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Comics A.M. | WonderCon sells out of Saturday, 3-Day Badges

WonderCon

WonderCon

Conventions | With just a day to go until WonderCon kicks off in Anaheim, California, Saturday and three-day passes have sold out. Although Friday and Sunday badges are still available, organizers recommend they be purchased in advance online, rather than at the door. Additional passes will likely become available as cancellations and refunds are processed. [Toucan]

Conventions | Bill Baker talks to Asbury Park Comicon organizer Cliff Galbraith about what to expect at this weekend’s event. [The Morton Report]

Conventions | Renatt Kuenzi files a report on this month’s Fumetto International Comix Festival, which co-director Marta Nawrocka describes as “a festival for exhibitors and artists – not a fair with stands and people dressed in suits.” Part of the challenge for organizers of the festival, which featured work by Art Spiegelman, Joe Sacco, Swiss artist Bastien Gachet, and Arab artists Mohamed Shennawy and Lena Merhej, among others, was to combat the German-Swiss prejudice that comics are “juvenile.” [SwissInfo]

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New video takes you inside the heads of five webcomics creators

Nicholas Gurewitch

Nicholas Gurewitch

Have you ever wondered what goes through the mind of Nicholas Gurewitch as he is creating The Perry Bible Fellowship, or Andrew Hussie when he works on Homestuck? Check out the short (7:39) video The Rise of Webcomics, part of PBS’s “Off Book” series, that features interviews with Gurewitch, Hussie, Christina Xu (Breadpig), Sam Brown (Exploding Dog) and Lucy Knisley (Stop Paying Attention), along with snippets from lots of other webcomics.

It’s fast-paced and entertaining, and there are some interesting insights from the creators as well as some webcomics you may not have seen before.

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Inside First Second with Calista Brill and Colleen AF Venable

Calista Brill and Colleen AF Venable

Calista Brill and Colleen AF Venable

Since its launch in 2006, First Second has built a solid reputation as a publisher of high-quality graphic novels: Gene Luen Yang’s American Born Chinese, Emmanuel Guibert’s The Photographer, Mark Siegel’s Sailor Twain, and Jorge Aguirre and Rafael Rosado’s Giants Beware testify to both the breadth and the quality of the company’s line.

I was offered the opportunity to interview editor Calista Brill and designer Colleen AF Venable about the past year at First Second and what we can expect in 2013, but I couldn’t resist the temptation to sneak in some questions about the nuts and bolts of working with creators and editing graphic novels.

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Comic-Con apologizes for online registration problems

Comic-Con International

Comic-Con International

Conventions | Comic-Con International organizers have issued a statement regarding the technical problems many experienced Saturday while attempting to purchase badges for this year’s event: “Comic-Con badge sales opened this past Saturday and while the allotted badges were processed there was clearly an issue with some customers experiencing a frozen screen. We, along with Epic registration, are in the process of investigating this and hope to have an answer as to what occurred. Please know that we take this issue very seriously and offer our sincere apology for those who found themselves in this predicament. Thank you for your understanding in what we know was a very difficult experience for many.” Badges sold out in a little more than 90 minutes. [Comic-Con International]

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Previews: What Looks Good for April

It’s time once again for our monthly trip through Previews looking for cool, new comics. We’ve each picked the five comics we’re most anticipating in order to create a list of the best new stuff coming out two months from now.

As usual, please feel free to play along in the comments. Tell us what we missed that you’re looking forward to or – if you’re a comics creator – mention your own stuff.

Crater XV

Graeme McMillan

Crater XV HC (Top Shelf, $19.95): I’ve been following (and loving) the serialization of Kevin Cannon’s follow-up to Far Arden in the digital pages of Double Barrel, but I know that I’ll be picking up this hardcover collection of the further adventures of sea dog Rusty Shanks nonetheless. The Canadian space program deserves no less.

In The Days of the Mob HC (DC Comics, $39.99): To say that Kirby’s 1970s take on the organized-crime world of the 1930s is something I’ve been longing to read since I first discovered its existence would be an understatement, so I’m definitely looking forward to this deluxe reprint, complete with material that wasn’t in the original edition.

Indigo Prime: Anthropocalypse TP (Rebellion/2000AD, $24.99): John Smith’s cosmic authorities are one of comics’ most secret treasures, I think, especially when he’s paired with an artist like Edmund Bagwell, who brings a wonderful Euro-Kirby influence to the stories in this collection. Really looking forward to this one.

Relish: My Life in the Kitchen GN (First Second, $17.99): As a sucker for good autobiographical comics and also good food writing, the idea of Lucy Knisley creating a food-centric memoir — complete with recipes! — is far too good to ignore. I love that publishers like First Second are publishing work like this.

Solo Deluxe Edition HC (DC Comics, $49.99): Even though I own most of these issues from their original appearance, the oversized hardcover format is waaaay too tempting when you consider some of the material this book has up its 500+ page sleeve: Paul Pope covering Kirby! Brendan McCarthy channeling Ditko as only he could! The amazing Darwyn Cooke issue! The only thing that could make this better would be if it included work completed on follow-up issues before the plug had been pulled … But maybe that can appear in a second volume, one day…

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Here’s a Lucy Knisley hat trick

Lucy Knisley has three things to delight us this week.

First, a new episode of her seldom-updated webocomic Stop Paying Attention, in which little Lucy asks the big questions while playing with her toys. It’s a wonderful comic, philosophical without being dry or boring.

Second, she has written and illustrated an essay on The New Life of the Comic Book for The American Reader, which is a nice overview of the whole world of comics, sharpened with her own experiences.

