Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Anthology Game Part 2

I have great news regarding anthology publication this year.

 

In November of 2013 I became determined to get comics short stories published in anthologies.  I figured this would keep me drawing regularly, get my art out there, sometimes bring in money and ultimate make the case for signing a book deal on a graphic novel.  This post is an update on an earlier post about starting my adventures in publishing that can be found here.

I'm working with a super-secret comics collaborator to create a
story for Rock is Not Dead.
My efforts have resulted in acceptances from nine different projects:  one local weekly paper here in Seattle, two United States publications and six international journals.

Here are some updates you might be interested in:

Canadian Anthology "Rock Is Not Dead" is seeking more stories inspired by rock songs!


One of the publishers I am working with - Canada-based 11th Dimension Press - is putting together an anthology of straight-forward prose as well as comics short stories inspired by rock songs.  NOT ONLY THAT, but they will be having independent bands cover the songs and put out an accompanying CD's.  It's a short turn around, but pitch your stories.




The Strumpet is an anthology of women cartoonists that publishes in both England and America, and is currently edited by a fabulous cartoonist in her own right -  Ellen Lindner.  It features over 50 pages of work by 18 female artists.

This is Issue #4 of The Strumpet and it is themed around women's friendships.  I LOVE this because so much of what is represented in the media are not reflective of women's voices or actual experiences around friendship.  The story I created for The Strumpet is the most difficult work of art that I've tackled to date, because I had to smoosh dacades worth of friendship into three pages to tell the story of my friendship with fellow female artist and carpenter, Lisa Mei Ling Fong.

Check out The Strumpet Kickstarter page here.   And if you miss out on the Kickstarter, it will eventually be available on Ellen Lindner's Etsy Page.

Free or "Pay-What-You-Can" International Anthologies


While several of the anthologies I'm working with are still in the process of being published, I have works running currently in two publications that you can access for free.

Outre Press out of Norway is a free online journal that features themed issues. 
Issue #4 is "Silence" and can be downloaded here.  They ran a super sweet Creator Spotlight for me on their blog here.

While I only did a 1-page illustration for Outre, I created a 17-page rendition of a dark Czech folk tale for Blood Root #3, which also features work by Haan Lee, Ram V and Kishore Mohan.  You can purchase the lovingly designed print edition here.  You can also find free and pay-what-you-can titles from Sawdust Press here

Well, there is SO MUCH GOING ON in Seattle comics right now, and so much more in motion with anthologies, that I could keep writing forever.  However, until next post. . .



C-log posts on comics, publication and community that publishes on Tuesdays.


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Kickstarting Comics! Release Party For Gone Girl Comics #2

Lots of News...

...at Gone Girl Comics central this last month.


Gone Girl Comincs - Issue #2 Release Party

The event is actually a poetry reading, called What's The Word, where I'll be performing spoken word, talking about comics and selling books.  If you are in Seattle, come on by, it starts at 7:30.  If you write, bring something for the open mic as well.  I'll be doing a feature set at some point in the evening.

In addition to having Gone Girl Comics Issues #1 and #2, I have copies of Blood Root #3 available.  It features my 17-page adaptation of a Czech folk tale, Jezinkas, as well as works by artists from India, England and New York.

Funny story--both the new Gone Girl Comic and Blood Root #3 have crows and ravens on the covers!  Total coincidence, but it makes me happy.

You can find the full event details here.  I'd love to see you there!
 

The Anthology Game:  Outre Press #4 - Silence

This FRIDAY, December 5th, Norway-based Outre Press will be releasing their 4th issue, FREE online at http://outrepress.com/ .       This issue is based around the concept of "silence" and I was invited to contribute an illustration.  I will have a free postcard announcing the new issue of Outre at my performance on Thursday night.

Outre did a "Creator Spotlight" for me, as well, which was sweet.

I have some good news regarding anthology publication, but I'm going to wait and share it a little bit later.  Check back next week for a full update on The Anthology Game.  (You can read my original post about why I'm engaging anthologies as extensively as I am here.)

So About That Kickstarter...

 


I am incredibly grateful to the amazing group of people who backed the Gone Girl Comics #2 Kickstarter campaign!  I've added a "Thank You" page on my website here.

I feel incredibly lucky that my campaign actually exceeded goal.  My original goal was actually a little too close to the bone to do everything I wanted to do.  

I promised to spill all of my secrets about running the campaign, so here are my insights, having never done it before:

  • It's work.  Setting up, running, and following up on the campaign is amazingly time consuming, and it ate up a lot of the energy I had intended for actually drawing!  Theoretically, I could have temped for a couple of weeks and made the same money.  But what I loved about it is it gave me an opportunity to reconnect with people from many of my networks, and raise awareness about my new direction: Comics.
  • Listen to your friends who have done it before.  Mine told me to raise my goal and set the benefit of a personalized drawing at a slightly higher benefit level.  I should have done both.  About the drawing:  people natural give at $25, it seems, so the drawing would have been a better incentive at one level up...and I have A LOT of drawings to do now (which is great, I love it, I will be so warmed up for my next story!)
  • Double-check that budget.  I would have LOST money on the campaign if I had placed the goal as low as I originally planned--due to the cost of mailing printed materials.  I double-checked my actual costs, but still kept my goal minimal, because if I failed....well, first it would just look bad.  And I wouldn't have been able to print anything at all.  
  • Do a better video than I did.  My decision to run a campaign was based on a sudden need in a short timeline, and I taught myself iMovie in one day to create my video.  It's not Oscar-worthy.  Should I ever do a Kickstarter in the future, I will get a videographer and do it right.
  • Communicate personally.  I was surprised that 15% of my funders were actually strangers who found my project through the Kickstarter website.  The rest of them were almost entirely people I sent personal messages to, inviting them to back the project.
  • Don't freak out too early.  I tried really hard to NOT be annoying in how I communicated about my campaign.  I attempted to not just hammer social media to death, but post every now and then and send about 10 emails a day.  Half way through the campaign, I panicked and sent out about 140 emails.  It definitely spiked my donations, but I'm not sure the results would have been any different if I had kept it slow and steady.  I think I even lost some potential backers because they saw I hit my goal already, early.
  • The 30% idea:  Several blogs I read say that if you hit 30% in the first half of your campaign, you're golden.  I don't know if it's true, but if you can line up for-sure backers to cover 30% on the front end, it can't hurt.
I have A LOT of people to thank.  I was even going to thank everyone who shared the video, but it's actually impossible to keep track.  I do want to give a shout out to inktart.org and The Comics Grinder for running articles on my campaign.  It was really an intense experience, and I'm excited that it resulted in printed books that people can hold in their hands and enjoy!

Thank you!  Until next time...

C-log posts on comics, publication and community that publishes on Tuesdays.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Kickstarting Comics! The Final Day

Screen shot as of 9:30 this morning.  Come on over and join the party.  http://tinyurl.com/ngrovan

Success!

Gone Girl Comics is going into the last 12 hours of what has been a fabulous Kickstarter campaign.

As it stands, going into this last day, I am only $175 dollars short of the project being funded at 275%.  

I am humbled and amazed by surpassing my original goal, and also by the fantastic list of individuals who chose to back my campaign.  I couldn't be more excited about the diversity of friends, colleagues and strangers who are interested in me continuing to put out story-based, image rich comics short stories. 

I absolutely cannot wait to write the love letter that is going to be the Thank You message at the end of this campaign TODAY, October 27th at 10 PM Pacific Standard Time.

One of five images from
"The Lost Originals" postcard set.
I am going to do a full blog about my experience with Kickstarting Comics tomorrow, after the grande finale.  Until then, I am here to ask you to help me finish this campaign strong.  There is a big difference between a $850 campaign finishing at 250% and, say, a $10,000 campaign.  ($22,875 worth of difference, to be exact.)  Additional money from backers is being put back into backer benefits or directly into larger print runs for a series that sold out three runs last year!

So, come join the party.  I'll send you awesome drawings.  Oh--and I've been designing the postcard series this week, the ones I'm packaging as benefits.  Since it is the last weekend before Halloween, here is my "Monster Mash" from the story Cat Door Monster, in it's soon-to-be-postcard form.

Until tomorrow!




C-log posts on comics, publication and community that publishes on Tuesdays.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Kickstarting Comics! Gone Girl Comics #2 Takes Flight.

Cover Image for the Kickstarter video.
Come on over to the campaign site and check it out!

Last week, I started a new chapter in my creative life.  I launched a Kickstarter campaign for Gone Girl Comics #2.

It was something of a last-minute response to the theft of my portfolio that I wrote about earlier.  I planned to partially fund the printing of Gone Girl Comics in time for the Short Run comics festival here in Seattle with the sale of the artwork inside.  With that gone, and time ticking (Short run is November 15th!) I decided to bite the bullet and launch the campaign.

 

It launched exactly one week ago, and - as of this morning- is funded at 60% !!

