Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Clifford Berryman exhibit in DC city hall

Exhibit Honors Cartoonist Who Championed D.C. Voting Rights (And Invented The Teddy Bear)

The Post on Jeff Kinney's upcoming DC visit

Jeff Kinney puts on a show to launch new 'Wimpy Kid' book [in print as Author takes 'Wimpy Kid' from page to stage].

Nov 2: Sara Duke talks about Herblock at Library of Congress

Gallery Talk: The '68 Election Through Herblock's Eyes
Sara W. Duke

Friday, November 2, 2018 at Noon.

Library of Congress
Thomas Jefferson Building
Ground Floor ,Graphic Arts Gallery

Geppi press conference at Library of Congress covered by Baltimore Magazine

Steve Geppi Unveils Collection at Library of Congress For the First Time

Baltimore magazine publisher offers a preview of rare comic art that goes on display next week.

By Jane Marion | October 30, 2018,

I took some vacation time and attended this as well, so I'll have my own article about it.

Comic Riffs on Black Panther costume controversy

Yes, any kid can wear a Black Panther costume, say creators who helped shape the character [in print as An all-inclusive Wakanda: Kids and 'Black Panther' costumes]

Frankenstein comics on display at Library of Congress

The Evolution of Frankenstein in Comics and Culture: Monster, Villain, and Hero

Nov 8: Jarrett J. Krosoczka HEY, KIDDO reading and presentation in DC!

Jarrett J. Krosoczka HEY, KIDDO reading and presentation in DC!

· Hosted by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

  • Thursday, November 8, 2018 at 7 PM – 9 PM

  • West End DC Public Library
    1101 24th St NW, Washington, District of Columbia 20037

    New location and time from original events posting.

    West End library branch of the DC Public Library. Book sales by Politics and Prose!

    Join Jarrett J. Krosoczka as he reads from his young adult graphic memoir, HEY, KIDDO.

    Finalist for a National Book Award!

    ★ "Honest, important, and timely."
    —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

    ★ "A must have, this book will empower readers.
    —School Library Journal, starred review

    ★ "A nuanced graphic memoir...tells a story of identity."
    —Publishers Weekly, starred review

    ★ "Krosoczka has meticulously crafted a severely honest portrayal of addiction, resilient familial love, and the healing power of art..."
    —The Horn Book, starred review

    ★ "Deeply vulnerable..."
    —Booklist, starred review


    A true story about how complicated the truth can be.

    In preschool, Jarrett Krosoczka's teacher asks him to draw his family, with a mommy and a daddy. But Jarrett's family is much more complicated than that. His mom is an addict, in and out of rehab, and in and out of Jarrett's life. His father is a mystery -- Jarrett doesn't know where to find him, or even what his name is. Jarrett lives with his grandparents -- two very loud, very loving, very opinionated people who had thought they were through with raising children until Jarrett came along.

    Jarrett goes through his childhood trying to make his non-normal life as normal as possible, finding a way to express himself through drawing even as so little is being said to him about what's going on. Only as a teenager can Jarrett begin to piece together the truth of his family, reckoning with his mother and tracking down his father.

    Hey, Kiddo is a profoundly important graphic memoir about growing up in a family grappling with addiction and finding the art that helps you survive.
  • Tuesday, October 30, 2018

    The Post on the death of Asterix translator Anthea Bell

    Anthea Bell, deft translator of Asterix comics and literary classics, dies at 82 [in print as Anthea Bell, 82; Her literary fame came through deft translations].

    TCJ looks at Annapolis' Dead Reckoning

    New Publisher Dead Reckoning Tries A Big Entrance to the War Genre

    Editorial cartoon from artleytoons

    My cartoon, "La Casa de Los Valientes" criticizes the folly of 
    the President's policy, not the integrity of our brave U.S. soldiers.
        —Steven G. Artley, artleytoons

    ©2018 Steven G. Arley • artleytoons • ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

    Monday, October 29, 2018

    Editorial Cartoon from Artleytoons

    My cartoon, "Our Struggle.No need to elaborate on this one.
        —Steven G. Artley, artleytoons

    ©2018 Steven G. Artley • artleytoons • ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

    Dec 17: Smithsonian Associates hosts Garry Trudeau as a premium offer

    Exclusive New Member Offer

    Join as a Smithsonian Associates member and get free tickets to see Garry Trudeau of "Doonesbury" fame. Don't wait! We anticipate that this popular program will sell out to our members, so we are offering you early access.

