Send Cloudscape your comic pitches!

Though we at Cloudscape are best known for our quality comic anthologies, in the last couple of years we have begun publishing the books of individual members, such as Kathleen Gros’ Last Night at Wyrmwood High, Steve LeCouilliard’s Una the Blade, and now Sean Karemaker’s Feast of Fields and Jason Turner’s Fur Valley. Now Cloudscape is  excited to open the door for general graphic novels submissions!

Do you have an idea for a new graphic novel in any genre? Or perhaps are you interested in publishing a compilation of your webcomic or even in editing a comic anthology of your own? We have the experience and resources to help make that happen. To learn more, check out Pitching a Comic to Cloudscape. We look forward to hearing from you.


Monsterella Kickstarter

Nevin Arnold is a Vancouver Island-based comic creator who illustrated the cover and one of the stories for Cloudscape’s award-winning Epic Canadiana #2. He is currently kickstarting his latest comic: Monsterella.

 Monsterella is an action/adventure/horror/sci-fi anthology inspired by spooky and action-packed magazines of the 1970’s like Vampirella, 2000 AD, Creepy, and Eerie.  This 40-page first issue revolves around the continuing adventures of Montrossa Rella, AKA “Monsterella,” the warden of an intergalactic prison planet where the galaxy’s worst of the worst monsters are imprisoned from the rest of the universe. All hell breaks loose when an unexpected revolt overthrows her, and threatens the safety of the entire galaxy!

To learn more, visit the Monsterella Kickstarter page.


Maus

Review by Matthew Nielsen

Maus by Art Spiegelman is among one of the most famous graphic novels of all time. Available in either two volumes (Maus I & Maus II) or as The Complete Maus, this book is truly something special.

This autobiography has Art Spiegelman’s father, Vladek, recounting the hardships he faced before and during the Holocaust of World War II. This is the central story, but what is also told is Spiegelman’s relationship with his father as he tries to get Vladek to recount all the events. The graphic novel actually starts with Spiegelman visiting his father’s house, sitting down and talking to him. Vladek narrates the story in his somewhat broken English, but when characters speak within that story, their speech is normal. As a result, we feel like we’re sitting with Spiegelman listening to Vladek tell his story. At the same time, we see Vladek’s tale very clearly, and are able to keep track of the simultaneous timelines with ease.

Reading this story feels more like hearing it. We hear Vladek describe the town he grew up in, the people he knew, the happy times he felt, and then the desperate and terrifying times — the brutal and unforgiving hatred that surrounded him and his peers. As you read, you often wonder “How on earth did Vladek survive this?” but of course you know he did because he’s there in the frame narrative telling the story. Yet the situations become so desperate and horrible you sometimes almost question them. If it were a fictional story, you might not let the writer get away with it, but because it is real, you can only nod your head and remember that real life can be truly monstrous.

In Maus all characters are depicted as certain animals. Jews are depicted as mice, Poles as pigs, Germans as cats, and so on. It is somewhat cartoony but at the same time the story remains very serious. This art decisions is the most curious thing about the book. If Maus were realistically and meticulously detailed, it would certainly read differently. I’m not sure if it would read better. Having the characters drawn this way makes it a little easier to deal with all the Nazis atrocities that happen within the story. These mouse-people look quite adorable, but then we see the kinds of things that happen to them and we experience a strange mix of emotions: sadness and terror mixed with a kind of surreal absurdity. We know they represent Jews, but if we were unaware of that, we would only see mouse-people stuck in seriously brutal situations. It’s quite peculiar, and yet surprisingly powerful.

World War II has countless stories, countless victims of a countless variety. Here is one story from one man, and it is a very potent one.


Poetry Book Launch, April 11th

On April 11th at 8:00 PM, naturalist and poet Ian Thomas is having the launch of his second book of nature poetry and photography at Cloudscape HQ. While his first book, Twa Corbies, focused on poems and images of ravens & crows, this second book will have a wider range of themes, though all still linked to his fascination with the natural world. The launch will include Ian delivering a dramatic reading from his work.


Remember: April 5th is Cloudscape’s SGM

Cloudscape Comics is calling an official Special General Meeting for all Cloudscape Comics members on Wednesday April 5th, 2017 at 7:30 pm to vote on whether Cloudscape should give itself charity status. This 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.


Creative Ink this weekend

Remember, this weekend, Cloudscape will be at the Creative Ink Festival along with numerous other writers delivering a wide variety of workshops, panels, and talks on numerous aspects of the writing craft.  Cloudscape member Bevan Thomas will be participating in various panels as well as giving a workshop on writing for comics. For more information, visit the Creative Ink Festival website. Hope to you this Saturday!


The Bible: A Japanese Manga Rendition

Review by Matthew Nielsen

There are several manga Bibles out there, including Manga Messiah and The Manga Bible: From Genesis to Revelation, and they are different enough from each other that I might write articles of each of them some day. However, for now here’s The Bible: A Japanese Manga Rendition, which features various contributing artists.

