Jeff Danziger: The Weapon Against Them Is Satire

Cartoonist Jeff Danziger spoke this morning with Vermont Public Radio about the terrorist attacks in Paris against cartoonists.

“Like everyone else, I was shocked that this amount of bloodshed was spilled in a place essentially given over for the most part to humor and satire,” said syndicated political cartoonist Jeff Danziger. His cartoons have appeared in the Times Argus, Rutland Herald and in newspapers around the world. He’s also the author of The Conscience of a Cartoonist.

Danziger called one of the murdered cartoonists, Georges Wolinski, a fixture in the paper. “He was in his 80s and his cartoons were refreshingly youthful,” Danziger said. He said he had met Wolinski and talked to him, but “everybody knew him. He’d put out about 12 or 15 books of work.”

It’s a sobering conversation. Give it a listen here.

Cartoonist Ed Koren Responds on the Charlie Hebdo Massacre

The Vermont Cartoon laureate, Ed Koren, responded recently to the Charlie Hebdo massacre in France in a letter to the New Yorker, as reported by Seven Days:

This week’s terrorist attack on French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo sent shockwaves throughout France and the world. And while any massacre of any humans is horrific and terrifying, this one particularly hit home with cartoonists, satirists and journalists worldwide. The defiant demonstration of solidarity on the streets of Paris, and the electronic reverberations in tens of thousands of “Je suis Charlie” (I am Charlie) posts, are the only heartening aspects of this sad event.

Source

Ben Cohen Comic Class

Ben Cohen will be teaching a class on comics and illustration this weekend from 11am to 2pm at the Jericho Community Center in Jericho. No experience is needed, with individual and group activities. This class will have a holiday theme, with each student coming out with their own comic.

According to Cohen: “The point is to find community and to find your individual voice with the comics medium.”

Tuition for the class is $30 at the door. Stay tuned: more classes will be coming over the course of the winter! More details!

Storytelling at a Comic-Con

We tried a comic-con experiment this last weekend.

I say we, because while it started out as my crazy idea, I managed to convince several people to join in, most notably my writing partner and co-author, Annalisa Parent. Here’s the idea: let’s a write a custom story for a specific comic-con, the North East Comic Con in Wilmington, MA. More than that, let’s play it out as a live, interactive story at the con, costumes and all, and see how people react.

The story was about super heroes as told from the perspective of a sidekick, well, a woman that works for an agency that outsources sidekick services to super heroes. The agency is called No.2 Inc. Kate Taylor, the “protagonist assistant,” was sent to retrieve a laptop containing sensitive data that was then stolen and later reappeared at the con. When she arrived to reclaim it, she discovered the situation was far more complex than she assumed and she needed more information to get her laptop back without getting caught.

In order to get that info, she enslists the help of conference attendees with smartphones via Twitter. Here’s the interactive part of the story. Attendees are encouraged to take pictures, meet with vendors, and pass all the information back to Kate before the con ends.

We also had an antagonist, the mysterious Carle Group, voiced (Tweeted) expertly by Jon van Luling, interferring, harassing, and generally trolling Kate while she attempted to pull off her reverse heist.

Then, for those who wanted to know more about the story and Kate, we wrote an ebook version of the mission with all the behind the scenes details. By the way, you can find where to get the ebook and pictures from the con at http://apologue.co/no2inc

So was it successful? Depends on what you mean by success.

People loved the idea. From vendors, to actors, to attendees, I was told over and over this was the coolest idea to hit a con in a long time. But there were a number of problems that prevented us from making a truly cool experience.

The first, and biggest, was that the network was absolutely awful at the con. Moreover, the promised public WiFi didn’t exist, which made it difficult to run this thing, let alone participate.

The second problem was that not everyone was using, or even liked using, Twitter. But then, no one could agree on their favorite social media platform either. That was a definite facepalm moment for me. You know that moment when an assumption catches up to you and boots you in the butt? This was mine. We rallied quickly and added Instagram and Facebook to the mix but by then half the con had gone by.