    Garry Trudeau

    Garry Trudeau and His "Doonesbury" World
    Evening Program with Book Signing
    Monday, December 17, 2018 at 6:45 p.m.
    Baird Auditorium, Natural History Museum

    For nearly 50 years, "Doonesbury" has been more than a comic strip: It's a satirical, hilarious, and often unsettling examination of American political and cultural life through the eyes of Garry Trudeau. He takes a look at the world he invented—and the wider one today—in a conversation with Michael Cavna of the Washington Post's Comic Riffs blog.  

    Offer valid through December 17, 2018, 2 p.m. Subject to ticket availability. One-time-only offer. The offer does not apply to current Smithsonian Associates members. Please note that tickets will be released for sale to the public starting November 15, 2018.

    Nov 2-4: Charles Vess in Baltimore

    Here are the dates for my mini tour in support of the publication of "The Books of Earthsea." I'm happy to sign any and all other books that I've worked on if you bring 'em. Additionally, I'll be presenting a short slide show on my collaboration with Ursula for this book at each event.

    November 2-4, World Fantasy Convention in Baltimore MD. There'll also be an exhibit of many of the originals for The Book in the art room.

    The Post on Sabrina

    Sunday, October 28, 2018

    Meet a Visiting Comic Book Writer: A Chat with Nejc Juren of Slovenia

    by Mike Rhode

    Early next month, DC will have the rare treat of two Slovenian cartoonists visiting to sign their Animal Noir graphic novel and open an exhibit of comic art at the Embassy of Slovenia. Last week, we interviewed Izar Lunaček.Today, we chat with Nejc Juren, the co-author of Animal Noir.

    What type of comic work or cartooning do you do?

    I write scripts. I'm so bad at drawing that I never dared to hope I could do any work in comics. However, I've always loved comics, and since I consider myself more of a storyteller then a writer, I jumped at the chance when Izar suggested we tell some stories together in comic book form. I truly believe comics are one of the best storytelling mediums. The possibilities here are endless.

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

    I try to adapt to the process of the illustrator. If he needs a panel by panel script, I try to write it that way, but I prefer the process to be more loose. I tell the illustrator the broad story and then I let his visual ideas guide and shape the script. With Izar, the process was just incredible. When we did Animal Noir we spent a couple of months just world-building. We really went into the foundation of the world those animals created. Then we created the long arc of the story (which has yet to be told and I guarantee is really epic) and only then all the small arcs, the first of which came out last year from IDW.

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

    I was born in 1982. Slovenia was a part of Yugoslavia and a socialist country. Yugoslavia dissolved when I was 8 years old and I grew up watching a lot of American television.

    Where do you live now?

    I live in Ljubljana, our nation's capital.

    What is your training and/or education in cartooning?

    I always got the worst marks in drawing. But I also always got the worst mark in music and now I make ends meet by writing comic scripts and running a semi-popular swing band. As for formal education, I finished law school.

    Who are your influences?

    René Goscinny, Allan Moore, Joan Sfar, Christophe Blain.

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

    I don't think I'd change anything. I kinda take it like this: it takes around 20 years to become a good storyteller. So that's a really long journey. And the more you meander, the more you get lost and side-tracked, the more walls you hit, all that should - by this theory - just add to your journey. That's why I'm trying to cherish all the wrong turns I take.

    What work are you best-known for?

    In comics, it's Animal Noir. However, in Slovenia I'm more known as a musician. This is my band, Počeni Škafi, if you want to check us out. I write all the lyrics and most of the music. In English, it means The Cracking Buckets. Our original singer's surname was Škafar, which means the bucket maker.We have an album on Spotify and all the other streaming sites, but a good sample is here:

    What work are you most proud of?

    You'd make me choose among my children? Okay, check this video out. It's the first thing Izar and I did together. Dive is a short comic that was done as a music video for Fed Horses, a band I also write lyrics for. I'm really happy the way it turned out but I don't think the Youtube algorithm likes it too much.

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

    Izar and I are working on a comic called Thursday Girl that I think will be great. We're hoping to find a publisher soon so we can get our claws into it. I'm also preparing a collection of short stories that's going to get released next year.

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

    I stop and let my brain solve it on it's own. I have a constant writer's block and usually resolves it self around deadlines. Or I find that a long walk or a long shower really helps.

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

    Who knows? But stories will always be important. And if by some chance the world gets overrun by amazing storytellers and will have no use for me, I'll just go back into law.

    What conventions do you attend?

    I usually go to the Angouleme festival in France. It's super nice.

    Have you visited DC before?

    Yes. I visited in 98. I was an international student at the Governor's school of South Carolina and we make a field trip.

