Weekender: Nilah Magruder, Atomic Junk Shop, And Our Feminist Agenda
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 comics industry remembers Steve DIllon, who has passed away in New York at the age of 54. The artist was responsible for a new approach to storytelling that rippled through British and then American comics as he influenced generations of artists --- from his contemporaries through to new talent entering the industry now. Best known as the co-creator of Preacher, he also had memorable runs on several other comics, including Judge Dredd and The Punisher. Much of his work was with frequent collaborator Garth Ennis, who shared a cynical narrative style that played out like fireworks between the pair whenever they worked together.
In years to come, Dillon's work will only appreciate in admiration. He was working on comics right up until the day of his death. His family have asked that any donations be made to the Hero Initiative.
Insight Editions has announced plans for a series of graphic novels in 2017, which most notably includes a print collection of Nilah Magruder’s award-winning M.F.K.. First published as a webcomic, the story will come to print as the first book of the line. Eleven other comics will join the book, with a mix of European and Japanese works promised in the line-up --- along with some video game tie-ins.
A few weeks ago The Walking Dead artist Charlie Adlard was announced as the new comics laureate in the UK, succeeding Dave Gibbons in the role. His first push has been to tell everybody he doesn’t like the term “graphic novels.”
Cambridge welcomes MICE this weekend, with Massachusetts hosting a number of comics publishers and creators, including Faith Erin Hicks, Nate Powell, and Hannah Blumenreich. Scanning the exhibitor list for the event brings up a ton of incredibly talented comics makers, including several people working on some very exciting projects right now. It’s great to see publishers like Rosarium sharing space next to people like Dustin Harbin. There’s also a strong focus on webcomics, strengthening and enhancing the connection between digital comics and print work. It looks like a great event.
Meanwhile, Tokyo Comic-Con has lifted its ban on crossplayers --- i.e., men dressed as female characters, and vice versa. The reversal of the ban comes with caveats that should be paid attention to, but it’s good to see that at least something is being done here.
THOUGHT BUBBLE 2016
Thought Bubble, the convention literally round the corner from me, is coming to Leeds on November 5-6, and with it comes a lot of great new comics. I already had the chance to write about the super Cindy & Biscuit, but that’s only scraping the tiniest of comics surfaces. Here are a few more projects debuting at the show:
James Laurence has spent the last few years creating buoyant, joyous comics work, including the tremendous (and perhaps slightly silly) Dangerine. His current focus is the luchadore webcomic The Legend of La Mariposa, and a new story called "Night of the Chupacolossus" will be on offer at his table this year.
On a similar terrific webcomics track, the tremendous Robin Hoelzemann will be bringing the first print collection of her webcomic Curia Regis to the event, which we profiled in a Back Pages interview a little while ago.
John Lees and Alex Cormack will be attending with their new ComixTribe book Sink, which collects a series of short comic stories set around Glasgow. Knowing them, this’ll be a dark one --- they lean towards real-world and fantastical horror in equal terrifying measures.
And lovers of horror will also want to head over to Douglas Noble’s table, where he’ll be offering collections including Horrible Folk, described as “a monologue for twenty-eight voices concerning devils, the landscape, old stones, older gods, ordinary murder and many of the other crimes of man.”
The endlessly dapper Zak Simmonds-Hurn will release the third issue of his series Monstrosity at the convention --- but he’s also one of several contributors to the “fist” volume of Punchface, which also features work from Julia Scheele and PJ Hogan, among others.
Meanwhile, we’ve also got to whittle down the contenders for “biggest pun of Thought Bubble”, which is typically a hard-fought battle. Steven Matthews seems to have the early advantage though, with his new comic Jurassic Mark.
Elana Levin wants to know about your feminist agenda. What are you doing to create an industry where writers like Chelsea Cain can make amazing fun comics and get recognized and supported for doing so? Clearly we don’t have that at the moment. The more women who can make a living in comics, the more exciting, different, and unpredictable comics will be. The industry thrives on change, and is relentlessly scared of it. If you want the industry to live, though, it has to be one where women, LGBTQ people, and people of color can be included --- and one where they actually want to be included. That goes as much to people within the industry as anyone else. We know who you are.
For the Comics Journal, cartoonist Joyce Farmer writes a remembrance of the late Lyn Chevli, co-founder of the first recorded comic written, drawn, and published solely by women, the provocatively titled T--s and Cl--s. (We can't actually publish the full title of the comic on this site!) Farmer’s piece offers a look at a formative period of comics, and remembers several incredible stories from life in the underground comix scene. It’s fascinating.
Over at Book Riot Comics, Megan Cavitt judges some comics from their edges.
Luke Meaken is the current artist-in-residence over at the AV Club, and he’s taking the chance to write up some of his thoughts on horror --- and his attempts to categorize and define the genre, and its many different forms.
The recent restructure at CBR removed the Comics Should Be Good blog, which instead was integrated into the main site as a series of posts from some of its contributors. However, a great many of those bloggers decided to set up shop elsewhere --- an Atomic Junk Shop, in fact. The writers have spent the last few weeks launching all manners of features on all aspects of comics, and I’d remiss to point out that the podcast House to Astonish has also made it their new home. The more comics websites with momentum, the better for everybody, so keep an eye on this lot.
I messed up earlier in the week and didn’t get the chance to write a second recommendation for our Best Comics Ever (This Week) list. People of the world! Were you aware that you can now race on down to your comic shop and pick up the most out-of-print comic of all time --- which is now no longer out of print?
Ron Wimberley’s superlative Prince of Cats was reprinted through Image this week in a big lovely hardbook version, and I want to add my voice to the legion of people saying this one big thing: you really should all read Prince of Cats.
Have a great weekend, everybody!
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