Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Colorist Arsia Rozegar on crowdfunding his adaptation of Shahnameh, a 1000-year-old Persian poem

by Mike Rhode

Arsia Rozegar will be best known to comic book fans for his coloring work on Marvel Comics and with Image Comics' Avalon Studios. Like many cartoonists these days, he's branching out into children's books.

What type of comic work or cartooning do you do?

I do a variety of stuff. I like to do my own cartooning and digital art, but I'm most of my more well-known mainstream work has been as a comic book digital colorist.
 How do you do it? Traditional pen and ink, computer or a combination?

I work digitally for the most part in Adobe  Photoshop. Sometimes I wish real-life had a Ctrl-Z.

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

I grew up with Masters of the Universe, G.I. Joe and Transformers.

Can you tell us what your ethnic background is? I've not encountered your first name before.

I'm of Iranian heritage.  I was born in Tehran, Iran and came to the U.S.  with my parents when I was about a year and half old.  Iranian-born, American raised, proud citizen of Earth.  

"Arsia" is actually a rare name even for Iranians. My parents specifically chose a name that no-one had. 

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

I grew up in the Washington, DC area. Had a tenure in Southern California for a while and then came back this way. I'm currently in Fairfax County. 

What is your training and/or education in cartooning?

I've been drawing and doing art as long as I can remember.  No formal training. Just simply had the desire to do it and make it happen.

Who are your influences?

This could be a potentially long list!  And it always changes over the years. Some of my big influences as far as comics and cartooning go off the top of my head are Shel Silverstein, Akira Toriyama, Jack Kirby, Peyo, Osamu Tezuka, Kevin Eastman, Frezzato, John & Sal Buscema, Bill Watterson, Gary Larson, early Charles Schulz, I can probably keep going...  When I was a teenager reading comics, Todd McFarlane and Erik Larsen were big influences.  As a comic colorist, Steve Oliff played a  role.
If you could, what in your career would you do-over or change?

There was a period I had gotten really burnt out on working on a really popular Marvel title and asked to leave the book. Looking back that was probably not a wise decision. Oh well!

What work are you best-known for?

I think I'm best known for my color work on Marvel's Iron Man and The Hulk due to those titles' name value. 

What work are you most proud of?

There is an issue of Marvel's Double Shot where I colored a Klaus Janson Iron Man story. That was a lot of fun to do.  I'm also proud of the work I did with Steve Oliff and Olyoptics on Marvel's Thor Omnibus.  It was an honor to work alongside the Godfather of Comic Colors.   The most recent comic I'm coloring is André Araújo's MAN PLUS which comes out this summer.  

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

I would like to continue working on Shahnameh For Kids, a children's book based on an ancient Iranian mythology.  I currently have a Kickstarter campaign for it right now!  I'm working with the talented Mike Amante on it. I'm very happy with how the book turned out.  It'd be great to do a few more books for it and make it a series.  

Tell us more about your Kickstarter project and why you decided to do it.

Shahnameh For Kids is a full color illustrated children's book inspired by the Iranian epic poem called the Shahnameh.  

This has been a project I've been wanting to do for a while now. I wanted to create a pop version of its stories geared towards younger readers. I wanted to start with one if its more famous tales, and a personal favorite of mine, "The Story of Zal & Simorgh."

This is the culmination of several years of research of the Shahnameh and ancient Iranian studies. It was important to me that the book presented a proper visual representation of what true Iranian culture is.  This is something that is rarely shown in mainstream outlets.

I'm really happy with how the book turned out. I think it will appeal to everyone, especially those who love World Mythology.
What do you do when you're in a rut or have writer's block? 
I usually don't have writer's block.  There's always so much inspiration around me at all times. Insomnia is more of an issue rather than writer's block.  

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

I would think it would continue to go towards a digital medium even more-so than it is today.  

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

Awesome Con is always a blast. I will be guest this year and will also be doing a workshop demonstration on how comics are digitally colored.  I also enjoy going to SPX as a fan because there are so many great indy comics to check out.

