TGD2S Family Comic Jam & Barbecue at Cloudscape HQ

When: July 14th 12:00pm-3:00pm
Where: Cloudscape HQ, Memorial South Park Field House, 5955 Ross Street, Vancouver, BC

At the TGD2S Family Comic Jam & Barbecue, connect with other trans, gender diverse, and Two-Spirit families while participating in a fun-filled afternoon of comic art courtesy of Cloudscape Comics.  Children, youth and adults can socialize and roam freely among the multiple art stations. FREE BBQ and snacks provided, with vegan options available. Family means something different to everyone and we welcome ALL families who have a need/desire to connect with other TGD2S folks and resources!

Art stations will be facilitated by volunteer artists, including Sfe R. Monster, a Canadian queer artist who focuses on gender, queerness and genderqueerness in their work. Check out their work at http://www.sfemonster.com/. Other amazing artists in attendance include Oliver McTavish-Wisden, Emily Lampson, Kathleen Gros, and Christian Lett.

The field house has a capacity of 30 people, so we ask families to limit themselves to 5 participants each to include as many families as possible.

For more information, check out the TGD2S Family Comic Jam & Barbecue Facebook event, and you can learn about other events that day at the general TGD2S website.

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Last few days for the Kickstarter for Iron Circus’ new science fiction anthology

The latest graphic novel anthology by Iron Circus Comics is in the last few days of its Kickstarter. FTL, Y’all!: Tales From the Age of the $200 Warp Drive  is a collection of comic stories about an Earth where anyone and everyone has access to the stars! It features a wide variety of stories from numerous cartoonists, including Cloudscape president Jonathon Dalton.

Six months from now, detailed schematics anonymously uploaded to the Internet will describe, with absolute precision, how to build a faster-than-light engine for $200 in easily-available parts. Space travel will be instantly—and chaotically—democratized. The entire cosmos is suddenly within reach of all humankind, without organization, authority, or limitation.  This comics anthology is about what happens next. With 25 stories and over 350 pages of comics, FTL, Y’all! is one of Iron Circus Comics’ biggest anthologies ever. 

The Kickstarter closes this Friday, so if you want to buy a copy of this great new anthology, visit the FTL, Y’all Kickstarter soon.

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Mrs Weber’s Omnibus

Review by Matthew Nielsen

Mrs Weber’s Omnibus is a collection of comics written by Posy Simmonds for the British newspaper The Guardian. The comics themselves were usually simply known as “Posy” in the paper, and have also been previously released as multiple other, smaller collections, but here they are all in one big omnibus. However, the collection does not include other work by Simmonds, such as Tamara Drewe and Gemma Bovery, which are separate graphic novels. The comics focus on a range of characters, interconnected either with family ties, romantic relationships, and friendships. These characters (the “Heeps,” “Webers,” and “Wrights,” along with others) interconnect and meet up with each other often. Throughout the first three quarters of the omnibus, we slowly see these characters change and grow, but only somewhat and some of the time.

The main aspect of these comics that work so well is seeing the various discussions and conversations of the time period. Being written and set in the late 1970s through to the late 1980s, the families discuss and adjust to the changes of those time periods, and how they compare to the ideals they grew up with. During the last quarter of the book, we see a lot less of the families that featuring primarily throughout the rest of the collection, and instead see more of other characters, such as a grumpy writer J. D. Crouch. Thus, as a stand-alone book, it seems to have a lack of closure, but in the context of a long-running series, it doesn’t seem so strange.

Due to this nostalgia, it might seem that these stories would mostly appeal to British people, or more specifically, British people who were in their 30s-50s during the 1980s. However, even if you don’t fit these categories, it is interesting to take a glimpse into the everyday life and concerns for this group of people. You may be surprised to find how much you can connect with them, as well as all the things you were unfamiliar with, such as various dated idioms or long lost widespread concerns.

Most of the artwork is either in black and white, or black and white plus an additional colour like red, but there are a handful of colour pages here and there. It is a very thick and sizeable book. The page size is just right for the content, but the book thickness is a tad distressing and can lead to lots of potential damage when reading, so take caution. It’s the kind of book that seems to be best read on the table at home as opposed to on the go.

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The TradeWaiters 48: “The Prince and the Dressmaker” by Jen Wang

Listen in as Jon, Jess, Jeff, Jam, and Kaye read The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang. This book is a stunning piece of cartooning and an instant classic. It’s a fairytale-esque historical drama about a genderfluid prince and his fashion designer slash muse slash confidante.

TradeWaiters episodes have been sparse in the last few months, which Jon would like to apologize for, so to make up for it for the next while episodes will be released every other week until we’re caught up.

Also mentioned in this episode:
Koko Be Good and White Snake, also by Jen Wang.
In Real Life by Corey Doctorow and Jen Wang
Flight edited by Kazu Kibuishi
Nancy by Olivia Jaimes
Set to Sea by Drew Weing
Super Late Bloomer by Julia Kaye
The Flinstones by Mark Russell and Steve Pugh
and Tomboy Survival Guide by Ivan Coyote

And our own projects:
Phobos and Deimos by Jonathon Dalton
Crossroads by Jeff Ellis
It’s Okay to Sploot by Jam
Lunar Maladies by kgros
and Liquid Shell by Jess Pollard

Music by Sleuth.

