Category Archives: Comics

Moose Kid All Ages Free Comic Launched Today!

Moose Kid Comics is a glorious 36-page, free to read, digital children’s comic. It features over 40 of the best comic artists working today, from well-established heroes to newer talents from the indie and web scenes. Each contributing their own entirely original characters, exclusively for the comic.

No-one involved makes any profit, all artists have given their time for free!

For three main reasons:

To entertain comic readers and win new audiences.
To show how fantastic a children’s comic can e when artists create it themselves.
To open up discussion about how we can make children’s comics great again.

from: http://www.moosekidcomics.com/about/

To read the comic (and find out more), click on the image below!

moosekid

Neville Johnson Comic Strip Competition

Have you ever dreamed about being invisible? Ever wondered what it would be like to go wherever you wanted and do whatever you wanted?

If you or an imaginary character were invisible, how would you use your superpower? Try to imagine what kinds of scary, amazing and even humorous situations you might find yourself in…

Create a six panel comic strip of your adventure, using words and images to bring your character and his or her escapades to life. You don’t have to be an artist, just make your comic strip unique, fun and exciting.

Entries for the Neville Johnson Comic Strip Competition will be judged by Curtis Jobling – whose latest book Haunt features an invisible character – and the winner will receive a professionally designed framed print of their comic strip.
For more details and to find out how to enter go to www.mcbf.org.uk and click ‘Get Involved’, or click here.

This competition and resource have been devised by the ‘Walking in Their Shoes’ Schools’ Liaison team at Manchester Metropolitan University. See the MMU Humanities Schools Liaison website for details about the Comic Smart project (on which this competition is based) and to download resources on this and other projects.

• Entries welcome from anyone aged 8-16

• Deadline for final entries is 31/08/2014

• Winners will be announced end of September

• Download your comic strip template here

My Comics Addiction – where it came from and where it is going

My addiction to comics can be traced back to one specific comic book, I know this because it is always in my mind. Often not consciously thought about but it is there. The comic book in question is issue 27 of Saga of the Swamp Thing written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Steven Bissette and John Totleben. The story was called By Demons Driven.

As for these shrieking statues, I’ll not weep,
They’ll perish as they lived: dazed, witless sheep
In slaughterhouses far beyond their ken.
I shed no tear for those that die unshriven,
For they are men. Just men. And what are men
But chariots of wrath, by demons driven!

– Etrigan the Demon

Monsters, demons, possession, alcohol abuse, and pure, visceral storytelling… I still have the comic somewhere in a box at my parent’s house in Cape Town. I read somewhere that Moore wrote The demon Etrigan’s speech in iambic pentameter (who says thet comics can’t teach you anything?).

Growing up in Cape Town in the ‘80’s it was not an easy time to be a comics fan (comics were hard to find), after a particularly bad series of tests and exams my parents banned comics (well they tried to) I rescued the remains of comics from a box in the front of the house, the inner section of a batman 80 page special from the 1960’s I think, with a story about a Mexican batman and a villain with a parrot I can still remember the Batman deducing that the Mexican Batman was in league with the bad guy by seeing parrot claw marks on his colleague’s shoulder, there were also some Archie comics, Richie Rich a Spiderman mixed in with sundry other titles.

I hunted down comics where I could but they were few and far between in those days and it would be a few years before professional comic shops opened.

The first was Reader’s Den in Cape Town and later came Outer Limits which became my regular haunt when I was studying at the Cape Technikon. I collected the entirety of Preacher by Garth Ennis from Outer Limits but I am getting a bit ahead of myself.

Whilst in High School (and after my parents had forgotten about the comics ban) I was introduced to the Batman, and soon I was collecting Batman, Detective comics and Shadow of the Bat and Jim Balent’s Catwoman – only the early storylines as I did like a good story and an improbably voluptuous Selina Kyle could only keep my attention for so long. I collected Batman from the mid 400’s to the early 500’s. In between Batman and studying for tests and exams I discovered a corner store in Kalk bay where I lived that had a revolving rack stuffed with back issues of Justice League International (the storyline before it split into Justice League America and Justice League Europe) a FUNNY, dysfunctional super-hero story starring Batman, the Martian Manhunter Guy Gardner Green Lantern, Mister Miracle, Big Barda and others – just what I needed to take my mind off ever looming exams!

