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Review: BTTM FDRS

BTTM FDRS

I remembered the very first time I saw Candyman. The movie not only was good, but it was far too relatable. Tony Todd as the titular character exhibited something both frightful and had a clear connection to America’s past. Where others saw purely a horror film, I saw how much society devalued black lives.

The movie followed a graduate student doing a thesis on urban myths when her path leads her to Southside Chicago. She discovers the legend of Candyman, the ghost of an artist and son of a slave who was murdered in the late 19th century. The movie was terrifying and so true to life. I’ve had friends who have died, like those in the movie, where deaths were thought of as common and the police and medical response were slow to respond. It’s a reality which people in wealthier neighborhoods know nothing about. As cities have grown, so has everything with it. That includes the number of residents seeing the rising trend of urban redevelopment, gentrification, over the last 30 years. That brings its own complications. In Ezra Clayton Daniels and Ben Passmore’s exquisitely crafted BTTM FDRS, these creators examine an antagonist much like Candyman, but this time through the prism of gentrification.

The comic takes to a different part of Candyman’s Southside Chicago. A place called “ The Bottomyards” a highly gentrified area. A pair of city workers have a strange encounter with something hiding inside the apartment building where they’re working. As the city worker who got attacked goes into a frenzy, he runs into two friends moving in, Darla and Cynthia. Even though they’re excited to start a new part of their life, they’re not sure what to think of the building. Even their apartment has a inexplicable surprise waiting for them. Darla becomes conflicted. This is the same neighborhood her Dad grew up in, but it’s nothing she knows about. Something is very strange and utterly apparent to her and Cynthia.

Overall, both a powerful and enigmatic tome that at its size feels as though this story could go even longer. These two creators are at the top of their game. The story by Daniels is well developed and masterfully told. The art by Passmore is both endearing and captivating. Altogether, a story that feels like where Sorry To Bother You left off but peels even more layers than that iconic film did.

Story: Ezra Clayton Daniels Art: Ben Passmore
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Small Press Expo 2019 Announces Comics Debuting at the Show

Small Press Expo has announced that over 100 books and comics will debut at the 2019 festival. The festival takes place on Saturday and Sunday, September 14-15, at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center and will have over 650 creators, 280 exhibitor tables, 22 programming panels, and 14 hands-on workshops to introduce attendees to the amazing world of independent and small press comics.

A complete list of debuts, including cover images and publishing information, can be found on the SPX web site.

Check out some of books debuting this year:

Rusty Brown

Chris Ware’s Rusty Brown is a fully interactive, full-color articulation of the time-space interrelationships of a couple people in the first half of a single midwestern American day and the tiny piece of human grit about which they involuntarily orbit. Published by Pantheon.

Rusty Brown

CosmoKnights

For Hannah Templer’s ragtag band of space gays, liberation means beating the patriarchy at its own game.

In CosmoKnights, Pan’s life used to be very small. Work in her dad’s body shop, sneak out with her friend Tara to go dancing, and watch the skies for freighter ships. On the run and off the galactic grid, Pan discovers the astonishing secrets of her neo-medieval world… and the intoxicating possibility of burning it all down. Published by Top Shelf.

CosmoKnights

The Hard Tomorrow

Told with tenderness and care in an undefined near future, Eleanor Davis’s The Hard Tomorrow blazes unrestrained, as moments of human connection are doused in fear and threats. Her astute projections probe at current anxieties in a cautionary tale that begs the question: What will happen after tomorrow? Published by Drawn & Quarterly.

The Hard Tomorrow

Twice Shy

Joel Orff’sTwice Shy tells the story of two strangers who have shut themselves down emotionally as a way to cope with their lives. Bob is an artist with a creative block who loses himself in an aimless existence; while Casey suffers from deep-seated anxiety and feelings of abandonment. As they tentatively try to build a life together, the harsh realities of the outside world begin to intrude on their happiness, but the experience changes them both in fundamental ways. Published By Alternative Comics.

Twice Shy

Sports Is Hell

For Ben Passmore, some wars are for religion and some are for political belief, but this one is for football. After her city wins the Super Bowl for the first time, Tea is separated from her friend during a riot and joins a small clique fighting its way through armed groups of football fanatics to meet a star receiver that just might end the civil war or become the city’s new oppressive leader. Published by Koyama Press.

