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There’s six hours to go to back Sequart’s She Makes Comics documentary! The film has already hit it’s base goal of $41,500, and it’s stretch goal of $50,000, giving them the opportunity to make a 15 minute bonus documentary about Jackie Ormes, the first African-American woman cartoonist. Now they’re hoping to close with $55,000 so that they can upgrade all the DVDs and digital downloads to a Special Edition with over 150 minutes of extras, including:
Audio commentary
Extended interviews
Two short intro-to-making-comics featurettes (one for writers and one for artists), featuring some of the biggest writers and artists in comics today giving practical advice on how to get started making your own comics!
All they need to reach that goal is another $2,422, just slightly over $400 an hour. And all it takes to receive the (potentially Special Edition) digital download is just $20! So if 121 of you have been on the fence about backing, or have just plum forgot until now, what are you waiting for?? You’ve got until 3am EST.

There’s six hours to go to back Sequart’s She Makes Comics documentary! The film has already hit it’s base goal of $41,500, and it’s stretch goal of $50,000, giving them the opportunity to make a 15 minute bonus documentary about Jackie Ormes, the first African-American woman cartoonist. Now they’re hoping to close with $55,000 so that they can upgrade all the DVDs and digital downloads to a Special Edition with over 150 minutes of extras, including:

  • Audio commentary
  • Extended interviews
  • Two short intro-to-making-comics featurettes (one for writers and one for artists), featuring some of the biggest writers and artists in comics today giving practical advice on how to get started making your own comics!

All they need to reach that goal is another $2,422, just slightly over $400 an hour. And all it takes to receive the (potentially Special Edition) digital download is just $20! So if 121 of you have been on the fence about backing, or have just plum forgot until now, what are you waiting for?? You’ve got until 3am EST.

If you are like me, your life revolves around comics, the women who make them, and documentaries. There have been many fine comics documentaries, some of which have included or even been about ladies, but the Sequart Organization has teamed up with director Marisa Stotter of Respect Films to produce what is shaping up to be the best one yet!

She Makes Comics “will celebrate eighty years of female creators telling amazing stories in comics. From early superhero artists like Ramona Fradon to iconoclastic 60s creators like Joyce Farmer, from 80s innovators like Karen Berger to present day writers like Kelly Sue DeConnick, the film will let female creators tell their stories.” The film will also pay significant attention to female fandom and the history and evolution thereof (with stats and such from former DC editor Janelle Asselin who did her graduate thesis on the subject!)

But of course, there is the pesky business of needing the funds to complete it. That’s where you (via Kickstarter) come in. It’s already 26% funded after only three days. Beyond the standard rewards of a shoutout in the credits, a digital copy and/or DVD of the finished film, posters and T-shirts and such, you can also potentially get yourself drawn into a book about the history of women in comics by Jill Thompson or Colleen Doran! Or, if you are an aspiring creator, you can get your script/pitch reviewed by Janelle Asselin!

So come join all these awesome people (as well as backers such as Jimmy Palmiotti, Fred Van Lente, and Dean Haspiel to name but a few) and support what promises to be an incredible look at the latest and greatest of women comics creators as well as fans like you.

Webcomics Wednesday
White Noise by Melinda Timpone

White Noise is a full color webcomic, a scifi, post apocalyptic, super hero kinda thing. The story follows Wren, who has left his home in the Deadlands after an attack by the mysterious group known as the Herald. He’s made his way to the States, where he must keep his origins a secret or risk elimination by their uncompromising justice system, while he tries to decide on a course of action. He also has a tail! And certain freaky abilities

You can follow Melinda (and the comic itself) on Tumblr at madsniperd!

Webcomics Wednesday

White Noise by Melinda Timpone

White Noise is a full color webcomic, a scifi, post apocalyptic, super hero kinda thing. The story follows Wren, who has left his home in the Deadlands after an attack by the mysterious group known as the Herald. He’s made his way to the States, where he must keep his origins a secret or risk elimination by their uncompromising justice system, while he tries to decide on a course of action. He also has a tail! And certain freaky abilities

You can follow Melinda (and the comic itself) on Tumblr at madsniperd!

Due to both the forthcoming Peggy Carter TV series and my recent introduction to The Bletchley Circle (watch it!), I’ve been in a real mood for stories about awesome ladies doing awesome things in World War II. Reading up on Catel’s biography of Rose Valland has added to that.