I was saved from superhero comics by 2000AD and discovered a number of writers that I still follow – Garth Ennis, Alan Moore again (it was the complete DR & Quinch trade paperback), Pat Mills and others. Then there was Hellblazer, Sandman – the creation of the Vertigo line in 1993 kept me reading comics, I still have the first issue of The Extremist and some of the Hellblazer comics (Hellblazer predated Vertigo) I have some loose copies of The Family Man and Fear Machine storylines. Along the way I flirted with Spawn by Todd McFarlane – I had number from 1 to the 60’s (I sold those to part finance my ‘plane ticket to the UK)

I spent many Friday afternoons at Outer Limits when it was still on the Cape Town foreshore (after I had finished at Tech.) I was introduced to Sirius Entertainment – they published Chi-Chian by Voltaire as well as his Oh My Goth series and the Dawn comics by Joseph Michael Linsner. The one true comics love of my early to mid-20’s was Preacher by Garth Ennis, I followed Garth from Hellblazer and regretted not an instant! One man’s search for god who has abandoned his creation, followed by Tulip – his ex girlfriend (now a hitwoman) and Cassidy an Irish vampire – it was spot on for my tastes at that time and even today I still love it! Whenever I go back to South Africa (usually once a year or so) I did out my Preacher box and reread the series – usually in the evening when everyone has gone to bed and my nephew Scott is not there as he loves comics but at 12 is too young for many of my comics.

I was also a fan of Bitterkomix – a South African publication mainly by Joe Dog and Conrad Botes two Afrikaner art students who were creating comics that were scandalising Stellenbosch University and Afrikaner culture (this was in the dying days of the National party led government prior to free and fair elections in South Africa.

Nowadays as a respectable librarian earning a (fairly) decent salary with access ot the internet I have been collecting comics that I had only heard about when growing up and also trade paperbacks of comics I read. I have just finished rereading Transmetropolitan by Warren Ellis – political futurist sci-fi with a distinct humanist bent bloody funny and sharp as a razor. I have an original B&W trade paperback of Rick Veitch’s Brat Pack, most of Alan Moore’s back catalogue and his ABC stuff.

I do most of my shopping at Gosh Comics which is, to my mind one of London’s best book shops. I have also started collecting individual comics again – only two series Saga by Brian K. Vaughn & Fiona Staples and The Massive by Brian Wood.

I collected The DFC for the entirety of its (too short) run and am debating with myself about subscribing to the Phoenix – I flip through it every now & then at Gosh but am afraid of committing in case I am hurt again.

I also read manga – but fairly infrequently these days (my time as the manga librarian is coming to an end) I still enjoy anime – particularly the movies released by Studio Ghibli, Madhouse and Gonzo.

It is so easy to get hooked on reading comics these days. Most public libraries stock graphic novels, if you are in a university or college take a look under 741.5 in the Dewey sequence. that is how I discovered Watchmen, Maus and Dark Knight returns when I was studying.

Or if you have money to spare check out your local comic shop!

It's Comics Time!

Sarah McIntyre has written a brilliant introduction to The Phoenix comic (it can also be used to explain why comics are awesome and good to read generally) on her site:

it’s comics time: calling all librarians!!! Read it now! It is brilliant!

Sarah is the creator of the excellent Vern & Lettuce comic that appeared in the lamented The DFC her work has also appeared in Nelson – a comic book by 54 comics artists about a day a year over 43 years in the life of a girl called Nelson.

Hereville: How Mirka Met a Meteorite by Barry Deutsch

Boldly Going Where No 11-Year-Old Orthodox Jewish Girl has Gone Before

How Mirka Met a Meteorite is the second book in the Hereville series. The first being Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword (Yet Another Troll-Fighting 11-Year-Old Orthodox Jewish Girl).

