Anyone who digs deeper already knows that comics are fully capable of being as elastic, ambiguous, and fluid as any other art medium. Just like fiction, film, and painting, the comics medium can reveal as much as it hides. There’s an annual anthology, “The Best American Comics,” that showcases a wide range of North American comics and addresses the familiar and peculiar in what amounts to a particular branch of contemporary comics. Or, perhaps the best way to put it is to say this book showcases the best in comics as an art form. The 2014 edition is now available. Let’s take a look.
Tag Archives: Indie
Simon Moreton, works in the tradition of John Porcellino, who originated the intimate, spare, and direct style of memoir comics. It is John P. who continues to fascinate and inspire readers with his ongoing “King-Cat Comics and Stories” mini-comics. It is undeniable that he founded these deceptively simple auto-bio comics, that be began self-publishing in 1989. Where does this place relative newcomer Moreton, working in such close proximity to Porcellino? Sincerity counts for a lot and Moreton comes across as quite sincere. Moreton is a Research Fellow at the University of the West of England (UWE), working on the REACT Hub. As he states, he is “interested in the everyday politics of creative practice, activism and representations of mental illness in sequential art.”
“A Night at the Sorrento and Other Stories” collects the work of a longtime cartoonist of the Seattle School, yours truly, Henry Chamberlain. We cartoonists grew up in the Generation X ethos of DIY, small press, and a pride for a certain alternative comics aesthetic. Make no mistake, just like alternative rock from the 1990s, there is something specific that is meant by alternative comics. To the point, these are comics that favor the offbeat and idiosyncratic. This spirit rings true today as it embraces an independent vision. Stay tuned. This collection will rock your world, very alternatively, in 2014.
“Boobage,” is a mini-comic by Monica Gallager that covers, or unveils, a very personal preoccupation with a lot of wit and humor. So, what do you instantly think of when you put such greats together as Kate Hudson, Clare Danes, Gwen Stefani, and Bridget Fonda? The one thing that Gallager used to have trouble with was their (and her own) relatively small breasts, or “tits.” It’s okay, she says “tits” a lot. Gallagher isn’t afraid to tackle the tit issue, large or small. This won’t really be of interest to those who objectify and sexualize but it may give them some pause. Hey Jimmy, or whoever, those hooters you salivate over belong to a real human being.
“Short Run” is a gathering of small press in Seattle with some added attractions this year. There’s the main event, the Short Run Small Press Festival at Washington Hall on Saturday, November 30, 2013. But, for those who want more, there’s plenty more starting with an event on November 1. Check out the Short Run website for details here.
Press release follows:
Ellen Lindner is an accomplished illustrator and cartoonist. She is a cheerful, passionate, and whipsmart person with talent to spare. It was very nice to get to meet her and her friend, Robin Ha, an excellent artist in her own right. You’ll definitely want to check out the work of both of these ladies.
In the above interview, we focus on Ellen’s work on the anthology series she co-edits, THE STRUMPET, which showcases women cartoonists. To do justice to this project, I’ve written a separate review that you can scroll down and find or you can read it here.
Ellen’s work has a bold and joyful way about it and a keen sense of humor. Ellen has an intriguing webcomic you’ll want to check out, THE BLACK FEATHER FALLS, on ACT-I-VATE Comics. It is set in the aftermath of World War I. It revolves around, Tina Swift, a woman who is caught in a web of intrigue surrounding a murder in 1920s London. You’ll want to jump in on a read if you haven’t already. You’ll be hooked.
What’s THE STRUMPET about, you ask? Well, it is a collection of comics showcasing female cartoonists. It follows in the footsteps of WHORES OF MENSA, an anthology that set the bar high on quality. Not only that, it brings together new talent from around the world. THE STRUMPET #3 is in the works and is currently seeking submissions with a deadline of September 1, 2013. Visit THE STRUMPET website HERE.
Let’s place our attention squarely upon the current issue, THE STRUMPET #2. It is edited by the multi-talented Ellen Lindner and Jeremy Day. All the cartoonist talent here bring together a cohesive and compelling collection with a travel theme in mind. What does travel mean to you? When was the last time you were on a trip? Just a few hours ago at your desk at work whilst you daydreamed? My word, did you think there was only one way to travel?? If you did, then catch yourself please because you’re due for an adventure and an education. Let the ladies from THE STRUMPET encourage, engage, and entertain you on all manner of thought and conjecture regarding the subject of travel.
This collection is 21 cartoonists strong: Patrice Aggs, Rachael Ball, Badaude, Juhyun Choi, Marguerite Dabaie, Jeremy Day, Shamisa Debroey, Lisa Rosalie Eisenberg, Karrie Fransman, Robin Ha, J Homersham, Kripa Joshi, Emily Ryan Lerner, Ellen Lindner, Tanya Meditzky, Kat Roberts, Alison Sampson, Maartje Schalkx, Julia Scheele, Nicola Streeten, and Myfanwy Tristram.
Did I miss anyone? Well, I certainly hope note. I feel like this is a very special endeavor and everyone contributed to make it so.
Let me share with you some of the work in this wonderful anthology.
Ellen Lindner’s wry sense of humor is spot on in this tale about the search for the seemingly elusive Mr. Bill Murray.
Robin Ha is full of wanderlust on this adventure on an Italian train.
Julia Scheele immerses us in this richly detailed look at a bus commute through London.
Patrice Aggs has a hilarious story to tell in this comedy of errors.
Lisa Rosalie Eisenberg’s “Homesick” is a deliriously wild ride that floats, flies, and dreams its way through to charming results.
Kat Roberts gives us a most inventive take on the concept of travel. It is full of magic and whimsy.
We end with the back cover by Kripa Joshi. She’s an engaging artist and this next issue’s co-editor with Ellen. We look forward to what results.
And be sure to pick up your copy of THE STRUMPET #2 which you can find HERE.
Stay tuned. There’s more to come from the Stumptown Comics Fest held in Portland, Oregon, April 27-28. That includes video interviews with Ellen Lindner and Robin Ha.
Curators Eroyn Franklin and Kelly Froh, pictured above, did it again with the second annual Short Run Small Press Fest. Held at The Vera Project in Seattle Center, Small Run was an awesome gathering of artists and writers: comics, zines art books, animation, independent talent from the Northwest that you just know is good. What follows is a sampling of what Short Run was like this year.
As a cartoonist, I definitely felt at home with this crowd. The Vera Project is a cozy venue for this event providing an intimate yet ample space, the size of a higher end club or restaurant. At times, it got a bit crowded but nothing to worry about, especially if you’ve gone to any convention-type setting. Here, you’re talking a laid back vibe that will see you through very nicely.
For me, Short Run already is quintessential Seattle, bringing together the unique creative spirit of this area. It is on track to becoming a new Seattle tradition.
Randy Wood, pictured above, was one of a number of stellar talent at Short Run this year. Here he is showing off one of his collected books of his “Kitties!” comic strip.
Here is a copy of “The Intruder,” a free newspaper full of local comics talent.
Breanne Boland has a new comic out, “Drawing Bitchface,” a guide on how to make the most of putting on a proper, “bitchface.”
Aron Nels Steinke had his new collection out, “Big Plans,” published by Bridge City Comics. “Mr. Fox” is one of his self-published gems.
The Vera Project is a fascinating place with much to offer like its silkscreen classes and use of its silkscreen studio! Here is Eric Carnell, who helps to keep things moving along at The Vera Project’s silkscreen studio.
Cartoonist Nicole Georges provides much needed advice.
A great time had by all. See you next year at Short Run.