Friday, February 17, 2017

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Legion'

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Legion' And 'Planet Earth 2'

Syd Barrett (Rachel Keller) and David Haller (Dan Stevens) in the FX series Legion.
Chris Large/FX
This week's show brings a new voice to our fourth chair: Alan Sepinwall, TV critic at Uproxx and author (of The Revolution Was Televised and, with Matt Zoller Seitz, of TV (The Book)), is with us to talk about two new shows.

First up is Legion, the FX adaptation of a somewhat lesser-known Marvel story compared to some that have come to the screen. The show stars Dan Stevens, whom you may remember as Matthew on Downton Abbey, and was created by Noah Hawley, who most recently did FX's adaptation of Fargo. We talk about its structure and characterizations, and its combination of psychiatric questions and superpower ones.

March 6: Curatorial Display - Will Eisner Centennial at Library of Congress

Monday, March 6, 2017


Curatorial Display - Will Eisner Centennial: Discovering His Legacy in the Library's Collections.

Join curators from the Prints & Photographs Division and the Serial & Government Publications Division in a celebration of noted cartoonist, comic book publisher, and graphic novelist Will Eisner. A selection of comic art and comic books will be on exhibit.


This event is co-sponsored by Prints & Photographs Division and the Serial & Government Publications Division.


Where: Room 139, Madison Building, 1st floor, Madison Building

When: Monday, March 6, 2017, 11:00-1:00 PM


Feb 22: Library of Congress Gallery Talk Wednesday, World War I Artists

On Wednesday, February 22 at noon please join curators Katherine Blood and Sara W. Duke in the exhibition World War I: American Artists View the Great War  to discuss highlights from a new rotation of artwork chronicling the First World War. The exhibition includes posters, photographs, cartoons, fine art prints, and drawings from the Library's Prints and Photographs Division and is located in the Graphic Arts Galleries, Ground Floor, Thomas Jefferson Building.

Sara Duke will be mentioning McKee Barclay, a Baltimore cartoonist.

Feb 18: Bmore Into Comics

The quarterly Bmore Into Comics hold "Issue 12" on Saturday, February 18, from 1-7 pm at the Windup Space in Baltimore.

Feb 17-19: Farpoint Con in Baltimore

"FARPOINT is an annual gathering for fans of all genres of imaginative fiction – Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, SuperHeroes – in all the media formats in which they might appear – Cinematic Movies, Television, Direct to DVD , Books on Tape, Podcasts, Web Video – you name it, we want to celebrate it!

The con was established in 1993, by a committee led by Bev Volker and Steve Wilson. Our focus is on Fandom, and all the wonderful, creative people who comprise it. Our mission is to encourage, to educate, to enable. So, while we certainly bring in some exciting professionals from the industries which bring imagination into the mainstream, our real goal is to give you the opportunity to meet others like yourself, to forge friendships, and to develop your own creative gifts."

Comics creators Peter David and David Mack are among the guests.

Feb 17-19: Katsucon at National Harbor

The anime and cosplay show opens today -

"An annual 3-day fan convention held in the D.C. metro area for multicultural enthusiasts and entertainment."

Here's the schedule -

Thursday, February 16, 2017

NPR on Neil Gaiman

Looking For Thor's Hammer: Neil Gaiman On 'Norse Mythology' February 13, 2017

The Post reviews Tower

[This is showing on PBS' website]

'Tower' is a well-crafted documentary that deliberately leaves out a major detail [in print as Missing story would have given 'Tower' more statue]

A bystander rushes to help Claire Wilson in this scene from "Tower." (Tower Documentary/PBS)

Auction of John Fantucchio's comic collection begins with Spider-Man 1-50

From his widow, Mary, "The first group of John's comic books are now up for auction - Spider-man 1-50.  You can see it at  Also - for any of you who are interested, some of his superhero toys are being sold at"

Dirda on Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman's suspenseful and surprising 'Norse Mythology' [in print as From Neil Gaiman, Norse tales as bracing as the north wind].

