Catch that CAB: Comic Arts Brooklyn

When I proposed additional programming for Illustration Week 2014, it would have been a disservice to include Comic Arts Brooklyn; it’s such a jam-packed, high quality event, it needs its own post to do it justice!

Comic Arts Brooklyn bannerComic Arts Brooklyn is a comic-lover’s dream weekend, organized by Desert Island comic shop in Williamsburg.  There have been some earlier iterations of this fest, so they’ve really perfected their comic-con-creating craft.  That being said, it’s organized differently this year, with the artist’s alley style convention on Saturday only (at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church), and the high-profile panels and talks, with luminaries like Jaffee, Chast, Spiegelman, Burns, Tamaki and Pettibon, on Sunday only (at the Wythe Hotel).  Free tickets for those talks are available on their site, but they are, of course, all sold out…  😦

Comic Arts Brooklyn is maintaining a lovely little Tumblr showcasing the books, zines, posters, and more that exhibitors will have for sale on Saturday.  They’ve also started to collaborate with a wider range of Brooklyn institutions this year, with concurrent exhibits of original art at Desert Island (collages by Canadian cartoonist Julie Doucet), Scott Eder Gallery (Al Jaffee‘s MAD fold-ins), and Cotton Candy Machine art boutique (cheekily edited vintage animation cels by Brooklyn’s own Wizard Skull).

My only complaint is there’s too much to do!  Gotta start somewhere though, so see you Saturday!

MoCCA Fest Review

Hopefully any of my followers who would’ve gone to the Society of Illustrator’s annual Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art convention that happened this weekend didn’t need me to remind them about it, because I am off my game as a blogger lately; sorry!

Vacationland Book 1, by Jon Allen

Vacationland Book 1, by Jon Allen

Anyway, in lieu of a MoCCA Fest announcement, I thought I’d do a quick review of just some of the amazing artists I got to know!  In no particular order (besides alphabetical):

Mercworks comic, by Dave Mercier

Mercworks, by Dave Mercier

Jon Allen has a pretty depressing funny-animal comic, Ohio is for Sale, up on his website, and I was also very interested in his 3-part book Vacationland, about an in-the-family affair in a Maine vacation town.

Rachel Dukes‘ journal webcomic doesn’t update too frequently, and is mostly about her cat, but it’s adorable, and she has other comic stories up on her website too.

Dave Mercier’s Mercworks webcomic is good clean irreverent fun.

L. Nichols has an earthy style, appropriate for his Gardening Comics; I was especially interested in his Free People comic, combining images from a clothing catalog and found text for a new comic.

Toril Orlesky is a RISD alum and the creator of Hotblood!, a webcomic about centaurs in the old west (genius!).

Also, two poster designers!  Spur Design of Baltimore are the pretty high-brow, Society-of-Illustrators-award-winning illustration firm, whereas Matt Chic of Brooklyn brings his cartooning sensibility to his punky gig posters.

Hotblood!, by Toril Orlesky

Hotblood!, by Toril Orlesky

And finally, I’ll plug tomorrow’s New York Comics and Picture-Story Symposium, featuring Sophie Yanow and Sam Alden, both published by Uncivilized Books which exhibited at MoCCA Fest.

Sophie Yanow will discuss her comics, especially her engagement with urban design, evident in her memoir and collaboration with Canadian Center for Architecture, and Sam Alden will discuss the effect of materials on comics narratives.

Annie Gave Me Noise, by Sophie Yanow

from Annie Gave Me Noise (2012), by Sophie Yanow

Brooklyn Invasion

Pardon my absence, school is kicking into high gear, but when I learned about this I figured I needed to post about it!  Tonight at 6, at Columbia University’s Butler Library, is the last event in the year’s graphic novels series of programs, with three preeminent indie cartoonists from Brooklyn:

Comics Event at Columbia University, Nov. 13, 2013Maybe see you there?  Maybe if I get enough work done today  😛


This Used to be a Fun Home

Fun Home musical poster

Fun Home musical poster

I’d read about this years ago and hadn’t heard about it again until today, but Alison Bechdel‘s graphic novel memoir Fun Home has been adapted into a musical by composer Jeanine Tesori and is now up at the Public Theater.  Don’t know how I missed the premiere a full year ago, but better late than never…  Here’s the latest New York Times review.

Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

Fun Home, Copyright Alison Bechdel

Obviously Bechdel is (or maybe was, before Fun Home) best known for her long-running strip Dykes to Watch Out For, and Tesori is known for musicals like Violet and Caroline, or Change, though also for the Shrek musical and for scoring several Disney animated sequels and prequels…  Here’s a clip of the production of Violet at Endstation Theatre in Virginia:


In other Tesori news, the score of Caroline, or Change is now available to stream on Spotify!  Good preparation maybe…

Comic Making Potpourri

I’m a sucker for advice from webcartoonists, and promoting your product isn’t something you hear much about, but John Allison of Scary go Round / Bad Machinery fame recently weighed in on the matter briefly;

The best way to get your work popular is to do good work, do a lot of it, and win people over with the force of your lovely personality. If your comics are no good, it doesn’t matter what you do. (source)

That’s sort of the main takeaway from all creative types, including, if you’ll allow this very tenuous segue,  Sarah See Andersen, an illustration student posting hilarious autobio Doodle Time comics on Tumblr on the side…

Even more tenuously related, I also enjoyed this Comics Journal interview with cartoonist Simon Hanselmann where he had some interesting things to say about the local Melbourne comics & zine scene and breaking onto the international stage, especially with this bit about Tumblr, his primary platform.

With the internet everything is linked up now. Tumblr is just a big zine faire that never shuts down. (source)

From Life Zone, by Simon Hanselmann

From Life Zone, Copyright Simon Hanselmann

Enjoying his Tumblr, which is a sorta scarily life-like depiction of quarter-life crisis suburban anomie…  With a talking owl…

Also gotta shout out to Allison’s current Bad Machinery storyline, which is hurting my head with all the time travel and butterfly-stepping involved…  Waiting to see how all the time tampering turns out for our kid detectives…  Also Lottie’s reaction to microfilm machines is basically how I felt when I first used one over the summer:

John Allison's Bad Machinery webcomic, The Case of the Forked Road

Copyright John Allison

Flip Book Comics

Sometimes it takes a publishing deal for a comic freely available on the web to get on my radar…

Sam Alden comic Hawaii 1997

Copyright Sam Alden

This short comic from Sam Alden of Portland, OR,  will be published next year by Uncivilized Books, paired with a new flip book style story (source).

Despite the rough pencils, it’s pretty masterful, with some impressive shadow play…  I had actually blogged about Alden before, but did not recognize this style at all, very different.

There are other full samples of his work, in both rough pencil & more fleshed out black & white. Household, another flip book story, is very dark, so those shadows come in to play in great form once again.

Sam Alden comic Hawaii 1997

Copyright Sam Alden

Illustration Whiplash

Looks like I emerged from my summer class frenzy in time to see the Society of Illustrator’s current shows before they close this Saturday.

It’s an interesting trio, with the obvious headliner being the Maurice Sendak exhibit.  I’m a bit more intrigued by the “high-low” pairing of classy Golden Age illustrator Henry Patrick Raleigh (seen above) and the satiric contemporary cartoonist Bob Fingerman (below).

Bob Fingerman illustration

Copyright Bob Fingerman, from Minimum Wage


Should be a neat contrast.

Raleigh seemed pretty under-documented through a basic Google search (no Wikipedia entry!?!), but there is an archive of his work maintained by his grandson, apparently begun after his friends gave him a gift of 8 original pieces by the grandfather he’d never met on his wedding day.  So charming!  Gotta love those one-person archivists…  Labors of love indeed.

The last day to see the RaleighFingerman, and Sendak exhibits is Saturday, so hurry on over.