Wednesday, July 30, 2014

ChinaWatch in The Post profiles animator

Bringing animated dreams to life: From studios in Xi'an, Victory Wind C.E.O. Han Han leads a team that tells tales from ancient China through film and games.

By Clare Buchanan
Washington Post's ChinaWatch advertising supplement  July 30, 2014

The Post reviews comics-influenced novel Tigerman

Heroics in an apocalyptic time ['Tigerman,' by Nick Harkaway]
By Ron Charles Washington Post July 30 2014, p. C3

NPR's Linda Holmes went to Comic-Con

On Dipping An Introverted Toe In The Comic-Con Ocean
July 30, 2014

PSA: Help support Asian comics at Michigan State University's Comic Art Collection

Asian Comics Cataloging at Michigan State University

"I always recommend the MSU Comic Art Collection to fellow comic researchers since it is the world's most comprehensive and internationally oriented collection in the field." Matthias Harbeck, doctoral candidate, Carl von Ossietzky Universität, Oldenburg, Germany
Help make our Asian comics accessible!

Comics are truly a global phenomenon, and an important goal of our Comic Art Collection is to document how cultures around the world have adopted and transformed the medium.

That's why our collection ranges from Golden Age adventure strips to South American fotonovelas, and from Japanese manga to a nearly complete run of THE 99 – the world's first comic series with Muslim superheroes.

However, it's not enough to acquire these diverse materials. It's essential to catalog them as well, so users near and far can determine what we have available.

Thanks to recent gifts, we have far more Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese comics waiting to be cataloged than we can handle – even with the broad range of language skills among the cataloging team!

Fortunately, help is available. We can send the work to an outside contractor, Backstage, which performs research-level cataloging in some 70 different languages. Backstage can complete about 150 of the most needed items for $5000 – and we have already have a generous gift of $1000 to start us off.

The Comic Art Collection is heavily used by MSU students and faculty working in the fields of history, literature, and cultural studies. Help us support their research by putting more Asian comics on the shelf!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Monday, July 28, 2014

Ivan the Terrible paper matryoshka

Local comics artist Art Hondros and former local artist Scott Mills have crafted a paper matryoshka based on their webcomic about Ivan the Terrible. Click for a free PDF to print and build. 

Glen Weldon interviewed on Batman

Katherine Roeder, of GMU, interviewed on Winsor McCay

Comic Riffs talks to Inman and Modan

COMIC-CON EISNER AWARDS: 'The Oatmeal's' Matthew Inman honored after creative shift: 'Writing these comics was risky for me'

By Michael Cavna

Washington Post Comics Riffs July 28 2014


COMIC-CON EISNER AWARDS: Israeli graphic novelist Rutu Modan draws upon war — as she hopes for peace

By Michael Cavna

Washington Post Comics Riffs July 28 2014

Aug 14: Swann Fellow Erin Corrales-Diaz to Discuss Cartoonists' Responses to Disabled Civil War Veterans


July 28, 2014

Public contact:  Martha Kennedy (202) 707-9115,
Request ADA accommodations five business days in advance at (202) 707-6362 or

Swann Foundation Fellow Erin Corrales-Diaz to Discuss
Cartoonists' Artistic Responses to Disabled Civil War Veterans

Swann Foundation Fellow Erin Corrales-Diaz, in a lecture at the Library of Congress, will examine political cartoons that interpret war-induced disability during and after the American Civil War.

Corrales-Diaz will present "Empty Sleeves and Bloody Shirts: Disabled Civil War Veterans and Presidential Campaigns, 1864-1880," at noon on Thursday, Aug. 14,  in the West Dining Room on the sixth floor of the James Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Avenue S.E., Washington, D.C.  The lecture is free and open to the public.  No tickets are needed.

Corrales-Diaz will focus specifically on images by such well-known political cartoonists as Thomas Nast (1840-1901) and Joseph E. Baker (approximately 1837-1914).  Artists like Nast fought a "paper war" by using political cartoons to sway public opinion in support of specific political candidates, issues, and ideologies. During battles with the brush and the pen, a new social figure emerged who embodied patriotism and heroic sacrifice—the disabled veteran.

