Category Archives: Conventions

Dragon Con 2016: Come for the Party, Stay for the Music

One of the most underrated aspects of Dragon Con is the diverse and fun music line up that manages to happen every year. Most people know about The Cruxshadows and Voltaire, for better or worse, but there’s a whole host of bands, singers and DJs that make their way down for the con every year and put on a great show.

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Probably the bands you’re most likely to hear about are the ones who get to be on the main stage once during the weekend. I only got to see two of those bands in full this year. The first being Florida Steampunk outlet The Cog Is Dead. The Cog is Dead have been around for about ten years, but didn’t actually start touring until a few years ago. If you get a chance to see them live though, I highly recommend it. Much like a lot of other bands in the Steampunk genre, they play around a lot with their sound and songs. The Cog is Dead in particular, have a very rock sound along the lines of Automaton, The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing and The Extraordinary Contraptions, but weave in a certain folk and sideshow element as well. Probably the most fun part of their show was the extra video segments they used in between songs to help create the story of the band, one of which explaining why their usual bassist was gone for the weekend. Spoiler alert: he got sent back in time and was being chased by dinosaurs.

The other mainstage band I got to see was the fabled Here Come The Mummies, a funk band based out of Nashville composed of “5000 year-old Egyptian Mummies with a one-track mind.” They got to play Dragon Con last year, but due to personal issues, I ended up missing the show. I made it a point to see them this year and from the beginning where they entered in the Centennial Ballroom parade style with horns and drums until after the show where one of their mummified members was dancing on the merch table while signing people’s CDs, Here Come The Mummies were a funky awesome time to have at midnight. I mean, when a band dressed as mummies opens with a song that declares “you’re free to be a freak among freaks,” you know you and they are in the right place to play. After a more than an hour of funky undead grooves, innuendo, signs that say ‘wooo,’ beat box flute, and even an errant string of white confetti hanging from the ballroom ceiling, I think it’s fair to say that Here Come The Mummies are easily one of the best bands I’ve seen at Dragon Con.

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Of course, the main stages aren’t the only places to see live music. The concourses are also a hopping location, with many of the smaller acts playing several times in a weekend or even some of the bigger acts playing smaller and more intimate shows. This year, the concourse brought the return of Unwoman, the gothic Bay Area cello player known for her haunting voice and looping cello. Performing several months pregnant this year, Unwoman didn’t miss a beat as she went from song to song about divorce, how Mr. Rochester is the worst, falling in love in Chicago, her song ‘The Heroine’ that was The Weather in Night Vale once, and even a fantastic cover of Peter Gabriel’s ‘In Your Eyes.’ For a couple of songs, she was joined by ex-Abney Park member Nathanial Johnstone on guitar, adding an extra layer of awesome to her set.

New to the concourse this year was Orlando outfit Geekapella, a cosplaying nerdy acapella group composed mostly of women. Out of all the acts I’ve seen at Dragon Con before, I had never seen an acapella group in the past ten years. They were super fun, picking extremely nerdy songs from Hikaru Utada’s ‘Simple and Clean,’ ‘Stronger Than You’ from Steven Universe, a mash-up of Danny Elfman’s Batman theme with ‘My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark’ by Fall Out Boy, and the ‘John Williams is The Man’ mashup from a few years ago. However, the real highlight of their performance for me was their rendition of ‘Actual Cannibal Shia LaBeouf.’ It was a song I would have never thought to work for acapella, but I enjoy being hilariously proven wrong.

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Easily the most emotional moment on the concourse this year came with the final performance of the weekend. After nearly two decades together and playing shows at Dragon Con, Emerald Rose had their final concourse show on Monday. While they were a band I didn’t actively follow, there are still members of the band I consider friends of a sort, so it was still an emotional hour plus. With songs like ‘Urania Sings,’ ‘Caledonia,’ ‘Penny in The Well’ and ‘Summerland’ mixed with funny stories from over the years, it did really feel final for the elder statesmen of the Dragon Con Concourse. I was glad that I got to be there for it, remembering how reviewing one of their albums was my very first freelance gig.

While the live music of Dragon Con is always a good time, there are certainly no shortage of awesome DJs playing music to dance your butt off to. There are a lot of parties and raves to choose from over the weekend hosted by many different tracks, but for my money, the best one is The Mechanical Masquerade. Perhaps I am personally biased towards my friends and my years in Steampunk, but DJ Doctor Q and the Alternate History Track go out of their way to put on a party that is a never miss. With grooving mashups and fantastic go go dancers from the Atlanta burlesque community, it’s easy to lose yourself in this party and go all night long, no matter what your costume is.

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If you ever find yourself at Dragon Con, take time to check out the musical performances and DJs at the con. There’s a huge variety and you’re sure to discover something or someone you like. Maybe even walk away with a new CD or two.

Comic Highlights from This Weekend’s National Book Festival

This weekend is the 2016 National Book Festival in Washington, DC. Sponsored by the Library of Congress the convention takes place September 24 at the Washington Convention Center. The event is so big it was actually moved from the National Mall to the convention center to better handle everything. Yes, it’s that big.

In total there’s over 120 authors and illustrators coming to the event, including an impressive number of those involved in the comic book world.

The convention includes panels and signings and luckily the Library of Congress posts the video of the panels after it all wraps up, of course we’ll post that when available. Check out the comic folks you can find at the convention below.

Schedule

Main Stage

5:30 pm-6:30 pm Raina Telgemeier 4:00 pm-5:00 pm

Graphic Novels

Time Author Signing
5:10 pm-5:50 pm Andrew Aydin 6:30 pm-7:30 pm
5:10 pm-5:50 pm Rep. John Lewis 6:30 pm-7:30 pm
6:00 pm-6:40 pm Berkeley Breathed 4:00 pm-5:00 pm
6:50 pm-7:30 pm Noelle Stevenson 5:00 pm-6:00 pm
7:40 pm-8:20 pm Michael Ramirez 6:00 pm-7:00 pm
7:40 pm-8:20 pm Darrin Bell 6:00 pm-7:00 pm
8:30 pm-9:10 pm Ed Piskor 6:30 pm-7:30 pm
9:20 pm-10:00 pm Gene Luen Yang 3:30 pm-4:30 pm

Note that the some signings are BEFORE the event.

