Friday, February 23, 2018

Ann Telnaes interviewed at Poynter

Tested by Parkland, cartoonists see a movement developing — and more topics to draw

March 3: Eleanor Davis talk & signing at Big Planet Comics DC

  • Saturday, March 3 at 6 PM - 8 PM

  • Big Planet Comics of Washington DC
    1520 U St NW, Washington, District of Columbia 20009

    Big Planet Comics is excited to welcome Eleanor Davis for a reading from her new book, "Why Art?" on Saturday March 3 from 6 to 8. She will give a reading from the book at 6 followed by a discussion and signing of her works. Her books will be for sale.

    What is "Art"? It's widely accepted that art serves an important function in society. But the concept falls under such an absurdly large umbrella and can manifest in so many different ways. Art can be self indulgent, goofy, serious, altruistic, evil, or expressive, or any number of other things. But how can it truly make lasting, positive change? In Why Art?, acclaimed graphic novelist Eleanor Davis (How To Be Happy) unpacks some of these concepts in ways both critical and positive, in an attempt to illuminate the highest possible potential an artwork might hope to achieve. A work of art unto itself, Davis leavens her exploration with a sense of humor and a thirst for challenging preconceptions of art worthy of Magritte, instantly drawing the reader in as a willing accomplice in her quest.

    Eleanor Davis has been honored by the Eisner Awards and has won a Gold Medal from the Society of Illustrators. Her works include How to Be Happy (Fantagraphics Books, 2014), Libby's Dad (Retrofit Comics/Big Planet Comics, 2016), You & a Bike & a Road (Koyama Press, 2017), and she contributed a short piece to the acclaimed comics anthology NOW (Fantagraphics, 2017). She lives in Athens, GA with fellow cartoonist Drew Weing. You can check out her work at, and buy her mini-comics at

    Thursday, February 22, 2018

    John Lewis on a Black Panther bit

    Civil rights hero John Lewis is particularly moved by this line from 'Black Panther'

    Washington Post
    Comic Riffs blog February 22 2018

    March 1: “A Conversation About Graphic Medicine” at NLM

    You are cordially invited to the next NLM History of Medicine lecture, to be held on Thursday, March 1, from 2:00pm until 3:30pm in the NLM Lister Hill Auditorium, Building 38A, National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, MD. NLM Director Patricia Brennan, RN, PhD will host "A Conversation About Graphic Medicine" with pioneers from this emerging genre of literature that combines the art of comics and the personal illness narrative. 

     Dr. Brennan will be joined in conversation by Ellen Forney, cartoonist, educator, author of the New York Times bestselling graphic memoir, Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo and Me, and guest curator of the new NLM exhibition, Graphic Medicine: Ill-Conceived and Well-Drawn!; MK Czerwiec, RN, MA, Artist-in-Residence at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine, author of Taking Turns: Stories from HIV-AIDS Care Unit 371, and co-manager of; and Michael Green, MD, physician, bioethicist, and professor at Penn State University's Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, and co-author with MK Czerwiec and others, of The Graphic Medicine Manifesto.  

     "A Conversation About Graphic Medicine" will address the place of graphic medicine within medical literature and the landscape of personal health communication in the 21st century. This special public program is in conjunction with the new NLM exhibition, Graphic Medicine: Ill-Conceived and Well-Drawn! on display in the History of Medicine Division Reading Room on the first floor of the NLM, Building 38 and online here:

    This lecture, like all NLM History of Medicine Lectures, will be free, open to the public, live-streamed globally, and subsequently archived, by NIH VideoCasting. All are welcome to attend onsite and remotely:

     The specific live-stream URL for this talk is here:

     Sign language interpretation is provided for all lectures. Individuals with disabilities who need reasonable accommodation to participate may contact Erika Mills at 301-594-1947,, or via the Federal Relay (1-800-877-8339).

    Due to current security measures at NIH, off-campus visitors are advised to consult the NLM Visitors and Security website:

    In addition, we warmly welcome you to visit our blog, Circulating Now, where you can learn more about the collections and related programs of the NLM's History of Medicine Division, and watch for interviews with guest participants in the upcoming Conversation about Graphic Medicine:

    Here also you can read interviews with previous lecturers:


    Sponsored by:

    NLM's History of Medicine Division

    Jeffrey S. Reznick, PhD, Chief

    Event contact:

    Erika Mills


    Tuesday, February 20, 2018

    The Post on Pia Guerra's gun violence cartoon

    This single cartoon about school shootings is breaking people's hearts

    Rafer Roberts is writing a fantasy series for Dark Horse

    The Post on Smithsonian animation

    Jellyfish sleep despite lacking a brain, and other stories about animals at rest [in print as Animated series uncovers hibernation and other ways that animals get their slumber in the wild].

