Stargazing: Jen Wang's semi-autobiographical graphic novel for young readers is a complex tale of identity, talent, and loyalty

Jen Wang (previously) is several kinds of excellent comics person: from her debut graphic novel Koko Be Good (a complex and heartfelt take on "manic pixie dream girls") to her award-winning, bestselling, brilliant genderqueer fairy tale The Prince and the Dressmaker, to In Real Life, the middle-grades comic she adapted from my story Anda's Game to the unmissably fantastic annual comics fair she started in LA, she is versatile, smart, compassionate and immensely talented. Now, in her latest, Stargazing, a semi-autobiographical graphic novel for young readers, she brings the action closer to home than ever, and yields up a tale of friendship, identity, talent and loyalty like no other. Read the rest

Revisiting Jonathan Coulton's album/graphic novel "Solid State"

Lou Cabron writes, "Jonathan Coulton re-visited his album/graphic novel 'Solid State' (previously) over the weekend with new comments about how it applies to today's world. 'When I started work on Solid State, the only thing I could really think of that I wanted to say was something like, 'The internet sucks now',' Coulton said in 2017 (in an epilogue to the graphic novel). So what does he think today?" Read the rest

Akira to be re-released in high definition

I love comic books and graphic novels. I'm not ashamed to say that dig me some cartoons. Sadly, I've never been able to get into anime and manga. It's a shame: I know that there are a ton of series available to watch, stream or buy online that I might potentially enjoy. I loved Robotech when I was younger. However, when I re-watched it recently, it didn't hold up for me. Every time I attempt to invest in something new, like Cowboy Bebop, Full Metal Alchemist or Bleach, I quickly lose interest. I think it's more about my tastes in entertainment than it is about the medium--there's lots of folks who love anime. I'm just not one of them.

One of my earliest flirtations with anime was Akira. I was maybe 13, at the time. An arthouse theatre in the town I grew up in was playing it. I was drawn to the poster: Shotaro Kaneda astride his badass ride, holding what I thought looked like a bazooka. I bought the ticket and took the ride. I was way too young (or maybe too dense?) to be able to follow what the hell was going on. A few years later, I discovered the Akira manga, translated into English. I gave them a go. Better, but I still preferred Green Lantern. Also, I'm pretty sure that all the mutant blob weirdness gave me nightmares.

But hey, maybe it's high time to give it another try.

From io9:

Announced yesterday evening at Otomo’s panel at Anime Expo, Akira will be reborn across two different initiatives: first, an ultra-HD remastering of the original movie, which is set to release on blu-ray in Japan on April 24, 2020, with a western release coming at a later date (interestingly timed, given that Warner Bros.

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Man-Eaters Volume Two: Fleshing out the world where girls turn into lethal werepanthers when they get their periods

Volume One of Man-Eaters, Chelsea Cain and Kate Niemczyk's scathing, hilarious, brilliant comic about girls who turn into man-eating werepanthers when they get their periods, is the best comic I read in 2019, and Volume Two, just published by Image comics, continues the brilliance with a set of design-fiction-y fake ads and other collateral that straddle the line between a serious piece of science fictional world-building and Switfian satire. Read the rest

Dennis the Menace in Hawaii, Cartoonist Kayfabe Commentary

Dennis in Hawaii by Alan Wiseman and Fred Toole

One of the most popular comics in American history gets the Kayfabe book club treatment with Ed Piskor, Jim Rugg, and Tom Scioli.

In 1958, Pines and Hank Ketcham sent the Dennis the Menace comic book crew to Hawaii to research a 100 page Dennis the Menace special. The resulting comic book went on to phenomenal success and 9 printings over the subsequent decade.

Jaime Hernandez and Dan Clowes both sing its praises. What makes this comic book so special and how does it look 60 years later? Join us to find out!

