News and links from the world of Canadian comics and beyond. As always, you can see even more stuff via our Facebook page.
Item! Comics superstar Jillian Tamaki has illustrated a 150-page book included with a special edition of the debut album by U.S. music video director and musician Woodkid.
Item! And speaking of great gigs, fashionable man-about-town Marc Bell recently landed the job as go-to artist for a Prada campaign seeing print in Esquire UK. Other cartoonists include Bell’s spiritual peers Basil Wolverton and Rick Griffin. Full details at the link.
Item! I haven’t mentioned here that the Mark Laliberte-edited magazine Carousel has a tumblr strictly devoted to its comics section. The section is called 4 Panel because it features full-colour four panel comic strips by a large variety of Canadian and international cartoonists. You should really check it out, some great work there.
Item! One of the few truly working-class superheroes was my childhood fave Underdog, whose secret identity was a shoe-shine boy. The co-creator of Underdog, William Watts Biggers, died last week.
Item! Cartoonist and IDW cover artist Dave Sim talks about auctioning the artwork from his High Society graphic novel and other aspects of his doomsday plans. Some of those pieces are some of the most memorable Sim has ever done and I feel about them the same way Sim feels about Barry Windsor-Smith’s Red Nails: “But I saw it when I was 17 so I’ll always see it as a 17-year-old would see it. ‘THIS IS BLOWING. MY. MIND.'”
Item! I’ve been getting into the work of manga legend Shotaro Ishinomori lately. Ishinomori was the creator of Skullman, Kamen Rider and Cyborg 009. After Tezuka he was probably the most famous mangaka and his work in the Japanese superhero genre is comparable to Jack Kirby in influence. Many of his works are available digitally through Comixology and through this new app I just discovered. Animaru is a manga publisher whose “localizations” or manga translations are exclusively available through Facebook. They are currently publishing Ishinomori’s Mutant Sabu series.
Item! A Truro, Nova Scotia entrepreneur is pitching a comic book featuring the stars of the CBC’s smash tv show Dragon’s Den: “Johnston got the idea of featuring each of the dragons as superheroes. Johnston hired a 28-year-old single mother to draw the caricatures, as well as North River’s André Myette to help with the art and graphic design..” It’s a pretty hilarious pitch, but I think the top 10 Canadian tv shows that should be comic books are: Rocket Robin Hood, The Littlest Hobo, The Beachcombers, Mr. Dressup, Don Cherry’s Grapevine, Degrassi Junior High, Kids in the Hall, Slings and Arrows, Road to Avonlea, and 1 Girl 5 Gays.
Item! And finally, U.S. cartoonist Gabrielle Bell gets into some serious praising for Canadian artists in an interview for the Comics Journal conducted by Dan Nadel:

NADEL: Who were your — who are your work buddies these days?
BELL: I don’t know; I’ve been a bit more isolated lately. I go out sometimes with Richard McGuire and Leanne Shapton, and that’s pretty fun. I think those two are really fun.
NADEL: Yeah, Leanne’s a really interesting person. We should’ve interviewed her a long time ago.
BELL: You should. Yeah she’s smart.
NADEL: Yeah, a very interesting storyteller.
BELL: Yeah. A great artist. I loved her book.
NADEL: Which one?
BELL: Swimming Studies.
NADEL: Yeah I haven’t read that yet. Is it really good?
BELL: She’s very careful with her work. She’s so disciplined. I think I like these Canadian writers. [Laughs.] NADEL: Alice Munro.
BELL: Well I’m Canadian, too. My grandmother is Canadian, and there’s a certain kind of Canadian sensibility I really like. It’s not too self — not too advertising of one’s self, I guess. And there’s something careful or something about it.
NADEL: Right.
BELL: Not to just generalize about a whole country. [Laughter.] But yeah, I’ve been kind of isolated lately. I met Geneviève Castrée recently on my tour. She’s cool. We have a similar sensibility. Another Canadian artist.
NADEL: Yeah. A really good artist.
BELL: Yeah.