Trying to catch up to the Canadian Comics News!

Item! My new favourite cartoonist is Cathon, a young artist from Montreal by way of Quebec City. I just love that crazy drawing style! She has a few books out from La Pasteque and Colosse, as well as various zines and minicomics. That’s an image from her blog above. Not sure what it’s for?

Item! Writing at the Shuster Awards blog, Toronto retailer Kevin Boyd seems to have been the first comics type to catch the Toronto Star report on the actual sale of Honest Ed’s. We reported that the landmark store and it’s entire block (including the locations of The Beguiling and Little Island Comics shops) were for sale a couple months back. Now it seems a Vancouver condo developer has bought the land for over $100 million, but will rent it back to Honest Ed’s owners the Mirvish family and their tenants for 2 years: “Since Westbank has no concrete plans as of yet for the 1.8 hectares of land that runs more than a block West of Bathurst and Bloor and a block South of it — and if they did the designs would have to go through the long process of permits and approvals — so they are renting the land back to David Mirvish for at least 2 to possibly 3 years. Plus the city of Toronto voted to hold off on approving anything until 2014, so they’ll have time to start surveying and consulting and readying for the inevitable discussions with Toronto’s City Council.”

Item! R.I.P. Picturebox Books. Tom Spurgeon has the news of the end of Dan Nadel’s New York-based publishing company. Sad day. Through the years, Picturebox has published many amazing, groundbreaking comics, including work by several Canadian artists like Marc Bell and all-time great Julie Doucet. Nadel is responsible for two important Canadian anthologies: the Bell-edited Nog a Dod: Prehistoric Canadian Psychedoolia (which I reviewed here), which was published by Andy Brown’s Conundrum Press and then distributed in the U.S. by Picturebox, and the Nadel-edited-and-published The Ganzfeld 5: Japanda. Both of these books are responsible for documenting an ephemeral scene in a way that made many of us sit up and take notice of an important group of artists and cartoonists (see next item). Without Picturebox it is highly unlikely that something like the 2013 TCAF would have been half as memorable for some of us, minus Picturebox luminaries like Gengorah Tagame and Dash Shaw; international, edgy avant garde figures whose presence enriches our understanding of comic art. The official final book to be published by Picturebooks is Infomaniacs, by Matthew Thurber. “That’s a good one to end on,” Nadel told [Comics Reporter]. Nadel told CR that the decision was personal rather than professional, and that the idea of closing the company was instigated by him for reasons related to the course of his life rather than forced by business concerns. According to the writer, editor and designer, PictureBox was a viable concern right up to the end, and could have been continued at its current level of success in perpetuity. He was the company’s only full-time employee: art direction was freelanced and the artists that worked for PictureBox did so through standard publishing contracts. It did allow for Nadel’s living in New York City, and, he stressed, could have continued.

Item! And speaking of cartoonists in anthologies edited by Marc Bell and Dan Nadel, Mark Connery has a show of new painting and collages at Toronto gallery Weird Things running until December 11. Might Match the Couch. He says, “About a week more friends, frenemies, strangers, and whomever the hecks-youz-is. Show is nearly half sold!!! Yar! There’s some fine deals, fine arts, beax arts, bozo arts & many treasures courtesy of Weird Things. Hours are Tues – Saturday 12 – 7”

Item! Comics festivals we have unintentionally ignored department: Marc Tessier has photos on Facebook from the recently-concluded festival in Gatineau, Quebec, Les Rendez-vous de la Bande Dessinee de Gatineau (RVBDG), which took place last weekend, November 29 to December 1.

Item! Annie Koyama shares some holiday shopping ideas from Magic Pony.
Item! Also just in time for Christmas, Adventure Time designer Matt Forsythe has some new prints for sale and a briskly-selling kids book.

Item! Diana Tamblyn writes about female superheroes in film: “my daughter who is 8 would like nothing more than to see a female-driven action movie that is kid-friendly. There are none though. The closest we have come is the Powerpuff Girls DVDs from the old TV show. The show is smart, the characters are strong and relatable, the artwork is superb. We’ll just have to read Harry Potter and Percy Jackson while we’re waiting, waiting for Hollywood to get their act together.”

Item! The Panels for Primates webcomic charity anthology that we wrote about awhile back (it was a fundraiser for a chimpanzee rescue organization) has found new life thanks to Monkeybrain Comics (natch) and Comixology. Editor Troy Wilson writes to let us know the new comics include contributions from Jeff Lemire, J. Bone, Adam Domville, Aaron Florian, and Lisa Cinar. You can get the comics (including one for kids) here.

Item! Learn all about classic Canadian comic book artist Edmond Good. According to Ivan Kockmarek’s latest column at Comic Book Daily, Good was a cartoonist and painter who drew superhero and adventure comics for the Canadian Whites during World War II and went on to illustrate pulps (Weird Tales) and work in U.S. comics (the post-Noel Sickles/Frank Robbins Scorchy Smith comic strip. According to Kockmarek, Good worked on the “Mike Gibbs, Guerilla” strip in Adventure Comics and “is best known for doing Phantom Detective stories in Thrilling Comics from 1946-48, being the original artist on the Tomahawk who first appeared in Star Spangled Comics 69 in 1947, the good girl art he did in Dagar Comics in 1948-9 and the long run he had with the title character in Monte Hale Western Comics for Fawcett from 1949-53.” Co-creator of Tomahawk, a long-running feature for DC, is a pretty good claim to fame!

Item! Georgia Webber (Dumb) is this year’s comics editor for literary journal Carte Blanche. She writes: “”SUBMISSIONS ARE OPEN, gimme your comics gimme your comics gimme your coooooomics!!!” BONUS: Webber is also profiled on Hazlitt about the potential of comics.

Item! Do you know the work of Julian Peters? Recently profiled in the Boston Globe, Peters is a student at Concordia whose very accomplished comics adaptations of famous poems are burning up the internets. Edgar Alan Poe and T.S. Eliot’s Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock have been the subjects of Peters’ pen but he has also produced his own original comics and graphic novellas. At first glance, his work combines some of the better aspects of Wil Eisner, Craig Thompson, Dave Sim, Ty Templeton, and Donna Barr. See his blog here.

Item! Warner Brothers/DC Comics got some good publicity from the CBC awhile back on the subject of a new superhero being crowdsourced by Jeff Lemire for inclusion in the Justice League of America comic book he will be writing. Ostensibly based on 15-year-old Cree activist Shannen Koostachin, the new character is yet to be named.

Item! Dakota McFadzean is interviewed by Emmet Matheson for Prairie Dog magazine about his childhood, work strategies, and more: “I am attracted to big, sparse, empty, ghostly-feeling panels. If I’m being honest, especially with regards to the early stories in the book, I just don’t like drawing environments. Architecture and stuff requires research and reference, and you’ve got to get it right. Prairie landscapes are what I grew up with, but prairie landscapes are also really easy to draw. You don’t have to do a lot of trees or mountains or perspective. You just draw a flat line and you’re done! Go home for the night.”

Item! Lastly, Andy Brown blogs about his trip to Montreal for Expozine and the Dakota McFadzean booklaunch. Tons of photos and sentimental thoughts about that city’s comics community: “Thanks Montreal. Always a nostalgia trip for me. And thanks to the very capable, talented and beautiful people who I publish for going above and beyond to help me out behind the table. A group of us founded Expozine 12 years ago because we saw a need. Obviously the community agreed. With the present location it has become a November ritual and for the francophones, an alternative to next week’s intense Salon des Livres (there are no anglophones there, another reason to start up Expozine, a truly bilingual and inclusive event)”