See what the Smash Pages’ staff enjoyed reading this past year.
With 2018 winding down, Smash Pages’ contributors take a look back at some of their favorite comics of the year, from Hey Kiddo and Spectacular Spider-Man #310 to Wet Moon and The Secret Voice.
Silver Spoon, by Hiromu Arakawa (Yen Press)
Arakawa is best known as the creator of Fullmetal Alchemist, but you couldn’t get any farther from that series than Silver Spoon, a comedy about a city boy who goes to agricultural school in rural Hokkaido. Yuugo Hachiken worked hard and did everything he was told, but he still didn’t get into an elite high school, so he takes what he thinks is the easy way out by going to a school that’s not academically focused—or so he thinks. In fact, the students at Ooezo Agricultural High School are very knowledgeable in their fields, but those fields are things like genetics and animal husbandry. The rubber really hits the road in the practical lessons, though, and Hachiken quickly realizes he is out of his depth when it comes to herding chickens, riding a horse, or fetching a stray calf. There’s a lot of city mouse-country mouse comedy in this series, but it’s also a fascinating look at where our food comes from (at least in Japan), and the different agricultural models espoused by different farmers. In fact, like Hachiken’s classmates, this book is very smart and sophisticated in addition to being endlessly entertaining.
Meal, by Blue Delliquanti and Soleil Ho (Iron Circus)
The idea of eating bugs may elicit an “Eeeww” from most people, but Delliquanti and Ho go beyond the ick factor in this romance about an insect cuisine enthusiast and a chef who wants to start a new restaurant based on the dishes of her youth—dishes that include ants, grasshoppers, and tarantulas. There’s a love story woven in there as well. Yarrow has just moved to a new city in hopes of getting a job in the kitchen of Chandra Flores, insect chef extraordinaire, who is about to launch a new restaurant. Milani, her neighbor, is friendly and helpful but the two have a little trouble making it click. At the same time, Chandra suspects that Yarrow is only into insect cuisine because it’s sensational, while to her, it’s part of her heritage. There’s a lot in this slim volume: Love, food, bugs, and bugs that are food, and the creators even include a couple of recipes at the end of the book.
A new issue of ‘Bezoar’ will benefit the cartoonist, who was diagnosed with ALS earlier this year.
Bezoar is a minicomics anthology put together by a group of Athens, Georgia-based comic creators with a monster theme. With two issues under their belt, the crew decided to use the third issue to help raise money for cartoonist Patrick Dean, who was diagnosed with ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, in June.
Annual awards presented at the Small Press Expo honor excellence in independent comics.
Eleanor Davis, Richie Pope, Molly Ostertag and Carta Monir are among the winners of the 2018 Ignatz Awards, as presented last night at a ceremony held in conjunction with the Small Press Expo (SPX) in Bethesda, Maryland.
The Ignatz, named after George Herriman’s brick-wielding mouse from his long running comic strip Krazy Kat, recognizes exceptional work that challenges popular notions of what comics can achieve, both as an art form and as a means of personal expression. The nominees for the ballot were determined by a panel of comic artists: Mita Mahato, Carolyn Nowak, kevin czap, Leila Abdelrazaq and Taneka Stotts. The votes for the awards were cast by the attendees at the show
The complete list of nominees can be found below, with the winner in bold.
At Comic-Con International, Drawn and Quarterly announced new titles by Lynda Barry, Vanessa Davis, Eleanor Davis, Yoshiharu Tsuge and more.
Canadian publisher Drawn and Quarterly announced many of their upcoming 2019 graphic novels in San Diego earlier this month, revealing new titles from Lynda Barry, Yoshiharu Tsuge, Kevin Huizenga, Vanessa Davis and more.
Take a look at what they have planned below, and note that none of the cover art is final …
The creator discusses her latest graphic novel from Fantagraphics, political activism, PowerPoint and much more.
In her new book Why Art?Eleanor Davis tackles some of the questions around what art is, how we respond to it, how artists think about it and try to use it. Which may sound dry and perhaps dull but in Davis’ hands the idea becomes something strange and unexpected and at times laugh out loud funny. Davis describes one character in the book, “If she were a bad artist her art would be a lie and people would hate it. Instead, somehow she has made the statement into her truth.” This statement could be applied to Davis and her work. For many of us over the past few years she has become one of the essential cartoonists working right now.
Davis has also become very political active and currently serves as the membership coordinator for Athens for Everyone. We spoke recently about her book, political action, finding one’s artistic voice and coming to understand that everything is easy. She also mentioned the graphic novel she’s working on now and she answered, why art?
The creator of ‘How To Be Happy’ discusses her latest book from Koyama Press, which details her cycling trip from Arizona to Georgia.
In 2014, Fantagraphics published How To Be Happy, a collection of short comics by Eleanor Davis, which immediately established the cartoonist as one of the major figures of her generation. In the book, Davis jumped between styles and approaches, telling different kinds of stories ranging from the fantastic to realistic. Since then she made a children’s book with Drew Weing, Flop To The Top, for Toon Books. She also made the comics novella Libby’s Dad, which came out last fall from Retrofit Comics, and was recently awarded the Slate Book Review 2017 Cartoonist Studio Prize for Best Print Comic.
Davis’ new book, out now from Koyama Press, is You & A Bike & A Road. The book is a series of comics about a bike trip that Davis undertook from Tucson, Arizona, where she grew up, to her home in Athens, Georgia. We spoke recently about the book, the journey, agitprop and more.
Plus: Recognizing colorists, BookExpo reports, Chapterhouse signs with Diamond, Eleanor Davis, Gerard Way and more.
It’s 10 p.m. Do you know where your comics are? Police in Salt Lake City are looking for the owner of a stash of comics that was found, along with other suspected stolen goods, in a black chest under a tarp in the back yard of a local house. The items were turned up during a burglary investigation last year. (The story is a little convoluted.) The recovered items also included valuable pennies and baseball cards.
Get today’s comics news and updates in new feature here at Smash Pages.
Cartoonist Eleanor Davis was one of eight people arrested at a Georgia Board of Regents meeting on May 16 for protesting the board’s policies with regard to undocumented immigrants. The University of Georgia does not allow undocumented immigrants to attend its five best schools and requires them to pay out-of-state tuition at the others. The protestors, described by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution as “a mix of faith leaders and current and former University System of Georgia students,” were taken to the Fulton County Jail. Davis’s husband, Drew Weing, reported on his Facebook page that she had been released after the Georgia Civil Disobedience Fund paid her bail. Davis’s newest book, You & a Bike & a Road, has just been published by Koyama Press, and Slate ran an excerpt on Tuesday—showing a man being arrested at the border.