All stories relating to graphica and comics
Canadians have the chance to meet and see some of their favourite writers, artists, and poets up close and personal at this weekend’s readings and festivals, featured on Q&Q’s events calendar.
The August Sonata on Aug. 25 offers readings galore from the likes of Ken Chisholm, Julie Curwin, Russell Colman, Sandra Dunn, and several others. The event takes place in Boularderie Island, Cape Breton. Attendees are encouraged reserve seating, and bring four books for the annual book exchange.
The annual Summer Dreams Literary Arts Festival kicks off in Vancouver on Aug. 25. The celebration fuses dance, theatre, and music with literary events, including storytelling, panel discussions on writing, and poetry readings.
Dan Parent, creator of Archie Comics’ first gay character Kevin Keller, will appear at Toronto’s Glad Day Bookshop on Aug. 26. The free event includes an interview, question period, and book signing.
Some of Alberta’s finest poets and writers will gather in Calgary on Aug. 26 for Get Literary: Prose and Poetry. Local poet laureate Kris Demeanor will lead an afternoon of readings from Alberta’s literary magazines. Shannon Lee Bennett, Marcello Di Cintio, Jon R. Flieger, Barb Howard, Naomi K. Lewis, and Fred Stenson are set to attend.
Patrick Lane hosts a poetry reading that includes works spanning his half-century career. The event takes place on Aug. 24 in South Frontenac, Ontario. Admission is $40.
Who knows how much longer summer’s warmth will hang over us, so get outside and enjoy it at the Summer When it Sizzles Festival in Ottawa on Aug. 26. The free event invites the public to hear poets share their work over an afternoon of book launches, readings and open mics.
On the other side of the country, Vancouverites can head over to Comix & Stories for Vancouver ComicCon at Heritage Hall. The event puts the spotlight on alternative and small press comics, zines, and artwork; featuring Simon Roy, Brandon Graham, James Stokoe, and Marley Zarcone.
Be sure to check out Q&Q‘s events calendar for more of this weekend’s literary happenings.
Want to add an event to Q&Q‘s calendar? Send your literary event listings to Quill & Quire. Please include the event name, date, time, location, cost, and a brief description.
Book links roundup: Emily Schultz on The Blondes, Ontario illustrator featured on Batman comic cover, and more
- Emily Schultz talks beauty and violence in The Blondes
- Ontario illustrator Jason Fabok draws his way to the cover of DC Comics’ Batman
- New book to “set the record straight” on the 2011 bin Laden mission
- J.K. Rowling to make public appearance in New York City this fall
- How Nicholas Sparks used social media to beat box office odds
Dartmouth has joined the ranks of Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver with the launch of the first Dartmouth Comic Arts Festival, thanks to local comic bookstore Strange Adventures, which will host the event on Aug. 19 at Alderney Landing in Nova Scotia.
Halifax independent weekly The Coast quotes Strange Adventures owner Calum Johnston:
It’s essentially a craft fair focused on comics. We’re not looking at programming but certainly we’d like to encourage anyone looking to get into cartooning and comics to come out … it’s an opportunity to ask questions.
The free one-day event gives locals a chance to shop, meet cartoonists and rare comic dealers, and have portfolios reviewed by artists like Steve McNiven, who has done work on Wolverine, The Amazing Spider-Man, and The Avengers. Artists Mike Holmes, Faith Erin Hicks, and Nick Bradshaw are also set to appear.
While comics artists have tackled all manner of sex, drugs, and violence in their work, medicine – an area in which all these issues (and more) intersect – still seems to carry the stink of stigma. But if an upcoming conference at the University of Toronto is any indication, times are changing.
Comics and Medicine: Navigating the Margins, the third conference of its kind, will take place from July 22 to 24. Monday night, the conference will host a discussion with Joyce Farmer, author of 2010’s Special Exits (Fantagraphics Books), a graphic novel about caring for elderly parents, and Joyce Brabner, who wrote the graphic memoir Our Cancer Year (Running Press, 1994) with her late husband, Harvey Pekar. The talk, moderated by Paul Gravett and co-presented by the Beguiling bookshop, is free and open to non-delegates.
