Weekender: Mare Odomo, ‘Performance’, And Calling Cthulhu
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 Ignatz Awards nominees for 2016 have been announced. The awards take place at Small Press Expo in Bethseda, Maryland, this September. The winners are voted on by festival attendees, and the categories include nods for mini-comics, webcomics, and graphic novels. That outstanding artist category tends to be the fiercest fought, and this year one of Daniel Clowes, Ryan Heshka, Kevin Huizenga, Noah Van Sciver or Tillie Walden will take home the prize.
The awards are sometimes a little too insular, with judges voting for their friends (or themselves, in Frank Cho’s case), but this seems a varied, interesting mix of work. Quite excitingly, there are a lot of comics represented here that will hopefully be familiar to ComicsAlliance readers, as several Back Pages interviewees appear --- as well as a number of projects that we've featured on Weekender. So that’s nice too. The judges this year were Tony Breed, Summer Pierre, Keiler Roberts, C. Spike Trotman and J.T. Yost.
IDW announced plans to print new collections of Berkeley Breathed's Bloom County for the first time in a quarter-century. After several runs in past decades, the series returned unexpectedly last year, and Bloom County Episode XI: A New Hope will collect together the new stories into one place.
Set in a small town, the series offers a fanciful opportunity for Breathed to write surprisingly political works, filling his stories with commentary, satire, and bite. Considering the cast is largely made up of talking animals and children, the series prided itself on managing to stay topical --- which may in fact be why it returned last year. A running character for the series in the '80s was Donald Trump, strangely enough, who now has an equally surprising resurgence in public attention even as we speak. One thing seemingly led to another, and now Bloom County is back.
As Bloom County blossoms, the Image series Invincible by Robert Kirkman, Ryan Ottley and Cory Walker will soon come to an end. Writer Kirkman announced that the long-running superhero story, which uses the genre to head in some graphic, shocking directions, will end with issue #144.
The series has been going for a really long time, noticeably seeing Kirkman go from being the go-to speaker on creator-owned rights to being Image’s embodiment of work-for-hire content. Perhaps that’s too deep a tangent, but Kirkman’s vocal path from creator-owned prophet to the man sued by his The Walking Dead co-creator for not paying out royalties has been a major part of his time within the industry. Invincible has managed to steer a path as notable as Kirkman’s other properties, being a long-running Image series that stands by Spawn as one of the publisher’s most successful forays into superhero narratives.
Columbus College has announced a comics major, which will start next year, as detailed by Laurenn McCubbin on her blog here. Entitled "Comics & Narrative Practice," the program will give students an opportunity to work alongside published comics-makers, and learn the craft of the medium. This follows similar programs at other colleges and universities round the world --- Dan Berry and Fionnuala Doran both lecture in comics in the UK, for example.
And hey, somewhat on the same train of thought, Melanie Gillman has compiled a list of active comics grants, fellowships and residencies. Take a look at them here!
This week has seen a back-and-forth saga on reports that a gun seller would be exhibiting at this weekend's Wizard World show in Chicago. Initial reports indicated that guns would be sold at the show, but it later emerged that only replicas would be available. Tom Spurgeon provided one of the first and most comprehensive write-ups on the story, and the latest indication from the Chicago Tribute is that the exhibitor has been removed from the show floor.
Sure, people do walk around conventions holding replica guns, and weapons of all kinds. But America (not to single the country out or anything, y’know) has a pretty major gun control issue right now. Several comics-creators have stated that they will not attend conventions where guns sellers have a presence.
On better terms, here’s a report from Joe Gordon over at Forbidden Planet’s blog, writing on the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Part of the Fringe Festival, the Book Fest had a big comics spotlight a few years back, before dialling that down somewhat. There’s still plenty of comics creators and projects around the city during the festival, though, and Joe’s report here centres on Edward Ross, and paints a tight, focused scene.
NEW AND UPCOMING COMICS
Two projects at crowdfunding sites this week. Indiegogo thrills as the home for One Beat Zines, and the new anthology Performance. Featuring work from creatives like Julia Scheele, Sarah Broadhurst, and Hannah K. Chapman, the conceit of the anthology lies with stories themed around gender, performance, and performativity. We’ve featured One Beat before on Weekender, and for good reason --- there’s a level of homespun quality in these projects and collections, matching the all-in nature of zines to highly-choreographed and smart themes.
Performance is currently running at around halfway to funding, with two weeks to go. Head on over, take a look at what they have to offer.
Meanwhile, Kickstarter is the host for Kilgore Books & Comics, a publisher striding from a retailing background in Denver. Having put out books by people including Box Brown, Amara Leipzig, and Noah Van Sciver, the team is now looking to expand further and match the four comics they released last Spring with another three comics this Autumn. Van Sciver is amongst them, with the latest issue of his series Blammo; and he’s joined by Emi Gennis’ The Plunge, about the first woman to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel and live. Then there’s Simon Moreton, whose newest is called What Happened.
Panels ran a list of 30 black comics creators you should know, sending people flooding to the comments section to go “you forgot about this person!” And y’know, that’s a list that could now be four times as long with no lack for quality. The lesson here is that people are out there making comics, and it’s our ability to want to find them, enjoy them, and share them that’s lacking --- not the passion and drive and sheer quantity of writers and artists themselves. Hurray for any list that can mention new names and familiar names, and make you want to read books by everyone listed, as Troy Wiggins manages here.
I was waiting for more people to go in-depth on Insexts, the spotlight-stealing centrepiece of AfterShock Comics. Writer Marguerite Bennett and artist Ariela Kristantina seemed to come at this with verve and passion, excited to be doing creator-owned work, and happy to let that shine through on the page. It’s a comic that deserves to be written about more, and after our own Elle Collins' great review last week, Elizabeth Brei’s piece at WomenWriteAboutComics is an excellent follow-up. With an eye to how the book threads queerness into the context and subtext of everything the central characters go through, she offers a thorough look at this highly promising series.
Annie Mok, whose interview series at The Comics Journal is running at an unstoppable clip right now, spoke with Maré Odomo last week. These are big questions, matched with lengthy answers --- the sign of an interviewer and interviewees running in synchronicity. Mok is able to build pace, where each question leads from the last, and sets up almost a nervous energy in the reader. You get sucked into the story of the interview incredibly quickly, thrown forward like you’re on a rogue tide, until you sprint to shore. And, uh, it makes you write somewhat awkward metaphor, I guess.
And here’s an interview with Trevor Von Eeden, who has spent the last couple of years really delivering detailed, long-form interviews at a number of sites. This time he’s at Comics Creator News, bringing his fascinating signature style to a conversation with Ramon Gil.
Fred Van Lente is currently writing a series called Weird Detective, featuring a somewhat monstrous private eye whose true name dares not to be revealed. Because, if you do mention it? You’ll only go and get it wrong.
Have a great weekend, everybody!
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