Weekender: ‘The New Sincerity’, Amy Kim Kibuishi, and Comics for Choice
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!
Let’s kick off with some good news: the formerly closed publisher Rosy Press, created by former ComicsAlliance editor Janelle Asselin, has this week become a part of Emet Comics, which will fulfill all outstanding obligations and is actively looking to publish new works under the Rosy Press name. In a letter sent out by Asselin, she says that she decided to make the move after speaking to Emet Comics’ founder Maytal Gilboa and being impressed by her commitment to comics diversity. Although Asselin has left comics, it’s encouraging to see that Rosy Press will continue onwards with Gilboa.
More new publishers have been stepping up to prove themselves, and Vault Comics got a spotlight over on CBR this week. The interview is used mainly to drive the idea that Vault is not just making comics so they can sell them to Hollywood (although it has already announced a working partnership with several Hollywood producers), and to offer a thought for what will distinguish its line apart from anywhere else. Vault Comics is going to be solely publishing sci-fi and fantasy books, with the first line of titles due out in February.
Rob Salkowitz of ICv2 writes on the recent troubles of the Wizard World company, which is now suing its former CMO for alleged fraud. This caps a poor year for the company, which has come under heavy criticism about its shows, fired its auditor, and replaced its CEO. It now claims that, despite running profits in the third quarter, it is running out of money, and it closed down its New York Office as a result. Salkowitz dives into the financial aspects and projections for the company’s future, suggesting that we’re either about to see a resurgence for Wizard World under new leadership or, more likely, the demise of the brand in 2017.
Amy Kim Kibuishi writes about the news that her graphic novel Rema will be published by Scholastic Graphix in 2019 --- they think very far ahead --- as the first part of a planned series of stories. Rema is only the working title for the project, but the series is an adaptation of her prose novel, and it's clearly a real passion project for her. She describes the comic as:
“a distant world of magic and beauty where the gods are slowly dying. The City of Water is held hostage as greed becomes the standard, and a race of elemental demigods are suppressed for their destructive powers. It would seem all is lost if not for the chance estrangement of a singular Earthling girl. Her search for answers surrounding her father's death leads her to a painful truth, to gods, magic, war, and to an enigmatic blue-haired boy who is at the heart of it all.”
In what can only be classed as an early Xmas miracle, there are still a few last comics events left in the year before we plunge into the icy dark waters of 2017. In the UK, Graphic Brighton will host a festival and conference across December 9-10. The conference is headed by Fionnuala Doran, the writer/artist for The Casefile of Roger Casement, with the festival itself featuring Dave McKean and both Bryan and Mary Talbot. That’s a heady lineup!
And then let’s quickly recap on the first ever Indigenous Comics-Con, which was held last month. Vice has a look back at the show that pleasingly features a lot of quotes from the various Native American writers and artists in comics who were in attendance. It looks like things went really well at the con, so hopefully we’ll see it return for 2017. As Kagagi creator Jay Odjick says, "I hope kids that come here see that things are changing. That we can do things that we could not have done just a decade or two ago."
We’ll turn next to The Awesome Comics podcast, which focuses on the small-press comics scene and routinely interviews people working in underexplored areas of the industry as a whole. Hosts Vince, Dan and Tony alternate between interviews with various comics creators and focused discussions about particular topics --- for example, they held a recent one on the way comics are now priced in the market.
In their next episode they talk to Comic Printing UK, a particularly well-regarded company that has aided countless small-press comics makers bring their works to print across the years. Following the thread back to the Comic Printing website, I found a blog post that discusses one of those things that never gets discussed: what first time comics makers should consider before deciding how to take their first ever comic to print.
NEW AND UPCOMING COMICS
Binglin Hu has put together a terrific looking illustration anthology called Zodiac, now available for pre-order here. Thirty-six Asian artists have come together for the project, including Joy Ho, Jess Lim, Wendy Xu, Reimena Ashel Yee, and Leonie X. Li, to illustrate images centering on different animals of the Eastern Zodiac. Pre-orders are only open until the 15th December, with the book shipping in January, so you’d best get on with this one quickly!
A couple of anthologies have opened for submissions following the results of the US election. The first is a direct response, as legendary comics editor Françoise Mouly and writer Nadja Spiegelman are coming together to publish a special edition of Gabe Fowler’s Smoke Signal newspaper, called Resist. Their plan is to distribute 30,000 copies for free across Washington D.C. on inauguration day, January 20 2017, and they are now actively seeking submissions from anyone interested in "the theme of political resistance to the forces of intolerance."
The editors stress that one of their ambitions is to feature an all-female line-up of talent, but they're open to considering all submissions. This appears to be unpaid, but more details can be found on the Resist website.
On a similar note we have Comics for Choice, an anthology run by Hazel Newlevant, Whit Taylor, and O.K. Fox, which is also seeking submissions right now. The goal is to ultimately take the project to IndieGoGo, to fund the printing of the book, from which all profits will be donated to the National Network of Abortion Funds. As you might imagine, the book’s focus will be on the topic of abortion, seeking to educate and discuss the subject from as many different angles as possible. Proposals can be up to sixteen pages long, and for more information you should take a look at the Tumblr page here.
M. Lynx Qualley takes to Book Riot Comics (formerly Panels.net) to offer an introduction to Ms Shabash, a comic written by Samir Asran Rahman and drawn by Fahim Anzoom Rumman, Mosharraf Hussain (Nipu), and Shamim Ahmed.
Magdalene Visaggio writes at Vice on "the new sincerity," which she terms as comics that offer meaning and depth without resorting to the old pillars of darkness and edginess. Citing comics like Jake Lawrence’s Teen Dog as an example --- and you might also name Giant Days, Agents of the Realm, and dozens more. It’s an article that essentially posits Boom Studios and Oni Press as companies that have more to say at the moment than Image or Vertigo.
Artist Rozi Hathaway sure has dominated the Broken Frontier website this year, and she caps off 2016 with a post offering advice and ideas for small-press and self-published comics creators who are trying to build their rep, make a name for themselves, and get their comics seen. Hathaway has proven to be rather adept at all three, so it’s worth taking a look at what she says. One of my main takeaways here is, "just keep slogging on."
I don’t know why I find these pieces about auctions so interesting, but; in Paris last month a Tintin drawing sold for a record 1.5 million euros --- bringing in more than twice the expected top rate for the piece. Taken from Explorers on the Moon, the sequence in question catches the moment where Tintin and Captain Haddock first land on the moon and explore the lunar landscape.
Herge artwork has been of increasingly high value recently, with a number of his pieces fetching over a million in the last few years. Thoroughly impressive.
Have a great weekend, everybody!
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