Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Comics Alternative Interview: Evan Dorkin, Part 2

It seems like just yesterday that I posted about a new Comics Alternative podcast, yet here we go again, with Derek Royal and myself presenting the second part of our epic, two-part interview with cartoonist Evan Dorkin. Today we continue on with Evan's discussion of Beasts of Burden, the animal "supernatural mystery" comic he co-creates with artist Jill Thompson. Read some older "Beasts" material online here, and watch for a new one-shot, "What the Cat Dragged In," in comics shops on May 4!

We cover a lot of other ground as well, including the new Lovecraftian "Calla Cthulhu" series he's co-writing with Sarah Dyer (with art by Erin Humiston) for the Stela app. Really, there's too much to try and summarize here; though if you listened to yesterday's show, you already have a sense of how wide-ranging Evan's interests and passions are. Give it a listen!

Oh, and just for the heck of it, here is some of my vintage Dorkinalia collection:

Milk and Cheese fridge magnets, and a die from the WIZARD board game!
And World's Funnest buttons!

As always, click the link above to stream the episode, or you can subscribe via iTunes.

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Monday, March 07, 2016

Comics Alternative Interview: Evan Dorkin, Part 1

Today on The Comics Alternative, Derek Royal and I present the first part of our epic, two-part interview with cartoonist Evan Dorkin. We reviewed his recent collection The Eltingville Club just a couple of weeks ago, so we begin today's interview with Evan by discussing the "Eltingville" strips and TV pilot in some detail, before starting into Beasts of Burden, the absolutely wonderful series he co-creates with artist Jill Thompson.

Evan is just as funny an interview subject as he is a cartoonist, but he's also incredibly thoughtful about his own work. There's a lot of laughter in this interview, but also a lot of reflective commentary from him.

I've been a fan of Dorkin's work for over two decades now, and it was great to be able to spend so much time speaking with him about his career. As proof of my longtime fandom, here's a sketch he was nice enough to do for me at a comics convention back in 1996; my sketchbook's theme is "Draw one of your characters reading their favorite book," and Evan gifted me with this perfectly appropriate drawing of Milk and Cheese:

Be sure to click and read the TV GOD cover blurbs! © 1996, 2016 Evan Dorkin.

Check back tomorrow for Part Two of this interview, which gets into lots of Evan's other comics, plus broader issues of comics history, business, and culture

As always, click the link above to stream the episode, or you can subscribe via iTunes.

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Monday, February 29, 2016

March 2: My Will Eisner Week Lecture at Northwestern University Library

Will Eisner Week, celebrated the week of March 6 each year, promotes graphic novels, literacy, free speech awareness, and the legacy of legendary cartoonist Will Eisner. I'm happy to be participating this year by giving a talk at Northwestern University Library on Wednesday, March 2, at 5:00pm:
Will Eisner: Pioneering Cartoonist, Visionary Educator 
Widely regarded as the "Father of the Graphic Novel," cartoonist Will Eisner spent his entire career chasing the Next Big Idea - and usually finding it. With a body of work encompassing some of the earliest American comic books, The Spirit Sunday newspaper supplements, U.S. Army preventative maintenance manuals, one of the very first graphic novels, and a small library of books on comics theory and practice, Eisner influenced several generations of artists and educators. 
Comics historian Gene Kannenberg, Jr. will present an illustrated look at Eisner's work and legacy: The development of comic art into both a literary form and a tool for education.
We also have a small Eisner-centric display in our New Book Nook, including both books to check out as well as rarer items from my own personal collection.

The display wall in the New Book Nook

The Spirit
More works by Eisner

Books about Eisner and his role in American comics

See the Northwestern Events Calendar or the Facebook Event listings for more information. I'm proud that my employer is supporting Will Eisner Week this year, and I hope to see you there!

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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Comics Alternative Podcast #175: The Eltingville Club, Cry Havoc #1, The Dark & Bloody #1

Today on The Comics Alternative, Derek Royal and I review The Eltingville Club, which collects all of Evan Dorkin's cringingly hilarious stories of a group of comics/sf/horror/fantasy/RPG teen creeps; Cry Havoc #1, the not-exactly lesbian werewolf story by Simon Spurrier and Ryan Kelly; and The Dark & Bloody #1, Shawn Aldridge and Scott Godlewski's tale of moonshine and mystery.