Children I

2:00 pm-2:30 pm Juana Medina 12:30 pm-1:30 pm

Children II

Noon-12:30 pm Kate Beaton 1:00 pm-2:00 pm
2:00 pm-2:30 pm Shannon Hale 3:00 pm-4:00 pm

Teens

2:30 pm-3:00 pm Gene Luen Yang 3:30 pm-4:30 pm

Poetry & Prose

6:00 pm-6:45 pm Yuko Shimizu 4:00 pm-5:00 pm

 

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NYCC 2016: BOOM! Announces Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Giants and Exclusives

BOOM! Studios will be making ten announcements on the way to this year’s New York Comic Con. Up first, the publisher has revealed that Archaia will be launching the limited series Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Giants in December.

Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Giants is the follow-up to Archaia’s Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Witches and Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Dragons.

The limited series is a collection of mythic tales of when giants roamed the Earth, inspired by folklore from around the world and told in the spirit of Jim Henson’s beloved television series.

In this first issue, rising newcomer Conor Nolan reimagines the “The Peach’s Son,” a Japanese tale of a giant who was raised by humans but never accepted by them.

When a nearby village is overrun with evil beings, the giant will take a chance to be a hero and prove himself to be part of the community he calls home.

Upcoming issues will include stories by Brandon Dayton, Jared Cullum, and Feifei Ruan.

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BOOM! Studios will have four exclusives available for sale at its booth, #1828, at New York Comic Con.

The Backstagers #1

Publisher: BOOM! Box, an imprint of BOOM! Studios
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Rian Sygh
Cover artist: Michael Dialynas
Price: $10.00

Our continuing theme of paying homage to classic musicals on the covers to The Backstagers continues with this tribute to Audrey II from “Little Shop of Horrors,” rendered by The Woods artist, Michael Dialynas.

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Lumberjanes #29

Publisher: BOOM! Box, an imprint of BOOM! Studios
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Rian Sygh
Cover artist: Natacha Bustos
Price: $10.00

“Hamilton” is the hottest Broadway show to hit New York City, appropriate for resident Lumberjane Ripley to pay the musical a visit, as illustrated by Moongirl and Devil Dinosaur artist, Natacha Bustos.

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Kong of Skull Island #1 NYCC Exclusive

Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer: James Asmus
Artist: Carlos Magno
Cover artist: Adam Hughes
Price: $10.00

Superstar cover artist Adam Hughes (Wonder WomanBetty and Veronica) pays homage to the most famous ape of all time in this visceral image.

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Mighty Morphin Power Rangers 2016 Annual NYCC Exclusive

Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writers: Kyle Higgins, Ross Thibodeaux, Marguerite Bennett, Trey Moore, James Kochalka, Jorge Corona
Artists: Rod Reis, Rob Guillory, Huang Danlan, Terry Moore, James Kochalka, Jorge Corona
Cover artist: Felipe Smith
Price: $20.00

The fourth and final part to Felipe Smith’s (Ghost Rider) connecting covers is a New York Comic Con exclusive for the MMPR Annual! The previous three covers appeared on the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #0 WonderCon exclusive, the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #1 Emerald City Comicon exclusive, and the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Pink #1 San Diego Comic-Con exclusive.

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Here is what Felipe’s covers look like all connected:

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Valiant Teams with Keep A Breast to Raise Awareness and Money

Valiant Entertainment and The Keep A Breast Foundation are teaming up with a new ongoing partnership dedicated to furthering the California-based non-profit’s ongoing mission with new initiatives in educational publishing, fundraising merchandise, convention and exhibitions outreach around the world, and much more.

Valiant’s own leading super-heroine, Faith, who will make her debut as Keep A Breast’s official “comics ambassador” at New York Comic Con 2016. Faith will then subsequently be utilized throughout a number of Keep A Breast promotional endeavors globally in 2016 and beyond. Keep A Breast is a global youth-based breast cancer prevention organization.

Additionally, Valiant and Keep A Breast’s joint mission to promote breast health and cancer prevention across all facets of comics fandom and culture will continue with special fundraising endeavors throughout New York Comic Con 2016. From Thursday, October 6th through Sunday, October 9th, Valiant’s Faith will appear on two limited-edition collectibles, specially produced to benefit Keep A Breast and available exclusively at the publisher’s NYCC booth #1635:

FAITH #3 KEEP A BREAST #CHECKYOURSELFIE VARIANT ($10)

Faith, X-O Manowar, Livewire, Ninjak, and many more of the Valiant Universe’s greatest heroes unite to promote Keep A Breast’s #CHECKYOURSELFIE social media campaign – a hugely successful promotion embodied by placing three fingers to their breast, symbolizing an individual’s monthly commitment to selfcheck.

Artwork by Diego Bernard.

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FAITH/KEEP A BREAST BUTTON BADGE ($1)

Support Keep A Breast one dollar at a time by purchasing a collectible Faith button badge, as Valiant’s leading heroine demonstrates #CHECKYOURSELFIE for the world!

Artwork by Diego Bernard.

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Additionally, Keep A Breast Founder & CCO Shaney jo Darden will appear at the Valiant: Spotlight on Faith panel presentation on Thursday, October 7th at 6:45 pm in Room 1A05 to further detail plans for the newly minted partnership, alongside Faith writer Jody Houser, comics legend Louise Simonson, multiple Harvey Award nominee Rafer Roberts, and Valiant CEO & Chief Creative Officer Dinesh Shamdasani.

Future collaborations between Keep A Breast and Valiant will include specially designed Faith comics content promoting breast health and cancer prevention, an array of co-branded Faith/Keep A Breast merchandise, and, most notably, Valiant-sponsored Keep A Breast programming at more than 50 live events and comic book conventions nationwide – furthering Keep A Breast’s noted and longstanding mission to empower young people around the world with breast health education and support.


Over a decade ago, Keep A Breast’s founders, then involved in their own arts organization, rallied to support a friend with breast cancer. They developed an idea to express the female experience of breast cancer by reimagining the traditional canvas as a participatory sculpture. After some experimentation and partnerships with the right people, they developed and tested a technique for capturing the female bust in a plaster. The result was a white cast that was then customized by artists, such as Shepard Fairey, Mike Giant, Dalek and many more. The success of these breast casts as conversation starters, awareness builders and fundraising tools ultimately led them to what is now the non-profit The Keep A Breast Foundation.

