For the past five years, Cassandra Calin has written and drawn a “semi-autobiographical” comic strip titled (appropriately enough) Cassandra Comics, which takes as one of its subjects the difference between unrealistic beauty standards and what it’s like to be a real, living, breathing woman. You can find all of Calin’s strips on Tapas; there’s also a nice selection of work—combined with some facts about Calin and advice for web cartoonists—on Bored Panda, and Calin posts her strips on her Tumblr page too.

 

Here in the High Country, the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum (BRAHM) is sponsoring lots of summer programming for kids, including an “Afternoon Art Program” (June 1), a “Doodlebug Club” (every Friday from 9:30-10:30, beginning June 4), and a three-day “Purrfect Pals Camp,” featuring art activities about pets and animals. Go here for a calendar of BRAHM’s programs for both children and adults. And don’t forget to check out BRAHM’s current exhibits, including “Transformation,” which explores how photography as an artform has changed over the last half-century, giving the photographer “dramatic latitude in terms of scale and visual media. Photography is no longer just a pretty picture or a document. It can be many things at once, integrating many materials and media.” Other revolving and permanent BRAHM exhibits are described here.

 

In The New York Times, illustrator, cartoonist, and University of Granada art professor Sergio García Sánchez took the text of “The Road Not Taken”—Robert Frost’s most famous poem—and turned it into a forking diagram / story (above). When he posted his piece on Twitter, Sánchez was understandably flooded with complements; and more delicate, beautiful art like his Frost piece can be found at Sánchez’s website. Below is a picture of the artist, who in 2020 created a comic strip 27 square meters in size as a tribute to Pablo Picasso’s Guernica (1937).

 

Jon B. Cooke, the editor of the magazine Comic Book Creator (2013- ), has begun to post short articles from CBC on Facebook. One touching piece was about Flo Steinberg (1939-2017), Stan Lee’s administrative assistant during the 1960s, when Marvel Comics became a sensation and built its enduring fandom. Steinberg handled the mail sent in by readers and fans, and CBC photographer Kendall Whitehouse remembers a response Steinberg provided to a letter he sent in about the Fantastic Four character The Thing. Whitehouse’s story is below. (And the link to information about issues of Comic Book Creator is here.)

 

This week, the London Cartoon Museum reopened with an exhibition of one of the most lauded and influential comics of all, V for Vendetta (1982-89), written by Alan Moore and drawn by David Lloyd. The V comic was of course the inspiration for the 2005 film of the same name, and the Guy Fawkes mask that the character V wears in the book and movie has become a totem for revolutionaries everywhere. Here is a video tour of the V exhibit—you can see some of the original art pages on the Museum’s walls—and here is the website for the Museum’s exhibit. (Parents should be advised that the V comic is appropriate only for older readers.) While you’re there, check out the Museum’s links to their permanent collection and to their “Free Resources” page, with activity sheets about caricature and comics storytelling.

 

There’s been too many obituaries here at the Playhouse Comics Club recently, but I have to acknowledge the passing of my friend Patrick Dean. I met him at Heroes Con (a comics convention held in Charlotte every June, though not since 2019), and I loved hanging out with him as we stared at original art by our favorite artists: Jack Kirby, Alex Toth, Jack Davis, Frank Robbins. In addition to being a fan, Patrick was himself an accomplished cartoonist with an engagingly ramshackle visual style and an off-kilter sense of humor; his strips often appeared in Flagpole, the alt-weekly newspaper in his hometown of Athens, Georgia, and his graphic novel Eddie’s Week was published by Birdcage Bottom Books in 2020. He was also a co-organizer (with Robert Newsome) of the annual Fluke Mini-Comics Festival in Athens.

Patrick was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in 2018, and spent the last three years in painful physical decline (though I did see him and his loving family at the 2019 Heroes Con). After he lost the ability to use his hands, he turned to eyegaze-tracking technology, which allowed him to make digital marks by moving his eyes. (Examples of his eyegaze work are below, taken from his Twitter account.) His determination to continue creating art made him an inspiration to everyone in the comic community. He drew until the day he died.

On the Comics Journal website, you can find a December 2020 interview with Patrick conducted by fellow artist Eleanor Davis, a review of Eddie’s Week by Davis, and an editorial about Patrick by Journal editor Tucker Stone.

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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 #55 (May 14, 2021)Playhouse Comics Club, Issue #57 (May 28, 2021)

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