What's your favorite thing about DC? 

The museums.  People take for granted how we have so many amazing museums and galleries with fantastic works of art to enjoy and appreciate.  It's our nation's crown jewel in my opinion.

Least favorite?

Sitting in traffic.

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

The Freer-Sackler is great because it has lots of fantastic historical works (I'm partial to the Iranian wing) and the National Gallery of Art is amazing.

How about a favorite local restaurant? 

Nothing beats a home cooked meal from my mother.  

Do you have a website or blog? 

CRNI's Russell quoted Cartoonists under threat report

Read it here:

Drawing the line: Cartoonists under threat

On January 7, two gunmen burst into the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, killing eight journalists and bringing into focus the risks cartoonists face. But with the ability of their work to transcend borders and languages, and to simplify complex political situations, the threats faced by cartoonists around the world—who are being imprisoned, forced into hiding, threatened with legal action or killed—far exceed Islamic extremism. A Committee to Protect Journalists special report by Shawn W. Crispin
May 19, 2015

Monday, May 18, 2015

May 22: CARTOONING AND OUR CULTURE at Library of Congress

The National Cartoonists Society and the LOC's Prints and Photographs Division Present

CARTOONING AND OUR CULTURE: A Panel of Top King Features Cartooning Talents Celebrating the Syndicate's Centennial

• Patrick McDonnell – Mutts

• Jeff Keane – The Family Circus

• Brian Walker – Hi and Lois

• Hilary Price – Rhymes With Orange

• Ray Billingsley – Curtis

• Mike Peters – Mother Goose & Grimm,  Pulitzer Prize-winning Editorial Cartoonist for Dayton Daily News

Moderated by Brendan Burford, Editor, King Features Syndicate

May 22, 11 A.M.

Library of Congress
Madison Building • Montpelier Room
FREE and Open to the Public

Request ADA accommodations five days in advance at

(202) 707-6382 or ada@loc.gov For information, call (202) 707-3630

June 17-18: Brad Meltzer in DC for his new thriller

The President's Shadow Book Tour

Wednesday, June 17 — 7:00 PM
Politics & Prose
5015 Connecticut Ave NW

Thursday, June 18 — 7:00 PM
Tyson's Barnes & Noble
7851 L Tyson's Corner Center

Brad's always glad to sign his comic book work, and I strongly recommend the children's books he's currently doing with cartoonist Christopher Eliopoulos.

May 20: Kaptara signing at 3rd Eye Comics



This Saturday, you can get a FREE IMAGE #1 comic, AND get awesome stuff signed by CHIP ZDARSKY & KAGAN MCLEOD!


Click here to get the full details on the event here!



Juana Medina interviewed by Politics and Prose

P&P Conversations: Juana Medina
May 6, 2015
http://politicsprose.tumblr.com/post/119288467844/p-p-conversations-juana-medina-illustrator-juana and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3SoEYzFVxk

Illustrator Juana Medina talks about her art style and plans for her upcoming autobiographical series about her childhood in Colombia.

The Post on Disney's Miles from Tomorrowland

Google, NASA work together on Disney show to inspire girls into sciences [in print as Disney gets help from NASA, Google to design a girl].

The makers of "Miles From Tomorrowland" tried to steer clear of science stereotypes. (Disney Junior")

Friday, May 15, 2015

Comic Riffs talks to Gene Yang

Comic recs in the City Paper Summer Arts Guide

The Post's Act Four blog on superheroes

She-Hulk is an adventuress, not a porn star By Alyssa Rosenberg I write about culture, so it's inevitable that my desk here at The Post is cluttered. Five piles of books creep up the walls, DVDs lean against each other in untidy stacks and printouts of old studies about Hollywood are cross-hatched on top of each other, waiting for my highlighter. There are some trinkets, too, …  Read full article »
The Avengers vs. 'Man of Steel'
By Sonny Bunch
At a certain point during the critics' screening of "Avengers: Age of Ultron"—I believe it was when Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) decided that it was more important to grab three people out of a collapsing tenement than focus on the world-ending event only he had the technical know-how to stop—I wrote "Oh, [expletive deleted] …  Read full article »

