Cloudscape Comics is calling an official Special General Meeting for all Cloudscape Comics members on Wednesday April 5th, 2017 at 7:30 pm. Though we have recently had our Annual General Meeting, this Special General Meeting is necessary for voting on a special item: charity status. Cloudscape has been given the opportunity to change its status from being a non-profit to a charity, which would allow us to seek new grants, and receive more donations from individuals and organizations. If you want to participate in this vote, we’ll see you on the 5th.
Review by Matthew Nielsen
99 Ways to Tell a Story: Exercises in Style by Matt Madden is an exercise in taking a simple one-page comic and reinterpreting, reinventing, and even reincarnating it in many different ways. The template comic is 8 panels long. It depicts a man working at his desk, heading downstairs, answering a question from his girlfriend, and then opening his refrigerator. Pretty straightforward, right?
However, the ways in which Madden adapts this template comic make each reiteration feel very different. These changes include simple perspective switches (such as the characters’ girlfriend’s point of view), rearrangements (making anagrams of the template’s speech text), stylistic changes (turning the whole thing into a single political cartoon), tributes to other artists, changing the emotions of the characters, changing the narration technique, and so many more.
Whilst the book is technically 224 pages long, there are only about 99 pages of comic; the rest is reserved for text and the titles of the sample itself. This was a wise choice, as it gives each example its own space and allows the reader to fully experience each version properly.
99 Ways is definitely worth a look, and will most likely provide some good laughs. I’d also highly recommend the book to any artists who are either highly experimental or explorative in their styles, as 99 Ways provides many different points of inspiration. To learn more, visit the author’s website.
As part of one of Cloudscape’s current comic projects, we are going to be interviewing a refugee who speaks Arabic. If you can speak Arabic or knows someone who can, and would be willing to serve an interpreter during this interview, please let us know. You can contact executive director Oliver McTavish-Wisdom at [email protected]
Reviewed by Matthew Nielsen
Palestine by Joe Sacco takes place in occupied Palestine and is set over the course of two and half months in the winter of 1991-1992 (around the end of the Second Intifada). This graphic novel is a fusion of journalism and comics that explores the country through a series of experiences, interviews, and slices of everyday life during the time Sacco stayed in Israel and Palestine. If you’re looking to hear a Palestinian side of the Israeli-Palestine conflict as told by a Maltese-American journalist-cartoonist, then this is your chance.
I feel that the journey Sacco takes in this book is told well and in great detail. Not just in the words written, but in the cartoons drawn. The way people are portrayed is quite stylized and caricature, but as the book goes along, the art begins to feel a bit more realistic as the mind adapts to it. The style really works well in many scenes, conveying the numerous feelings that take place throughout the book. Furthermore, inanimate objects such as vehicles, weapons, landmarks, etc., are often drawn with strong detail and remarkable accuracy.
Palestine: The Special Edition adds 32 additional pages that provide a very informative “Behind the Scenes” sort of deal. I find this sort of thing fascinating. In these extra pages Sacco expores numerous things, such as his experience in Cairo before heading into Palestine, times he was scammed, and excerpts from his journal.
I tend to skip introductions until after I read the whole book first. I have found time and again that introductions (and even the synopsis, at least in the case of an edition of All Quiet on the Western Front) can contain major spoilers, damaging the biggest thrill of reading a story first-time. It’s certainly true with the introduction to Palestine. So just a head’s up there.
All in all, as a great piece of writing and artwork, I recommend this graphic novel. When it comes to Palestine as a piece of politics, that’s up to you. For more information, visit the website for Joe Sacco’s Palestine.
In recognition of International Women’s Day, the award-winning, critically-acclaimed romance anthology series FRESH ROMANCE is returning for volume 2! Their list of exciting creators includes Sally Jane Thompson (The Ruby Equation), Cecil Castellucci (Moving Target: A Princess Leia Adventure), Sarah Winifred Searles (Ruined), Irene Koh (Legend of Korra), Suzana Harcum & Owen White (Tripping Over You), and Julia Hutchinson; all of whom are creating FRESH stories about interracial and LGBTQ relationships. To learn more and support this compelling anthology, visit the Fresh Romance Volume 2 Kickstarter page.
Toronto Comics’ latest self-published anthology of Toronto-based comics is currently in the throws of its Kickstarter. If you’re interested in supporting quality indie graphic novels from other parts of Canada, we strongly suggest you take a look at Toronto Comics: Yonge at Heart.
Review by Matthew Nielsen
This time we’ll take a quick look at the 24-page comic book Kicking at the Darkness by frequent Cloudscape contributor Colin Upton. It is a piece of nonfiction set on the European western front of World War II during 1944-1945, at the very end of the war. It primarily focuses on one of the earliest of the Canadian Army’s encounters with victims and survivors of the Holocaust.
Upton does an excellent job providing accurate details of weapons, scenery, and other historical elements, while also portraying very relatable characters and maintaining a uniformed and flexible art style throughout. He is able to capture a wide range of human emotions and body languages, which is a nice change from the stiff, mechanical techniques used in such war comics such as Commando or The War Picture Library.
Sadly this book is a special, limited-edition release. In order to get a copy, you’ll either need to visit the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre (the organization that published this book) or order a copy from Colin Upton’s own website. This book may only be 24 pages, but the story within is well worth the read.
Cloudscape will be at Creative Ink this month! The Creative Ink Festival is a 3-day celebration of writers, readers, and artists on March 31st – April 2 in Burnaby. It features a mix of what you’d find at a conference and a convention, including workshops provided by professional writers on different ways to develop the writing craft and panels with several writers discussing a wide variety of topics. Furthermore, there are readings by authors, displays by artists, an expo of people selling their books and arts, and even Blue Pencil sessions where aspiring writers can receive one-on-one feedback on their writing from professionals.
Cloudscape will have a booth there for all three days, where we’ll be selling our various books, including our most recent anthology – Bones of the Coast. In addition, Cloudscape board member Bevan Thomas will be delivering a Writing for Comics workshop, giving advice on all aspects of the comic script, from panel transitions to how many words you can jam into each speech bubble.
For more information, visit the Creative Ink website. We hope to see you there!
We have so many things on the go here at Cloudscape. For example, here are some photos of Cloudscape artists interviewing refugees for a special comics project. We can’t say anything more about it at the moment, but keep your eyes peeled….
Last weekend Cloudscape had a shipping party for our latest anthology, “Bones of the Coast.” Thanks for all the members who volunteered their time to help organize and box the books to be shipped off.