea that Native people are a part of contemporary and future society. Comics have a tendency to fall into stereotypes of how indigenous people look and act, and the industry needs to accept that Native people not only have a past; but also a present and a future.
The convention is an example of the rising numbers of conventions around the U.S. and the rest of the world that reflect particular themes, topics, people, and aspirations. I hope the Indigenous Comic-Con becomes a recurring feature on the comics calendar.
Crunchyroll report every other day on new adaptations, publications, and releases, but here’s one that sounds particularly fun: Kase-san and… , a yuri Manga by Hiromi Takashima, is coming to print in America courtesy of Seven Seas Entertainment. Each volume stands alone --- or can be read as an ongoing sequence, should you prefer --- and tells the story of a young romance that develops between Yamada and Kase-San, a flower-loving romantic and the school’s track and field star. Despite their differences, the two girls find they’re making a real connection. The first volume, Kase-san and Morning Glories, will be released in America in February 2017.
Cartoonist Geneviève Castrée, best known for work including 2013’s Susceptible at Drawn & Quarterly, as well as a range of comics for l'Oie de Cravan, has been diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer. She and her family have posted a GoFundMe campaign this week that discusses the diagnosis and their hopes to raise $250,000 to help protect their household and start covering medical costs. As of this writing the pledges exceed $120,000. Anything you could donate would be wonderful.
What’s coming up soon, then? We have CAKE on the horizon --- the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo. Sure, it’s not a perfect acronym, but sometimes you have to just take your CAKE and eat it. 2016’s Expo takes place the weekend of June 11-12th, and the website has been ramping up excitement for the event with the announcement of guests Cathy G. Johnson, Trina Robbins, and Koyama Press, and panel line-up that appears to be an all-consuming fire of comics power. Sounds like a great event for anybody in Chicago!
The Small Press Expo has a section called the Zine Pavilion, which has been proudly running for five years now. Held in Orlando, Florida, this year’s Zine Pavilion just put out the call for submissions. If you’d like to have your zine included, send it over! It feels a little like a “for exposure!!” sort of deal, but it should be a brilliant and worthwhile thing for zine-makers to do. Any and all things zine-ish can be found on their Tumblr page.
Hoopla! And Tom Spurgeon has updated and re-released his top tips for making it at San Diego Comic-Con --- from pre-convention prep through to the ‘half day strategy’ that forms the core of his approach to conventions. He’s sure been to a load of them, it makes sense to catch up on his advice!
NEW AND UPCOMING COMICS
In news that manages the rare distinction of being both lush and tidy, Peow Studios stole the internet this week with the pre-release of Wrecked Hearts by Mathilde Kitteh & Luca Oliveri. Gloss is the word, both literally, in the way the book is printed, but also in terms of the two stories that make up the book, set in sexy shiny outer-space. Wrecked Hearts will be available later this month through the Peow shop.
It’s been on my radar for a while, but here’s a chance for us all to admire Silly Kingdom, which is a heroically funny (and yes, silly) piece of work from Katie and Steven Shanahan. Katie draws and Steven scripts the webcomic, which has been running since March this year. A new, unicorn-heavy story started only a few days ago, about an olde time castle and the people who live within, running around and getting into trouble. Mostly, though, it’s a showcase for Katie Shanahan’s cartooning, which is wonderful stuff. With a smart sense of when to balance and when to exaggerate for comic effect, her characters and world have a sense of magic flowing through each and every panel.
Everyone’s been talking about Colin Stokes’ article in The New Yorker, exploring the creation of the illustrated stories of Frog and Toad, familiar to endless scores of young readers. Discussing the appeal and sustained joy of the series by Arnold Lobel, Stokes speaks to the author’s daughter and explores the connection between the frog and toad themselves, same-sex friends who truly love each other, and Lobel’s own life as a gay man who came out four years after the first story was published. The article captures the feel of the stories for you just through the life Lobel lived. It's a wonderful piece of writing that tells a poignant but memorable story that gets to the real life feelings that inspired it and made it immortal.
Decidedly wonderful internet presence J. A. Micheline continued her series of Patreon-supported articles this week, talking about an issue that has been a sustained presence online over the last few days: criticism. Looking personally at the growing issue of reaction to criticism from marginalized groups of writers by those making comics, she eloquently discusses the misrepresentation that tries to “disprove” the thoughts and critique of those who want to seek a fairer, more understanding comics industry. Listening sounds like an easy thing to do, but it’s tough, and it has to be sustained if it’s going to be anything but a pointless exercise. In a week where listening has seemingly been beyond a lot of people in the comics industry, it’s reassuring to have somebody like JAM calmly, smoothly, evenly discussing and analysing what forces are at work here --- and why.
If you want more of her writing, and of course we all do because she brilliant, you can support her through Patreon here.
The Big Bang is a comic shop in Ireland that has gained a reputation for being approachable, friendly, and open. Not just, y’know, that the front door is open, but also that owner John Hendricks is a smart and open person who once a week takes to Twitter to discuss which comics sold for him, which ones didn’t, and why. He’s also the subject of a podcast interview over on Sktchd this week with David Harper, which is well worth listening along to.
From last year, but I only saw it today and wanted to share: here’s a profile of the work of Jake Green, who headed round the world to see different children’s illustrators at their studios. It’s fun to see Luke Pearson (the Hilda series) show up among them as the lone image of cleanliness in a sea of mess and clutter and mess and stains and mess. Mess seeks the illustrators, it seems. They’re nice images --- these are the homes of the people who create some of the most indelible memories for growing children --- and I enjoyed taking the tour.
Have a great weekend, everybody!