Kickstarter for new Arsia Rozegar project

Local artist Arsia Rozegar, who has done stints on coloring Iron Man and Hulk for Marvel Comics, is launching a Kickstarter to fund a children's book he is developing based on a popular Iranian tale.
Shahnameth for Kids: The Story of Zal and Simorgh will be a full-color children's book illustrated by Mike Amante.  Rozegar says the story is inspired by Ferdowsi's epic poem, "The Shahnameh," and this tale tells the story of Zal, who was born with skin and hair white as snow. Because of his unusual appearance, Zal is abandoned as a newborn by his father at the foot of a mountain, but only to be discovered by the mystical and mythical giant bird known as Simorgh.

May 16: Gaithersburg Book Festival

The Gaithersburg Book Festival on Saturday will include several well-known comics creators, including: Gene Luen Yang, Jorge Aguirre, Dave Roman, Matt Phelan, Gareth Hinds, George O'Connor and Penelope Bagieu. I believe most of them have spots in the program where they also will talk about their latest projects.

There will also be a comics-creating workshop for youths ages 12-18 at 11 a.m. hosted by local comics editor writer Jason Rodriguez, who will also have a table (KA-D) at the event.

Admission and parking are free.

May 18: Jorge Aguirre at Takoma Park library

Takoma Park Maryland Library
Monday, May 18, 7:30 p.m.
Join us on Monday, May 18 at 7:30 p.m. when artist Jorge Aguirre presents his newest graphic novel for kids, "Dragons Beware!" The book, aimed at ages 7-12, is a sequel to the popular "Giants Beware!" Politics & Prose will be selling copies of Aguirre's books, but the program is free and no purchase is required to attend.

Laura Lee Gulledge on her career and her graphic novel musical

(all images courtesy of LLG)
by Mike Rhode

Laura Lee Gulledge came out of nowhere in the comics field, and now has two successful young adult graphic novels out, and is turning one of them into a musical. She's returned to the area after a sojourn in the wilds of New York City and tells us about her methods and her new project, which has ten days left to go on Kickstarter.

What type of comic work or cartooning do you do?

I write & draw graphic novels geared towards young adults, but I write them so they will also speak to adults as well. I feature creative characters, introverted protagonists, emotionally resonant stories, puns, and playful layouts.

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

I use pen & ink & paper to create my artwork. I typically only use computer to add a layer of digital shading and then the final lettering.

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

1979, boo-yeah!

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

I actually live in NOVA, Woodbridge to be exact. I’ve returned to the area after living in NYC for seven years. I originally grew up between Manassas & Dumfries....aka: “Dumassas.” ;-)

What is your training and/or education in cartooning?

I never took a class in cartooning or illustration, as in school I was focused on becoming an art teacher. So I took fine art classes like painting, drawing, photography, and sculpture. My cartooning was always something ”just for fun” that I did growing up for myself, my friends, and the school paper. Go figure that I never took it seriously, but I really didn’t think I was was good enough to go anywhere with it.

Who are your influences?

As a kid: weekly comic strips, political cartoons, Jim Henson, Disney films;

As an adult: Will Eisner, Craig Thompson, Alison Bechdel, Maira Kalman.

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

Taking a marketing or business class in school sure would have been helpful!

What work are you best-known for?

My debut graphic novel, Page by Paige! (It’s “a classic” as my agent loves to say.)

What work are you most proud of?

The artwork I made while teaching as an art teacher in Ghana back in 2007. Both the work I made myself as well as what the kids made. It was a challenging & humbling experience, but the work that came out was some of my most truthful & inspired.

You're working on a special project now - a musical based on a graphic novel. Oddly enough comics-based musicals were popular at the beginning of the 20th century and seem to be having a resurgence now, as Fun Home's success shows. Can you tell us about your musical Kickstarter project? How did it come about?

