Out and About: Brooklyn Book Festival 2011

September 18th, 2011

It should be noted that the Brooklyn Book Festival is going on right now over at Brooklyn Borough Hall. The event runs through 6pm, with vendors, panels, and performances. Vendors include Drawn & QuarterlyMcSweeney’s, and Keith Knight.

If you missed the “Sequential Non-fiction” or “Building a Book” panels at MoCCA Fest this past spring,  both Dean Haspiel and Lauren Redniss will be on a panel later today titled “Drawing a Life” with GB Tran. The panel starts at 4pm, so there’s still plenty of time to head over there and check it out.

4:00 P.M. Drawing a Life. How do you draw someone else’s memories? Eisner nominated Dean Haspiel (Cuba: My Revolution) illustrated the memoir of revolutionary turned refugee Inverna Lockpez. Pulitzer nominee Lauren Redniss (Radioactive: A Tale of Love and Fallout) blends research and imagination in a haunting portrait of Marie Curie and rising star artist GB Tran (Vietnamerica: A Family’s Journey) turns to his own family’s history to portray a war-torn, transnational generation. Moderated by Hillary Chute, author of Graphic Women: Life Narrative and Contemporary Comics.

Arduino at a Glance

September 12th, 2011

For those of you looking for some do-it-yourself work or a new programming challenge, Arduino might be a good place to start. It is an electronics scripting and prototyping platform that can allow programmers and inventors to take their ideas from the design stage to the testing stage. Jody Culkin put together a very descriptive how-to comic giving plenty of information for beginners and experienced programmers alike to understand just how to handle this process.

Everything from microcontrollers to switchers, sensors, voltage, and the ever-important Ohm’s Law are defined and explained. Links to both Windows and Mac Arduino software and user guides are also included once you are ready to learn more about the project. What lends itself nicely to this step-by-step tutorial is the incredibly descriptive art; everything looks the way it does in the real world including shots of MacOS, circuit boards and the solderless breadboard. The comic can be found in PDF format here. You can read it in a browser or download the file and put it on a portable device if you’re looking to program on the go.

(via Boing Boing)

The Recipe For Changing Seasons

September 8th, 2011

Labor Day has come and gone, meaning that summer is unofficially over. Kids are back in school, most of the beaches have closed or will be closing soon and football season is starting up this Sunday. Still, there are at least a few more warm days left before fall kicks into full gear. Come, let us celebrate with some delicious recipes in the form of comics, shall we?

Throughout the summer, Saveur turned to a bunch of artists to share food stories and the recipes that go along with them under the Recipe Comix banner. The talent involved includes Eli Valley of The Forward and EV Comics who decided to share his mother’s recipe for a simple spaghetti and tuna dish that proved that even though she was a single mother, she could compete with the other Jewish moms in the neighborhood culinary-wise. Other contributors were Nedroid‘s Anthony Clark, Farley Katz of The New Yorker and yes, even Ryan North of Dinosaur Comics. North’s chili recipe not only sounds delicious but it is told to us by dinosaurs. Which immediately increases the deliciousness and credibility of any recipe.

A complete archive of Recipe Comix can be found here. Hopefully there will be more recipes to come in Summer 2012 as I’m sure there are plenty of creators with food to share out there. In the meantime, I think I’m going to try and make Emily Horne’s Black Mischief cocktail once I get me some gin, stout beer and espresso.

London Falling

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)

Telling a Story in 5 Panels with G+

August 15th, 2011

So Google+ is the new “hot” social network that everyone’s jumping aboard, though it’s not without its flaws—chief among them being that Google continues to insist that people use their “real” names, even when there are many good reasons why people might not want to. Putting that controversy aside, the site has many benefits, and some comics creators have even found the site’s “about” page to be yet another creative outlet.

A user’s about page on Google+ has a space to put up some pictures, presumably pictures of themselves, but instead Scott McCloud and Stephen Hitchen have used the slots as comic panels, telling (very) short stories.

Aside from being really informative about what they do (pictures really do speak louder than words), it just looks cool. Now I’m just staring at that empty slot on my own Google+ page, and pondering the possibilities.

(via The Ephemerist)

Laika Lives!