For more videos and deep dives like this make sure to subscribe to the Cartoonist Kayfabe YouTube channel Read the rest

"A Fire Story": a moving, beautiful memoir of the Calistoga wildfire in comics form

In 2017, cartoonist Brian Fies lost his northern California home in the Calistoga wildfires; in the days after, working with the cheap art supplies he was able to get from a surviving big box store, he drew A Fire Story, a strip about how he and his wife barely managed to escape their home ahead of the blaze, and about life after everything you own (and everything your neighbors own) is reduced to ash and slag. The strip went viral, and in the months after, Fies adapted it into a deeply moving, beautiful book. Read the rest

Cartoonist Kayfabe on Wizard Magazine issue 19, March 1993

Ed Piskor and Jim Rugg continue to dissect the turbulent comic book speculator boom on the 1990s while looking through antique copies of Wizard Magazine.

Some of this issues contents:

* Jack Kirby comes back to comics via his line of Topps Comics * Palmer's Picks. Rick Veitch *Jae Lee's Youngblood Strikefile is on the horizon! * Larry Hama's origin story * Mike Mignola talks about drawing the Topps adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula * Dave Sim writes an issue of Spawn

Subscribe to the Cartoonist Kayfabe YouTube channel for more vids celebrating the medium of comics. Read the rest

Man-Eaters: Handmaid's Tale meets Cat People in a comic where girls turn into man-eating were-panthers when they get their periods

Man-Eaters Volume 1 collects the first four issues of the Image comic by Chelsea Cain and Kate Niemczyk (and friends) and it's insanely great: the premise is that America's patriarchy has been given a huge boost by a mutant strait of toxoplasmosis that is benign for most carriers, but turns adolescent girls into unstoppable were-panthers that crave human flesh when they get their first periods. Read the rest

Jeff "Sweet Tooth" Lemire's new horror comic Gideon Falls is spooky af

Jeff Lemire can do weird-spooky (see, e.g., his Twilight Zonish graphic novel Underwater Welder) and he can do gripping (see his amazing, post-apocalyptic Sweet Tooth), but in his newest graphic novel from Image Comics, Gideon Falls, he shows that he can do spooky-verging-on-terrifying, with a tale of supernatural mystery that combines avant-garde graphic treatments with outstanding writing to create a genuine tale of terror. Read the rest

Calexit: a fractured California, where militias and the DHS battle the resistance in Trump's future America

The first time I encountered Matteo Pizzolo, Amancay Nahuelpan and Tyler Boss's comic Calexit, I was skeptical: California separating from the USA is an incredibly stupid idea, predicated on innumerable misconceptions (including the idea that the state that gave us Nixon, Reagan, and Schwarzenegger is uniformly progressive, and also the idea that "the world's sixth largest economy" wouldn't radically contract the instant it lost access to the rest of the country, including the Atlantic Ocean). But when I found the first Calexit collection on the recommended table at the 100% reliable LA comic shop Secret Headquarters, I decided to give it a chance. Read the rest

Paper Girls 5: fate and free will (and dinosaurs and monsters)

For two years now, Brian K Vaughan and Cliff Chiang have been knocking my socks off with their Paper Girls graphic novel, a mysterious, all-girl, Stranger-Things-esque romp through 1980s pop culture, time travel, conspiracies, clones, paradoxes, and you know, all that amazing coming-of-age/friendship-is-magic jazz. Now, the pair have released the fifth collection, and it's a doozy. Read the rest

To do in LA this Saturday: I'm speaking at the Pasadena Loves YA festival!

Angelenos! Bring your teens to the Pasadena Loves YA festival this Saturday; I'm chairing a panel on graphic novels with Mairghread Scott and Tillie Walden; other panels and events go on all day, from 11-4PM, at the Central Branch of Pasadena Public Library, 285 E Walnut St, Pasadena CA 91101. Admission is free! 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.

His Dream of Skyland, a mysterious and touching journey through opium-drenched colonial Hong Kong

Top Shelf has reprinted the first volume of Anne Opotowsky and Aya Morton's groundbreaking 2011 book His Dream of Sky Island, an indescribably gorgeous graphic novel set in British-ruled Hong Kong: it's a tale that ranges over cruelty and dignity, love and venality, unspeakable crimes and unstoppable bravery.

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.

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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

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