Register for March 28th Ron Regé Zoom presentation–Gnostic Sophia, Hermeticism, Wonder Woman & The Muse.

Ron Rege

New York Comics & Picture-story Symposium: Ron Regé on Gnostic Sophia, Hermeticism, Wonder Woman & The Muse.

Tuesday, March 28, 2023 at 7pm ET. ONLINE PRESENTATION VIA ZOOM. Please email comicssymposium@gmail.com to register for this event. Free and open to the public.

nycomicssymposium.wordpress.com/2023/03/22/ron-rege-march-28-2023-at-7pm-et/

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Xiang Yata Kickstarter from Driftwood Press.

Optometry by Xiang Yata

Optometry: A Graphic Novel by Xiang Yata & Driftwood Press.

“A woman’s visit to the optometrist catapults her through a multi-medium journey in this kaleidoscopic, experimental, 250-page, full-color graphic novel. As the eye doctor calibrates the optometry machine to investigate the faults and fractures in her eyes, our protagonist is transported to a new world, a place full of overlapping images, dots, curves, houses, and light reflections. As she struggles to navigate the various unique planes within the optometry world, she must confront the endless versions of herself to avoid becoming forever lost in a daze. In Optometry, artist Xiang Yata takes you on a journey through multiple art forms to investigate the myriad ways we perceive ourselves.”

View a preview here.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/optometry/optometry-a-graphic-novel-by-xiang-yata-and-driftwood-press

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LOW TIDE #6 BY CF.

Low Tide #6 by C.F.

Low Tide #6 by CF

“For the 20 year anniversary of the original printing we are pleased to offer this limited reprint of the highly sought after mini-comic in its original format: Six color screen printed cover, One color screen printed interior-cover, 60 b/w xeroxed interior pages, with sewn binding. 200 Copies.”

https://toyboxcoffin.bigcartel.com

Still available at time of writing. If you want one, I’d move quick.

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Two manga Kickstarters from Glacier Bay Books.

PANDORA by Hagiwara Rei

PANDORA by Hagiwara Rei.

“Five meditations on grief receding into memory, phantoms of traumas past but not yet forgotten, people struggling to make peace with loss. Hagiwara Rei sets out a sequential tapestry of transcendent watercolor comics which linger in the back of your mind like words you never got to tell someone you loved. Heart-wrenching, intimate. Open Pandora and allow its haunted pages a home in your soul.”

https://crowdfundr.com/H.Rei-PANDORA

Read an extract on TCJ.

https://www.tcj.com/excerpt-pandora-the-receding-sound-of-footsteps

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Mothers by Kusahara Umi.

“For josei & seinen comics lovers … MOTHERS is Kusahara Umi’s debut English title, collecting and translating 15 years worth of self-published short stories developed on themes of love, family, and loss. This Kickstarter is to help fund the printing of this new 260+ page book.”

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/glacierbaybooks/mothers-by-kusahara-umi

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https://glacierbaybooks.com

Reminder: Bhanu Pratap serializing Afternoon Pockets on Substack.

His winning the best horror category in the 2023 Mini Comic Awards reminded me that Bhanu Pratap, creator of Dear Mother and Other Stories, one of the most interesting works of 2021, is serializing his new comic Afternoon Pockets on Substack. Check out chapter one, part one below and then go sign up to read the rest. Or you can follow along to a censored version on Instagram.

Plus, Dear Mother is apparently due back in print soon, which is good news, and Bhanu’s taking commissions via DM on Instagram. Also good.

https://substack.com/profile/962240-bhanu-pratap
https://www.instagram.com/hanabhanu

Afternoon Pockets by Bhanu Pratap. Chapter 1 Part 1. ↓

Afternoon Pockets 01

Afternoon Pockets 02

Afternoon Pockets 03

Afternoon Pockets 04

Afternoon Pockets 05

Afternoon Pockets 06

Afternoon Pockets 07

https://substack.com/profile/962240-bhanu-pratap
https://www.instagram.com/hanabhanu

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Strangers Publishing opens comic submissions for 2023/24.

Strangers Publishing Logo

Strangers Publishing is taking comic submissions for potential fourth quarter 2023  or 2024 publication, with a heavy preference for unique looking genre comics.

Read the details. ↓

https://strangerspublishing.com/blogs/news/strangers-publishing-2023-2024-open-submissions-details

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* Thanks to Brad Curry for getting me to take a closer look at Strangers.

Mini Comic Awards Winners

2023 Mini Comic Awards

The winners of the 2023 Mini Comic Awards have been announced.

