Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Comic Riffs on watermelon-toothpaste

Obama watermelon-toothpaste controversy: Apologetic Boston Herald cartoonist says, 'I detest' racist humor
By Michael Cavna Washington Post Comic Riffs blog October 1 2014

Q&A: Rodriguez on 'Colonial Comics'

D.C. Conspiracy member Jason Rodriguez has edited a new comics anthology called Colonial Comics (Fulcrum Publishing) that debuts this weekend at the Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo in Boston. Below are a few questions Jason answered for us regarding his book. (Note: In full disclosure, I illustrated one of the stories in the book.)
What was your mission statement for the book?

I want to create a book that functions as both entertainment and education. The main idea is to tell stories that you often don't find in school history books that can, in turn, lead into larger discussions about colonial American history. When I was growing up, my knowledge of colonial American history was essentially: 1) some people came over here for religious freedom, they wore funny hats, 2) they met this one Native American...not sure what happened to him, 3) something about burning witches, and 4) we went to war with England. What I want to do is fill in those gaps and tell stories about the Native Americans and women and free-thinkers and slaves and business owners who came from the Colonies and give a better understanding of what life was like over our first 200+ years, the good and the bad.

How did you find collaborators, such as co-editors, writers and artists?

I reached out to a bunch of historians, first. That was always an interesting conversation. Writing Dr. Virginia DeJohn Anderson and telling her, "I really loved CREATURES OF EMPIRE, have you ever considered writing a comics story about free-range animal husbandry suitable for twelve year olds?" Of course the answer was, "No, I never thought of that." But over the course of several conversations we figured out what that story would look like, and then I found the right illustrator to bring it to life. As for a lot of the other creators, I reached out to folks from the DC Conspiracy and Locust Moon crews. The best resource I came across was the Boston Comics Roundtable - they are essentially the DC Conspiracy of Boston and consist of many different incredible cartoonists and writers. It was there that I found a lot of my contributors, people I've never worked with before, along with one of my assistant editors John Bell. I talked to John once and offered him the job, he was an amazing resource in this.
What were the most difficult aspects of putting this anthology together?

Probably working with people who never worked in comics before. There's a big difference between writing a history book and writing a comic script. We just needed small pieces of bigger stories and we needed to fit them into easy-to-read, 11-page comics stories. Schedules were difficult, as well - a lot of people taught and just simply didn't have the time to contribute on the level that would move the book along at a good pace. Also, I designed every page of the book and it turns out I'm a bit of a tinkerer. Two months before deadline I took the whole book part and rebuilt it with new intros, interstitials, book guides, and a reference section. I wouldn't say I'm my own worse enemy, but it turns out I'm definitely my own worst editor. 

How can Colonial Comics be used as a teaching tool?

It contextualizes history, plain and simple. When we were kids we loved the dioramas at history museums. A handful of cavemen taking down a Wooly Mammoth, we could stare at it for hours on end and build a story out of it. From there, we began to get interested in the details of the clothes and the weapons and the process of hunting. Comics afford kids that same luxury - they can study a panel, see what people were wearing and how they spoke. Get a sense of scale. All the while reading an entertaining narrative. From there, they may become interested in the details. The free-range animal husbandry story (which was illustrated by Mike Sgier) is a silent story about a troublesome pig who keeps eating Native crops. We see the escalation of destruction that eventually leads to Native American's packing up and moving westward. The story behind the story, and beyond the story, is where the real teaching comes in.
These comics can be used as a hook to get kids interested in history. Kind of like tricking them into learning a thing, and giving them several samples of topics to see what they're most interested in.

What are your future plans? Is this part of a series?

I have two more Colonial books coming out, one focusing on pre-Revolutionary New England and one focusing on Virginia and the Mid-Atlantic region. I would like to do more, but let's see how these are received, first. The other history book I'm editing is a student's memoirs about growing up in war-torn Sarajevo, but that won't come out until 2016 or so, most likely.
Beyond history comics I'm also working with AAAS to do a science and science fiction comics gallery show and comics creation workshop, with the idea being to team kids up with scientists, writers, and illustrators to help them understand how science fact turns into science fiction and then mentor them in the creation of their own comics. We're still in the planning phases for this program and it will be starting some time next year.
Below are a few images from the book that Jason gave us to share with our readers.


Rafer Roberts interview online

[Baltimore Comic-Con 2014] The Rafer Roberts & Nightmare the Rat Interview

Monday, September 29, 2014

"Oct 4: Armed Forces Appreciation Day includes Big Planet Comics"

On Saturday, Oct. 4, Harp & Fiddle Restaurant is sponsoring a street fair/benefit for our troops. Cordell Ave. will be closed to vehicular traffic. This promises to be a fun event for all ages, and Big Planet Comics will have free comics for your kids.

Hope to see you Saturday.

