Weekender: Gaspar Saladino, ‘One of My Kind’, And This Is Not Fine
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!
Todd Klein reported yesterday the news that Gaspar Saladino, a legendary designer and letterer whose work at DC --- all delivered by hand --- helped define the publisher's style, has passed away at the age of 88. He designed covers for the company for decades, and created many of the adverts that ran in the pages of the stories --- in the process designing logos that have remained in use to this day. Having your first-ever comics work with Carmine Infantino is one thing, but Saladino’s calligraphy marked some of the most famous and well-remembered stories in comics history.
He remained in comics for most of his life --- you know the scratchy text style they use now for Joker’s dialogue? Saladino, letterer for Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, was the man who brought it to the page. His 50-year career never saw him stop for one moment --- he was constantly delivering kinetic, vibrant, energetic work. To read more about Saladino’s work and legacy, this profile on Dial B for Blog offers quite the story.
The Virginia Library Association, or VLA, this week announced the winners for the first-ever Graphic Novel Diversity Awards. Presented, predictably enough, to a graphic novel that presents diversity within the medium, this first year saw awards to comics in two categories. The first was for adult work, which went to Bitch Planet over at Image, by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine de Landro. The second was for ‘youth’ or all-ages work, which went to March Book 2, from Rep John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell. Among the other books recognised on the shortlists were Virgil, Princeless, and The Infinite Loop.
Speaking of March, this Wednesday saw the third volume of the Top Shelf series out in print, and Heidi Mac caught that the three volumes now take up residence within the top four books on Amazon. The other book, of course, being the newest Harry Potter. It’s a pretty clear sign that the March series has really caught on with a wide audience, and rightly so.
In Cambridge, America, July 28th was Vernon E. Grant Day. A Captain who served in the army, Grant’s career saw him make three tours of Japan in the 1960s, where he learned about manga. A keen cartoonist, he came back to America and brought the style back with him as the first American artist to introduce concepts like kaiju to the country. Grant was a pioneer for comics, and it’s absolutely wonderful to see his work and career recognised in this way.
Small Press Expo is coming up, and you can take a look at some of the people who will be attending right now, as the guest list has been posted on their site. It’s everyone you’d expect and hope to see at the festival, including Clowes, Sacco, Los Bros, and Trina Robbins. The festival also sees an animated, strobing, eye-scalding poster from Jim Woodring, which you can see here. The festival will be held September 17-18 in Bethseda, Maryland, which also coincides with the 40th anniversary of Fantagraphics.
And with an eye to next year, TCAF 2017 has opened up exhibitor applications for next May’s event. If you want to visit Toronto for one of the biggest arts festivals on the calendar, then head to the site and take a look. The festival is looking in particular for people who have plans to release new work in 2017, or who were not around for this year’s festival. The aim is to share the experience for as many different creators as possible.
NEW AND UPCOMING COMICS
The zine OOMK (short for “One Of My Kind”) caught my attention, with issue #5 coming soon to their online store. Based in London, this is the creation of Sofia Niazi, Rose Nordin, Heiba Lamara and Sabba Khan, who say they wanted to assemble a zine that “pivots upon the imaginations, creativity and spirituality of women.”
This issue will be themed around "collecting," looking into what fuels the collector’s mindset, and "what we want to gather, what we want to hold onto and what we want to leave behind." I'm quoting them a lot here, but that’s because they put things into words so nicely. It looks like this’ll really be a fun piece, assembling an impressive lineup of creators.
This July, cartoonist Vanessa Davis debuted a new column as part of The Paris Review, in which she posts about whatever's taking her interest. Typically, it’s an esoteric biography, pulling at threads from her past as well as her present to tell interesting, quirky shorts that head in silly, compelling directions. Her second column, posted early last week, talks about her dad, drawing a near comparison between his life and her own.
Hey --- there’s a new one from David Hine and Shaky Kane coming soon! Cowboys & Insects will be here later this month, the newest work from them since the much-discussed The Bulletproof Coffin: Disinterred of a few years back. For this one, we’re in the 1950s, where the nuclear testing going on at the time has an unexpected effect: it turns the insects in the area into, uh, cowboys? Yeah, this is going to be a fun one. It’ll be published by Floating World Comics, following a digital release on Aces Weekly a few years back.
Andrea Tsurumi comes to the Virtual Memory podcast to talk about her newest work --- one that has helped her make her name as one of the most impressive cartoonists around. That’d be Why Would You Do That?, from Hic & Hoc Publications, which was published earlier this year.
On the show she talks about the comics inside, as well as her sense of humor, which is a huge part of what sells the comics as something different. Looking at the backlog of episodes there seems to be a particularly fine string of guests in recent weeks. That’s a podcast to catch up on!
The “Young Animal” imprint at DC sees Gerard Way essentially put in charge of his own mini-line of comics, merging Vertigo concepts with new ideas and titles. As writer for some of the books himself --- along with Jon Rivera --- it seems like this could be just the shot in the arm that DC needs. But, hey, it’s hard to tell sometimes just how corporate or free-spirited a venture like this may be, which is why I enjoyed this interview by Alexander Lu with the two writers over on The Beat. It looks like there’s some new thinking going on.
Comics creators kinda put critics to shame this week, with a series of process-focused essays and articles across the internet. Jim Zub took to ComicsAlliance to go into minute detail on his new Image series Glitterbomb, with Djibril Morissett-Phan, K. Michael Russell, and Marshall Dillon. In the piece, he shares script, roughs, line art, colored pages, and lettering for the same section within the comic. In the process, you can see the way that the team turned a blank page into a story, and then a narrative.
Meanwhile, Kuš brings GG in to talk comics as part of the recurring 'Behind the Comics' series. It’s a fantastically visual piece, which sees her sharing multiple images of her workspace, expanding artistic development, and process, as she goes in depth on her story "Gaijin Mangaka."
And then there’s Ron Wimberly, whose writing I seem to share every other week in this column. He tends to take sight of trends and thoughts that need to be reevaluated, before breaking them down into what’s actually important. In his latest, he talks about a recent attempt to create a #BlackHeroesMatter movement in comics, and why he follows the logic, but can’t agree with it.
Comics critics were still out in force, though, writing pieces on all kinds of comics. This one from Joe McCulloch, herald of The Comics Journal, was a great example. He reviews Kramers Ergot 9, whipping through the various pieces in the project at a sharp, focused pace, raising up the aspects that deserve merit and slapping away at the pieces that don’t work out well. McCulloch is one of the best reviewers of comics, and he tends to choose --- or be assigned, perhaps --- continually interesting projects to write about.
This was the week that The Good Boy, commonly known online as the “this is fine dog”, finally snapped and realized that nothing was fine anymore. Everything is doomed, and there’s fires burning everywhere, oh god, oh god, agh.
But creator KC Green surely can’t be sharing that sentiment, because a Kickstarter to produce a cuddly toy version of the character (which we wrote about earlier this week) has absolutely dominated the funding goal. He was looking for $35,000... and two days later, at the time of writing, he’s already hit well over $250,000. Now there’s a great boy.
Have a great weekend, everybody!
Have a tip you’d like to share for Weekender? Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org!