Friday, September 30, 2016

Meet a Local Cartoonist: A Chat with Sean Causley

by Mike Rhode
Sean Causley attended SPX this year, and kindly agreed to answer our usual questions about his work.

What type of comic work or cartooning do you do?

My current comic work is my self-published book, Panda Force. It’s about babies from the future that battle evil forces, but they usually just end up destroying everything in their path. There are a lot of one-liners, some potty humor, and a good amount of cute and crude moments. It’s a fun, lighthearted, zany project that gives me a lot of laughs as I work on it. It’s essentially a big love letter to my daughter, Rowan. I have several other projects that I have various roles on, but I do everything on Panda Force, which is nice because it gives me 100% creative control.

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

It’s evolved into a combination of traditional and digital. I sketch everything on the computer with my Wacom tablet. I then print out the rough sketches on cardstock and traditionally ink the page. Once that’s done, I scan the page and then finish it on the computer. It’s a crazy process, but I still enjoy the tangible, tactile part of creating at least a portion of the art away from the computer.

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

I was raised in the 80s and 90s — also known as THE greatest decades — in Fort Hunt, Alexandria, VA. I have many fond memories from growing up where I did, so I’m very thankful to my parents and grandparents for that.

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

I live out in Chantilly, VA. It’s a great family-friendly area. Super wholesome and what not. Most of my family still lives in the area, so that’s a big reason we’ve stuck around DC.

What is your training and/or education in cartooning?

Fairfax County in my mind is very progressive when it comes to education in the arts. I spent several summers at the Institute for the Arts (IFTA) which opened me up to computer art, airbrushing, character design, all these really obscure ways of creating art which expanded my vision for what art can be. I owe a lot to that program. West Potomac is where I attended high school. Their arts program in the Springbank building was really awesome—and I hear it still is. It was one of the first schools with a dedicated computer lab dedicated solely to creating art. We had a whole bunch of Apple Quadras. Google image search that if you want to truly understand how ancient I am.

This isn’t education or training related, but the Pearl Arts and Crafts store that used to be on Telegraph Road was an amazing place to me when I was a kid. You could get everything under the sun there, and the tools you use are just as important (if not more) than any training you can ever receive, since so much of creating art is based on experimentation.

I studied graphic design and illustration at the Savannah College of Art and Design. That was a great experience, as well. It’s almost intimidating how many amazing artists come in and out of that place. Being surrounded by all that creativity was inspiring and motivating.

Who are your influences?

I’ve always loved surreal art, and there are a variety of artists and creators that I’ve admired from afar, but none that I feel like I’ve tried to draw inspiration from. So in that sense, I don’t know if I have any real artistic influences. My main source of inspiration is family, friends and everyday life occurrences and experiences. Oh, and pizza. Definitely pizza. I’m more creative on a full stomach.

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

Nothing. No regrets! I try to keep the mindset of, “what awesome things can I create today and tomorrow” as opposed to dwelling on things I could’ve done differently in the past.

What work are you best-known for?

I did a good amount of tour and gig posters in the late 90s and early 2000s for the band 311 and a bunch of other random groups. I’m also the Creative Director for ROIAdvertising, so you can find a lot of my graphic design work online. My tumblr site that I curate with Julian Lytle called Long Boxes on 22s has a solid group of followers and fans. It’s a blog where we mash-up comics with pop and hip hop culture. I guess that is more what I’m “known for”, at least according to Google. Now that I’m getting Panda Force out there and some of the other books that I have lined-up, I’m hoping I can become better known for my visual storytelling.

What work are you most proud of?

Anything that I am currently working on. Like most artists, I’m horrified of any art that I’ve created that is over a couple weeks/months old.

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

I’m about 75% of the way done with Panda Force, so I’m kind of excited about the “unknown” after that. I’ve got a bunch of ideas swirling around in my head of things I’d like to create, but right now I’m very focused on completing this first series before I get ahead of myself.

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

Stop creating. Take a break and enjoy life. Recharge.

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

I think the future will be the acceptance that both digital and traditional forms of media, and creating things can coexist together. That one is not going to completely take over the other, as we like to try and predict. 

I also feel the future will be more focused on quality over quantity. I think right now that we as creators are too focused on producing as much content as possible, as opposed to focusing on the quality of the craft. 

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

I just got into the whole convention rigmarole this year. The local ones I’ve done are Awesome Con, Baltimore Comic Con, and SPX.