The rise and influence of the pictorial press in political campaigns coincided with the American Civil War.  As developments rapidly unfolded on the battlefield and in the news media, the disabled veteran became a figure charged with significant political power.  Artists quickly drew upon his maimed body as a campaign strategy, according to Corrales-Diaz.  Focusing upon political cartoons for presidential campaigns from 1864 to 1880, Corrales-Diaz will explore how the broken body of the veteran became an emblem of a charged political visual rhetoric and generated a re-evaluation of the veteran's social role in 19th century America.

Corrales-Diaz is a Ph.D. candidate in art history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she is focusing on the art of the American Civil War and Reconstruction.  In her doctoral dissertation, entitled "Remembering the Veteran: Disability, Trauma, and the American Civil War, 1861-1915," she examines the complex ways in which American artists attempted to interpret war-induced disability after the war and argues that the veteran's injured body became a vehicle for exploring the overwhelming sense of loss and disillusionment during the war's aftermath.  Corrales-Diaz completed an M.A. in art history at Williams College, and a B.A. in art history at the University of Washington, Seattle.  In addition to the Swann Fellowship, she has received other awards and fellowships including the Joan and Robert Huntley Art History Scholarship at the University of North Carolina in 2012 and a Fulbright Teaching Fellowship from the U.S. Department of State in 2010.

This presentation, sponsored by the Swann Foundation and Prints & Photographs Division, is part of the foundation's continuing activities to support the study, interpretation, preservation and appreciation of original works of humorous and satiric art by graphic artists from around the world.  The Swann Foundation's advisory board is comprised of scholars, collectors, cartoonists and Library of Congress staff members.  The foundation strives to award one fellowship annually (or biennially) to assist scholarly research and writing projects in the field of caricature and cartoon. Applications for the 2016-2017 academic year will be due Monday, Feb. 15, 2016.  More information about the fellowship is available through the Swann Foundation website at or by e-mailing

The Library of Congress, the nation's oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world, holds more than 158 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats.  The Library serves the U.S. Congress and the nation both on-site in its reading rooms on Capitol Hill and through its award-winning website at

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A Mother-Daughter anime pilgrimage to Japan

A special guest post by Arlington's Karla Hagan.

Japan.  Where else would an anime- and manga-loving fifteen-year old choose?

Erin chose Japan to visit, out of anywhere in the world, for her special fifteen-year old Mom-daughter trip.  That’s how we came to visit in late June and early July. Japan is a paradise for lovers of the graphic and comic arts. We went into a drug store and Erin recognized a manga character on a package of razors. Snoopy and Betty Boop were commonly-found American comics characters (Tokyo Skytree Snoopy, anyone?). Every town, village, or attraction we visited had its own cartoon mascot (known as a yuru-kyara). Even the remote village of Koya-san, a UNESCO World Heritage site founded in 805 A.D. as the center of Shingon Buddhism that took us a bullet train, two separate rail lines, and a cable car to reach, had a yuru-kyara (it looks like a Buddhist mushroom). There are yuru-kyara for causes like recycling. At least one Japanese prison has them. (In 2013 a Guinness World Record was set for the most number of people dressed as yuru-kyara dancing together.  Because apparently that’s a Guinness World Record category.)

We had great experience traveling in Japan, and we saw three things in particular that may interest readers of this blog: The Kyoto International Manga Museum, the Studio Ghibli Museum outside Tokyo, and the Moomin House Café in Tokyo.

The Kyoto International Manga Museum  [photo 1 – Erin outside Manga Museum]

The Kyoto International Manga Museum is set up as part traditional museum with informative displays, and part reading and research library. They have lectures, workshops, and classes. The building, while not large by Washington, DC museum standards, is an old schoolhouse and is interesting in its own right. There is a café and a small museum shop.

Their collection entails nearly 300,000 items related to manga, according to the museum. To Erin and me, the more impressive part of the museum was the reading library aspect.  They have about 200 meters (about 650 feet) worth of shelving holding nearly 50,000 manga volumes. This photo of Erin browsing the books shows how the manga is accessible and available to grab from the shelves.  [photo 2 – Erin browsing Manga Museum shelves]  I’m not sure how you get to the higher levels in this picture – I didn’t see a ladder – but they were not behind glass. There were manga volumes available to read on all three floors of the museum. They had manga from around the world - also available to pull from the shelves to read - but ComicsDC editor Mike was not impressed with their North American selection [photo 3 – Manga from Around the World].