July 18th, 2011

Laika may have been the first animal to orbit the Earth, but there was no way to bring her back down safely, which also makes her the first to die in space—meaning that Nick Abadzis’ graphic novel account of her life doesn’t have a happy ending, upsetting a great deal of people. Some, including filmmakers, have questioned if the book needed to end that way, if there wasn’t some way to make the ending less depressing:

Filmmakers often get in touch, wondering whether there might be a way of presenting a version with a more positive spin to it. Well, of course there is, but then you’d be changing history, or at least blunting the truth of what took place that day in 1957, and unfortunately, you can’t change history, not one line.

Though history can’t be changed and the book will stay true to events, Abadzis is willing to play a game of “what if?” with Laika, honoring the 25th anniversary of Big Planet Comics in Washington, DC with a series of alternate endings dubbed “The Alternate Endings to Laika Show.”

So far two strips have been put up, both presenting stories that aren’t entirely implausible, but still vary widely from the truth in ensuring that little Laika survives.

(via The Beat)

You Are Cordially Invited

June 17th, 2011

I have no plans to get married any time soon, but the trials and travails chronicled in Adrian Tomine’s Scenes from an Impending Marriage make me think that simply eloping is a good idea. Guest lists, music, food, registries, party favors—all the little details that go into planning a “proper” wedding are detailed here in short comic vignettes starring Adrian and his fianceé as they attempt to plan their own real-life wedding.

The book is cute with simple and lively illustrations, arranged in a nine-panel configuration on most pages with the occasional Family Circus one-panel homage. It’s easy to sympathize with the couple—weddings can be a complicated minefield of familial politics, for one thing—but the book doesn’t go into any of these issues in detail, and is over so quickly. But we should be grateful to even have the opportunity to read this graphic memoir at all, as the book was originally created as a party favor for the wedding guests—a fact that is chronicled in the book, and the Drawn & Quarterly version of it includes an epilogue chronicling the aftermath of the reception, in all its tired and awestruck glory.

Scenes from an Impending Marriage
by Adrian Tomine
published by Drawn & Quarterly (Montreal, 2011)
ISBN 978-770460-34-8

Being an Attractive Superheroine Isn’t Easy

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)

Donald Duck, Autograph Hound

May 23rd, 2011

BOOM! Studios just released The Walt Disney Treasury: Donald Duck vol. 1, a 160-page collection of classic Donald Duck stories by Don Rosa, who wrote comics about Donald and Scrooge McDuck in the ’80s and ’90s, such as The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck (which has also been reprinted by BOOM). In addition to many classic Donald Duck stories, the treasury also includes a work-in-progress version of “The Starstruck Duck,” an uncompleted story commissioned to celebrate and promote the opening of Disney-MGM Studios (now Disney’s Hollywood Studios) at Walt Disney World in Florida.

In this madcap adventure (as if Donald has any other kind) a lot of the main attractions are name-checked as Donald runs through them, all in search for an autograph from the most famous film star in the world…Mickey Mouse! As strange as it is to have a world where Mickey is famous but Donald is not, what really got me were the moments of recognition from my visits in 1993 and 2010. Of course, there are things that have changed since the park opened in 1989—I wonder how Donald would feel about the giant Sorcerer’s Hat, complete with Mickey ears?

You can read the entirety of “Starstruck Duck” over at Comics Alliance.

Fight Back Against Bullying with the Power Within

May 20th, 2011

Today’s the last day to donate to the Kickstarter campaign for The Power Within, an anti-bullying and anti-suicide comic by Charles “Zan” Christensen and Mark Brill, with new additional pages by Gail Simone, Phil Jiminez, Carla Speed McNeil, Dan Parent, Donna Barr and Andy Mangels. The comic was originally created for 24-Hour Comics Day last year, then self-published and sold at a few conventions, and now they’re looking to fund a much larger print run to spread the message. As of this writing, they’ve reached their goal of $3000, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t donate.

  • Pledge $10 for a copy of the book
  • Pledge $25 to receive an 11×17 print of the cover art
  • Pledge $125 for a complete collection of Northwest Press books
  • Pledge $500 or more for all of the above, plus a ticket to the 23rd Annual Lambda Literary Awards, including the cocktail reception and VIP afterparty

No one’s taken them up on the ticket offer (tickets for the awards + party are normally $150), but there’s still 3 hours left on the project and it is going to a good cause.

(via Bleeding Cool)