Time yet again for our weekly quick-hit round up of news and links we noticed over the last week or so:
The California College of the Arts has posted up a whole pile of videos from the recent The Queers and Comics conference, running to several hours across a number of videos. Here’s the Day One Keynote Speaker, Mariko Tmaki – the rest of the videos should show up to play after this one so you can work your way through them (or click the direct link in the video to go to their YT channel and see them all:
I was off last week enjoying a pile of movies at the world’s oldest continually running film festival, the Edinburgh International Film Festival, and as I usually do, I made sure to attend both strands of the annual McLaren Animation showings, which screen new and emerging talent, and which also give out the McLaren Animation Award, which, rather pleasingly, is chosen by the audience, so it is those of us who actually go along to support and enjoy these short animation works who get to cast our vote for which one we most want to win. Huge congratulations to Paloma Baeza, who won this year’s McLaren Award for British Animation for Poles Apart, which was a delightful stop-motion short which used a back-packing brown bear visiting the Arctic and meeting a starving polar bear as a way to raise awareness of climate change, but do so without soap-boxing (and it was also rather touching and quite beautifully made). You can read a report on some of the McLaren Animation films which particularly struck me here on the blog (along with a review of US comicker Dash Shaw’s feature length animation My Entire High School Sinking into the Sea)
BBC Radio 4 has the Listening Project, a series of conversations on various subjects, but all featuring accompanying animation by a series of young animators, check them all out here on the R4 site.
Cartoon Movement reports that after a brief hopeful period of change in the formerly extremely repressive country of Burma, cartoonists are again facing increasing censorship, despite the National League for Democracy coming into government, with one cartoonist commenting a law is so vaguely worded, allowing easy access for anyone to threaten legal action on various grounds, that some are simply choosing to stop cartooning, which is worrying, especially in a country slowly trying to get steer a path to democracy.
(art by Lai Lon)
I totally missed noticing that the British Library currently has an exhibition of Arabic comics, which explores “the art, history and significance of Arab comics from the 19th-century Egyptian satirical press and children’s comics of the mid-20th century, to the contemporary graphic novel and comics scene.” The exhibition runs until 29th October.
One of our very favourites, Jamie Smart, has an exciting new Find Chaffy project in the pipeline, and there is a Kickstarter going right now to raise funds for it:
Top UK small press stable FutureQuake Press has a brande new volume of the eponymous FutureQuake itself, a one hundred page issue, featuring work from Dominic Teague, Tim West, Rafael Romeo, Katie Cunningham, Alex Paterson, Veronica Tomasiello and more, with cover artwork by Romain Brun and Julien Brun. Check out the FutureQuake Press site for full details and to order it.
Librarian Paul Register considers the winners in this year’s Excelsior Awards, which he started several years ago and which we are very fond of on here, not least because the whole idea is that the awards are chosen by schoolkids from graphic novels they’ve read, enjoyed and discussed, then they vote on them. It’s a terrific way of engaging young readers and getting them not only reading but thinking and talking about what they read and what they liked (or didn’t like), and it is terrific to see the awards spread out to take in schools around the country who all take part now. For those who missed it, this years winners were:
JABBICA (Judge A Book By Its Cover Award)- Audubon: On the Wings of the World, by Jérémie Royer and Fabien Grolleau, published by Nobrow Press
Excelsior Award Junior – Mega Robo Bros by Neill Cameron, published Phoenix Comic (a third straight win in the junior award for Phoenix comics! And apparently the biggest vote for any book the awards have ever received! Clearly the kids love this!)
And the main Excelsior Award this year went to Superman: Lois and Clark by Dan Jurgens, with art by Lee Weeks, Scott Hanna and Sergio Cariello, published DC Comics. Congrats to all the winners and to Paul and all the kids who took part.
Kieran Shiach in the Guardian ponders that cover Howard Chaykin created for the fourth issue of The United States of Hysteria and the furore it created. I’ve seen Chaykin talk on it since and explain he’s trying to draw attention to the raw hatred dividing much of US society right now, a hatred that can and does spill over into violence, usually against minority groups, and I understand what he is trying to do with the series and read the first issue a few weeks ago. And also I take on board his comments that the people condemning that cover haven’t read the series yet – especially not that issue as it isn’t out, and I share his concern with censorship and the insidious self-censorship that many end up practising all by themselves.
(cover for issue #2, because no, we are not posting that issue 4 cover)
But at the end of the day creating a comic book cover with a Pakistani man lynched and with his private parts mutilated, I mean surely you have to know as a veteran author that you are going to cause a huge amount of offence? Even if you did it with the good intentions of drawing attention to some horrendous problems, surely there are better ways for a writer and artist to do that, especially one as experienced as Chaykin? Surely to goodness he must have anticipated the likely reaction? So while I share his concern with freedom of speech issues, those rights also come with responsibilities. Image has pulled that cover from their advance solicitations.
I’m not sure Chaykin grasps how horrifed many were by that cover image though, at least not going by responses he gave in an interview with FreakSugar:
“To be clear, to those members of the community who can’t separate the narrative visual presentation of what I and anyone in their right mind regard as a genuinely horrific act from the act itself, I’d suggest you might want to invest some or all of that affronted energetic rage in the midterm elections in 2018.
Or you can still continue to believe that not having your feelings hurt is in the bill of rights somewhere–despite the fact that I’m still not quite sure what all the fuss is about. For the record, apologies are for the guilty.”
Alex Chung posts up a selection of Wonder Woman #200 pin-up pieces from Stuart Immonen, Walter Simonson, Brian Stelfreeze, Steve Rude, and Eduardo Risso , including this one of WW with kittens by the great Steve Rude, which just always makes me smile. And since we can all use an “awww” moment and a smile, here it is for everyone to enjoy (link via Comics Reporter):
It’s always good to know there is a new Tom Gauld book coming. I’ve admired Tom’s work for years, and had the pleasure of interviewing Tom at last summer’s Edinburgh International Book Festival about Mooncop and his other works, and we had a terrific time with our audience discussing some great comics works. Drawn & Quarterly has been generous enough to post up a wee PDF preview of some of Tom’s new graphic novel, Baking With Kafka (due towards the end of October), here are a couple to whet your appetites: