THE BLOG AT THE CROSSROADS
Posted: December 5, 2013
Callisto and Other Matters is the title of Dave McKean’s forthcoming exhibition opening December 18th at the Petits Papiers Gallery in Brussels. Here’s the poster design for this unmissable selling show of artworks.
Posted: December 1, 2013
I am heading off again to Brussels and the stunning Art Nouveau building by Victor Horta which houses The Belgian Comic Strip Centre next Tuesday December 3rd to take part in the announcement of the winner of the Animate Europe comics competition organised by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in collaboration with Dr Lydia Thorn Wickert of Thorn Concept.
I was one of the jury of leading comics creators and experts tasked with selecting the finalists to complete their proposed stories on a European theme and choosing one overall winner. The standard was very high and the viewpoints on Europe diverse and diverting, which made the judging process by Willem De Graeve, Thorsten Ernst, Lilli Gärtner, Andreas C. Knigge, Marzena Sowa, Linda Torfs and myself all the more challenging.
Twenty-one artists from fifteen countries sent in their proposals, seven finalists were picked to finish their graphic short story: Gerardo Cornejo Lucaveche (Belgium), Luke Ellison (USA), André Slob (Netherlands), Emily Victoria Solichin (Indonesia), Marco Tabilio (Italy), James Turek (USA), Kilian & Lukas Wilde (Germany). I hope some of you can join me on Tuesday night to celebrate the varied and outstanding work that was shortlisted and to discover who is the final champion!
Posted: December 1, 2013
Manga make a big impression within my recommendations for February 2014 thanks to translations of great, accessible single volumes by Moyoco Anno, about her famous husband and their life together, by Jiro Taniguchi about an Edo-period map-maker, and by Inio Asano in an unsettling psychodrama. As an unapologetic Kirbyphile, I have picked two volumes here which celebrate ‘The King’. I also suggest you look into two less-famous American underground comix creators who get some overdue acclaim - the quirky comedienne M.K. Brown and Bobby London, who helmed the daily Popeye newspaper strip.
If I had to pick just one essential purchase this month, it would have to be Just So Happens by Japanese-born, British-based author Fumio Obata. This beautiful and tender debut grew out of his 4-page entry to the Observer/Cape/Comica Graphic Short Story Prize a few years ago. It didn’t win but it was a finalist, as all of us judges instantly spotted the talent and seed within it. So now it has been carefully nurtured and expanded by him and the Jonathan Cape editorial team into a stunning graphic novel, fusing elements of manga and bandes dessinées into a unique new voice. I’ve read it and I suspect it will be one of my comics of next year. Read my PG Previews here…
Posted: November 30, 2013
Ravi Thornton, author of the acclaimed Cape graphic novel debut The Tale of Brin and Bent and Minnow Marylebone illustrated by Andy Hixon, has written a dark musical based on a true story entitled HOAX: My Lonely Heart. It’s accompanied by a new graphic novel called HOAX: Psychosis Blues, also written by Ravi Thornton and involving such leading creators as Bryan Talbot, Hannah Berry and Mark Stafford. Produced by Pippa Frith in association with the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester and directed by Benji Reid, it opens next June 4th to 7th and here’s the online booking info.
Posted: November 30, 2013
After London, Chicago, Toronto and Brighton, next year’s Graphic Medicine Conference comes to John Hopkins Medical Campus in Baltimore, Maryland from June 24th to 26th. Keynote speakers are Ellen Forney, Arthur W. Frank and Carol Tilley. Here’s the call for papers. Send your proposals by February 14th 2014.
Posted: November 27, 2013
If you’re like me and keen to see where comics and narrative art are heading to next, I’d urge you to support the ambitious 3rd anthology from Mould Map featuring new work by British and international creators including Sammy Harkham and Yuichi Yokoyama. I’ve just pledged and purchased an advance copy. The deadline is coming up on Sunday December 1st and they’re already well on their way to meeting their target. Here’s the Mould Map III Kickstarter link so you can support this too. Gon, go on, go on, and feel that buzz of helping make good comics art things like this happen!
Posted: November 26, 2013
I’ve just given an interview to Comics Bubble about my new book Comics Art from Tate Publishing, and a little bit about my current project, co-curating a major exhibition on British comics for The British Library next summer. Thanks to Richard Graham for the questions and for this photo he took at the Comica Comiket on November 2nd.
Posted: November 25, 2013
Births, burials or ejaculations can be premature, but how about cohabitation? Howard Hardiman knows something of London’s gay escorts, having done a bit of sex work himself. Fascinated by their world and worldview, he began interviewing his friends and developing a play about them, which he eventually realised as The Lengths, a self-published comic, revised and compiled into a graphic novel by Soaring Penguin Press. “Through the interviews, their moments of doubt or fear were never related to conflict, addiction or danger, but hinged on all-too-familiar anxieties about self-worth, attractiveness and missing out. Small, mundane fears. Glimpses of tenderness. These are the stories I’d much rather tell.” Read the rest of this Article and Howard’s brand-new coda strip ‘Premature Cohabitation’ here…
Posted: November 20, 2013
I’m looking forward to an even bigger and better Thought Bubble Festival in Leeds this coming weekend and I’ll be hosting two fascinating fifty-minute panels:
The first is on Saturday afternoon, November 23rd in the Speech Bubble Panel Area, Armouries Square, 1545-1635, (free entry with Saturday/Weekend convention pass, all ages, but please note: Thought Bubble does not control panel content).
Graphic novel publisher SelfMadeHero have invited me to chair three creators in conversation about their working methods. Oscar Zarate, Frederik Peeters and Ilya discuss how they see a graphic novel project through from concept to completion. Revealing three different approaches to graphic novel creation, this is a must-see for artists, writers and anyone interested in the creative process.
Oscar Zarate is the author of The Park and is widely known for his collaborations with Alan Moore, Alexei Sayle and others. Frederik Peeters is the creator of the award-winning science fiction series Aama, which makes its English language debut at Thought Bubble 2013. Ilya is widely known for his work for Marvel, DC, Dark Horse and others; his latest graphic novel, Room For Love is published by SelfMadeHero.
The second is on Sunday afternoon, November 24th, again in the Speech Bubble Panel Area, Armouries Square, 1540-1630, (free entry with Sunday/Weekend convention pass, all ages, but please note: Thought Bubble does not control panel content).
Join me and meet scientists and engineers from the University of Leeds who are launching Dreams of a Low Carbon Future, a graphic novel created in collaboration with comic artists (James McKay’s vision of a all of tomorrow, above), and with writers and schoolchildren. We’ll explore the important issues facing our society today – such as what could happen if we don’t adapt to climate change, and what could utopia actually look like if we somehow get everything right.
Hope to see you there!
Posted: November 19, 2013
With an astonishing seven out of every ten Algerians today under 25 years old, the country’s vast, vibrant youth offer huge potential but can enough opportunities be created to harness this? Meanwhile, it’s little wonder so many look across the Mediterranean and long for Europe. Despite the Euro crisis, economic slump and political storms over immigration, rising comics artist Sofiane Belaskri (21) knows how much Europe remains a promised land to many of his generation, who dream of getting there somehow, even if they risk arrest or worse on the open sea. Belaskri understands them, because he used to be one of them. “Europe is so close, and for them Europe is what they see on TV and in music videos: beautiful lives, beautiful women… But it wouldn’t be like this if Europe hadn’t closed its doors to these young Third World people and they could have visited, seen the truth and come home again. They are only people who have not accepted their daily lives, where each day is full of “emptiness”. They just want a better life.” Read the rest of my Article here…