Sports Is Hell

The Breakaways

Cathy G. Johnson’sThe Breakaways is a middle-grade graphic novel about a rebellious girls’ soccer team. It is a portrait of friendship in its many forms, and a raw and beautifully honest look into the lives of a diverse and defiantly independent group of kids learning to make room for themselves in the world. Published by First Second.

The Breakaways

So Buttons #10

How does Jonathan Baylis celebrate his 10th-anniversary issue of So Buttons? With friends of course! This all-new issue features cover art by Thomas Boatwright in tribute to Jim Aparo’s cover for Detective Comics #469 (my first Batman comic). It includes new, funny toddler stories by Summer Pierre, heartwarming tributes to my passed dog Mocha by Haley Boros and New Yorker cartoonist Emily Flake. Plus art & stories by T.J. Hirsch, Princess Pamela, Nicole Miles, Jeremy Nguyen and Paul Westover. Published by Jonathan Baylis.

So Buttons #10

Henni In the Lowlands

Miss-Lasko Gross’Henni In The Lowlands continues the heroines adventures as an anti-authoritarian protagonist in this special edition only available at SPX 2019. Self-published.

Henni In the Lowlands

Small Press Expo 2019 Announces Keith Knight, Craig Thompson, Ebony Flowers, Hannah Templer, Ben Passmore, and Lucy Knisley as Special Guests for 2019

Small Press Expo has announced another group of guests of Special Guests for SPX 2019. The festival takes place on Saturday and Sunday, September 14-15, at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center and will have over 650 creators, 280 exhibitor tables, over 20 programming slots and additional hands-on workshops to introduce attendees to the amazing world of independent and small press comics. Additional Special Guests will be announced soon.

Keith Knight

Keith Knight, winner of the Glyph, Harvey, and Inkpot Awards, is a spectacular and amazing cartoonist whose Knight Life comic strip is read nationwide in such newspapers as the Washington Post. Knight Life was optioned for a television series and is currently under development by Hulu with the title Woke. Keef’s funny yet hard-hitting cartoons in his webcomic series, (th)ink and The K Chronicles, led him to be named one of the 2015NAACP History Makers. Knight is the illustrator of the critically acclaimed tween book, Jake the Fake Keeps It Real. Keef has a new collection coming out this Fall called (th)ink: It’s the Racism, Stupid!

Craig Thompson

Craig Thompson is a cartoonist and the author of the award-winning books BlanketsGood-bye, Chunky Rice; and Habibi. He was born in Michigan in 1975, and grew up in a rural farming community in central Wisconsin. His graphic novel Blankets won numerous industry awards and has been published in nearly twenty languages. Thompson lives in Portland, Oregon.

Now, for the first time in his career, Thompson is working in serial form, in a bimonthly comic book series. Part memoir, part travelogue, part essay—all comic book—Ginseng Roots explores class divide, agriculture, holistic healing, the 300 year long trade relationship between China and North America, childhood labor, and the bond between two brothers.

Ebony Flowers was born and raised in Maryland. She holds a BA in Biological Anthropology from the University of Maryland College Park and a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she wrote her dissertation as a comic (mostly). Ebony is a 2017 Rona Jaffe Award recipient. She lives in Denver, CO.Hot Comb is her first collection of short stories published by Drawn & Quarterly. 
Hot Comb offers a poignant glimpse into Black women’s lives and coming of age stories as seen across a crowded, ammonia-scented hair salon while ladies gossip and bond over the burn.

Hannah Templer is a queer cartoonist and graphic designer. In addition to writing and drawing Cosmoknights (Top Shelf Productions), they are the artist for GLOW (IDW Publishing, Netflix), and have also worked as a colorist, cover artist and interior artist on well-known titles such as Samurai JackTomb Raider, and Jem and the Holograms. They enjoy life with their trusty dog Thistle and grumpy cat Noodle, and play tabletop roleplaying games as often as they can.