Washington Post (February 15 2017), p. C1, 3:

Herblock coined today's Word.A.Day

A.Word.A.Day with Anu Garg features McCarthyism today - credited to Herb 'Herblock' Block.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Rep. John Lewis discusses "MARCH: Book Three" with Kojo Nnamdi at the Library of Congress

Rep. John Lewis discusses "MARCH: Book Three" with Kojo Nnamdi at the Library of Congress

 Feb 14, 2017

The Young Readers Center at the Library of Congress presents U.S. Representative John Lewis and co-author Andrew Aydin in conversation with Radio Host Kojo Nnamdi about "MARCH: Book Three." Librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden, welcomes the award-winning "MARCH: Book Three" authors in a presentation to 7th grade students from School Without Walls at Francis Stevens in Washington, D.C.

March 10: Brian Biggs in Takoma Park

Mac Barnett and Brian Biggs - Noisy Night — at Takoma Park Library (MD)

Friday, March 10, 2017 at 7 p.m.
Takoma Park Library (MD)   101 Philadelphia Ave   Takoma Park   MD    20912

Brian is more than happy to sign the comics he did earlier in his career, such as Dear Julia.

New 'ReDistricted' Comic: "Grief"

New comic at titled "Grief" by writer Tim Regan and artist Paul Zdepski. It's about the graver marker at Rock Creek Cemetery honoring Marian Adams, wife of famed historian and writer Henry Adams.

Matt Wuerker in today's Pearls Before Swine

Politico's political cartoonist Matt Wuerker is in today's Pearls Before Swine.

"Rat the President"  Rat:  This idiot cartoonist named Matt Wuerker did a cartoon making fun of me. Is he allowed to do that?  Man:  Yes, sir. That's his first amendment right.  Rat:  Oh.   Man:  Why?  "President Rat Hey, @wuerker, @CIA coming over to punch u in face."  Man:  Not an option, sir.  Rat:  Oh...well, can the F.B.I. kick him in the hoo-haws?

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Feb 15: Ron Wimberly at Fantom Comics

Wednesday, February 15 – Black History in Its Own Words signing with Ron Wimberly – D.C. native artist Ron Wimberly (who you might know from that sweet Prince of Cats signing we did a few months back) is finally getting a hardcover edition of the "Black History in Its Own Words" series he's been doing online for a few years now, and to celebrate, he'll join us with artists Chris Visions, Shannon Wright, Chris Kindred, and podcaster/artist Julian Lytle!

Sid the Science Kid investigated by Rep. Chaffetz

While Trump scandals mount, Chaffetz decides to investigate... a cartoon character

Opinion writer February 14 2017, p. A2

PR: Anime USA Valentine's Day Special Membership Discount

Anime USA 2017 Newsletter, Volume 3: Happy Valentine's Day, Special Membership Discount!
View this email in your browser

Hotel Room Block Open

The hotel room block at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park is open.

Room rates are $167 a night plus tax and there will be a non-refundable $50 deposit on each reservation at the time of booking.
Reserve a Room Today

Valentine's Day Discount

Happy Valentine's Day!

From now until February 21 you can purchase two memberships for the price of one (you must purchase two)! For just $66 you and your loved one will both be able to join Anime USA for our three-day celebration of Japanese culture and anime.

Don't miss out on this amazing deal for a weekend of wintry, anime fun.
Join Anime USA as a Couple

How to Join

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Interview with former DC resident Mari Andrews

The resistance will be illustrated: instagram artist Mari Andrews talks empathy, politics, and caring about pop culture and current events at the same time.

Jessica Goldstein

Monday, February 13, 2017

Who knew?

President Obama Pardoned The Savage Dragon On His Last Day In Office…

  by February 8, 2017

Fantom Comics 2016 sales report is out

2016 In Review – A Comic Book Shop Talks Comic Book Sales Trends

Comic Book Sales Trends for Fantom Comics

New children's book from Cuddles and Rage (updated)

ComicsDC co-author has reminded me that HE interviewed Liz and Jimmy Reed (aka Cuddles and Rage)  before their new children's book came out.

Sweet Competition

About the Book

Liz and Jimmy Reed, the creators of the "Cuddles and Rage" webcomic, have whipped up a truly delectable picture book debut featuring the antics of competitive twin cherries who will do anything to outsweet…er, outsmart one another!
For this pair of twin cherries, everything is a competition. If Girl Cherry can swing higher, Boy Cherry will boast that he can swing lower. If one is smarter, then the other is cooler. So when they enter a contest to build the best dessert ever, they immediately pit themselves against each other. But when you're attached at the stem, there's only so much you can do on your own. Things could be easy as pie—so to speak—if they put aside their differences and join forces. Will Boy Cherry and Girl Cherry cream the competition by working together…or will one try to be the cherry on top?
With loveable characters and laugh-out-loud situations, Sweet Competition is the perfect addition to any child's bookshelf. After all, there's always room for dessert!