    If so, favorite thing? Least favorite? If not, what do you want to do?

    I remember putting my finger into Einstein's nose.

    If you've visited, what monument or museum do you like?

    I guess the answer is again Einstein. I'm not into the big phallic monuments. I did enjoy the Air & Space Museum.

    What can you tell us about your book that you're signing at Big Planet Comics?

    One of Goodreads reviewers called it: so intensely overthought that it's hard to tell if it's good or just totally insane. I guess that's my work.

    Did Animal Noir when we appear in the United States, or did it appear in your country first? How did you guys bring it to the attention of IDW? Did you do the English script yourselves?

    Animal Noir came out in the US first. Some publishing houses in Slovenia liked it, but none wanted to risk the investment. The Slovenian comics market is very small. Our original plan was to find a publisher in France and the first few pages were drawn in a little larger format. When IDW showed interest, we adapted it to the floppy format and we re-wrote the script to fit it into 20-page episodes.

    Izar met Ted Adams at the comics festival in Barcelona, pitched him the story and showed him a few pages. Ted liked it so much, he also took on the editing duties. It was surreal for us.

    Yeah, we wrote Animal Noir in English. When in came out in Slovenia 6 months later, we needed to translate it into our mother tongue. Moreover, when we did the world-building we named everything in English with some reckless abandon, so we put ourselves in some tight spots when we needed to translate those names into Slovenian.

    Do you have a website or blog?

    No. But you can follow me on Instagram.

    As Izar Lunaček noted on our blog last week:

    The first days of November will see a double hit of Slovenian comics descend on Washington DC. On Thursday November 1st at 7PM, Nejc Juren and Izar Lunaček will swing by Big Planet Comics on U St., NW to talk about and sign their book Animal Noir, a comic thriller about a giraffe detective in a world of lion politicians and hippo mobsters that came out with IDW last year, and on the 2nd the same guys will open an exhibition on the vivid history of their own country's comics scene at the Slovenian embassy on California Street. Admission to both events is free and food and drinks might be served. Come on, come all, it'll be wonderfully fun! 

    Flugennock's Latest'n'Greatest: "It's Da' Bomb!"

    From Washington's anarchist cartoonist Mike Flugennock:

    "It's Da' Bomb!"

    So, this is how it ends – not with a whimper, but with a bang.

    All year, we've heard all manner of cocky smack talk out of the Democrats about a "Blue Wave" and how they're going to sweep back into a majority on the Hill... but here we are less than two weeks out, and suddenly they're getting all jittery and revising expectations downward, it seems. In the past couple of weeks or so, the cocky talk has been replaced by increased amounts of desperate scolding, hectoring, pleading, shaming, browbeating, practically screaming at us
    to vote.

    Mind you, the Democrats haven't given us anyone or anything to vote for since about 1972, and nowhere was this fact more glaring than in the past twenty-odd years since Bill'n'Hillary showed up and sucked all the oxygen out of the place.

    So, here they are now, with no real record of progressive achievement in the past thirty years to point to, no real vision of a better future, pretty much nothing except to run against Russia and constantly scream at us to vote all friggin' day and night.

    ...and, while inspired by the Post headline, here's the song that was stuck in my head as I drew this; everybody has sappy old tunes they  love in spite of themselves, and this is one of mine:

    Friday, October 26, 2018

    Oct 27: Halloween Comic Fest

    Several local stores are participating in Diamond's Halloween Comic Fest on Saturday and handing out comics. Ones I know of include Beyond Comics in Frederick& Gaithersburg, Third Eye Comics in Annapolis, and Big Planet Comics in Bethesda.

    Jarrett Krosoczka on reading in The Post

    What's appropriate for kids to read? There's value in exposing them to the tough stuff.

    October 26 2018

    The author of the new graphic novel, Hey, Kiddo.

    Cuddles & Rage profiled

    Art with an edge: Md. couple creates comics, clay stories for kids, adults

    Thursday, October 25, 2018

    A Chat with Dan Rosandich, Cartoonist for Hire

    by Mike Rhode

    I got a tip that cartoons were included in a US Capitol Visitors Center exhibit about the 'Separation Of Powers.'  I was able to track down cartoonist Dan Rosandich, who confirmed that the cartoons were his work, but that he wasn't contractually allowed to talk about doing them. Instead, he answered our usual questions for a visiting cartoonist.

    What type of comic work or cartooning do you do?

    I do cartoons that are gag panels and I keep myself "on call" for assignments as I get requests for special custom cartoons through my online web catalog and portfolio pages. I'm currently illustrating a logo for a micro-brewery out east and am almost finished.

