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COMMUNITY NEWSWhat's new in Comics & Cartoons
The economic crisis is hard on the comic industry and one of our professional inkers, mechangel2002, is struggling as the payments due her are delayed. She's offering commissions at a reduced price to help her pay her medical bills while she continues looking for a new job. See this journal if you'd like to help.
iCAF vol. II - MarkandDamien
COMIC NEWSHappenings in comics worldwide
This week the news are quite focused on Watchmen and Alan Moore, due to the upcoming release of the movie.
Reading The Watchmen: Ten Entrance Points Into The Esteemed Graphic Novel by Tom Spurgeon.
This interview of Alan Moore is gold.
While we're on Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman unearthed a 20-year-old interview of him!
RESOURCESLinks to refine your craft
Winged Wolf Studio: "Updated with How-To's Monday thru Friday. How to make, display, advertise and network your webcomic. How to properly organize your webcomic site, what pages to include, what information to put ON them, how to code features, and tips and tricks. How to make some money"
Suggested by LeBlah
SPOTLIGHTA closer look at one deviant, author, comic series or graphic novel
This week: Pride of Baghdad written by Brian K. Vaughan, artwork by Niko Henrichon
This is a story that could not have been made in any other medium. To have animal protagonists without anthropomorphizing their behaviour and motivations, to take the reader on a guided tour of various consequences of war without being anvilicious (indeed without ever using the word "war"), to comment on current events that have been rehashed as infinitum from a fresh perspective, to focus entirely on the story and character arcs of the lions yet provide a second level of reading that only human readers can pick up... This single-volume graphic novel achieves all of the above.
In April 2003, U.S. soldiers shot down four lions that had escaped from the bombed Baghdad zoo and were roaming the streets, starving. Vaughan took this as his ending point and imagined their story from the time of their unexpected release to their first and last encounter with humans. Each of the lions Safa, the life-hardened old female, Zill, the unadventurous male, Noor, the headstrong mother, and Ali, the cub has his or her own take on "freedom" and vague knowledge of the world out there, Safa having been captured as an adult, Zill and Noor as cubs. The story is told entirely from the lions' perspective, which is one of complete innocence in terms of human conflict. As they wander through a pounded Baghdad, narrowly escape being run over by battletanks, and venture into what seems to be Saddam Hussein's palace (I'm not entirely sure), the only things that register to them are the things they can relate to a herd of horses, a large portait of a winged lion, the dead "cub" of "keepers". It is the skilled use of the comic medium that allows us readers to fill in everything the characters don't understand, and be affected on a double level: by the lions' own plight and by the human tragedy that is taking place for real in our own world.
Henrichon's artwork is superb. A loose, sketchy line boldly colored leaves all the impact to the palette and use of light. It somehow gives the feel of an animation, and of moving lightly from panel to panel (cat-like!) It's a choice of rendering not often seen in full-color comics, especially digitally colored, because it makes the coloring process so much more difficult, but it's worth being inspired by. It certainly stands out! Sample pages:
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The posting of these pages for review purposes falls under Fair Use please do not use them or repost them for other purposes.
TROPE OF THE WEEKStorytelling devices and how to use or NOT use them
When the plot requires a character to be stumped by something they should have been able to overcome easily, and can come up with nothing better than them just not realizing or remembering they can, that's Plot-Induced Stupidity. This happens particularly often in superhero comics, because these characters, especially the older ones who were created to be seriously superpowered, would otherwise solve situations too easily.
The Flash seems to constantly forget he can run faster than light and deliver infinite-mass punches...
Harry Potter does this quite a few times, kind of explainable by hormonal teenage behaviour. Notably in Order of the Phoenix, where he forgets he has a tool to communicate directly with his godfather, putting us through several chapters of nail-biting.
In the Justice League season 1, as the whole team is in Brainiac's grip, they struggle for a while before the Martian Manhunter remembers he can turn intangible at will.
It's very poor writing indeed to make such people forget they can do something that should be second nature to them, not require any thought or planning. A martial artist cannot "forget" the right kick to use in response to a given attack because he's so drilled into all techniques that his body responds automatically (that's also why it's infinitely stupid to prank-attack a martial artist). A professional soldier cannot "forget" to disable the security on his weapon. Someone whose whole life revolves around horses cannot "forget" not to step behind one. To find this kind of oversight in a script means only one thing the writer is not immersed enough in his characters.
