Archive for the ‘news’ Category

Survival stories

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

Graphic journalism continues to make headway into the field of “serious” comics, and this time it’s available on the format/medium of our times, the iPad. Symbolia is a bi-monthly digital magazine featuring long-form journalism in the form of sequential art, for the (relatively) low price of $11.99 for six issues, or $2.99 for individual issues. The iPad app features audio, animation, and interactive graphics. Don’t have an iPad? Well, for desktop users (and Android, a platform they seem to have forgotten exists) they also sell Symbolia in a PDF edition, same price.

What do you get for your dollars? You can check out the free preview on their site, which features stories by Susie Cagle, Sarah Glidden, Chris A. Smith and Damien Scogin, Kat Fajardo and Audrey Quinn, and Andy Warner and Lauren Sommer. We’ve previously covered Glidden here in the blog, and her piece comes from her trip with the Common Language Project, which will be expanded upon in her upcoming book Stumbling Toward Damascus. “The Rollerbladers of Sulaymaniyah” is up to her usual standards and is pretty interesting, but perhaps my favorite piece in the preview was “Sea Change”, about the environmental troubles facing the Salton Sea in California.

That is Your Childhood Self

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

Yesterday Maurice Sendak died. He was the author and illustrator of Where the Wild Things Are, In the Night Kitchen, Outside Over There, and many other iconic and iconoclastic children’s books. He was 83. The New York Times has a good write-up on his career.

Today, in response to a request from Neil Gaiman, the New Yorker has unlocked a comic by Art Spiegelman, recounting a conversation Maurice and Art had, way back in 1993. It’s quite lovely and funny, and you can check it out over at their website.

By Art Spiegelman and Maurice Sendak

(via Neil Gaiman)

Occupy Kickstarter

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Say what you will about the Occupy movement, but its reach seems to grow every single day. Whether it be through Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, or professional blogs like Huffington Post, every other post is about the Occupy movement or reaction to the Occupy movement. Well, now comic books are getting into the game. For once, Bluewater Productions are not the guys behind this effort. Instead, some of the industry’s most prolific talents are gathering to put out Occupy Comics.

The collaboration is looking to embrace the artistic nature of Occupy in order to get its message out there in a cohesive and straightforward manner. Tim Seeley, J.M. DeMatteis, B. Clay Moore, Ben Templesmith, Steve Niles, Molly Crabapple, and Marc Andreyko are just a few of the artists and writers involved. Heck, even Douglas Rushkoff is listed as a contributor. Each and every cent donated via Kickstarter will go towards paying the talent involved and to produce the book. The creators will then be able to donate whatever they receive straight to the movement so that it can continue on. As of typing this, $2,116 out of the $10,000 needed has been pledged.

The Kickstarter campaign will be available until December 9th with multiple rewards available for different tiers of donation, including a paper copy of Occupy Comics for $20, a copy of the Occupy Comics Documentary by Patrick Meaney, director of Grant Morrison: Talking With Gods and Warren Ellis: Captured Ghosts for a $25 donation, and a signed and numbered anthology for $50. Or, if you’d like, $1 gets you a thanks on their website. Hopefully this will get a unified Occupy message out there to those still looking to hear one.

(via Bleeding Cool)

London Falling

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

This past week, areas of London experienced riots after a peaceful protest went horribly wrong. The looting and destruction of property lasted four days and even included the murder of a 68-year old retiree who tried to put out a fire but instead was stopped and fatally beaten by a teenager. No businesses were spared from the disaster as Apple stores, hardware stores and even comic shops such as A Place in Space and Manchester’s Forbidden Planet were forced to shutter. While there is truly no way to understand the true motives or reasoning behind the riots, cartoonist David Ziggy Greene does his best to share his thoughts via an op-ed strip.


Greene goes over his experiences post-riot as stores began boarding up or cleaning up even as the children that looted them look on. Drawings related to the cleanup can also be found on artist Tom Humberstone’s blog where he stresses nothing was “simple” or “straightforward” about what went down and that the poor were not exclusive to the destruction. Finally, Sally Jane Thompson drew up some hopeful images both during and after the event.

