Showing posts with label Matt Dembicki. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Matt Dembicki. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Sneak peek: 'STEAM Within the Panels' at AAAS

by Matt Dembicki

In conjunction with this coming weekend's March for Science rally/events in D.C., the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) on Friday will open an art exhibit of science-related comics titled "STEAM Within the Panels: Science Storytelling Through Comics Books, Comic Strips and Graphic Books."

The exhibit will be in the art gallery at AAAS and is open to the public. (Make sure to take the 12st Street entrance to the building.)

There will be a few events over the next few weeks related the exhibit, though AAAS hasn't yet released a schedule. Stay tuned.

I was lucky enough to have several pages from Xoc: The Journey of a Great White (Oni Press) included in the exhibit, as well as pages from Wild Ocean's "The Galapagos" (Fulcrum Publishing) right next to Hay Hosler's "Tortuga, the Island the Swims," also from Wild Ocean. The art prints for the exhibit were still begin posted when I visited today, so I wasn't able to look at all the credits for local creators, but I see work by Baltimore's Kata Kane. The exhibit also includes what I guess could be called a challenge: taking older versions of comics characters (from the Golden, Silver and Bronze ages of comics) and "re-inventing" them with a modern science twist.

Maria Sosa, a senior project director at AAAS, championed for the exhibit

Pages from Xoc: The Journey of a Great White 

Jay Hosler's pages from Wild Ocean's "Tortuga: The Island That Swims" 

From Wild Ocean's "The Galapagos"

Work by Kata Kane


Monday, February 13, 2017

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!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

"The idea was always to go up to the Revolution": Jason Rodriguez speaks about his second Colonial Comics book

by Mike Rhode

The second book in the historical non-fiction short story anthology Colonial Comics was released this week. I met with editor Jason Rodriguez at Lost Dog Café in South Arlington and we chatted a bit about putting both books together. I hadn't gotten a copy yet, so the discussion is a bit abstract regarding the second volume, but hopefully our talk and some pictures from the book will hold your interest, dear reader. You can also check out this 2015 interview on book one from the Washington City Paper.

JR: It’s funny that the second book in the Colonial Comics series is actually thicker than the first one. They changed the paper stock, and the second actually has more pages. The covers are supposed to be continuous. [The first book] has the Massachusetts coastline, the Mayflower coming in, a bunch of Pilgrims parked on the shore, and one Native American overlooking it. The second continues with the same shoreline, but now built up to Boston and more ominously, with the British fleet coming in. When we do a mid-Atlantic version, the drawing is going to continue South (i.e. lower in the cover).

MR: Are there any more books in the New England series?

JR: No more. We’re going to cut it off at the Revolution, partly because a lot of people know about the American Revolution. They learned about it in school.

MR: There’s always more, smaller stories…

JR: Absolutely. There’s plenty we could do, but as far as Colonial Comics, the idea was always to go up to the Revolution. Otherwise, it would be Revolutionary Comics. We wanted to focus on the origins of the country.

MR: Are you planning on working your way to the South now?

JR: The third book is supposed to be mid-Atlantic history. We don’t have any plans to start it immediately. With the first book, we put it out there and started working on the second book. We got feedback on the first that we incorporated into the second, but we want get new feedback before we start thinking about the third book. I wouldn’t expect us to start working on a third book for six months or so.

MR: Fulcrum is enthusiastic about the line?

JR: Yes, although the first book didn’t sell quite as well as either of us wanted it to. When we go to a new printing of the book, we’ll make some changes. The second book is strong and addressed feedback we got from the first book, and should take off quicker. The first one sold fine; it just didn’t sell fantastically.
MR: I think part of the problem with the first book to a certain degree might be the amount of religion that’s a part of the early American colonies – it’s hard to get away from, it’s hard to understand, and it’s far removed from our culture.

JR: Yes, that led to a structural problem with the stories themselves, because from 1620-1750, people know the landing at Plymouth and the witch trials, and when we try to fill in the spaces, a lot of it is based on religion and is dark stuff, like wiping out populations. And for a lot of it, we have to use primary sources because it’s not covered in a book that we can turn to. Because of that we ended up getting a lot of text-heavy stories that was aimed at an adult audience, but marketed to middle-graders and young adults. With the new book, I was much better at keeping people doing things that feel  like comics with actual actions and not just captions everywhere. I think we took a lot of issues with the first book to heart and came up with something much more fantastic.

MR: Did you use mostly the same contributors?

JR: No. There are some repeats. I have my people that I love working with. John Bell and David Lewis are back as assistant editors. They both also wrote a story. There’s a lot of our DC-area folks – Jason Axtell colored a story in the first book, but he illustrated a story this time. Matt Dembicki’s back. Scott White did the cover again, and this time he also did a comic story. Chris Piers, even though he’s out in Seattle now. [Being interviewed in a bar, Jason overlooked Arsia Rozegar, Mal Jones, Matt Rawson, Rafer Roberts, and Carla Speed McNeil who also contributed]. I always use Charles Fetherolf, Josh O’Neill and James Comey. I loved working with E.J. Barnes and Sara Winifred Searle  in the first volume so I invited them back. Jason Hanley has always been my letterer but for the most part I brought a lot of new people on board.