I have to say, it’s been a lot of fun. I really enjoy meeting new people, and seeing them excited about Panda Force. I have to send a special thanks to Julian Lytle, Shawn Pryor, Ronald Wimberly, and Carolyn Belefski for their guidance and support with the conventions and comic book business. An extra special thanks goes to my wife, Tracy who’s the one to actually get me off my posterior to put my art out into the world and not leave it in a closet gathering dust. High fives, all around.

What's your favorite thing about DC?

It has a little bit of everything for everybody. You also get all the seasonal changes. In comparison to most places, it’s pretty diverse and progressive.

Least favorite?

Interstate 66. Metro delays. Mondays after the Redskins lose.

What monument or museum do like to take visitors to?

I usually just direct people to the National Mall and say “peace be with you”, but if I had my own choice it would be a toss up between the Hirshhorn — or my own personal favorite — the National Museum of Natural History. They have dinosaur bones, the Hope Diamond and an insect zoo. I mean, how rad is that?

How about a favorite local restaurant?

Minerva in Chantilly is our go-to if we want some good Indian cuisine. My family can put away some wings, so we hit up Buffalo Wing Factory pretty frequently. When we do it up big, we go to Tuscarora Mill out in Leesburg. I also can’t forget the Silver Diner. I’m a complete sucker for a burger and shake.

Do you have a website or blog?

I’m on Twitter at @causleyconcepts. That is probably the best way to follow everything I create. If you’re a hip hop head, you can check out Longboxes on 22s at You can buy book one of Panda Force at

Thursday, September 29, 2016


New and Old: SPX 2016

BY Rob Clough

Richmond Zine Fest is this weekend

Richmond Zine Fest celebrates 10 years this weekend with first multi-day fest, and focus on POC and LGBTQ zinemakers

Words by Sasha Jiron

 – Sep 26, 2016

Oct 4 - 6: Juana Medina at Politics and Prose

Bilingual Events with Juana Medina


Beloved children's author and illustrator Juana Medina has delighted kids and parents everywhere with Smick! and One Big Salad. Now, she continues to charm young readers with her trademark style in Juana & Lucas, in which the young protagonist learns English with the help of her canine friend. Join Juana Medina for a series of bilingual readings across DC. Intended for ages 6-8. Join her:

Tuesday, October 4 at 10:30 a.m. at Connecticut Avenue

Wednesday, October 5 at 9:30 a.m. at Busboys and Poets 14th & V

Thursday, October 6 at 7:30 p.m. at Takoma Park Library (MD)

Click here for Hours and Directions

(202) 364-1919

"Shelly" cartoonist Don Vannozzi has died

His obituary is here, and notes "Don's comic strip, "Shelly," ran in the Washington Evening Star, the Sacramento Union and the San Diego Tribune."

Does anyone remember this strip? I think Richard Thompson mentioned it to me once, but haven't found the reference if it was in an interview.

Richard Thompson remembered in Air & Space Magazine

We've been tipped that the "October/November 2016 Air & Space/Smithsonian Magazine is now out. "Sightings" on page 68-69 is a salute to Richard Thompson. Check your local newstands."

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Today: Juana Medina at Hooray for Books in Alexandria

Wednesday, September 28th: Author and illustrator Juana Medina will be at Hooray for Books! to present her newest novel for the elementary school crowd, Juana and Lucas. This beautifully illustrated chapter book will appeal to fans of Judy Moody and Clarice Bean! 6 pm.

Juana loves many things: drawing; eating Brussels sprouts; living in Bogota, Columbia; and especially her dog, Lucas. She does not love wearing her itchy school uniform or going to dance class, and she especially doesn't love learning English. But when her grandparents tell her about a special trip they are planning -- a trip where they will need Juana to speak English -- she begins to think learning English might be a good use of her time, after all.

1555 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22314

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Matt Dembicki launches ReDistricted website with comics on DC

The first one is up and is by me and local cartoonist Kevin Rechin. It's a story about Walter Reed before he became THE Walter Reed.

Walter Reed & the Mysterious Malaria
of Buzzard Point

Story by Michael Rhode

Art by Kevin Rechin

Lettering by Matt Dembicki
ReDistricted (September 27 2016): 

​Mosquitoes are in the news quite a bit today. So for our first comic, we reached back to Dr. Walter Reed (1851-1902), a U.S. Army bacteriologist who helping conquer the dreaded yellow fever, but not before a few miscues along the way.