Ben Passmore lives in Philly. His comics are about crime, monsters, anarchism, sexual dysfunction, police brutality, art theory, and his feels. Creator ofDAYGLOAYHOLE and Goodbye, his comicYour Black Friend won the 2017 Ignatz Award for Outstanding Comic, as well as being nominated for an Eisner Award. His illustrations have appeared in publications such as including the New York Times, Irene, Now: The New Comics Anthology, and Believer Magazine. Ben contributes political/social editorial comics to The Nib, and his latest book is Bttm Fdrs with Ezra Claytan Daniels.

Lucy Knisley is a critically acclaimed and award-winning comic creator. She lives in Chicago.

She specializes in personal, confessional graphic novels and travelogues.

Her last name is confusing and has a silent K. It’s pronounced kind-of like “nigh-slee.”

Preview: Adventure Time Comics Vol. 6 SC

Adventure Time Comics Vol. 6 SC

Publisher: KaBOOM!, an imprint of BOOM! Studios
Writers: Aaron McConnell, Brandon Zuern, Mari Arakaki, Benjamin Marra, Ben Passmore,
Jaimie Coe, Xiao Tong Kong, Tyler Jenkins, Reza Farazmand, Jack Sjogren, Morgan Beem, Carissa Powell, Jean Wei, Sonny Liew
Artists: Aaron McConnell, Matt Frank, Mari Arakaki, Benjamin Marra, Xiao Tong Kong, Boya Sun, Reza Farazmand, Morgan Beem, Carissa Powell, Jean Wei, Sonny Liew, Jack Sjogren
Colorists: Gonçalo Lopes, Aleksander Gushky
Letterer: Mike Fiorentino
Cover Artist: Richard Chang
Price: $14.99

WHAT CAN OOO DO?

Strange peril strikes the beloved world of Ooo again and no citizen is safe! Between Ice King’s heart calling it quits,  to the entire Breakfast Kingdom getting locked out of their homes when Finn and Jake drop the key to the city in the Cappuccino River, mystery and chaos ensue in this ADVENTURE TIME COMICS collection.

Featuring work by Sonny Liew, Matt Frank, Cristina Rose Chua, Jack Sjogren and many more!

Upgrade Soul Gets Los Angeles Area Events

Following the nationwide book tour supporting the release of Ezra Claytan Daniels’ Upgrade Soul, winner of the Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics, recently optioned for film by Aperture Entertainment, and voted as one of the best books of the year for 2018 by Publisher’s Weekly, Lion Forge announces Daniels’s return home to Los Angeles with three special events.

First, Daniels will appear at the Los Feliz neighborhood bookstore, Skylight Books, accompanied by tourmate and Ignatz and DiNKy Award–winner Ben Passmore.

Following that, Ezra will appear in two more Los Angeles area stores leading into the weekend, wrapping up his nationwide book tour:

For their 45th anniversary, Hank and Molly Nonnar decide to undergo an experimental rejuvenation procedure, but their hopes for youth are dashed when the couple is faced with the results: severely disfigured yet intellectually and physically superior duplicates of themselves. Can the original Hank and Molly coexist in the same world as their clones? This page-turning graphic novel follows Hank and Molly as they discover the brutal reality that only one version of themselves is fated to survive.

Fantagraphics to publish BTTM FDRS by Ezra Claytan Daniels & Ben Passmore

Fantagraphics hasannounced the acquisition of BTTM FDRS by writer Ezra Claytan Daniels and artist Ben Passmore. Out in Summer 2019, this shocking satire explores a world where gentrification and body horror collide in a rapidly changing Chicago.

Once a thriving working-class neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side, The “Bottomyards” is now the definition of urban blight. When an aspiring fashion designer, Darla, and her image-obsessed BFF, Cynthia, descend upon the neighborhood in search of cheap rent, they discover something far more seductive… and deadly.

At its core, BTTM FDRS is an allegory for cultural appropriation, which first fears, then desires, then takes, then nullifies the object of appropriation without suffering personal consequence. Diverse, dynamic, and thought-provoking, BTTM FDRS aims to appeal to an audience that encompasses anyone who enjoys smart writing with thrilling visuals

Small Press Expo Launches a GoFundMe for Defend the 11

Last month, eleven members of the independent comics community and one publisher were served with a defamation lawsuit because of concerns they raised about a fellow creator’s alleged pattern of sexual misconduct.