Joel Pollack

4849 Cordell Ave.
Bethesda, MD 20814

Sept 30: Ted Rall and Kal

Ted Rall will speak on Afghanistan at Kramerbooks on Dupont Circle at 6:30. KAL will be joining him and C-Span is filming it.

Oct 1: Zunar at Library of Congress at noon

Malaysian cartoonist Zunar is speaking in DC.

Cartoon journalist Josh Kramer on DCist

Drawn to Flavor: DC Noodles

Drawn to Flavor: DC Noodles

Illustrator Josh Kramer highlights the beef ragu and chili mojito in watercolor....

Comic Riffs on Thor

THE NEW (FEMALE) THOR: Writer Jason Aaron hammered out the groundwork ahead of this week's debut [+SNEAK PEEK]
By David Betancourt 
Washington Post Comic Riffs blog September 29 2014

Oct 21: Art Spiegelman's Wordless at GWU

Art Spiegelman's WORDLESS! with music by Phillip Johnston

Presented by GW Lisner as part of the Washington DCJCC's Hyman S. & Freda Bernstein Jewish Literary Festival

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 - 8:00pm

Tickets: $35, $40, $45

Art Spiegelman and Phillip Johnston unite in WORDLESS! --  a new and stimulating hybrid of slides, talk and musical performance. With original music by Phillip Johnston and live narration and text by Art Spiegelman, this live performance delves into Art's premise around comics, their history, and their capacity for images to go right to the brain as wordless messages. Experience the art of comics as Spiegelman probes further into the nature and possibilities of his medium. 
15% discount for Students/Alumni/Faculty/Staff with GWID and Seniors/Military with ID at the Lisner Box Office.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

That darn Lio and Hagar

Letters to the Editor: The wrong image of shock therapy [Lio].

Lois F. Morris, Silver Spring

Washington Post September 27 2014


Letters to the Editor: Offended by anything [Hagar the Horrible].

Frank Carpenter, Riverdale

Washington Post September 27 2014

The Apple Creek News from Rob Steibel

From: Robert Steibel 

I'm posting samples from all 10 volumes of my The Apple Creek News books at my website over the next few weeks. Here are the covers for the first nine books (attached). This was an experiment where I just riffed on the news and current events in the early part of 2014. It takes me about 15 minutes to do a black and white comic now, so after a few months I suddenly had a stack of 800 comics! If I published them as dailies they would run until 2018, so I decided to just publish the stuff in books. In 2015 I'm going to focus on two new projects at gocomics/apple-creek one called 'Picatzo' the other called 'The Surreal World.'

Oct 2: Gene Weingarten & Eric Shansby

Comic strip writer Gene and cartoonist Eric are at Politics and Prose bookstore at 10:30 AM for their new children's book.

Sept 30: Ted Rall

Ted Rall will speak on Afghanistan at Kramerbooks on Dupont Circle at 6:30.

Bell, Roman and Telgemeier photos

One More Page bookstore in Arlington, VA gets a goodly amount of cartoonists coming through.

Recently Dave Roman and Raina Telgemeier spoke to a big crowd of mostly girls.

More pictures are here.

A few days later Cece Bell spoke about El Deafo, her book about growing up hearing-impaired.

More pictures are here.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Sept. 26-28: Baltimore Book Fest

The Baltimore Book Fest is the weekend, Sept. 26-28. The Charm City Comics Book Pavilion (Baltimore's Inner Harbor, Rash Field) will include Phil Cho, Darren Soto, Steve Anderson, Andrew Aydin and Art Way Alliance.

I'll be at the fest, too. At noon, I'll be at the National Aquarium's Ocean Exploration Stage (Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, Area 10, between the National Aquarium and World Trade Center), talking about Wild Ocean and using comics to spread the word about conservation.

At 3 p.m. I'll be at the Charm City Comics Book Pavilion with fellow D.C. comic booker Jason Rodriguez (editor of the upcoming Colonial Comics anthology), where we will give examples of how schools and libraries are using comics in the classroom, from teaching English to bringing history to life.

Bill Brown's artwork for the Capital Maritime Music Fest

Bill Brown says this is one of two versions he did for the Capital Maritime Music Fest.  You can see the other version that he prefers here.

Fantastic Forum's interview with Gail Simone

Washington's own comics tv show Fantastic Forum was at Baltimore Comic Con, where Devon Sanders conducted with Gail Simone.  