Their mission is simple: equip young people with breast health education early on in their lives. They do that by talking to them face-to-face about breast cancer in their own voice and on their own turf. As the latest promotional affiliates dedicated to enabling Keep A Breast’s vital mission, Valiant joins a long list of individuals and organizations past and present that also includes 100% Pure, bareMinerals, Harveys, Pacifica, preen.me, Spy Optics, Stance, and the Vans Warped Tour, as well as musicians Blink 182, Devo, Foo Fighters, Katy Perry, Iggy Pop, Sonic Youth, and dozens more.

Nominations for the 2017 Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics Are Open

edited-dmad-logo-blk-bkgd-1Mad Event Entertainment and Long Beach Comic Con have announced that nominations for the 2017 Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics are now open. This McDuffie Award has a new director, Will J. Watkins, and several new Selection Committee Members: Mark D. Bright, Don McGregor, Kevin Rubio, Cassandra Pelham and Gail Simone. The third annual Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics reception will be held February 18, 2017, in Long Beach, CA during the Long Beach Comic Expo.

The motto of The Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics comes from Dwayne’s own words, “From invisible to inevitable.”

dwayne-mcduffie-picTo commemorate his vision and contributions, the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture, grand opening September 24th, has invited Dwayne McDuffie to be included for posterity.

The deadline for completed submissions for the third annual Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics is December 31, 2016.

The Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics Selection Committee consists of twelve prominent comics and animation professionals who have demonstrated a commitment to McDuffie’s vision of inclusiveness:

  • Mark D. Bright is a storyboard artist for commercials, television and feature films. Prior to his career as a storyboard artist, he was an artist for Marvel, DC, Acclaim and Milestone Media working on titles including Iron Man, Green Lantern, G.I. Joe, Power Man and Iron Fist and Icon. He is also the co-creator of Quantum and Woody.
  • Neo Edmund – is a former child actor turned bestselling author, screenwriter, comic book writer, story development exec, and Virtual Reality director. He is the author of The Red Riding Alpha Huntress series published by WordFire Press. He is currently writing numerous books including a Predator anthology and the reboot of Colt The Outlander.
  • Joan Hilty is Comics Editor at Nickelodeon and editor-in-chief of Pageturner, a boutique comics/graphic novel production house. She was formerly a Senior Editor at DC/Vertigo and syndicated cartoonist. She teaches at the School of Visual Arts in NYC and the Maryland Institute College of Art.
  • Joseph Illidge is a Senior Editor for Lion Forge Comics, a columnist for Comic Book Resources and The Shadow League, and the co-writer of Solarman for Scout Comics. His editorial career began at Milestone Media, Inc. He then joined the Batman Editorial Group at DC Comics, and later worked for Archaia, now a division of BOOM! Studios. His graphic novel, The Ren will be published by First Second Books, a division of Macmillan.
  • Heidi MacDonald is the editor-in-chief of Comicsbeat.com and a former editor for Disney and DC Comics. She also edits the graphic novel review section for Publishers Weekly and can be heard on PW’s weekly podcast More To Come.
  • Don McGregor is a writer whose notable comic books for Marvel Comics include Jungle Action, where he did the seminal work on Black Panther and Amazing Adventures Featuring Killraven, which contained the first interracial kiss in a color comic book. He also created Sabre, one of the first modern graphic novels. Don’s groundbreaking career garnered him the Bill Finger Award for Excellence in Comic Book Writing last year.
  • Kevin Rubio is a writer/producer who has contributed to Justice League Action, Avengers Assemble, Thunderbirds Are Go!, Green Lantern: The Animated Series and My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. He is also the creator and writer of the Star Wars graphic novel Tag & Bink Were Here and Red 5 Publication’s Abyss Vol. I & II. He is an inaugural recipient of the George Lucas Film Award for his Star Wars short film, TROOPS, a Promax Award winner and Emmy nominee.
  • Cassandra Pelham is a senior editor for the Graphix and Scholastic Press imprints at Scholastic, where she has edited award-winning, #1 New York Times bestselling, and USA Today bestselling graphic novels.
  • Gail Simone is a writer known for the DC titles Birds of Prey, Secret Six (for which she was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award), Batgirl, Wonder Woman and The All-New Atom. She recently wrote Dark Horse’s Tomb Raider, Dynamite’s Red Sonja and is currently working on DC/Vertigo’s Clean Room.
  • Will J. Watkins is a film and animation writer who is also comic book story/world-building consultant on The Protectors graphic novel published this year by Athlita Comics. He had a stint as an assistant editor at DC Comics and before moving to L.A. he owned Chicago’s first African American-owned comics store and is currently writing a novel about the experience.
  • Matt Wayne has written on many highly-regarded animation projects including Niko and the Sword of Light, Cannon Busters, Transformers: Robots in Disguise, Avengers: Ultron Revolution, Thunderbirds Are Go! and the 2006 Biker Mice from Mars revival. He wrote the Emmy-nominated Hellboy Animated: Sword of Storms and was also a writer and Managing Editor at Milestone Media. was the Managing Editor of Milestone Media, and is currently a Primetime Emmy®-nominated animation writer. His credits include Static Shock!, Justice League Unlimited, Hellboy: Sword of Storms, Ben 10: Omniverse, Transformers: Robots in Disguise, Avengers: Ultron Revolution, Thunderbirds are Go!, Niko and the Sword of Light, and Cannon Busters.
  • Len Wein is the legendary animation and comic book writer who co-created Swamp Thing, Wolverine, and the wildly successful diverse new team of X-Men that debuted in 1975; He’s had the distinction of serving both as Editor-in-Chief of Marvel Comics and Senior Editor at DC Comics. The Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Famer’s most recent comic book Batman “66: The Lost Episode was released last year.

Small Press Expo Debut Highlights

spx-logo-240Small Press Expo 2016 is one of the convention highlights of the year for me. The annual festiaval is an amazing convention focused on indie comics and small press and a convention where you find comics you won’t find anywhere else. I always walk out of the convention with my wallet hurting from all of the purchases.

