Thursday, February 15, 2018

March sequel announced; exhibit to open in NYC

Exclusive: Congressman John Lewis' Next Book, Run, Will Pick Up Where Award-Winning March Left Off

By Lily Rothman (February 15 2018):


THURSDAY, MARCH 1, 6:00 - 9:00PM



Please join us to celebrate the opening of The Art of MARCH: A Civil Rights Masterpiece
This exhibition offers a unique opportunity for students to connect in a deeply personal way with 
the struggle for civil rights as lived by a major American icon and expressed in this essential National Book Award–winning graphic novel. 

With your support, we intend to welcome thousands of students to the Society for the chance to participate in arts educational programming related to this exhibition. With your generous contributions at this opening, you can help us welcome Title I and other special needs schools that would not otherwise have access to the exhibition. 

Thank you in advance for your support!


MARCH is published by Top Shelf Productions, an imprint of IDW Publishing.


Washington City Paper on Black Panther

Black Panther is the Marvel Cinematic Universe's First Truly Great Movie

With the film, director Ryan Coogler creates a robust Afrofuturist Shakespearean epic

Feb 14, 2018

Express on Black Panther

For Ryan Coogler, 'Black Panther' is about the big picture [in print as Black Panther's Big Picture]

Express February 15 2018, p. 40
online at

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

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.

Comic Riffs on the Black Panther's history

Everything you need to know about the Black Panther

Unfamiliar with the character or just need a refresher? Here's a primer on comics' most popular black superhero.

Captain America movie in DC revisited

PR: SPX 2018 Exhibitor lottery opens today

Hello Everyone! 

It's that time of year again! Planning for SPX 2018 is already underway and we're excited for all of you to see what we have in store. We want to make sure you have all the right information you need. If you are interested in exhibiting at SPX this year, here's what you need to know for 2018.
An SPX Exhibitor Registration Primer
As you may know by now, SPX has a two phase registration system that combines invited exhibitors with a lottery that in past years has led to a roughly 50/50 split. The two phases are staggered, which allows us to maximize the number of tables available for the lottery.

We feel that having a first time creator with a printed zine tabling next to an established creator with a decades long career is part of what makes SPX so special, and the lottery is a key part of making that possible.

If you don't have any questions and just want to get to the good stuff, you can find the 2018 Lottery here!

Key Dates

For Invitations:
  • February 5th - Invited exhibitors will begin receiving notices.
  • March 1st - Last day for invited exhibitors to confirm their table space.
For the Lottery:
  • February 12th - The SPX table lottery opens.
  • February 26th - The SPX table lottery closes.

SPX Table Lottery winners will be notified shortly after the close of the lottery. Depending on the number of submissions it may take us a few weeks to review the entrants for duplicates or other issues before actually pulling the winning names. We expect this to take roughly about two weeks, so you should hear from us by mid March.

More Questions, You Have Them
We know many of you will likely have further questions, so here's a few quick notes on the way ahead and our process for 2018 exhibitor registration:


How will I know if I have been invited?
Invited exhibitors began receiving notices from SPX on February 5. Invitees will have until March 1st to confirm their table space, with a few reminders sent in between. Any invitee tables not claimed by March 1st will roll over to the lottery pool.
How does SPX decide who gets a reserved table?
The SPX executive committee will collectively review the invitation list each year to make this determination. 
If I was invited last year does that mean I am guaranteed an invitation this year?
No, not necessarily. It is possible you will receive an invitation again, but we have limited space and want to make sure we're always keeping the list dynamic. Doing so will allow us to ensure that we can invite people that we think will be a great fit for the show.
If I wasn't invited this year does that mean I'll never be invited again?
Not at all. The invitation list will change annually. There will not be a formal rotation or cooling off process but our goal is ensure that the process is equitable. Not being invited one year does not mean you won't be invited the next. 
If I am not on this year's invitee list, can I enter the table lottery?

Lottery Entrants
When will the lottery take place?
The 2018 table lottery registration period will open up starting today, February 12. You'll have two weeks, until February 26, to enter your information. SPX will post lottery information widely on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr as well as our website. You won't be able to miss it.
How do I apply for the lottery?
When lottery registration opens we'll post an online form that collects some basic information. This year we are doing away with the randomized number generation to cut down on confusion; you will receive one confirmation email, and then an email at the end of the lottery. This registration website link will be shared widely on social media later this week.

