Local Comix: Goshen Graphix II

Here’s a re-post from 2014 about “Goshen Graphix II,” a book that Goshen College students from my Graphic Novel class released on PinchPenny Press, a project of the English Department at GC.

Drawings from some of those students, as well as students in subsequent classes, are included in an essay of mine about teaching comics that just came out in “Lessons Drawn,” a collection of scholarly essays edited by David Seelow.

Also keep an eye out for my co-edited book, with Hussein Rashid, “Ms. Marvel’s America: No Normal,” which just went into production, and should be out on University Press of Mississippi later this year.

If you want to play around with drawing your own comics, there are lots of how-to books around now, but I especially recommend the books of Lynda Barry, one of the masters of demystifying and democratizing comics.

Stay tuned toward the end of May for a review of a new “picture novel,” “Clyde Fans,” from comics master Seth,  just out on the Canadian press Drawn and Quarterly.

Originally published on GoshenCommons.org on April 1, 2014

April has turned out to be a great month for comics in Michiana. First of all, Gene Luen Yang, the creator of “Boxers and Saints,” which I reviewed back in December, will be speaking on Thursday, April 10, at noon at the Festival of Faith and Writing in Grand Rapids.

Yang is not only a master of his craft—his book “American Born Chinese” was a finalist for the National Book Award—but also a rare combination of super smart, super successful and super approachable. In other words, this is a presentation not to miss.

If the drive to Grand Rapids is too far, however, you can meet some local comics artists at the release party for “Goshen Graphix II” this Friday at Better World Books at 6 p.m.

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How to Draw like a Girl: “Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir”

Originally posted November 2014. Thanks to Better World Books, 215 S. Main St. in Goshen, for providing me with books to review. You can find all of these books at the store.

Did anyone actually enjoy middle school? According to my own (extremely) random polling, most people remember middle school not fondly, but as an early exercise in institutionalized torture. Part of the problem was its often baseless, incomprehensible, yet rigid hierarchies, codified here by Liz Prince in her graphic memoir “Tomboy”:

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“Jennifer’s Journal: The Life of a SubUrban Girl, Vol. 1,” by Jennifer Cruté

In celebration of Black History Month, here’s a review originally published for the “Elkhart Truth” in May 2015. Other Rosarium titles I’ve reviewed are Whit Taylor’s “Ghost” (February 2018)  and a double review of “Kid Code” and “Malice in Ovenland” (February 2015).

Rosarium Publishing allows me free access to their comics titles. Thanks to Better World Books, 215 S. Main St. in Goshen, for providing me with books to review. You can find or order all of the books I review at the store.

Artist Jennifer Cruté worked for years as a commercial illustrator, but always drew her own comics and sketches on the subway as she traveled to and from her job. Her comics were simple, short sequences depicting funny and often uncomfortable moments from her life as a woman, an artist, and particularly a Black female artist. Her friends loved them, but she just saw them as doodles, until, as she told “Bitch Magazine,” in 2012, “I had a dream where Shirley Chisholm grabbed me and shook me while screaming, ‘It’s not just a stupid comic! Finish it!’ Pretty scary. So, I got on it.”

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