    Washington Post February 20 2018
    , p. E2

    An animated series on Smithsonian Earth's website unlocks the secrets of sleepy wildlife. (Courtesy of Smithsonian/Courtesy of Smithsonian)

    The Post on Black Panther (continued)

    'Black Panther' fully embraces its blackness — and that's what makes it unforgettable

    Comic Riffs February 12 2018

    'Black Panther' slashes its way to the fifth-biggest opening ever [in print as 'Black Panther' has truly heroic opening weekend].

    Washington Post February 20 2018, p. C3.
    online at

    The resurgence of Afrofuturism goes beyond 'Black Panther,' to Janelle Monáe, Jay-Z and more [in print as 'Black Panther' and Afrofuturism 2.0]

    Washington Post February 120 2018, p. C1, 3.
    online at

    Interview with Jesse Holland of MD on his Black Panther novel

    Md. Professor, Author Pens Origin of the Nation's Blackest Superhero, The Black Panther

    by: Lauren E. Williams Special to the AFRO
    / /
    February 16, 2018

    Monday, February 19, 2018

    Flugennock's Latest'n'Greatest: "Banana, Banana, Banana, Banana"

    From DC's anarchist cartoonist, Mike Flugennock:

    "Banana, Banana, Banana, Banana"

    Welcome once again, folks, to the latest episode of Russiagate Nothingburger! According to the venerable CNN and Washington Post, a billion-dollar plus major Presidential election campaign was basically blown over by 13 people with a bunch of weak, dank-ass memes.

    Needless to say, this mess was revealed to a big, hot, sloppy bucket of nothing in record time -- the total cost of the dank-ass meme campaign turned out to have been about $500k* (David Brock's "Correct The Record" spent millions to troll and harass Leftists and Sanders supporters), the dank-ass memes in question had a reach of about 1%, most of the dankness wasn't even seen until after the "election", and the indictment contained no evidence of the "election" being affected in any way regardless.

    Still, it's really nice of CNN to take a break from shouting the same lies over and over until it sounds like the truth in order to run a promo warning viewers about people who shout the same lies over and over until it sounds like the truth.

    Jeezus, man; the Democrats must be getting pretty goddamn bored with all that winning, huh?

    CNN "Apple" Ad

    *2/20/18: corrected $50K to $500K. ComicsDC regrets the error.

    That darn Family Circus

    Next time, draw safer seating [in print as Next time, draw car seats].

    Harriet Platt, Rockville
    Washington Post February 17 2018, p. A19

    online at

    Washingtonian on Black Panther's Howard University connection

    Black Panther's Release Gives Howard University a Reason to Celebrate a Movie—and One of Its Own

    Chadwick Boseman, the new Marvel film's star, is a 2000 graduate of the historically black college.

    The Post's opinion continues on Black Panther

    'Black Panther' is a black triumph. America is afraid of those.

    February 16

    'Black Panther' is a chance for black moviegoers to finally just enjoy the show

    We can go to the movies without feeling like the future of black film is at stake.

    Saturday, February 17, 2018

    Sean Damien Hill talks about his "Black Power" exhibit

    by Mike Rhode

    Sean Damien Hill's drawings of African-American superheroes opened this week at the University of the District of Columbia's Gallery 42 (my cell phone pictures are here). The exhibit is open from February 13-28 and solely features Sean's drawings of notable black superheroes. I interviewed Sean just a year ago, and he graciously again answered questions about his new exhibit. (Photographs of the opening reception are by Bruce Guthrie)

    Where did the idea of the show come from?

    About a year ago Daniel Venne, head of the Art Dept. at UDC had the idea of doing a comic book themed show for Black History Month. We had known each other for some time and he was growing more and more familiar with my work, and he knew I did freelance comic work also.

    Is this your first solo exhibit?

    Yes it is. I’ve seldom done any art shows in the past. When I did, it was always with a buddy of mine, and I only had include one to three works or something like that. Doing this one was incredible but the anxiousness of it being MY SHOW was crazy. I’m an introvert by nature so I’m never craving that much attention so being the center of it for an art show was wild.

    How many pieces are in the show?

    About 20 pieces or so.
    Sean Anderson from Route 3, courtesy of Sean Hill

    How did you find or decide on the characters to draw?

    A lot of these characters are some I’ve already been familiar with. All the DC and Marvel comics characters were creations I’ve enjoyed in the past and that aren’t being used to much right now. My favorite from DC Comics is of course Icon from the old Milestone Comics studio (published by DC) in the 90’s and of course Green Lantern John Stewart. Indy characters I included are Dreadlocks from Urbanstyle comics, Vigelance from creator Sean Mack. Anakulapo from Mshindo Kuumba, and of course Sean Anderson from Route 3 from Robert Jeffrey (and me).. I really wanted choose some heroes that are not too well known so it could also be an educational experience.