They have very affordable annual passes for kids that allow unlimited visits - about US$12 for elementary aged children and US$36 for middle and high school aged children (US$60 for you adults). I had read online before visiting that lots of school children go there to hang out after school and read manga. They have a children’s reading room that is comfortable and nice.  We were there at a time that was most likely during their school day (when isn’t it during the school day for a Japanese student, with their cram schools and such?) and there were only a few kids. There were mostly Japanese adults there, men and women. Seniors even. Manga in Japan is truly for everyone.

One neat thing you can do at the museum is get a manga portrait of yourself done. Erin and I sat down together for a portrait and I’m so glad we did. It’s one of my favorite souvenirs from the whole trip. [photo 4 – Anime Karla and Anime Erin] The artist was Nakahara Kasumi. The lettering at the top in purple and blue is our names spelled out in Japanese phonetically. It’s funny to me that she drew Erin flashing the peace sign. Erin did not pose that way. Instead it was a flourish Kasumi added -- and I know exactly why. It’s because whenever you see Japanese school children – and we saw this all over in Japan – taking a photo of each other at a shrine, a temple, in the city, anywhere, they always, and I mean ALWAYS, pose flashing a peace sign. Boys, girls, teens, kindergartners. Every kid, every time in photos. It was cute that she drew Erin that way too.

Studio Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, outside Tokyo

Studio Ghibli is familiar to any fan of Hayao Miyazaki’s animated films. The Studio Ghibli Museum is an amazing place. It is lovely and understated and touching and beautiful, just like the movies. It just might be the sweetest place on Earth. It is a place for children, like a less commercial, less saccharine Disney World. There were lots of small doors and low windows and displays. But it is also a place that adults who like Ghibli movies will appreciate as well.

Unfortunately there were no photos allowed inside the museum, so these photos are all outside. There were so many details to discover, like the soot sprite window in the Totoro ticket booth that greets you at the entrance [photo 5 – Karla at Totoro ticket booth], all the beautiful stained glass windows with Ghibli characters and scenes, the Jiji-shaped (the cat from Kiki’s Delivery Service) faucet handle on a sink outside, the art nouveau/steampunk water fountain and bench. Mayazaki’s movies so effectively use scene to create a mood, and so does the Ghibli Museum. The style of the museum is an odd-sounding English country/steampunk/art nouveau mix that somehow melds together in an evocative and beautiful way.

Inside the museum were displays about animation and the creative process for the Ghibli team. There was a FULL-SIZED plush catbus that kids could play on (but only young kids- don’t for a second think we weren’t jealous!). I sure do wish I could have gotten a picture of that! We saw a short film that is only shown at the Ghibli Museum called Mei and the Kittenbus, based on the My Neighbor Totoro characters. The film was about Mei, a baby catbus, and Totoro, and it was sweet and touching and fun. I’m going to tell you a secret we learned in the movie, and it is the most wonderful thing: there are more catbuses besides the My Neighbor Totoro one! In the movie not only was there was a kittenbus, but there was also a bullet train catbus and a steam ship catbus! (Or should that be catbullettrain and catsteamship? At any rate, it was FANTASTIC!)

The Ghibli Museum restaurant is a real treat in and of itself [photo 6 – Totoro at The Straw Hat Café]. We waited for about 45 minutes to get in, but once we did it was all worth it. The style inside the restaurant, called The Straw Hat Café, is particularly English country. The food was served on adorable dishware with Ghibli characters and embellished with Ghibli flags [photo 7 and photo 8 – The Straw Hat Café food]. If you go and want to take home the cute flags, save them from your food because they sell them at the restaurant for $6 for a set of four! On the patio outside the restaurant, they sell beer that is only available at the Ghibli Museum [photo 9- Ghibli beer] – which, unfortunately for my husband, I couldn’t take home unopened.