 

The internet is rife with articles on how to run a Kickstarter, and Kickstarter themselves offer excellent "How To" guides, but my super-secret weapon is the expert advise of fellow cartoonists who have run significantly larger Kickstarter campaigns and lived to tell the tale.

I promise to spill all my secrets about running a successful Kickstarter campaign.  If my campaign is a success.  I still have two more weeks - until October 27th @ 10 PM Pacific Standard - to find out. 

What I CAN tell you already is this:
For a once-upon-a-time Slam Poet
I  had a rough time with my
video voice - over.
  • I simply didn't have time to get a videographer, so I taught myself Garage Band and iMovie and made my own video.  Should I ever crowd fund again, I will get some professional help.
  • I set my goal realistically, but did a cost-benefit analysis.  Glad I did, or I would have LOST money on meeting my original goal due to the cost of mailing printed material!
  •  I have been sending out personal emails and FB messages to folks every morning, asking them to support.  I'm keeping track of people who share my video as well as those who give.  Non-cash supporters will be thanked as well
I did do one unconventional thing, which is launch my Kickstarter and drop off the grid for three days - no phone, no internet access.  I was OK with it.  I figured, no need to make a pest of myself at the beginning of my campaign, and when I come back I'll see if the campaign has legs of it's own.

Happily, on my return it was nearly 50% funded, and so now I will be here, at my computer every morning for a designated amount of time.  Designated, because otherwise this will eat up my entire attention span, and I won't get any drawing done. 

The cover from Blood Root #3.
I have a 17-page story in this issue,
and am offering it as one of the benefits
in my Kickstarter campaign.

So come on over to the Gone Girl Comics #2 & The Lost Originals Kickstarter page.  With you're help I'll write about the successful campaign in two weeks.  And you know you want to have an awesome comic published with your name on it!

A Quick "Anthology Game" Update

 

Back in July I wrote about beginning my adventures in seeking publication credits, in a blog I titled "The Anthology Game."  At that time I had three comics accepted for publication in anthologies.  Now I'm up to 8 new projects and hope to have some stunningly good news on that front SOON.

Tune in next week and I'll give you the full story, including listing new calls for submissions that I am aware of as well as what I've learned moving forward so far.

C-log posts on comics, publication and community that publishes on Tuesdays.



Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Serbian Anthologies, Stolen Art & Other Stories

The poster I designed for Seattle Busker Week. 
Check out their full schedule Here.
If you hadn't noticed, Gone Girl Comics has been....gone, for a late summer hiatus.

Much of is has had to do with the unusually sunny weather here in the Pacific Northwest coinciding with being given access to an honest-to-god log cabin to renovate in a huge forest on Whidbey Island.  This is amazing, because I am a below-poverty-level artist right now and the gift of a rugged but amazing place to escape to is beyond surreal.  I have spent weeks cleaning and repairing the cabin, and harvesting huckleberries and wild chanterelle mushrooms.  Which leads to extensive, long baking and cooking sessions.

Then there is paid work.  The poster for Seattle Busker Week was part of that, and--if you are in Seattle, you can see artwork in The Seattle Weekly and also attend the festivities.  Combine that with drawing on intense deadlines for comics anthology submissions, and my blog schedule got thrown off a bit.


Image of "Chicago Picasso" in the SKULPTURA? anthology.
But behold!  The submissions have been paying off!  Not only have I been accepted for publications in seven new projects this year, but some of them are actually in print now, including SKULPTURA?, a comics anthology centered on Sculpture that I wrote about last month HERE.  My story "Chicago Picasso" is in it.

I was just informed that only 300 books were printed, and they were distributed to attendees of the 16th Biennial of Art Pančevo in Serbia.  So, it looks like my one contributors copy is all I'll have...and I'm going to cherish it and guard it with my life.


This image, which launched my
comics career, was among
those in my missing portfolio.

Unfortunately, I should have had the thought "guard it with my life" stuck in my head much earlier, as I foolishly left one of my portfolios at a restaurant in Downtown Seattle after a client meeting.  Though I noticed it missing just a few minutes later, when I went back to the restaurant (Tulios) it was GONE.  I filed a police report and have been checking online, where people sell art...in it was the original first page of "Chicago Picasso" along with some work that was very dear to my heart.

I created a Facebook album for the stolen images.  You can view it HERE.  If anyone comes across something--my style is fairly recognizable--do let me know!  But I fear these are gone.  Live and learn.

RETURNING TO THE POSITIVE, I look forward to posting more about new creative pursuits and anthology publications.  The next publications to come out will be Indie Ladies Comics 2014 - Blush, as well as an illustration I did for Outre #4 and then Blood Root! 