Please note that we will not be picking the randomized lottery winners until after all applciations have been received; this means there is no benefit to applying early or late (except maybe peace of mind).

You can only apply for the lottery once, and multiple entries will result in being removed from the lottery pool (unless you email us and tell us you accidentally clicked twice or something, we do have a heart!).

You will not be responsible for any payments until after the lottery is complete.
How will I find out if I won a lottery table (or half table)?
We will notify the winners via email in early March. Winners will then have until March 31 to confirm and pay for their table. Any unused tables will be carried over to the wait list. If you are selected, half tables will cost $185 while full tables will cost $375.
Do I really have a shot at a table from the lottery?
Heck yes. We earmark a minimum of 110 tables (out of our total of 270) for the lottery. When you look at this in terms of exhibitors behind those tables over the last three years we've been filling about half of SPX via the lottery.
Will there be a wait list?
Absolutely. We store the next 75 names after filling our lottery tables and folks get pulled in every year from this wait list.

Other Questions 
I HATE this system. SPX, why are you so dumb?

In order for us to pull this show off each year, we need to balance limited table space against a bunch of ravenous groups that eagerly take all the tables! Big publishers, small publishers, self-publishers, local favorites, international guests, old faces, new hotness — all worthy and all welcome!

Our registration process helps us manage overwhelming interest in the show in a manner consistent with our core values. Most comic arts festivals are by invitation only. We knew that wasn't for us.  But a pure lottery wouldn't work either. Community is what makes SPX. We had to find a balance that honored both — and helps us manage massive demand to exhibit at the show.
Why not just more add more space? 

There is quite simply no larger facility anywhere in the Washington, DC area with the crucial combination of hotel and convention space — but the more important issue is that the indie comics industry is growing even faster than SPX, drawing more and more passionate, talented creators to the medium. It would be impossible for us to expand enough to meet demand without raising prices significantly for both exhibitors and attendees alike.

Even if we could locate a venue with a similar set-up and more space — and one that wouldn't totally blow our budget — consider that over two days SPX runs only about 14 hours. With 650 to 700 creators exhibiting, assuming an attendee stays on the show floor every single minute and wasted only seconds moving from table to table, that leaves a barely one minute per creator.

We want folks who exhibit at SPX to have the best chance possible to make money at our show. For the time being — and we're at the Marriott through 2020 — it simply does not make sense to seek a larger exhibition hall space. 

Still have questions? 

Hit us up on Tumblr, Twitter or Facebook for a quick reply. We're also happy to chat if you email us at

We appreciate your care and investment in SPX and we'll never take it for granted.

Thanks so much,

Jamie, Mike, Sam, Warren and the rest of the SPX Executive Committee

Copyright © 2018 Small Press Expo, All rights reserved. 
You are getting this email because we know you might want a table to SPX 2018!! 

Our mailing address is: 
Small Press Expo
P.O. Box 5704
Bethesda, Maryland 20824
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Saturday, February 10, 2018

Adrian Tomine and NPR's Linda Holmes at Politics and Prose bookstore at the Wharf

Live right now.

Comic Riffs talks to Tomine

How parenthood opened a profound creative door for cartoonist Adrian Tomine

Tomine will appear today, Feb 2, at 6 pm; Washington's Politics & Prose at the Wharf, 70 District Square SW; moderator: Linda Holmes of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour.

Friday, February 09, 2018

Review: Adrian Tomine's Killing and Dying

by Mike Rhode

If I had to come up with a quick descriptive word for Adrien Tomine's work (and I just did), I think I'd pick "astringent." Tomine's a master of a cool thin line with a flat color palette, and his stories are often about people you'd prefer to avoid IRL. Tomine will be in town at Politics and Prose talking with Linda Holmes about Killing and Dying, his 2015 collection of his Optic Nerve comic book now available in paperback.

I'm reviewing the book now, even thought I bought it at 2015 at the Small Press Expo, because Drawn & Quarterly sent me a comp copy, and I don't want them to think it was unappreciated. Also, because in spite of my description above, I like his work. There are six stories in the book, all obviously by Tomine, but all different from each other as well.

