Archive for ‘Graphic Novels’

Shoe #4 – About to Drop

More than a year and a half ago, I wrote about four upcoming books and promised to post updates as each became available.

Those books were David Small’s Stitches, David Mazzucchelli’s Asterios Polyp, Hope Larson’s Mercury, and Vera Brosgol’s then-untitled graphic novel for First Second.

Well, the first three came out to well-deserved acclaim, and now at last that fourth one—quite possibly my favorite of the whole bunch—is finally available for pre-order. And it has a name!: Anya’s Ghost.

Brosgol points out on her blog that now’s the time to tell your local comics store to put in their orders through Diamond. I can very highly recommend this one (as does a rather famous Neil on that cover, above, in case you didn’t notice).

Vera Brosgol is the kind of cartoonist I want to be when I grow up, and I know several other cartoonists who feel the same way. Get a copy of Anya’s Ghost for yourself and find out why.

Congratulations, Shaun Tan!

Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

I had the pleasure of meeting Tan briefly in New York in 2009, not long after The Arrival was released.

Tan famously realized only halfway through The Arrival that he was working on a graphic novel. Fortunately, so did the rest of us, and it’s won many well-deserved honors since. Congratulations to Tan for racking up another great honor, this time in the field of animation.

Tan’s personal site is here. More on the film here.


You’ve probably seen this already, but just in case…

(Hi Mom. This is probably one of those links you don’t really need to click on. Sorry!)

In other news, yeah, I was thinking a while back that I could kinda-sorta take credit for envisioning an iPad-like device in 2000. Guess I wasn’t the only one who noticed.

And finally, here’s a kickstarter for a cool-looking graphic novel project from Jesse Ian Rubenfeld. Give it a look!

300+ Pages and She’s Just Getting Warmed Up

The Amazing Jenn Manley Lee recently completed Book One of her massive Dicebox story and started Book Two. And now you can order Book One in a swanky new print edition, with a zillion extras, directly from the artist.

When I think of all the rich, multilayered, meticulous full-color legend-spinning that went into Book One, the idea that she’s planning three more books makes my own hands shrivel up with shame. Be sure to help her get there today with your pre-orders.

Have a great weekend!

I Want to See More of Shel

Koren Shadmi has started serializing a great-looking new webcomic called The Abaddon. Just a few pages so far, so now’s a good time to grab a front row seat.

I enjoyed the Israel-American Shadmi’s 2009 collection In the Flesh. Shadmi’s stories are strange and bleak, and they feature some dark sexual politics, but they’re compelling and memorable.

Also: Love that crazy palette. And the web-friendly page format, of course.

Geez… too many quality webcomics to keep track of this month. Slow down, The Internet!

They’re Crawling Out of the Woodwork!

Well, it looks like this is turning into Promising New Talent Week!

Unsounded by Ashley Cope has a great mix of humor and drama, engaging characters, and the artwork gets better as it goes. Never heard of her, so yet another (presumably) young artist to keep our eyes on.

I’m consistently amazed by how many smart, talented new artists there are out there. It’s a shaky market and one might worry about how they’ll all make a living, but I’m encouraged that most seem to have the right skill set to not only cater to the readers we have now, but to create new readers, the way that Jeff Smith and others have over the years.

Unsounded seems to have begun about 5 months ago. I wonder what else I’m missing.

Any other suggestions?

[via Michael]

Daniel Lieske, Wormworld, and the Sense of Place

By far, the most impressive comics event while I was on break was the debut of Daniel Lieske’s online graphic novel The Wormworld Saga.

Lieske works at a German computer and console games company, and he’s obviously had years to hone his craft, but he’s a brand new name to me, and I’m glad to make his virtual acquaintance.

Despite coming out on Christmas day, when most potential readers were presumably distracted, the comic has garnered upwards of 200,000 viewers in less than three weeks, and deservedly so. It features solid storytelling and some gorgeous painted artwork. It’s also the best use of extended canvas storytelling I’ve seen in years.