The convention takes place September 17 and 18 at the Marriott North Bethesda Hotel & Conference Center.

Below is just a sampling of the over 200 comics debuting at the show.

After Land Vol. 1 by Chris Taylor

Publisher: Floating World Comics Price: $19.99

The debut graphic novel from illustrator, designer, and musician Chris Taylor. A science-fiction soap opera featuring the exploits of a no-nonsense detective named NONO who is a composite of two females named JO and DO. JO has the mysterious ability to ingest the milk from the Madeleine Flower and enter an ethereal realm known as PURE INTUITION where she can spy on the unconscious minds of humanity. JO shares this information with DO and together, as NONO, they sell it to the highest bidder in the cloud.

 

american-blood-coverAmerican Blood by Benjamin Marra

Publisher: Fantagraphics Price: $19.99

American Blood is an unholy collection of cartoonist Benjamin Marra’s provocative short stories from the past several years, including “Gangsta Rap Posse,” “The Naked Heroes,” “Lincoln Washington,” “Ripper,” and “The Incredibly Fantastic Adventures of Maureen Dowd” (in which the controversial political columnist must fight off fanatic White House officials and Hezbollah commandos in time to file her most important column yet, and make a date with George Clooney). Born from the crucible of 1980s trash culture and exploitation entertainment and focused like a laser through the prism of Marra’s brain comes this nasty brew of revenge, power, and passion. It is a reflection of the things that America celebrates and for which it is scorned, and often blurs the lines between the two. This is the definitive assembling of Marra’s most underground work.

 

Band for Life by Anya Davidson

Publisher: Fantagraphics Price: $29.99

and for Life is the story, told in comic strip form, of a noise rock band and their community of friends and acquaintances based in an alternate reality version of Chicago. Though beset with disaster at every turn and frequently reduced to squabbling, they stick together because the band is the fulcrum of their otherwise confounding lives, and together they help each other find their way. Fusing elements of the classic British sitcom The Young Ones, as well as classic kids comic strips like Charles Schulz’s Peanuts and John Stanley’s Melvin Monster, Band for Life is a work of dark humor, but also infused with genuine affection for its cast; in many ways it is a love letter to creative people compelled to create, with no hope of financial reward.

 

cica_coverfront_webCicada by Joni Miller

Publisher: Self-published Price: $10

A short horror comic about a freelance writer and a sacrificial insect.

 

Cook Korean!: A Comic Book With Recipes by Robin Ha

Publisher: Ten Speed Press Price: $19.99

Picture It: You Can Master Korean Cooking

Fun to look at and easy to use, this unique combination of cookbook and graphic novel is the ideal introduction to cooking Korean cuisine at home. Robin Ha’s colorful and humorous one- to three-page comics fully illustrate the steps and ingredients needed to bring more than sixty traditional (and some not-so-traditional) dishes to life.

In these playful but exact recipes, you’ll learn how to create everything from easy kimchi (mak kimchi) and soy garlic beef over rice (bulgogi dupbap) to seaweed rice rolls (gimbap) and beyond. Friendly and inviting, Cook Korean! is perfect for beginners and seasoned cooks alike who want to try their hand at this wildly popular cuisine.

 

copra_round_four_cover_bergen_streetCopra Round Four by Michel Fiffe

Publisher: Bergen Street press Price: $19.95

COPRA Round Four marks the return of the world’s favorite revenge team. The psychedelic suspense builds at a fantastic speed while featuring enough bone crunching brutality to satisfy the most ardent hyper-violent enthusiasts out there. Check off Copra’s international kill list at the peak of their mondo bizarro bloodlust.

 

DC Punk Issue 3: Nation of Ulysses part 2 by Evan Keeling

Publisher: DC Punk Price $5.00

Revolutionaries, fashion plates, juvenile delinquents, political party, manic punk rock band, Nation of Ulysses has been called all these. This is the first of multiple issues that will chronicle the four years of the bands existence. Taking place between 1990 and 1991, Nation of Ulysses embark on their first tour, record their first album and meet people they will form long term alliances with.

DC Punk is a series of comics about the DC punk scene. It is currently focussing on the 90’s era.

 

extinctioncoversmallExtinction by Sanjay Kulkacek

Publisher: Self-published Price: $12

Extinction is a collection of nine tiny stories by Sanjay Kulkaček about the inevitable loss of every organism on the planet.

It is hopefully bittersweetfunny, and good.

It is definitely 72 pagesblack and white, 5.25 inches by 8.125 inches, and soft-cover.

If you would like to read it beforehand, it is available on Gumroad at https://gum.co/xtinction where you can name your own price for the digital book.

 

Go Fuck Myself! by Mike Freiheit

Publisher: Self-published Price: $6.00

Join Mike Freiheit and a cast of colorful creatures as he travels through time trying to decode a very important question: where did all of this go wrong? 40 pages of short stories all tied together to create a weird narrative.

 

How To: Dating and Relationships pt. 1 by Ed Siemienkowicz

Publisher: Self-published Price: $5.00

Men and women have been pairing up for as long as humans have existed, but why is it still so complicated and awkward?

Cartoonist Ed Siemienkowicz shares his advice on dating from the ground up: the first move, what to say, consent, and DIRTY PICTURES.

 

hung-over_coverHungover: Stories from the Bottom of the Barrel by Various

Publisher: Ink and Drink Comics Price: $12.99

After dutifully capturing the essence of every genre from every angle our mad minds could think of, your comic-making compadres at Ink and Drink Comics greet the morning after, buzz-brained and bleary-eyed with Hungover: Stories from the Bottom of the Barrel, a collection of stories that weren’t quite ready to go home when the editors previously yelled “Last call!” But these comics are no mere leftovers… no, these lost dogs have bite! From the twisted truth behind the lost Roanoke colony to rowdy ‘rasslers (human as well as dinosaur!), from vengeful queens to warm Christmas scenes, this book has something for everyone. If you know Ink and Drink, you know the quality herein. If you don’t know us, then the richly varied stories in this “odds and sods”  anthology make for the perfect taste test.