While I was working on my second graphic novel (Will & Whit) I was also doing a bi-coastal collaboration with my songbird Artner Lauren Larken. We were doing weekly cross-disciplinary prompts exploring themes of mutual interest, a 6-month creative "Artnership" we had been wanting to do since we first met in Brooklyn in 2008.

As Larken learned more about the characters I was working on, she felt more and more inspired! Lyrics started pouring onto paper and we decided to take out Artnership to the young adult musical level. After we recruited a composer to write the songs and I wrote a script, we were able to hold a debut production last summer at Ballibay performing arts camp in Pennsylvania. It still blows my mind!

We’re holding a Kickstarter right now to help us take our musical to the next level of development! It ends May 25th so please visit our site: willandwhit.com

Your graphic novel has a supernatural element with living shadows - how is that translating to the stage?

For a stage adaption of this magical-realism-style imagery we will use shadow puppets (perhaps shadow sculpture), dancers dressed in black, plus projected motion comics. The possibilities for the stage are pretty broad, which is why I’m excited to see what ideas young people come up with for how they want to tackle Will’s “living shadows.”

What else would you like to say about it?

My favorite part of the show is Hurricane Whitney (which is what “Whit” refers to in the book title) which is the storm that blows into town and knocks out the electricity. In the play the hurricane is personified as a group of punk girls personified called “The Whitneys.” They invade the show and lead the audience in an interactive body of sound hurricane before intermission. It tickles me.

We also incorporate LED props & costume elements in the show when the power goes out after the hurricane, since our protagonist Will makes lamps. This adds a fun STEM (aka STEAM) element to our show, I loved watching students learn how to make LED accessories & firefly lamps for the set.

Comic book movies are ridiculously popular now - any plans or hopes to adapt your work?

I could definitely see Will & Whit as a film, in my dreams as a stop-motion animated musical. I see Page by Paige more as a television show, mixing live action with animation. Some of the new stories cooking in the back of my head do feel suited for film, but I’m in no hurry to embark in that direction. (I figure I’ll master the transition to stage first before wrapping my head around going to a screen!) ;-)

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

Right now I’m itching to hop back on my new book project, which is an interactive sketchbook called How To Train Your Genius. It’s still in the baby stages right now, but I’m very excited! It’s the book I was looking for when I was a teacher, following in the footsteps of books like The Artist’s Way, Drawing on the Right Side of The Brain, and What It Is.

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

Here are my tips for when you’re stuck, which is either at the beginning or around the 80% point....

Getting started: My mantra is always, “Start with what you know.” Start by making one decision, the ONE thing you know.  Whether it’s one scene or a getting to know one character or mixing up one color paint, just pick a place to start and go one decision at a time.

Finishing: Take a break. If it’s art... look at it “new” by looking at it upside down, in a mirror, or taking a photo of it. Trick your subconscious brain into telling you what the art “needs” instead of clinging to the idea of what your conscious mind thinks it “should” be. If you’re writing....Put your script away for 3 months so you can forget about it. Then come back and write out what your story is about in 2-3 sentences.  Now reread your script with the core essence of your story in mind.

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

I think we will continue to experience an explosion of new voices entering the field, telling stories reaching more diverse audiences and bringing in fresh artistic influences.  Comics is a haven for creatives who do not fit in the old molds.

I also think comics will gain more acceptance in schools, and will hopefully be embraced as a helpful educational tool, especially for reluctant readers and ESL learners.

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

In the area I enjoy SPX, Awesome Con, and Baltimore Comic Con. Baltimore is probably my favorite show locally, non-locally my favorites are TCAF in Toronto and Heroes Con in NC.

What's your favorite thing about DC?

The free museums!

Least favorite?

The TRAFFIC ugh.

What monument or museum do like to take visitors to?

National Gallery to visit all my old friends in picture frames.

How about a favorite local restaurant?

Founding Farmers & District of Pi.

Do you have a website or blog?