    I also recently finished a magazine cover for a small trade journal based in Illinois (their October issue in fact)

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

    I am old school, based on drawing these illustrations for 40+ years now. I have tried many drawing nibs, dip pens, markers and micro-tip felt pens and am comfortable using the Rapidograph technical pen. Normally I pencil in a gag cartoon, ink it in using the Koh-I-Noor Rapidograph and let that dry and later I clean it with a soft eraser. I then scan the artwork into Photoshop. I still use Photoshop version 6.0....very antiquated, but it works for me and I can format high resolution cartoon files and store each image into an appropriately named folder on my hard drive for easy access and retrieval.

    I used to use Higgins Waterproof India Ink for coloring work but it's an obsolete practice I think.... no editor wants to have to get an originally illustrated watercolor, than have to either scan it or make a transparency from it, when all they really need to do is take any properly-formatted files supplied from the cartoonist and import it into their digital publishing software they lay their publication out with.

    Technology has really revolutionized the cartooning business from that standpoint. But it's creating original paper images that I like... I could do it all on a Cintiq I guess, but what would I have to hold in my (ink-stained) hands afterwards?

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

    I was born in 1957 north of Detroit, Michigan.

    Where do you live now?

    I live in Michigan's Upper Peninsula (aka Yooperland!)

    What is your training and/or education in cartooning?

    I never went to any fancy art school or had a formal college course in art... I immediately began sending out cartoons to magazines while in my last year of high school and sold one to a trade magazine based in NYC and was "hooked". I still can't describe the feeling you get when you aspire to something you want, and get an acceptance. You immediately get that "I have arrived" overwhelming feeling. And when it happens to a kid, that makes the impact all that much greater and memorable.

    It really motivates you.

    Who are your influences?

    I discovered underground comics as a kid and liked their freedom of expression from the get-go. Robert Crumb's work blew my mind....his attention to detail was / is so great....the cross-hatching and use of black to make characters "pop" is so unique.

    The usual comic strip influences were of course Schulz who had already published many Peanuts anthologies which were huge coffee table size books and I'd go to the library to check them out and leaf through them, absorbing all the in depth line art and the way he'd box in each panel, ever so carefully while smelling the light mildewy odor mixed in with the inks that eminated off each page....I thought I was in nirvana.

    I'd also graze all the back copies of The New Yorker at my high school library and was enthralled with a guy names Marvin Townsend whose gag panels appeared in all the Weekly Readers I'd go through as a kid.

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

    Get a good formal art training or training in architectural design. It would be an asset in making future artwork look much better and in today's digital realm, that training might assist in getting work in other areas of illustration.

    Overall, I think I got in the freelance business when there was less competition and cartoonists seemed more willing to share and help one another. Nowadays it's very competitive....especially with everyone having their own online portfolios they can show to get work.

    What work are you best-known for?

    Probably 'Pete & Jake' which is a cartoon panel I do for World Fencing Data Center based in Austin, Texas. I have illustrated the cartoon about two bumbling fence installation workers who work for the fictitious Boss Fence Company and their cantankerous 'boss' who also appears regularly in the cartoons in each monthly issue of World Fence News.

     I started in 1995 and just last week finished the latest package of 40 new panels and am just now creating some special color Christmas cartoons for the upcoming holiday season.

    They sometimes run a few cartoons in an issue and the following month dedicate a full page to all kinds of panels and a "Best Of" series of cartoons that have appeared in previous issues.

    Their editor and publisher are big aficionados of the single panel gag concept and I've also done oodles of strips and other various multi-panels for them. They are a great regular client of mine.

    Advertisers seeing my work have also reached out and assigned work used for promoting their own fence or safety-related products.

    What work are you most proud of?

    Overall, I have to say my entire "body" of work. I have well over 5,000 cartoons I make available throughout my online catalog and my site also acts as a promotional tool in order to get assignments for book illustration work and other custom created cartoons I offer.

    But aside from what is online, I have an extensive portfolio of previously published book  illustrations, direct-mail projects of illustrated, images for marketers, consultants and facilitators have used numerous cartoons of mine, including custom cartoons for books and presentations, social media, web sites, email "blasts" and more.

    I've illustrated everything from book covers and magazine covers to package design and t-shirt illustrations.

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

    I would love to publish my own hard-copy catalog. I once had Don Martin of Mad magazine send me his little catalog offering his originals for sale. It was insane, but it was an impetus for a new idea I always had in the back of my mind.