A week later the recovery process continues and it will continue for weeks and months to come. My best goes out to anyone who was affected by the rioting. All we can hope is that people look at what went down as a deterrent towards future transgressions.

(via Robot 6)

Being an Attractive Superheroine Isn’t Easy

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

Last week, NBC held its upfronts, presentations where the network debuts their fall slate of programming to advertisers, and the rest of the world peeks in to find out what new delights/horrors television has in store for them come the new season. Completely surprising no one was the fact that David E. Kelley’s Wonder Woman, starring Adrianne Palicki, was not on the schedule, mostly because reports of its demise had been flying fast and furious the week before that.

NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt said that they felt Wonder Woman wasn’t the right “fit” for their lineup, which is an interesting choice of words when you consider all the online hubbub surrounding her costume, which downplayed her patriotic (American) side and was ridiculously shiny and uncoordinated. The costume was later tweaked, but that didn’t stop people from tittering at unflattering photos of Adrienne Palicki in action.

Wonder Woman may not be saving the day now, but Empowered still came to her rescue after those photos were released, following up her comments on the script with new commentary about the trials and travails of being an attractive costumed heroine, as well as which female cast member of Friday Night Lights was hotter: Adrienne Palicki or Minka Kelly?

(via Bleeding Cool)

Editorial Wikigroaning

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

Editorial cartooning has a long history here in the United States, going all the way back to Benjamin Franklin’s infamous “Join, or Die” cartoon that was published as a call to action during the French and Indian War. So in preparing my last post about editorial cartoons and graphic journalism, I decided to take a look at the Wikipedia page for some background information and examples. I was greeted by this:

That’s the meat of the article in total. The article is comprised of an introductory sentence, two short paragraphs, two images, and a “See also” list of 10 items. For this old, influential form of communication that, judging from the amount of hits on Google, has a pretty decent presence on the web. And yet, the Wikipedia page (which is third in a search for “editorial cartoon” and fifth for “political cartoon”) is only a paltry 4,247 bytes of data.

On the possibility that a once-long entry might have been cut down by judicious editing or vandalism, a look at the article’s history shows a creation date of April 3, 2003 and since then it has endured about 1000 edits, and for most of its history wavered between 2000 and 5000 bytes.

Wikipedia has been accused of systemic bias and some groups (including Wikipedia itself) have taken action to counter this bias, but subjects like politics (particularly when pertaining to English-speaking nations), comics, and newspapers are not subjects that traditionally suffer from this bias. Yet somehow, editorial cartoons, which lie at the intersection of these, have been left behind.

The Left Forum recently held their annual conference back in March, and as part of their schedule, held a panel called “Political Cartoons: Resistance Through Ridicule.” Tim Kreider sat on the panel and later wrote a piece on The Comics Journal about the experience, describing it as “marginal and loserish and sad” because,

The crowd seemed to consist largely of grizzled, embittered Marxists, and the tenor of questions spanned the range from aggrieved to despairing. Why isn’t the Left availing itself of the power of political cartoons in this post-literate culture? […] Why is there no market for editorial cartoons anymore? […] Why are mainstream newspaper editorial cartoons so bland and craven and bad? Why can’t we seem to communicate our message effectively?

He spends the rest of the feature talking about the lack of a future for editorial cartooning as we know it, and what the Internet means for cartooning. The title of the piece cames from another panel he saw on the schedule: “What Is to Be Done?”

Maybe they should update their Wikipedia page, for a start.

A Refuge for Graphic Journalism

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

Political cartoons have been around for hundreds of years, and as such, are pretty familiar to anyone who has ever picked up a newspaper. Graphic journalism presents more long-form reports and observations about the world we live in, and it’s been picking up steam over the past decade or two. The Cartoon Movement seeks to be a portal for these two forms of nonfiction comics, publishing new material at least four times a week.