C-log posts on comics, publication and community that publishes on Tuesdays.



Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Busting for Busker Week


Those who know me know that I've been working on a series of artistically challenging projects for comics publications.  What's been fun about my projects for this year is the diversity.  One story is an adaption of a dark Eastern European fairy tale; another is auto-biography about being a woman working at a shipyard and the last is a work of comics journalism set in Chicago.

One of the busker silhouettes
created by Noel Franklin
for Seattle Busker Week.

While I'm gearing up, now, to dive into a whole new slough of auto-biographical stories, I have something of an artistic palette cleanser happening in the form of a paid illustration gig for Seattle Busker Week.

If you don't know what a busker is, that's ok.  Lots of people don't.  The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a busker as:  a person who entertains in a public place for donation.  So, the person you see on the street corner playing their guitar with their case open for donations, that's a busker.  But buskers aren't limited musicians.  Just about anything people find entertaining can fall into the busking category.

We've got a lot of great jugglers, magicians, balloon-twisters, contortionists and other street artists here in Seattle.  Ever heard the song Spoonman by Soundgarden?  When he lived in Seattle, Artis the Spoonman became probably one of the most famous buskers in history.  However, it would have been illegal for Artis to perform in Seattle 40 years ago.  There were laws against performing in the streets without a permit.

I don't know the entire story YET, but I will know it, because I may be doing a comic about the history of busking in Seattle as part of the Seattle Busker Week program.  What I do know is that a guy named Jim Page serenaded the Seattle City Council while they were in session at Seattle City Hall with a song that persuaded them to drop the permit requirement for busking.

Since then, there has been an awesome renaissance of busking in Seattle, that has included the long-running Pike Market Busking Festival. THAT festival was started by Jim Hinde, who passed away in 2008.  Seattle Busker Week strives to honor where
Pike Market Busking Festival festival left off, and it's pretty exciting.
Photo of Jim Hinde
provided by Jim Page

I am going to be back to tell you SO MUCH MORE about Seattle Busker Week in about a month from now.  It runs from September 14th - 20th, launching with a 4-stage, parade and kids activity jubilee on the 14th at Pike Place Market.  Then it runs around the city to Benaroya Hall and Seattle's amazing Central library, with lots of "pop up" events in-between, and ends at the Experience Music Project on the the 20th.

The same Jim Page who sang for Seattle City Hall is one of the organizers, and a lot of attention is being paid to honoring tradition and being inclusive and adventurous.  I'll post more when details are finalized, and you can check their website in a little while as maps, schedules and other enticements are added. 

As for my part, I'm just drawing drawing drawing up a suite of materials for them, and thinking about the possibilities of a lil' comic history of this whole Seattle busker experience.  Until next week!



C-log posts on comics, publication and community every Tuesday.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

"Chicago Picasso" Visits Serbia, Meets Aleksandar Zograf


Detail from "Chicago Picasso" by Noel Franklin
My story, "Chicago Picasso," will appear in an international anthology of comics dealing with sculpture this fall!  

The anthology, titled SKULPTURA?, is curated by one of Europe's most successful cartoonist and comics journalist, Aleksandar Zograf.  It is being created as part of the 16th edition of the Pančevo Biennial of Art.  The Biennial launches on September 20th, 2014 in Pančevo, Serbia.

What is a "Chicago Picasso?"

 

The Chicago Picasso -
50 Feet and 162 tons of fun.
"Chicago Picasso" is one of the names for the 50-foot  sculpture designed by Spanish artist Pablo Picasso that stands in the Chicago's Daley Square.  At nine time my height, it dominates the popular public meeting place with a rusted steel presence that is both figurative and abstract.  

Picasso never visited Chicago in his life and how the sculpture came to be there is what my comic is about.  I chose the sculpture for the anthology because I have a personal connection with the sculpture and I have a personal connection to poetry, and the Chicago Picasso was prompted by a poem.

The poetry element of this sculpture's history is often overlooked.  A consortium of architects began working on Daley Plaza (then called the Chicago Civic Center) in 1960.  A large statue was in the plans from the start, and the key architects from the firms collaborating on the project agreed they wanted it to be created by Picasso.
Detail from "Chicago Picasso" by Noel Franklin

Picasso, on the other hand, was 82 at the time, living on the French Riviera and had no internal motivation to be involved in Daley Plaza.  To begin to entice Picasso, Architect Richard "Dick" Bennett wrote him a poem in 1963.  The poem still lives on the Loebl Schlossman & Hackl website.  A 2nd poem was created to be performed at the unveiling of the finished sculpture by soon-to-be Illinois Poet Laureate, Gwendolyn Brooks, in 1967. 

