Artists’ talks and strange-day walks! Welcome to the Club this autumnal week! (Above: Sophie Margolin’s “Angel Woman,” another wonderful illustration from the virtual 2020 Student Scholarship Exhibit from the Society of Illustrators.)


This weekend, the Twin City Book Festival, Minnesota’s central gathering for readers, writers, publishers, and booksellers, celebrates its twentieth anniversary with an impressive cast of panels, many featuring comics artists and YA authors. (All panels are free, but you must register ahead of time.) Here are the cartoon highlights:

Friday, October 16, 10am (Eastern Standard Time): Beyond Imagination: Middle Grade Graphic Novelists, with Tim Probert, Kathleen Gros, and David Bowles.

Friday, October 16, 3pm (Eastern Standard Time): U.S. History Gets Graphic, with Robert Sikoryak, James Otis Smith, and Derf Backderf.

Saturday, October 17, 10:30am (Eastern Standard Time): Growing Up Graphic, with Jerry Craft, Ursula Murray Husted, and Hope Larson. (Photo: Larson promotes her new YA graphic novel, All Together Now.)


During the pandemic, bookstores around North Carolina are sponsoring virtual events for you and your family. At Malaprop’s Bookstore in Asheville, Miss Malaprop’s Storytime streams live on Instagram every Wednesday morning at 10am: details here. Malaprop’s also has other events of interest to children’s book fans, such as a panel discussion with kids and YA authors Jonathan Auxier, Kirsten Miller, and Beth Ferry on Saturday, October 24. More events are listed on Malaprop’s month-by-month calendar.

As we head into holiday season, please support independent bookstores—including Boone’s own Foggy Pine Books!—when buying presents. Visit the Foggy Pine site for information on how to order books from them, as well as for other resources, such as their “Antiracist Reading List,” for recommendations for booklovers of all ages.


Over at the website for The Believer magazine, Leise Hook—a graduate of Vermont’s Center for Cartoon Studies—offers an interactive comic, The Vine and the Fish, about two invasive species (Kudzu and “Asian Carp”) and what they tell us about humanity’s penchant for categorization and fear of the Other. (There’s nothing inappropriate in Hook’s comic, but younger readers may have trouble following her argument.) Hook’s website also includes many nonfiction and autobiographic comics, including her visual essay about diversity and American Girl Dolls and a comic for kids, The Moonbug Caper. Also sneak a peek at Hook’s illustrations and her bunny-filled Instagram account.


The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh has reopened with some new pandemic-related protocols in place, but if a three-hour drive isn’t convenient right now, you can instead visit the Museum virtually, through their sophisticated, 360-degree virtual tours. (The interface is fun to tinker with, and the content is full of fun facts.) While you’re checking out those tours, browse the rest of the Museum website, discover the animals showcased in the Museum’s exhibits, check out their “Science at Home” resources for at-home education and curious kids, and explore their “Digital Media” pages, featuring videos about dinosaurs, genealogy, and more. May I recommend their—yum!—BugFest Critter Cook-Off, where two chefs compete to make the tastiest dishes from insect ingredients?


Third in our series of spoooky, creepy cartoonists for the Halloween season: Basil Wolverton, who began his cartooning career with science fiction characters (like Spacehawk [1940-42]) and humor strips (like Powerhouse Pepper [1942-52] for early comics companies. He also drew “Lena the Hyena,” the ugliest girl in the world, for Al Capp’s newspaper strip Li’l Abner in 1946, and his goony portraits popped up in multiple early issues of MAD magazine (1952-54) and in the Christian magazine Plain Truth, where Wolverton contributed disturbing images culled from the Book of Revelation. Here’s a Wolverton career survey, here’s a Pinterest account with dozens of uncanny Wolverton images, and below is a small portfolio of the artist’s work.

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 #24 (October 9, 2020)Playhouse Comics Club, Issue #26 (October 23, 2020)

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