Archive | March, 2012

Joel Stein

29 Mar

By Ayo

[note: the following essay was written moments before reading Joel Stein’s anti-Y.A. Article in The New York Times. Stein says: “The only time I’m O.K. with an adult holding a children’s book is if he’s moving his mouth as he reads.”

I have decided to name this essay (and any future comments of mine) after him because I’m a jerk.]

YA Fiction Boom Among Adults

Lookit, I’m no dummy. I’ve read big pants books but the YA fiction tidal wave has swept me up. And I drag my feet, meekly promising that I’ll one day get back into serious, big people reading but then I falter. So it finally dawned on me why I can never close the deal with all of my intended readings: I don’t really have the time!

I flew through the Hunger Games, reading more than half of the book in a single sitting. Other books, I’ve rampaged through in brief clips of one chapter per day, on my subway commute to work. It is no coincidence that my life is mostly harried and stressed and the books that I’ve fallen back into have been the less dense teenager-novels which are all the rage nowadays. It does not feel like work.

When I get home from my job, I pass out in my clothes. Despite my best efforts. I cannot read in my house because I can either sit on a painful wooden stool or my bed, the latter which leads to sleep. Every. Single. Time.

Yes, I take medicine because I’m at the age where things begin to go wrong. I cannot stay out late and I cannot lie down without falling asleep. I cannot read denser books, I suppose?! Perhaps I could read those on my daily train rides but come on, give me a break, let me just relax and read about action or something.

I admit my faults, and turn my back on your learned men: make mine YA.

Chicago Zine Fest 2012

29 Mar
by Kevin Czap

Chicago Zine Fest 2012

Aloha my dear friends. It’s convention season again, which as far as this year is looking, basically means from now until 2013 I will be going to comics shows. I did miss the excitement in the two months I had off. One of the goals I had made for myself last year was to expand the range of shows I exhibited at, with a focus on the more indie-aimed shows. So in this spirit, the first show of the year is the Chicago Zine Fest, an amazing exhibition celebrating the aspects of this game that mean the most to me – self publishing and Doing It Yourself.

Continue reading

AvX: Avengers Vs X-Men # zero

28 Mar

By Ayo

There is a scene in this comic book where everybody is just standing in the doorway and staring disapprovingly at Scarlet Witch. Apparently, the Avengers have an entire mansion but just stand in a semicircle by the front door (in full uniform) in case anybody comes to visit. Then they open the door and act really catty.


On a positive note, there are no fewer than four brown-skinned characters in this issue.


Didn’t Thor just die? I mean didn’t Fear Itself just happen like a week ago, in comic time? And I don’t understand the emotion he is supposed to be expressing there. He looks sad, like a child who doesn’t understand why mommy and daddy are fighting. But he’s like a thousand years old. Fucking idiot.

How to interview cartoonists and other artists

27 Mar

By Ayo

Nobody cares where anybody went to school. Sorry, just stating facts. Nobody cares what an artist’s wife’s name is, husband’s name is, children’s names are. Seriously. Nobody has any interest.

Nobody cares what the random first comic book that somebody read was. Not interesting. No more of these sorts of questions for interviews of artists and writers.


Unless you’re talking to Jim Woodring, it is impossible to care what sort of pen a cartoonist uses. One guy uses G nib, one uses Hunt, one uses a brush, somebody uses a Bic. The audience is fast asleep. Cartoonists draw with some manner of intermediary tool. We get it. No big deal. I’m glad we don’t know what kind of jogging shoes each cartoon artist wears.

There are so many things to talk to cartoonists about. What brand of india ink they use is a poor use of time and space.

Thanks for listening.

The comics news

26 Mar

By Ayo

Marvel Comics News:

Avengers: Children’s Crusade is available on Comixology. The first issue is $3.99. Let’s think about this. The first issue came out a year and a half ago and it costs $3.99. Digitally.



DC Comics News:

With the release of issue # 7, Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang’s Wonder Woman fell from near-universal praise to public enemy number one. One supposes that it would be justifiable to say “pubic enemy number one.”

A socially-conscious feminist’s nightmare: a comic about an empowered woman becomes a comic about a man-hating, baby enslaving barbaric society.

So after a few months of reprieve, we return to a normal reality where the core market for Wonder Woman comics hates Wonder Woman comics.

Well-played, gentlemen.