I didn't know about either poems when I began  research for this story, but I was excited to learn of Gwendolyn Brooks' involvement.  I once secured a grant from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation to bring her to Seattle for the 2000 Seattle Poetry Festival for what was to be one of her last public performances.


Saša Rakezić
aka Aleksandar Zograf

What is an Aleksandar Zograf?


Aleksandar Zograf is the pen name of celebrated Serbian cartoonist and comics journalist, Saša Rakezić, who is curating SKULPTURA? for the Pančevo Biennial of Art.

He is a long-time creator of surrealist art, creating comics based on dreams. 
In the early 90's his life became affected by the Yugoslav Wars and he bore witness to the conflict through a series of (still surrealistic) comics journalism called "Regards from Serbia."  His combination of artistic talent and unflinching journalism earned him a post at Vreme--Serbia's Time Magazine--where he contributes two pages of comics journalism a week.

I think you would be fascinated to learn more about Aleksandar Zograf, and his website is a great place to start!

Saša has a long history with the City of Seattle through his relationship with Fantagraphics Books, who have published some of his titles.  I met him at Roq La Rue when he was in Seattle for an event there.  His demeanor was unassuming and his attitude was one of genuine friendliness and curiosity.  Even though I was told something of his experiences in Serbia, the gravity of it was lost on me at that time.

Draft SKULPTURA? cover art by Pat Moriarity.
This was over 10 years before I began making comics in earnest!  I was introduced as a poet and literary arts organizer.  So it is a great honor to work with Saša as a contributor to SKULPTURA?.  Apparently, there will be artists from Serbia, UK, Italy, Brazil, Canada, Portugal, Austria and Greece.   As it turns out, another Seattle comics artist, Pat Moriarity, is the cover artist for SKULPTURA?.  I can't wait to find out who else is part of the contingency.

When I asked him about the connection between comics and sculpture, Sasa sent me the essay he is using to introduce the anthology, which I will reprint below.  And I will publish "Chicago Picasso" here in the United States, sometime after
SKULPTURA? comes out in the fall.



C-log posts on comics, publication and community every Tuesday.

*   *   *  

Intro to Skulptura?


How are comics related to sculpture? 

Well, in this modern world you can say that there are no strict lines between different forms of art.  Actually, experimentation and crossovers are welcome. The old world of hardcore “specialists” is gone. So, it felt kinda natural to invite cartoonists to create comics which would express their musings on sculpture and sculpting (in the process, it was funny to learn how many cartoonists actually did or still do sculpture, aside from their regular comics assignments). 

That is how this project was made – we collected stories by comics creators from different countries, allowing different styles and approaches. The result is interesting and thought-provoking, and of course there was a joy of discovering that comics were included in Art Biennial, which is an important fine art event in the town of Pančevo, and Serbia. 

The first page in this book is an example of early comics made in Serbia, from as early as 19th Century, and certainly the premier example of comics commenting on  sculpture and its creators in these parts. The page was created by Jovan Pešić (1866 – 1936), and reprinted here from Zdravko Zupan’s book A Century of Serbian Comics (published by Pančevo’s Cultural Center, 2007). As Zupan stated, Pešić “started to study sculpture in Novi Sad, and continued his studies with the well-known sculptor Đorđe Jovanović, until they had a quarrel. Inspired by this, in 1897 Pešić created a silent story …which was published many years later, in 1969, in the Anthology of the Belgrade’s Museum of Applied Arts”. 

Anyway, the world of comics and the world of sculpture are intermingling, embracing and clashing a multitude of ways, and this anthology may be a good start to learn about these complex relations.


Saša Rakezić alias Aleksandar Zograf
 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Sweet! Celebrate! (Get To Work!)

I don't think I could call myself a comics blogger without mentioning the San Diego Comic-Con that happened over the weekend.  Though I hear stories that it's become a playground for video game releases and blockbuster movie swag, it is still the spot where they hand out the coveted Eisner Awards.

This book won the 2013 Eisner for "Best Reality-Based Comic."
If you don't own it already, you should!
The Eisners!  They are the Oscars of the comics creating world.  And this is the second year I've been able to bask in hometown pride.  Last year, Seattle cartoonists David Lasky and Frank Young brought home the Eisner for "Best Reality-Based Comic" for their graphic novel The Carter Family: Don't Forget This Song.   I highly recommend it, and you can read more about it at Carter Family Comics:  Don't Forget This Blog!  