Most impressive is Lieske’s all-encompassing sense of place; that rare sensation of becoming engulfed in a fully-realized new world. This is partially due to Lieske’s skills as a painter, but also to his smart use of extended establishing shots that blend into the black background behind other panels.

Set aside some time to read the first chapter. You’ll be glad you did. And if you like what you see, you can support the comic here, or contact him for work or a possible appearance here.

Oh! And congratulations to Daniel and his wife on the birth of their son yesterday! A busy month for a great new comics talent.

What did I Miss?

Some random notes from the last nine days.

Got an email from Ryan Estrada this morning announcing his latest insanity, the One Month Animated Feature. Actually sounds like a fun project. I wish him luck. Also sleep, when it’s done.

Really enjoyed the first volume of X’ed Out, the new Charles Burns series. Eager to read more.

Okay, the end of Walking Dead Episode 3… How many saw that coming halfway through #2? Show of hands. (Failed surprises aside, I’m really enjoying that series).

Via Ivy (who got it from Stephen Fry), we’ve all been enjoying the Hell out of this video.

After largely missing them in New Orleans due to explodey-chest syndrome, I had the pleasure of seeing Neil and Amanda at a great engagement party at agent-extraordinaire Jon Levin’s house Saturday. Lots of new and old friends there, but I have to make special mention of Stephin Merritt, who I’d never met before but is one of my favorite songwriters. We’d just watched Pieces of April two nights before (a Thanksgiving tradition in our home) which has songs by Merritt in it, so he was on our mind already.

Speaking of music: Two recent buys I can’t get enough of are “If You Return” by Maximum Balloon (with vocals by Little Dragon) and the criminally-catching “L.O.V.” by Fitz and the Tantrums.

Back to the drawing board!

The REAL Future of Comics

New York based Raina Telgemeier recently blogged some adorable photos of school and library visits she did here in California on behalf of the terrific “dental drama” Smile. I defy anyone to read the post and not smile just as widely as Raina and her growing family of young readers.

Reading it drove home for me again (see previous post) what an enormous opportunity every cartoonist has to translate their own experiences and interests into comics and find or even create new readers, based on the subject of that work.

One reader emailed me from a Therapy Center simply because she’d heard there was a comic explaining Crohn’s Disease (there is; it was a 24-hour comic by Tom Humberstone who suffers from the condition). Crohn’s disease affects between 400,000 and 600,000 people in North America alone (thanks, Wikipedia). Why the Hell WASN’T there a comic about Crohn’s disease until now??

Whole markets can be created out of thin air when the right subject strikes. Gan Golan (one of my 2003 seminar students at MIT) made a name for himself collaborating on the political parody Good Night Bush in ’08. Now he’s now teamed up with several other great talents to create Unemployed Man and he’s had no trouble getting coverage on CNN and a zillion other press outlets—not because of some surge in interest in the comics artform—but because Gan and co-creator Erich Origen have zeroed in on a topic with a potential target audience in the millions.

The beauty of this kind of outreach is that it only adds to the base of comics readers, and rarely do these efforts cannibalize each other. Barry Deutsch’s fantastic orthodox Jewish adventure Hereville isn’t competing for readers with the Bertrand Russell stories in Logicomix, or with XKCD, or with Persepolis. Each one is its own little community of readers, some of whom may have never read a comic before, but ALL of whom are now one comic deeper into this medium we’d all like to see grow.

Are you a cartoonist?

Are you passonate about something? Anything?

Are there others that share your passion?

Do those “others” number in the thousands?

Tens of thousands?


Hey, It’s Out!

Delighted to realize yesterday that Jen Wang‘s eagerly anticipated first graphic novel Koko Be Good came out just last week.

Fortunately, if you’re in the Los Angeles area, you can still catch the LA release party at Secret Headquarters this Friday at 7:30pm, and be one of the first to buy a copy.

(And if you’re not, there’s always the Interwubz.)

Been salivating for this one ever since this effective little video hit earlier this year. Can’t wait to get my hands on the real thing!