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THE BLOG AT THE CROSSROADS


This Website’s 9th Birthday!

Posted: September 28, 2014

Did you bake a cake? My website celebrated its 9th birthday last week, on September 25th 2014. So I’m now embarking on the 9th year of my regular Articles and other features and listings here - join me as we prepare to blow out the candles and make a wish on this site’s 10th anniversary next September!

So what’s new in comics for the last month of the year 2014? Well, over in the Writers’ Musical Chairs Department of American comic books, in Shadow Show #2 the late Ray Bradbury is paid tribute to by (among others) Neil Gaiman, while Grant Morrison gives a new spin on Shazam, aka Captain Marvel, and gives his (lost, now found) spin on Britain’s version Miracleman, né Marvelman, originally reinvigorated by Alan Moore in Warrior, while Moore himself extrapolates Garth Ennis’s horror-SF world of Crossed a century into the future - and Garth, well he’s probably down the pub…

Actually, December brings us a great deal more besides, from classic geniuses like Milt Gross and Higo Pratt to spunky newcomers Philippa Rice and Michel Fiffe, as well as some great Asian comics in two manga series from Viz, an exceptional collaboration between Mamoru Oshii and Satoshi Kon, Chinese artist Shang Xiao’s robot series from France, and informative tomes on gay manga and the whole wide world of Asian comics. But forced to choose, my pick of the crop has to be Scott McCloud’s bravura return to graphic novels in The Sculptor from First Second in the US and SelfMadeHero in the UK. All the previews promise that this will be proof, if it were possible, of his even greater mastery and maturity with the medium (it doesn’t hit the shelves officially till February 3rd). Don’t miss McCloud’s upcoming European appearances at the ÑAM International Comics and Graphic Novel Festival in Palencia, Spain next week, and at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival in Kendal, England, October 17th-19th - see you there!

2014 has given us another effervescent panoply of comics of all styles, subjects and shapes. Come back for next month’s PG Tips to find out what’s in store, and in stores, as we kick off the New Year! Till then, read my latest December recommendations here…


Autism Graphic Novel Project by Daniel Locke & Laura Malacart

Posted: September 26, 2014

At this month’s Cartoon County meeting on Monday, 29th September, upstairs at The Cricketers, Black Lion St, Brighton, from 6pm onward, Dan Locke and Laura Malacart will be talking about about ‘Yes!’, their graphic storytelling project on the widely-misunderstood condition of autism. This terrific work will be on show and discussed in a recorded conversation, which will start at 7.30, under the expert management of Alex Fitch from Panel Borders on Resonance FM. Be sure to get along to this if you can!


Jean-Claude Forest’s Barbarella

Posted: September 25, 2014

It’s a sign of how “in” and cool Barbarella was in swinging 1966 in France, that superstar singer-songwriter Serge Gainsbourg devoted this whole verse to her in his hit song, Qui Est In, Qui Est Out (‘Who’s In, Who’s Out’), while only mentioning The Beatles briefly as “The lads from Liverpool.” Two years later, the English-language Roger Vadim movie adaptation, starring a 30-year-old Jane Fonda, turned the blonde space adventuress into a highly visible global symbol of the sexual revolution. Barbarella was a truly liberating creation, not only for her creator, Jean-Claude Forest (1930-1998) but also for French and international comics as a whole. Read my new Article here…


Three Ace Exhibitions Open In London This Week!

Posted: September 22, 2014

You wait ages and three come along all at once! Three great gallery spaces are opening some ace exhibitions in London this week, all well worth your while visiting. Tuesday September 23rd brings the opening of Gekiga: Alternative Manga From Japan at The Cartoon Museum, 35 Little Russell Street, London, WC1A 2HH. This is the first time that original drawings of gekiga - the underground movement that revolutionised manga - have been exhibited in Europe, including over 50 pieces of original artwork and reproductions from rare manga. This exhibition lasts till November 29th.

Then on Wednesday September 24th, Graphic Details: Confessional Comics by Jewish Women opens at last in Britain at Space Station 65, 373 Kennington Road, London SE11 4PS. Co-curated by Michael Kaminer and Sarah Lightman, Graphic Details is a groundbreaking touring exhibition providing the first in-depth look at a unique and prolific niche of graphic storytelling – Jewish women’s autobiographical comics, continuing till December 13th.

