** How the Comics Code Laid the Foundation for LGBTQ Comix (CBLDF)-- Caitlin McCabe looks at the development of LGBTQ comics during the 1960s.
An empire of free expression built on self-published zines and xeroxed comic pamphlets distributed through head shops and other unconventional channels, the creators of the undergrounds tackled any and all topics they wanted to with no concern or care for the censorship holding back the mainstream comics industry. Often explicit, raw, and emotionally revealing, the underground comix movement birthed the autobiographical graphic memoir as well as some politically-charged narratives that directly took on issues of civil rights, the AIDs epidemic, and self-identity.** 20 Key Superhero Texts (The Hooded Utilitarian)-- Noah Berlansky presents Chris Gavaler's list of 20 superhero texts that he's planning on using in an upcoming course. And then Berlansky presents what his own list would be for such a course. Gavaler's list is probably more representative of the superhero genre while Berlansky's is slightly more experimental. I'm always prepared to get behind any list that included Elektra: Assassin.
** Raina Telgemeier’s ‘Ghosts’ has a 500,000 copy first printing (The Beat)-- For those of you who follow things like Diamond's monthly sales charts (although the latest report is looking pretty good ), just think about this for a minute. This is how much more popular Raina Telgemeier is than most comic creators. Telgemeier connects with an audience almost no other creator does.
According to publisher promotional materials, Ghosts, the new graphic novel by Raina Telgemeier will have a 500,000 copy first printing. I believe this is the biggest first printing ever for a pure graphic novel. (not counting Wimpy Kid this time.) In other words, Raina rules! We finally have a legit home grown best selling cartoonist who can talk print runs with the best of them. Considering that she has 6.6 million copies of her other books in print and Smile has been on the NY Times bestseller list for something like four years in a row, this is a solid number, and I have no doubts that Scholastic will sell that many copies.I know that this book is already in my Amazon cart, just waiting to be shipped when it comes out.
**LOVE AND ROCKETS: THE MAGAZINE returns! (Fantagraphics)-- As a relative newcomer to the comics of Los Hernandez Bros., this is really quite exciting to me. I love the idea of a quarterly L&R comic.
The new format will play to the strengths of master cartoonists Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez, focusing on their diverse cast of characters and the rich milieus they have established over the past three-and-a-half decades: from Jaime’s Maggie and Hopey to Gilbert’s Luba and Fritz, old and new fans alike will be able to enjoy two of the great bodies of work in comics history, under one cover.
** “I Want Everything to Mean Something”: A Conversation with MariNaomi (The Comics Journal)-- Rob Kirby interviews MariNaomi.
I start by drawing everything. I figure out the scene—who and what was there—and I’ll usually draw out the whole scenario. After that I start erasing: “What’s not necessary here?” For example, in the third panel of this scene in the car with me, Giuseppe and my grandfather, you just see us and the car and nothing else, no backgrounds, even though you see us looking at stuff. But none of that was relevant to this particular situation. Plus you saw the landscape in the panel above— there’s no point in repeating it. It’s kind of stylistic, but it’s also to show that we’re all in our own individual orbits, even though we’re physically in the same place.
** The Complete Agent 73 (Katie Skelly tumblr)-- A great looking comic written by Sarah Horrocks and drawn by Kati Skelly. And Skelly teases that there may be news coming soon about an Agent 73 comic series in the future.
Slutist also has an interview with Skelley.
You really get to know your characters when you know how they’re going to perform on this type of level, so you get a much more holistic understanding of how the people (or skeletons) you’re drawing operate. And you have to explore more abstract ideas like arousal and sensation. Those are really difficult things to visualize when it’s just you looking at a blank page. A lot of the cartoonists whose work I admire have fit dirty comics work into their careers and come out better for it; it felt almost like a rite of passage to becoming a better cartoonist.
** Comics colorist Jordie Bellaire on the art of coloring and stealing from the greats (The AV Club)-- This excellent interview with colorist Jordie Bellaire just makes me love her stuff even that much more. She may be one of the only colorists right now who I'll buy the book just because she's coloring it because her choices for tones are so much a part of her own reaction to the story.
I looked at a lot of 101 [Dalmations] artwork before I started thinking about how I was going to color it. I knew I wanted to keep it choppy and painty and make it look like there was tape on the page, and then used for color textures, and then ripping the tape off and keeping that straight edge. Cool stuff like that. The more I looked at the101 art, I was trying to find a balance, and then I did the thing where I put the 101art away. I don’t look at it again, and then I color again from those memories I have as a kid and from what I saw via my reference of really great background art and stuff. That’s basically all I did with They’re Not Like Us. It’s just my best101 Dalmatians impression, trying really hard to capture that sort of lived-in space, but also just feeling all the color and the shifts of color and how choppy and disconcerting everything is as well, because it’s a very weird story. You never really know what’s going on, which I love about it.** Dean Haspiel has done two great podcast interviews recently. If you've only got 40 minutes or less, check out his interview on Comic Book Decalogue done by Greg Hunter. If you've got a bit more time, John Suintres has a great discussion with Haspiel about everything from Fantastic Four to Haspiel's current comic, The Red Hook.