Eleanor Davis Archives - Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources
We’re a little more than halfway through the year, which makes it the perfect time to pause and separate the truly exemplary comics from the merely mediocre.
Below are six of my favorite comics of the year thus far. Many of them will likely make their way into my final “best of 2014″ list come December, but I reserve the right to completely change my mind between now and then.
In any case, let me know what comics you’ve enjoyed reading thus far (or how crazy I am for forgetting Graphic Novel X) in the comments section.
Lest you mistake Eleanor Davis‘ new collection How to be Happy for a self-help book, she spells out everything in the opening pages. It won’t help a depressed person become less depressed, but Davis does recommend two books that benefited her — a situation we briefly discussed.
I’ve long had an affinity for the Athens, Georgia-based storyteller, whom I first interviewed in 2011. That affection is partly because we live in the same state, but also because her work often strikes me as the comics equivalent of an interpretive dance. I have no other way to describe the core response that her work elicits from me. I look repeatedly at some of the pages in this collection and still find something new each time.
Comics | Liam Burke, editor of the essay collection Fan Phenomena: Batman, discusses the enduring appeal of the Dark Knight, who of course turns 75 this year: “This isn’t a guy who’s from an alien planet, this isn’t someone who was bitten by a radioactive spider. This is an average guy, albeit incredibly wealthy and incredibly intelligent, at the peak of human fitness, but an average guy nonetheless. That sort of aspirational quality has been identified as the reason Batman sort of stands above Spider-Man, Superman or any number of heroes.” [RN Drive]
Publishing | David Harper looks at the economics of monthly creator-owned comics, as well as how trades fit into the picture; for creators, the monthlies provide a regular stream of income so they can always be working on the next issue. Brandon Montclare, Jim Zubkavich and others provide some first-hand commentary on how things work in the real world. [Multiversity Comics]
Conventions | Phoenix Comicon, which in 2013 drew a record 55,000 people, has placed a limit on attendance for the June 5-8 show, raising the possibility that the convention could sell out for the first time. However, convention director Matt Solberg said organizers have been working with the fire marshal to increase capacity at the Phoenix Convention Center. This year’s guests include Andy Kubert, Andy Runton, Camilla d’Errico, Chris Claremont, Christopher Golden, Dennis Calero, Don Rosa, Francis Manapul, John Layman, Katie Cook, Kevin Maguire, Marc Andreyko and Mark Bagley. [Facebook, via Modern Times]
Manga | Lillian Diaz Przybyl, who was the senior editor at Tokyopop until shortly before its demise, talks about her early days in fandom, her experiences at the company when it was a market leader, and the issue of piracy and creators’ rights. She also sheds some light on why the manga publishers were so slow to go to digital: The Japanese licensors were reluctant to put content from different publishers together and worried that their books would be re-imported back to Japan. [Organization Anti-Social Geniuses]
This as-yet-untitled book will be Davis’ first major work since 2009′s The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook from Bloomsbury Children’s. In that time the cartoonist has created extensive shorter works for Fantagraphics’ Mome anthology as well as for Little House Comics, the boutique publishing imprint she co-owns with her husband Drew Weing.
Editorial cartoons | Michael Cavna interviews Sacramento Bee editorial cartoonist Jack Ohman about Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s demand that the newspaper apologize for an April 25 cartoon in which the politician is depicted boasting that “Business is booming in Texas!” beneath a banner that reads, “Low Tax! Low Regs!,” juxtaposed with an image of the deadly fertilizer-plant explosion in West, Texas. “It was with extreme disgust and disappointment I viewed your recent cartoon,” Perry wrote in a letter to the editor. “While I will always welcome healthy policy debate, I won’t stand for someone mocking the tragic deaths of my fellow Texans and our fellow Americans.” Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has reportedly called for Ohman to be fired.
Eleanor Davis, the creator of the kids’ graphic novels The Secret Science Alliance and The Copycat Crook and Stinky, has also illustrated Crescent Dragonwagon’s new cookbook, Beans and Greens. You don’t have to like either to enjoy Davis’s whimsical illustrations, with their charmingly retro green-and-white color scheme; these drawings will tickle even the most dedicated carnivore.
Because then I could have enjoyed two years’ worth of Eleanor Davis’ absurdly proficient “sketches,” comics, illustrations and more instead of having to catch up with them all at once.
Wait. “Having” to catch up with them all at once? Isn’t it more like getting to catch up with them all at once? When it’s someone with Davis’s level of chops we’re talking about, what the hell am I complaining for?
(hat tip: Zack Soto)
One of the more notable news stories of the week was the announcement by Mome editor (and Fantagraphics co-publisher) Eric Reynolds that the quarterly anthology would come to an end with the release of the 22nd volume later this year.
The series has had a rather remarkable and distinguished run since its inception in 2005. In addition to featuring work by such notable cartoonists like Jim Woodring and Gilbert Hernandez, it’s served as a publishing venue to highlight the work of up and coming artists like Laura Park, Tom Kaczynski and Sara Edward-Corbett, as well as introduce American readers to work by notable European creators like Emile Bravo and Sergio Ponchione.
As a memorial of sorts for the anthology’s oncoming demise, I thought I’d attempt to put together a quick list of my own favorite stories from Mome. This was a tough list to put together actually, and there are a number of names I feel a bit guilty for leaving off, but I’m sure you all can duly chastise me for my omissions in the comments section.
Joey Weiser is giving readers a variety of choices in order to read his latest work. In catching up on Weiser’s work, you currently have three choices: Cavemen in Space (distributed by AdHouse [PDF preview here]), Mermin (his mini-comic series with two issues released so far about an adorable fish-boy); or Monster Isle (his weekly webcomic, which he told me, was “inspired by Japanese Kaiju monsters, and it’s a lot of fun to make”). The bulk of our interview focuses upon Cavemen in Space (“A caveman named Washington and his prehistoric tribe have been torn from their era and placed aboard ‘The Wheel,’ a futuristic space laboratory…”)–but we also touch briefly upon the initial response to Mermin. My thanks to Weiser for taking the time to discuss his work.
Tim O’Shea: The main appeal to Cavemen in Space (for me) is that many of the Cavemen–transported to a future time, become accustomed to the new world/dynamics to varying degrees. Had you always intended to have that juxtaposition–or was that a nuance to the characters that evolved as the story developed? I was really pleased with the character arcs for Madison and Jefferson.
Joey Weiser: In this case, I came up with the characters first, and the story just formed around them. I wanted to work with a large cast and give them all stories that intertwined. The goofy concept of Cavemen in Space is obviously playing with opposites, so that was a core part of the characters and from that I realized how they would interact with each other and what developments I would want them to have by the end of the book.
The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean, has won the prestigious Newbery Medal for the most distinguished contribution to children’s literature.
The award was announced this morning at the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting in Denver.
He quickly followed that comment with this slighly less subdued one: “Newbery, not Newbury. Also FUCK!!!! I won the FUCKING NEWBERY THIS IS SO FUCKING AWESOME. I thank you.”
Released in September in the U.S. by HarperCollins, the young-adult fantasy centers on a boy who takes refuge in a cemetery after the murder of his parents. There, he’s adopted and befriended by ghosts.
Davis’ Stinky is about a monster who is terrified of people, and concocts crazy plans to scare a kid away from his swamp.