The Guardian reports on the death of French comics artist Moebius (Jean Giraud):
The artist Jean Giraud was principally known for his work on comic books under two pen names. As Gir, the co-creator of Blueberry, one of France’s most popular strips, his brushwork was detailed and realistic; as Moebius, he used intricate, visually arresting penwork to explore the subconscious in his creations Arzach, Le Garage Hermétique (The Airtight Garage) and L’Incal (The Incal). But Giraud, who has died of cancer aged 73, had an impact on the visual arts that went beyond comics. He was seen as a figurehead linking bandes dessinées with modernism and nouveau réalisme. As the co-creator of Métal Hurlant magazine, he took comics to an older, more literate audience. In cinema, his fans ranged from Federico Fellini to Hayao Miyazaki and his style influenced dozens of others, including Ridley Scott, George Lucas, James Cameron and Luc Besson. – read the full obituary
World Comics is a Finnish NGO (Non-Governmental Organisation) working around the world, organising comics workshops, lectures and exhibitions.
The concept of grassroots comics
A low-tech communication tool for activists – Community activists can use grassroots comics as an inexpensive communication tool to put forward their views.
Activists, who have very little or no experience from drawing, can in a few days learn how to produce grassroots comics.
It is the story, its drama and how it is presented, which is central, not the drawing skill. The activists’ passion and engagement in the issue at hand are evident in the stories they produce.
The main format is the wallposter comic, which is made by joining two ordinary-sized photocopies. The activists, who normally have no or little access to mainstream media, can make the grassroots comics their own medium.
The grassroots comics are cheap and quick to produce: only pens, paper and photocopying are needed. And, of course, a good story!
The distribution is important. The wallposters can be pasted up in places such as hotels, bus stops, clinics, schools, road-side food stalls, beauty parlors, barber shops, etc.
Grassroots comics have been used by organisations to focus on different issues, such as racism, sexual harassment, girl child rights, school drop-outs, hiv/aids, sanitation, and right to education. These are just a few examples. Any issue, on which one can make a story, can be expressed through grassroots comics.
There is also a selection of samples of local work from around the world on this page.
Lavie Tidhar’s latest book, the picture book Going To The Moon, about a boy with Tourette’s Syndrome who wants to become an astronaut, is now available. Lavie is interviewed over at SF Signal, who also review the book.
Photo (c) Sandy Auden 2012
From Paul Weimer’s review:
Going to the Moon is the story of a young boy named Jimmy who wants to be an astronaut. He wants to go to the Moon. Jimmy also doesn’t want to have to fight his constant, taxing struggle against the Tourette’s syndrome that dominates his life. He doesn’t like the dance-like involuntary movements it causes in him. He’s bullied, in the way young people who are different are often bullied. The corprolaia of Toruette’s syndrome means that he involuntarily uses curse words, even though he doesn’t want to. As such, the book doesn’t shy away from trangressive words. Words I can’t use in this review.
The real heart and soul of the book is found in the pictures by Paul McCaffrey. They are beautifully and colorfully drawn. But there’s more to the book than just Lavie’s words and the pictures. Like the best picture books, the text and the images engage and interpolate with each other, in a dialogue that makes the book stronger for that interaction. The theme of aliens (and Jimmy himself is definitely an alien in some ways) is reflected in the imagery much more than the text. To cite another example, the use of curse words in exclamation in the imagery reminds me of the innovative subtitles in the movie Night Watch.
And the end brought tears to my eyes as the reader figures out what Jimmy and the friend he makes are too young to realize. Curse you, Lavie Tidhar…your audacity strikes me again.
It’s not a book you’d want to read to your children, because of the language. Although its about a young boy and his concerns, its a book for adults. And it moved me. It will move you, too. – read the review, or interview!
In 1981, comics writer Alejandro Jodorowsky teamed up with French comic artist legend Moebius and created a new French comic serial called The Incal, (allegedly salvaging a bunch of material Jodorowsky created for an aborted film adaptation of Dune). The Incal‘s story is barely comprehensible, a mystical, satirical space-opera that anticipates many of cyberpunk’s tropes. But the story isn’t the point of The Incal. Reading Self-Made Hero’s new English edition of Incal is an exciting and delightful experience for reasons having nothing at all to do with the consistency or comprehensibility of its plot. – continue reading.
Via Rocket Kapre:
The mysterious steampunk comic book collaboration between myself [Paolo Chikiamco] and the wonderful Hannah Buena has now been released! Flipside Komix has published “High Society” (formerly “Kataastaasan“) onAmazon as a Kindle comic. It’s an alternative history story that mixes automata, Philippine folklore, and the British invasion of Manila in the 1760s. It’s also the first comic book story set in the world of the “Wooden War”, which was also the setting of my story in Philippine Speculative Fiction 6.
