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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).

Review: Comics for Choice Anthology

The issue of abortion, has been a hot topic longer than most of us have been alive. It is also very complicated on so many levels. The thing is no matter what side of this issue you accept as right, we all should believe that it is a woman’s choice, whether she should have one. Unfortunately, the die-hard anti-abortionists don’t believe in this idea, and the sad truth is no one and no man should have domain over a woman’s body. In a recently published anthology addressing this subject, Hazel Newlevant, Whit Taylor and OK Fox, and a host of other creators share stories in a Comics For Choice.

In Encountering Abortion Restrictions: From Kenya to Texas MJ Flores and Kat Fajardo, tells MJ’s own distressing story of what lead her to an abortion halfway around the world. In They Call Her Dr. D, Dr. Cynthia Greenlee and Jaz Malone tells Dr. Dorothy Brown’s story, who was Tennessee’s first black woman legislator and pushed one of the first state sponsored pro-abortion bills. In The Outcasts Heidi Williamson and Julia Krase, imagine a future where women’s sexual activities and reproductive health decisions were monitored daily and those who don’t comply, were jailed. In Body & Soul, Science and Religion Kriota Willberg, dives into the whole evolution from conception to birth in painstaking detail.

In Saturday Morning, Benita Ulisano and Laura Martin, shows how pro-life protesters attack people who go to these clinics. In Plan C, Nomi Kane educates readers about a third effective method to avoid pregnancy, that is not as widely known. In October, Kris Louis tells her story and the anxiety, and the loneliness brought it to her. In Bearing Witness, Mick Doran tells her story as an Abortion Doula, and how her work extends beyond the clinic.

Overall, each of these stories I highlighted as well as those I did not are universal, powerful, personal and beautiful. The stories by each of these creators, are deeply affecting, some are heartbreaking, some are relatable, but all are instantly connected. The art by different creators, makes for some visually striking work while at the same time educating the reader. Altogether an excellent anthology that should be read by all, regardless of your political or philosophical ideology.

Story: MJ Flores, Kendra Josie Kirkpatrick, Jennifer Camper, Dr. Cynthia Greenlee, Rickie Solinger, Rachel Wilson, Hallie Jay Pope, Anna Sellheim, Brittany Mostiller, Lindsay Rodriguez, Sam Romero, Candice Russell, Heidi Williamson, Cathy Camper, Kriota Willberg, Katie Brown & Andrew Carl, Benita Ulisano, Steph Kraft Sheley, Nomi Kane & the Plan   C Team, Sarah Mirk, Kris Louis, Emily Lady, Sage Coffey, Rachel Hays, Leah Hayes, Tanya DePass, Tatiana Gill, Mick Moran, Anna Bongiovanni, Daniela Diaz, Renee Bracey Sherman, Jennifer Camper, Michelle Kinsey Bruns, Jensine Eckwall, Yamani Hernandez, Claudia E. Berger, Mallory McMaster, Bree Jordan, CB Hart, Anise Simon, Sophia Foster-Dimino, Vreni
Art: Kat Fajardo, Kendra Josie Kirkpatrick, Jennifer Camper, Jaz Malone, Rachel Merrill, Ally Shwed, Hallie Jay Pope, Anna Sellheim, Lilly Taing, Lucy Haslam, Erin Lux, Laura Lannes, Julia Krase, Jennifer Camper, Kriota Willberg, Ahmara Smith, Laura Martin, Steph Kraft Sheley, Nomi Kane , Sarah Mirk, Kris Louis, Emily Lady, Sage Coffey, Rachel Hays, Leah Hayes, Wren Chavers, Tatiana Gill, Mick Moran, Anna Bongiovanni, Stephanie Rodriguez, Kennedy Tarrell, Katie Fricas, Gianna Meola, Jensine Eckwall, Sharon Rimann, Claudia E. Berger, Kate Kerns, Bree Jordan, CB Hart, Sarah Crowe, Sophia Foster-Dimino, Vreni
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Symbolia Magazine Launches More Graphic Journalism

This week saw the launch of Symbolia Magazine a new digital magazine bringing new and original graphic journalism to the world. The new app-based magazine of non-fiction comics journalism, edited by Erin Polgreen. The first issue is now available at iTunes or via PDF for non-tablet users. A 6-issue subscription is $11.99, but a preview issue is available. Contributors include:

  • Susie Cagle’s thoughtful exploration of California’s Salton Sea.
  • A look at life in Iraqi Kurdistan by Sarah Glidden.
  • Kat Fajardo and Audrey Quinn on evolution and a fish called “The White Man’s Office” in the Lower Congo River.
  • The bold history of Zambian Psychedelic Rock, by Chris A. Smith and Damien Scogin.
  • Andy Warner and Lauren Sommer tour the millions of microflora in our guts.

Publisher’s Weekly has a bit more details on how it all works.

Each issue of Symbolia will feature 3-5 stories and all contributors will be paid. Initial rates are $75 to $100 per page, “not the best rates,” Polgreen said, “but we’ll work to boost them once we get more exposure. Symbolia will be a vehicle that provides paid work to working cartoonists.” The journal will generate revenue initially from issue sales and annual subscriptions, but Polgreen said they are also looking to advertising and sponsored content from graphic publishers; memberships with added perks—Google Hangout interviews with contributors and workshops—as well as syndication, “we also collaborate with other organizations to share costs and further distribute the content.” Polgreen said she also intends to look at revenue share plan for contributors, “after we build a subscriber base.”

Graphic journalism as a whole is seeing a Renaissance now with amazing works being released weekly, fueled by the power of the internet. Some of my favorite graphic novels this year have been of this type.

Symbolia is also open for pitches, so head to their site and submit your best ideas.

symbolia