Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Read this: 20 Favorite Female Creators of 2010

 It's impossible to choose just one picture from the articles to feature, so I defaulted to Hellboy and a talking pug. Hooray talking pugs!

Since I've already mentioned a Best of 2010 list for Japanese comics, it only seems fair to shine a little light on the year's best Western comics as well. And Kelly Thompson of the She Has No Head! column has written up the perfect list for this blog to bring to your attention: Her 20 favorite comics writin'-and/or-drawin' women!

She posted it up in pieces, but I'm gonna be nice and link you to part one and part two at the same time. Women may be a bit underrepresented in the comics biz, but what we lack in numbers these fine ladies have made up in talent.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

I Recommend: Aya

 Find the first volume at: [Amazon] [Borders] [Barnes & Noble]

Oh, Aya. Aya, Aya, Aya. I absolutely adore this series - it may very well be one of my favorite comics of all time. Why do I love Aya so much? Mostly because:

1. It's a tale about Africa that doesn't often get told.
Plenty of stories are set in African countries, and for the most part they focus on the harsher realities of the continent. It's important to tell these stories, of course, but it's also important to see stories about lighter struggles and triumphs. Set in the Ivory Coast in the 1970s, Aya puts everyday life in the spotlight, with pages in the back of every book devoted to local recipies, fashion, and slang.

2. It's incredibly well done, in a medium that's tricky to do well.
The colors are gorgeous - even with the cartoony art style, each panel feels just like a photograph of suburban Africa. The page layouts are simple without being boring. Smart choices in word balloon placement allow for tons of dialogue while never crowding panels. All this is even more remarkable when you consider it's the first comics work from both writer Marguerite Abouet and artist Clément Oubrerie. (A husband-and-wife team, as if this whole enterprise wasn't charming enough already.)

3. It's just plain fun.
Secret romances! Paternity mysteries! Fueds between friends! It's like a tawdry teen drama, but with enough wit to keep it well within the non-guilty please zone. Simultaneously breezy and substantial, it's hard to get your hands on a volume and not gobble it up like literary candy.

There are currently three volumes in the series, starting with Aya, then followed by Aya of Yop City, and then the most recent release, Aya: The Secrets Come Out.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Gallery Time: Queenie Chan

As you can see, she's pretty fantastic at drawing the folds in fabric.

Queenie Chan is an Australian artist, best known for her work on the Odd Thomas prequels with Dean Koontz and her original series The Dreaming. Take a look at some of the fine illustrations in the gallery on her official site!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Need a job? Get one with Digital Manga Inc.!

This may be just a smidge off-topic, but in this economy, unusual blog post choices can be forgiven!

You there! Do you live in or near Los Angeles? Are you adequately skilled at web design and programming? And are you looking for a job? Then you may be in luck, as Digital Manga Inc. is looking to hire people like you. An interest in anime and manga is considered a "plus" - I imagine newcomers to the comics medium are more than welcome to apply.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Huge News! Kodansha Comics is ALIVE!

Keep an eye on this logo, 'cause soon it'll be on bookshelves across the country.

In some of the best news to hit the US manga scene in a long while, Kodansha (one of the largest publishers in Japan, responsible for oodles of great manga) has announced its goals to publish manga in America!

(Well, technically, they've been in the game for a while, but only to reprint previously published series.)

You can read about their plans on the Kodansha Comics website. Perhaps most interesting to the Hey, Women! Comics! crowd are:

- Deltora Quest, an adaptation of the book series by Emily Rodda.

- Two series "rescued" from now-vanished publishers: Gon, about a cute little dinosaur, and Until the Full Moon, about a boy who turns into a girl under the full moon, werewolf-style.

- And the continued publication of several series from Kodansh'a old partner Del Rey, including Arisa, which made Deb Aoki's Best New Manga list recently, and Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei, which you may remember me gushing over.

All in all, this is fantastic news. As the US branch of one of Japan's biggest publishers, Kodansha Comics has access to plenty of manga for women to fall in love with.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Read this: Interview with Amy Reeder

Admit it: This cover is the coolest thing you've seen all day.

Check out this interview with Amy Reeder, one of the great up-and-coming artists in the comic book world, as she talks about her work on Madame Xanadu, the new Batwoman series, and more:

Well, I happen to very much like doing covers. When you do enough interiors it’s a nice break. DC suggested “Supergirl” to me and once again the first thing that came to mind was an artist that I respect, Josh Middleton. I was familiar with what he was doing on the covers and I was definitely drawn to the idea. [. . .] I’m a perpetual teenager so it’s really fun to do that and it’s such a big contrast from Batwoman, it’s nice to switch between the two.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Read this: State Dept. Brings U.S. Comics Creators to Algerian Comics Festival

When discussing countries with a rich comics culture, the most familiar regions are North America, Western Europe, and East Asia. North African countries are unlikely to come to mind, but as this article shows, comics and cartoons are thriving in places like Algeria:

"Algeria has an interesting mix of French and Arab influences," Neufeld said. "The French influence has left them with a healthy interest in 'bandes-dessinees,' so their long-form comics tend to be in that European mode. The Arab world's love of political cartoons and editorial cartoons is also in evidence: there are over 80 daily papers just in Algiers, and each one has an in-house political cartoonist."