Happy June! Enjoy our roundup of news, events, and opportunities for this month. To see our previous newsletters, click here.
Felt Tip #1, the new comics anthology magazine from Bryce Martin! Containing 3 separate stories; Grass Above The Trees, For The Sake Of and…the return of The Onaut- Bryce’s strength in storytelling is on full display.
Bury This Sword by Amanda Hamilton A comic about finding your destiny and then leaving it behind. Nearly sold out, so buy it while you can!
Ollie Schirmacher is open for commissions!
The first issue of Paper Medicine, Ben Becker’s solo-anthology Risograph comic series, is now available to purchase! Issue 1 features the story “PIDGIN“: Two goldfish pilot an automaton to free their comrades from the fish tank in an optometrist’s office.
Preorder Untamed 2: A FFXIV Creature Zine here!
Check out the work of Elaine M. Will over at their shop!
Lydia Gardner has a plethora of beautiful prints and more available for purchase here.
David Taylor‘s Wild Nature is crowdfunding now. Ends this Friday!
Wild Nature is an intense character-driven thriller, based around a dystopian deathsport, where the killers wear animal masks and no one gets out alive – even if they quit. Friendship, family, identity and freedom: what’s your Wild Nature?
Kamila Krol’s award-winning comic Rusalka – Whispers of the Forest is crowdfunding now!
Rusalka is a mysterious water demon of Slavic mythology: living by the lake in the ancient Forest, she is the deadly threat luring in lost wanderers…or so the old legends say. But who really is Rusalka and how did she come to be? Where do her powers come from and what dark secrets might hide in her fragmented memories?
The Cooperative recently published two articles: Sloane Leong conducted an interview with BARBATUS and MEANBOSS about their work; and E.B. Hutchins wrote on how books bans are impacting the comic industry. Read excepts of these articles below!
Sloane Leong: It’s not everyday you find a creative soulmate who is down to draw a 1052+ page erotic gay snuff horror comic with you. Can you tell me a little about your backgrounds and how you two came to start collaborating?
BARBATUS: Aw shucks hehe that’s a sweet way to put that. I think we met on Tumblr a billion years ago; we were both fans of Outlast and were also the only two people drawing this one ultra misogynist character “Gluskin” getting his skull caved in. So we kinda caught each other’s eye across the party that way and went, “oh hey that dude’s a freak like me, we should be friends.”
MEANBOSS: Yeah we were both into the beefiest and more pathetic of the Outlast antagonists, and I think that interest in (figuratively and literally) breaking down horrible and otherwise scary characters has a lot to do with us making [sic] such a good fit creatively. Back then, most other writers and artists were more into redemption arcs, while we just wanted to put the guy through the meat grinder. I guess that never changed.
BBT: Dude that guy sucked so bad, I loved smacking him upside the head lol. I think through that stuff we realized that we had a similar sense of black humor and an identical appreciation for a super specific flavor of gay gore terror. We spitballed on and off for a while that we should collaborate on something one day, but we never had any concrete ideas, just the inkling that it’d be interesting.
SL: What are your creative backgrounds? Schooled or self-taught? I find both your aesthetics and story proclivities to be unique and I’d be interested in hearing how you were able to nurture that. What were some cornerstones in your life that shaped your work?
MB: I’m not proud to admit it, but I think a lot of it for me has to do with the shock content era of the internet. That spiraled into seeking out movies, comics, games, anything that emulated the sort of disturbing stuff you saw on liveleak, lolshock, whatever. Got into eroguro manga for a while because that’s especially nasty, but it gets old quick. I made a conscious choice to get away from that as I got out of my teens, but I guess the interest in horror and disturbing content was already set in stone, it had just gotten a little more complex. As for schooling, I just taught myself how to draw, had lots of inspiration from western comics and that black & white noir style.
