Smash Pages Q&A: Eli Valley on ‘Diaspora Boy’

The political cartoonist discusses his first book from OR Books.

Eli Valley has been making comics for just over a decade. Unlike most political cartoonists, though, most of his work aren’t single panel comics, but rather long page-size comics intended for a broadsheet publication. In The Forward, +972 Magazine, The Nib and other publications, Valley has been skewering politics and individuals in hilarious, grotesque and inventive ways.

In these longer comics, which show the influence of EC Comics and other horror artists, Valley shows himself a gifted artist, though sometimes his own exaggerations aren’t nearly as grotesque as the actual words spoken by actual people that he’s skewering. Some of his comics have their own shock and awe, as Valley is not afraid to offend people or worry about people’s sensibilities. This has led to problems with some editors, he’s been denounced by individuals, but he refuses to shy away from controversy.

His first book Diaspora Boy has just been released by OR Books with an introduction by Peter Beinart. He took time out to talk about the book and how his work has changed in the past year.

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Feels good, man: ‘Pepe’ creator serves notice on copyright infringers

Matt Furie unleashes lawyers against the “Alt-Right” use of the cartoon frog.

Matt Furie is taking back Pepe the Frog—and he’s not holding back. Last month, the creator of the cartoon frog sent his lawyers after Eric Hauser, who had used Pepe as one of the lead characters in a painfully Islamophobic children’s book, and now those same lawyers have issued a flurry of cease-and-desist letters and DMCA takedown requests to other copyright infringers and those who host them.

Matthew Gault reports on Motherboard that cease and desist orders have been sent to Richard Spencer, Mike Cernovich, Tim Gionet (a.k.a. “Baked Alaska”), and the r/the_Donald subreddit. The C&D letters explicitly state that the next step will be to hit the infringers in the wallet:

Furie’s legal team makes clear that Furie plans to ask Spencer, Cernovich, and Baked Alaska for money in addition to demanding they stop using Pepe’s image: “After we have received confirmation that you have ceased infringement, we will contact you to discuss what additional information we need from you to calculate the appropriate amount of damages,” the letters read.

Furie’s legal team has also issued DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) takedown requests to Amazon, Google Play, and Reddit, naming specific pages that host infringing images. Gionet’s book Meme Magic: Secrets Revealed, which has Pepe on its cover, is no longer available on Amazon, and Google Play has dropped his app Build the Wall: The Game. (Apple has already banned Pepe from its App Store.)

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Kittredge, Ingranata help Top Cow unsheathe the ‘Witchblade’

One of Top Cow’s signature titles returns in December.

Top Cow has announced that they’ve recruited writer Caitlin Kittredge, artist Roberta Ingranata and colorist Bryan Valenza to create a new Witchblade series, featuring the sword-wielding character created by Marc Silvestri, Brian Haberlin, Michael Turner and David Wohl. The new series starts in December.

“Everywhere you look in the real world, you’ll see a hero. Not the kind that wears a cape and flies around a comic page or across the big screen but the kind you see walking around being kind of unremarkable. Basically people. People that, when given the choice, will simply do the right thing. Because that’s what a hero does,” said Silvestri. “Doing the right thing isn’t always easy, as it often means being selfless. Without hesitation. But again, that’s what a hero does. Our most enduring superheroes come from this simple idea: people choosing to do the right thing. People like the wielders of the Witchblade.”

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Smash Pages Q&A: Alberto Ledesma on ‘Diary of a Reluctant Dreamer’

In his first book, Alberto Ledesma combines comics, illustrations and essays to examine what it means to be undocumented in the United States.

Alberto Ledesma’s first book, Diary of a Reluctant Dreamer: Undocumented Vignettes from a pre-American Life combines comics, illustrations and essays to examine what it means to be undocumented in the United States. It’s a deeply moving book that is very personal, but Ledesma is also interested in using his own story as a springboard to discussing other topics and towards a larger conversation. Ledesma has a love of comics, and makes clear in the book that keeping a sketchbook is key to how he works. It is a deeply felt, very political book that eschews narrative and seeks many ways to think about these political concerns and the artistic approaches of combining text and art.

The book is the first of a new imprint, Latinographix, part of Mad Creek Books at Ohio State University. Ledesma holds a doctorate degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and works there today, but he’s very interested in starting a much wider conversation around these issues and how they relate to questions of American identity.

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Koyama Press announces new titles from DeForge, Degen and more

Koyama’s spring 2018 line-up includes new graphic novels from Jessica Campbell, Michael Comeau, A. Degen, Michael DeForge, Ben Sears and Fiona Smyth.

Koyama Press announced their Spring 2018 releases over the weekend in conjunction with the Small Press Expo, including new books from Jessica Campbell, Michael DeForge and Ben Sears, among others.

According to the publisher, it’s “our biggest season, in terms of page count, ever! We are immensely excited to bring such a spectacular selection of comics to you this Spring!”

Here’s a rundown of what to expect …

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Ferris, Nowak, Fink and more take home 2017 Ignatz Awards

Annual awards presented at this weekend’s Small Press Expo honor excellence in independent comics.

My Favorite Thing is Monsters by Emil Ferris continued to rack up accolades this weekend as it took home two Ignatz Awards last night. Other winners at the annual awards presentation included Jess Fink’s Chester 5000, Ben Passmore’s Your Black Friend and Carolyn Nowak’s Diana’s Electric Tongue.

Named after the brick-throwing mouse from Krazy Kat, the awards honor “excellence in independent comics” and are selected by a jury of five creators and voted on by attendees of the Small Press Expo. The jurors for this year’s nominations were Neil Brideau, Glynnis Fawkes, Sara Lautman, Trungles and David Willis.

The complete list of nominees can be found below, with the winner in bold.

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Smash Pages Q&A: And ‘Now’ … Eric Reynolds

The associate publisher of Fantagraphics discusses his new anthology project, which launches this month.

Eric Reynolds is the associate publisher of Fantagraphics, which means that he’s edited some of the best comics in the world. Throughout his career though he’s had a special interest in anthologies.

His new project is Now, a three-times-a-year anthology with cartoonists well known and not, working in a variety of styles from all over the world. The first issue features work by Gabrielle Bell, Noah Van Sciver and a long story by Eleanor Davis in addition to a number of cartoonists people might not know as well. Reynolds wanted to create a relatively cheap ($9.99) project with a feel and approach he didn’t see anywhere else.

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‘Hellboy Omnibus Collection’ collects the series from the start

The adventures of Mike Mignola’s heroic half-demon will be collected in six volumes.

Clear some room — a lot of room — on your bookshelves. Dark Horse Comics will publish Mike Mignola’s signature, award-winning series Hellboy in Omnibus format, collecting the entire run in chronological order.

“I’m very excited to finally have all the Hellboy stories collected in chronological order,” Mignola said. “And I’m especially excited to have the three Duncan Fegredo books—all the stuff with Alice and the Queen of Blood—together in one collection for the first time.”

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Batman and the Ninja Turtles to team up again in December

When Bane invades the TMNT universe, Donatello looks to Batman for assistance.

Batman and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will meet again in Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II, a six-issue miniseries by James Tynion IV and Freddie Williams II.

“What DC and IDW started with Batman/TMNT in 2015 continues to spark interest with fans of these characters that have worldwide recognition,” said Hank Kanalz, DC SVP Editorial Strategy & Administration. “We can’t wait to see what James and Freddie deliver this time around.”


In addition to the 2015 crossover series, the characters also met in 2016’s Batman/TMNT Adventures — although that crossover featured the animated versions of both.

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