Archive for ‘Cartoonists’


Sick day.

Don’t even ask.

In the meantime, though, go read Mike Dawson’s great Troop 142. Now online in its entirety [via Tom].

Tic Tac Toe Jam

Matt Madden sends word of his latest invention, the Tic Tac Toe Jam!

Anyone want to try it out and post links here?

Someday, All Comics Will Look like This:

Rebels of the Pacific Northwest

Something about this three-part interview with Vancouver cartoonist Colin Upton made me very happy.

It’s encouraging to see a mini-comics rebel from my small press excursion days holding forth on a dozen topics and looking relatively healthy after recent bouts with diabetes and other challenges.

Upton’s interview reminded me of another recent YouTube find; a video interview with minicomics legend Steve Willis from Washington State. Both videos communicate an air of stubborn resistance to anything slick or mass-produced which makes me smile.

As I’ve mentioned here before, one of the things I loved about the small press scene of the ’80s and early ’90s was the freedom it gave cartoonists to pursue their own path regardless what the marketplace might have wanted from them.

A version of that freedom migrated to the Web, but even a technophile like me knows it’s not the same, and can still enjoy listening to a cartoonist explain his craft with a pencil in hand, sitting at a slanted table, surrounded by books, and hearing the sound of a northwest rain falling outside his window.

The REAL Future of Comics

New York based Raina Telgemeier recently blogged some adorable photos of school and library visits she did here in California on behalf of the terrific “dental drama” Smile. I defy anyone to read the post and not smile just as widely as Raina and her growing family of young readers.

Reading it drove home for me again (see previous post) what an enormous opportunity every cartoonist has to translate their own experiences and interests into comics and find or even create new readers, based on the subject of that work.

One reader emailed me from a Therapy Center simply because she’d heard there was a comic explaining Crohn’s Disease (there is; it was a 24-hour comic by Tom Humberstone who suffers from the condition). Crohn’s disease affects between 400,000 and 600,000 people in North America alone (thanks, Wikipedia). Why the Hell WASN’T there a comic about Crohn’s disease until now??

Whole markets can be created out of thin air when the right subject strikes. Gan Golan (one of my 2003 seminar students at MIT) made a name for himself collaborating on the political parody Good Night Bush in ’08. Now he’s now teamed up with several other great talents to create Unemployed Man and he’s had no trouble getting coverage on CNN and a zillion other press outlets—not because of some surge in interest in the comics artform—but because Gan and co-creator Erich Origen have zeroed in on a topic with a potential target audience in the millions.

The beauty of this kind of outreach is that it only adds to the base of comics readers, and rarely do these efforts cannibalize each other. Barry Deutsch’s fantastic orthodox Jewish adventure Hereville isn’t competing for readers with the Bertrand Russell stories in Logicomix, or with XKCD, or with Persepolis. Each one is its own little community of readers, some of whom may have never read a comic before, but ALL of whom are now one comic deeper into this medium we’d all like to see grow.

Are you a cartoonist?

Are you passonate about something? Anything?

Are there others that share your passion?

Do those “others” number in the thousands?

Tens of thousands?


The Scattered Evidence of Emily Carroll

In the last few days, I received an email from Tim Kinnaird and several tweets alerting me to a haunting new online comic called His Face All Red.

See if you can carve out a few minutes without distractions to read it. You’ll be glad you did.

The artist, Emily Carroll, is a new name to me, but she’s obviously been at this for a while and her storytelling has the confidence of a veteran. I’ll be eager to see what she does next, but looking for evidence of what she’s done in the past has proved frustrating.

Notice how I didn’t add a link to her name in the above paragraph? That’s because I wasn’t sure which link to pick. She has a Livejournal. She has a Twitter handle. She has a Blogspot account. She even has her own domain, but if you go to the main page it’s just a “Coming Soon” page.

And none of them give the reader more than random, scattered evidence of who she is and what to expect from her in the future.

Carroll is the real thing. She deserves a more consolidated online presence.

She deserves some noise.

Oh, The Internet, We Can’t Take You Anywhere…

Okay, so Tuesday of last week, Kate Beaton put up a comment via her Twitter handle in 4 parts:

dear internet, you are well meaning, but I’d like to make a point.

when you tell a female creator you like her work so much you want to marry her and have her babies, you’re not doing anyone any favors

first of all, as cute as it sounds in your head, it’s a shitty, disrespectful ‘compliment.’ No one makes comics looking for sexual attention

secondly, by doing so you invite others to critique that person’s works based on their looks, which is uncomfortable, sexist and unfair.

There was a blizzard of responses (including a bunch of negative comments by males, apparently) that sparked a wider discussion about sexism in comics, and on Friday, Gabby Schulz put up a very funny comic about the whole thing.

It has 666 comments as of this writing (no joke!) and they make for some bracing/revealing/funny/depressing reading; sometimes devolving into YouTube-level depravity.

It’s important, before you open Pandora’s Box and go to the comic that you understand a few things that seem to confuse people:

1. Gabby is a guy (who sometimes goes by “Ken Dahl,” though that’s actually a pen name).

2. The comic is fiction. Also funny. It’s not meant to be picked apart like a court transcript.

3. Beaton is right.

It may be true that men and women have traditionally adopted different styles of communication and there are some men who might have reacted differently if roles had been reversed, but now that you know it’s offensive to say such things, it’s kind of ridiculous to argue the point.

It offends. Now you know. Act accordingly.

It’s not rocket science.

[Edit to Add: As some of our comments have pointed out, the 'babies' line was just an example, and a mild one at that. There have been far worse, and it's a pattern reported by several other female cartoonists.]

Ten Things to Know About the Future of Comics

Shaenon Garrity has a great post at Comixology this week. A little manifesto called Ten Things to Know About the Future of Comics.

Garrity has this unnerving habit of being right about everything, so I suggest you pay attention (though, if you disagree with any of her conclusions, I’d be curious to hear your views too, of course).

Please note that although I’m briefly name-checked in the article, I didn’t find out about this one through ego-surfing. It was actually via Barry Deutsch this time.

Spot. School. Scroller. Stanford.

Some Friday Odds and Ends…

Came across this oilspot by the mailboxes Wednesday. Thanks, humanity, nature, and entropy. Good job there.

Here’s a great cause: Tom Hart (one of my all-time favorite people in the comics universe) is creating a new comics workshop in Gainesville, FL. Here’s your chance to help get it off to a great start!

Here’s a cool sidescroller with some nice art. (link via John Patten)

And finally: Heads up, Stanford University! Looks like I’ll be heading your way on Thursday November 18. More details shortly.

Have a great weekend.

Eleanor Davis!

New art from an artists’ artist.

NSFW. via.