by BK Munn
We’ve been on Summer Hours here at Sequential but I’ve climbed out of my hammock and wandered over to the internet to round-up all the latest Canadian comix news in a little feature we call “The C-List”. Check out these juicy items:
Item! The big news last week was Annie Koyama’s announcement that she will be ending her stellar run as publisher of her own comics company, Koyama Press. The Press is scheduled to wind down by 2021 and Koyama will instead focus her efforts on artist patronage, writing cheques to individual projects she wants to support. “I am choosing the artists because I like their work,” Koyama said. “I feel that they deserve a higher profile. I know that they can’t do it on their own. What I am most interested in is taking people who are known for one discipline and for example, helping them to try another discipline. For example, people who are good at drawing already but really want to work on a little stop motion animation. Or they want to go off and learn to play the trumpet, try sculpture, learn printmaking or start community art related initiatives.”
Item! Oni Press has announced they will be publishing a new series of omnibus collections of Scott Pilgrim. The 3 books will collect the orginal six graphic novels, with new covers by Bryan Lee O’Malley and the new (2012) colours added.
Item! The Comics Journal is coming back to print. Fantagraphics has announced the magazine, which went digital in 2013, will resume semi-regular publication in 2019 with issue #303, helmed by long-time Journal fixture Kristi Valenti and “newcomer” RJ Casey. The online version of the Journal, these days run by Tucker Stone and Tim Hodler, just won an Eisner Award last week, so they are still something of the gold standard of comics criticism for the industry. Fanta is also reviving its “classic comics” magazine, Nemo.
Item! Speaking of the online version of TCJ, Anders Nilsen writes about the harrowing experience of finishing his friend Geneviève Castrée’s last book of comics, Bubble, making it ready for publication. “It’s often the case that the right solution to a narrative or visual problem feels like it comes out of nowhere. These bubbles don’t feel, to me, like “my style,” but they immediately felt right somehow. They aren’t her style either, they are simply what the book asked for, and finally accepted. I very much like that they are, in a way, not a drawing I’ve done on top of hers, but, because they are a literal digital negation of the toothy yellow paper on which she drew, the bubbles manage, in a funny way, to end up behind her work, as a support. At least I hope that’s how it feels to the reader. White is a color of blankness, is the color of an empty page, and of course, of death.”
Item! The Brandon MB comic convention has been postponed: “Friendly Neighbourhood Comic Shop (formerly the Eye Opener Book Store) owner Scott Bradley said that having the convention postponed is a “huge disappointment.” “There was lots of excitement, but who knows, it might open the doors for something bigger and more exciting in the future,” he said. Even so, he said that the event’s postponement was puzzling. “They had plenty of support and lots of hype,” he said. Brandon First executive director Graham Harvey said that he remained confident that something good would come out of all of this. “Obviously, we’re certainly disappointed, but we recognize that there was a tremendous appetite for this and we look forward to when it might come to Brandon,” he said. “The appetite in the community for this is tremendous … I have every confidence that we’re going to be dealing with a really impressive event of this type in the community … because there is an appetite.”
Item! Jeff Lemire talks to the Hollywood Reporter about Ascender, the sequel to his Descender series with illustrator Dustin Nguyen: “The more we worked on the book, the more we fell in love with the universe. And it was so successful, and I love working with Dustin — we didn’t want it to end, you know? But that’s not a good reason to keep it going. We started talking about what we would do next, and were throwing different ideas around. The idea of doing a fantasy book came up at one point, a completely different genre from Descender, and that was in the back of my head, even though it was nothing concrete. Then, I was working on some issues — somewhere in the 20s, I can’t remember which issue now — and we did a change-of-pace issue where Driller lands on this planet, and he meets this old guy in a swamp and there are vampires, and there’s magic stuff introduced, and I went, “Oh, shit. This is a goldmine. There’s a whole other side to this universe,” and it all started clicking.”
Item! Conan Tobias writes in the Summer issue of Taddle Creek about Jasper the Bear, the cartoon mascot of Alberta’s Jasper Park: “Public education about what draws bears into populated areas has, in recent years, reduced the number of such events in Jasper’s core—with one exception. A few blocks away, just off the main thoroughfare, a life-sized effigy of Jasper the bear stands at the centre of a small, unnamed park. “There’s not five minutes, in winter or summer, where there’s not people huddled around that statue,” said Pattie Pavlov, the executive director of the Jasper Park Chamber of Commerce. “There was a vigil held here right after the Pulse nightclub shooting, in Orlando. They asked if they could have it at Jasper’s park and, sure enough, there were a lot of people around that bear statue that night.”
Item! For me, the big news from the convention in San Diego last week was The Follies of Ruchard Wadsworth, due a year from now, and billed by D&Q as Nick Maandag’s “debut” book, despite Maandag already having a handful of all-time classic graphic novels under his belt. Maandag is one of my favourite cartoonists and I can’t wait for this collection: “The Follies of Richard Wadsworth showcases Nick Maandag’s signature blend of deadpan satire and exceedingly unexpected plot twists. In “Night School,” a Modern Managerial Business Administration and Operational Leadership class goes awry when a fire alarm brings the Chief to school and he decides to stick around to teach the students a thing or two about leadership—and discipline. “The Follies of Richard Wadsworth” follows the title character, a professor of philosophy, as he begins a contract instructor position at yet another university. When Wadsworth finds himself smoking reefer at his student’s party and he discovers she works at a rub n’ tug, an off-kilter plan is hatched. And in “The Disciple,” a yarn about a co-ed Buddhist monastery, Brother Bananas, the resident gorilla, isn’t the only one having difficulty keeping his lust tucked safely under his robe.
In Maandag’s hands—hands that love to toy with morally ambiguous characters and flirt with absurdity—troubled men make poor decisions, unlikable characters gain our sympathies through their very haplessness, and laughs ensue, riotously.
After achieving cult acclaim through his self-published and micro-published comics, The Follies of Richard Wadsworth is Maandag’s debut book. His mechanical, affectless characters and economical artwork efficiently deliver cringes, heightening the awkward silence and stillness of his hilarious comics.”
…and that’s it for the C-List this time! Now back to the hammock…