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Cartoons and comics in the new Library of Congress Magazine

May-June 2015 issue cover
Erin Allen
Library of Congress Magazine
Vol. 4 No. 3: May/June 2015 p. 2
online at http://www.loc.gov/lcm/pdf/LCM_2015_0506.pdf

Creating Cartoons: Art and Controversy; The Library's vast archive of cartoon art chronicles more than two centuries of political controversy.
Library of Congress Magazine
Vol. 4 No. 3: May/June 2015 p. 8-11
online at http://www.loc.gov/lcm/pdf/LCM_2015_0506.pdf

Comedy in Comic Books: Popular comedians have joined the superhero crowd as stars of comic books over the years.
Library of Congress Magazine
Vol. 4 No. 3: May/June 2015 p. 12-13
online at http://www.loc.gov/lcm/pdf/LCM_2015_0506.pdf

KAL and Don Graham's Herblock talks online

Kevin Kallaugher: 2015 Prize Winner

May 12 2015

Former Washington Post publisher specifically talks about Herblock's career and what he meant to the paper.

Donald E. Graham: 2015 Lecturer

May 12 2015

Linda Holmes on the Black Widow in the Avengers

Black Widow, Scarce Resources And High-Stakes Stories
While there are certainly issues with the Black Widow story in the new Avengers film, we don't just need to get to exactly the right one female Avenger. We need more than one female Avenger.
Read this story

May 27: Animezing: The Princess and the Pilot

Animezing Series
Presented by the JICC, Embassy of Japan
The Princess and the Pilot
Wednesday, May 27, 6:30 p.m.
Never miss another event!
Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter View on Instagram
Our Location:
JICC, Embassy of Japan
1150 18th St, NW
Suite 100
Washington, DC 20036

© 2011 Koroku Inumura, Shogakukan / Toaru Hikuushiheno Tsuioku Project Produced by TMS ENTERTAINMENT, LTD. | 2011 | 99 min | Not Rated | In Japanese with English subtitles | Directed by Jun Shishido 

Based on the "light novel" of the same name by Koroku Inumura.


The war between the Levamme Empire and the Amatsukami Imperium has been raging for years. In the midst of this struggle, the prince of the Levamme Empire declares his love for Juana del Moral and vows to end the war in one year, as part of his marriage proposal.  


When the Amatsukami catch wind of this, they assault the del Moral residence, targeting Juana's life. As a last ditch effort to bring the prince his bride, the San Maltilia Airforce hires a mercenary of mixed blood-a bestado-to fly Juana to the Levamme capital in secret.  


The pilot, Charles, accepts the mission...but traversing an ocean alone, into enemy territory, proves a much more dangerous ordeal than anyone could have anticipated. 


This film contains some scenes of violence. Recommended ages: 12 and up.

Register Now!
This event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Please note that seating is limited and registration does not guarantee guests a seat.

Registered guests will be seated on a first come, first served basis. Please contact us at jicc@ws.mofa.go.jp in the event of cancellation.

Doors open at 6:00 pm. No admission or re-entry after 7:00 pm.

JICC, Embassy of Japan | 1150 18th St., NW | Suite 100 | Washington | DC | 20036

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Artley Print Among Arlington Special ED Fundraiser Auction

A print of one of my cartoons, "Doomed to Repeat," (2014) is among items to be auctioned in a fundraiser for Arlington Special Education PTA fundraiser. For whatever reason, instead of posting the JPEG of the item, they posted a mug of me online. Incredible. Just to make it clear... No, I am not being auctioned (not for less than a hundred bucks, anyway).  The print is signed and matted.

For those of you who may not know, I am a 30-year seasoned, award-winning internationally syndicated editorial cartoonist working in the Washington DC area. My cartoons have been published in every major newspaper and news magazine nation-wide, as-well-as in online anthologies and books throughout the U.S. and Canada.

There are many other items up for auction on the site as well. So, bid and bid often.