BBT: Yeah that was a horrible time online and one that affected me a great deal too, back when it was really easy to find violent shock shit. You stop looking at it, but honestly it stays with you forever, even nearly a decade after the fact. These days I draw a lot from different kinds of art. With movies or TV, it’s either surrealist pieces that RJ and I can have a conversation about for a couple hours (A Field In England and the original Evangelion come to mind), or the usual heinous splatter classics, (feels weird to be calling the August Underground trilogy a classic, but I guess 2001 was a little while ago at this point). With music, Michael Gira’s work had a nuclear bomb impact on my output, and I was never the same after hearing my first Swans album. Writing, I like Haruki Murakami a lot; he’s not really interested in telling a beginning – middle – end type of story as much as he just wants to show you a snapshot of a weird thing that happened. And visually, the Battle Royale manga was really formative for me back when I first read it in high school, in that it had the reader spend so much time with its characters before forcing you to watch them get hit by a truck. It’s aged super poorly so I wouldn’t really recommend it now, but it always stuck with me. The full humanization of the target character made the inevitable even worse. Just ugly for the sake of being ugly. Also the level of gore in that comic was demented lol. Like if you thought Ichi The Killer was a rough read, watch out!
“This is what they were trying to sue them over?” was a question that hovered over my head during one of my weekly trips to Barnes and Noble. I sat in the cafe with my usual order (turkey and chipotle sandwich, sea salt chips, strawberry & creme frappuccino, and a chocolate chip cookie) flipping through the pages of Maia Kobabe’s (e/em/eir) memoir Gender Queer. The memoir is vulnerable and open in its telling of Kobabe’s life as a nonbinary person and feels right at home with other memoirs like Allison Bechdel’s Fun Home, Kate Beaton’s Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Lands, and Lucy Knisley’s Kid Gloves.
However, if you’ve been a part of the comics industry, industry-adjacent, or just a comics fan, you may have heard about Maia Kobabe’s memoir and the lawsuit that followed its publication. If you haven’t, the TL;DR of the case is that the state of Virginia was so offended by some of the contents in the book that they deemed it to be obscene for children. The offensive contents in question included pages where Kobabe described eir experiences with periods, depictions of period products and blood, Kobabe’s dysphoria, as well as some sexual experiences that don’t feel that out of place for teenagers/college-aged people who grew up in the 00’s and 10’s.
Kobabe’s unflinching honesty is what the memoir genre is built on, and marginalized voices keep the genre fresh. It getting banned isn’t shocking. Nor is being on a banned book list a death sentence in publishing or for future prospects. However, having an entire state bring down a sledgehammer on a book hasn’t happened since the Jim-Crow era with Garth Williams’ book The Rabbits’ Wedding.
Gone are the days when banned books were just about pearl-clutching PTA moms not wanting their sweet 12-year-old boy Tommy to see titties. Now, book banning looks like court cases and felony charges just for having work that features LGBTQIA+ people and openly talking about racism being bad. What happened?
In a word: Fascism.
The Black Artists Grant (BAG) offered by Creative Debuts as a no-strings attached financial support to help black artists. They can spend the grant on whatever they want – be that make new work, buy equipment or materials, travel, research, visit exhibitions or conferences, or to even just cover some life expenses.
Claire Draper is open for queries.
Sophie Margolin is organizing a zine by artists with borderline personality disorder.
Augur Magazine is currently open to submissions.
Visit Yen Press’s career page here.
Here’s a list of resources we think you’ll find helpful!
- Hana Lee whipped up an advance calculator.
- Here’s Laura Portwood-Stacer on royalties and advances.
- This is a GIANT resource list for artists by Ashley Odell.
- Designer Jessica Hische has a Client Email Helper.
- The Peculiar Manicule has a library of zipatone assets.
- Maria Dahvana Headley is teaching the online course EPIC: USING ANCIENT TALES TO CRAFT CONTEMPORARY STORIES
- Exeunt Press has a CMYK color palette for Affinity Publisher.