Mirka Hirshberg is a spunky, strong-willed eleven-year-old who isn’t interested in knitting lessons from her stepmother, or how-to-find-a-husband advice from her sister, or you-better-not warnings from her brother. There’s only one thing Mirka does want: to fight dragons! But she’ll need a sword – and therein lies the tale!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mirka is back, and this time she takes on a misguided meteor that’s been set in motion by the troll and turned into Mirka’s twin by the witch. Doppelganger Mirka is out to best the real girl. Our heroine will have to beat her other self in a three-part-challenge – or be banished from Hereville!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
My all-time favourite indie comic is the amazing Bone by Jeff Smith – I can honestly say that I never thought I could find another comic to challenge it in my affections; the early Cerebus books by Dave Sim came close but ultimately fell by the wayside as Dave Sim became progressively weirder.

Now there is a new challenger on the block – Barry Deutsh’s stories of Mirka and Hereville. If you had not guessed by the tag lines – Mirka is Jewish, Hereville is a shtetl and an undercurrent of Orthodox Jewish life fills the book, Mirka’s family life centres on Shabbos (Shabbat), the Shabbos rituals and family jobs are laid out beautifully in How Mirka got Her Sword and the disruptive effect having a twin has is shown during Shabbos in How Mirka met a Meteorite. Mirka’s family life and relationships are shown to good effect in the Shabbos pages in both books. The love that Barry obviously has for this comes through in the art and the words he uses.

I am a goy but I have been picking up and using Yiddish words and learning about Jewish culture (and food) for years. I enjoyed immersing myself in a culture that is not my own and even picked up some more words. You do not need to be Jewish or have an understanding of Jewish culture to read or enjoy this book (but it does help).

Mirka is awesome! I do not think there are many comic books that have 11-year-old heroines; let alone snarky siblings as side-kicks. There are trolls, a witch with a pig, extra-terrestrial beings, bullies, family – no orphans in this story, there is a stepmother she is not of the evil variety, more long-suffering and understanding of Mirka than Mirka can actually see. I love that Mirka argues with absolutely everybody but the only one that seems to get the better of her is her stepmother, she is also teeh one that gives Mirka the mental tools to get out of the scrapes that she finds herself in. The scenes where Mirka talks to her stepmother about her mother are some of the most touching I have seen in a comic.

Hereville is hilarious, touching, exciting and the best magically real comic I have ever read!

Scott Westerfeld's Uglies has been given the Graphic Novel treatment

Hey wow!

I just found out the Dystopian novel Uglies by the always awesome Scott Westerfeld has been turned into a graphic novel!

Del Rey will be publishing four manga-inspired Uglies graphic novels, outlined by Westerfeld and adapted by artist Steven Cumming.

This story will be told from Shay’s perspective.

Webcomic Wednesday

Welcome the the first in a series of reviews and articles about webcomics!  I thought I would use Wednesdays for this feature as it is the middle of the week and usually at this time people could use something humourous (sometimes) to read.  Also it rhymes.

Apparently (according to wikipedia anyway) webcomics have been around since 1985.  I was bitten by the webcomic bug some five years ago and am still finding some interesting titles.

To begin I would like to introduce you to one of my favourite series of the moment:

I have been a fan of Weregeek since it began in 2006 and have featured it in two of my newsletters over at TeenLibrarian as I have found it to be a brilliant tool for educating people on LARPS, collectible card games, Dungeons & Dragons, Shadowrun and other obsessive tendencies of geek kind.

It is also a fantastic (free) read!  The overarching story concerns Mark.

Mark was once just an ordinary guy with an office job and a blonde girlfriend. Except that every once in a while he had a strange urge to hang in front of a tabletop RPG store and stare at its wares pointlessly… Then one day, after a run in with the local vampire coven and The Hunters, he discovered a mind-blowing truth: there is a secret society out there, The Masquerade… OF GEEKS! And he is one of them, “a human by day and a geek by night”…

The story also follows his friends, and colleagues in their real lives as well as in the fantasy worlds they enter through their role-playing games.  It also pokes fun at pop culture…

 Weregeek was created and is written, drawn and edited by Alina Pete and Layne Myhre.

Give it a read, if you are a geek you will enjoy the in-jokes and positive portrayal of geek culture.  If you are not a geek – read it and you may discover that actually you are a geek after all!

So if you just want to enjoy a good laugh with a few soap opera, fantasy, horror, gaming and mystery tropes thrown in then Weregeek is for you! 

Just remember to start at the beginning

For those of you that do not enjoy reading off the computer, Weregeek is also available in print form from the Weregeek Store