And thirdly, also opening September 24th is the selling show Miniature Ink featuring miniature original artworks from over 100 of the most talented tattoo artists from across the globe, with profits going to cancer charity Sarcoma UK. Small but perfectly formed, each work is the same affordable price, providing an opportunity for all art lovers to own an original by some of the industry’s most sought-after names. This show runs till October 15th (and will be followed by a Comica Festival collaboration, the first London exhibition of manga mistress, Junko Mizuno!). Be sure not to miss these three highly recommended, stimulating cultural experiences!


Tardi And The Great War Exhibition At Bozar Brussels

Posted: September 20, 2014

And here’s another reason to pop over to Brussels: the major exhibition of Tardi’s work from Goddamn This War! is on show now at Bozar Centre For Fine Arts in Brussels. If you missed it at Angoulême this year, or Paris and Erlangen, don’t miss it in this prestige venue in the Belgian capital!


More Performances of the Opera of Chris Ware’s ‘Lint’

Posted: September 20, 2014

The Spectra Ensemble are putting on two more performances of Lint, the graphic novel by American comic book legend Chris Ware, which covers the life story of Jordan Wellington Lint (1958-2023), a man excelling in wrong decisions and missed opportunities. The leitmotifs, counterpoints and other musical elements in this comic drew the attention of Walter Hus, who put the story into music, page by page. The result is a comic book opera, sung by Angélique Wilkie. Lint: The Opera will be performed in Belgium, at de Warande in Turnhout on November 21st, and at the Theatre Marni in Brussels on November 28th.


Maciej Sieńczyk: Adventures on a Desert Island

Posted: September 14, 2014

When an admiring woman dares to touch a man with extremely active glands, she finds that he sweats pure fat. Female corpses rise from their graves because they have been buried without their bras. Once a century, the ‘Bread Man’ walks the earth to shame those who fail to kiss a dropped crust. Tall tales from a well-thumbed found journal recording Adventures on a Desert Island are among some two dozen stories which fill Polish writer-artist Maciej Sieńczyk’s graphic novel of the same name.

His main protagonist sets off on a gigantic liner bound for Johannesburg but ends up shipwrecked on a mysterious island. Sieńczyk explains, “I like the idea of the ‘inner journey’, when a character’s journey is a pretext for the presentation of his spiritual world.” Read the rest of my new Article here…


Moebius Exhibition in Paris

Posted: September 14, 2014

Achat Design at 3 avenue de Suffren, 75007 Paris are working with the Galerie Moebius and hosting an exhibition of Moebius’s sublime artworks from September 18th to October 31st. As their announcement states, “Come and discover or rediscover his artworks full of poetry and colours, mixing humour, fantasy and science fiction. Enter the universe of Moebius…”


Enter These UK & International Comics Competitions!

Posted: September 12, 2014

One of the challenging but rewarding comics activities I am involved with is helping to judge comics competitions. I’ve been doing this for a few years now, and these contests and talent-hunts are a great way to get your work noticed and take an important step towards being published. Have a go and don’t give up, keep trying!

There’s still time till September 27th for UK residents to enter your 4-page comics to this years Observer/Cape/Comica Graphic Short Story Prize. There is no theme, so it’s wide open. Best of luck! The winner will be announced and presented with their cheque for £1,000 at Comica Festival 2014 this coming October/November. The winning entry will be printed in The Observer and on their website.

Thanks to the Embassy of Japan in London, UK-based comics creators have until November to enter the 2014 Manga Jiman contest. This time it is on the theme of ‘Once In A Lifetime’. Prizes includes two plane tickets to Japan!

And the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom has announced its second International Comics Competition “Animate Europe”, on the futuristic theme of ‘Europe Fast Forward’. It’s open to anyone anywhere in the world, as demonstrated by last year’s excellent entries from countries far and wide, inside and beyond Europe itself. The first stage is to propose your 8-page comics and submit the very first page only. Have a bash at these and other competitions I list and link on my Things To Do page -  you never know but you’ve gotta be in it to win it!


Roz Chast On Gil Roth’s Virtual Memories Podcast

Posted: September 9, 2014

The witty and wise New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast talks about her moving new autobiographical graphic novel, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant (Bloomsbury), in the latest instalment of Gil Roth’s online interviews at Virtual Memories. Listen and enjoy ‘Podchast - Parental Guidance’!


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