    Only my "catalog" would offer cartoons that advertising agencies could buy for whatever usage they request licensing those specific cartoons for. That hard copy booklet could also be used as a portfolio I could sell if I ever visited a city and went into ad agencies on my own time.

    I am still considering my options in regards to it because it takes planning, such as how to acquire names and addresses of the right people to get the catalogs to, what the expense would be (not just for printing) but for getting all the right contact names and then shipping them out.

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

    I spread things out. I have a subscription to SalesFlower which is an online database that allows you to choose different Standard Industrial Classification codes (SIC codes) of businesses. I pick out phone numbers of art directors or creative directors and make cold calls.

    If not that, I switch gears and re-draw old cartoons that never sold or do work I never had time to focus on, such as giftware designs for POD sites (publishing on demand) like Cafe Press or Zazzle (I have accounts with both, but favor Zazzle over CafePress).

    If not that, as you well know, paperwork is overwhelming...just cleaning up paperwork can be a relief....focusing on that can have a big impact on changing your outlook to a more positive one.

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

    The future of cartoons will definitely trend towards digital and the internet. The newspapers have dwindled to the point where comic strips are less and less important based on many sites like GoComics have taken up promoting those cartoonists online. GoComics isn't interested in my work I don't think, but I know of know fellow artists who report making money through that platform. That's not to say that they aren't trying, but I feel it's more in each respective cartoonist's court, to promote themselves. Build their own sites and display their work to the world on their
    own...don't be part of a collection where you get lost in the shuffle. I'm not sure that's good. Your work will have it's own uniqueness if it stands alone and you present it in such a way that it's "marketed" to the right potential clients.

    What conventions do you attend?

    I attend no conventions as I have nothing to sell, aside from original gag panels, but I don't consider my original art as a "collectible" in any way. It's likely they'd say "Who's Rosandich?"

    Have you visited DC before?

    I haven't, but it's definitely on my list!

    If not, what do you want to do?

    I'd like to get to the U.S. Capitol . . .don't ask me why! And so many other famous monuments I would see I have an old school classmate who lives there and he was a Congressional guard in the military who said he can show me around the beltway and surround areas. The Smithsonian would be considered a "bucket list" visit!

    Do you have a website or blog?

    My main web site home page is at and my blog I write, focuses solely on cartoons, comic strips, the cartooning business, cartoonists and I occasionally reflect on things related to cartooning such as gag writing and promoting and marketing your cartoons on a freelance basis. My Toonblog can be found at

    Comic Riffs on Tyrus Wong's Google Doodle

    Google Doodle: 'Bambi' artist Tyrus Wong overcame racism to soar as a Disney Legend

    Cartoon from artleytoons

    My cartoon, "No Light in That Pumpkin" addresses Trump and the caravan of immigrants; that group of folks who've been the targets of xenophobic lies ranging from their being killers and rapists to radical Islamic activists and funded by George Soros.    —Steven G. Artley, artleytoons

    ©2018 Steven G. Artley • artleytoons

    National Book Festival videos of cartoonists are online now

    Kate DiCamillo & Harry Bliss: Book Fest 2018

  • SPEAKER: Harry Bliss, Kate DiCamillo
    EVENT DATE: 2018/09/01
    RUNNING TIME: 24 minutes

    Graphic Novels: 2018 National Book Festival
    SPEAKER: Patrick McDonnell, Pénélope Bagieu, Tillie Walden, Ed Piskor
    EVENT DATE: 2018/09/01
    RUNNING TIME: 87 minutes


    Patrick McDonnell discusses "The Mutts: Spring Diaries," Pénélope Bagieu presents "Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World," Tillie Walden presents "Spinning" and Ed Piskor discusses "X-Men: Grand Design" at the 2018 Library of Congress National Book Festival in Washington, D.C.

    Nov 6: Superheroes exhibit opens at American History museum


    Captain America shield

    The museum's annual holiday celebration will feature a special display centered on superheroes.

    Wednesday, October 24, 2018

    Editorial Cartoon from artleytoons

    My cartoon, "My Kind of Guy" suggests a possible source of belligerence that provokes violent attacks like we saw against our citizens today.   

                              —Steven G. Artley, artleytoons

    ©2018 Steven G. Artley • arteytoons

    Unity Day in some of The Post's comic strips

    The Daily Cartoonist explains what's going on in Mutts, Zits, Denace the Menace, Hagar the Horrible, and Baby Blues.