If you’re curious, I was raised a casual Christian, and turned myself into a more serious Christian during my youth before becoming agnostic and finally atheist. During my Christina period I sat down and read the entire Good News Bible. It took me a very long time, but I read it all. Since reading the Bible, I’ve been fascinated by adaptations of it, including animated stories and graphic novels. These can serve as a kind of synopsis or super-abridged version, and I like revisiting and re-studying the biblical tales.

So on to the manga Bible itself. This graphic novel features a wide variety of contributing artists and covers such prominent Old Testament stories as Adam & Eve, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Samuel, Saul and David. And then it moves on to the New Testament with the life of Jesus. Among the many things this manga Bible left out include various Judges, prophets such as Elijah and Elisha, all the minor prophets, and basically everything Old Testament after David (including the Judah/Israel split and the various exiles). The New Testament leaves out stuff too, such as Paul and the Book of Revelation. So you won’t be getting a full shorthand for the entire Bible here, despite this comic being well over 550 pages in length.

Personally, I’d have expected a manga, of all things, to be able to work with the amount of material the Bible supplies. Have you seen how many volumes of One Piece, Bleach, and Naruto they’ve got out there? Looooads! But then again, I reckon there are a lot more people out there willing to buy twenty volumes of One Piece than of a Biblical manga. Still, it’d be interesting to see a full-length manga adaptation. It’d be a job with a lot of work though.

Despite a lot of stuff being left out from the original source material, this manga Bible actually adds some new things to the story! For example, there’s a scene in which Moses hears that he was adopted, and we then see him trying to cope with this heavy information in his room. It’s nice little extras like that which add more personality and feeling to the stories.

Various of the Old Testament scenes are drawn humorously, with exaggerated expressions and actions. There are also moments that leave you thinking “That Tower of Babel is looking preeetty flat.” It can feel strange to see over-the-top manga expressions in a biblical story. But overall I like the Old Testament artwork, and it certainly gives you a feel of the place, putting you right there in the action. All the clothes and buildings certainly have that “Biblical times” look to them.

And then there’s the New Testament. I honestly don’t know how many different artists worked on this book – it did not say within the book itself; it mainly just said that it was by “Variety Art Works.” Despite not knowing who the main artists behind this particular project were, it still does feel there was one group working on the Old Testament and another, very different, group working on the New Testament. I didn’t much like the New Testament art at all. Well okay, there was the occasional panel that was good, but most of them looked pretty bad, especially when it comes to facial expressions and construction.

So that’s accuracy, story, and art covered, but here’s one thing I rarely discuss: printing! Yes, there are a number of errors with how this book was published and printed. This includes grammar mistakes, repeated words, print that comes off the page, and incorrect numbering. My library copy even featured someone’s annotation in which they scribbled out a page number in pencil and wrote the correct one next to it. Later publications may have fixed these errors, but the edition I got clearly needed a lot more editing.

So that’s pretty much all I have to say about that. In short, this manga bible takes some of the highlights of the Bible, and puts them together in a manga story, first with good artwork and then with not-so-good artwork.

If you’re interested in getting to know Bible stories a little better, or if you’ve already read them but just want a little refresher course, then this manga Bible might be your cup of tea. Even if you are not that interested in the Bible, it might be interesting to take a quick peek to see how these artists drew all these different characters and stories.


The TradeWaiters 30: “Paper Girls” vol. 1 & 2 by Brian K. Vaughan & Cliff Chiang


The Tradewaiters are back! Jess Pollard joins Jon, Jeff, Jam, and kgros for a discussion on Paper Girls volumes 1 & 2 by Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang. Join us as we talk about eighties nostalgia, book design, the pacing in floppies, “progressive edgy,” and Matt Wilson’s gorgeous colours.

EDIT: Jonathon would like to apologize for mixing up Warren Ellis and Frank Miller. Minus ten points from Hufflepuff for such a slanderous error.

Also mentioned in this episode:
Human Target, Beware the Creeper, Crisis Aftermath: The Spectre, and Green Arrow/Black Canary, all drawn by Cliff Chiang
Y: The Last Man, Saga, Ex Machina, Runaways, and Pride of Baghdad, all written by Brian K. Vaughan
Rat Queens by Kurtis J. Wiebe and Roc Upchurch
Iron Fist, Bullseye, and Old Man Logan, all written by Ed Brisson
Intervals by Kalen Knowles
Contact by Carl Sagan
Chained to the Rhythm by Katy Perry
and Fir Valley by Jason Turner and Feast of Fields by Sean Karemaker, both on Kickstarter right now.

And our own projects:
Phobos and Deimos by Jonathon Dalton
Crossroads by Jeff Ellis
Wasted Talent by Angela Melick
Lunar Maladies by kgros, and
Liquid Shell by Jess Pollard.

Music by Sleuth.

Our next episode will cover volume one of Vattu by Evan Dahm.

You can also follow the TradeWaiters on Tumblr, Soundcloud, Twitter, iTunes, Google Play, and Stitcher.


Cloudscape SGM on April 5th

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.