THIS year,  Fantagraphic swept the Eisners!

Artists and stories published by the Seattle-based comics company took home three top awards.  The Fantagraphics wins are particularly poignant not only because of the passing of Fantagraphics publisher, Kim Thompson, this year but also because many believe recognition of Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez - the creators of Love and Rockets - is long overdue.

I copped this image of Gilbert and
Jaime Hernandez from the
Fantagraphics blog, here!
Fantagraphics has an excellent write up about it on their own blog, here.

I am personally very excited that Jaime Hernandez was awarded "Best Artist of the Year."  He created the character Maggie for the series "Music for Mechanics."  She was a teenage female latino punk mechanic, and I related to her a great deal as a teenage female mixed-Native goth arc welder. 

If the character correlations weren't strong enough, I'll let you in on a secret.  I currently go by my middle name, Noel, but my first name is actually Margaret.  No really, Maggie and I share the same first name.  So, there you go.  I often felt like Jaime was somehow eerily ghosting my life is some of Maggie's stories.

All "WOW-that-character-is-just-like-me!" stories aside, though, Jaime's artwork is incredibly well-executed.  It's rare to find that great of a story-teller and artist in the same human being.

I'm celebrating my own small win, this weekend.  No Eisners, but my story Shipyard Espionage has been accepted for publication by the Indie Ladies Comic Anthology for 2014.  It rounds out this year's projects nicely and will give me another publication I can offer at my table at Short Run in November. 

(Public Service Announcement:  BOTH Short Run applications and Indie Ladies Comic submissions close on July 31st.  If you read this on the Tuesday I publish it, get thee to their application sites!)

A portrait of my former self drawn into Shipyard Espionage (right)  as
Maggie the Mechanic from Love and Rockets (left, by Jaime Hernandez).
I put a lot into the story Shipyard Espionage.  It's a 7-page autobiographical story about working in a large shipyard in Bellingham.  It's a story about work and art.  I'm hoping it will serve as a calling card for what I want to do with my graphic novel.  And because it's about my days as a welder, I drew an homage to Maggie the Mechanic on the 2nd page.  To be truthful, I feel like I'm going to have to give Jaime Hernandez a visual nod at some point, so why not now, early on in my comics making life?

Now that Shipyard Espionage is done, I'm busy creating a short story on the history of the Chicago Picasso, a 50-Foot sculpture that Picasso donated to the City of Chicago when they built Daley Plaza in the 1960s.  I'll be writing about next week.  Not only is it an interesting story, but I'm telling it for an interesting project.


So back to it!

C-log posts on comics, publication and community every Tuesday.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Shout Out for Short Run! (Artists Apply Now!!)


Photo Credit:  Alex Stonehill
Short Run.  It’s for everyone.  But I want to open by saying this:

If you create comics/zine/craftsy self-published items AND you live anywhere near Seattle OR have the means to travel to Seattle, then:


Though the main event happens on November 15th, 2014, artist applications are due in two weeks.  And you’ll want to apply, because:

Short run is an amazing dream scape where light streams through the high windows of historic Washington Hall to illuminate the bazilliondy people who cram every aisle SPECIFICALLY TO BUY YOUR PRODUCT.  Short Run feels like it has as much traffic as all of ETSY, only in one action-packed day, and the customers are there in the flesh, with clutch purses and/or hipster facial hair and a budget set aside to purchase indie comics!

The view from my table at Short Run 2014.
I do not know the people holding my comics.
Audience development in action!
I am not exaggerating.  At last year’s Short Run, I sold over 90 copies of Gone Girl Comics #1, and this was after I had done a book release party earlier.  This means that almost all of my sales were to people I had never even met before.

Part of Short Run’s draw for honest-to-god comics buying audiences is that the festival’s organizers are so good to the artists.  Short Run is able to attract a large pool of diverse, talented and enthusiastic creators.  There’s just a lot of good products, a lot of good people and an increasing amount of good activities.  (The killer combination of reasonable tabling fees coupled with the organizer’s ability to garner good press doesn’t hurt.  Artists, are you reaching to click the “Apply” link yet?)

Short Run has a great website where you can learn everything you need to know about the festival.  (Check check.)  But I asked one of the organizers, Kelly Froh, to share some information about what’s new for Short Run 2014.  
  
The women who make Short Run happen.
 (Left to right) Janice Headley, Eroyn Franklin and Kelly Froh
Photo Credit:  Alex Stonehill

Attendees and participants can look forward to:
  • A featured appearance by John Porcellino, of King Cat Comics fame,
  • A showing of "Root Hog or Die", a documentary about John Porcellino by Dan Stafford,
  • International guests artists. Short Run is working with home countries and granting organizations to bring artists from abroad, and
  • Site-specific arts performances during the festival.

