Showing posts with label women in comics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label women in comics. Show all posts

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Meet a Visiting Cartoonist: A Chat with Ellen Lindner

by Mike Rhode

I've known Ellen Lindner for a long time, initially through her comics-collecting husband, but then directly as she moved back to the US and became a regular exhibitor at SPX. A woman of eclectic interests, she's done comics on conscientious objectors in England in World War I, 1960's Coney Island, and woman's baseball, as well as editing anthologies such as British women's collection, The Strumpet. She was in town a few weeks ago for her ex-studio mate Robin Ha's book-signing at East City Books and I was very surprised to hear that she was doing comics for the Washington Post. She did a Christmas strip for the Post's The Lily newsletter, so I leapt at the opportunity to consider her a DC-area cartoonist and send her the usual questions.

What type of comic work or cartooning do you do?

I have done a big mix of fictional graphic novels, graphic memoir and nonfiction comics. At the moment I'm working on The Cranklet's Chronicle, a series of nonfiction comics about people who aren't (cisgender) men who have played a role in baseball history. The last issue was about Effa Manley, the only woman in the baseball Hall of Fame.

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

Great question! I am working digitally more and more these days, but I still pencil and color using traditional media.

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

Late 70s, Long Island, New York.

Where are you living now? How did you begin working for the Washington Post?

I live in beautiful upper Manhattan, New York, which is full of city parks. We even have a local seal! I began working for the Post's women's magazine, The Lily, thanks to a wonderful friend of mine, Lara Antal, who has created many genius comics for them.

What is your training and/or education in cartooning?

I studied art history, French and art as an undergrad. Many years later I found myself living in London and did a master's degree in illustration. Over the years, though, I've racked up a lot of credits at School of Visual Arts, a big hub for comics. Those classes have been huge for me.

Who are your influences?

Alison Bechdel, Lynda Barry, Jacques Tardi, Jessica Abel, Megan Kelso, Tom Hart, Glynnis Fawkes, Summer Pierre, and Jennifer Hayden. The latter three folks and I table together a lot at comics events and their help with drafts of projects in progress has been invaluable.

Lindner, Glynnis Fawkes and Jennifer Hayden at SPX 2019

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

I'm definitely a person who loves to rue past mistakes and it's a tendency I'm trying to work on. But I always feels I've been too shy in terms of telling other artists I like their work. If you meet someone whose work you like, let them know! It's hard to put yourself out there.

What work are you best-known for?

Weirdly it might be for my current day job doing informational illustration. Thousands of people click on articles I've illustrated each day, even though they probably don't know it's me. It's definitely been the most eyes I've ever had on my work. I have enjoyed the challenge of illustrating everything from the best uses of tarragon to what it's like to work in military counter-intelligence. For a glimpse at these you can look at my Instagram, @ellenlindna.

What work are you most proud of?

I'm really proud of my current project, The Cranklet's Chronicle, which is about the history of people who aren't cisgendered men and baseball. Baseball has a long history of erasing the involvement of people who aren't white men, and there are so many stories to tell about owners, players, fans, and more who are or were somewhere else on the gender spectrum. The last issue was about Effa Manley, a woman who managed a black baseball team in New Jersey, and who is currently the only woman in the Hall of Fame. I found her utterly fascinating, and I hope readers will too!

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

I have a secret project I'm working on alongside my day job and Cranklet's...It's a combination of memoir and how-to, and I'm really excited about it! It's an activity comic about how to navigate life as a person without kids.

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

Wow, great question. I usually just try and power through! Taking a walk also helps, a lot! I work on comics and illustration pretty much every day, and if one project stumps me, I can toggle to another one for a while.

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

Oh WOW that's tough. Many more comics on mobile!!!

What cons do you attend besides The Small Press Expo? Any comments about attending them?

SPX and MoCCA are my big two, though this year I also did the Nonfiction Comics Fest in Essex Junction, VT and Short Run in Seattle, both of which took me to new places. Both were fabulous!!!
Panel from story in The Lily

What's your favorite thing about DC?

Ethiopian food! The museums! Union Station! Wait, do I really just get one?!

Least favorite?

Welp, I find DC drivers....unpredictable. I'll leave it at that!

What monument or museum do you like to take visitors to?

I love the National Museum of African American Art and Culture! Wow, what an incredible place!

How about a favorite local restaurant?

Habesha, hands down! Such delicious Ethiopian food, located in the Shaw area by Howard University.

Do you have a website or blog? Also on Instagram: @ellenlindna

Sunday, November 03, 2019

Nina Allender on exhibit in Ohio

We've mentioned DC's suffragette cartoonist Nina Allender here in the past. Some of her work is on display in the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum's new exhibit.


Innovative women cartoonists get their due in 'Ladies First'  
Joel Oliphint                            
Associate Editor, Columbus Alive Nov 1, 2019

Monday, February 12, 2018

Meet a Local Comics Writer: A Chat with Leslie Tolf

by Mike Rhode

I met Leslie Tolf last week when I was at Politics and Prose last week for the book-signing by Laurie Halse Anderson and Emily Carroll of their collaborative Speak: The Graphic Novel* and began talking with fellow line-standers as one does. Leslie told me she had written a graphic novel, and pulled a copy of her book from the shelves, which I then bought (but haven't read yet as there are too many signings to go to), and then she agreed to do our standard interview. It all happened roughly like that, and it makes me glad I live around DC where interesting people are everywhere.

What type of comic work or cartooning do you do? Your website describes When the Rules Aren’t Right, as "a graphic novel for all ages. It is the story of Emma, your basic fed-up teen, tired of parents who only talk about work and money, a self-obsessed older sister and a college-educated brother who’s moved back home and seems destined to stay there. She hates her chores, her know-nothing classes and she’s oblivious to the bigger world out there that could use her help."