 

I Thought You Hated Me by Mari Naomi

Publisher: Retrofit Comics/Big Planet Comics Price: $9.00

When MariNaomi first meets Mirabai in grade school, Mirabai seems to be more of a bully than a friend. But over the course of time, their relationship shifts from tense to friendly, to drifting apart, to reconnecting and finding something much deeper.

I Thought You Hated Me is a comics memoir about female friendship, a story that doesn’t involve stale tropes like acrimonious competition or fighting over boys. It explores the complexity and depth of this particular friendship through snapshot-vignettes of relevant moments over thirty years, painting a portrait of something unique but relatable, common but extraordinary.

 

jb_coverJacob Bladders and the State of the Art by Roman Muradov

Publisher: Self-published Publisher: Uncivilized Books Price: $16.99

Jacob Bladders, illustrator, braggart, and victim of assault by thugs sent by the mysterious Charlie. Part satire of commercial art, part noirish detective, part puzzle to be solved… or left in pieces. Roman Muradov’s forgotten 1948 classic is an ink-smeared Blakean vision of 1940s New York where twitter exists as a network of pneumatic tubes, but artwork is still delivered by hand.

 

Launch by Josh Dykstra

Publisher: Self-published Price: $5.00

A new mini comic from writer/illustrator Josh Dykstra. Lizabeth is a girl stranded on an unknown snowy planet. She is determined to survive its harsh environment. Only with the help of her dog Fraggle and her mysterious yet powerful bazooka does she have any chance for survival.

mana-spx-coverMana by Priya Huq

Publisher: Self-published Price: $6.00

Samudra is on a lonely journey to find the “ocean,” a concept she’s only dreamt about.  On her way she encounters ghosts, all of whom seem to show Samudra special interest…

This is a preview comic of an upcoming installment of Mana, which updates for free online at mindheartmemory.tumblr.com.

 

Mooncop by Tom Gauld

Publisher: Drawn and Quarterly Price: $19.95

The lunar colony is slowly winding down, like a small town circumvented by a new super highway. As our hero, the Mooncop, makes his daily rounds, his beat grows ever smaller, the population dwindles. A young girl runs away, a dog breaks off his leash, an automaton wanders off from the Museum of the Moon. Each day that the Mooncop goes to work, life gets a little quieter and a little lonelier.

As in Goliath, Tom Gauld’s retelling of the Bible story, the focus in Gauld’s science fiction is personal–no big explosions or grand reveals, just the incremental dissolution of an abandoned project and a person’s slow awakening to his own uselessness. Depicted in the distinctive, matter-of-fact style of Gauld’s beloved Guardianstrips, Mooncop is equal parts funny and melancholy. Gauld captures essential truths about humanity, making this a story of the past, present, and future, all in one.

 

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Munch by Steffen Kvemeland

Publisher: SelfMadeHero Price: $24.95

An extraordinary and inventive graphic biography, Steffen Kverneland’s Munch explores the relationships and obsessions that drove the artist behind ‘The Scream’. Using text drawn from the writings of Edvard Munch and his contemporaries, this extensively researched and beautifully drawn graphic novel debunks the familiar myth of the half-mad expressionist painter – anguished, starving and ill-treated – to reveal the artist’s neglected sense of humour and optimism. Born out of a life-long fascination with all things Munch, Kverneland’s award-winning seven-year project is the funniest and most entertaining portrait yet of a complex man and a pioneering artist.

Steffen Kverneland is an award-winning comics artist. He is the author of biographies of Henrik Ibsen and Olaf Gulbransson, among many other books. He lives in Norway.

 

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My Car’s a Spaceship, And My Spaceship’s a Boy! by Kris Mukai

Publisher: Self-published Price: $10

32 page comic about a young street racer whose car is a spaceship and a boy.

 

Our Best Shot: Disclosures of Unlawful Compassion in the United States by Anonymous

Publisher: Silver Sprocket Price: $4.00

The first hand account of a secret Supervised Injection Facility (or “SIF”) operating illegally in the United States against the disastrous “War On Drugs.”

Despite the existence of needle exchange programs of questionable legality scattered throughout the country, drug policy in the United States remains a horrifically immoral mess, costing thousands of lives and millions of dollars every year.

Our politically motivated drug policies are divorced from shared goals of helping addicts get off drugs, improving public health and safety, rehabilitation, and crime reduction.

Supervised Injection Facilities are proven to save lives, save money, prevent crime, and serve as a gateway to treatment everywhere else in the developed world, yet they remain illegal in the United States.
This comic book is the true story of one such secret facility.

 

cover_v2Refugees by Pablo Leon

Publisher: Self-published Price: $15.00

Refugees tells the true stories of people migrating from Latin America into the United States, and why anyone would take such a risky journey. Immigration affects everyone, and things aren’t as simple as “just go home.” There’s always a story behind them.

 

Rolling Blacouts: Dispatches from Turkey, Syria, and Iraq by Sarah Glidden

Publisher: Drawn and Quarterly Price: $24.95

Cartoonist Sarah Glidden follows up her acclaimed debut, How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less, with Rolling Blackouts, which details her two-month long journey through Turkey, Iraq, and Syria. Glidden accompanies her two friends–reporters and founders of the journalistic non-profit The Seattle Globalist–as they research stories on the Iraq War\’s effect on the Middle East and, specifically, the war\’s refugees. Joining them is a former Marine and childhood friend of one of the journalists whose deployment to Iraq in 2007 adds an unexpected and sometimes unwelcome viewpoint, both to the people they come across and perhaps even themselves.

The crew works their way through the region with the goal of asking civilians, refugees, and officials: \”who are you?\” Everyone has a story to tell: the Iranian blogger, the United Nations Refugee administrator, a taxi driver, the Iraqi refugee deported from the US, the Iraqis seeking refuge in Syria, and even the American Marine. The journalists struggle equally with how to tell these stories and with how to market them into articles people will want to read.

Glidden records all that she encounters with a sympathetic and searching eye–What is journalism? What is its purpose? What is honesty? Painted in her trademark soft muted watercolors and written with a self-effacing humor, Rolling Blackouts cements Glidden\’s place as one of comics\’s most original nonfiction voices.