While debating the merits of ordering a copy from Canada, I read the two preview pages Catel has on her website. I then took the liberty of translating them to share with you all! Enjoy!

ProFile Friday

Catherine Muller, known as Catel, is a French writer and artist.

When she was 12, Catel discovered the works of Claire Bretécher, one of the first female cartoonists in France, sparking her ambition to become a comics artist. She graduated from the l’École supérieure des arts décoratifs (School of Decorative Arts) in Strasbourg. She began her career children’s books, published by Hachette, Epigoni, Nathan, and Dupuis Hatier. Her work includes about fifty illustrated books, some of which were selections of the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. She also illustrated L’Encyclo des filles (The Girls’ Encyclopedia) published by Plon.

Catel first branched into adult media in 2000 by writing scripts for the television show “Un gars, une fille” (“A guy, a girl,”) while continuing with the series Luciewhich she calls “the French Bridget Jones”, opening the way for more comics with certain contemporary female concerns. In 2005, she won the Audience Award at the Angoulême festival for the World War I-set graphic novel Le Sang des Valentines (Blood of Valentines) illustrated and written in collaboration with Christian De Metter.

Over the course of her career, Catel has created or co-created several books about famous or important women, starting with singer Edith Piaf, an eponymous book co-created with José-Louis Bocquet. Her next book, also with Bocquet, Kiki de Montparnasse, about the early 20th century actress, model, and artist, received the Grand Prix RTL in 2007 and the Prix-Essential FNAC station in Angoulême 2008.

With Claire Bouilhac and Emmanuelle Polac, she drew a book about the art historian and French Resistance member Rose Valland. With writer Philippe Paringaux, she created Dolor, about actress Mireille Balin, which was selected out of competition at the Angoulême Festival 2010 and was awarded the “thunderbolt” at the “Bulles en Nord” festival. Her third collaboration with José-Louis Bocquet, Olympe de Gouges, a biography of the 18th century French feminist and author of the Declaration of the Rights of Woman and Citizen, won the the Grand Prix Littéraire de l’Héroïne Madame Figaro 2012 in the category Biographies/Documentaries.

Her first solo biographical work, Ainsi soit Benoîte Groult, was inspired by her friendship with Groult, a respected French feminist novelist. It received the 2014 Prix Artémisia for exceptional comics work by women.

Currently, Catel is working on Lilac Kharkov with Claire Bouilhac, the story of the mother of actress Mylène Demongeot, who had escaped the Russian Civil War. She also started her next graphic novel with Bocquet, on the life of Josephine Baker. 

Catel’s only work currently available in English is Lucie s’en soucie (as Bluesy Lucy) and Kiki de Montparnasse, and I hoped by profiling her here, I could help in some small way to bring some attention and spur some interest in bringing more of her work over. (I for one think it’s a shame the Rose Valland book won’t be available when The Monuments Men movie comes out, in which Valland is played by Cate Blanchett).

And, just throwing this out there, I happen to speak French.

Webcomics Wednesday

What It Takes by KEZ

Six years after the human race is nearly destroyed in a complete clusterfuck of circumstance, those that are left have to figure out how to survive in a world they never anticipated outside of nightmares. With over 97% of the global population dead, the majority of cities are are empty, and those still occupied are controlled by gangs warring for control of limited resources. The modern world has ceased to exist, and the weak are exploited by the strong. In short, there is no government, no comforts, and no place for compassion in the cruel, new world. But there is hope. A City in a Place (or rather, A SIT-E in APPLEYS) is said to have an elected government, working technology, and the ability to protect its resources. The City is also looking for new recruits…so long as they meet certain qualifiications. Too bad everyone wants what they’ve got!

Colbey is a martial artist who survives the end of the world. Armed with knowledge, experience and a machete, she is searching through what’s left for a man named Peter Wolfe. 

KEZ makes me look like a total slob, she runs two webcomics (one of which just ended and she is adapting into a prose novel) while in medical school. She also wrote her undergraduate thesis on The Art of Webcomics! Can you say “coolest doctor ever”? She is also a self-described “netflix addict and Terry Pratchett junkie.” You can find her here on Tumblr as kezhound.

ProFile Friday

Faith Erin Hicks is a Canadian comics creator/cartoonist from Halifax, Nova Scotia. Born in British Columbia, Hicks moved to Ontario at age five. She was homeschooled with her three brothers. After studying animation at Sheridan College, she drew backgrounds to the George of the Jungle animated series.

