Webcomics, zines, and passages in comics history…welcome to the new issue of the Playhouse Comics Club! (The image above is from Green Lantern #76 [1970], featuring passionate activist superhero Green Arrow.)

 

Katie O’Neill is a New Zealand illustrator and comics artist who tells award-winning, all-ages fantasy stories about “young characters learning about themselves and their strengths.” Most of her comics are currently available only in book form, but The Tea Dragon Society (2020), about a reluctant student blacksmith named Greta, is online in a complete version. You can also browse the Tea Dragon Society website for more information about O’Neill’s magical world and her cast of characters.

 

 

 

 

As we’ve seen in previous issues of the Playhouse Comics Club, quaranzines—hand-made magazines and comics about your experiences during the pandemic—are on the rise. Everyone is making their own Covid-era zines; everyone is capturing this moment in history. Now the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, a non-profit that fights censorship of comics in schools and libraries, gives us instructions on “Making Mini-Comics for Activism and Self-Care,” and another great resource is Jessica Abel’s “DIY: Making Minicomics,” with detailed tips on formatting and proportions. Create! Create!

 

 

 

 

The Phoenix is a weekly UK comic that promises “thrilling and action-packed stories,” “funny comics,” and “fascinating non-fiction comics covering history, science, and more” for readers aged seven to fourteen. Sample The Phoenix by downloading the June issue of their Q Club magazine (Q, of course, for Quarantine) for free—it’s full of cartoons, mazes, and drawing guides for young artists.

 

 

 

Green Lantern #76 (1970), one of the most important superhero comics ever published, boldly tackles real-life racial problems. In a famous moment, Green Lantern is confronted with his own prejudice, as an older man asks why the superhero helps alien races more than the suffering Black Americans on his home planet. This story was drawn by Neal Adams and Dick Giordano, and written by Dennis O’Neil, who died last week at the age of 81. As a tribute to O’Neil, and as an acknowledgment of the issues of racism that persist in America, publisher DC Comics has made a download of Green Lantern #76 free through Tuesday, June 23. This is comics reading appropriate for teens and adults, and it couldn’t be more timely.

 

 

Jan Eliot announced her retirement last Monday. Eliot is the writer and artist of the newspaper comic strip Stone Soup, which began in 1995 and will wrap up on Sunday, July 26.

Stone Soup is a gentle, true-to-life comic that originally focused on a family comprised of single mom Val and her two daughters, Holly and Alix. Eventually, Val met Phil, they fell in love and got married, and the strip blossomed out to include Val’s sister Joan, Joan’s husband Wally, and an ever-expanding cast of friends and family. All of Stone Soup is available on the GoComics website: begin here with the first strip and read about Eliot’s career and the evolution of Soup here.

In her last six weeks, it looks like Eliot is going charmingly meta. Check out last Sunday’s strip, below.

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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A message from Playhouse leadership about racial justicePlayhouse Comics Club, Issue #9 (June 26, 2020)

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