 

sp4rx-coverSP4RX by Wren McDonald

Publisher: Nobrow Price: $18.95

SP4RX, a young hacker who lives off grid, hacks into corporations and sells stolen data to wealthy buyers on the black market – just your average thief. Mega corporation Structus Industries introduces a welfare programme called the “Elpis Program”, which allows the working class to apply for Cybernetic implants to make workers more efficient. On the surface, it seems like a programme to empower the poor and allow them to rise to the ranks of the elite. But SP4RX soon discovers all is not as it seems… SP4RX and Structus are set on a collision course with the fate of humanity at stake in Wren McDonald’s latest sci-fi tale of survival and corruption!

 

That Time I Met Bill Clinton… And He Stole My Favorite Pen! by Rachel Scheer

Publisher: Rachel Comics Price: $4.00

Using her own autobiographical experiences with the event, Rachel examines the short-lived phenomenon that was “Take Our Daughters to Work Day” in the early 1990s. (The event has since been re-branded as “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day”.)

When Rachel learned she would actually be visiting the White House herself, her highest hope was to see Socks, the Clinton family cat. Little did she know there was a bigger surprise waiting for her — one that would prove to be bittersweet when it cost her a treasured possession…

 

image-1The Coyote by Alison Wear and David Caldwell

Publisher: Self-published Price: $6.00

On a farm in the Southern Appalachians, the coyotes have been picking off cattle. But when neighbors organize a hunt, old wounds and rivalries resurface while they wait for their prey. A short story from artist David Caldwell and writer Allison Wear. 32 pages black & white

 

The Trial of Roger Casement by Fionnuala Doran

Publisher: SelfMadeHero Price: $19.95

In 1911, Roger Casement was knighted by King George V for his groundbreaking humanitarian work in Africa and South America. Five years later, he was hanged for treason. The Trial of Roger Casement charts the events that led a man renowned for his compassion to the noose.

Based on real events, Fionnuala Doran’s absorbing graphic novel explores Casement’s startling downfall, from his efforts to secure German backing for an independent Ireland to his disastrous return home and subsequent arrest. Condemned as a revolutionary, his sexuality laid bare by the circulation of his private journals, Casement’s fate was all but sealed. And yet, on his final day in the courtroom, he delivered a brave, impassioned speech that would resonate long after his death.

Fionnuala Doran is an Irish artist, living and working between Scotland and England. She graduated with an MA in Visual Communication from the Royal College of Art in 2015 and is senior lecturer of Teesside University’s newly launched BA in Comics, Graphic Novels and Sequential Art. Winner of the 2014 Comics Unmasked competition at the British Library, she has worked between fine art and comics, acting as a director of Catalyst Arts, Belfast’s foremost artist-led gallery, and as co-editor of Modern Times, Britain’s first magazine of graphic journalism since the 19th century.

toward-a-hot-jew-coverToward a Hot Jew by Miriam Libicki

Publisher: Fantagraphics Price: $25.00

In her first collection of graphic essays, Miriam Libicki investigates what it means globally and culturally to be Jewish, dating from her time in the Israeli military to her tenure as an art professor. Toward a Hot Jew is a new high watermark in autobiographical comics and shows Miriam Libicki as a powerful witness to history in the tradition of Martjane Satrapi and Joe Sacco.

Your Black Friend by Ben Passmore

Publisher: Silver Sprocket Price: $5.00

Your Black Friend is an open letter from your black friend to you about race, racism, friendship and alienation.

This is a new edition of Ben Pasmore’s previously self-released comic.

Dragon Con 2016: One Last Time with Team “March”

For the third year in a row, the team behind the critically acclaimed and award winning March trilogy came to Dragon Con to discuss the book and the real life inspirations behind it. This year was particularly auspicious since not only was it following the release of the third and final volume, but it was also artist Nate Powell’s first ever Dragon Con. A drop in the bucket compared to co-writer Andrew Aydin’s nineteen, but it was still a welcome sight to see the entire team Aydin, Powell and Representative John Lewis together at the con for the very first time.

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A big theme at the start of the panel was happiness and relief. The series has been in the works since about 2009 and to have all three volumes out and to be so well received has been nothing short of “euphoric” according to Aydin. There was a great amount of pressure the two felt to get not just the story of Lewis right, but of everyone else involved in the Civil Rights Movement. Powell especially talked about the devil of the details in some of the more extremely well documented events such as the March on Washington and the Selma to Montgomery marches and how doing right by the people who were there means getting the details of what they were wearing that day right.

As for Lewis, he is extremely happy with having the third book finally be out and was practically kissing it when it was in hand. He credits Aydin and Powell so much with getting the story out there into the world, calling them his “young brothers” and praising their ability to “make the words dance and sing.”

A lot of what has come up for March in these panels over the past three years is how resonant the story still is in our current social and political climate. That was purposeful according to the team, with the idea that the book would not only tell a story that Lewis feels responsible to tell as the last living member of the Big Six, but as a guide for the future of the movement. Lewis still absolutely believes in nonviolence and that if it can be done right in America, maybe we can be a model for the rest of the world. As for Aydin’s view on tackling the weight of that history, it boils down to seven words: “Follow your heart, and follow John Lewis.”

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With the story of March expanding past Lewis’ life in later volumes, the team took a focus on bringing up two major parts that don’t get brought up in history books a lot: the political maneuvering that happened behind the scenes and the importance of the women who were on the front lines. The political maneuvering was something of a challenge for Aydin and Powell, who were trying to effectively portray it in a graphic format. It did lead to particular artistic choices though, with Powell taking pride in a panel in Book Three where he drew the cords of the phones spoken on during the Mississippi Freedom Summer as a twisted spider-web of maneuvering and intrigue.

When it comes to the women, Book Three focuses particularly on activists Annie Cooper, Amelia Boynton and Fannie Lou Hamer, who Lewis names as “the soul of the Mississippi movement” in the book and whose televised testimony at the Convention’s Credentials Committee in 1964 was famously cut off by an emergency press conference by President Johnson specifically to divert the press away from her words. When asked about writing about Hamer and the other women involved during the movement, Lewis was point blank on the why. “Women did a lot of the dirty work and never get the credit.”

