SPX, TCJ, OMG: A Hot Take

Brigid Alverson responds to a recent opinion piece on TCJ.com and shares her thoughts on comiXology/Amazon’s presence at this weekend’s Small Press Expo.

I know that contentious commentary is part of the The Comics Journal brand, but maybe it’s time to drop it. Especially because the latest article isn’t just mean-spirited, it’s straight-up wrong.

I am referring, of course, to RJ Casey’s recent post, ominously titled “A Plague Comes to SPX,” in which he warns that Amazon is poised to ruin comics.

I’m at SPX, and I went to the exhibitors’ reception last night, where, like everyone else, I got a copy of Hit Reblog, the book he disparages:

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Smash Pages Q&A: Mike Norton on ‘Lil’ Donnie’

The wonderfully multitalented artist discusses his work on his political satire webcomic, the first collection of which was just released by Image Comics.

Mike Norton has been working in comics for years. He’s drawn books in a wide range of genres including The Waiting Place, Jason and the Argobots, Gravity, It Girl! and the Atomics, and Revival. He drew a fill in on Astro City, in addition to Queen and Country, The Adventures of Archer and Armstrong, and many other comics. Norton has also been writing and drawing various projects like the webcomic Battlepug, and comics like The Answer and The Curse. He’s drawing the new miniseries Grumble, which starts this November.

Norton is currently working on a couple comics series, but he’s also been making a comic strip, Lil’ Donnie. A mocking satire of the Trump administration, Norton admitted that he’s an unlikely political cartoonist. The strip was initially a webcomic and is also available on gocomics. Now Image Comics has just released a collection of the strip, Lil’ Donnie: Executive Privilege and I asked Norton about the strip and how he works.

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Bryan Fuller’s canceled shows find new life in ‘Mind Palace’

Dave Dwonch and Santi Guillen bring back Hannibal, Ned the piemaker and more in a new webcomic.

If you were a fan of Pushing Daisies, Hannibal or Dead Like Me, there’s a new webcomic that’s just for you. Dave Dwonch and Santi Guillen have created a “love letter” to Bryan Fuller‘s canceled TV creations in Mind Palace.

“It’s clear that Bryan poured his heart into every single project he’s worked on, and his genius is obviously there on the screen. I can only imagine how much it must have hurt losing any of these shows. You go through the grieving process and tuck the memories into your mind. That’s the real premise of Mind Palace,” Dwonch said in a press release.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Dan Schkade on ‘Lavender Jack’

The creator of ‘San Hannibal: The City of Love and Fear’ discusses his latest comic, which is now available on Line Webtoon.

Dan Schkade has been working in comics for a few years now. Readers might remember his artwork from books like Will Eisner’s The Spirit, which Matt Wagner wrote; Battlestar Galactica: Gods and Monsters; or San Hannibal: The City of Love and Fear, which he wrote and drew, among other projects. His new project is Lavender Jack, a new weekly series on Line Webtoon. The titular character is a thief and vigilante exposing the misdeeds of his town’s corrupt and wealthy elite. Desperate the Mayor seeks out the world’s greatest detective, Theresa Ferrier.

Set in a vague time early in the 20th Century, the book is witty and erudite, and feels familiar in many ways even as it strikes its own path as a woman who was once the world’s greatest detective is now older and disillusioned comes face to face with a new kind of adversary in a new kind of century. It’s a book about crime and conventions with a love of design and verbal wordplay. Lavender Jack updates every Tuesday and I reached out to ask Schkade about how he works and the unique but familiar world he’s created.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Beth Evans on “I Really Didn’t Think This Through”

The webcomics creator discusses the release of her first book, her influences and process, Eurovision and more.

Beth Evans has been posting comics online for a few years now. In the comics, which range in length, she uses a fairly simple style to tackle anxiety and depression in ways that range from the strange to the funny to the disturbingly true.

Evans’ first book, I Really Didn’t Think This Through: Tales From My So-Called Adult Life came out this month. The book is part memoir and part self help guide, part comics and part prose, Evans talks in depth about her own life and details her struggles with mental illness and ways to cope and find stability.

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Comics Lowdown: Chinese authorities crack down on Rage Comics

Censorship: The Chinese government has banned rage comics (Baozou Manhua, or Baoman) channels from a number of online platforms, claiming violations of the recently enacted Law on the Protection of Heroes and Martyrs. In addition to the censorship, the article discusses how rage comics migrated from 4Chan to Chinese youth culture and why this is important: They are now a big-money business.

Besides the shutdown of the various social media channels, the closure of the baozoumanhua.com media empire is a huge blow to its fans and creators. The website’s founder Wang Nima’s net worth is estimated to be around 4 billion yuan (±US$628 million), according to Daily Economic News (每日经济新闻).

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‘Monstress,’ ‘My Favorite Thing is Monsters’ win NCS Divisional Awards

Glen Keane honored with the Reuben as 2017’s ‘Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year,’ while John Allison and Gemma Correll win in the webcomics categories.

My Favorite Thing is Monsters by Emil Ferris and Monstress by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda continued their winning streaks this weekend, as the National Cartoonists Society honored both with divisional awards. Ferris’ work won for “Best Graphic Novel” while Monstress won for “Best Comic Book.”

In addition, John Allison was honored for his work on Bad Machinery in the “Online Comics – Long Form” category, while Gemma Correll won in the “Online Comics – Short Form” category.

The Daily Cartoonist reports that Academy Award-winning animator and Disney Legend Glen Keane won the 2017 Reuben Award, presented to the NCS’s pick for “Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year.”

The Reuben Awards ceremony took place Saturday at the National Cartoonists Society’s annual get-together in Philadelphia. The complete list of nominees, with the winners in bold, can be found below:

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‘Green Monk’ returns from Image Comics

Brandon Dayton’s minicomic turned webcomic about a monk and his blade of grass gets a graphic novel in September.

I first read Brandon Dayton‘s Green Monk back during Indy Comic Book Week, when a Diamond Comics Distributors skip week gave a bunch of independent comics creators a opportunity to promote their books to comic retailers and fans. It’s a beautiful minicomic that landed on YALSA’s “Top Ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens” in 2011, and now it’s getting a graphic novel sequel, courtesy of Image Comics.

“So excited to be bringing the Green Monk to a wider audience through Image,” said Dayton in a press release. “This is a book that has all the things I love to see in comics. It’s a mix of quiet, contemplative moments with surreal, and sometimes explosive, action. I hope it can provide a real sense of journey and discovery.”

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Smash Pages Q&A: Megan Rose Gedris on ‘Spectacle’

The longtime webcomics creator discusses her latest collaboration with Oni Press.

Megan Rose Gedris has been making comics for years. From Yu+Me to I Was Kidnapped by Lesbian Pirates from Outer Space to The Lady Eudora Henley and Darlin’ It’s Betta Down Where It’s Wetta, Gedris has been producing thousands of comics pages nonstop and more than a dozen series online and in print in many genres.

Her current project is Spectacle, an ongoing series published by Oni Press about Anna, a fortune teller and an engineer working at a traveling circus. In the first issue her twin sister Kat is murdered, though she lingers as a ghost, which comes as a shock to the scientifically minded Anna. The series is about finding Kat’s murderer, but it’s also about exploring the people who made up the circus and examining their lives. It is not just a beautifully drawn book, but a strikingly insightful look at a community of outsiders and performers.

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