MR: How do you find people?

JR: We had a general call for submissions that several people responded to, including some great finds. That’s probably where Jackie Roche came from and she is phenomenal. She does these fantastic watercolors. Just like with the first book, I wanted to focus on under-represented narratives, unknown stories, things like that, but I still wanted to touch on some of the big stories that we know.

 I wanted to include the Boston Tea Party in some way, and Jackie came to me with a pitch about actually tracing the tea trade – starting in China, following it through India, and then into Massachusetts and tracing the tea as it went into the harbor.

A lot of the stories are ones I just found. Ashley Victoria Robinson wrote “Mercy Otis Warren” about the playwright, and one by nature I guess, because there were no plays in Boston. It was against Puritanical rules to produce plays. Warren wrote revolutionary plays, originally anonymously, but later took credit for them. Ashley wrote me saying she wanted to do a story about nurses in the Revolutionary War, which we weren’t covering, but since Ashley also had some playwriting experience, I suggested Warren. 

Some people I paired with a topic, and some people came in with great things. Kevin Cooney came through the submission process with a story about the Stamp Act obelisk which I think is one of the greatest things I learned. Matt Dembicki illustrated it. When the Stamp Act was repealed, Paul Revere designed this obelisk which was supposed to be a permanent fixture under the Liberty Tree. The problem was that it was made out of oiled paper and wood, and it was lit from the inside with candles and they put fireworks on top of it, so it burned down the first night they celebrated it. Paul Revere’s plates still survive and I actually made an origami version of it for promotion purposes so you could print it out and fold it.

MR: Do you have an editor at Fulcrum?

JR: Yes, Fulcrum assigns me a chain of editors. Rebecca McEwen edits for content and what’s allowed and what’s not in these books. It’s not just sex and violence but language. There are two stories where I had to put a disclaimer noting that “negro” and “mulatto” were common terms. We had to cut out “damns.” There was a little pushback at times from the artists, but we managed to sustain most of it. The copy editor was Alison Auch and she was great to work with. She was very responsive and helped put the book together. She worked really hard in the last month, because I was late in delivering everything. But I do all the design work including the cover and literally deliver them an entire book, so they could just publish it as-is, but they don’t. They fine-tooth-comb it, and have third party people read it, and put a lot of effort into it.

MR: A few years ago, you did an Amazon-only Kindle children’s book and you’re about to launch a Kickstarter campaign for that?

JR: “The Little Particle that Could” is a story about particle physics and general relativity for kids. The original version followed a graviton who was perfectly happy just spinning and pulling things down to earth until a photon catches her eye and she decides to chase it, off the Earth and into a black hole. We wanted to do a print edition that was a bit more special so now we have a new colorist, and Jason Hanley is re-lettering it. We’re hoping to do a hardcover with nice glossy stock, and then stretch goal to a board book because I love them. We just need to raise $5000, and then $10,000 for the board book. I think it’s achievable.

Monday, September 07, 2015

Q&A: Goldfield on 'Captive of Friendly Cove'

Rebecca Goldfield is a local documentary film producer who recently has ventured into the world of graphic novels and comics to tell her stories. This week, her first graphic novel, Captive of Friendly Cove: Based on the Secret Journal of John Jewitt (Fulcrum Publishing) its bookstores. A summary of the story: After his ship is burned and his shipmates killed, British sailor John Jewitt lived for nearly three years as a captive of the Mowachaht people, a Native American tribe on the west coast of Vancouver Island. During his captivity, Jewitt kept journals of his experiences and of tribal life. Follow his adventures as he plies his skills as a blacksmith, saves the life of his only remaining crew member, and comes up with a strategy to free them both.

Later this month, Goldfield will be signing at the Small Press Expo in Rockville, Md. 

Below, Goldfield answers a few questions about Captive. (Editor’s note: Matt Dembicki, who conducting this Q&A, inked Captive.)

How did you come up this story? What was it that grabbed your interest?

I was living in Vancouver BC and was in Horseshoe Bay one day, when I discovered this whacky little shop--a combination post office-candy counter-bookstore. I was soon poking through a creaky rotating rack that displayed just a handful of books--and one turned out to be John Jewitt’s journals. I thought it was a great story; a sympathetic young protagonist sets out alone to make his way in the world and suddenly finds himself caught up in an historical conflict he had no idea existed. His personal story was that he was injured in a bloody massacre aboard his ship and then spent several years having to survive both physically and mentally in the wilderness, as a slave in a culture that was utterly alien to him. But the larger story is the conflict between the native world and the explorers and traders of the time and that gave it another whole dimension.

Of all the ways to tell this story—a prose short story, article, documentary, etc.—why did you decide to make it a graphic novel?

Part of it was a matter of my own background, having produced and written TV documentaries for so long, it just felt natural to choose another visual medium. But as I read the source material I found a great adventure story that was a bit buried in descriptions of daily life, of rituals, of hunting techniques, of migratory patterns. I thought the art could very effectively depict those elements as well as action sequences, and even emotion, while I as a writer could focus more on building the characters and structuring plot and creating dialogue and narration. 