And third, she has a process post explaining how she did the main illustration for the article, from concept (and unflattering photo) to finished product. It’s a fun peek at her work process, and a nice addition to the article.

Free Comic Book Day: What to look out for

Today is Free Comic Book Day, and here’s a rundown of some of the comics that caught my interest. If you want to check ‘em out before you go, CBR has previews of many of the FCBD titles. (My FCBD comics came from my favorite Boston comics shop, Comicopia.)

Hands down, the one comic everybody wants is Archaia’s hardback anthology, which includes brand-new stories from six of their titles: Mouse Guard, Labyrinth, Return of the Dapper Men, Rust, Cursed Pirate Girl, and Cow Boy. The stories stand on their own but also tie in to the books in clever ways; the Mouse Guard story is a puppet show, and the Rust story features a boy writing a letter to his father (as his older brother does in the book). This book is a keeper; it even has a nameplate inside the front cover. Here’s a list of where Archaia creators will be doing book signings this FCBD.

BOOM! Studios has a nice flipbook with several Adventure Time comics on one side and Peanuts on the other. The Peanuts comics are mildly funny, but the Adventure Time side is edgier and features extra stories by Lucy Knisley and Michael DeForge. The stories are colorful and lively, and DeForge’s contribution, about a bacon ecosystem that supports tiny breakfast organisms, is downright surreal.

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A peek at the editor’s desk at First Second

As a former editor myself, I was naturally drawn to Calista Brill’s first-hand account of a day in the life of a First Second editor at the company blog. But as I was reading it, I kept going, “Hey, wait! They’re publishing that?!

Like, I didn’t realize First Second was publishing a new book by Jillian and Mariko Tamaki, the creators of Skim. But here it is: Awago Beach Babies, due out next year. And Calista shows off some tiny samples of art from the book she is currently editing, Relish, a book about food by Lucy Knisley, which seems like the perfect project for Lucy and a bit of a departure for First Second.

Another project I didn’t know about — but that I’ll be following from now on — is Jerusalem, written by filmmaker Boaz Yakin and illustrated by Nick Bertozzi. It’s the story of a Jewish family at the time when Israel was just becoming an independent country. Also coming up: new books from Gene Luen Yang and Paul Pope and a sequel to their popular anthology Nursery Rhyme Comics, this one featuring fairy tales.

With a lineup like that, being an editor at First Second is my new dream job, even if the microwave in their kitchen isn’t working properly. (Here’s a recent CBR interview with Calista and her boss, Mark Siegel, that mentions a few of these projects.)

Lucy Knisley gets ‘Scaredcited’ (with a little help from her fans)

From "Scaredcited," by Lucy Knisley

Getting into the Halloween spirit, Lucy Knisley has posted a terrific two-page comic called “Scaredcited,” a crowdsourcing experiment. “I asked my twitter followers (LucyKnisley) to send me a deep fear of theirs along with their photo in order to incorporate them into the second page,” she writes. “It’s sort-of auto-bio-for-everyone. [...] One thing that struck me as I was drawing out the page was that so many of us share specific fears. Drawing everyone in a place where we all faced our fears was really comforting. At least we’re all in it together.”

Lucy Knisley pays attention to Harry Potter

Lucy Knisley (Stop Paying Attention) has created a series of posters, each abridging one of the Harry Potter books. You can see the first four on her LiveJournal and the first three are available as prints.

What Are You Reading?

Here at Hogwarts

Welcome to What Are You Reading?, our weekly discussion about the comics we here at Robot 6 have been checking out lately. Today’s special guest is Lauren Davis, who blogs about webcomics at Storming the Tower and io9, and is the editor of the San Francisco comics anthology The Comic Book Guide to the Mission.

To see what Lauren and the Robot 6 gang have been reading lately, click below …

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Comics A.M. | February’s record low, skepticism about digital plans

Green Lantern #62

Publishing | February brought a noteworthy, if unwanted, record for the direct market: The lowest-ever top title on record. Green Lantern #62 led Diamond Comic Distributors’ Top 300 with an estimated 71,500 copies, 18,400 less than the previous record holder. Chart watcher John Jackson Miller writes, “For the first time, we probably cannot say that when all reorders and newsstand sales are added, the total will be above 100,000 — although we certainly would expect its eventual readership to go above that mark given reprint editions (to say nothing of digital).”

DC’s $29.99 Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne deluxe hardcover helped to push year-over-year dollars sales up 6.92 percent, offsetting a slight decline in periodicals to and nudging combined sales up .94 percent. “Sales of those ‘long tail’ titles below the Top 300 masked a weakness at the top of the list,” ICv2 notes. “Unit numbers at the top of both the periodical and graphic novel lists were some of the lowest since ICv2 has been tracking comic sales.” [ICv2.com]

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Start Reading Now: Stop Paying Attention

Lucy Knisley’s webcomics version of It Gets Better has been getting some much-deserved linkery; this one is aimed at all 16-year-olds, straight and gay, and it’s dead on (although her experiences are a bit more extreme than most). What I didn’t realize until I went to look at it, though, is that Knisley draws a regular webcomic, Stop Paying Attention. She only updates twice a month, but this is no three-panel gag strip; each self-contained episode is a full-page, full-disclosure look at a life issue that usually manages to be funny, painful, and truthful all at once. In between these episodes, according to her bio, Knisley (the author of French Milk) is working on a graphic novel about food for First Second; my day has already gotten better thanks to that news.

Lucy Knisley’s ’30 Wonder Women’

"30 Wonder Women," by Lucy Knisley

“30 Wonder Women” by Lucy Knisley. This is a photograph of an almost-finished painting Knisley is doing, presumably for the  Wonder Woman Day art auction to benefit domestic violence programs.


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