#SAD: Doonesbury's collected Trump strips afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted

Since 1987, Doonesbury has been pricking Trump's bubble, and Trump hates it; Trump even instructed the ghost writer on "his" "book" Surviving at the Top to devote several pages to denouncing Trudeau as unfunny (you can read all of Trudeau's Trump strips in last year's Trump retrospective collection, Yuge!). Read the rest

The Communist Manifesto: A Graphic Novel

On the 170th anniversary of the publication of Karl Marx’s and Friedrich Engels’ The Communist Manifesto, British graphic novelist Martin Rowson has produced an illustrated adaptation. Apart from a few pages of prose, the whole work is presented in the style of a graphic novel.

The preface describes how the middle-aged Rowson became smitten by Marx and Engels' exciting prose when he was only 16. Aside from expressing his great admiration for Marx’s writing, as well as his own critical stance, he furnishes the reader with some historical backdrop to the completion of The Manifesto. Marx had been commissioned to write it by a socialist group in the summer of 1847, but, under pressure, succeeded in producing it at the beginning of 1848. Significantly, that was before the outbreak of revolutionary movements in Europe later on in 1848. Rowson goes on to explain that the initial publication failed to attract the attention of many people. Only after the events of the Paris Commune in 1871 did the pamphlet receive a wide audience and a publication renewal.

The illustrations create an atmospheric accompaniment to the Marx figures whose speaking balloons relay the text of The Manifesto. The graphics pair nicely with the text with dense images that impart the feeling of the clashes of historical forces (classes) or with the dramatic rendering of the first lines of The Manifesto in which a spectre appears, so Hamlet-like in two dark and foreboding images to haunt the reader’s mind. There is plenty of theatricality too: images of Marx interacting from a stage with a hostile audience (Rowson’s added flourishes added to enhance the exposition in a stimulating theatrical way). Read the rest

Woman World: the hilarious man-free apocalypse we've all been waiting for

Woman World started life as a webcomic created by Canadian cartoonist Aminder Dhaliwal to explore the premise of a world where "men have gone extinct" and women have to "learn to talk again because they're not being interrupted" -- what could have been a one-panel joke turned into one of the most remarkable, funny, compassionate, ascerbic, hilarious comics of its day, and that day is now, because today is the day you can get Woman World, a book from Drawn & Quarterly collecting the comic so far.

Alt-right publisher founds ComicsGate comic imprint

We must secure the existence of white people and a future for white ... comics?

Theodore "Vox Day" Beale, the Nazi-quoting nationalist most famous for gaming the Hugo Awards with bloc voting campaigns, has appropriated the "ComicsGate" name for a new comics publishing company. But adherents of the ComicsGate movement, though sharing his distate for diversity, are far from pleased.

Richard Meyer, who runs the "Diversity & Comics" YouTube channel, offered a one-word response: "NOPE."

"VOX DAY tried to steal #ComicsGate," wrote pro-ComicsGate artist Ethan Van Sciver. "ComicsGate destroyed him tonight, live."

ComicsGate's followers are notorious for online harassment, from abuse aimed at women Marvel employees to recent attacks on Marsha Cooke, who had debunked the movement's attempt to claim her late husband Darwyn as an adherent. In recent weeks, major comics industry figures denounced it as a hate group.

ComicsGate's leading lights have now drawn a line in the sand at overt affiliation with white supremacists. It's Beale's commercial grab at the word, though, that really threatens to upset the apple cart.

Meyer recently raised nearly $400,000 crowdfunding a graphic novel marketed explicitly as a ComicsGate response to "SJWs", but it's an open question as to whether it amounted to a media stunt or a sustainable market for reactionary comics.

Beale plans to answer it first, beating Meyer and co. to the market as a fully-fledged, operating imprint. Asked by an interviewer if he planned to launch a crowdfunding campaign, Beale replied "I expect we will do so, yes."