Meet a Local Cartoonist: A Chat with J.C. Thomas

by Mike Rhode

J.C. Thomas is appearing at Big Planet Comics Washington on Saturday February 18 (2-4 pm) to sign his two books. From his press release: "J.C. Thomas is a writer, artist and public elementary school teacher from Northern Virginia. His first children’s book, Ninja Mouse: Haiku, earned acclaim from both Publishers’ Weekly and The Midwest Book Review, and won a Gold Benjamin Franklin Digital Award from the Independent Book Publishers Association. He will be signing copies of Ninja Mouse: Haiku and The Gates of Dawn, an original graphic novel by Philadelphia-based writer Benjamin Finkel. Ninja Mouse: Haiku is a collection of haiku poetry with themes of martial arts philosophy and nature and includes Japanese translations. In The Gates of Dawn, a young girl with special powers and a nomadic veteran flee across a barren stretch of Utah as they’re pursued by a dark terror. Finding themselves cornered and desperate, they’re forced to make a final stand."

What type of cartooning or comic work do you do?

For now, I mostly work on one-shot, short graphic novels as opposed to serialized comics work. It’s partly a preference, partly circumstantial, and partly a product of the collaborations I’ve built in the last year or so.

How do you do it? Traditional pen and ink, computer or a combination?

I create all of my work on a custom-built PC. I use a lot of 3D models as the basis for my artwork. My main software applications are DAZ Studio, Photoshop, Octane Render, and Manga Studio. I use a Wacom Intuos for touching up line work.

I’m hoping to venture into paper and ink for some projects in the future, but for now my workflow is pretty set.

When (within a decade is fine) and where were you born?

I was born in Northern Virginia in the early 1980s.

Why are you in Washington now? What neighborhood or area do you live in?

I’m in the Washington area now because I’ve stayed here. I’m in Sterling, VA, which is about thirty minutes west of Washington. I’ve been all over, but I keep coming back to home.

What is your training and/or education in cartooning?

My “training” in cartooning is all informal. As a kid, I gobbled up every how-to book I could, from How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way to Will Eisner’s Graphic Storytelling. Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics was also a big part of my comics “education.” I took art throughout high school but was always frustrated with the lack of respect comics art tended to be treated with.

Who are your influences?

I probably have too many subconscious influences to count, but there are some I’m more aware of. Visually, I’d have to say Alex Maleev, Jae Lee and Michael Lark are influences. I really dig their use of heavy blacks. Pacing wise, I’ve always loved the dynamic between Garth Ennis and three of his common artists: Leandro Fernandez, Steve Dillon, and John McCrea. I’d also cite Sam Esmail, the creator and director of Mr. Robot, as an influence, especially on The Gates of Dawn. The cinematography in that show had a big influence on the framing in The Gates of Dawn. Jeff Lemire is also an influence. He’s a master of knowing exactly what to draw and when to draw it, really maximizes the impact of every panel. Essex County, Lost Dogs, and The Underwater Wielder are some of my favorites of his work.

If you could, what in your career would you do-over or change?

I’d either choose to have studied something creative in undergrad, rather than International Relations, or to have studied education in undergrad. Being involved in education can really spark your creativity, and a lot of my ideas have their origins in something education-related. I wouldn’t have minded if some of those sparks were to have come earlier.

I think also I wish I had explored getting representation a bit more when I first finished Ninja Mouse. I contacted a couple of literary agents, and when I didn’t hear back within a couple of weeks, I went ahead and published it on my own. I say that with some lack of certainty, because self-publishing is great fun and very rewarding in pretty much every way except financially. But once Publisher’s Weekly released their review, agents were contacting me, but I didn’t have anything else to show them at the time. I could have probably let that play out differently and have ended up with an agent right off the bat. But the freedom that goes with being on your own is a definite perk.

What work are you best-known for?

Probably Ninja Mouse: Haiku. It received praise from Publisher’s Weekly and The Midwest Book Review, which was a pretty big deal for me at the time. It’s also the first work on I got onto Comixology, which was validating.

