Item: One of my greatest comics memories is of being on a Toronto streetcar, lovelorn and dejected, circa 1990, and looking down and seeing the Lynda Barry strip from Now magazine lying trampled on the floor. The particular strip, about knowing both the wonderful and the shitty feeling of love, spoke to my condition in such an intimate and heart-wrenching way, with such majestically poetic skill, that I became a fan for life and Barry was instantly elevated to the top-tier of my personal cartooning pantheon. As such, it cheers me to no end that Drawn and Quarterly announced yesterday that they will be publishing the Complete Lynda Barry Comics beginning next year. This multi-volume endeavour includes all of Barry’s Ernie Pook’s Comeek comic strip from the beginning as well as her earliest work and other ephemera, magazine work, etc. Another major historical publishing project featuring one of the best and most-respected cartoonists of her generation. For those of us who have been wondering why D+Q haven’t reprinted any of Barry’s previous collections, languishing out-of-print for years, even though D+Q have been “Lynda Barry’s publisher” and chief champion since 2008, this announcement is the other shoe dropping (and landing in a delirious puddle of rainbows and soul music). The announced project also further solidifies D+Q’s rep and industry standing as one of the major comics publishers with several important lines of retrospective, career-spanning books featuring some of the greatest cartoonists ever. Besides North American contemporaries like Ware, Clowes, Seth, Chester, Doucet, et al, Barry now joins the ranks of John Stanley, Doug Wright, Frank King and Tove Jansson –past masters deserving of a historical overview and reevaluation.
Item: Jeff Lemire’s Essex County made the top 5 of the CBC Canada Reads contest to determine “the most significant Canadian books of the last 10 years.” The book will be championed by Tegan Quin of the musical sister act Tegan and Sara, who chose the book from the top 10 list determined by online voting. It is the first graphic novel to be considered for this annual honour (it beat out Skim in voting). In the succinct journalistic language of the Windsor Star’s coverage, “The contest pits works of Canadian literature against each other in a radio debate among celebrities who defend their favourite works of fiction. Lemire’s Essex County will square off against Angie Abdou’s The Bone Cage, Terry Fallis’s The Best Laid Plans, Ami McKay’s The Birth House and Carol Shields’ Unless.” Lemire was at a promotional event for the contest yesterday.
Item: Speaking of Windsor, cartoonist Bob Monks has published a history of that city.
Item: Aislin talks about the death of political cartooning.
Item: Holy Jeff Spicoli, is that a huge load of retailer news and links! The Joe Shuster Awards’ Rob Haines rounds up a ton of info about comic shop openings, closings, sales, signings, and other events, all as part of the Shusters’ ongoing comprehensive survey of the state of the Canadian comic shop nation.
Item: Another interview with Koyama Press publisher Annie Koyama with a list of upcoming projects.
Item: John Martz in Dave Cooper’s Ottawa studio.
Item: Brooklyn cartoonist Gabby Schulz aka Ken Dahl ventured north for the 48 Heures event in Montreal and has made some comics about his visit. Update: He’s made some more! Such a nice boy. Also he has a whole series of posts under the Tag Montreal, most of which are even about Montreal! And local cartoonists and writer Jack Ruttan caught this interview with him 2 weeks ago at the 48hr event.