Satellite events will include:
  • A night of International Comics at the Seattle Public Library,
  • An art show at Joe Bar,
  • A pre-festival party, art show, and readings at Fantagraphics Bookstore &Gallery, and
  • A mural that will be made that week and available for viewing all throughout the process.

Short Run 2014 Poster
by guest artist John Porcellino
I have several regrets about my participation in Short Run last year, which include not having a more diverse product line (I only had two mini comics to choose from), not baking anything for the fundraising bake sale (I am hoping they feature baked goods again!) and not planning breaks to see other exhibitors and events that would take me away from my table.  There were things I didn’t see and cartoonist I love that I didn’t go meet.

So, if you exhibit, arrange breaks to check out other artists and the things on the program you absolutely need to see.  Anyone else, I envy you.  You get to enjoy Short Run at your leisure, (FREE OF CHARGE, by the way, for attendees) experience some great time/site specific art and walk home with an armload of excellent comics and zines!

The Short Run website will feature updates as the 2014 festival develops.  ALSO look for Short Run sponsored events throughout the year, including the ladies-only Making Night hosted at Hollow Earth Radio throughout the next few months.



C-log posts on comics, publication and community every Tuesday.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Comics and Medicine

Today's C-log is a guest Blog by Meredith Li-Vollmer.  Meredith is a risk communication specialist for Public Health - Seattle & King County here in Washington State who spearheaded the project Comics 4 Health Coverage.  I did a 4-panel comic for the project because so very many fine cartoonists were discussing their involvement in Comics 4 Health Coverage that I had to learn more about it for myself. 

Here is Meredith to tell you about her project and the 

Comics and Medicine community: 

 

“You mean there are others like you?”
When I told my public health colleagues that I was going to a conference called Comics & Medicine, this was the bemused response I got. And truthfully, as I sat surrounded by 285 people from 12 countries in a lecture hall at Johns Hopkins Medical Campus, I was giddy and astounded by how many share my quirky interest.

David Lasky and Meredith Li-Vollmer hawking their
pandemic flu comic book at Comics & Medicine marketplace.
Our eclectic crowd included cartoonists, clinicians, linguists, bioethicists, medical illustrators, and literary scholars, gathered to share our work and generate new directions for comics. I’ve been collaborating with cartoonist David Lasky on educational comics about pandemic influenza and other dire public health topics since 2007, but I had no idea how many other ways people were using comics in medicine and health.
The conference featured a staggering 70+ talks demonstrating the power of graphic narrative to help people intimately grapple with the complexity of health and medical issues. For instance, fellow Seattleite Ellen Forney gave an amazing reading/lecture/performance piece that explored her diagnosis of bipolar disorder as detailed in her graphic memoir, Marbles. In Marbles, Forney masterfully used the visual vocabulary of comics to convey the intensity of her emotional states and to explain how she reconciled her diagnosis with her identity as an artist.
Artwork by Lydia Gregg, Chair and Lead
Organizer for Comics & Medicine.  Lydia
is an Instructor and Certified Medical
Illustrator at Johns Hopkins University School
of Medicine.
It’s that ability to flesh out the inner life of a character and make visual the sensations experienced that makes comics so well suited for stories about physical and mental health. And creating comics also offers possibilities of transformation for those who create them. In Vermont, James Sturm, co-founder of the Center for Cartoon Studies, is helping veterans with PTSD and substance abuse issues use comics as a way of communicating—and processing—what they went through. In the impoverished Dharavi neighborhood of Mumbai, Benita Fernando is teaching locals to make comics as a means of expressing their concerns about sanitation issues and talking about mental health.
Several physicians gave talks about the use of comics to reflect upon their clinical and medical school experiences, a practice that is gaining traction in a few medical education programs. The Annals of Internal Medicine even has a call out for comics after an enthusiastic response from their readership when they published Missed It, a comic by Dr. Michael Green that tells about a missed diagnosis he made as an intern.
Importantly, graphic memoirs are providing a platform for patients to tell their own stories, shifting the perspective of illness narratives from the doctor-driven case studies. David Brenner and the cartoonist Mindy Indy presented on No Tears: Life with FD. This weekly webcomic about living with familial dysautonomia (FD), a rare, life-threatening disease, has created a community of rare disease patients who can relate to the humanizing depictions of daily struggles and moments of levity.
I gave a presentation on Comics 4 Health Coverage, a project I spearheaded with a small group of comics scholars and cartoonists in Seattle to tell personal stories about health insurance. Why health insurance? After reading several graphic memoirs related to illness, we were struck by the centrality of health insurance to these memoirs: for example, would Ken Dahl, author of Monster, have suffered such self-loathing and isolation if he had been able to afford the test for herpes sooner? What if Marisa Acocella Marchetta, the uninsured protagonist of Cancer Vixen, had not had a wealthy boyfriend who could cover the costs of her chemo treatment?
Noel Franklin's contribution to
Comics 4 Health Coverage
We were also highly aware of the low levels of insurance among artists and writers, so when enrollment opened for Obamacare, we issued a call for comics on why health insurance matters. We hoped that personal stories told through comics would spark thoughts or discussion, and perhaps motivate others to explore their coverage options. The idea had resonance, as seen in the range of stories we received from both seasoned and first-time cartoonists about what it means to have—or not have—health insurance, candidly told in four panels. And the presentation on the project certainly drew interest at Comics & Medicine, most notably from attendees from England and Brazil who were flabbergasted at the lack of universal coverage in this country.
In retrospect, it’s not that surprising that there were so many of us willing to travel to Baltimore to talk Comics & Medicine. Fans of the comic medium know the power of comics to transport readers into the experience of another. So it makes perfect sense that people with interests in health and medicine are increasingly using comics to tell stories about some of the most profound human experiences.