What work are you most proud of?

I’d have to say Ninja Mouse: Haiku again. A lot of love and work went into that project, and I was really happy with the final product.

What would you like to do or work on in the future?

Geez, what don’t I want to work on in the future? I’ve got a scifi anthology in the works that I’m anxious to finish. The second story in that project, Arcas, with writer Christopher Hutton, is almost finished and should be out in a couple weeks. I’ve also got a couple of screenplays that I plan on adapting into graphic novel format.

But the thing I’m looking forward to the most is the next Ninja Mouse project. The first book was a collection of haiku poetry about martial arts and nature, illustrated sequentially with a very loose story. The next project will be a more traditional graphic novel. I’m planning on three volumes for that one.

Other than a horde of my own projects that are in various stages of production, I’d love to do some mainstream work at some point. Batman, the Punisher, and Shang-Chi, of Master of Kung Fu Fame, are probably my favorite characters from the Big Two, and I’d jump at the chance to do work on any of them.

What do you do when you're in a rut or have writer's block?

When I’m in a rut or have writer’s block, I normally try to work on a different project. I ran into more than the average amount of ruts with Arcas, and each time I’d try to get some work done on something I’d put on the backburner. On one hand, that’s a positive of balancing a lot of different projects at once. On the other, obvious, hand, it can be distracting or can hinder my productivity to have a lot of projects going on at the same time. I also turn to music to get me out of a rut.

What do you think will be the future of your field?

That’s a good question…I don’t know, on the one hand, some trends in the industry make me think the future is looking a bit bleak. The sheer number of universe-redefining, multi-title events from Marvel and DC in the last decade or so has really turned me off from mainstream comics. I don’t really see that changing anytime soon. Don’t get me wrong, there’s been some outliers here and there that I really enjoyed. Jeff LeMire’s Moon Knight comes to mind. But in general, the big two have left me with the feeling that nothing I read matters, because they’re just going to undo and redo it again in a year. I think those types of trends will continue to alienate all but the most hardcore of fans.

On the other hand, I feel like this is a rich time for the art form in general and there are a lot of trends that make me very hopeful about the field. It seems to me there’s been an explosion of talented indie-creators and small press labels in the last five years or so. And we’re lucky to be in an area where there are retailers willing to take risks on small press titles and unknown creators. I’m also very hopeful about the genre diversity we’re seeing now. It used to be that you really had to scrounge around if you wanted to read something without capes and masks, but that’s not the case anymore. I think part of that is due to digital platforms like Comixology. I think digital comics will continue to grow, but I don’t think they’ll ever replace physical comics. I hope that someone… publishers, online retailers, I don’t know who…but I hope that someone can find a way for brick and mortar retailers to get a piece of the digital pie. I think there’s a lot of potential in apps like Madefire as well, which basically adds simple motions, background music and sound effects. It hasn’t taken off yet, probably because there are additional costs to making them and the return isn’t much more than a typical digital comic. But I think the potential is exciting.

I’m also thrilled to see the increasing acceptance that graphic novels and comics are being met with in schools and libraries. Comics have a place in literacy instruction, and more and more educators are beginning to embrace them.

What local cons do you attend? The Small Press Expo, Intervention, or others? Any comments about attending them?

I’ll be attending the NovaCon this year, which will be my first. I’m planning on attending the Small Press Expo as well. I had a chance to do a signing at last year’s FBCD at Comic Logic in Ashburn, VA, and it was absolutely packed. Like, line-around-the-building packed. I imagine something like that, but on a much larger scale.

What's your favorite thing about DC?


Least favorite?

The soul-killing traffic.

What monument or museum do like to take visitors to?

I have to admit that I don’t really take advantage of the museums and monuments like I should. But I really like the Freer and Sackler galleries. I also had the chance to explore Hillwood Estate recently, and that’s definitely on my short list of favorites.

How about a favorite local restaurant?

I can’t say I know a lot of restaurants in DC proper, but I love Clarity in Vienna. Mokomandy in Sterling is also one of my go-to recommendations.

Do you have a website or blog?

