Lots of events and art this week, so let’s GET TO IT! (Above: the Justice League, as painted by Alex Ross.)


In the newest episode of publisher First Second’s #SketchSchool, Natalie Andrewson teaches us to draw two characters from her graphic novel version of the Nutcracker ballet, titled The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. Charlotte-born (and current L.A. native) Andrewson also has a website worth a visit: check out the books she’s illustrated and the book covers she’s designed, and the art she’s created through Risograph printing, a process that results in unique colors and a handmade feel. Also visit Andrewson’s Instagram for more vibrant examples of her cartooning. (For a crash course in Risograph printing, Olivia of Pindot Press has a video that gives you the basics about Riso inks and machines. And thanks to Clark Burscough for the original link to Andrewson’s Sketch School!)





The fall comics convention season continues, and here are some free online activities, workshops and panel discussions that you and your child might be interested in:

The Latino Comics Expo 2020—sponsored by The Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach, CA—was held last weekend, and luckily all the panels were recorded and are available on YouTube. Check out the zine workshop conducted by Isabel Ann Castro (go Spurs!); a fascinating talk on Mexican wresting and Golden Age Mexican comic books with El Santo fan and scholar Keith J. Rainville; and a Zoom chat with my nominee for greatest living American cartoonist, Jaime Hernandez (see adjacent illustration). All the videos are here.

Cartoon Crossroads Columbus begins this weekend and continues through October 4! On Saturday, September 26 from 3-4pm, Bone creator Jeff Smith will be on Facebook Live to answer your questions and sign books. The CXC website has a breakdown of events on October 1-4 by date and time (scroll down at link): fun all-ages panels will include Faith Erin Hicks’ “Charting Paths to Make Comics” (October 1, 5:30-6:30pm), the keynote presentation with Gene Luen Yang (October 2, 4-5pm) and the CXC Spotlight with March artist Nate Powell (October 4, 5-6pm). And tune in on Friday, October 2 from 6:15 to 7:15 to watch myself and a crack team of fellow comics nerds try to win the Comics Trivia Championship!

The Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo (MICE) is sponsoring a month-long series of online artists’ talks and programming in October! The schedule, up now, features such events as a “Cartoonist Bootcamp” with Jon Chad (Sunday, October 4, 2-3pm) and a character creation workshop with Mika Song (Sunday, October 11, 2-3pm). Browse the entire event—and helpfully, the event descriptions indicate appropriate ages for participants.


It was just two weeks ago that the Club recommended Chloe Maveal’s NeoText article on Joe Kubert’s D.C. (anti-)war comics. Now Maveal’s back with a look at Jack Kirby’s defection from Marvel to D.C. in 1970, and the first comic Kirby wrote and drew after the move, Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen! As fans know, Jimmy Olsen was Kirby’s initial step in building his Fourth World, aptly described by Maveal as a “massive multi-series storyline that is, in many ways, his magnum opus”—so after you read Maveal’s essay and drink in the frenetic Kirby’s illustrations that accompany her text, why not dive directly into the deep waters of Kirby’s cosmology? Start with The New Gods. (And browse the main NeoText site for other lively articles about popular culture—but make sure an article is all-ages before sharing it with your kids.)


Thinking about Jack Kirby’s cosmic storytelling reminds me of one of my favorite short movies, Powers of Ten (1977). Created by the influential designers Charles and Ray Eames, Powers of Ten begins by describing itself as “a film dealing with the relative size of things in the universe, and the effect of adding another zero”—and then takes us on a visual journey that transports us out of our galaxy, and contracts to show us the nucleus of a carbon atom. There are also other films on YouTube which show us vast differences in scale, such as this ultimate zoom (2010) that incorporates footage from the Imax movie Cosmic Voyage (1996).


Alex Ross is a comic book artist who specializes in realistic paintings of superheroes from the Marvel and D.C. universes. Although he has painted entire comic books—including Marvels (1994; written by Kurt Busiek) and Uncle Sam (1997; written by Steve Darnall)—Ross’ current output emphasizes pin-ups and comic book covers: single images. Below is a small portfolio of Ross’ cool takes on established heroes (and you should visit Ross’ Instagram for lots more).

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 #21 (September 18, 2020)Playhouse Comics Club, Issue #23 (October 2, 2020)

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