Weekender: Jewish Comic-Con, ‘Fantasma’ And ‘Nine Twilights’
This has been a dispiriting, painful week, and if you're like me then you'll have turned to the world of comics to offer you a spark of imagination, excitement, and investment. We're all dealing with the last few days in our own way, and at ComicsAlliance we're determined to continue generating the brightest and loudest spark of investment with the medium that's possible.
So here we continue on with Weekender, unabated, delivering you a look at new comics, new podcasts, independent comics news, festivals and awards from around the world. This will continue to be a place where we give attention to the comics that deserve it --- and feature a range of different comics voices rising up to hopefully take over and make the next few years their own.
First Second has posted a look at its Winter 2017 line-up with a full cover gallery. Demon 2 by Jason Shiga is one of the more anticipated books amongst them, but it’s California Dreamin’ by Penelope Bagieu that looks most exciting to me; a look at Cass Elliot before she became ‘Mama’ Cass.
A suit has been filed against Stephen Shamus, a long-time higher-up at Wizard Entertainment, alleging that Shamus used the conventions to get celebrities to sign merchandise that he would then sell. The suit contends that Shamus made almost a million dollars from these activities, without the knowledge of Wizard, and that he arranged several deals that actively lost the company money just so he could make further personal connections. Wizard fired Shamus last month, and we will keep an eye on this suit with interest.
In an interview last month with Brigid Alverson, which I’m only just catching up to now, publisher Dan Vado confirms that SLG (formerly Slave Labor Graphics) has stopped putting out new work. A publisher that gave voice to many different writers and artists as they made their way into and through comics, SLG advanced a lot of work outside the direct market. SLG's strategies were forward thinking as it promoted work by Gene Luen Yang, Sonny Liew, Faith Erin Hicks, James Kochalka, and more, including offering digital downloads a full decade ago.
In the interview, Vado says that the publisher will reprint books from its catalogue, but will not actively seek any new submissions, and will likely cease publishing new work.
The Village Voice --- the free newspaper distributed around New York --- has started featuring comics once more. It was previously a home to cartoonists including Jules Feiffer and Lynda Barry, before budget cuts took those strips from us. Heidi Mac caught that two new comics have been added to the paper recently; Normel Person, by Lauren Weinstein, and Penny, by Karl Stevens. You can find them both here.
The first ever Jewish Comic-Con is held this weekend in Brooklyn, and seems a hugely enjoyable way to spend your day. For it’s inaugural day, guests including Dean Haspiel, Will Torres and Ariel Schrag, and there’ll be a series of discussions involving Craig Yoe and Rafael Medoff, whose recent works look at cartoonists' responses to the events of the Holocaust. Jewish Comic-Con is being held on November 13.
Edinburgh Comic Art Festival takes place in two weeks' time, on the 26-27 November. It’s held at Summerhall, a place which sounds like a location from Game of Thrones. I’m sure it’s safe though. Isabel Greenberg will be this year’s guest of honor, and cartoonists including Neil Slorance and Adam Murphy. It’s a great lineup for what will likely be the last festival held before Scotland hibernates for the long winter.
Forest City Comic-Con has perhaps the best name of any comics convention, and last weekend it hosted the 2016 Joe Shuster awards, named after Superman’s co-creator. These honor the best in Canadian comics, and saw wins for a fantastic range of projects and creators, including Jillian Tamaki, Jeff Lemire and Svetlana Chmakova.
The awards culminated with the Hall of Fame inductees for 2016: Ted Steele; Ley, aka Shirley Fortune; Fred Kelly; Mark Shainblum; and Darwyn Cooke. The official site offers a look at the history of each, and a full run down of this year's winners.
Trungles has been on tour in the UK, popping up at Thought Bubble last weekend, among many other engagements. The cartoonist took the time out to speak to Carolyn Nowak and Harry Clarke for The Comics Journal’s increasingly noteworthy and consistently entertaining podcast, Comic Book Decalogue. The conceit is that they ask ten "official" questions of a cartoonist in each episode, and Trungles proves a reliably bright, animated, and enjoyable interviewee.
NEW AND UPCOMING COMICS
Stephanie Barros has brought her webcomic Fantasma from Tumblr to her own site, so it’s definitely time to jump on and start following the series. It has a wonderfully weird opening conceit, which sees a luchadora wake up to find that she has died, and is now a ghost --- and taking that as an opportunity to fight the various ghouls, ghosts and monsters who want to maraud the living. She becomes a spectral protector of the people, body-slamming her way through anything that comes up against her. The comic begins with a fight scene where a girl in rollerskates fights a sentient pinata. It’s just what you’ve been waiting for.
Sophia Foster-Dimino recently brought the most recent edition of her series Sex Fantasy to SPX in America, and the result, Sex Fantasy 7, can now be found both on her website and on her Gumroad store.
I believe I’ve posted this comic from Terry Blas before, as he explains the difference between “Hispanic” and “Latino”. Now is a great time to go re-read it, as it remains an excellent primer --- and told with a great sense of humor, too.
Nine Twilights comes from the team of Anne Agnew, Chris Hansbrough and Andrea Rosales, a carefully constructed slow-build of a young girl and her growing involvement with magic, folklore, and illusion. Over the course of the 64 pages released thus far, you can see a tremendous development and refinement from Rosales in particular, with the webcomic taking a surprising turn that feeds the characters in some wonderful and fantastical ways.
This year Yoshinori Ohsumi won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, due to their work developing and refining autophagy. If you're not sure what that means, manga fans are one step ahead of you, as it was actually brought to the fore as part of Toriko by Mitsutoshi Shimabukuro several years ago. In fact, it appears that students across Japan are so aware of the term that they’ve actually been able to catch out some of their lecturers when the topic gets brought up! And they say you won’t learn anything from comics, eh?
Have a great weekend, everybody.
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