As the panel came to a conclusion, Lewis did a lot to emphasize his faith in today’s youth for carrying the movement forward in ways they weren’t able to back then and even giving credit to his younger colleagues in the House for being able to use Periscope and Twitter to broadcast their gun violence sit in earlier this year when the CSPAN cameras were cut off. Towards the end, he told the story of going to another convention where a second-grade girl asked him a very simple question: “Representative Lewis, how are you so awesome?”

By the end of the panel, I was asking myself the same question.

Dragon Con 2016: Team “Motor Crush” Hosts Panel, Talks Bad Bitches on Bikes

img_1757If you were at Dragon Con this year, you might have been wondering just who that lovely looking lady with the nail studded cricket bat on your badge was. The answer to that is Domino Swift, the protagonist of the upcoming Image Comics series Motor Crush! While Domino was all over roughly 77,000 badges this past Labor Day weekend, an even smaller number got an early look into Motor Crush on Saturday afternoon when the panel took place.

Fans of the Batgirl of Burnside will immediately recognize the creative team behind Motor Crush. Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher, and Babs Tarr are continuing their work as a unit with this new book that’s being released on December 7. In fact, this book has been in the works for some time, with the three of them starting to talk about revamping an old pitch Fletcher had done for Oni Press back in the early 2000s around the time issue 3 or 4 of Batgirl had come out.

In fact, the team admitted that one of the reasons they had started work on Motor Crush around then is that they were told that Batgirl might only run six issues due to impending cancellation. We know now that isn’t what happened, but the team did decide to walk away from Batgirl to work on this series. No hard feelings between them and DC though. They’re proud of their work on the series (even if Frankie didn’t get to be Oracle) and had nothing but nice things to say about DC editor Mark Doyle.

As for Motor Crush though, we’re about to see a whole different animal from Stewart, Fletcher, and Tarr. Described as “Bad Bitches, the comic” by Tarr, the story follows up and coming Domino in a world where motorcycle racing is the primary form of entertainment. However, at night, she’s running a great risk to herself, her family and her career by competing in illegal and violent street races for something known as Crush, a “machine narcotic” used to boost engines in races. At the start of the series, one driver has already died in a crash from it. So the main question of the series becomes why is Domino competing for it?

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Fletcher, Stewart and Tarr hope to answer that question over the course of the series, which should run for at least 15 issues, if not more! The series is much more cohesive between the three of them, with Tarr contributing a lot more to the plot as well as doing her own colors while Stewart has been confirmed as the letterer for the series along with layouts. Tarr is also taking a more traditional route with the art this time, using a mix of traditional and digital art for the series along with hand lettering sound effects. She says being able to ink traditionally has helped her a lot in her creative process by allowing her to not spend all day on her computer noodling with one particular line.

What’s this more cohesive process between the three of them been like? “We argue a lot,” Stewart responded, only half-jokingly.

Still, that arguing must be paying off. As a special treat to the attendees of the panel, the three gave away copies of the #0 issue, which is technically the ashcan of the first half of #1. The setting of Nova Honda, which was inspired by both the good and bad parts of Rio de Janeiro and the colors of Miami, is lush and colorful and what little we get to see of the characters so far, they’re a delightful and intriguing bunch. The Willow Smith influence on the way Domino carries herself is especially felt.

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As for the series itself, not only will it deliver set up in the first arc, but the first five issues will include a prologue to Fletcher’s other Image series Isola, which is also being helmed by Gotham Academy co-creator Karl Kerschl. Fletcher describes the series as being very Miyazaki-esque and violent, but in a different way from violence of Motor Crush.It’s brutal to your heart and less to your face,” he said on the panel.

I’ve been intrigued by Motor Crush since its announcement, but the Motor Crush takeover of Dragon Con has definitely had me wanting more of the world of Nova Honda. Between the enthusiasm from the creators and the first ten-page bite given to us, I cannot wait to have more of this high energy, bad bitches on bikes book in my life.

As for the badges, I don’t know who was more excited: Tarr for seeing her art everywhere or me telling strangers about Tarr and Motor Crush.

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Motor Crush comes out December 7 and can be pre-ordered through your local comic shop. (Definitely get on that because as he said on the panel, Stewart is trying to buy a house.)

Valiant Heads North for Buffalo Comicon 2016 with Panels, Merchandise, and More!

From Saturday, September 17th to Sunday, September 18th, Valiant is bringing its hard-hitting cross-country road show to Buffalo Comicon for a weekend packed with award-winning comic books, merchandise, programming, and panels!

All weekend long, join Valiant inside the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center at Booth Section S and see why Valiant is the leading independent superhero universe to beat with a complete selection of trade paperbacks, deluxe hardcovers, and t-shirts and merchandise for critically acclaimed and award winning titles!

Then, the action hits with the force of the Niagara on Saturday, September 17th at 1:00 p.m. in Panel Room 106 CV with Valiant 101: New Fans Start Here – a concise and fun-filled introduction to Valiant’s biggest, most memorable characters! You’ve seen the reviews, you’ve heard the buzz… Now find out why Valiant Entertainment has taken fans and critics by storm as the most acclaimed comic book publisher! Join us here for a one-of-a-kind introduction to the largest and most acclaimed independent superhero universe in comics! Find out where to jump on board right here with an in-depth tutorial that’s perfect for new fans!

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Rachel Antonoff Discusses Her Betty and Veronica Clothing Line with Archie

Rachel Antonoff BETTY & VERONICAAt San Diego Comic-Con 2016 I got to speak with Rachel Antonoff concerning her upcoming fashion line inspired by Archie ComicsBetty and Veronica. In June the clothing line was announced, though details were scarce.

Last night, during New York Fashion Week, the line debuted and our friend Jeff Trexler was there to snap photos which he has graciously allowed us to use in this interview.

Get the scoop about the upcoming fashion line and the origin of the Clinton campaign slogan “I’m With Her.”

Courtesy Jeff Trexler @fashionlawinst

Courtesy Jeff Trexler @fashionlawinst

Graphic Policy: So there hasn’t been a lot released beyond the announcement that you’ll be working with Archie to create a clothing line based on Betty and Veronica. Can you give some more details?