Dorkin's work has always been a favorite of mine, and it's great to have all of his "Eltingville" stories (plus!) collected. Cry Havoc and The Dark & Bloody aren't exactly my normal cup of tea, but I gained new appreciation for both of them while discussing them with Derek. That's one of the things I love about doing this podcast; I always learn a lot from our conversations. I hope you enjoy them, too.

As always, click the link above to stream the episode, or you can subscribe via iTunes.

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Thursday, January 21, 2016

CFP: Comics & Graphic Narrative Circle / ALA (Jan. 29; May 26-29)

Call for Papers
Comics and Graphic Narrative Circle
27th Annual Conference: May 26-29, 2016
Hyatt Regency San Francisco
5 Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA

The Comics & Graphic Narrative Circle welcomes abstracts for presentation at two sessions on comics at the 2016 ALA conference in SanFrancisco.

Session One: Women in the Comics Industry

Although women have been part of the comics industry in the United States since its beginning, the last few years have seen a massive growth in popular and critically-acclaimed comics by women creators, along with increasing attention to female fans and the representation of women characters. The increased prominence of women comes as a direct challenge to the image of the white male nerd as the quintessential comics consumer, and to the preponderance of men in positions of power within the industry. We invite submissions dealing with any facet of women in the comics industry. In what ways have major comics corporations (Marvel, DC, Image) responded or failed to respond to questions of women’s representation at the level of characters and stories, or at the level of opportunities for writers, artists, and editors? In what ways have series such as Ms. Marvel, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, or Bitch Planet, imprints such as Boom! Box (publishers of Lumberjanes), or influential creators such as Kelly Sue DeConnick altered our understanding of the market for feminist comics? How have women shaped the comics industry as it now exists? What can we learn from the careers of women editors such as Karen Berger (who oversaw DC’s massively influential imprint Vertigo) or Francoise Mouly (who edited the avant garde comics anthology RAW and is now art editor for the New Yorker)? Do feminist stories require different artistic approaches at the level of story structure and style?
Session Two: Open Topic

We invite submissions on any topics regarding comics.

Please email an abstract (of no more than 350 words) and a brief biographical note to Ben Novotny Owen (owen.179@osu.edu) and David M. Ball (balld@dickinson.edu) no later than January 29th.

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Monday, January 11, 2016

Comics Alternative Podcast: Tom Hart Interview

On this episode of The Comics Alternative, Derek Royal and I welcome cartoonist and educator Tom Hart. His graphic memoir Rosalie Lightning (St. Martin's Press) will be published tomorrow.

This wide-ranging discussion focuses primarily on Rosalie Lightning, an extraordinarily moving rumination on life, and death, and grieving, and memory, and celebration, and endurance, and art, and love. It chronicles how Tom and his wife, cartoonist Leela Corman, continued on after the sudden death of their daughter Rosalie Lightning just days before her second birthday. (You can read versions of the first two chapters here - and also, read Leela's hauntingly beautiful comics "Yahzeit" and "PTSD: The Wound that Never Heals.") Rosalie Lightning is a powerful and meaningful book. You'll be hearing a lot about it--and not just from comics-specific commentators, I'll wager.

We also talk a bit about some of Tom's earlier comics work, his hands-on process, and his general approach to art. And Tom tells us about The Sequential Artists Workshop which he and Leela established in Gainesville, FL, a training program a new generation of cartoonists. (SAW is currently holding a fundraiser which is worth your attention.)

On a personal note: I first "met" Tom over twenty years ago on an email list, and we met in person a few times at SPX in the late 1990s. I met Leela then, too. I grieved when I learned the news about Rosalie, though I had never met her. Just about two years ago, I got to see Leela and Tom again, along with their recently born daughter Molly Rose: Leela was one of the cartoonists featured in the "Graphic Jews" exhibit at Skidmore College's Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, and the family traveled up to Saratoga Springs so Leela could be a guest on a panel I co-moderated in conjunction with the exhibit. (Darling Molly Rose nibbled on my fingers a bit during the pre-panel dinner.) Tom and Leela are both wonderful people and amazing artists.

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Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Comics Alternative Podcast #169: The January Previews Catalog

It seems like only a couple of days since I was last on The Comics Alternative, but today I'm back with Derek Royal as we take a stroll through the latest Previews catalog, pointing out books of interest to us amongst the thousands that will go on sale in a few months.