    How did you draw them? Digitally, traditionally, or a combination?

    The 20 drawings were done traditionally with Pentel brush pens, Copic fine liners on 500 series 11x17 and 16x20 Bristol board. The three colored prints are digital illustrations from the clip studio paint program I use all the time for most of my published work.

    What's the difference between drawing digitally and drawing with pen and ink?

    For me, it's always more comfortable drawing traditionally, as there is a certain amount fluidity to it. Drawing decisions are made a lot quicker even if I’m building on a lot of rough sketching and ground work to get things going. On paper, I have a better sense of how I’m going to use the space because it’s not something I can change with a zoom key. Overall for me, that’s the down side of drawing digitally, as paper size becomes so relative it’s hard to figure out ( at least for me who draws too many lines to begin with) where to focus more of my attention.

    DC / Milestone Comics' Icon
    Some of the drawings are done in blue pencil and then inked, can you discuss why you do that?

    Traditionally blue pencil was used by artist to avoid the extra process of erasing pencils after inking. It save time because back then most printing was based on photography and cameras couldn’t pick up such a light blue. Now the digital age has caught up to all that, so now it’s more of a preference to better see your final line work over top the initial blue pencil sketch. It’s sort of become ingrained in the culture of comic illustration and digital comic drawing programs like Clip Studio Paint even have an option to turn your linework blue. Even traditional inkers print out pencils in blue nowadays so their line work is a lot clearer.

    There are three color pieces in the show, where they done completely digitally?

    Yes the color prints are completely digital. I have process videos on my YouTube channel of my digitally drawing two of them: and

    Val Zod, courtesy of Sean Hill
    I noticed the art in the show is for sale. Is there a market for original art drawings? Does this affect the convenience of doing material digitally at sometimes?

    Yes, there is definitely a market for traditional comic art. Sometimes a lot of artists who draw pages traditionally will sell the originals after the books published. It’s a major incentive to stick to traditional which is probably why half the artists in comics still do.

    Which are your favorite pieces in the show?

    I have three. One is Val Zod, an African-American Superman. It has to do with the fact I drew him as though he’s contemplating something; narrative is huge when doing any illustration and if you can portray that, it tells something about the subject. The others are Sean Anderson from Route 3. And Icon, my drawing is literally a man with the weight of the world on his shoulders.

    Yasuke (photo by Rhode)
    Can you tell us more about your superhero character?

    Yasuke is my love letter to all those Hitori Hanzo, Mifune and Highlander movies I watched as a kid. He is based on the real Yasuke who was an African slave made a samurai during Ido-period Japan. In my story he is an immortal cursed to make amends for serving an evil emperor. His journey is about moral questioning and if there is an objective right or wrong. Through that journey he discovers the reason for his curse.

    Did you grow up on superhero comics? If so who are your favorite characters? Favorite creators?

    I was raised around comics like Avengers, Teen Titans, Legion of Super-Heroes, with plenty of Batman and Superman too. My mom and grandpa would read them all the time. Grandpa actually introduced books like Will Eisner's the Spirit and Dick Tracy to me, and Mom loved the the Avengers and Teen Titans.

    My favorite heroes have always been Batman, Icon, and Magneto (even though he was a villain).

    Who or what would you like to work on from one of the major publishers?

    If I had a chance, I’d love to do Luke Cage or Black Panther, and Batman of course, but even to have a shot at Superman because it would be fun drawing that giant square jaw and boy-scout smile.

    Introductory exhibit text (photo by Rhode)

    What are your thoughts about African-American representation in the comic books? 

    Well of course I’m all for it. Our media reflects our world and our beliefs. If we have different types of heroes in our media, it’s only because we believe different types of people can have a great potential, and even reach that potential. But if we only see one type of people in that role throughout our media, it’s then widely believed, at least on a subliminal level that only that particular kind of people have that potential. And that sends a sign that the rest shouldn’t bother.

    On there other hand, I do think diversity in comics is a bit larger than what people credit, where some are just looking in the wrong place. I really believe if the audience gave more attention to Indy titles they might find the type of diverse storytelling we all need. It’s getting easier to self-publish nowadays and people have a lot of stories to tell.
    Marvel's retconned first Captain America

    Typically when someone says they want diversity in comics, it’s really a lot of the time just wanting the big two (DC and Marvel) to deliver it, but those companies have heroes that had been created and gained a lot of footing during a time where diversity was not on the table. Now to be fair, those companies have tried to diversify their heroes, but it’s often nothing original and usually a repackaging of something they already have. To me that’s not true diversity, because it can both hurt the fandom that loves that particular hero and also tells the audience being catered to that they aren’t worth investing in a new hero for.