Their website is and their Facebook page is

Oct 1: Dork Diaries at Politics and Prose

Rachel Renee Russell - Dork Diaries 8: Tales from a Not-So-Happily Ever After with Erin Russell and Nikki Russell

Oct 1 2014 10:30 am

The team behind the Dork Diaries is back with another entry in Nikki Maxwell's life. This time around Nikki has some particularly interesting dreams after a bad bump on the head. In them, she, and all of her, friends, enemies, crushes, and everyone in between, become the main players in a series of fairy tales. Of course, things don't play out quite as you'd expect, because when Nikki's telling the story, everything is sure to have a twist. Ages 9 – 13 (Aladdin)

ISBN-13: 9781481421843
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Aladdin Paperbacks, 9/2014 
5015 Connecticut Ave NW
District Of Columbia

Sept 30: Scott Campbell at Politics and Prose

Scott Campbell - Hug Machine

Sep 30 2014 10:30 am
Watch out! The hug machine is coming! And no one, no matter how grumpy or mean, can resist his hugs. This whimsical, sweet, and charming book from Scott Campbell will conquer the world. One hug at a time. Ages 4 – 6 (Atheneum)

Hug Machine (Hardcover)

ISBN-13: 9781442459359
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 8/2014
5015 Connecticut Ave NW
District Of Columbia

Oct 1: Ars Electronica Animation Film Festival

October 1, 2014 | Film Screening | Ars Electronica - Animation Film Festival
FIlm Screening | Ars Electronica | October 1, 2014, 7:30 p.m.

Ars Electronica Animation Film Festival
October 1, 2014 | Film Screening | Austrian Cultural Forum

If you're interested in outstanding computer animated films as well as innovative media art, make sure you join us for this one of a kind event on
October first.

The Austrian Cultural Forum will show some of the award winning contributions to 2013's Ars Electronica Animation Festival. 
The Ars Electronica Animation Festival is a compilation selected from all entries to the 2013 Prix Ars Electronica's Computer Animation/Film/VFX category. It offers an overview of the positions and points of view of artists worldwide, and impressively documents not only the genre's explosive growth of late but also its marvelous substantive and stylistic diversity.
775 films from 73 countries were submitted for prize consideration in 2013. Even a quick perusal of the selected films reveals the broad spectrum of what's being produced now. Digital animation—sometimes recognizable as such, sometimes unidentifiably as a realistic simulation—increasingly pervades our everyday life.
These computer-generated motion pictures appear in a diverse array of often hybrid forms in a very wide-ranging and interdisciplinary field at the nexus of art, industry, science and R&D.

For further information please visit

When: Wednesday, October 1, 2014 | 7:30 p.m.
Where: Austrian Cultural Forum | 3524 International Court NW | Washington, DC, 20008
Tickets: FREE | Please register at

Dreams Really Did Come True at Disney's ToonFest

by Steve Artley

I was honored to be a part of the annual ToonFest event in Walt Disney's hometown of Marceline, Missouri last week. The two-day celebration honors the memory of Walt Disney and the cartooning profession through activities including programs that feature guest cartoonists. Among the other headliners brought in to give presentations were Hilary Price, Bill Hinds, Eddie Pittman and the dynamic Guy Gilchrist.
    On Friday, the team spoke to over 400 high school and college students, who were bused in from surrounding communities. Event organizers reported that this year's attendance was a record high.
    One of the highlights, is a street parade complete with strolling performers and several bands. Guest artists are each featured as "Grand Marshal" and ride the parade route down the original Main Street USA (inspiration for the Disney parks' street of the same name) in the back of classic pickups. Following the parade, the team reprises their talks at the Marceline Community Center. Later, we were taken to Walt Disney's boyhood farm for a ceremony at the "Dreaming Tree," where youngsters Walt and his sister, Ruth reportedly spent many childhood hours gazing up through the branches, to wish upon their star. With much pomp and flair, each artist was re-introduced, brought before the assemblage and inducted into the "Order of Plantears" (each are crowned with a hardhat featuring Mickey ears). Young Mouseketeers led each of us to our respective spots to plant our own "dreaming tree." A grand BBQ picnic at the farmstead brought the event to a festive conclusion.
    Throughout our entire visit, we artists were met with an abundance of genuine welcoming warmth and charity by the good folks of Marceline. Shortly after landing at the Washington airport, I walked through the crowded corridors of fast-paced indifference. I was shoved aside without apology from one of the self-absorbed pushing his way to the VIP lounge. It took every effort to restrain myself from boarding a return flight to Marceline with intent to seek asylum.
Friday night was a banquet and tour of the Disney Museum.
Hilary Price and Bill Hinds
A horse-drawn wagon full of cartoonists and friends
The door to Walt Disney's boyhood bedroom

ToonFest Parade: Awesome. Vehicle carrying Hilary Price along the parade route: Priceless. 

During the last leg of the parade route, the classic pickup carrying Hilary Price overheated and came to an abrupt Disneyesque halt, complete with gurgling sound FX and billowing steam. Disney animators and Foley artists couldn't have done it better. Not to be left knuckle biting and helpless at the roadside, the ever resourceful Hilary got out and pushed with assistance by a couple of onlookers.

From my vantage point of the tailgate of the vehicle ahead of Hilary, I gleefully iPhone photographed the following sequence.