Shelley Wall, the driving force behind bringing the conference to U of T, spoke with Q&Q about the many relationships between comics and medicine, the depiction of health care and illness in Canadian graphic arts, and why the graphic medical memoir genre has gained momentum.
How did you develop an interest in comics and medicine?
I’m a medical illustrator and teach in the biomedical communications program at U of T, where we train professional medical illustrators. I came to comics and medicine when I was teaching an undergraduate course in written health care communication and became interested in different modes and combinations of modes to communicate about health.
It was through reading about this that I found Mom’s Cancer by cartoonist Brian Fies [also a conference organizer]. It’s the story of his mother’s diagnosis with metastatic lung cancer and the effect that it had on their family. That’s when I realized there was this whole world of people who were doing graphic novels about illness, and I started a comic of my own about someone very close to me who has early-onset Parkinson’s.
What relationships between medicine and comics will be explored at the conference?
Some people will be presenting on their own work dealing with illness, or the experience of someone they’ve known. Others will look at the use of comics in medical schools. Comics are a way of marrying the emphasis on evidence-based medicine – statistics, epidemiology, biological science – with the human element – what it’s like to experience sickness – to encourage empathy in medical students.
Some people are also encouraging medical students to create their own comics as an alternative way of thinking through experiences such as encountering ethical dilemmas, or their first dissection of a cadaver, to get at the sort of unquantifiable aspects of practicing medicine.
There’s also a look at using comics for public education and health promotion. They can be an alternative way to engage in patient education, and help overcome literacy and language barriers. Comics can bring in elements of playfulness, visual metaphor, or storytelling that can really help to get a message across in a clear way.
What are some of the challenges involved in putting these experiences on the page?
Ian Williams, another conference organizer who is a physician and an artist in Wales, tells stories about his interactions with patients. But these stories bring up the issue of confidentiality, so he fictionalizes the stories and publishes them under a pseudonym.
Also, we don’t often hear people speaking of medicine from stigmatized positions, like people who are inmates in mental hospitals. The title of the conference, Navigating the Margins, refers to the fact that a lot of these stories give perspective to people who don’t necessarily get their voices heard over the voice of medical authority.
What are some of your favourite examples of this genre?
One of the conference presenters, Sarafin, is writing a book called Asylum Squad: The Psychosis Diaries. The book is based on her webcomic series about her time as a patient at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. They’re very powerful stories because there are so many more stigmas and taboos associated with mental illness than with a lot of other health conditions. I think it takes a lot of bravery and clear-sightedness to deal with that issue.
Toronto’s Suley Fattah, who’s made and edited comics about being a cancer patient in the self-published book Drawing the Line, will give a workshop at the conference. And Sandra Bell-Lundy, who appears on a panel, has a hugely successful syndicated strip in Between Friends. Although the strip is not about health necessarily, there are a number of storylines about infertility, domestic abuse, and breast cancer. Her stories on mammograms are even used by the Canadian Cancer Society.
Yesterday at San Diego’s international Comic-Con convention, two generations of Canadian cartoonists, Kate Beaton (Hark! A Vagrant) and Lynn Johnston (For Better or for Worse), shared the stage for a discussion about the craft of serialized comics.
Back at home, the Association of Canadian Editorial Cartoonists is hoping to put some cash and prizes in the pockets of artists like Beaton and Johnston. The group is petitioning the Canada Council for the Arts to make cartoonists and cartoon publishers eligible for its grants and the Governor General’s Literary Awards (graphic novels are eligible for funds but are excluded from the GG awards).
The petition states:
Given the artistic quality of Canadian cartooning, it’s cultural importance, its centrality to an understanding of Canadian society and history, and its appeal to readers of all ages, a strong argument can and should be made that the Canada Council should support the work of cartoonists and that of publishers interested in publishing their work. The Association of Canadian Editorial Cartoonists is ideally positioned to lobby for such a change in Canada Council policy. And we do know that ACEC members are good at getting their point across.