    Do you think the race of the writer/ artist should be under consideration when it comes to drawing an African-American character?

    I won’t say who should be hired for what, but I think we have a responsibility help create a culture of diverse creators behind comics. Right now it’s still widely white males on the credits of most mainstream titles. I’m not saying a white writer couldn’t do a great Cyborg story because Marv Wolfman did and white creators are responsible for Black Panther, Luke Cage, Spawn, Misty Knight ... a lot of those characters [in this exhibit]. But we should create a culture in comics where the creators are diverse just like the world we live in.

    DC Comics' Vixen
    The Black Panther movie obviously has the issue of black superheroes on everyone's mind right now; are you interested in seeing the movie?

    I am, and I’m very interested to see how it’s going to effect our medium afterwards. I know it won’t make book sales jump and stay steady, because none of the movies have been able to increase comic readership for the long term. But it’s definitely going to have an influence on how diverse stories can be told. Ultimately though, it;s up to us to determine what impact this really has, but so far it’s really hopeful.

    Friday, February 16, 2018

    Feb 18: Ted Rall in Takoma Park

    Meet the Deplorables: Infiltrating Trump America with Busboys and Poets Books

    Please join Busboys and Poets Books as we welcome journalist Harmon Leon and political cartoonist Ted Rall to Takoma.

    Legendary infiltration journalist HARMON LEON is at it again, this time teaming up with ferocious political cartoonist TED RALL to answer the question most of America has been asking: "What the hell happened in 2016?" In their new book, Meet the Deplorables: Infiltrating Trump America, Leon goes deep undercover into the heart of Trump America, and Rall—two-time winner of the RFK Journalism Award and a Pulitzer Prize finalist—adds an innovative extra dimension to the book with his own essays and full-color cartoons.

    Running throughout Meet the Deplorables, Rall's distinctive artwork enhances the insightful and often irreverent tone employed by Leon—an award-winning New York journalist whose stories have appeared in VICE, Esquire, The Nation, and National Geographic. In his inimitable Gonzo-style, Leon's carefully crafted narrative is designed to help us understand (and humanize) the "deplorables," a word used by Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign to describe the racist, sexist, homophobic, and xenophobic supporters of Donald J. Trump.

    Books will be available before and after the event. Please contact with any questions.

    NPR on Black Panther

    'Black Panther' Is A Superhero Story You Haven't Seen Before — And It's Thrilling

    February 12, 20188

    Black Panther's Mythical Home May Not Be So Mythical After All

    Kendrick Lamar Releases 'Black Panther' Tracklist, And It Doesn't Disappoint

    Here's How 'Black Panther: The Album' Came Together

    More on March's sequel

    JK Snyder III interviewed at Scoop

    Washington papers on Early Man

    I love Aardman's movies.

    Early Man Is a Stop-Motion Delight [in print as Primitive Living]

    The director of "Wallace and Gromit" and "Chicken Run" returns with another delightfully bizarre film.

    Washington City Paper February 16, 2018 , p. 22
    online at

    'Early Man,' the latest from hit factory Aardman, is an ordinary underdog-athlete movie [in print as Comic knuckles hit all bumps on the dirt

    Washington Post February 16 2018, p. Weekend 25
    online at

    'Early Man' Is a Very Funny Trip to the Past

    A version of this review appears in print on February 16, 2018, on Page C6 of the New York edition with the headline: Make Way for Silliness and Soccer.

    Washington papers on the Black Panther

    'Black Panther' is exhilarating, groundbreaking and more than worth the wait [in print as Behold, a comic book king].

    Washington Post February 16 2018, p. Weekend 15-16

    'Black Panther' is a revelation but also a reminder of what we've been missing

    Washington Post February 15 2018

    'A different kind of superhero': Why 'Black Panther' will mean so much to so many

    'Black Panther's' Ryan Coogler has always been searching for superheroes who look like him

    Washington Post Comic Riffs blog February 14 2018

    Black Panther is more than a name. It's an identity. [in print as Not-secret identity: 'Black' isn't just part of his name].

    Express February 16 2018, p.32
    online at

    'Black Panther' pops up; Enter Wakanda takes over Red Lounge's space for the weekend.

    Frtiz Hahn

    Express (February 16, 2018): 3

    How celebrities are helping thousands of children see 'Black Panther' for free

    Washington Post Comic Riffs blog February 16 2018

    'Black Panther' will break box-office records. But could it change the movie business?

    Washington Post February 16 2018

        'Black Panther' Shakes Up Marvel With Feeling and Flair


    A version of this review appears in print on February 16, 2018, on Page C1 of the New York edition with the headline: Superheroic, But Intimate.