By Will Wellington
Howdy, pardners! Humble cowpoke* Will Wellington here with your weekly roundup of Canadian comics chestnuts**.
Item! The first issue of the all new, all sexy Archie reboot, featuring the sleek illustrations of Saga‘s Fiona Staples, hit shelves this week. Chip Zdarsky, whose Jughead is due in October, contributed one of waaaaay too many variant covers.
Item! Let’s catch up with Kate, shall we? The press rollout for Kate Beaton’s The Princess and the Pony continues with a short and sweet interview and a video tutorial for all you would-be pig-pony sketchers out there, both via TIME. (In other news, TIME is still a thing.)
Item! Beaton isn’t the only Canadian creator preoccupied with history and its many variations. Alternate History Comics is now crowdfunding a graphic novel version of Mark Twain’s short story “Niagara,” to be written by Mark Shainblum and illustrated by a team of waaaaay too many talents to name. Meanwhile, the radical Graphic History Collective has added one more to its talented number: Kara Sievewright. The collective’s current project is an “anthology of comics on Canadian labour history” due out in 2016.
Item! In other crowdfunding news, U.K. based indie Dead Canary Comics is raising funds to print and distribute Frogman 3: The Death of Frogman, illustrated by Canuck Gibson Quarter, a veritable poet of pecs and tendons. Those funds they’re funding will determine the reach of distribution beyond the British Isles, so if you want in on this web-footed action, toss them a pound or three.
Item! Comiccon Controversy! Dude named Arthur Suydam (guy draws zombies I guess?!?) allegedly commandeered waaaaay more than his fair share of tables at Montreal Comiccon and other creators, understandably, got mad. He later issued and then retracted a statement on the incident … but I don’t know anything about this sort of thing! Let the CBR folks tell you all about it!
Item! This summer Heavy Trip and La mauvaise tête present de concert, a collaboration between Jimmy Beaulieu, Sophie Bédard, Vincent Giard, and Singeon. The whole thing, which will be serialized at deconcert.tumblr.com before its collection in book form this fall, seems to revolve around a single concert (de concert, in fact) by the bands “Solids” and “Heat” (most Québécois rockers are former physics majors, dontchaknow?). I dig the illustrations and the Rashomon-esque concept, so I’m excited to read this comic–or I would be if I could read French! (Is it just me or does this guy look like the dude from Fet.Nat?)
Item! Whatever may be happening right now in a galaxy far, far away, in a galaxy (very) close to home, Canadian creators continue to leave their mark on the recently revitalized Star Wars franchise. Cecil Castellucci is writing a new Princess Leia novel for young folks and Stuart Immonen, newly minted series artist for the Star Wars comic, has shared a number of pages from his Star Wars sketchbook.
Item! That wascally wabbit Jeet Heer (of Sweet Lechery and much more), now senior editor for the recently troubled New Republic, this week published a piece on the legacy and possible fate of Drawn & Quarterly following the departure of founder Chris Oliveros.
Item! Toronto cartoonist Kat Verhoeven of webcomic Meat & Bone and graphic novel Towerkind will lead a comic making workshop (followed by a signing) at the St. James Town wing of the Toronto Public Library on July 23.
Item! A noteworthy early instance of the down and dirty comics memoir has been released in a new edition by Drawn & Quarterly. Melody: Story of a Nude Dancer by Sylvie Rancourt details the author’s time as a stripper in mid-eighties Montreal in stripped-down (ha ha) drawings. A new introduction by Chris Ware accompanies this opportunity to rediscover an important indie work.
Item! I’ve been thinking recently that the survival of comic book stores (and bookstores in general) may depend, to some extent, on hybridization. I wonder how much of the success of stores like Guelph’s The Dragon, for instance, can be attributed to the way they service the bustling community created by games like Magic: The Gathering? Another kind of hybrid retailer just opened in Toronto, and it sounds like a real destination: The Sidekick, founded by Chris Watton, combines a carefully curated comic book store with a no frills café–a perfect combination, to my mind, because a comic takes about as long to read as it does to nurse an espresso, and comics are only as expensive as a tea latté anyway.
That’s all, folks!
Will Wellington lives and works in Guelph.
*Will Wellington has never met, let alone poked, a cow, never mind the rumours.
**Let the record show: alliteration is arduous.
By Will Wellington