She first came to prominence as a cartoonist with her long-running webcomic Demonology 101, which she worked on all through college. After it ended, Hicks created a short spinoff of the D101 character Sachs entitled A Distant Faith.  Her first traditionally published graphic novel was the zombie-movie inspired comic, Zombies Calling, published by Slave Labor Graphics in 2007, which was soon followed by the boarding school fantasy The War at Ellsmere in 2008. 

She continued doing webcomics, including the dystopian comic Ice (originally published on Modern Tales) which ran from 2003 to 2010. She also worked briefly in traditional comic strip publishing with the 12-part Jenny Has Six Brothers, serialized in the Halifax Chronicle-Herald. She combined the two approaches when she launches The Adventures of Superhero Girl in 2010, serializing it both online and in the Halifax free weekly The Coast. A collection was published by Dark Horse in 2013

Hicks has also collaborated with writers on a number of projects. In 2010, she drew Brain Camp, written by Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan, published by First Second. In 2012, she collaborated with writer J. Torres on Bigfoot Boy: Into the Woods for a Canadian children’s publisher. In 2013, she adapted Prudence Shen’s unpublished novel Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong for First Second. She has also taken licensed work, such as a Nextwave short story in Marvel’s Girl Comics anthology, and Dark Horse’s adaptation of the video game The Last of Us (the comic is subtitled American Dreams), written by the game’s writer, Neil Druckmann.

Hicks’s origins in webcomics has stayed with her throughout her thriving print career; she frequently serializes her comics online before its print publication, including 2012’s Friends with Boys and Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong. The success of those books has led publisher First Second to serialize other graphic novels ahead of publication as well. Bone cartoonist Jeff Smith has referred to the process as “the Faith Erin Hicks model,” and plans to do a series of his own that way.

For future projects, Hicks has expressed a desire to do a historical fantasy comic based in Asian history.

The Ladies Making Comics Manifesto

You may have heard that sundry idiots as well as some people who should know better saying ignorant crap about fans and characters who are not straight white men, refer to one of the most prolific and talented cartoonists working today as “some girl named Faith Erin Hicks”, and irritate the hell out of my history nerdery by asserting that Joan of Arc was the only medieval female knight.

Some good Twitter rage got going, which ultimately led to the following exchange:

As part of my never-ending quest to make this blog be the best it can be, I got it in my head a couple weeks ago to write a manifesto or mission statement for the purpose of keeping it straight in my head what I want to do and accomplish here. Now seems like a good time to put it out there.

Ladies Making Comics is dedicated to the unique power of the graphic narrative as a tool of women’s expression throughout the past, present, and future of the medium.

We celebrate the women, from all walks of life, who have embraced the comics form for its ability to tell their stories, from deeply personal autobiography, to fantastical heroics, to the unmentionable topics of politics, religion, and sex, and who push boundaries artistic, narrative, and social. 

We believe in liberating women’s voices from obscurity, both past and present, and to challenge the entrenched narrative of comics history. We affirm that the history of comics is more than the story of the establishment of the current industry with a few independent and international curios. Instead, it is the story of both the symbiosis and conflict between industry and art, the cycle of influence among artists and movements worldwide, of its gains and losses, successes and failures, and the struggle of perception by non-readers. Women (as well as other historically under-represented groups) have been deeply involved throughout, and should be understood as an inherent, not ancillary, part of this evolution of the medium.

We hope, in some small way, to be on the vanguard of a creative revolution that topples the two-company monopoly, the insularity of the readership, and national and linguistic borders, so that the full scope and potential of the comics medium is laid bare. In doing so, we hope to encourage reevaluation of comics beyond the existing industry-centric perspective, and bring brilliant voices of women and other under-represented groups out from the shadows.

While this statement was written merely as my vision for this blog, it encompasses my sincerest hopes and dreams for the medium as a whole, including its critics, historians, and blogosphere. I welcome anyone and everyone to adopt and adapt it for their own use.

Especially if you’re a publisher ;)

Webcomics Wednesday
A Redtail’s Dream by Minna Sundberg

"A Redtail’s Dream" is a webcomic telling the tale of a young man and his dog on a very much involuntary journey on the other side of the Bird’s Path, in an artificially created dream existence. As the only ones aware of their unusual situation, the duo has been given the task of bringing their fellow villagers back into their own reality before their souls are passed on to the realms of Tuonela. And the two are attempting to do so with zero enthusiasm.