If you are in Japan and at all a fan of Studio Ghibli films or of design, I highly recommend the Studio Ghibli Museum. One note, though: you cannot walk up and buy your tickets at the museum. You must purchase them in advance. I was heartbroken to tell a Swedish family we met in another part of Japan who were headed next to Tokyo and who had an interest in visiting the museum that I had purchased the tickets two months before our trip. Locals can buy tickets in stores like Lawson’s, but if you are planning to travel there you should definitely buy them before your trip. In the US you can buy tickets through the travel agency JTP USA. While getting tickets does take some advance planning, ticket are not expensive compared to American theme park experiences (I’m looking at you, Disney!): US$19 for adults and cheaper for younger ages. Also be aware that the films change; they have a rotating array of short films shown only at the Ghibli Museum, and it’s not always Mei and the Kittenbus that is showing.

One Studio Ghibli footnote from our trip that shows what Ghibli films can mean for the Japanese: we had a wonderful visit to a hot springs bath village called Shibu Onsen in the “Japanese Alps” in Nagano. The village was very old with all wooden buildings. It had nine different hot springs baths that you could visit for free if you were staying in one of the inns in the village. Picture traditional wooden Japanese architecture, narrow cobblestone streets, and being able to walk from one end of the village to the other in about ten minutes. Our innkeeper was a lovely woman named Keiko, and when we checked out of the inn she noticed the Totoro paper fan I was holding that I had gotten at the Studio Ghibli gift shop. With delight, she asked if Erin and I knew the film . Finally we realized she was asking about Spirited Away! If you’ve seen it, you know it is a film about adventures that happen in and around a traditional Japanese style bathhouse. Keiko shared with us that the film is very meaningful for people in her village because it features the culture around baths that exist in Japan, and because that bath culture is such a big part of her village. She excused herself and went back into her office to get something. When she came out she was carrying a figure of No-Face from the movie! We posed with her and No-Face for a picture in front of her inn before saying goodbye. [photo 10 – Keiko, No Face, Karla, and Erin in Shibu Onsen]

Moomin House Café, Tokyo [photo 11 – outside of Moomin House Café]

Located inside the Tokyo Skytree shopping complex, the Moomin House Café is an absolute delight for fans of the graphic arts in general or of Tove Jansson’s series of books for children about the Moomin family in particular. Jansson illustrated the books herself, creating an array of interesting and personality-laden characters. The Japanese are very big fans of the Moomin books, which I knew before visiting Japan. When I heard there were Moomin cafes there, I knew we had to go.

The food is prepared in the most kawaii way! [photo 12 – Moomin House Café menu]  All the food, both sweet and savory, is prepared including shapes from the Moomin universe. We ordered dessert there: Hattifattener madeleine and pudding in a souvenir mug for Erin [photo 13 – Hattifattener madeleine and pudding in a souvenir mug] and a whopper of an assembled dessert for me that including Hattifattener and Moomin-shaped cookies and a Moominhouse cake [photo 14 – Crazy Moomin dessert].  It was almost too kawaii to eat.  Almost. J At one point when I had gotten up to go look around at the gift shop, the waitress came and set the Snork Maiden down next to Erin. You can see Little My in the background, sitting at the neighboring table. Like everywhere else in Japan, service was excellent, and the servers at the Moomin House Café made sure that all the customers had a guest Moomin family member at their table at one point or another during their meal.

We had our share of other great experiences. Visiting temples and gardens. Eating excellent sushi. Riding the super-efficient, super-clean, super-awesome bullet trains. Going to cat cafes (it’s a thing in Tokyo). Scratching our heads at the Robot Restaurant and at all the people wearing surgical masks. But even visiting these three places alone I think made the trip worthwhile for an anime- and manga-loving fifteen year old, and her mom as well.

Karla Hagan teaches physics by day and only occasionally has a comics blogger alter ego (ok, never before). She is totally qualified to write this blog post by virtue of living three doors down from Mike.  The comics are strong with that one.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Fantom Comics - a few pictures from the opening

The new store is a nice well-lighted place on P St, NW, at 21st St, next to Second Story Books and above Subway. They may be  a BIT overstocked on Saga and The Walking Dead this week. Cartoonists Carolyn Belefski, Joe Carabeo, Matt Dembicki, Shannon Gallant and TR Logan attended the opening, signing copies of the new Magic Bullet #9 free anthology from the DC Conspiracy. More pictures are here.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

'Walking Dead' heads to D.C.?

