BY JEN VAUGHN – Opening up my mail the other day I was assaulted by religious propaganda from Jack Chick for the most fabulous of holidays, HALLOWEEN. My pack included TWO holiday-appropriate comics that I will not share with you but be certain they took all the fun out of pranks, scary stories and trick-or-treating in their clumsy attempt to remind you that ‘Halloween was created by the devil.’
BY JEN VAUGHN – Comic writer, podcast host and serial blogger at his own website, The Invincible Super Blog, and Comics Alliance, Chris Sims sat down to have a chat with me about his upcoming Dracula comic to be fully released on Monday, October 31st, also known as Halloween. Six delicious pages are up as a preview now.
BY JEN VAUGHN – Cartoonist James Sturm wrote an insightful piece on submitting cartoons to the New Yorker posted on The Slate. As a cartoonist or unfortunately termed ‘graphic novelist,’ Sturm is used to drawing stories in the long term, stretching a few hundred pages, panel upon panel upon panel upon YES, panel. How Sturm spent his summer vacation was a cartoon a day to build up a keeper-portfolio for The New Yorker. Sturm relearned to let go of the beats you find in a long-form comic to sketch loosely and effectively situations right after that something funny, something intangible occurred. He includes many of his cartoons in the article including this close-to-home joke and one of my favorites, when the caption is recycled for a different situation.
Trolling the internet while on vacation, I was chilled down to the bone (impressive given the 100+ temperatures in Texas) to see on the announcement on the Center for Cartoon Studies website that the Xeric Award would be no more. Since 1992, Peter Laird of the amazeballs black and white comic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (self-published in 1984) has granted two awards a year to a cartoonist or project for its excellence.
The Maine Comics Arts Festival is in its third year of providing Portland, Maine – Yes, the other Portland – with a wide array of comics by East Coast cartoonists. Sitting on the beautiful waterfront, attendees and exhibitors will be graced by a fantastic view of the water and the perpetual fog that sleeps atop Portland.
BY JEN VAUGHN – This past weekend, The Beat left the wet and mountainous regions of the East Coast for the wet and mountainous regions of the West Coast to revel in the majestic small press show that is Stumptown Comics Festival. Having recently moved from the Doubletree Hotel to the Oregon Convention Center, more artists and cartoonists would be to showcase their work for eager audiences.
Art schools and apprenticeships find themselves more popular than ever, let’s all tip our hats to inspiration artist Rudolph Töpffer’s for his creation of boarding school for boys. While anyone can teach themselves and become successful on their own, a lot of the specialty schools allow access to equipment, connections, mentorship of working professionals and opportunities in a condensed amount of time that are priceless.
With the continuing tradition of the band poster convention, FLATSTOCK, in Austin and the gaggles* of cartoonists, designers and journalists, there is no surprise that one of the Interactive panels focused on How Print Design is the Future of Interaction. One full room of print people eagerly waiting to hear what only one man, Mike Kruzeniski, had in mind. Kruzeniski works for Microsoft and is key in the development of the Windows Phone 7.
Tonight at the Barrientos Mexican-American Cultural Center there is a SXSW Interactive evening event called Plutopia: The Future of Play that anyone can attend. Many speakers will focus on the converging technologies of the science field with arts and entertainment via film, demonstrations, performance art.
Dawn broke over the town and I slept the hell right through it. The panels of SXSW Interactive did not start until the afternoon and like a true ol’ fogey, I spent the morning walk to the Austin Convention Center complaining about the businesses that had closed and what had been thrown up its place. Kerbey Lane with local art on the walls and pancakes of the day made the list of places to eat because the queso is an optional side like ketchup or chipotle mayo (I guess that one is rather new too).