Vertigo Books News:

Saucer Country number one came and went. An unqualified failure, of course. Foolish of me to believe that Vertigo would allow a comic book series to launch with any sort of competent editorial oversight to give it a chance to be a successful entertainment magazine as opposed to a “pretty interesting idea.”

Note: I will be writing about this comic and others shortly.


Image Comics News:

Saga number one came and went. It was alright. Benefits from having more pages than Saucer Country. This comic has the strongest potential for being a worthwhile investment. Writer Brian K Vaughan has a track record of following through on his comic series.


Lucas Books News:

Dawn of the Jedi: Force Storm is a sexy comic book. Not because the lady has the sides of her pants cut out. The drawings by Jan Duursema and the colors on top of them make this a beautiful, gorgeous magazine.

I don’t much like “Star Wars” but I’m starting to appreciate the look and feel of these things.


Mike Mignola News:

BPRD: The Long Death is in progress. Drawn by James Harren, this comic is absolutely stunning. Tyler Crook is the successor to Guy Davis on BPRD but everybody is not-secretly hoping that James Harren replaces Crook with the swiftness.

Sadly, Harren will be working on Conan the Barbarian after this miniseries. While his work will be welcome anywhere, I was definitely hoping he would take up permanent residence ad an agent of the BPRD.


Newspaper news:

As you know (unless you are a comic book nerd with your head up your butt), Garry Trudeau launched an all-out war against the conservative push for state-sanctioned-rape of women, sometimes known as “compulsory, medically unnecessary transvaginal ultrasounds.”

Go Trudeau. Everybody has a moral responsibility to stand up for women’s rights to autonomy and control of their own bodies and of course, to stand against using extortion and intimidation as a tactic to force women into submission.


Extreme Studios News:

Brandon Graham and Simon Roy completed their first story arc on Prophet. It was very interesting. I have no understanding of how well this sort of Heavy Metal-inspired storytelling will ultimately be received by the mainstream North American comic book world. I only hope that some teenager buys these and has his mind blown/flipped/twisted.


KaBoom News:

The Adventure Time comic book is cute. The best part of it is that it gives mainstream comics work to indie cartoonists. I’m not completely sold on how it works as a comic book version of an animated cartoon, but it is quite funny, so one for the win column.


Chuck McBuck News:

Charles Forsman is serializing a tiny minicomic series called (excuse me) “The End Of The Fucking World.”

There are five issues out. That fellow Charles churns out pages at a steady rate. Usually I dislike comics of this type: story stretching over many issues but Forsman does some good things. One, he decided that his issues will be very short. Two, he writes his issues so that one memorable thing will occur in each issue. Three, though the chapters are short, Forsman writes with a slow, self-assured pace that indicates an inner confidence which I find comforting. Each issue walks, not runs, like Jason.

Charles Forsman knows what he’s doing. I trust him more than most of these other guys.

Personally: I am very pleased that with the completion of Katie Skelly’s “Nurse Nurse” and Sarah Oleksyk’s “Ivy” that we have another serialized longform minicomic series going. There are a few others running today, most notably “SF” by Ryan Cecil Smith (next issue of that, please?) but Forsman is making a powerfully strong case for this format and storytelling method right now.


Ayo News:

I am writing comics and when I say “writing comics,” I mean “drawing rough versions of comics that will be published some day.”

Mostly, I am trying to get over the heartbreak and disappointment that comes with the knowledge that newspapers continue on their expanding orbit away from comics and that there is no chance that I will ever stop needing to read these godforsaken pamphlet magazines or self-replicating paperback collections in order to simply read a comic.

Dream Cloud

21 Mar

By Darryl Ayo

Two different kinds of thinking, in my opinion:

1) caption box is a narration. Sometimes a recollection, other times, a present-tense thought-track of the events at hand.

In other cases, the caption box is used to indicate a person speaking aloud when the art is showing something else. For example if Detective Jones is interrogating Joe the Poolshark who recalls the evening of the murder, the art may illustrate the scene while the spoken dialogue would be overlaid in caption boxes because it isn’t being spoken IN the scene.

2) thought balloons are very good at showing us incidental thoughts. The “wow, she’s hot” thoughts or the part where you shake a guy’s hand and say “pleased to meet you” but inwardly think “jerk.” From my childhood, the Chris Claremont Uncanny X-Men thought balloons, which amounted to paragraphs of personal reflection and exposition did not look good on the page. But short, emotional bursts of unspoken thought are perfect for the thought balloon.