    Shauna Miller on Julie Doucet

    Feminist Comic Artist Julie Doucet Is Back With A Re-Release Of "Dirty Plotte": BUST Interview

    Martha Kennedy interview

    Library of Congress curator talks early struggles of female artists

    Krystal Ball & Buck Sexton
    Rising with Krystal & Buck 10/11/2018

    Tuesday, October 23, 2018

    Ali Fitzgerald speaking at Politics and Prose

    She's discussing her book Drawn to Berlin.

    Library of Congress blog on crime comic books

    Let's Talk Comics: Crime

    Comic Riffs talks to editorial cartoonist Steve Kelley and about Rick McKee

    Fort Worth Star-Telegram apologizes for 'Field Guide to Liberals' cartoon [McKee]

    Washington Post Comic Riffs blog October 23 2018

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette hires a new conservative cartoonist after the firing of a Trump critic [Kelley]

    By Michael Cavna

    Washington Post Comic Riffs blog October 23 2018

    Editorial cartoon from artleytoons

    My cartoon, That's No Lady... regarding Trump's rescinding protections of transgender rights 
    (click on image for larger view).

     —Steven G. Artley, artleytoons

    Tonight Oct 23: Ali Fitzgerald - Drawn to Berlin at Politics and Prose Union Market

    Ali Fitzgerald - Drawn to Berlin: Comic Workshops in Refugee Shelters and Other Stories from a New Europe — at Politics and Prose at Union Market

    Fitzgerald spent eight years in Berlin teaching her illustrating craft to centers asylum seekers from countries like Syria and Afghanistan – people who have often been targets of bigotry and hatred in both their native and adopted countries. Her powerful graphic memoir chronicles her experience with these extraordinary students, telling both their stories and her own. Fitzgerald, an artist who has exhibited extensively in Europe and the U.S., has had her comics regularly featured in The New Yorker, New York Magazine, and McSweeney's, and her book is a compassionate and intimate look at the empowering capacities of art, capturing the highs and lows of a decade in an ever-changing European metropolis.


    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.

    Politics and Prose at Union Market   1270 5th Street NE   Washington   DC    20008

    10/29: DC Zinefest, Come to Hallowzine, Now at Slash Run

    Hallowzine is an annual event where some of our favorite zinesters, comedians, and storytellers tell and/or read spooky (and/or Spoopy) stories. Previous years have included everything from modern adaptions of Filipino folktales to a puppet version of the internet creepypasta "hook hand car door." Each hallowzine is emceed by a skeleton and a ghost who tells the most obvious ghost jokes imaginable.

    Our dark masters at DC Zinefest request a $7-10 sliding scale donation

    Where: Slash Run 201 Upshur St NW, Washington, DC 20011
    When: October 29, 2018 at 7 PM

    If you'd like to read, sign up on our certainly cursed form--in blood if you've got it:

    Hope to see you soon,

    DC Zinefest Organizers

    Nov 3 An Afternoon with R. O. Blechman

    Nov 3 An Afternoon with R. O. Blechman

    Date and Time

    Sat, November 3, 2018

    2:00 PM – 3:30 PM EDT


    Dumbarton Oaks

    Founders' Room

    1703 32nd Street NW

    Washington, DC 20007


    The creator of what are considered by many to be the earliest graphic novels, R. O. Blechman, will discuss his first work, The Juggler of Our Lady. This cartoon retelling of the medieval legend was first published in 1953 and later adapted into an award-winning short animated film. Blechman's innovative style has become iconic over his career, which has spanned six decades. The American illustrator was the focus of a 2003 MoMA retrospective exhibition, given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Cartoonists Society in 2011, and inducted into the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame in 2012. A book of his essays, An Illustrator's Word, will be published next year.

    Juggling the Middle Ages

    Featuring more than 100 objects, Juggling the Middle Ages explores the influence of the medieval world by focusing on a single story with a long-lasting impact—Le Jongleur de Notre Dame or Our Lady's Tumbler. The exhibit follows the tale from its rediscovery by scholars in the 1870s to its modern interpretations in children's books, offering viewers a look at a vast range of objects, including stained glass windows, illuminated manuscripts, household objects, and vintage theater posters.

    Sunday, October 21, 2018

    Meet a Visiting Cartoonist: A Chat with Izar Lunaček of Slovenia

    by Mike Rhode

    Early next month, DC will have the rare treat of two Slovenian cartoonists visiting to sign their graphic novel and open an exhibit of comic art at the Embassy of Slovenia (which was part of Yugoslavia when I was young). As Izar Lunaček noted on our blog last week:

    The first days of November will see a double hit of Slovenian comics descend on Washington DC. On Thursday November 1st at 7PM, Nejc Juren and Izar Lunaček will swing by Big Planet Comics on U St., NW to talk about and sign their book Animal Noir, a comic thriller about a giraffe detective in a world of lion politicians and hippo mobsters that came out with IDW last year, and on the 2nd the same guys will open an exhibition on the vivid history of their own country's comics scene at the Slovenian embassy on California Street. Admission to both events is free and food and drinks might be served. Come on, come all, it'll be wonderfully fun!

