Comics Lowdown | Cartoonist Chronicles Attack

A photo shoot to promote Karl Krumpholz’s new book was punctuated by a surprise attack.

A planned photo shoot went sideways fast for Denver cartoonist Karl Krumpholz.

Krumpholz’s graphic novel Queen City, a chronicle of changing streets and neighborhoods of Denver, is out this month from Tinto Press. The Denver Post did a feature article on Krumpholz, and the photo shoot for the piece was set for mid-afternoon on East Colfax Avenue, one of the venues he depicts for the book. Before he and photographer AAron Ontiveroz could start the shoot, though, a passerby attacked them both with a homemade weapon.

Krumpholz and the photographer escaped unscathed, but since everything is material to a creator, he made a comic about it:

Interviews and Profiles

The local paper interviews cartoonist Brian Fies about the new edition of his 2019 graphic novel A Fire Story, about the loss of his home and all his belongings in a California wildfire in 2017. The news hook is that the new paperback edition of the book continues the story: Six months after Fies and his wife moved into their newly rebuilt house, the fires came again. They had to evacuate once more, but this time, firefighters stopped the fire before it reached them. As he did the first time, Fies made a comic about the events, and it’s included in the new edition, which is out this week.

The Funny Papers: “I like to think of Dunce as autobiographical strips with lots of lies.” Norwegian cartoonist Jens K. Styve discusses his strip Dunce, which runs in a number of Norwegian newspapers. A collection of his work has just been published in French by 404 comics; the interview is in French and is followed by an English translation. His work doesn’t appear to be available in English (yet), but the interview is interesting as he was an avid reader of American comics as a youth.

Reviews and Criticism

Food for Thought: Alex Hoffman muses on the absurdity of Heathcliff and its critique of the imaginary suburban-middle-American milieu where comic strips and TV shows have been stuck since the 1950s.

Publishers Weekly reviews American Cult, an anthology of short comics about cults in America, from the 18th century to the present, edited by Robyn Chapman and slated to be published by Silver Sprocket in May.

Conventions and Festivals

Coming to Vancouver: Vancouver’s VANCAF welcomes a new executive director, Jarrett Evan Samson.

Leaving Angoulême: Fred Felder, one of three co-directors of the Angoulême International Comics Festival, has quit. (Article is in French.)

Same song, second verse: Both MoCCA and HeroesCon, which were canceled last year due to COVID-19, have announced they’ve pushed off their in-person shows for 2021 as well. Both plan to return in 2022.

The Biz

At the Hollywood Reporter, Graeme McMillan looks at comics publishers’s attempts to become “the next Marvel” by creating content that is ripe for adaptation to other media. His focus is on AWA, AfterShock, and Valiant, but he looks at other indy publishers’ successes and points out one key feature:

[Robert] Kirkman’s success [with The Walking Dead] speaks to something at the heart of the publishers aiming to position themselves as the next Marvel: a trust in the creator’s vision to head toward unexpected places that audiences respond to, as opposed to corporate or editorial mandates to maintain specific brands.That attitude has translated into publishers allowing creators to maintain some level of creative and financial control over their comic book work — in a way that isn’t necessarily the case at Marvel or DC — as an incentive for creators to offer up their best work. 

Awards

2021 Cartoonist Studio Prize: The Beat has announced the winners of this year’s Cartoonist Studio Prize, which is given to one print comic and one webcomic every year. This year’s winners are Fights: One Boy’s Triumph Over Violence by Joel Christian Gill and Dog Biscuits by Alex Graham.

Guggenheim Fellowships: The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has announced their 2021 fellowships, honoring 184 artists, writers, scholars and scientists across several disciplines. My Favorite Thing Is Monsters creator Emil Ferris was honored in the Fine Arts category, while prolific comics translator Edward Gauvin was recognized in the Translations category. See the full list here.

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