Wednesday, October 17, 2018
The fifth annual
Cartoonists Draw Blood
American Red Cross blood drive is this Saturday! It’s the blood drive where participants who donate blood can meet local National Cartoonist Society cartoonists, and get a free sketch.
Tuesday, October 16, 2018
Monday, October 15, 2018
Carla Speed McNeil's Lettering Process
"Christ The Redeemer" (after Paul Landowski)
To nobody's surprise, as part of its long-standing tradition, the Wall Street Journal has endorsed fascist Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil's upcoming Presidential elections. This is a politician so horrible that even Marine Le Pen won't touch him with somebody else's ten-foot pole.
"Forgive them, Father – but get me the hell out of here!"
–Christ the Redeemer
|from Just World Educational 's newsletter |
Sunday, October 14, 2018
One of my favorite things to do when I travel to other countries is to visit their comic book stores. My French is good enough that I prefer to visit shops that sell French comics, which is the predominant publishing language of most of northern Europe. When I was in Amsterdam, my VRBO was almost directly across the street from Lambiek, which is one of the best and oldest comic shops in the city. This proved to be unfortunate for my wallet.
|The famous Lambiek sign. On more than one occasion, |
I saw someone taking a picture of themselves in front of the shop.
|The Interior of Lambiek. Dutch upstairs, |
English and French in the basement.
|The interior of Lambiek. No, really.|
|Windows at Lambiek by Wasco|
|The manga end of Henk|
|The non-manga end of Henk|
|The indie graphic novel shelf - this is the extent of the overlap between Lambiek and Henk|
|The entrance by the Nieumarkt|
|Chinatown entrance of Henk|
During the middle of the afternoon, the atmosphere of the alleyway is quiet, but the largely unseen hustle of prepping for the evening rush is everywhere. Almost every Chinese food restaurant in the Red Light District is clustered here. That may or may not have anything to do with the popularity of the manga section. And the tendency of tourists to duck into any random shop may keep the place busy as well.
At night, the alleyway is completely different. Henk's is closed by seven, but the debauchery of the Red Light District never really stops, it just takes naps. By 8, the whole area is filled with people looking for food. The place is a wall-to-wall zoo. Walking through the alley in the morning is like walking down Bourbon Street in New Orleans when the crowds have gone. And that is where you have to go to visit the most prominent manga store in Amsterdam, open by lunchtime.
It is fascinating to me that the various comics markets are so obviously delineated in Amsterdam. That might be because the markets are so clearly segregated by language - which isn't as big a barrier in cosmopolitan, multi-lingual Amsterdam as it is in English-first, English-only America. It also indicates that the the markets serve very different demographic groups, which makes sense.
The Dutch comics section in the main part of Lambiek feels like a small, specialty book store, with a variety of popular works in various genres, and a diverse clientele. Those who really want to go diving through the English and French spillover are encouraged to do so. Amsterdam has visitors from all over Europe and many books are not translated into Scandinavian languages.
Henk is, for the most part, a clone of an American comic shop, aimed at the same demographics. Interestingly, that demographic (white males between 18-35) is the same target demographic as the Red Light District itself. The superhero comic section of Henk is set up to encourage intoxicated impulse buys.
If you find yourself in Amsterdam and you have had your fill of art museums, go look up the comic book shops. They are worth the visit and very easy to find.
Why is this here? It's a long story. Mike Rhode first introduced himself to me when I first started vending at SPX. Over the years, we've talk to each other at Comic conventions around the DC area and never quite get around to sitting down for lunch.
When I moved to Arlington two years ago, I didn't realize that Mike lived within a mile of my building. Nor did I realize that he lived next door to my girlfriend's friend from college. We also discovered, by accident that we work two buildings away from each other, because we work in adjacent organizations. The world is a very small place, sometimes.
It really feels that way when I run into Mike at the local farmer's market. Naturally, that's when I pitch him article ideas. I'm reading the entire run of Heavy Metal in public (in blog format) because I happen to own the entire run of Heavy Metal. This means that I'm engaged in an ongoing study of the magazine. In addition, I have a diverse and idiosyncratic reading list that tends towards the weird corners of comics history. Sometimes one circumstance or another results in long articles that I don't really have anyplace to put. Mike has been gracious enough to let me publish them here.
In summary: this is an article about comics from someone in the DC area.