Useful and fun links this week at the Playhouse Comics Club! (The image above: “Vincent” by Abigail Giuseppe, another entry in the virtual 2020 Student Scholarship Exhibit at the Society of Illustrators.)


Here’s a follow-up to a couple of links we’ve provided in the past.

It’s week #23 for Sunday Haha, a comics newsletter for young readers that arrives free in your e-mail every Sunday. Sign up here, and meet Kiri, the littlest Dungeon Guard, Mr. Wolf, and the rest of the gang!

Here at the Club, we’re also big fans of First Second’s Sketch School, featuring how-to videos of cartoonists drawing characters from their graphic novels. In the newest episode of Sketch School, Sloane Leong introduces us to Ren, the heroine of Leong’s new basketball book A Map to the Sun. (Check out Leong’s website for a preview of A Map to the Sun.)


The Center for Cartoon Studies (White River Junction, VT) continues to make important comics about real-world topics. First was This Is What Democracy Looks Like (2019), a comic-book guide for people interested in getting involved in national, state, and local politics. The Center’s new release is Let’s Talk about It: A Graphic Guide to Mental Health, written and drawn by Cara Bean, a former school teacher and zine maker who’s also working on a longer book about kids and depression. (Bean’s website is here; some of the comics on the site are more appropriate for teens and adults, but I’d recommend Why Draw? for readers of all ages.) You can download Let’s Talk about It on Gumroad, for whatever price you choose—if you can’t afford to spend money right now, you can still receive the comic and benefit from its advice on maintaining your mental well-being during the Corona crisis.



The Library of Congress National Book Festival was held online from Friday, September 25 to Sunday, September 27, and many recordings from the event have been archived on the Festival’s “Video on Demand” page. When you follow that link and scroll down, the first two categories of videos you’ll see are “Children” and “Teens,” listing talks with Angela Dominguez, Chelsea Clinton, Jerry Craft, Kate DiCamillo and Ann Patchett, Mo Willems, Gene Luen Yang, Tonya Bolden, and many others. There are dozens of other sessions with writers available on that “Video on Demand” page too, focused on such topics as “Genre Fiction,” “History & Biography,” and “Science.” And highlights from the 2019 Festival include videos with Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Cece Bell, and David McCullough. Happy browsing, happy watching! (And thanks to Mike Rhode for the link.)




Phantomarine by Canadian artist Claire K. Niebergall is a long-running, PG-rated spooky fantasy about Phaedra, a slain princess who challenges the forces of the underworld to win back her life and the lives of her friends. Of course, quests never go easily, and Phantomarine spins out into a complex tale of “seaghosts,” surfing, and frozen hunting expeditions, all drawn in Niebergall’s colorful manga-and-animation influenced art style. Begin the story here, and also drop in on Niebergall’s Twitter and Instagram accounts for more vibrant images. (Thanks to Avery Kaplan for the link!)


During October we’re highlighting spooooky cartoonists and artists—and today’s subject is Jill Thompson, a veteran in the comic book industry familiar to fans as the illustrator of the Neil Gaiman Sandman story Brief Lives. But she’s also written and drawn tales featuring her Halloween-themed character Scary Godmother, a witch with a heart of gold, and a Harper Collins children’s book series about Magic Trixie. Thompson’s a talented cover artist and painter, as the playful images below reveal; included are portraits of Carson McCullers and Wonder Woman, and here is a link to a comics convention event where Thompson draws another version of the Amazon superheroine.  (For more Thompson art, visit her website and Instagram.)


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


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Playhouse Comics Club, Issue #23 (October 2, 2020)Playhouse Comics Club, Issue #25 (October 16, 2020)

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