Comics Lowdown: Outhungering ‘Hunger Games’

Brian Fies reflects on going through the California fires a second time, Jamal Igle shows how he draws a cover, J. Caleb Mozzocco explains War Bears.

Passings: Coila Davis, longtime editorial cartoonist for the Rockford (Illinois) Register Star, has died at the age of 72.

Freedom of Expression: The nonfiction comics blog Cartoon Movement notes that they are currently blocked in China, Iran, Russia, and Turkey.

Interviews and Profiles

The Fire Next Time: Brian Fies, whose graphic novel A Fire Story chronicles the loss of his home, his neighborhood, and all his belongings in the 2017 California Wildfires, talks about reliving the nightmare as the Kincade Fire threatens his home. Being Brian Fies, he is of course making sketches and taking notes, but he also acknowledges the emotional impact of going through all this again:

“A lot of my neighbors just looked at each other with a deep weariness and said, ‘If it burns again, I can’t come back.’ That’s true for us, too, I think. We’re done,” Fies says. “Even if our neighborhood pulls through just fine, some of them said they can’t keep living like this.”
“Home is supposed to be a peaceful refuge, not a source of hypervigilant fear,” he notes. “I understand.”

Feiffer on Feiffer: At 90, Jules Feiffer has changed his drawing style but not his attitude. “It has always been about authority and rebellion and going another way,” he said in an interview ahead of a planned appearance at the Improv Conference in New Orleans. “They have been my M.O., but you try to find new, interesting and fun ways of handling them. They’ve become what I am over the years.” Feiffer was slated to be interviewed onstage by comics historian Michael Tisserand, but he had to cancel due to a medical issue.

Disturbing the Peace: John Jennings and Damian Duffy discuss their longtime collaboration, which stretches from self-publishing in the mid-2000s to their graphic adaptations of Octavia Butler’s Kindred and Parable of the Sower. Set in 2024, Parable, which is due out in January, is eerily prophetic, envisioning a future Los Angeles ravaged by climate change, gun violence, drugs, and poverty, and a demented president who offers authoritarian solutions and actually uses the motto “Make America Great Again.” “She was actually writing about Reagan,” sayd Jennings. “But if you took Pence and Trump and fused them into one body, you’d have the president in Parable of the Sower.” The book, he adds, “outhungers Hunger Games; that’s ‘Little Bo Peep’ compared to this.” Jennings is also helming a new graphic novel imprint for Abrams, Megascope.

How I Made This: Jamal Igle shows and tells how he created the cover for Dragonfly & Dragonflyman #1.

Reviews and Commentary

At The Comics Journal, J. Caleb Mozzocco looks at Margaret Atwood and Ken Steacy’s War Bears, which takes place during the very short Golden Age of Canadian Comics, which began during World War II (when U.S. comics were banned from Canada) and ended with the war and the reintroduction of imports.

Movies to Comics: Daniel Joyaux has some thoughts on What DC Comics Needs to Learn from Joker’s Success at The Verge.

The Biz

Afro Samurai

Anime is back, baby! Hayao Miyazaki is making movies again, Makoto Shinkai’s latest film premiered to sellout crowds in LA, and the two big streaming services, Crunchyroll and Funimation, are poised for future growth. Roland Kelts looks at all the signs and omens in a wide-ranging piece for the Japan Times.

Anything But Random: Gina Gagliano, publishing director of the new Random House Graphics imprint, discusses her plans for the imprint, which will focus on titles for kids and young adults. The line will launch after the new year.

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