Drumroll, please….

Best Autobio: <now I can never know you more than those white walls>. by Edgar

Best Horror: Sediment by Bhanu Pratap

Best Sci-fi: SPEIROCHORY by Karenza Sparks

Best Fantasy: Why don’t you like me? by Gaia Papoila

Best Romance: when it started by Leecie

Great. Though I personally feel the Mini Comic Awards would benefit enormously from the addition of a “What the **** is this?” category.

Watch the ceremony. ↓

 

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Sean Knickerbocker Interview: Rust Belt Review/Low-Rent Comics Gatekeepers/The Virtues Of DIY.

In the following short email interview, Sean Knickerbocker (editor and founder of the Rust Belt Review anthology series) makes the the point that comics are in a weird place right now.

It’s true, isn’t it? Alternative comics (or at least a few of them) continue to gain slightly ironic mainstream credibility.  The industry now has its own little academic and grant making niche. Plus cartoonists can promote and sell their work directly via social media, etc.

Yet financial precariousness in the industry persists and may even be becoming more acute as time goes on.

Does all this speak to a divide opening up in alternative comics? Between those cartoonists who play well on social media and those who don’t? Between those who are a good fit with current academic and cultural fashions and those who aren’t?

I don’t know. I’m not really qualified to say. You could also make the point that alternative comics are in a healthier state than alternative poetry, or literature, or what have you.

Whatever, it’s definitely an odd time, and it’s into this strangely-strange comics milieu that Sean Knickerbocker decided to launch (back in 2021) the Rust Belt Review. His intention being to create a supportive quarterly home for small-press cartoonists. Particularly those cartoonists telling stories from (and often about) the more regionally/culturally marginal corners of American life.

So, y’know, Sean’s definitely batting for those on the downside of the comics divide (if there is one).

Since Mr. Knickerbocker has recently opened up submissions for issue 6, I thought it would be a good time to ask what kind of work he’s looking for, find out how the anthology has evolved since its inception, and get his take on the current state of comics.

Here’s what he had to say….

Okay, you’re into publishing narrative work, right? What else are you looking for in a submission? Does the name Rust Belt imply an inclination toward working class themes? 

Yes, I’m mostly interested in narrative comics. I think comics work best in 8-40 page long sequences, so that’s ideally what I’m looking to publish. Ideally, the work I’m publishing is being created by artists from a working class background, but the submissions don’t need to have a working class theme or any sort of didactic element to it. 

How would you say Rust Belt Review has evolved over the course of the previous four issues?

I think I’ve become more focused on one-off stories. Initially, I wanted to have a showcase of serialized work, but I ran into some logistical issues with that. For starters, not everybody produces comics at the same pace. Additionally, not all stories can be broken down into satisfying bite-size pieces.

I wanted to keep all volumes in print at the same time, but I’m running into some financial issues with that model. I think moving forward I will be printing just a single run. Once the issue is gone, it’s gone! I think there’s something precious about that anyway. A good anthology represents a time and a place, so it doesn’t make sense to keep them in print months or even years after that moment has passed.

You’ve mentioned before that there isn’t enough infrastructure to support cartoonists. Could you expand on this and offer up some thoughts on how the situation might be remedied?

Comics are in this weird place right now. The community is becoming professionalized. As this continues to happen, it will become more difficult for working class people to participate. I think one of the beauties of comics is that anybody can make them, but as the medium becomes more wrapped into academia and traditional New York publishing, it’s becoming less and less accessible for anybody other than the children of the rich.

In the world of poetry, prose, and the fine-arts; there are benefits to working within academia and larger publishers, but I don’t see any of those benefits being given to cartoonists. Most arts grants programs don’t take cartooning seriously, and most art schools that have comics programs don’t pay their teachers very well. We’re getting all of the gatekeeping and none of the benefits. I think cartoonists should be very aware of that.

So long as we keep the DIY spirit alive in comics, I think we can continue to be an accessible community for many people. The moment we forget how to make books on our own is the moment we give up all our power to the giant publishing machines. My hope is that Rust Belt Review can be a model for larger DIY projects and I hope it can serve as an inspiration for up and coming creators.

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Rust Belt Review volume 5 is due out soon. Submissions for volume 6 are now open. Anything submitted after may will probably only be considered for volume 7.

https://www.seanknickerbocker.com
https://www.seanknickerbocker.com/store
https://www.seanknickerbocker.com/submit

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Comments always welcome. Either here on the blog or via email.

devin[at]alternative-comics[dot]com