Rachel Antonoff: Yah. It’s going to be women’s contemporary, ready to wear clothing. We’re doing a lot of varsity themed stuff which feels very Betty and Veronica, also very Riverdale. But also is on trend with the season so that worked out well in our favor. So we have some varsity jackets, some cheer skirts, but all Betty and Veronica… ized. We have patches, prints, various types of prints. One is called an in progress print which was inspired by watching Dan Parent draw and seeing the inprogress drawing going from one line to the finished thing.

GP: Is it more graphic shirts or is it style of clothing? Both?

RA: It’s both. We do a lot of graphic t-shirts and sweat shirts and then a lot of regular clothing.

GP: How’d you get involved in the project?

RA: They actually reached out to us. I got an email from them and was so excited, I didn’t know what to do with myself. We just went from there.

GP: When I think of Betty of Veronica I think fashion. They’re fashion icons in a way…

RA: They are…

GP: What are your thoughts on the two character’s fashion and how it’s involved over the years?

RA: Well, it reall is astounding to me, the artists are and were true fashion designers. When you go through the archive and you look at the outfits, they’re so specific, they’re so detailed. And, they’re so on trend for whatever time period they’re drawn in. It’s amazing. I don’t know if they were just gifted fashion designers or they did an epic amount of research. I found it totally impressive. I think of the clothing throughout the history of Archie comics as a character unto itself.

Courtesy Jeff Trexler @fashionlawinst

Courtesy Jeff Trexler @fashionlawinst

GP: Comic fans come in all shapes and sizes. Betty and Veronica are a very particular size. As a designer, how do you create clothing with their aesthetic, but make it so anyone can wear it?

RA: I think as we move into the future and Archie continues to evolve, I think it’s important that Betty and Veronica do as well. Specifically, with that in mind. Betty and Veronica are an idea. Do you know what I mean? They’re a feeling. I don’t think they should be as binary as two thin girls. I’m just not into that. So, we are working really hard, we really want to diversify things and make sure that that’s very obvious as we put the line out there and that it’s for all shapes and sizes, just different people, different ages, different ethnicities. That’s very important to me.

GP: With the fashion debuts you’ve done, they’ve been very unique. Have you talked to Archie about that?

RA: Yes, we’re going to do an event. I’m really excited. That’s always one of my favorite parts. My grandmother told me I should be a Bar Mitzvah planner if this didn’t work out. So, yeah I’m very excited for that.

Courtesy Jeff Trexler @fashionlawinst

Courtesy Jeff Trexler @fashionlawinst

GP: You’re very politically active and Archie has been really ahead of the times recently when it comes to things. Are thoughts of that going through your head as you come up with this line?

RA: Yes. First of all, some of the things that have been done within Archie Comics has been so cool to me. The fact that Jughead is Aesexual. The fact that there’s a gay character. I just think it’s incredibly important. I did going into this consider potential backlash that these are two very thin white women. Not a lot of diversity going between the two of them. Like I said I think it’s really important to put it right out there from the beginning that it’s not going to be like that.

GP: Nice.

RA: I want it to be accessible and relatable for all.

GP: It’s a little off topic, but our site does a lot of comics and politics. You coined “I’m With Her” which has taken on a life of its own.

RA: Yes, it’s amazing.

GP: For you you how does it feel for it to take off as it has?

RA: Really cool. We got “I’m With Her” from the original “I’m With Stupid” from back in the day. There were t-shirts that said “I’m With Stupid.” So, it’s not like we invented it. I was really psyched to see it in her campaign. We’re doing a reprint of ours just because… why not?

Courtesy Jeff Trexler @fashionlawinst

Courtesy Jeff Trexler @fashionlawinst

GP: Has anyone from the campaign reached out?

RA: No, but we spoke to them and talked about doing something together and we haven’t figured out yet. I’m a pretty big supporter.

GP: To get back on topic. With Betty and Veronica, are you being inspired by any of the other characters or is it just those two?

RA: For now, it’s really just focused on just those two. In our research we constantly finding things like Ethel. There’s just so many cool great characters, so there’s many ways the line could go, but for now the line is pretty B&V centric.

GP: Are you focused on a certain era or is it looking at their entire history?

RA: It’s an interesting combination of throughout and now. We of course want people to buy the clothes, so we have to pay attention to what the current trends are. It’s sort of a combo.

Courtesy Jeff Trexler @fashionlawinst

Courtesy Jeff Trexler @fashionlawinst

GP: For you, off of these two characters, what is their distinct signature thing?

RA: One of thing about them is that they were constantly stylish no matter the era they were in. So, one of my favorite Betty and Veronica eras was the 70s and Veronica got really into women’s lib. There’s some really cool… one of our sweatshirts says “female powered” and is taken directly from the comic that Veronica made these sweatshirts for a rally.

That’s one of my favorite things about them. They did evolve. Their fashion evolved so much over the decades and was so on point. So that stuck out to me.

And then of course, there was the comic I had as a child and still have. And those specific outfits in those comics are iconic to me because they’re mine.

GP: Geek culture has really exploded in fashion over the years. As a designer, what do you look for to be inspired by it?

RA: That’s so interesting. For this we looked directly to the comics. Because there’s so much material you could go through the archives forever and never hit the bottom. So, we had so much to work with there and that’s where we looked for inspiration.

As a whole we didn’t look into geek culture, so I hope we got it right.

GP: As a whole beyond Archie, what are your thoughts of geekdom transcending and becoming the dominant pop culture?

RA: I think it’s awesome. There’s lots of collaberations happening nowadays. With various comics, superheroes. It’s really cool.

GP: With the actual desing process, what is that? I’d imagine Archie has some say into it.

RA: We, the Antonoff team, put together a collection. We present it at the sketch phase and get notes and discuss and it then turns into a sample line. And then more notes and discussion. And then it’s off to production. It’s the same process that we do internally, but with the Archie team.

GP: Since you’re so politically active. Are you focusing on the manufacturing aspect of it?

RA: We are really excited to be manufacturing with the same factories that we work with right now for the most part. So we’ve already vetted them. We’ve been there visiting them. We know what’s happening there is on the up and up. So that makes me feel very comfortable.

GP: I think you’d be able to sleep better knowing that. So, final question. When is the line being released?

RA: November.

GP: Thanks so much. It was great meeting you.

And check out the video Jeff shot at the event below!

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