To add to that last reblog—this was my first year covering SDCC as press, and I was overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and innovation of the comics industry there. I sat down with so many people who are doing so many incredible things for comics. And so many of them—especially those involved in crowdfunding, self-publishing and the indie scene—told me, over and over, how fantastic the scene is, how it’s going to get even better, how the future for comics is bright. Many of them believe we’re straight up entering (or have already entered) a new golden age. And honestly? I completely agree. I did very little that wasn’t comic-related this year and I didn’t even come close to doing everything I wanted. What came through loudest and clearest of all is that this industry and community is becoming what I so desperately wanted it to be a comics-loving child and teenager.
So yeah—back from SDCC, y’all. I did a ton of work for ComicsAlliance and all of it was a joy to do. So many interviews with so many fascinating people, so many new friends, so many new ideas. I’m pretty dead on my feet after the days of walking and too little food and sleep and a long plane ride and a slog back home on the T, but I am so totally pumped about comics, goddamn.
“For years now, comics have gotten lost in the noise of Comic-Con — but this year felt like the worst example of that. The comic-book companies seemed to have a harder time than ever breaking through the clutter, and there weren’t really a lot of big announcements. We got more details about Spiderverse and Grant Morrison’s Multiversity, but a glut of alternate universe stories didn’t feel especially fresh at this point.”
I wish I knew which staffer wrote this paragraph, because I’d love to sit them down and tell them why they’re wrong. I was at the show this year and all I saw were people excited as HECK for comics. I spoke to several rooms packed FULL of people, with lines around the corner, who wanted to see Image creators. I was on a manga panel where a crowd of people cheered or gasped or laughed at our choices for best and worst manga. I personally spoke to several dozen of people a day who wanted to read Rocket Girl or Lazarus or Deadly Class or Kung Fu Bible Stories. I watched Jasons Aaron and Latour blow through their signing lines. I watched Scott Snyder hustle to make sure the fans were right. I watched Kelly Sue DeConnick do her thing with aplomb at what seemed like every single moment of the show, and I watched Chip Zdarsky and Matt Fraction make a couple hundred people a day smile goofily. People kept telling me how good the panels were and how it made them fans of authors they’d never heard of before. One cosplayer said that sneaking her into the Saga signing made her whole weekend.
And that was just the experience of one man working one booth. Boom! was hopping. Fantagraphics looked great. Vertical had some of the best books at the show.
If you were at SDCC and you don’t think comics had a fantastic presence, if you’re judging the significance of comics through whatever announcements to buy things that aren’t out yet came through, you need to adjust your sights. You’re aiming in the wrong direction.
Judge it by the smiles, not the capitalism.
Sample pages from 1947’s ALL-NEGRO COMICS, possibly the only Black-owned/created comic book of the Golden Age. A scan of the entire issue is here: http://digitalcomicmuseum.com/preview/index.php?did=21983&page=1
In case you have been misinformed into thinking there is not a tradition of black people in comics by the current market.
I’m very happy to finally release this piece for everyone to see! It is a private commission tailored to the clients’ likes and I am very happy with the way it turned out. i have always loved ravens and owls, not to mention military regalia.
Its name is Wisdom.
Original is 15.5”x10.5”
Ballpoint pen and 22K Gold leaf
I hope you enjoy it!
Edit: Oops, always forget this! The inPrnt link for prints is here:
Adventures Into Weird Worlds #9, 1952
Degas’ photographs of his ballerinas
Ooh, shock it, break it, baby, Electric Lady, Electric Lady
I never considered myself a great history student. I wasn’t bad at it—my grades were okay enough and I even enjoyed the lectures most of the time, but it wasn’t really my thing. I could tell because the finer details of what we’d learned always fled my brain about a week after taking the appropriate test. Sometimes I fell asleep in class. I could never keep track of the Presidents’ years in office. It wasn’t a big deal, I decided. History just wasn’t my best subject.
I realized in 2013 that I have always absolutely loved history. I realized this while going through my childhood bookcase, as I sifted through the drifts of Beverly Cleary and Roald Dahl. I noticed that I was sitting among dozens and dozens of Dear America books, and I remembered explaining to my mom that Anetka was sent to the US to marry this guy, but he was way older than her and he died and she had to take care of his kids! And this one’s Hattie, one of her friends died on the trail because he ate hemlock. And this one’s Clotee, and this one’s Maria and on and on and on because it was just! So! Interesting! All these things that had happened to these girls had actually happened in real life. Sometimes even to girls like me, whose families had just immigrated, or who liked to read, or who lived near Virginia!Victory gardens! Votes for women! The underground railroad! Holy shit, history: it’s like worldbuilding that actually happened! That was how I felt reading those books—but not how I often felt about history as it was taught in class.
I used what I learned from Dear America books on everything from my fourth grade Oregon Trail project to my AP US History test. I’ve handed them down to my youngest sister, who just turned 12—A Coal Miner’s Bride is her favorite. And I’ve revisited them myself, to discover that they were just as good as I remember. These books gave emotion and identity to events I’d often never heard of: the Lattimer Massacre, the Long Walk of the Navajo, the Great Migration. And these heroines were genuine individuals, not the generic Good Role Models for Girls I was used to. I struggle to find their like in modern adult media—where might I find a heroine like Nellie Lee Love, rebelling against colorism and the world’s indignation at a black girl who loves math? Or Remember Patience Whipple, chasing the boys who tried to peek up her skirt amidst illness and fear on the Mayflower ? Or Anetka Kaminska, 14 and suddenly a widowed mother of three?
It took me years to recognize my own interest in history because so little of it, as it is taught, involves women. Oh sure, we have a scattering of Susan B. Anthonys and Harriet Tubmans, but they’re rare enough that we can recall the handful of them we learned by name—and moreover, we sure as hell aren’t learning about struggling prairie teachers in the 1870s or teenage Jewish girls on the Lower East Side. Maybe we get The House on Mango Street squeezed into the curriculum between Johnny Tremain, All Quiet on the Western Front, and Great Expectations, but women’s stories never threaten to to achieve true parity (though god knows the boys in class will moan endlessly about Dumb Books Full of Girl Emotions anyway). So thank god for the Dear America series, and all books like them (what up, American Girl), for lending me a hand that wasn’t afraid to be in a dress. Today, I read a lot of history and am even engaging in my own independent research—but I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for stories like Nellie’s and Remember’s and Anetka’s. I’d have gone on thinking history wasn’t my thing. Because nobody bothered to let me know how much I—a mixed race, bookish, lonely little American girl—had a stake in it.
One caveat, though, about these books. Please be very wary about honest representation in these books. I know for a fact prominent Debbie Reese, who is a well-respected American Indian educator outlines the problems in that particular title. Most of the issue probably stems from the fact that the book’s author isn’t American Indian and didn’t do very good research before writing that book.
Thanks for the info. FYI, everyone.