Our next episode will be on The Witch Boy by Molly Knox Ostertag.

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

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Sell your comics on the Cloudscape online store

Not only does our store feature numerous anthologies and graphic novels published by us, but we also sell other graphic novels by our members. We had all the shipping for the books and only take 30% of the profits for the copies we sell. We already feature Wei Li’s Lotus Root Children and Jade McGilvray’s The Ambassador, but we’re always looking for more. If you are a BC artist interested in being featured on the Cloudscape store and think your work would be a good fit, contact us at [email protected]

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Cloudscape at Main Street Car Free Day this Sunday

This Sunday, June 17, is Main Street’s Car Free Day, the biggest of Vancouver’s Car Free Day festivals. It lasts from noon to 7 pm and spans 21 blocks on Main Street, ranging from Broadway to 30th, and features 15 stages and mini festivals along the entire street. This is a fun, family-friendly event with kid-zones, skateboarders, funky artisan shops and popular food vendors. You can really taste the flavour of Main Street with extended patios from many restaurants.

Stop by Cloudscape’s book to see our first ever Cloudzine! We will be a special sales booth dedicated to the works of Cloudscape and its members, as well as numerous fun drawing activities for kids!

Learn more about this even at Car Free Vancouver: Main Street and we hope to see you there.

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Cloudscape wants to publish your graphic novels

Remember, if you have a great idea for a new comic, then Cloudscape’s interested! We have already published a wide variety of books in numerous genres, everything from horror to children’s humour to fantasy to autobiography, and we’re always looking for more. If there’s a graphic novel you have written or a comics anthology you want to edit, visit our submission guidelines at https://www.cloudscapecomics.com/publishing/ to organize your pitch and send it our way.
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Book of Hope

Review by Matthew Nielsen

The Book of Hope by Tommi Musturi follows the life, thoughts, memories, and daydreams of a middle-aged Finnish couple living in the countryside. It focuses initially on the husband but later features the wife as well.

The story feels slow but, at the same time, also like it’s happening over a long period of time. In a way, this does fit the mood of some people in the latter half or third of their lives spending time together in a peaceful, but also uneventful, countryside. The artwork in the book provides excellent examples of sequential comics illustration. Musturi has done a great job with the comics medium, and many pages could be extracted on their own as fine pieces of visual sequential art. The style itself is bold and consistent, reminiscent of various contemporary North American cartoons.

Though in the end I didn’t find the story that interesting, I greatly enjoyed the use of sequential art. The Book of Hope is a very good utility for art students, especially those in the fields of illustration and comics. As for storytelling, the graphic novel is good in some ways but could be better in others.

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War Is Boring

Review by Matthew Nielsen

War Is Boring: Bored Stiff, Scared to Death in the World’s Worst War Zones is a graphic novel memoir by David Axe and Matt Bors that follows elements of the war journalism career and life of David Axe. Though it is based on the webcomic of the same name, I have not read that, and so will just be discussing the graphic novel itself. The story takes place in many locations including Iraq, Afghanistan, East Timor, and even Somalia.

At first I expected an insightful telling of what it is to be a war journalist, as well as some history, background, and information related to the wars and other events in the locations that the story takes us to. However, we mostly focus on the thoughts and feelings of the main character, David, and less on the places that he’s reporting in or the situations he’s learning about. This results in a potentially more captivating form of storytelling that other comics journalism, such as the work of Joe Sacco. In most of Sacco’s journalistic comics, we are first given lots of information, either from interviews or historical documents, about the events he is researching. Then we are given a glimpse of the author’s emotions as well as the challenges that he experiences throughout his research. In War is Boring, however, we get very little information about anyone but the main character, which means we get a stronger connection to the main character himself.

Reviewing an autobiographical account can be tricky, because when we are judging the actions of the main character, at the same time we are judging the author. Autobiographies can be written in many ways, such as open and honest accounts that expose both positives and negatives, heavily biased accounts that warp and shape the story being told, and even limited accounts that only expose certain aspects of the author. War Is Boring is of the open and honest type. On one hand, I felt the focus on David’s negative traits made it hard for me to empathize much with him. On the other hand, I do respect Axe for being willing to depict the negative aspects of his account and opinions.

The artwork isn’t bad. The level of detail is consistent throughout. However, I feel something about the way the characters are drawn could have been better; they feel a tiny bit “off” to me. However, all in all, the art gets the job done fine.

In the end, I feel the book could have done with telling us a lot more about the locations and elements being researched. Also, throwing in more positive aspects about the main character, or at least discussing the actions in more detail, would have helped give the reader more empathy for the protagaonist. If people like Joe Sacco and Sarah Glidden can provide informative and captivating accounts of their journey, then surely others can too.

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Two Cloudscape graphic novels nominated for Gene Day Award

We are excited to announce that two Cloudscape graphic novels, Fir Valley by Jason Turner and Feast of Fields by Sean Karemaker, have been nominated for the Gene Day Award for best Canadian self-published comic at the 2018 Joe Shusters. Check them out as well as the other great Canadian comics at the 2018 Joe Shuster Award nominations.

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