Smash Pages Q&A: Kasia Babis on ‘Re: Constitutions’

The political cartoonist discusses her work with Beka Feathers on the latest title from First Second’s World Citizen Comics imprint.

Kasia Babis has been making comics for many years, but she gained a new international audience when she began contributing to The Nib about a wide range of topics. In particular, her comics about Polish politics offer an outsider’s take on events within the United States.

Babis has drawn the new book, Re: Constitutions, part of the World Citizen Comics imprint. Written by Beka Feathers, an expert in political development and post-conflict institution building who has worked in more than a dozen countries to help draft constitutions and design political transition, the book is about constitutions, but it’s also about what it means to be a citizen, our political landscape, the rights of individuals and what binds us together. It is a complex topic, and Babis’ art and designs help to masterfully juggle many ideas and complex topics in striking ways.

We spoke recently about her work and making the book while being an engaged citizen in a period of protest, as many basic rights are being eroded by an increasingly authoritarian government.

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Sunday Comics | A cartoon journey around Vermont

Check out recent online comics from Caanan Grall, Ben Passmore, Matthew Dow Smith, Lar DeSouza and more.

Here’s a round up of some of the best comics we’ve seen online recently. If we missed something, let us know in the comments below or on social media.

Vermont’s indie newspaper Seven Days produces an issue dedicated to comics every year, with the most recent one arriving about a month ago. Contributors included Sally Pollak, Michael Tonn, Jordan Barry, Coco Fox, Ezra Veitch and more, while Vermont cartoon laureate James Kochalka provided the cover.

“… any of the stories in the following pages could have been reported and written traditionally,” Assistant Arts Editor Dan Bolles wrote. “Presented in graphic form, however, they shimmer through the lenses of talented artists, who see the material differently from reporters.”

Some of the topics they covered included a visual trip through Guster lead singer Ryan Miller’s Vermont (shown above), a look at a Vermont law that allows to-go cocktails and an excerpt from a comic about the U.S. health care system created by Vermont’s Center for Cartoon Studies. You can find links to all these different comics from Bolles’ write-up on the issue.

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Comics Lowdown | A Charlie Hebdo survivor speaks

Plus: Lost Charles Schulz comics emerge, new graphic novel from Nnedi Okorafor and Tana Ford, and more!

The New York Times profiles cartoonist Corinne Rey, who was working in the offices of the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo on January 7, 2015, the day that two masked gunmen massacred the staff; Rey, who uses the pseudonym Coco, was just leaving the offices of Charlie Hebdo when two masked gunmen arrived and forced her to unlock the door. Her new graphic novel, To Draw Again, recently published in France, depicts that moment and its aftermath. Rey is now the resident cartoonist at the newspaper Libération, the first woman to hold that post.

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Matt Bors retires his weekly political comic strip; will still run ‘The Nib’

Bors will turn his attention to creating fiction comics and longer-form nonfiction comics.

After almost two decades, cartoonist and The Nib founder Matt Bors has announced he’s retiring from his weekly political comic. His comic on background checks that ran at the end of March will be his last regular political cartoon.

He plans to continue running The Nib, the award-winning webcomics site that features political and nonfiction comics on a daily basis by a variety of artists. He also said he plans to do more nonfiction comics, including comic interviews, for the site. And he’s preparing pitches for fiction comics as well.

“So I will be staying busy, as always,” he said in his announcement post. “Something had to give in my life to make room for other things and, frankly, it was an easy decision. I’ve drawn political cartoons every week since I was 19 and feel like I have said everything I can say, often a few times over. I know this may be disappointing to longtime readers, but my creative desires pull me in another direction, one where I hope to create more work on par with what I’ve done in this field. I also owe it to both The Nib’s readers and creators to keep the publication going as long as possible.”

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Smash Pages Q&A: Alexandra Beguez

The cartoonist and illustrator discusses her work on ‘Guantanamo Voices,’ her family’s escape from Cuba, her work process and more.

Alexandra Beguez is a cartoonist and illustrator whose work has appeared in The Believer, The Nib, Ink Brick, Adventure Time Comics and Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream. Her technical skill as an artist is apparent, but she manages to move from heavily researched nonfiction to inventive fantasy to her breadth of illustration work with seeming ease.

Guantanamo Voices was published earlier this fall by Abrams Books and the book, written and edited by Sarah Mirk, is one of the year’s most important titles. Beguez drew the book’s third chapter about whistleblower Matthew Diaz.