Also raising ire among ComicsGaters was Beale's use of the GamerGate green-and-purple color scheme in the company's logo. Read the rest

Doc Pop's risographed mini comics are fun and quirky

Today was a good day. A package from San Francisco artist Doctor Popular arrived in the mail. Inside were eight tiny publications, what he calls the Mini-Comics Mixtape.

He writes, "All 8 comics were drawn in under 24 hours with no planning in advance, so the stories can get a little out there." They're so good -- funny, offbeat and engaging!

Plus, he used a Risograph to print the comic books in two colors, which makes them look extra neat.

He's selling the set for $12 over at Etsy or through his site DoctorPopular.com.

Doc Pop previously on BB Read the rest

The Center for Disease Control's realistic new comic about swine flu and a state fair

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have published a free graphic novel titled "The Junior Disease Detectives: Operation Outbreak," some of which is set at a state fair where a teenage 4-H member is infected with swine flu. As CNN reports, the comic's plot is similar to what actually happened this summer at two state fairs. From CNN:

At the California Mid-State Fair in Paso Robles, which took place in San Luis Obispo County from July 18 through 29, two people fell ill after attending the fair. Similarly, two attendees of the Fowlerville Family Fair in Michigan, which took place in Livingston County from July 23 through 28, also became sick in the days after.

Public health disease detectives in both states immediately tested the patients for variant influenza virus, a flu strain that normally circulates in swine but not people. Person-to-person transmission of variant strains is uncommon, and you cannot catch this type of flu from eating pork.

Read the rest

How a quirky Finnish comic came to resonate with Chinese millennials

The Chinese slang term jingfen means "spiritually Finnish." It was coined thanks to the popularity of an online comic called Finnish Nightmares. Liang Chenyu speculates why so many Chinese millennials identify with the comic. Read the rest

Bloom County's second reboot collection: the election of 2016 and beyond

When Donald Trump entered the election race, it brought Bloom County creator Berkeley Breathed out of a much-deserved retirement to lampoon Cheeto Hitler as only Milo, Opus, Bill and the gang could; the first collection chronicled the 2016 campaign, and a second collection, Brand Spanking New Day is a comic snapshot of one of the weirdest, worst years in living American memory.

The Weird of Wendy Pini

How an an indie cartoonist faced down prudes, pain and the patriarchy.

Steve Ditko, co-creator of Spider-Man and Doctor Strange, RIP

Steve Ditko, the pioneering comic artist who co-created Spider-Man and Doctor Strange, has died. He was 90 years old. From The Hollywood Reporter:

In 1961, Ditko and Lee created Spider-Man. Lee, the editor-in-chief at Marvel Comics, gave Ditko the assignment after he wasn't satisfied with Jack Kirby's take on the idea of a teen superhero with spider powers. The look of Spider-Man — the costume, the web-shooters, the red and blue design — all came from Ditko. Spider-Man first appeared in Amazing Fantasy No. 15. The comic was an unexpected hit, and the character was spun off into The Amazing Spider-Man. Ditko helped create such classic Spider-Man characters as Doctor Octopus, Sandman, the Lizard and Green Goblin. Starting with issue No. 25, Ditko received a plot credit in addition to his artist credit. Ditko's run ended with issue No. 38.

In 1963, Ditko created the surreal and psychedelic hero, Doctor Strange. The character debuted in Strange Tales No. 110, and Ditko continued on the comic through issue No. 146, cover dated July 1966.

After that, Ditko left Marvel Comics over a fight with Lee, the causes of which have always remained murky. The pair had not been on speaking terms for several years. Ditko never explained his side, and Lee claimed not to really know what motivated Ditko's exit...

The reclusive Ditko was known as the "J.D. Salinger" of comics. From the 1970s on, he rarely spoke on the record, declining almost every interview request. He sat out the publicity booms that accompanied the Spider-Man films and the Doctor Strange movie.