You previously wrote a short story for the comics anthology District Comics, but this is your first longer comics project. What were your impressions about the process, from researching and writing, to collaborating with the artists?

I had absolutely no idea of the scope of what I was undertaking. I went from having never created a single panel to committing to a full length graphic novel and the learning curve was about as steep as they come. I was used to writing for film but despite the similarities, I soon learned that producing a graphic novel is its own art form, one that plays out in space, not time, as film does. And structuring a story that took place over several years, a number of locations, different seasons, many characters, all taking place in an environment and culture that was new to me--it was a lot to figure out. My wonderful artists were incredibly generous about letting me, a novice, take the lead--teaching me as we went--because I had a lot to learn.  I’m sure they rolled their eyes often.

This is a historical graphic novel. What was the hardest part of researching it? Did you reach out to any of the descendants of the people in the story?

Research is always the most pleasurable part of any project for me, and I could not have been happier reading every book I could find on the contact period in the Pacific Northwest, and speaking with historians, anthropologists and museum curators. The hard part was connecting with the Mowachaht people themselves---it took a very long time for anyone to really talk to me. After all, they’d been living very successfully in the area for thousands of years, John was there for under three and so was not even a footnote to a footnote in their history. Ultimately, though, I did spend a wonderful day in Yuquot (Friendly Cove) and found the people to be extraordinarily open and willing to share their collective memories of John and contribute their perspectives. And though the story is told through our protagonist’s point of view, I did get some of that in.

Who is the target audience for this book? Do you envision it being used in classrooms?

It is targeted to middle school students and older, and yes, the hope is that it will be used in schools and libraries. It’s a great, true adventure story, with memorable characters and a dramatic historical conflict. I think it will appeal to young adults and not so young adults as well. Hope so, anyway!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

'Wild Ocean' on short list for Green Earth Book Award

by Matt Dembicki
I edited this anthology and many of the contributing writers and artists are from the D.C. area, including Michael Cowgill, Jason Axtell, Brooke Allen, Steve Loya and Andy Kettler.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Express on Smudge

D.C. comic books get a nudge at Smudge

By Tim Regan

For indie publishers and small-press cartoonists who don’t have Marvel levels of fame, finding an audience can be tricky. Luckily, Smudge Expo is here to help.

Click here to read the article online.

The Artisphere also placed an ad in today's Express featuring Smudge.
Finally, here's a wrap up of the ads Smudge ran
online over the past few weeks to promote the show.


Thursday, February 19, 2015

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Dec. 3: Meet the Author Night

Gene Weingarten (Me & Dog) and Matt Dembicki (Wild Ocean) and will be among the local authors at the 25th annual Meet the Author Night and Book Fair Dec. 3 (5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.) at the University Club of Washington, D.C.  The free event is open to the public. Click for the full list of participating authors.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Impressions and photos of Baltimore Comic-Con day 3, Sunday

Gerhard and the Little Nemo book from Locust Moon
Sunday was a nice quiet day at the con. Plenty of energy, but it wasn't so crowded that you couldn't see the guests, or run into friends (such as Heidi MacDonald who requested this photo of Gerhard from Friday (Day 1 is here)). I bought the only print Gerhard brought (by accident) of his Little Nemo art. I'm not sorry.Gerhard's finishing work on Cerebus made Dave Sim's artwork sing.

My daughter and I cruised around and I got my Team Cul de Sac book signed by Rob Harrell and Jay Fosgitt. I saw two other Little Nemo-related modern items (by Fosgitt and Joel Gill) - it's odd how the character is making  a comeback.

Here's some shots. A few additional pictures can be seen on Flickr.

One joy for me was meeting Fred Hembeck and getting a Shadow sketch for him. I've loved his skewed take on comics history for thirty years.
Little Nemos by Gill and Fosgitt
Mike Rhode and Dean Haspiel

Denis Kitchen and Fred Hembeck

Rafter Roberts covers X-O Man-o-War

Big Planet Comics owners Peter and Jared

Fulcrum's Jess Townsend with books edited by local cartoonist (and ComicsDC'r) Matt Dembicki
Andy Runton's booth babe, AKA "Mom"

Sunday, June 22, 2014

A few more photos...

Becky Cloonan and Shaun Simon at Big Planet Comics Vienna.

Becky Cloonan and Shaun Simon at Big Planet Comics Vienna.

Claire and Mike Rhode wearing t-shirts from Joe Sutliff's Master Jeffrey webcomic which has a Kickstarter campaign now.

And here's pictures from the exhibit of original artwork at Art-Enables by five artists who contributed to the new graphic novel Wild Ocean: Sharks, Whales, Rays and Other Endangered Sea Creatures (Fulcrum Publishing).  Artwork by: Brooke Allen, Matt Dembicki, Andy K, Steve Loya and Steven Russell Black.

Art by Matt Dembicki, that I think I now own.

Steve Loya and his art.