I'm not going to pretend to list everything we talk about here, but I will highlight three books I'm most excited about: The Complete TRUMP (Harvey Kurtzman); Carpet Sweeper Tales (Julie Doucet); and The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye (Sonny Liew). However, if I had all the money in the world, I'd be buying all of the books below, and then some!

As always, click the link above to stream the episode, or you can subscribe via iTunes.

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Monday, January 04, 2016

Comics Alternative Podcast Interview: @YoeBooks' Craig Yoe

It's the first installment of the Comics Alternative podcast for 2016! Derek Royal and I say "Happy New Yoe!" as we welcome back Craig Yoe for another interview. We discuss the most recent hardcover comic book reprint collections from Yoe Books, including Ghost and Girls of Fiction House, The Complete Voodoo vol. 1, Horror by Heck, Walt Kelly's Fairy Tales, and Weird Love vol. 2 (plus we sneak in a little talk about the upcoming Haunted Love title). We talk a good bit about the process of putting these books together: Collecting the materials; working with collaborators like Michael Price and Mike Howlett; and the editing, production, and design processes which Craig shares with Yoe Books co-founder Clizia Gossoni (who, I believe, makes a cameo appearance or two in the recording!).

I got a huge kick out of all of these books. The old horror comics are all over the map in terms of story and art types--if all you're familiar with are the old EC titles like Tales from the Crypt, these stories will surprise you with their variety. The romance stories in Weird Love most definitely live up to their billing. And the Walt Kelly book is truly a marvel to behold.

Craig's a longtime friend of the podcast, as well as a friend of mine in real life. It's always great to catch up with him and talk about cool--and often really, really strange!--old comics. In fact, after we stopped recording, we came up with an idea or two for future shows with Craig which would go in a very different direction indeed, and I hope we get to do them.

As always, click the link above to stream the episode, or you can subscribe via iTunes.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Comics Alternative Podcast #166: Killing and Dying; Taddle Creek; Barrier; iTunes Terms and Conditions

I'm back again on the Comics Alternative podcast, and this time I join Derek Royal for an over-stuffed review show with some really excellent comics! We cover Adrian Tomine's ambitious new collection Killing and Dying; the jam-packed Canadian anthology Taddle Creek #36; the genre-blending digital comic Barrier #1 by Brian K. Vaughan, Marcos Martin, and Muntsa Vicente; and both parts of R. Sikoryak's ridiculously thorough (and thoroughly entertaining) adaptation of, yes, the iTunes Terms and Conditions agreement.
This is a particularly strong group of books - we spent nearly two hours talking, though it didn't seem that long at the time!
As always, click the link above to stream the episode, or you can subscribe via iTunes.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Comics Alternative Podcast #163: Thanksgiving

It's the annual Thanksgiving episode of the Comics Alternative podcast! This year I join Derek Royal, Andy Kunka, and Andy Wolverton for another wide-ranging discussion about some of the things we're thankful for in the world of comics. Cartoonist guests? Oh, yeah! Publishers? Yup! Kickstarter? Sure! Listeners and patrons? Why, of course! Our Comics Alternative colleagues? Naturally! Other podcasts? Indeed! Other academics and librarians? Affirmative! Marvel Comics? Whaaat?

All this and more - give it a listen!

As always, click the link above to stream the episode, or you can subscribe via iTunes.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Comics Alternative Podcast #159: Halloween Review Spooktacular

It's the annual Halloween episode of the Comics Alternative podcast, and Derek Royal and I review a whole bagful of Halloween- and horror-themed comics! Apart from the book-length Haunted Horror vol. 3 (Yoe Books), Upside Down: A Hat Full of Spells (Top Shelf), and The Monsterjunkies (Red Anvil), we also cover individual comic books: Adventure Time 2015 Halloween Spooktacular, Spongebob Squarepants #49, The Goon: Theatre Bizarre, All Hallow's Eve #5, Elder House #1 and #2, Zombies Vs Cheerleaders 2015 Halloween Special, Zombie Tramp Halloween Special #1, and Gold Digger Halloween Special #11. And then we (or at least I) crashed - that was A LOT of comics!

As always, click the link above to stream the episode, or you can subscribe via iTunes.

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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Comics Alternative Podcast #155: International #PodcastDay 2015!

This week on the Comics Alternative, founding hosts Derek Royal and Andy Kunka are joined by several of the podcast's other co-hosts--Gwen Tarbox, Andy Wolverton, and myself--for a non-comics show! Today is International Podcast Day, so we gathered (virtually) to discuss our favorite podcasts, what we look (listen) for in a good podcast, our own roles as podcasters (are we members of the media now?), and more.