    He was also willing to answer a slight modification of our usual questions.

    What type of comic work or cartooning do you do?

    Funny and thoughtful are probably my two mainstays. I love comedy and I'm a trained philosopher, so that's probably the stem of that. Within those margins, however, I've done everything from anthropomorphic newspaper strips to socially critical detective novels to autobio and science stuff.

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

    I love drawing by hand, still, the scratches of the crowquill pen and the smooth waves of the brush intoxicate me. That said, I have started coloring mostly on the computer because it simply reproduces so much better. Plus, I like the stark look of computer graphics used sparingly.

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

    At the very end of the seventies in Yugoslavia. I grew up reading great local and Italian comics (Marvel was a bit off-limits because ... Communism) that you can learn more about at the expo opening. When I was 12, however, my birthplace broke up into a buch of smaller states, accompanied by a bloody war. Lucky for us, Slovenia only got off with a 10-day skirmish and a couple dozen dead. It has, however, lost the entire huge, cosmopolitan Yugoslav comic market and that's something we're all still recovering from.

    Where do you live now?

    In Ljubljana, Slovenia's tiny capital. It's a beautiful little town with just over a quarter million folks, but all the perks of a capital, from well stocked bookshops to possible investors to great party venues. It has a river winding through downtown where you can sit and drink and sketch and chat, I love living there. The only downside is the minuscule market that can't really support comic creators - not even commercially-bent ones - hence my regular job-seeking trips to France and the US.

    What is your training and/or education in cartooning?

    I studied classical painting. Mainly because all of my favorite Slovenian cartoonists (TBC, Miki Muster, Magna Purga - you'll  learn about them at the exhibit 😊) attended the same Ljubljana academy of fine arts. It's not really an "Art School;" it's more of the army crossed with apprenticeship; you had to be there the whole day, no excuses, from morning til night, and somebody was constantly shouting at you while the whole class stood still and didn't dare object too much. It's very classical, with obligatory attendance to daily session of drawing naked old bums posing for cheap and learning how to mix your own paint and stretch canvases and listening to lectures on art history. But it was great; together with my PhD in philosophy, it's given me a wonderful grab-bag of crafts and ideas to do comics with.

    Who are your influences?

    Apart from the local guys mentioned above, I read a lot of newspaper comics as a kid - Calvin and Hobbes, Pogo, Krazy Kat - and later moved on to more mature stuff by Alan Moore, but also Moebius and the madmen gathered around the Parisian mag Charlie Hebdo. I'm currently freshly charmed by French new wave comics with guys like Joann Sfar and Christophe Blain, but have also been discovering American gems I'd overlooked before - like Mignola. I guess an unlikely combo of whimsically loose and fatefully blocky art is what drives me at the moment.

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

    Maybe I'd have gone to New York for a few years in my twenties which I always dreamed of, but was stopped by a bad relationship at home. It'd be fun to have gotten some isolated, unanchored, bridge-burned work done at that time. Other than that, everything's been pretty great.
    What work are you best-known for?

    In Slovenia a whole generation grew up on my newspaper comics in the early 2000s and I still get patted on the back for that at parties. Internationally, I made a tiny splash with an intricate webcomic called Paradise Misplaced that was later published in book form both in Spain and the UK. And in the States, my one claim to fame is IDW's recent Animal Noir series I co-wrote with Nejc Juren, a fantastic Slovenian writer and good friend. We're trying to get more stuff published over here, but meanwhile, we always have our home public as a grateful if not always paying recipient.

    How does one pronounce "Nejc?"

    Nejc is pronounced Neyts (j is like y and c is like ts in Slovenian). It's short for Jernej so Jerry basically.

    What was your comic strip about?

    The newspaper comic was about two tiny animals, the inquisitive, species-unidentified Professor and his unwitting helper Hedge the hedgehog. They'd live at the edge of a human city, discover human artifacts and devise ingenious theories about them. Or put on a theater show for the other animals or talk about politics etc, etc: in short, philosophical mayhem infused with a whole lot of silliness.

    What work are you most proud of?

