A few news items from the spring!
1. National Cartoonists Society – Reuben Award Nomination
It’s a great honor to announce that my online graphic novel Family Man has been nominated for a Reuben Award in the Online Comics – Long Form category. This is an especial pleasure since it was just this past winter that I was able to attend the extended NCS conference opening the new Billy Ireland library and museum at Ohio State University.
I met dozens of incredibly talented, deeply experienced, and extremely generous NCS members, many of them responsible for the comic strips that inspired me in the first place. This gives the nomination added impact, and I’m so touched. Family Man is a long, slow burn of a passion project, and this is a wonderful boost of validation. Thank you to the nominating committee for considering me; and, if you’re a voting member of NCS…give the comic a read! Winners will be announced in May. I’m in some great company!
2. Stripped: The Film
My dear friends Dave Kellett and Fred Schroeder have labored for years to create this wonderful documentary. They interviewed dozens of cartoonists about their work and their perspective on an industry that’s in the midst of some radical change, and assembled images from more than a hundred years of North American comics history. They not only interviewed li’l guppies like myself – they also nabbed luminaries like Bill Watterson and Jim Davis. The movie is now available through iTunes, Google Play, VHX.tv, and for sale on DVD. You can also download individual full-length interviews from over 16 creators. I can’t recommend it enough.
3. The New Disruptors Podcast
I’ve been a fan of journalist Glenn Fleishman’s work at the Magazine (where I’ve provided illustrations) and his podcast The New Disruptors. TND focuses on in-depth interviews with people working independently in creative industries and new media.
The archives are a blessed hit-list of great folks answering smart questions (including Dave and Fred in the previous episode, talking about Stripped!), so it was a delight to be included on his guest list. Give us a listen!
This year I had the honor of being included in the wee funny pages booklet that was part of Cards Against Humanity‘s Advent calendar package. A dozen cartoonists were asked to submit a standalone, one-page comic, possibly Christmas-themed. My editor was the lovely Rich Stevens.
Rich suggested I do something with the little skeletons from Danse Macabre 2.0! I liked the idea of combining wee rotting corpses with a warm holiday message. Here’s my contribution. (Click it to see it full-size.)
Earlier this year I had the pleasure of providing illustrations for a personal essay in Oregon Humanities Magazine, written by Dionisia Morales.
The article (“Picture Their Hearts”) discusses the author’s parents’ mixed-race marriage in 1950′s America, her experiences growing up biracial in a family that didn’t talk much on the subject of race and identity, and recounts adult conversations with her now elderly (but still reluctant) mother.
The story opens with descriptions of her parents’ honeymoon photo album.The challenges in this assignment involved making the images relatable without being too specific – the author didn’t want any of her actual family portraits to be referenced.
The art director thought that a comics-inflected set of illustrations would keep the material from feeling too clinical or academic (I also created several word balloons for pull quotes).
I ended up suggesting the presence of photos as much as possible while keeping faces not entirely in-view (with the exception of President Obama, whose public image I thought formed an interesting contrast to the “hidden” visual world of the family.)
I had a great time illustrating this really intimate and thought-provoking story. Many thanks to AD Jen Wick at Oregon Humanities!
My work has been popping up all over this month! In addition to maintaining my ongoing projects and client work, I’ve gotten some great press.
Alex Dueben interviewed me for Comic Book Resources!
We talked about my graphic novel Family Man, the origins of my nerdiness for historical settings, how I got my start in comic books, and what it’s like to work with Scott Kurtz as a writer on his landmark web strip PvP. If you have wondered what it’s like to bounce from moody period drama to screwloose gag humor on an hour-to-hour basis, this interview was my first opportunity to talk about it.
Next up, my Eisner-nominated short comic, Outfoxed, has also put in an appearance in the Best American Comics anthology’s 2013 “Notables” list, alongside some really wonderful work covering every genre and format. Thank you to editors Jessica Abel, Matt Madden, and Jeff Smith for their consideration!
Also related to Outfoxed, you Francophones can now read the story in your native language. Outfoxed (under the translated title À Renard et Demi) is included in the first volume of Papier, a new quarterly book-length black and white anthology captained by Lewis Trondheim. The book showcases established French-language talents as well as new and newly-translated works by international artists like me. It’s a dizzying honor to be in the inaugural volume. The book looks and feels splendid, so head to your local librairie or Amazon.fr to snap up a copy.