The painting above is by Shaun Tan, and it’s titled “Never Leave a Red Sock on the Clothesline.” Good advice!

 

The online version of the San Diego Comic Con has come and gone, but the Con panels are still available to watch on YouTube. Go here to explore the 300+ panels and events that were recorded (and you can always return to this list by typing “Comic-Com@Home 2020” in YouTube’s search bar). One panel I recommend for young viewers is a conversation between Robin Ha, author of the comics autobiography Almost American Girl (2020)—about “immigration, belonging, and how the arts can save a life”—and wildly popular YA graphic novelist Raina Telgemeier, who released two books (Guts and the activity book Share Your Smile, a how-to guide to crafting your own comics memoir) in 2019. The two have a lively discussion about their art, draw for their cameras, and answer readers’ questions.

 

 

The Prints and Photos Division of the Library of Congress blog, Picture This, updates weekly with entries and images about a particular topic. The most recent, posted July 31, is about artists’ studios, but there is also a menu to the left of the entry that allows you to browse the blog archive for such topics as “Architecture,” “Visual Literacy,” “World War I,” and, yes, “Cartoons,” where you’ll find blog posts on influential comic artist Will Eisner, editorial cartoonists, and drawings about environmental issues. (Don’t miss the topic “Feast Your Eyes,” where the LoC staff put up weird images about food, including photos about America’s love affair with the doughnut.) The LoC also produces a webcast about visual culture, and Eisner, cartoonist Nicole Hollander, and comics scholar Josh Kopin appear on this webcast. You should just set aside an hour or two and look for what strikes your interest. (Thanks to Patrick Holt for the link.)

 

 

 

We missed an important anniversary last week. Fifty-two years ago on July 31, Charles Schulz introduced the first Black character, Franklin, to his Peanuts newspaper comic strip. Schulz was persuaded to do so by a white schoolteacher named Harriet Glickman, who saw the United States devastated by the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and felt that integrating Peanuts would be a small healing step forward: the story of Glickman and Schulz’s correspondence is here. Following Franklin’s introduction, Schulz became a mentor to several Black newspaper artists and cartoonists, including JumpStart’s Robb Armstrong, who spoke about his friendship with “Sparky” Schulz on NPR Radio in 2018.

 

The Orkney Islands are an archipelago located off the coast of Northern Scotland, with a rural farming population of less than 25,000, one of whom was Jim Baikie, a cartoonist who reached a worldwide readership. Born in 1940, and interested in science fiction seemingly from birth, Baikie enrolled in Britain’s Royal Air Force as a young man while playing guitar in early rock-n-roll bands and jumpstarting his career as a professional comics artist. Baikie would eventually do major work for both 2000 AD, the UK’s popular weekly comics magazine (and home of iconic character Judge Dredd) and Warrior, a 1980s short-lived but influential superhero anthology comic. He was also published by DC and Marvel Comics, and became a close collaborator with Alan Moore, the most important comics writer of the last half-century. (Panels from their strip Skizz, about a little alien lost on Earth, are above.) A current online exhibit from the Orkney Museum, Kirkwall titled “The Life and Times of Orkney Artist Jim Baikie” covers Baikie’s creative life in joyous, extensively illustrated detail: please read in order Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

Visit the website of Shaun Tan, an Australian artist known “for illustrated books that deal with social and historical subjects through dream-like imagery.” (I first encountered Tan’s work through The Arrival [2007], his spectacular wordless book about the immigrant experience.) Tan’s website features a generous sample of his paintings, images from his work in film and theatre, and a section of prints available for purchase which provides another showcase for his art. Tan was also a recent guest on The Bibliofiles, Princeton University’s podcast featuring interviews with children’s book authors—and you can browse the Bibliofiles archives here, to discover talks with author S.E. Hinton, Bone graphic novelist Jeff Smith, and many more creative people.)

Let’s end with a few striking images from Tan’s website.

This weekly blog post is written and compiled by Craig Fischer. To send along recommendations, ideas, and comments, contact Craig at craig_fschr@yahoo.com [.]

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Playhouse Comics Club, Issue #14 (July 31, 2020)Playhouse Comics Club, Issue #16 (August 14, 2020)

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