Tomine is one of the group of formerly alternative 1980's cartoonists such as Daniel Clowes and Chris Ware who've hit the big time, and whose work is now instantly recognizable, as they're doing regular covers for the New Yorker and publishing graphic novel collections on a regular basis. This is a far cry from when they all were part of the small press scene being published in 'floppies' by Fantagaphics Books. Amazingly, those who've stayed in the field have largely remained true to the aesthetic they developed in their early works.

Tomine's first story, "...Horticusculpture" is purposely constrained to appear to be a weekly comic strip telling the story of a man growing old while attempting to convince the world that his new plant/sculpture hybrid is art. Six "strips" in black & white mimic a daily, while the full page Sunday is in color. Someone more academically-minded could theorize about the appeal of old-fashioned comic strips for alternative comic book cartoonists; among others, Daniel Clowes did a whole book using this motif, as did Bob Sikoryak who cast his net of influences a bit wider in his book on Apple. In the end, Tomine's story is about a man who's largely a failure personally and professionally, but is redeemed in the very last panel by his family's love.

"Amber Sweet" is a story of a modern-day mistaken identity in that a college student is a doppleganger for a porn actress. This coincidence ruins her life until the two of them finally meet. "Go Owls" is a cautionary tale which of a woman letting a man assume control over her life under the guise of protecting her. "Translated, from the Japanese" could easily have appeared in the New Yorker. No people are shown in the story, just scenes from traveling on plane, but again it's another story about human loneliness and failure in relationships.

Local cartoonist Dana Maier told me yesterday that "Killing and Dying" is her favorite story in the book, but I had to dash off before we discussed it. We may have that conversation here, if I can convince her to. A part of another dysfunctional family, a teenage girl wants to try standup comedy, and her mother agrees while her father thinks it's a mistake. Tomine has put several twists in the story, so that's all I'll reveal. Finally, "Intruders" is from the point of view of a failed veteran who breaks into the apartment he used to live in during the day, attempting to recapture his happier past, while providing no trace of himself in the present.

Tomine's cool, cerebral stories won't be to everyone's taste, but they're definitely worth sampling and this is a good collection to start with. He's grown to be an assured artist and writer, and will continue to be part of the graphic novel 'canon' for years to come.

Adrian Tomine - Killing and Dying — in conversation with Linda Holmes — at Politics and Prose at The Wharf

Saturday, February 10, 2018 - 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Now available in paperback, this collection of six graphic stories shows the impressive range of Tomine’s narratives and his expressive use of line, color, and half-tones. Especially adept at capturing the nuances of character and emotion, Tomine, author/artist of Shortcomings and Scenes from an Impending Marriage, is one of the most literary of graphic storytellers. Many of the pieces here chart the turbulent arcs of relationships in which the partners are angry, disoriented, or both. In one variation on these themes, the title story focuses on a fourteen-year-old aspiring stand-up comic. As her mother praises her and her father criticizes her, the three work to deny the greater tragedy that is about to befall the family. Tomine will be in conversation with Linda Holmes, writer and editor for  NPR’s entertainment and pop-culture blog, Monkey See.

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 The Wharf   70 District Square SW   Washington   DC    20024

Comics Riffs on Annie animation awards and the new Trump cartoon

Annie Awards go to 'Coco' and Kobe Bryant's 'Dear Basketball,' making them Oscar favorites

Washington Post
Comic Riffs blog February 5

On Stephen Colbert's new Trump cartoon series, the president has shades of Homer Simpson

Washington Post Comic Riffs blog February 9 2018

Townson professor interviews Dan Raeburn

"Therapy Is an Imitation of Writing": An Interview with Daniel Raeburn!

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Tim Kreider at Politics and Prose

The former Baltimore City Paper cartoonist is reading from his new non-cartoon book at Politics and Prose.

Feb. 13: Opening reception for "Black Power: Comic Art by Sean Damian Hill"

The opening reception for "Black Power: The Art of Sean Damian Hill" is February 13, 6:30-8 pm, University of the District of Columbia: Gallery 42. Building 42, Room A-12. The show is in celebration of Black History Month and features images of African-Americans in Comics.