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 ( and David M. Ball ( 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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