Sure do! It’s I’d love for your readers to stop by.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

PR: Local FCPS Teacher and Comic Creator J.C. Thomas Signing Books at Big Planet Comics, DC

Local FCPS Teacher and Comic Creator J.C. Thomas Signing Books at Big Planet Comics, DC

Sterling, VA February 11, 2017

J.C. Thomas, a Fairfax County Public Schools fourth-grade teacher and comics creator from Herndon, will be appearing at Big Planet Comics in Washington, DC on February, 18 to sign copies of his work. The event will be held at 1520 U St NW, Washington, District of Columbia 20009 from 2:00 to 4:00 PM. Established in 1986, Big Planet Comics is the DC-area's premiere source for comics and graphic novels.

J.C. Thomas is a writer, artist and public elementary school teacher from Northern Virginia. His first children's book, Ninja Mouse: Haiku, earned acclaim from both Publishers' Weekly and The Midwest Book Review, and won a Gold Benjamin Franklin Digital Award from the Independent Book Publishers Association. He has been with FCPS for six years.

He will be signing copies of Ninja Mouse: Haiku and The Gates of Dawn, an original graphic novel by Philadelphia-based writer Benjamin Finkel. Ninja Mouse: Haiku is a collection of haiku poetry with themes of martial arts philosophy and nature and includes Japanese translations. In The Gates of Dawn, a young girl with special powers and a nomadic veteran flee across a barren stretch of Utah as they're pursued by a dark terror. Finding themselves cornered and desperate, they're forced to make a final stand.

Both books are available at online and select brick-and-mortar retailers. Review copies are available upon request.

Images and promotional art are available upon request.

Video Trailers can be found here:

The Gates of Dawn:

Ninja Mouse: Haiku

Resist! at Hooray for Books

Hooray for Books in Alexandria just got the last of my stock of about thirty issues of Resist!

They also have Juana Medina's new book ABC Pasta.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Feb 11: Steve Orlando at Third Eye Comics

Click here for the event info on FACEBOOK
Signing from 11am-1pm

Liberty triumphant; or the downfall of oppression - a new old political cartoon from 17874 for the Library of Congress

According to their catalogue, "Liberty triumphant; or the downfall of oppression" was bought last year. It's by Henry Dawkins and dates from 1774. Click through the title for more info. Thanks to Katherine Blood for the indirect tip.

Feb 18: Gordon Harris and Dust Elves in Baltimore

February 10 , 2017

Bmore Into Comics NEXT Saturday

Gordon will be tabling at Bmore Into Comics next Saturday, February 18. That's Bmore as in Baltimore. It's casual. It's intimate. It's free. Come on by.
And in case you forgot, his four-part mini-comic series is now complete. Next step: Trade Paperback.
Here's a glimpse into the final chapter of The Secret Origin of the Dust Elves.

Oscar-nominated shorts reviews

Big story, small time commitment: Oscars shorts

Washington Post February 10 2017, p. Weekend 30
online at

The Oscar-Nominated Shorts Are Consistently Some of the Best Films of the Year [in print as Short and Sweet].

This year's crop isn't as strong as in year's past, but they're still a strong showing.

Washington City Paper Feb 10, 2017, p. 24
online at

March 11: Brian Biggs at Politics and Prose

Mac Barnett and Brian Biggs - Noisy Night

Saturday, March 11 2017 at 10 am
Noisy Night Cover Image
By Mac Barnett, Brian Biggs (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781596439672
Availability: Coming Soon—Pre-Order Now
Published: Roaring Brook Press - March 7th, 2017

Politics and Prose
5015 Connecticut Ave NW
   Washington   DC    20008

Brian Biggs has done work for Dark Horse and Kitchen Sink.

Catching up with Comic Riffs

Marvel's She-Hulk is dropping the 'she' and keeping the Hulk buried inside — for now

Washington Post 
Comic Riffs blog January 25 2017

Can the comic-book assassin Deathstroke take on gun violence in Chicago?

Washington Post Comic Riffs blog January 25 2017

The promising new Vanessa Hudgens show 'Powerless' is missing this one key ingredient

Washington Post Comic Riffsblog  February 3 2017

Why is the Chinese Superman getting a villain who's a Chinese stereotype? It's all part of a plan.

Washington Post Comic Riffsblog  February 7 2017

From 'The Walking Dead' to 'Saga,' Image Comics remains a comic-book force after 25 years

Washington Post Comic Riffsblog  February 1 2017

'Zootopia' tops Disney's big night at the Annie Awards

By Michael Cavna

Washington Post Comic Riffs blog  February 6 2017