sticksI love comics news. Do you love comics news?

Do you spend all your spare time reading google news and rss feeds about comics? Or ignoring family and business obligations, pathetically trawling social media sites for tidbits about obscure minicomics, fanart, and cosplay pics? Me too! Maybe we should go out sometime!?(I’ll be the guy wearing the too-small Nard ‘n’ Pat t-shirt and holding a rolled, impossibly soiled copy of Cap’s Bicentennial Battles.)

Item! Did you know that the Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo is taking place next weekend, April 26-28, 2013 at the BMO Centre, Stampede Park (in Calgary)? Comics guests include Marvel spokesman and former dialogue writer Stan Lee, cartoonist Neal Adams, and a metric tonne of Canadian talent including David Finch, James Davidge, Camilla D’Errico, and Michael Cho. U.S. comics industry gadfly Erik Larsen will also be on hand. (Did you know that I have sworn a bloodfeud with Larsen because he dared insult the genius of Freddie Mercury and Brian May? Well, I have.) It’s actually quite a good show for non-comics guests, with 90s tv film goddess Gillian Anderson headlining along with all-time great director John Carpenter, etc, etc.

Item! Comicer Ian Daffern reviews Calgarian Bart Beaty’s Eisner-nominated Comics vs Art book for Quill and Quire: “In the not-so-distant past, the humble comic book found itself elevated to its own distinct category in bookstores: the graphic novel. However, as University of Calgary professor Bart Beaty points out, this distinction privileges the “novel” over the “graphic” aspect, praising the form for its literary qualities. Conversely, despite being intrinsically visual, comics have not only failed to achieve recognition as works of art, they have been in conflict with the art world for their entire existence.”

Item! In non-Calgary news, it appears that Chester Brown has entirely re-written his first graphic novel, The Playboy for a new paperback edition (via TCJ): “The Playboy has been reformatted and RELETTERED by Chester. He’s also rewritten a couple balloons and taken out a few panels (panels that he shows in the now patented Chester end note section which, of course, is all new and AMAZING!) Paying For It remains the same, just softer.} {UPDATE: Chester rewrote The Playboy in its entirety. POV shifted, tenses changed, conversational tone dropped. PHEW!!}”

Item! Speaking of D+Q and TCJ, Naomi Fry interviews Geneviève Castrée for the Comics Journal, which includes a shout-out to pioneering autobio cartoonist Sylvie Rancourt. Don’t you think the original Melody needs to be reprinted in English? “I don’t know what everybody thinks of my book, but a big chunk of the people who have given me good feedback on my book are women who can relate to it. And I assume it’s because the mother/daughter thing is not something many men can relate to. But I guess the reason why I’ve been feeling this duty to archive these women comics is, I do think that there needs to be more of a readership. I feel like it’s so easy to find an incredible woman cartoonist. I could go into a bookstore and I could find you so many women writers and cartoonists, and it wouldn’t be a big deal. But to find a group of women who are interested in comics, that’s a problem. I see some of these women’s books as masterpieces, for instance that book I was telling you about, Mélody, I think of it as this incredible thing, and also Ulli Lust’s book is a masterpiece. And I feel like, why aren’t these people more successful than they are, why weren’t they made a bigger fuss over when they were making these books I’m freaking out over?”

Item! I’ll post a separate link to this as we get closer to the date, but it’s worth noting that Conundrum and Koyama are planning a joint Montreal launch for two translated comics: “Koyama Press presents JOURNAL from Julie Delporte and Conundrum Press presents THE LIBRARY from Chihoi at Librairie Drawn & Quarterly on Tuesday, May 14, at 7PM.”

Item! As an organizer of the Wright Awards, I have a conflict of interest mentioning this item through a purportedly objective journalistic linkblog like Sequential, but one of this year’s Wright Award jurors, Natalia Yanchak, has written a short article for the Huffington Post about her experience with the awards so far: “Not since my teenaged years have I read so many comics. Back then I toyed with the notion of becoming an illustrator myself, but made the fated choice to move to Montreal and study creative writing instead. Then I joined a rock band and was overtaken by touring and helping manage The Dears. The wisened me can now appreciate the craft of artists so much more. These nominees are not just illustrators but writers, too — conjuring a narrative through words and images, a careful balancing act of both showing AND telling.”

Item! Emily Carroll and Brandon Graham have both done cover versions/interpretations of a Dan DeCarlo Betty and Veronica story, with interesting results. As you can imagine, Carroll’s is spooky and Graham’s is a little bit more light-hearted and sexy. You can see their versions and the original at Graham’s blog. What I like about both is that they were done as a lark, as “quick” riffs. That both have the capacity to fit multi-page, full-colour exercises into their regular work schedules speaks to their abilities as artists, and a balanced dedication to craft and experimentation that maintains a sense of fun.

Item! Finally, Michael DeForge has a new weekly webcomic, to be published every Sunday: Sticks Angelica, Folk Hero