UPDATE: According to Tara Lapointe, head of marketing communications for the Canada Council: “There are no barriers for editorial cartoonists or other artists who bridge editorial and visual art to apply for support from the Canada Council. In fact, they are eligible in two different programs. Under our Publishing program, publications need to demonstrate editorial oversight and/or commentary as part of the collection of works. In our Visual Art program, all professional visual artists, regardless of medium, are eligible if they meet two criteria: firstly, they have produced an independent body of work (e.g. not commissioned) and have had their work presented in a professional context such as a curated exhibition.”
According to research conducted by Publishers Weekly, crowdsourcing website Kickstarter is now one of the top revenue-generating graphic-novel publishers in the U.S.
From February to April of this year, graphic novelists and comic artists who used the Kickstarter platform to raise funds for their projects brought in $2.2 million. By comparison, Marvel Comics brought in $6.9 million in gross revenue and DC Comics made $4.3 million. When PW compared the profits each publisher actually received, Kickstarter moved into second place with $1.9 million.
The comparison might seem like a head-scratcher, but PW calculated the amounts by multiplying Kickstarter’s pledges by 90 per cent (the website gives 90–92 per cent back to creators) and the other publishers’ sales by 40 per cent (most publishers keep that amount of a book’s list price).
Whatever this equation really means, there’s no denying crowdsourcing websites are changing the ways artists cover their creation and marketing costs. Even high-profile author and entrepreneur Margaret Atwood has seen the potential, raising almost $55,ooo on Indiegogo for her new Long Pen and interactive fan-club platform, Fanado.
Silver Snail Comics co-owner George Zotti is offering the public a video tour of the store’s new home just steps away from Toronto’s Yonge and Dundas Square.
In addition to the standard comic book fare, the 3,300 square-foot store at 329 Yonge Street will house a large kids’ section, gallery space, and lounge area complete with iPads for in-store reading of digital comics. They’re also working on making the second-storey space wheelchair accessible.
Arguably the biggest change from the Queen Street site will be the addition of a cafe, where Zotti plans on getting creative with the menu, with specials like the “Flashiccino.” “You get three [espresso] shots for the price of one shot,” Zotti explains with a laugh. The cafe is a bid to keep the shop competitive in a neighbourhood that’s also home to Indigo, The World’s Biggest Bookstore, BMV, 401 Games, and One Million Comix.
Zotti and partner Mark Gingras revealed the new location last month, a year after announcing the iconic comic book shop would be leaving its historic Queen Street West location this summer. (Check out what’s being proposed for the site.)
According to Torontoist, the Yonge Street location should open by July 1 — just in time to host Dave McKean, the award-winning graphic novelist and illustrator who has collaborated with the likes of Neil Gaiman, Richard Dawkins, and chef Heston Blumenthal.
Kobo users can now read ebooks like Alice in Wonderland, The Last of the Mohicans, and War of the Worlds as illustrated comics, through a content distribution deal between Kobo and the digital publisher Trajectory.
The Classics Illustrated series includes over 120 titles, which are also available for Apple devices and Barnes & Noble’s Nook.
Kobo’s promo of The Three Musketeers gives an idea of the series’ style.
- Carol Burnett to publish memoir about her daughter
- The Guardian seeks 10th title for First Book Award
- Which popular trilogy sold 10 million copies in six weeks?
- Marvel Comics plans wedding issue for gay superhero
- Total Recall remade into ebook for movie release
- Self-published nutritionist gets seven-figure book deal
- Site from The Hunger Games film up for auction
- Which science fiction book should never be filmed?
- Print books vs. ebooks: are they equal?
- Why literary prizes matter to writers
Book links roundup: Can fictional characters influence people? Florida libraries ban 50 Shades of Grey, and more
- Study finds that fictional characters can influence real-life actions
- 50 Shades of Grey banned from Florida libraries
- One of Canada’s largest used book sales gets underway this week
- Survey shows ebook popularity is higher among U.K. students
- Should editors confirm for customers when an ebook has been professionally edited?