I wrote When the Rules Aren’t Right, a graphic novel about worker’s rights and activism, because kids under 20 are now growing up in this country without the job safety net that was essentially created by  decades of struggle by unions and other progressive groups.

I always loved the Toni Morrison quote, “if there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”  I had been thinking about this book for 10 years, but when I left my CEO job it took exactly 9 months to write it.  Literally, a "labor" of love.

How do you do it?
Thumbnail by Leslie Tolf.

I began my career in DC as a graphic designer in my 20s, but knew I wouldn’t be good enough so I went on to get an MBA and became CEO of a labor organization, called Union Plus.  I was able to do thumbnails of When the Rules Aren’t Right, based on my rusty art skills.

I felt it was really important to have women illustrators, and in particular women of color. So I decided I would follow Neil Gaiman's Sandman approach, and have each chapter illustrated by a different illustrator, but ones who were female graduates of either RISD or School of Visual Arts.
Final art by Sophie Page

Being a female CEO in the union movement for two decades, I felt the (not-so) subtle discrimination of a leadership structure to this day dominated by white men. In my encore career as a graphic novelist, I feel it’s important to help people of color and women rise up in this very impactful medium of graphic novels.

If you're not a DC native, where were you born? 

I am a stereotypical Midwesterner, born and raised in the Chicago suburbs while never using four-letter words.  As such, I was living in a white middle class “bubble” until I went to college and moved to Washington, DC.  Working in labor unions, and with non-profit organizations, opened my eyes to the vast inequities of the system.  As Alice Walker said, “activism is the rent I pay for living on this planet.”

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

I live in Brookland after two decades on Capitol Hill, and I feel I’m finally home.
It is a kaleidoscope community of colors, religions and ages.  It has a thriving art platform with the Arts Walk, Dance Place and Bluebird Yoga and Arts Center.  

Chapter 3 on Equal Pay

Illustrator: Molly Walsh

Who are your influences? 

Oooooo! Favorite question. Neil Gaiman and the Sandman series was my portal in, but here are some current idols:

How to be Happy, Eleanor Davis
Lumberjanes, Grace Ellis and Noelle Stevenson
This One Summer, Mariko and Jullian Tamaki
Ms. Marvel, G Willow Wilson et. al.

And I’m a big nerd of zines and the zine community.

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

I’ve recently been asked to do a graphic novel series based on When the Rules Aren’t Right, on issues like animal activism, environmental concerns, civil rights, and women’s rights. A kind of "Magic Treehouse Kids Grow Up and Become Radicals!" Graphic novels aimed at a middle-school ages (8-15) can be explosive as this is when kids are exploring their truths, and seeing injustice in this world. They’re optimistic and engaged. 

Veronica Agarwal's art.

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

It’s funny, I just bought Daniel Pink’s new book, When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, and it’s confirmed what I’ve experienced.  Write in the morning.  And be aware of your personal energy slumps (mine are right after lunch).  If you can swim with the tide, it’s much easier.  Other than that, more coffee.
What monument or museum do you like to take visitors to? 

This is a cheat but my favorite museum to take visitors to is the Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore. It blows everyone’s mind, and it has the best museum shop in the country.
Chapter 6: Health and Safety

Illustrator:  Haijin Park

How about a favorite local restaurant? 

I have to give a shout out to Brookland’s Finest, the BBQ is amazing. Also Fox Loves Taco, near the Arts Walk.  I also love to hang out at my local college bookstore, Barnes and Noble, where the staff are super-smart and make a mean cappuccino with suger-free vanilla.

Do you have a website or blog?
I have a website and Facebook page.  But most importantly, I’d love to continue my school road trip around the country. If you have ideas, ping me at
*transcript coming soonish, since P and P didn't record the session for their own site.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Sewall-Belmont House, and apparently Nina Allender's cartoons, become National Monument

Today, the House, and presumably the cartoons, became a National Monument, under the Park Service.

Here's the Washington Post on it, and here's the White House, which says, "help preserve an extensive archival collection that documents the history, strategies, tactics and accomplishments of the movement to secure women's suffrage and equal rights in the United States and across the globe." so I guess the cartoons were transferred too.

The new Belmont-Paul Monument is well-worth visiting. I saw it with my daughter in 2012 and was quite impressed by it.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Post runs a blog editorial by a Fun Home non-reader

Alison Bechdel's graphic biography Fun Home offends some college students.  Here's one explaining his reasoning:

I'm a Duke freshman. Here's why I refused to read 'Fun Home.'

It's not about being uncomfortable. It's about being asked to do something that I think is immoral.

PostEverything blog

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Washington tv cartoonist weather girl dies

A Local Life: Tippy Stinger Huntley Conrad, 80; Beatiful TV 'weather girl' charmed city of Washington
[online: Tippy Stringer Huntley Conrad, charming D.C. weather beauty, dies at 80, October 23].
By Emma Brown
Washington Post Staff Writer October 24, 2010
p. C7

"She was often joined on-air by a cartoon character she created named Senator Fairweather, whose doe-eyed likeness was photographed with Tippy for Life magazine in 1955."

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Belefski of Curls nominated for Lulu Award

Matt Dembicki's let me know that Carolyn Belefski of Curls is nominated for a Lulu Award - Carolyn has the story on her site. It looks like anyone who wants to can vote.

She also has her report on SPX up where she notes that she's publishing Elizabeth Watasin's return to comics. (whoo-hoo! I loved Charm School). She also discusses her new anthology which has a lot of local creators in it.

I interviewed Carolyn a few weeks ago for the City Paper - coming up soon, her writing partner Joe Carabeo.