There’s not a lot of Philippine steampunk stories out there (I’m eagerly awaiting “The Marvelous Adventures of the Amazing Doctor Rizal”), and none that mix it up with Philippine mythology quite the way that Hannah and I do here, so if that interests you, please do buy a copy!
Bombastic Element reports on a new DC superhero – Batwing, “spawned from Bruce Wayne’s desire to franchise the Batman name across the globe.”
Batwing’s name is David Zamvimbi from Tinasha in the DRC and he will be wearing the cape for the time being as “Africa’s Batman“. Batwing Issue #1was part of DC comics’ historic relaunch of 52 of its titles last week, resetting those books’ clocks back to issue one.
Over at Huff Po, filmmaker Bryan Young interviews Batwing writer Judd Winick, and this time Winick reveals a lot more about how he will be remixing all the available African stereotypes for a Western audience while fleshing out the Batwing character and staying true to Batman’s mythos:
Winick on Batwing’s origins:
…what could be considered the more political bent is that Batwing is an AIDS orphan. He lost both his parents to AIDS. Which some folks might call that politics. From where we sit, we’re just trying to be true to life in Africa right now. In most of the regions, one-fifth of the population is HIV positive or living with AIDS. And there are somewhere in the neighborhood of 16 million AIDS orphans out there. It rang kind of true to us especially in the Bat universe. Batman himself and most of the other members of the Bat family come from tragic beginnings. That’s sort of the motif. That’s sort of the opera of it all. It’s not like Batwing was out there doing pre-law for a while, starting his own practice, and then decided “Hey, I’ll put on a costume.”
“Maybe they are right to start from the heart of stereotype hell,” BE comment. You can read the full thing here.
CNN reports on India’s first Comic Con:
India’s first comic convention wouldn’t have been born if Jatin Verma and his team of graphic geeks hadn’t forgotten to get travel visas.
“After we collected the money for the San Diego Comic Con, we realized we had no visas. So we decided to bring the comic con to us,” says Verma, CEO TwentyOnwards Media.
The idea turned into Comic Con India, a convention at urban fairground Dilli Haat in New Delhi with its usual fare of rural artisans and craftspeople.
Verma says it was a perfect location because they wanted that kind of “walk-in public.”
They were looking for comic virgins to rediscover Indian comics with a vernacular focus.
In all, some 15,000 fans, geeks, nerds and a whole lot of costumed freaks turned up. - continue reading.
Our friends from Blaft Publications also attended!
The Vilcek Foundation’s summer newsletter focuses on Shattering Stereotypes: Immigrant Artists and Writers Transform the World of Cartoons and Comics. Here’s their table of contents:
- Straddling Worlds: The Immigrant Connection to Superheroes
- Playing Against Type: Marvel Comics’ Greg Pak Creates a New Kind of Hero
- Comics, Cartoons, and Covers: Françoise Mouly Does Them All
You can read more here.
March 2011 will see the first ever regional comic-con in the Middle East, hosted at Abu Dhabi’s National Exhibition Centre.
From the Jerusalem Post:
Fans of comics, sci-fi and fantasy in the Middle East will now have their own comic convention. In March 2011 Abu Dhabi’s National Exhibition Centre will be the first in the region to host its own version of the San Diego Comic-Con International.
The event in San Diego started in 1974 as a meeting point for people interested in science fiction, comic books and movies. It has since grown into a four-day event with over 140,000 visitors and important industry events involving computer games, pop culture, Japanese cartoons known as anime and sale of memorabilia and merchandise.
The organizers of the event in the United Arab Emirates are expecting 10,000 to 15,000 visitors.
Arafaat Ali Khan is the managing partner at ExtraCake PR, which is organizing the event.
“We have been thinking about this since we were in diapers, so it’s been going on for a long time,” Khan told The Media Line.
“What we see now is that there is interest in the infrastructure as far as stores over here stocking anime, [Japanese] manga [cartoons] and comics,” he said. “It’s all coming together at the right time.”
“The genre is exploding in the Middle East. We have a growth in the sales and bookstores are dedicating entire shelves to comics,” Khan said.
“Then there is the latest trend in this part of the world – that is the talent of artists and writers that have no outlet for their passion and to become serious artists,” he said.
Khan said that the convention would be similar to the ones held in the U.S.
“The main difference will be the market but we will follow the tried and tested international ideas,” Khan said. “We are going to have expos, merchandise, games and show classical movies and hopefully some new trailers.”
Today the American comic and sci-fi events are used as major marketing platforms for feature films. Movie stars, both past and present from various genres attend to promote their latest works.
No special guests, however, have been announced for the Abu Dhabi event as of yet.
Local comic book fan Saeed Sabbagh said the event would be a good opportunity for networking. – continue reading!