It was inspiring and liberating to be surrounded by so much creativity and passion related to my professional field. I haven’t drawn much since my teen years, but after this conference, I’ve been drawing a quick comic every day so that I can be more than just a writer of health comics. The next Comics & Medicine conference will likely be in Riverside, CA.  Care to join others like me?


Meredith Li-Vollmer

C-log posts on comics, publication and community every Tuesday.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Anthology Game

Welcome to the one-month anniversary of C-Log.  (I've decided that blogs are like babies.  Cute in their infancy but probably won't make that big of an impact or pay their own rent until they are old enough to go to college.) 

NEXT WEEK I'll have a guest blog by Meredith Li-Vollmer, a risk communication specialist for Public Health - Seattle & King County who spearheaded the project Comics 4 Health Coverage.

Title page in-process for an anthology
submission due later this month.
THIS WEEK is about my experienced with seeking publication in comics anthologies.

I'm excited to report that it can be done.  Since the cold Seattle night that I decided to Google "Comics Anthology Submissions," I've had five stories selected for publication, with two more under consideration.

I feel good about the chances of the pending submissions because I researched the anthologies thoroughly and feel my art fits well with what the editors are trying to do.

Which is the sweet spot - the fit.

There are not a lot of open calls for comic book anthologies, period.  Of those, a high percentage of them are for genre fiction, mainstream horror and/or manga themed publications.  That's great, if that's the kind of work you're making, but my stuff is more in the autobiographical vein.



So, I did A LOT OF RESEARCH.  And this is what I've found:
  • Again, there's not a ton of open calls for submission out there.
  • Some of the best ones I found were buried deep in the editor's blog (so keep digging!)
  • Many calls for submission are out-of-date.  I have an embarrassing story about making a comic for an anthology that was already published.  The story has a happy ending, because the comic is being printed in another journal, but you can bet I triple-check dates, now.
  • There are at least two lists of open calls that seem to be current and relatively accurate.  They are kept by Cloudscape Comics out of BC and Indie Ladies Comics.  

My super-secret weapon for taking over comics by 2015.
After a few months of submitting to anthologies, I began keeping a spreadsheet.

This is a practice I started after missing the call for inclusion in Dirty Diamonds #5, which I really REALLY wanted to be in, but am not, because there was just so much time left until the deadline.  And then I forgot about it.  And then the deadline passed.

There is actually a second page to the spreadsheet, which lists stories after they get published, so that I have a record of my publication history.  Why so organized, you ask?  Because in my past life, as a poet, I got grants, publication, residencies and the like, but never did anything with all that good stuff.  My peers were getting book deals and performance tours and I was working as an arts administrator and not making a case for myself as an artist.  I feel that I squandered a lot of creative capital. 

I don't know how many shots you get at doing what you love, but I'm not going to waste it this time around.  Both the research and the spreadsheets have been helpful in getting my stories out there and have even led to inclusion in invitation-only anthologies.

I'll keep posting about this topic as I learn more and come across new developments.  If you are aware of any other resources that would be useful in the quest for publication, and care to share them, feel free to email me or post in the comments below.