Remember, everyone, that the deadline to submit to Cloudscape’s music-themed anthology, Swan Song, has been extended to February 1. So if you have a great idea for a comic that involves music in some way, then we encourage you to send it to us. For full information, check out Call for Submission for Cloudscape’s Next Anthology. We’re looking forward to seeing what you’ve come up with.
As some of you already know, Langara College currently offers a program on creating comics as part of its Continuing Studies. These courses are taught by numerous local comic creators (many of them from Cloudscape), and provide workshops on writing, drawing, inking, and all the other aspects necessary to create your own quality comic book or graphic novel. Many classes are starting up in the new year, including Writing for Graphic Novels & Comix I on Monday evenings (starting January 23) and the more advanced Writing for Graphic Novels & Comix II on Saturday mornings (starting January 28). There is still space in both the writing classes. They will be taught by Bevan Thomas, who has contributed to numerous Cloudscape anthologies as a writer and editor, and who is the driving force behind Epic Canadiana, Cloudscape’s Gene Day Award-winning series of Canadian superhero anthologies. The writing classes will explore the various traditions of comic storytelling in comics, both how to create ideas and how to organize them on the page, as well as the special techniques to give your stories depth and energy. You will also be given the opportunity to develop a longer comic and have it workshopped with your instructor and fellow students. If you want to develop your skill in writing comics, improve your technique, and receive feedback on your work from someone experienced in the art form, then the Writing for Graphic Novels classes are for you.
For more information on the Writing for Graphic Novels courses and the comics program as a whole, and to register for classes, visit Graphic Novel and Comix on the Langara website. Please also spread the word to anyone else you think could benefit from one of these courses.
Review by Matthew Nielsen
Scott McCloud’s trilogy of Understanding Comics, Reinventing Comics, and Making Comics are all excellent works. They are a great collection of essays entirely in the comics format, entirely about comics.
The first book, Understanding Comics, published in 1994, focuses on the history, perception, and communication of comics, as well as a sophisticated interpretation of the medium as a whole. It is an amazing tool for both comic beginners and those more experienced with comics. If you were to pick up this book for the first time, either as a beginner or seasoned comics veteran, you would learn a lot about not just about comics, but also art and communication in general. It’s fascinating stuff clearly explained through a perfect blend of words and pictures.
The second book, Reinventing Comics, published in 2000, examines the — at the time — current comics culture, and looks towards the potential futures of the digital age. Many of its commentary has now become dated in many ways. However, plenty of the content remains useful to this day. There are multiple examples of how economic ideas, subcultures, and tendencies develop within art. It is also fascinating to see the challenges and ideas that were around back in the dial-up Internet era, and how many of the predictions McCloud made became true.
The third book, Making Comics, published in 2006, explores the challenges that comic book creators must face, the options they have, and the many methods available to produce the comics they want. McCloud provides incredibly useful tools for achieving realistic facial expressions and body language, constructing scenes, and building worlds, and he draws inspiration from North American, European, and Japanese comics, and more. Unlike a simple How to Draw Manga or How to Draw Superheroes, book, it gives sophisticated tips that are useful for all comic genres. Even if you think you already know everything you need to know about making comics, you might be surprised as to how much you learn from reading this book. On top of that, this book has a bonus digital chapter, available on McCloud’s website.
These three books are very useful to anyone interested in comics, either as a reader, academic, writer, or artist. If you are interested in comics, I strongly suggest that you read them at some point soon. Check out Scott McCloud’s website for more details.
Here’s a heart-warming BC comics-related story:
Dave’s Pop Culture is a comic and game shop in Ladner, BC, that is a community hub of pop culture in that city with a very devoted customer base. When many of the regulars discovered that Dave Strutt — the store’s owner and only employee — was in the hospital after a head-on collision with a semi-truck, they decided they needed to help out. What began as only five volunteers quickly grew to a roster of almost 40 — each one volunteering their time to make sure Dave’s Pop Culture remains open and making money during the busy Christmas season. On Sunday the interim staff did an afternoon of charity gaming to raise money for Dave and his two daughters. Dave’s fans are making sure that his store continues to thrive while he is in the hospital.
For more information, visit “Customers Run Ladner, BC, Comic Shop.”
Cloudscape is still looking for two refugee stories that could serve as comics in our upcoming Comics in Transit series. We wish to interview people who have left their home countries to seek a new life in Canada and adapt their stories into comics that will appear on various transit stops throughout Vancouver. If you would like to contribute your own experience to this unique take on the comic medium (or know someone who would), please contact Oliver McTavish-Wisden at [email protected].
Cloudscape is currently working on a new run of Comics in Transit, and the theme of this year is stories from refugees who have left their home countries to seek a new life in Canada. All artists for the project have been selected, but we would like to interview any refugees to Canada who would like to see their stories immortalized in comic art. If you would like to contribute your own experience to this unique take on the comic medium (or know someone who would), please contact Oliver McTavish-Wisden at [email protected].
Autostraddle is an online magazine and social network for lesbian, bisexual, and queer women, and this year the 3rd Autostraddle Comic and Sequential Arts Awards have turned their attention to several comics by Cloudscape contributors!
- Band vs Band, the music-related webcomic of Kathleen Jacques, has been nominated as one of the Favorite Episodic Webcomics.
- Beyond, the queer-focused science fiction anthology co-edited by Sfe Johnson and featuring several other Cloudscape contributors, has been nominated for Favorite Comics Anthology.
Now that the nominees are up, you can vote for which one you feel deserves to win in each category. To show your Cloudscape solidarity, vote in the 2016 Autostradle Awards. Deadline for all voting is Saturday, September 24.
Come grab the latest Cloudscape books from Steve LeCouilliard, Kathleen Gros and the rest of the Cloudscape crew at Q2 and Q3 this weekend at the Toronto reference library!
Our latest graphic novel is Una the Blade, a tale of swords & sorcery in a dying Earth, where a single-mother barbarian struggles to defend her children from a world gone mad. It is written by Steve LeCouilliard and illustrated by a wide variety of artists, including such BC illuminaries as Simon Roy (Prophet, Tiger Lung) and Renee Nault (graphic novel adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale). The ebook version is currently on sale at Gumroad for $3.95, but that ends at the end of this month, when it will increase to its regular price of $9.95. So if you want to pick up this terrific fantasy graphic novel at a great bargain, make sure you do for the end of the month. Check out the Una the Blade page on the official Cloudscape store for more.