I give a few shout-outs to Jessica Abel's new Out on the Wire, Helen Zaltzman's The Allusionist, Welcome to Night Vale, and Gilbert Gottfried's Amazing Colossal Podcast, among other shows. And I took lots of notes on other podcasts recommended by Gwen and and Derek and the Andys. Now I just need more hours in the week to listen to them all...

As always, click the link above to stream the episode, or you can subscribe via iTunes.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Comics Alternative Podcast #153: The Dharma Punks, My Hot Date, Tokyo Ghost #1, Future Fantasteek #16

Once again, I'm back again on the Comics Alternative podcast! Join Derek Royal and myself as we review Ant Sang's anarcho-Buddhist masterwork The Dharma Punks; Noah Van Sciver's painfully hilarious memoir My Hot Date; Rick Remender, Sean Murphy, and Matthew Hollingsworth's media-saturated dystopia Tokyo Ghost #1; and Jackie Batey's smart and snarky zine Future Fantasteek #16.

We have lots to say about these books, so to hear the whole show, click the link above to stream the episode, or you can subscribe via iTunes.

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Tuesday, September 01, 2015

CFP: ICAF, International Comic Arts Forum / USC Columbia (Nov. 6; Apr. 14-16)

Call for Papers
International Comic Arts Forum
14-16 April 2016
University of South Carolina, Columbia

ICAF, the International Comic Arts Forum, invites proposals for scholarly papers for its eighteenth annual meeting, to be held at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, from Thursday, April 14, through Saturday, April 16, 2016. Confirmed guests include comics artists Howard Cruse, Keith Knight, Cece Bell, and Prof. Michael Chaney of Dartmouth College.

The deadline to submit proposals is November 6, 2015.

ICAF welcomes original proposals from diverse disciplines and theoretical perspectives on any aspect of comics or cartooning, particularly studies that reflect an international perspective. Studies of aesthetics, production, distribution, reception, and social, ideological, and historical significance are equally welcome, as are studies that address larger theoretical issues linked to comics or cartooning, for example in image/text studies or new media theory.

Among the thematic panels we hope to offer are Comics and the American South, Digital and Online Comics, and Superheroes; proposals are especially welcome in these areas.

Proposal Guidelines: ICAF prefers argumentative, thesis-driven papers that are clearly linked to larger critical, artistic, or cultural issues; we avoid presentations that are summative or survey-like in character. We only accept original 20-minute papers that have not been presented or accepted for publication elsewhere. Presenters should assume an audience versed in comics and the fundamentals of comics studies. Where possible, papers should be illustrated by relevant images on PowerPoint. Proposals should not exceed 300 words.

Review Process: All proposals will be subject to blind review. Due to high interest in the conference, in recent years ICAF has typically been able to accept only about half of the proposals received.

SEND ABSTRACTS (with contact information, including state, province, or country of residence in the body of the email) by 6 November 2015, to C.W. Marshall, ICAF Academic Program Director, via email at .

Receipt of all proposals will be acknowledged. Applicants should expect to receive confirmation of acceptance or rejection by December 14, 2015.

ICAF also sponsors the John A. Lent Scholarship in Comics Studies. This scholarship is awarded to a current student who has authored, or is in the process of authoring, a substantial research-based writing project about comics. Applications for this scholarship are due by 8 January 2016. For more information and details of the application process, please visit our website.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Comics Alternative Podcast #150: 6 Voyages of Lone Sloane, Wolf, and Americatown

Once again, I'm back again on the Comics Alternative podcast, for the 150th episode! This time, Derek Royal and I cover Philippe Druillet's The 6 Voyages of Lone Sloane (Titan Comics), Wolf #1 and #2 by Ales Kot, Matt Taylor, and Lee Loughridge (Image Comics), and Americatown #1 by Bradford Winters, Larry Cohen, and Daniel Irizarri (BOOM! Studios/Archaia). I thought Lone Sloane lived up to its reputation (and more!) as a psychedelic SF head-trip, while Wolf takes a long time to settle into its world and Americatown's expressive artwork propels a story that is just getting started.

Of course, Derek and I both have lots more to say about these books - so to hear the whole show, click the link above to stream the episode, or you can subscribe via iTunes.

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