Whit Taylor, Laura Knetzger, Josh O’Neill, Tom Kaczynski, Hazel Newlevant, Emma Louthan, Ben Passmore, Emi Gennis, Jordan Shiveley, Morgan Pielli, and Rob Clough, as well as the indie comics publisher Uncivilized Books, all need our help to defend themselves against these charges!

SPX has established the Defend The 11 legal aid fund to help these members of our creative community in their time of need. SPX is organizing this fund in consultation with the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, which brings legal and fundraising experience to the effort.

Cases like this can be costly and drag out for years reaching hundreds of thousands of dollars in bills. An amount of $20,000 was initially pledged to help with the defense and give these creators immediate access to legal representation. Most of that money has already been spent on legal bills.

SPX announced its intent to establish a legal aid fund in a September 1, 2018 joint statement with the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund’s new President, Christina Merkler. SPX’s annual comic arts festival takes place this weekend in Bethesda, Maryland. In addition to the GoFundMe campaign, those wishing to donate to the #Defendthe11 legal aid fund can do so in-person at the festival.

Small Press Expo Announces Rebecca Sugar, Kat Fajardo, Ben Passmore, Jason Lutes, Benji Nate, Carolyn Nowak, Carol Tyler, and Nate Powell

Small Press Expo proudly announces more Special Guests for SPX 2018. The festival takes place on Saturday and Sunday, September 15-16, at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center and will have over 650 creators, 280 exhibitor tables and 22 programming slots to introduce attendees to the amazing world of independent and small press comics. Additional Special Guests will be announced shortly.

SPX 2018 is honored to have the following creators as Special Guests to this year’s show:

Rebecca Sugar

Rebecca Sugar is the creator of Cartoon Network’s Emmy-nominated series Steven Universe, an animated coming-of-age story told from the perspective of Steven, the “little brother” to a team of magical guardians of humanity—the Crystal Gems.

After graduating from the School of Visual Arts (SVA) with a BFA in Animation, Sugar joined Adventure Time in 2009. During her time on the iconic series as a storyboard artist and writer, Sugar garnered both Emmy nominations and an Annie Award win, as well a deep fan base following the many songs she wrote for the show.

Sugar was recently included in Variety’s Hollywood’s New Leaders 2016: The Creatives list, where she was recognized alongside other notable artists such as Damien Chazelle, Jerrod Carmichael and Donald Glover. A children’s book adaptation of the Emmy-nominated Steven Universe episode “The Answer” also written by Sugar was released on Sept. 6., 2016 where it became a New York Times bestseller.

Kat Fajardo

Kat Fajardo is an award-winning comic artist and illustrator born & raised in NYC. She is best known for her playful and colorful auto-biographical work about self acceptance and Latinx culture. She’s recently illustrated the cover for Celia C. Pérez’s The First Rule of Punk (Penguin Random House) and was featured in several anthologies. Hoping to boost Latinx narrative in comics, she’s also edited La Raza Anthology and created the grant-winning series Bandida! You can check out her artwork on this year’s SPX program cover or at her website.

Ben Passmore

Ben Passmore lives in Philly. His comics are about crime, monsters, anarchism, sexual dysfunction, police brutality, art theory, and his feels. Creator of DAYGLOAYHOLE, Goodbye, and Your Black Friend, and contributer at the Nib.

In DAYGLOAYHOLE 2 Ben is a cockroach that even is guts can’t love. Social and political commentary mixed with punk nonsense and gore drawn in vibrant florescent colors.

Jason Lutes

Jason Lutes was born in New Jersey in 1967 and grew up reading American superhero and Western comics. In the late 1970s he discovered Heavy Metal magazine and the tabletop role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons, both of which proved major influences on his creative development. Lutes graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in illustration, and in 1993 he began drawing a weekly comics page called Jar of Fools for Seattle’s The Stranger. Lutes lives in Vermont with his partner and two children, where he teaches comics at the Center for Cartoon Studies.

Devastatingly relevant and beautifully told, Berlin is one of the great epics of the comics medium, created over the past two decades by Jason Lutes. Berlin is an intricate look at the fall of the Weimar Republic through the eyes of its citizens, zeroing in on the street level to demonstrate the slow rise of fascism and extremism.

Benji Nate

Benji Nate is a Puerto Rico born cartoonist and high school drop out living in the States. Her works include Catboy, Lorna, Ghoulfriend, and other things.

