Comics Lowdown: Comics will break your heart

Plus: Jillian Tamaki on Q, Comic Nurse compiles HIV stories, Drawn to Change wins, Chris Ware, Captain Harlock returns

Today’s thoughtful read is a painful one: Maggie Umber chronicles the end of her marriage and the struggle to make 2dCloud a successful indy publisher. It’s a reminder that nothing is ever simple when viewed from the inside—she writes poignantly about the part she played in 2dCloud and the tension between that and her own career as a cartoonist, and the strain that put on her relationship with her soon-to-be-ex-husband Raighne Hogan:

Without a doubt, 2dcloud’s development and expansion over the years has been guided by Raighne. He is the public face of the company and a symbol in the small press comics community of a wild man on the fringes of comics publishing, maintaining the highest quality print production in our field for the weirdest books. Try to tell Raighne that their oddity will limit their readership, and he will disagree with his whole heart. No matter how off beat and how unknown the cartoonist, he believes every comic he publishes will receive wide acclaim.

What do you do in the face of such innocence, such stubborn faith and disregard for the obvious? If you are the bookkeeper, the wife, and the artist who hasn’t been paid in five years all rolled up in one? I’ve tried to talk sense into him for so many years and I’ve had so few successes (getting him to start paying down debts and keep better records, and I was paid royalties finally) but the toll of our fights over our different interpretations of success and failure was our marriage. At one point he accused me of being too realistic and I couldn’t understand the insult. “Comics will break your heart!” What cartoonist hasn’t lived that line all too personally?

Interviews and Profiles

 Jillian Tamaki talks about her work, including her latest graphic novel, Boundless, on CBC Radio.

 Hillary Brown interviews Elise Gravel, creator of If Found Please Return to Elise Gravel.

Graphic Novels

MK Czerwiec, a.k.a. Comic Nurse, started making comics in the 1990s to help herself deal with what she saw every day as a nurse in an AIDS unit during the peak of the disease. Now she has compiled those comics, along with interviews with others, into a graphic novel, Taking Turns: Stories from HIV/AIDS Care Unit 371, that is basically an oral history and memoir of the unit. It’s a chronicle of a time when a community took health care into its own hands—and it also has much to say to today’s readers in terms of end-of-life care and the conversations people should be having now.

 First Second announced a new graphic novel this morning: Last Pick, by Jason Walz. You know how when they were choosing teams in gym class, there was someone who was always picked last? This book is about them:

In the book, aliens whisked away every “able-bodied” person from Earth; everyone left behind knows that they were spared because they were too young, too old, or too “disabled.” It’s a bitter pill to be saved because you’re just not good enough—now it’s up to a brother and sister to inspire those left behind to become more than they have been told they are. But far across the galaxy, a mighty alien nation tightens its grip on humanity—it’s time for “the last picked” to step into the game.

Looking for some summer reading? Douglas Wolk rounds up some recent graphic novels, including Emil Ferris’s My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, Jillian Tamaki’s Boundless, and Gabrielle Bell’s Everything Is Flammable.

 Drawn to Change, an anthology of short comics about history of the Canadian labor movement, has been awarded the Wilson Book Prize, which honors books about Canadian history. The book is the work of Paul Buhle and the Graphic History Collective, and the prize includes $10,000 for the publisher, Between the Lines, to promote continued work in Canadian history.

Local Heroes

 Lubbock, Texas, based creators Derrick Fleece and Derek Moreland have created their own comics universe, Legends of Streaming. The two met in a comics shop and started working together; Moreland is the writer and Fleece the artist, and they fit their comics work in between the other demands of their lives, including full-time jobs.

Reviews and Commentary

Saul Steinberg’s New York Moonlight

 Chris Ware reflects on Saul Steinberg’s view of the world, going beyond his iconic New Yorker work to his more abstract drawings, all of which are on display at the Art Institute of Chicago right now.

 Writer Mark Peters has called it: Michel Fiffe’s Copra is “today’s best superhero comic.”

The Biz

 Get ready for some old-school space opera: Seven Seas has licensed Leiji Matsumoto’s Captain Harlock, a classic sci-fi manga that celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. They’re giving it the classic treatment—two-in-one hardcover omnibus volumes. Watch out for it in April 2018.

 Matthew Rodden talks about his new shop, The Toy Bomb, which serves the comics and collectibles needs of Cape Girardeau, Missouri.


 The BBC News stops in at a London Comic Con to interview the girls and women there—both cosplayers and creators.

 Attendance at Michigan’s Motor City Comic Con was 55,000 over three days.

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