Smash Pages Q&A: Keiler Roberts on ‘Sunburning’

The creator of ‘Powdered Milk’ discusses her newest collection from Koyama Press.

In her ongoing self-published series Powdered Milk, Keiler Roberts has been crafting some of the best autobiographical comics being made today. The main characters of the series are her and her daughter Xia, who manages to provide malapropisms and unintentional humor, but for people have read large chunks of Roberts’ work, it’s possible to see Xia growing up in a way that is clear-eyed and unsentimental and familiar, I think, both to people who have children and those of us who do not.

I described one of her comics to Roberts as “funny, relatable and horrifying” and that sums up a lot of her comics – particularly those about parenting. Roberts may sentimentally want to capture these moments, but she depicts everything and everyone – especially herself – without sentimentality. Roberts has crafted something truly outstanding, a portrait of her life at the moment, which, of course, is all too fleeting. It is a striking and singular accomplishment. Roberts won an Ignatz Award for Outstanding Series in 2016, and now Koyama Press has just released Sunburning, a new collection of Roberts’ recent work.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Sophie Yanow

The creator of ‘War of Streets and Houses’ talks about her journalism comics collection, ‘What is a Glacier?,’ and her work translating ‘Pretending is Lying.’

Since her book War of Streets and Houses was published by Uncivilized Books, it seems as though Sophie Yanow has been publishing work on a regular basis. She’s become a significant comics journalist, regularly publishing pieces in The Nib and The Guardian and elsewhere, covering the protests at Standing Rock and the U.S. elections. This year she has two very different comics coming out. The New York Review of Comics has just released Pretending is Lying, a comics memoir by Dominique Goblet that Yanow translated. At TCAF, Retrofit Comics released What is a Glacier, which collects some of Yanow’s journalism comics.

Yanow is currently teaching at the Center for Cartoon Studies in Vermont and this career model – making nonfiction comics, teaching, translation – has existed among prose writers and poets for generations, but it’s something new to comics. We spoke recently about Goblet, translation, nonfiction and the idea that Pretending is Lying.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Eleanor Davis on ‘You & A Bike & A Road’

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.

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Comics Lowdown: ECCC volunteer suit settled

Plus: the ALA, Jillian Tamaki and more.

The former owners of Emerald City Comic Con will pay $493,227.84 to former volunteers and the attorneys who represented them under a settlement that will keep the matter from going to court. Jerry Michael Brooks, a former volunteer at the con, filed a class action suit on behalf of all volunteers who worked at ECCC in 2014 and 2015, claiming that they were treated like employees and therefore should have been paid for their work. (Seattlish posted the details of the suit when it was first filed.) Under the settlement, Eitane Emerald Corp. and the Demonakos family will pay almost $500,000 to the volunteers, with the lawyers scooping up $123,300 for their troubles, Brooks getting $5,000, and the 250 or so other “volunteers” will divvy up the rest according to how many hours they worked. Although the defendants admit to no wrongdoing, the payments to the volunteers are to be regarded as part wages, part settlement for nonpayment of wages. ReedPOP, which purchased the con in 2015 and ran the 2016 and 2017 events, does not use unpaid volunteers.

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Bear-ing your heart: Oni announces new graphic novel from Ribon & Farris

Due next April, ‘My Boyfriend is a Bear’ features a woman who falls for a 500-pound American black bear.

Oni Press has announced a romantic comedy of a different breed — My Boyfriend is a Bear, by Pamela Ribon and Cat Farris. Fed up with the dating scene, Nora starts dating a 500-pound American black bear. Comedy ensues.

“The comics market right now has a lot of very dark, serious stories,” Farris said in a press release. “I’m really excited to help put a story out there that is silly and sweet. Something that hopefully makes people smile. It’s not every day you get to sell people a book about a girl dating a literal bear, and I hope folks are as charmed by this story as I have been while working on it.”

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Comics Lowdown: Bookscan charts, female readers and the Big Two

Comics gets a wake-up call, Wonder Woman gets a long-lost brother and Ted Rall gets SLAPPed.

It’s like comics is going through its half-year review, and manga and kids’ graphic novels get high marks but Marvel and DC get a low “needs improvement.” Heidi MacDonald has a long but very readable article at The Beat summarizing what’s going on: Comics are thriving, but not monthly comics and not in comic shops:

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Comics Lowdown: ‘Jem and the Holograms’ wraps, Alex Hallatt on World Oceans Day

Plus: La Borinqueña, Gemini Comix, ‘Fu Jitsu,’ San Jose comic shops and more.

The End of Jem? Jem and the Holograms comes to an end with issue 26, but writer Kelly Thompson and artist Gisèle Lagacé still have a lot to say, and a new Jem/Misfits crossover series, Infinite, will be launching at the end of this month. At CBR, Thompson and Lagacé talk about what it’s been like working on the critically acclaimed series, and what we can expect in the future.

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D + Q announces, then cancels, Berliac’s ‘Sadbøi’

Publisher sites 2015 essay “comparing cultural appropriation and transgender people” as a reason they canceled the project.

Three days after announcing plans to publish Sadbøi by cartoonist Berliac, Drawn & Quarterly issued an apology and said they no longer plan to release the graphic novel.

The quick version:

  1. The project was announced last Tuesday, which spurred several reactions on social media.
  2. The issues raised mainly centered around statements Berliac made in 2015 in an essay comparing cultural appropriation and transgender people, and his subsequent reaction to criticism of that essay.
  3. Berliac responded to D+Q’s decision on Facebook.

So what’s this all about? Let’s break it down …

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Fantagraphics to collect Michel Fiffe’s ‘Zegas’

One of the first projects by the creator of ‘Copra’ returns in a new collection this November.

Before Copra came Michel Fiffe’s Zegas, the title that started his self-publishing operation, Copra Press, back in 2011. Fiffe sold single issues of the title through his Etsy store, but they’re long gone at this point, so it’s good news then that “all the out-of-print stories previously lost to the ages” will be collected by Fantagraphics this November.

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