The site got a major push last Wednesday with the publication of Sarah Glidden’s The Waiting Room, a 21-page comic about the struggles of Iraqi refugees in Syria. The research for this one-shot comic came from her travels with the Common Language Project, which will be more fully covered in her upcoming book Stumbling Toward Damascus.

For those interested in graphic journalism, it’s also worth looking at this piece by Erin Polgreen over at The Hooded Utilitarian. She talks about the different formats and styles that graphic journalism can take, like travelogues and portraiture. The ideas presented are only a small part of a panel she presented at The National Conference for Media Reform earlier this month, and you can listen to the entirety of that panel on the NCMR site.

Explaining Health Care

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

We’ve been talking a lot about how comics are a great way to boil down complex topics, conveying these topics in a form that will get people to actually read and understand them. Publisher Hill and Wang has really taken this to heart, having published graphic narratives such as the The 9/11 Report and The Stuff of Life: a graphic guide to genetics and DNA. For their next project, they’ve enlisted MIT economist Jonathan Gruber to adapt the 2,400-page Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into a graphic guide tentatively titled Health Care Reform.

As one of the architects behind the bill, Jonathan Gruber is uniquely qualified to adapt the bill, though he was reluctant at first:

“I just wasn’t sure this would be useful enough. Then my wife and kids said, ‘You’re crazy. You’ve got to do this.’ So I decided to give it a shot. My family made me realize that there is such a misunderstanding of the bill and that it’s important to explain why we need this, and what it does. I’ve found that when people understand it, they like it.”

The book is slated for publication later this year (though anyone who needs easier-to-digest information now can always check out the bill’s official website).

(via ICv2)

Illustrating the March for Civil Rights

Monday, April 4th, 2011

Due to their pictorial nature, comics are sometimes thought of as being easier to read, which is why there are those who look down upon them as something for the young and uneducated. But there are those who see their ease-of-reading as a strength, a way to spread a message to those who cannot or will not read large blocks of text.

Among these advocates is US Congressman John Lewis, who recently signed a deal with Top Shelf to co-write a comic (with his aide, Andrew Aydin) about the struggle for civil rights in the United States. It’s a subject near-and-dear to his heart, as he was heavily involved with the Civil Rights Movement in the ’60s: he helped organize and was a keynote speaker for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in August 1963 (where the “I Have a Dream” speech was given by Martin Luther King Jr.), and led the first march from Selma to Montgomery that became known as “Bloody Sunday” when they were attacked by state troopers.

Chris Staros, John Lewis, and Andrew Aydin

Aydin and Lewis were driven to action by a comic from 1953 titled The Montgomery Story, which told the story of the Montgomery bus boycotts and inspired many people to join the Freedom Rides. It was recently translated into Arabic and Farsi by activist Dalia Ziada, and Lewis has stated that he believes it helped inspire the protests in Egypt earlier this year, as thousands of copies were distributed across the Middle East.

No artist has been announced for Lewis and Aydin’s graphic novel yet, which is set for release in 2012.

(via Bleeding Cool and Newsarama)

An Animator’s Outlook on Tragedy

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Reports and stories continue to pour out of Japan in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on March 11; many are heartbreaking but there is the occasional ray of hope that shines. Perhaps the most welcome news anyone could get is to find out a loved one is okay.

It was the next day when the staff behind Joe is Japanese received that very welcome news regarding their friend Koga Sato, an animator who is also the basis for their main character Joe McCunney. He took the time to write them an e-mail that not only affirmed he was okay, but relayed the events of the day, which were stunning, sad, and sometimes even a bit funny. That mix of emotions has been made into a special mini-comic, titled “Koga’s Email.”

Koga’s imagination and sense of  humor is really at work here, most evident in the fact that he makes quite a few odd pop culture references in his account, like saying that his office looked like “Mike Tyson fought with Rickson Gracie.”

The artists have put out a request that if you enjoy the comic, please donate to the Search Dog Foundation, whose dogs are currently searching for people in Fukushima. To help spread the word, they’ve released “Koga’s Email” under a Creative Commons license (CC BY-ND), so feel free to repost it.

(via The Webcomic Overlook)