International Space Age Comics

The European Space Agency broke onto the scene (or at least my consciousness) in a big way this year with their Rosetta project.  If you haven’t heard about this, I’m definitely not the person to explain it, but let’s say that Rosetta pulled up alongside a moving comet after a decade, then landed the Philae probe onto that moving comet.  Exciting stuff!

This was the first I’d heard about the European Space Agency, but going through the archives of one of my new favorite webcartoonists recently, the Frenchman Boulet, I found out that he’d been invited onto a reduced gravity aircraft by the Centres Nationales d’Etudes Spatiales to experience Zero-G and make comics about it!

His comic about the experience covers the anxious build-up, the kinds of experiments being run on the craft, and of course the main attraction, the experience of weightlessness…

The further back I go into Boulet‘s archive, the more I see why he was invited on this trip, as an amateur science enthusiast with some strong opinions about space exploration, as well as some strikingly exquisite sci-fi imaginings, as below…

And of course, as far as space exploration outside the US goes, there was a more direct, and more controversial, comic response to another noteworthy space mission, this time out of India:

Political cartoon on India's Mars Mission by Heng Kim Song

India’s Budget Mission to Mars, political cartoon by Heng Kim Song in New York Times

Singaporean cartoonist Heng Kim Song made the above comic in response to the Indian Space Research Organization’s Mars Orbiter Mission, which was done on the cheap but has succeeded in orbiting Mars.  The cartoon caused a bit of a furor with the New York Times apologizing for running it, but India is definitely an unexpected entrant to the space race…  But the democratization of space exploration is an exciting prospect; the more the merrier, science wins all around!

Illustration Week 2014 Plus

Today is the start of Illustration Week 2014, with panels, exhibits, and screenings on illustration, comics, and animation at several New York institutions including the Society of Illustrators and SVA.  In addition to the official events, I have a couple of other, relevant events you might want to add to your calendar this week…

Arsène Schrauwen by Olivier Schrauwen

Arsène Schrauwen by Olivier Schrauwen

The weekly New York Comic Picture & Story Symposium actually has two events this week, the regularly scheduled one on Tuesday about late Medieval religious cartoons by Marlene Villalobos Hennessy of Hunter College and an extra meeting on Wednesday with Belgian cartoonist Olivier Schrauwen on his work.  Both events at the New School at 7 pm.

Then, on Friday at 6:15 pm, as part of MoMA‘s To Save and Project film series of recently preserved film from around the world, a night of cartoons by the legendary Winsor McCay, famed creator of Little Nemo in Slumberland!  The event is moderated by animator and animation historian John Canemaker, author of the 2005 book Winsor McCay: His Life and Art.

The event is programmed in part for the 100th anniversary of Gertie the Dinosaur from 1914, the first cartoon to use keyframe animation among other techniques, so that will of course be part of the programming!

43rd meeting May 6 at 7pm

I’ve missed a few great NYCPSS meetings over the past few weeks cuz of school, so hopefully I can make it to this one tomorrow… Of particular interest here is that Center for Book Arts exhibit on Bandes Dessinées… Will have to check that out too…

New York Comics &Picture-story Symposium

The forty-third meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Monday, May 6, 2013 at 7:00 PM at Parsons The New School, 2 West 13th Street in room 1104. Free and open to the public.

Scheduled Presentations: Andrea Tsurumi on her thesis project, Behold the Killbot and Other Stories. This collection of short stories contains historical brawls, a messed-up bedtime story, and short absurd comics.


Belgian comics artist Eric Lambé will discuss his work and his new book, Le fils du roi, currently on display at the Center for Book Arts as part of the exhibit “From Bande Dessinée to Artist’s Book: Testing the Limits of Franco-Belgian Comics.”Tsurumi and lambe




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American Elf go Boum

In autobio webcomic news, James Kochalka is apparently going to quit his 14-year running daily diary comic American Elf?  The end of an era friends…

American Elf 12-7-2012Copyright James Kochalka

… And French-Canadian cartoonist Boum (aka Samantha Leriche-Gionet) is pregnant! She occasionally documents that experience on her diary webcomic Boumeries  (when she’s not busy dreaming about toilets).  There’s a pregnancy tag, so you can catch up on the process so far.

Boumeries 11-23-2012Copyright Boum

Boum also just put out an unrelated dystopian comic, La Petite Révolution, put out by Front Froid, purveyors of fine Québécois bandes dessinées; English translation forthcoming, but a good gift idea for your favorite French-speaker in the meantime?  You can buy it here.  Here’s a video trailer:

Neat, no?  Like a cartoonier Paul Pope somehow…