Comic Riffs talks to Congressman John Lewis about his 'March'

National Book Fest: How Rep. John Lewis tries to inspire young people to 'stand up, speak out'

Washington Post C
omic Riffs blog September 24 2016

This is one of the best graphic stories to appear - non-fiction and about American history, it's a version of Maus set in our country and our times. I think it's a must read.

Comic Riffs talks to cartoonist held without trial in Australia refugee camp

'I didn't deserve this horrible life': Detained Iranian cartoonist speaks out

Washingto Post
Comic Riffs blog September 27 2016

Comic Riffs talks to Ed Piskor

National Book Fest: 'Hip Hop Family Tree' cartoonist taps two cultures like a creative Marvel

Washington Post Comic Riffs blog September 24 2016

Kate Beaton at Hooray for Books pictures


Kate Beaton did a very nice talk for young kids last night at Hooray for Books in Alexandria, VA.

Here's a link to my pictures.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Nell Minow talks to Belle

Oct 11: The Fantastic Fantom Signing

The Fantastic Fantom Signing

Tuesday, October 11 at 6 PM - 9 PM
  • Fantom Comics
    2010 P Street NW, Washington, District of Columbia 20036

  • Start buying your books and lining up your ducks because we've got the signing of the century happening at Fantom Comics in October!

    MARGUERITE BENNETT (Insexts, DC Comics Bombshells, Fresh Romance, Josie & the Pussycats)

    SAM MAGGS (Wonder Women, Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy)

    RYAN NORTH (Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Adventure Time)

    JASON REYNOLDS (Spider-man: Miles Morales YA Novel)

    MARGARET STOHL (Forever Red & Red Vengeance: Black Widow YA Novels)

    will all be signing at Fantom Comics on October 11th, 6pm!

    A Conversation With Berkeley Breathed, Creator of the “Bloom County” Comic Strip

    Sep 26 2016 11 a.m. (ET)

    A Conversation With Berkeley Breathed, Creator of the "Bloom County" Comic Strip

    The first new "Bloom County" comics in 25 years tell the origin story of Bill the Cat.

    The first new "Bloom County" comics in 25 years tell the origin story of Bill the Cat.

    The Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of "Bloom County" on the revival of his beloved comic strip after a 25-year hiatus and a new book about the origins of Bill The Cat.


    • Berkeley Breathed creator of the comic strips Bloom County, Outland and Opus. He is a screenwriter, author, cartoonist and illustrator. He was awarded the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for cartooning. He is the author of numerous books for young and old, including: "Bloom County Babylon: Five Years of Basic Naughtiness;" "Opus: 25 Years of His Sunday Best;" "A Wish for Wings That Work;" and, "Red Ranger Came Calling."

    Today: Kate Beaton at Hooray for Books

    Monday, September 26thWe are thrilled to announce that author and cartoonist extraordinaire Kate Beaton is coming to Hooray for Books! If you are a fan of webcomics, then you might already love Beaton's Hark! A Vagrant series. If you frequent our Wednesday Story Times, then you definitely know how much we love her first picture book, The Princess and the Pony. Now, come to Hooray for Books! as Beaton presents her second and newest picture book, King Baby. Just as hilarious as all of Beaton's work, King Baby is sure to be a story time favorite that will resonate with everyone who has ever been a parent, aunt or uncle, sibling, or even just seen a baby in action. This event is free and open to the public, but you must purchase at least one Scholastic title from Hooray for Books! in order to join the signing line. 6 pm.

    1555 King Street
    Alexandria, VA 22314

    Sept 26: Jeffrey Brown and Judd Winick in Takoma Park

    Monday, September 26, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.
    Andy and Lucy may live 40,000 years in the past, but these Neanderthal siblings have problems—crushes, squabbles, and baby brothers— that persist today. Brown tells their story alongside nonfiction sections that serve to dispel misinformation about these human relatives.

    In Winick's sequel to Hilo, the titular heroic alien robot unexpectedly returns to Earth and human friends DJ and Gina. Then, mysterious portals pop up all over town and disgorge one terrifying creature after another. An enormous mutant chicken and a million killer vegetables are only some of the foes that Hilo, DJ, and Gina must confront in order to save their community. Ages 9-12

    Takoma Park Library (MD)
    101 Philadelphia Ave
    Takoma Park MD 20912

    Friday, September 23, 2016

    Comic Riffs talks to Bloom County's Breathed

    Why a Pulitzer-winning cartoonist has decided to go 'Trump-free'

    Washington Post
    Comic Riffs blog September 23 2016

    Nov 10: Vivek Tiwary at Tysons Corner Mall

    The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story Expanded Edition

    Vivek Tiwary
    Author Event (Other)
    Thursday November 10, 2016 7:00 PM

    Please join us for an evening with #1 New York Times bestselling author, a Tony Award-winning Broadway producer Vivek Tiwary. Mr. Tiwary will speak and sign copies of his bestselling graphic novel The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story Expanded Edition. Wristbands for this event will be given out at 6pm on our first floor.