Steve Artley




Monday, May 11, 2015

'Drawing Power' cameo in 'The Layover'

Warren Bernard's Drawing Power: A Compendium of Cartoon Advertising 1870s-1940s makes a cameo in the first episode of Anthony Bourdain's TV travel show The Layover, which focuses on New York City. (See screenshot below).

May 16: Mike Hawthorne at Third Eye Comics


This Saturday, you can get a FREE Marvel #1 comic, AND get your Deadpool comics signed by the one and only MIKE HAWTHORNE!


Click here to get the full details on the event here!

May 13: Matt Phelan at Takoma Park library

Picture Book Creators Michelle Knudsen and Matt Phelan Takoma Park Maryland Library

Wednesday, May 13, 7 p.m.
Author Michelle Knudsen and illustrator Matt Phelan will read and discuss their new picture book, "Marilyn's Monster," on Wednesday, May 13, at 7 p.m. In the book, aimed at ages 3-7, Knudsen and Phelan tell the story of a little girl who grows impatient at being the only kid without a monster and goes off in search of one to call her own. Politics & Prose will sell copies of the book, but the event is free and no purchase is required to attend.
Phelan's done some all-ages graphic novels which I recommend highly. 

RIP Joel Kauffman, cartoonist turned Bible Museum designer

Pontius' Puddle creator Joel Kauffmann remembered for combining humor and faith

Kauffmann had recently taken a job with the Museum of the Bible in Washington.

Tabitha Waggoner

Posted on May 8, 2015

Joel Kauffmann

Aug. 7, 1950 - May 8, 2015

May 12: Teresa Logan on stage

Teresa Logan writes in,

I'm onstage tomorrow night at the SPEAKEASY DC show, theme is COLOSSAL FAIL - I'm telling how I almost got on The Tonight Show. This is my first time onstage in the District! I've been doing storytelling shows here in NYC for a couple of years, and I love this art form.

Hope to see some of y'all there!

Details and tix: http://speakeasydc.com/events/item/colossal-fail

Teresa Roberts Logan
Laughing Redhead Studio
comedy & cartoons

Comic Riffs on non-Muhammad cartoons

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Matt Wuerker and Mike Kahn @ Lincoln Cottage 5/21

Political Cartoons and Freedom of Speech: Cottage Conversation featuring Mike Kahn and Matt Wuerker
Thursday, May 21, 6-7:30 pm

Mike Kahn, author of "'What Fools These Mortals Be!' The Story of Puck - America's First and Most Influential Magazine of Color Political Cartoons," examines the storied history of Puck magazine. Matt Wuerker, Editorial Cartoonist for Politico, will join Mr. Kahn for a dynamic conversation about the contemporary challenges to artistic freedom and protections of free speech in political cartoons.


Reception: 6:00 pm, Robert H. Smith Visitor Education Center

Lecture: 6:30 pm, President Lincoln's Cottage 

Admission: $10 for the lecture and $10 for the reception. Free for Cottage members at the $250 level or above. To purchase tickets and RSVP, email Michelle Martz at MMartz@savingplaces.org or call 202-688-3735.



Flugennock's Latest'n'Greatest: "Disaster Capitalism 2.0"

"Disaster Capitalism 2.0"

Why worry about the expenses of upgrading your fleet and complying with safety standards when you know you can wreck a town and get out of jail free -- y'know, like BP?

....and, here's the musical inspiration for this droppage:
The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown, "Fire", 1968
Mike Flugennock, flugennock at sinkers dot org
Political Cartoons: dubya dubya dubya dot sinkers dot org

Herblock Award photos online

Bruce Guthrie has put his Herblock Award photos online.

Herblock Prize: Kevin Kallaugher -- Presentation

Herblock Prize: Kevin Kallaugher -- Reception

Here's audio from KAL's speech, at least until the Herblock Foundation gets their video online.

The Post's religion blog on the Avengers movie

Surprised by hope: Why Christians flocked to 'Avengers: Age of Ultron,' an atheist's film

By Aaron Earls
Washington Post Acts of Faith blog May 6 2015