We spoke recently about the project, inking and her relationship to Cuba.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Gerardo Alba

The cartoonist and editor discusses his work on ‘Guantanamo Voices,’ working at the Latin American division of Webtoon and much more.

Gerardo Alba is a cartoonist who has had a busy year. He colored the recent graphic novel Fault Lines in the Constitution, which was adapted and drawn by his wife the artist Ally Shwed. He is one half of Little Red Bird Press, which released the anthology Votes for Women earlier in the year. Alba recently took a new job as editor at the Latin American division of Webtoon.

Alba is one of the artists on the recent book Guantanamo Voices, a great and important work of comics journalism, where he drew one of the key early chapters of the book. Alba was kind enough to take time out to talk about Guantanamo Voices and his many projects. 

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Sunday Comics | ‘Amelia Shadows,’ 24-Hour Comics and more

Check out recent comics by Matthew Dow Smith, Noelle Stevenson, Melanie Gillman, Keith Knight and more.

Here’s a round up of some of the best comics we’ve seen online recently. If we missed something, let us know in the comments below.

We kick off this week with a new comic from Matthew Dow Smith, who created and posted the comic Johnny Chaos on Twitter earlier this year after the pandemic hit. Alex Dueben spoke with Smith back in July about getting work done during the pandemic; like a lot of other creators, when pens went down at various publishers, Smith started working on his own comics.

This newest, Amelia Shadows, can be found on Tumblr, or, if you’d like to see it a day early, it’s on his Patreon as well (along with a lot of other cool stuff).

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Smash Pages Q&A: Pia Guerra

Comic artist turned political cartoonist Pia Guerra discusses how her work has changed, the current political climate and more.

Pia Guerra is best known among comic book readers as the artist and co-creator of Y: The Last Man, but in recent years she’s spent much of her time and energy writing and drawing gag cartoons and political cartoons for The New Yorker, The Nib and other publications. In 2018 a collection of her political comics titled Me the People was published by Image Comics.

Guerra is living in Vancouver and I reached out to ask about how her work has changed, inking and what she’s working on now.

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Gene Yang, The Nib and more win 2020 Harvey Awards

Awards ceremony will be held this Friday.

The Harvey Awards have announced their 2020 award recipients through their outlet of choice, The Hollywood Reporter. The awards announcement comes several days before a virtual ceremony that’s supposed to be part of New York Comic Con and MCM Comic Con’s Metaverse event.

So why are they announcing them now? Who knows — 2020 is weird. But hey, here are the winners:

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Smash Pages Q&A: Matt Lubchansky

The associate editor of The Nib discusses their work on the recent anthology ‘Be Gay Do Comics.’

Matt Lubchansky is the Associate Editor of The Nib and there, in their webcomic Please Listen To Me, and in New York Magazine, Mad Magazine, and other outlets, they create deeply and overtly political comics that are also absurd and satirical.

Lubchansky cited The Far Side as one of their great influences, and that sense of absurdity and play can found in all their work. Earlier this year Lubchansky was a finalist for the Herblock Prize, and The Nib and IDW have just published a new collection Be Gay Do Comics. We spoke about their career, coming out, autobiographical work and the upcoming anthology FlashForward.

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Mail Call | Dark Horse to bring several comiXology Originals titles to print

A round-up of news from DC, Marvel, Titan Comics, IDW and more.

Mail Call is a roundup of the announcements we’ve received from comics publishers in our mailboxes recently. Hit the links for more information.

ComiXology announced this week that they’ve struck a deal with Dark Horse to bring several of their comiXology Originals digital titles to print, starting with four titles next spring: Afterlift, Breaklands, Youth and The Black Ghost.

“We were always hopeful comiXology Originals books would get into readers’ hands via comics retailers and book stores, and Dark Horse is a terrific collaborator to work with to do so, with an unmatched history of supporting creator-owned projects alongside unmatched distribution expertise. This deal fortifies the ability for these stories to reach customers like never before,” said David Steinberger, comiXology co-founder and CEO. “We’re thrilled to be working with Dark Horse.”

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Sunday Comics | Protests, Eisner winners and more

Check out recent comics on the web by Erica Eng, Ben Passmore, Paul Guinan and more.

Here’s a round up of some of the best comics we’ve seen online recently. If we missed something, let us know in the comments below.

How do you dress for a protest, and what should you bring? Ben Passmore shares some tips in this piece for the New York Times’ “Diary Project.”

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