An almost instant remedy to Plot-Induced Stupidity is simply to put more work into coming up with a plausible reason why, at the desired moment, the character can't do his or her thing. (Except if you created a nearly omnipotent person, obviously then this is where you learn better!) You have to really understand your character and be consistent with their personality for this: put yourself in their skin and ask yourself, "If this came up, what would stop me from dealing with it on the spot?" Then backtrack and implant the seed of this factor early enough in the story to make it happen plausibly. If rain is a disabling factor, for instance, make it start raining quite a while back, not providentially just at the wrong time.
Here are some general disabling factors that can be applied, but each character will have his or her own weak spot that can be exploited just not as blatantly and repeatedly as kryptonite, though. That really gets old!
Emotional upheaval. If you've ever been grief-stricken or boiling mad, you know this both disables you and makes you nearly blind to your environment. Harry's moments of P-IS largely pass unnoticed because he's being unreasonably angsty for entire books anyway.
Physical exhaustion. Obvious enough. Even shooting laser beams from your eyes does require some energy!
Injury. Pain is crippling. I don't care what you see in movies, intense pain shuts your body down and messes with your mind.
Giving someone the benefit of the doubt, i.e. acting too late. We all do this, right? If you felt someone bump into you, you wouldn't directly punch him in self-defense, assuming he was going for your wallet. A police officer or soldier
Being physically unable to do anything. If you're carrying something you shouldn't drop, or shielding someone with your body, you're not going to be able to alsofight. Personal example, I'm a reasonably good martial artist, but I know full well that if I go out wearing a skirt, or carrying a laptop, I'm as helpless as anybody. Small things can interfere in big ways, so use them!
BOOKMARKBlogs and stuff to keep an eye on
Cocowang_Comics is the blog of a cartoonist from Beijing, relating her cultural shock when he went to England to study.
The Webcomic Overlook: reviews and interesting musings.
Both suggested by LeBlah
aencre, the blog of Vincent Giard, has very interesting, small-scale explorations of animation enhancing webcomics. It's another French blog but the cartoons are mostly wordless.
Deviations that didn't make it as DDs, but are still worth a look!
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What is she going to come up with this time?
The history of the smiley face symbol
See you next week!
Your C&C Gallery Moderators,
Feedback and suggestions can be sent to Majnouna
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Just Published! Inks and Paints of the Middle East
I hope everyone's well and keeping safe! Since January, and especially during the last 3 months of (ongoing) isolation, I have worked on this groundbreaking book: A handbook of materials and art technology used in early Islamic manuscripts, for artists and art lovers alike. This is a concise, approachable, illustrated manual examining the main materials used in manuscripts during the Abbasid period, their qualities, and when safe, how to prepare and use them. 126 pages in full colour, A5-sized and wirebound for maximum practicality, with all the necessary technical info (such as the difference between paint and ink, binders, other additives) and lots of historical recipes! It is largely based on medieval Arabic inkmaking treatises that have not been translated, let alone by someone experienced in the use of these materials, so this material is being brought to a general audience for the very first time. The book is now available from my shop, but please be patient with
Crowdcast Today/Tonight April 2nd
I'll be chatting with my fellow artist and host Shayla Maddox about creating while under lockdown, past experiences of same, and related topic. Everyone's welcome, join us here at 1pm PDT (that's 21:00 GMT): https://www.crowdcast.io/e/t42_joumana/register
Lebanese Homecooking book
Did I never post about this?? Weird! My Lebanese cookbook was published about a year ago. If you're interested in a nice selection of over 30 Lebanese recipes, all illustrated and easy to follow, with an introduction to ingredients and the merest whiff of snark sprinkled throughout, look no further! You can grab it in my Cedarseed shop, where there are also other random food-related items for stocking fillers.
Natural inks for Inktober
For Inktober I made... ink! As part of my return to natural materials, I started making my own calligraphy ink, based on ancient and durable recipes, and went on to experiment with what I could find while out foraging. I prepare them in small batches in my studio and they are completely environment-friendly. They are available in my shop and 20% off during the month of October, but let me tell you a little about them. OAK GALL INK or iron gall ink was the medium used to write on parchment since Antiquity (encompassing Bibles, Qur'ans, even the Magna Carta), before paper brought carbon inks to the fore. The main component is tannin, extracted