Read the rest

Strong Female Protagonist, Book Two: the hard philosophical questions of superheroism and compassion

It's been nearly four years since the first crowdfunded collection of Brennan Lee Mulligan and Molly Ostertag's webcomic Strong Female Protagonist was published; the second volume, published this week, traces not just the evolution of its protagonist, the superhero Alison "Mega Girl" Green, but of its creators, who have found new and amazing depths to plumb and heights to soar to.

Interview with Alex Norris, of "oh no" Webcomic Name fame

Jenny Robins interviews Alex Norris...

NORRIS: My comics have always largely been about exploring the link between joy and sadness, and finding humour in despair, so I think when I started this format the mix of heartbreak and silliness just sort of came naturally and I like to take it as far as I can. Interesting things happen when you say two opposing things at the same time. I’ve always seen Webcomic Name as a sort of celebration of failure, and I think the mental twist in that prevents the repeated “oh no” from becoming completely depressing!

... and finds out what the "oh no" voice sounds like.

NORRIS: This is probably my most-asked question, and I usually say it sounds like someone who is disappointed but used to being disappointed, or reading from a script. If I ever turned Webcomic Name into a video format, I would probably get readers to send in their version of the “oh no” and use a different one each time. I like that the “oh no” speech bubble is basically a visual motif now – because you see it so often as you read my comics it loses the verbal meaning and just becomes a symbol.

Read the rest

X-Men: Grand Design 11 - Ungodly Creature

Ed Piskor's offering an annotated page-by-page look at the first part of X-Men: Grand Design, his epic retelling of how Marvel comics' pantheon of heroes came to be. Catch up here. — Eds.

Director’s commentary…

This is one of the few strips that carries directly over from the previous page. One of the loose guidelines I put upon myself was to try and make each page work as it’s own bit. Early on, I floated the possibility of serializing the entire comic online for free so I wanted the pages to feel like the substantial Sunday funnies of yore. Marvel and I came to a compromise and here we are today.

One of the things I never thought possible in my younger life was that I’d ever get much opportunity to work in color as a cartoonist. It was so prohibitively expensive for so long that entire careers of many of my favorite cartoonists were built almost solely on black and white comics. It was a rare treat to see a couple color Dan Clowes pages here and there and usually those were made possible by some trickery of the publisher who would splurge and add a single signature of pages into a book making it possible for say, the first 4 and the last 4 pages of an issue to get the color treatment, with the rest of the book’s guts in stark black and white.

All that was to say, that it’s only been a few years since I’ve been really able to use color and I’m learning things in leaps and bounds, while taking small chances along the way. Read the rest

Exclusive preview: Brian Wood's Sword Daughter

The Forty Swords arrive at night and, under the cover of darkness, murder an entire village. Only two people survive the slaughter: the infant Elsbeth and her grief-stricken father, Dag​, who slips into a ten year coma. He awakens to find that not only has his daughter grown up alone, she's thrived​ despite him. Read the rest

How to Draw a Black Lady

Myisha Haynes and Jaz Malone released the second in their fun and interesting series on how cartoonists can draw black people while avoiding imagery fraught with negative connotations. Read the rest

Founder of Diamond Comic Distributors donates 3,000 comics rarities to the Library of Congress

Gary Price writes, "The Library of Congress announced today that collector and entrepreneur Stephen A. Geppi (owner of Diamond Comic Distributors) has donated to the nation’s library more than 3,000 items from his phenomenal and vast personal collection of comic books and popular art, including the original storyboards that document the creation of Mickey Mouse." Read the rest

Watch Vice President Mike Pence wish Garfield a happy birthday on the House Floor

That's the current US Vice President on the House Floor in 2003 wishing happy birthday to Garfield the comic cat.

Garfield creator Jim Davis was born in Marion, Indiana and at the time of the video Pence was an Indiana congressperson.

(Thanks, UPSO!)

Read the rest

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