Available in English and Finnish!

Webcomics Wednesday

A Redtail’s Dream by Minna Sundberg

"A Redtail’s Dream" is a webcomic telling the tale of a young man and his dog on a very much involuntary journey on the other side of the Bird’s Path, in an artificially created dream existence. As the only ones aware of their unusual situation, the duo has been given the task of bringing their fellow villagers back into their own reality before their souls are passed on to the realms of Tuonela. And the two are attempting to do so with zero enthusiasm.

Available in English and Finnish!

REVIEW: A Distant Soil vol. 1: The Gathering by Colleen Doran

Princes and monarchs will contend
Who first unto your land shall send
And pawn the jewels of the crown
To call your distant soil their own.
—Henry David Thoreau

This weekend, I attended Boston Comic Con at which the talented Colleen Doran was a guest. Doran was literally the first woman in comic books I ever encountered, when I began reading The Sandman when I was 16 (though technically, both Jenette Kahn and Karen Berger’s names were on those books as well).

Her art struck me deeply even then, back when I barely grasped comics art and admittedly spent more time on the words than the pictures. In the third volume, Dream Country, she and Neil Gaiman reimagined the Element Girl’s existence as a tragedy. The Element Girl constructs a synthetic face from the elements so she could enjoy meeting an old friend for lunch, only to have it fall into her food— of course that sequence itself was memorable, but Doran was also able to clearly draw in the friend’s face confusion, horror, and concern in one expression, in just one panel. And Doran’s miniseries with J. Michael Straczynski, The Book of Lost Souls (soon to return, at long last, from Image Comics), was one of the first comics I started buying in issues, and the first I bought for the artist.

So it confuses even me to realize that I’ve previously never read more than a few dozen pages into A Distant Soil, Doran’s most famous work. It has been available for free on her website for as long as I can remember but whether due to my short attention span or continued attachment to paper, it just hasn’t gotten read. But I have been anticipating the definitive re-issue ever since it was first announced, and have followed the travails of the restoration process: learning the printer had destroyed the original negatives, tracking down long-sold off art, hiring restorationist Allan Harvey, and a generous gift of a high-resolution scanner and computer with the necessary processing power from JMS are but a few of the peaks and valleys. All told, the restoration has cost upwards of $100,000.

I was able to pick up a copy early at Boston Comic Con from Doran herself, and I think Doran and Image should not have too much trouble earning that back. (Full review under the cut.)

Read More

Black Widow: Agent of SHIELD by Thea Rodgers (after Steranko)

Black Widow: Agent of SHIELD by Thea Rodgers (after Steranko)

Kelly Sue DeConnick's Advice on Getting Started in Comics

  • : Find a collaborator and start producing mini-comics;
  • : Produce a full-length script;
  • : Read as many scripts as you can get your hands on -- here's a free resource http://www.comicbookscriptarchive.com/archive/
  • : Take your favorite comics and reverse engineer them -- try to produce the script that would have resulted in that book;
  • : Take the worst comic you can find and reverse engineer it. What went wrong?
  • : Pick three artists whose work you admire and whose styles are different. :Write the same short script for those three different artists. Analyze your choices;
  • : Read books on craft.

ProFile Friday

Shelli Paroline (born September 30, 1983) is an American cartoonist, best known for her work on the Adventure Time tie-in comics.

Paroline attended Massachusetts College of Art and Design, earning her BFA in Studio for Interrelated Media in 2006. The same year, she co-founded the Boston Comics Roundtable, a collective for comics creators to socialize, find collaborators, and discuss projects. She has contributed to their Inbound anthology and helped to organize MICE, the Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo.

At Boom Studios, she has worked on such properties as Muppet Snow White and Ice Age. In 2012, Boom announced that she (along with husband and collaborator Braden Lamb) would be on art duties for the newly-licensed Adventure Time. The series was a great success, and at San Diego Comic-Con 2013 Paroline won an Eisner Award when it was awarded “Best Publication for Young Readers”.

Her independent work includes “The Trouble Is”, “The Potter’s Pet”, “Higher Ground”, and a Star Wars fan minicomic trilogy. She also drew Tricky Fox Tales for Graphic Universe.

For my first post-SDCC post, it seems appropriate to celebrate a newly-minted Eisner-winner! And she’ll be at Boston Comic Con next weekend!

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