Her most recent venture is co-editing North America’s greatest, best selling, and most popular comics periodical, Good Boy! Magazine which is debuting at this year’s SPX

Carolyn Nowak

Carolyn Nowak graduated from the University of Michigan’s School of Art and Design in 2011. She lives in Ann Arbor.

In addition to her acclaimed mini-comics, Nowak has drawn twelve issues of Lumberjanes and is preparing a Buffy the Vampire Slayer middle-grade book, New School Nightmare.

At SPX 2018, Nowak and Top Shelf Productions compile the Ignatz-winning “Radishes” and “Diana’s Electric Tongue,” along with several other stories old and new, in her full-color debut collection, Girl Town.

Carol Tyler

Carol Tyler emerged as a distinctive voice from the underground comics scene of the 1980s, with work featured in Weirdo, Wimmen’s Comix, and Twisted Sisters. Her long form works include the autobiographical Late Bloomer (2005) and Soldier’s Heart (2012), and her books have been nominated for various awards, including multiple Ignatz Awards, an Eisner Award, and the LA Times Book Prize. Tyler received the 2016 Cartoonist Studio Prize from the Slate Book Review. Her most recent book, Fab4 Mania, chronicles her teenaged obsession with The Beatles in a facsimile of her 1965 journal.

Nate Powell

Nate Powell is a New York Times best-selling graphic novelist born in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1978. He began self-publishing at age 14, and graduated from School of Visual Arts in 2000.

His work includes March, the graphic novel autobiography of congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis; You Don’t Say, Any Empire, Swallow Me Whole, The Silence of Our Friends, The Year of the Beasts, and Rick Riordan’s The Lost Hero. Powell is the first and only cartoonist ever to win the National Book Award.

His work has also received a Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, three Eisner Awards, two Ignatz Awards, two Harvey Awards, the Michael L. Printz Award, a Coretta Scott King Author Award, four YALSA Great Graphic Novels For Teens selections, the Walter Dean Myers Award, and has twice been a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

Powell’s newest book is the demon-haunted Arkansas fairytale Come Again (Top Shelf Productions, 2018).

Preview: Adventure Time Comics Vol. 4 SC

Adventure Time Comics Vol. 4 SC

Publisher: KaBOOM!, an imprint of BOOM! Studios
Writers: Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Max Davison, Jai Nitz, David DeGrand, Justin Jordan, Crystal Skillman & Fred Van Lente, E Jackson, Anoosha Syed, Marie Enger, Jenna Ayoub, Ben Passmore, Bethany Sellers, Leah Williams, Ian Herring, Kinoko Evans
Artists: Antonio Sandoval, Luca Claretti, Devmalya Pramanik, David DeGrand, Mattia Di Meo, Daniele Di Nicuolo, E Jackson, Anoosha Syed, Marie Enger, Jenna Ayoub, Ben Passmore, Bethany Sellers, Ryan Jampole, Ian Herring, Kinoko Evans
Cover Artist: Paul Pope
Price: $14.99

Dive into mathematical shorts from across the the Land of Ooo, written and illustrated by acclaimed writers and artists from around the world.Collects issues #13-16.

Facebook Censors the Critically Acclaimed “Your Black Friend” Animated Film (Updated)

On Friday January 26th, Facebook took action against an animated short film made by a black artist, about anti-black racism, posted by independent comic book publisher Silver Sprocket.

The animated adaptation of Ben Passmore‘s award winning Your Black Friend comic book received positive attention when it was posted last Monday, garnering more than 130,000 views between YouTube and Facebook.

Based on Passmore’s comic book of the same name that in 2017 was nominated for an Eisner Award and won the Ignatz, Dinky, and Broken Frontier awards, and coveted spot on NPR’s 100 Favorite Graphic Novels list.

The animation was produced by Silver Sprocket and Doggo Studios to promote Passmore’s upcoming hardcover collection, Your Black Friend and Other Strangers, collecting 120 pages of comics from VICE, The Nib, and various other publications to be released in March of 2018 and available for pre-order now from Silver Sprocket’s online store.

Though unavailable on Facebook, the video remains on YouTube.

Update: Facebook says it was taken down in error.

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