    Store Image

    Tysons Corner Mall

    Tysons Corner Center
    7851 L. Tysons Corner Center
    McLean, VA 22102

    Store Hours:

    Sun 10-9
    Mon-Sat 10-10

    Chris Mautner on Cul de Sac

    Comic Connections: Revisiting Richard Thompson's Cul de Sac.


    The Smart Set 09/22/2016

    Bill Brown work in 'Cricket'

    Local cartoonist Bill Brown provided a few illustrations for a story in the current edition of the children's magazine "Cricket."

    Comic Riffs talks to Keith Knight

    A North Carolina cartoonist explains what it's like to draw police violence

    Washington Post Comic Riffs blog September 23 2016

    The Post reviews Storks cartoon

    Despite a few hiccups, 'Storks' is a bundle of joy [online as] 'Storks' doesn't soar, but ultimately sticks the landing]

      (Warner Bros)

    Baby, this is no special delivery [online as 'Storks' delivers a bundle of meh, not joy]

    Washington Post September 23 2016, Weekend p. 41
    online at

    Sept 26: Jeffrey Brown and Judd Winick in Takoma Park

    Monday, September 26, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.
    Andy and Lucy may live 40,000 years in the past, but these Neanderthal siblings have problems—crushes, squabbles, and baby brothers— that persist today. Brown tells their story alongside nonfiction sections that serve to dispel misinformation about these human relatives.

    In Winick’s sequel to Hilo, the titular heroic alien robot unexpectedly returns to Earth and human friends DJ and Gina. Then, mysterious portals pop up all over town and disgorge one terrifying creature after another. An enormous mutant chicken and a million killer vegetables are only some of the foes that Hilo, DJ, and Gina must confront in order to save their community. Ages 9-12

    Takoma Park Library (MD)
    101 Philadelphia Ave
    Takoma ParkMD20912

    Thursday, September 22, 2016

    Splash Mob Comic - a local plumbing cartoon ad

    This came across the screen yesterday:

    CroppMetcalfe, local D.C. home improvement company, recently created the comic, "Splash Mob" to illustrate what can happen if a homeowner ignores the telling signs of a plumbing problem in their home.
    I love the idea of cartoon ads. They've got a very long history especially in the Sunday comics section. Some are much better than others of course - the New Yorker in particular is letting cartoons be repurposed as ads within its pages (or else the NY'r cartoonists are creating new cartoons as ads).

    I wrote back to CroppMetcalfe's representative with a few questions, and here's her answers:

    CroppMetcalfe, a local D.C. home services company, came up with idea to create a comic strip. Luckyanson Prak, an illustrator and animator located in Buffalo, NY, worked on the comic. We have one more comic strip titled "A Hard Day's Bite" that will be go live in the near future. You will find both comics on CroppMetcalfe's Blog. 

    Updated Sept 14 2017 with two more links:

    Comic Riffs talks to Gene Yang

    National Book Festival: How new MacArthur 'genius' Gene Luen Yang is teaching our kids with comics

    Washington Post
    Comic Riffs blog September 22 2016

    Sept 25: Calvin Trillin at Politics and Prose for his Roz Chast illustrated book

    Sunday, September 25, 2016 at 2:30 p.m.

    Trillin brings his trademark wit to the world of children's literature for the first time in this collection of verse. Each poem describes a seemingly mundane element of childhood, from learning to tie shoelaces to zealously collecting stuffed animals. One youthful narrator generously offers up his sister at the doctor's office as a more fitting recipient for a shot, while another explains that "The Grandpa Rule" really means that there are no rules at all for the length of Grandpa's visit. The quiet joys of childhood that Trillin depicts will evoke laughter and perhaps some nostalgia for those who, through the years, have remained young at heart. All ages

    This event is free to attend with no reservation required. Seating is available on a first come, first served basis. Click here for more information.
    5015 Connecticut Ave NW

    Comic Riffs on Gene Yang's genius grant

    Yang will be in town on Saturday at the National Book Festival.