The trailer for Season 5 of The Walking Dead premiered at Comic-Con this week, and it sounds like D.C. will play a major role. (Watch trailer)

Richard Thompson reflects on leaving illustration for CDS

The Post reviews academic book on Little Nemo, namechecks Richard Thompson

'Wide Awake in Slumberland: The Art of Winsor McCay,' by Katherine Roeder

Wide Awake in Slumberland: Fantasy, Mass Culture, and Modernism in the Art of Winsor McCay" by Katherine Roeder (Univ. Press of Mississippi/Univ. Press of Mississippi)

Fantasy, Mass Culture, and Modernism in the Art of Winsor McCay
By Katherine Roeder
Univ. Press of Mississippi. 221 pp. $60

The Post reviews graphic novel-based Hercules movie

Value here and there in 'Hercules' [online as Brett Ratner's 'Hercules' is actually entertaining in places]

Friday, July 25, 2014

Comic Riffs talks to Bendis about his how-to book

COMIC-CON 2014: Brian Michael Bendis illuminates the craft, and
commerce, of becoming a comics pro
By David Betancourt Washington Post Comic Riffs July 25 2014

Wonder Woman on has a nice video on the origins of Wonder Woman.

Seeking Richard Thompson's CDS sketches

Do you have an autographed Cul de Sac sketch in a Richard Thompson book that you would be willing to share for us to publish? If so, please drop a note at 300 dpi minimum scan will be needed.

There's another secret project after The Art of Richard Thompson in the works...

Thank you!


PR: Amy Lago offers portfolio review at Kenosha Festival of Cartooning


Posted by Anne Hambrock ♥ Like

Amy Lago, Comics Editor of the Washington Post Writer's Group (the syndicate behind the successful comic strips Bloom County, Pickles, and Candorville) has graciously offered to come to the 2014 Kenosha Festival of Cartooning to do portfolio reviews for aspiring professional cartoonists!

What makes a great syndicated comic? What are Editors looking for? How does the syndicate sales team fit in? Amy Lago is one of the best editors in the business and can answer these questions and help artists take their comic vision to the next level.

This is an incredible opportunity for artists who wish to pursue syndication! Or simply improve their overall comic work.

Spots are limited - only 9 are available! First Come, First Served!

Time: Sessions will be scheduled from 1-3 pm Friday, September 26 2014 Duration: 15 minute review Location: Studio of John Hambrock Kenosha Wisconsin (details provided after registration) Fee: $50 payable via this website's paypal link (must register FIRST) or by check made out to: Kenosha Festival of Cartooning Registration: Register by email at The funds raised by these reviews will be split between the Kenosha Festival of Cartooning's operating budget and the beneficiaries of the NCSF Charity Auction

To register, or for more information, contact us at


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Kennedy Center shows this fall

The 2014-15 season of the Kennedy Center Performances for Young Audiences includes two comics-related shows: "The Gift of Nothing" (Nov. 22-Dec. 28), a musical featuring Patrick McDonnell's Mutts comic strip, and "Danny Elfman's Music from Films of Tim Burton" (Oct. 23-25), with music from Batman, Nightmare Before Christmas, Beetlejuice, etc.

Flugennock's Latest'n'Greatest: "Reporting Is Resistance"

"Reporting Is Resistance"

From police assaults on citizens photographing Occupy protests to Al Jazeera reporters' imprisonment by the Egyptian regime, journalists around the world have endured escalating attacks by authoritarian regimes both in the US and abroad.

It's gotten to the point where simply reporting the news is an act of resistance.

Mike Flugennock, flugennock at sinkers dot org
Mike's Political Cartoons: dubya dubya dubya dot sinkers dot org

The Post on Tapman, the superhero dancer

Dancing is Tapman's strength, but production values are his Kryptonite

    By Rebecca Ritzel

    Washington Post July 24 2014