    I currently just love working on my biweekly blog for a Slovenian web-paper. I think I've broken new ground there like I haven't felt in a long time. And the five people who actually read comics in Slovenia all love it.

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

    I'd love to do some more ambitious stuff for France or the States, just to kick me into gear for a bit and get me to test my boundaries. Working on Animal Noir for IDW was really rewarding, so another project of that scope would be wonderful. My co-writer and I on that are currently working on a slice of life romantic dramedy set among the Ljubljana student population; that's fun and might get greenlit by a British publisher soon. While waiting, however, I just spew out pitches on everything from Greek monsters to killer Santas and cities populated entirely by birds and I'll jump into any one of them with gusto the moment I get a bite.

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

    I walk around town, I chat to people and I sketch and doodle and play. Chasing the zing but not so hard to chase it away. But that's when I'm between projects. If I have a deadline, I usually just plow through it, goggles on, engine revving, and it usually works, more or less.

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

    My hope is for comics to get increasingly accepted by the general populace. I love the French way where everybody reads comics resulting in a wide range of genres from art to trash to non-fiction to mellow pop. That's my hope but I think it stands a chance too; telling stories in graphic, easily graspable form is very much a trend now and I'd be willing to bet it's a long-term one.

    What conventions do you attend?

    I go to either Angouleme or St Malo, the two biggest French comic festivals, every year. Those are great for just seeing all these personal, passionate stories enabling their authors to survive on the sales. I went to San Diego Comic-Con for the first time last year to sign Animal Noir and it was a soul-sucking experience to see an entire art form get trampled by its own geeky spinoffs. This year, I'm planning to stay in the US long enough to attend the Comics Art Brooklyn festival and I'm guessing I'll leave with a much better aftertaste.

    Have you visited DC before?

    Once, a few years ago. It's where a girl lives who I've been pen-pals with since we were 13. I visited her and played with her kids and baked burgers with her hubby on the back lawn. I hope they'll have us over this year too.

     If you've visited, what monument or museum do you like?

    I visited some strange sights during my first visit. I asked my hosts to take me to Baltimore and to the Chesapeake River and Cooke's Point in Maryland, because I'd been translating John Barth's The Sot-Weed Factor novel into Slovenian and really wanted to visit the intricately described geography of the book I'd been living in for a year.

    Can you tell us about your book talk at Big Planet Comics on U St?

    On November 1st at 7PM me and Nejc will be signing Animal Noir, a hardboiled thriller starring a giraffe detective loose in a city of lion politicians and hippo mobsters. We'll be talking about making the series too, writing the stories and creating the complex world enabling a range of African animals to live in relative harmony. The book came out last year with IDW and the company's legendary founder, Ted Adams, to whom I'd pitched the idea at a Barcelona comic festival, served as the series' dedicated editor for its brief four issue run. The book wasn't a huge hit, though, so it wasn't renewed for a second series, but we're shopping around for someone to get it running again 'cause we just love it. It got some really nice reviews too so I guess we're not the only ones.

    Who does what on Animal Noir and how do you divide up the work?

    The basic idea (giraffe detective in a world of mafia hippo, exploited zebras and some ruling cats) was mine and Nejc infused it with lovely details on how the social system was sustained -- from periodic zebra riots, to hunt porn, and struggles between political fractions. We were world-building over coffees for months before getting to the stories, which were also a joint venture. Nejc took care of the narrative and emotional structure and I provided the surface texture, but we constantly edited each other's contribution. I then broke the story down by pages and Nejc would do dialogues on the go for the spread I'd be working on that day. Once I did the linework and colors, we'd go over it again several times to trim the tone and rhythm here and there. It was a wonderfully intertwined, fun enterprise where we climbed on each other like rungs, ending up higher than either one of us could reach on their own.

    Can you tell us about your history of Slovenian comics presentation?

    The day after presenting our book - on November 2nd at 7PM - I'll be opening an exhibition of the best of Slovenian comics at our country's embassy on California street 1210, just a stone's throw from Big Planet Comics on U St, NW. Over 30 oversize prints of pages from our local masters of the medium will be on display and I'll bring a bunch of original books too. Translations will be provided and I'll open the expo with a brief talk on the history of Slovenian comics to give some context. Ours is a small country but the comics medium has produced a handful of truly class A creators that are really worth getting acquainted with, I promise. Again, there might be food and wine, so ...

    Do you have a website or blog?

    I have this blog but it's in Slovenian. The best way to check out and follow my work right now, I think, is through Instagram, where I regularly post works in progress and finished stuff. My username is giraffedetective. Go figure.