The third problem was what really got me. This is one of those problems that I didn’t really anticipate because it never occurred to me until I was standing on the con floor. Turnover. For those who enjoy the chaotic math surrounding crowd dynamics, this was fascinating. I don’t like that math. I just found it frustrating.

Turnover: meaning, how soon before someone gets their fill of the con and leaves. The answer is not simple. For example, if a con is small, you don’t spend as much time there. Also, if a con doesn’t have a lot happening other than vendor tables, you don’t spend much time there. If a con is small but there’s a ton of people there, you spend more time there because there’s more to see: namely cosplayers and friends. If a con is small and there’s too many people there, you get overwhelmed and get something to eat while things die down a bit.

The bigger a con gets, the messier the mechanics. Who are the celebrities attending? How many panel discussions are happening? Are there any sneak previews of upcoming projects? Here’s the thing I find funny about this. Messier is generally better. At the popular cons, when the numbers get larger, the turnover stabilizes. People may be leaving at the same rate, for any number of specific reasons, but you have enough other people replacing them, that the population doesn’t spike as often.

Complicated, right? How this affected me was that if people stayed longer, I had more people involved in the story. If the crowd was thin, less people. If you had a day like I did on Sunday, where there little attendance except for two decent spikes, it’s hell to keep story momentum moving. In the beginning, people leave faster. In the middle, people want the whole story to play out immediately, until it gets too crowded, and then they leave.

What I can say is that I know a lot whole lot more about how to write an interactive story for a con than I did before attending this con. Will Kate have more missions? Absolutely. She one of the more interesting characters I’ve written. I’m not giving up on her yet. And the whole interactive part? We’ll work it out. Because, as I said, people really really liked it.

I hope you like it too. As I mentioned you can find more about this story at http://apologue.co (the “imprint” I created for this project). Go there and start clicking on things.

Cartozia Tales Sale!

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We’ve been huge fans of the Cartozia Tales anthology series. Now, they’re running a sale for the holidays. This is one comic that’s well worth picking up:

In the interest of making it easier for folks to give & receive Cartozia Tales here at the end of the year, I’ve set up sale prices on new subscriptions — whether you’re getting the little bonus books or not. (The sale includes nine- and eight-issue partial subscriptions for people who already have our first issue or two.)

I’ve got some nice little gift-card slips I can include if you’re ordering for someone other than yourself, and I’ll use one if it looks like you’re ordering a gift.

And here’s something else: the first thirty subscriptions ordered during this holiday season will get a nice additional bonus: either our “Greetings from Cartozia” sixteen-postcard set, or a “non-canon” Cartozia story that is published on ten sendable postcards. (The second option is a comic by Isaac Cates and Mike Wenthe that’s part of the secret background of Cartozia Tales.) I’ll enclose these extras as supply allows, but if you want to state a preference, please do.

 

Details here.

Midterm Senior Thesis Posters Exhibit

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The Center for Cartoon Studies has placed their student’s senior thesis projects up for display in a series of posters at their Colodny Building Gallery in White River Junction. Stop by today to check out what the students are working on!

Midterm Thesis Project Posters are on exhibit at The Center for Cartoon Studies in the Colodny Building Gallery, at 94 South Main Street in downtown White River Junction. The posters provide a Midterm synopsis of student projects, featuring artwork and details on the intended final project.

On display during White River Junction’s First Friday, December 5, 5-7pm.

Take a look on Instagram for some peaks at what’s on display.

The Center for Cartoon Studies Portfolio Day!

THE CENTER FOR CARTOON STUDIES FALL PORTFOLIO DAY

The Center for Cartoon Studies will be holding a portfolio day on Saturday, December 6, 2014 at 1:00 PM at their location in White River Junction. The event is used for prospective applicants:

You are invited to join us for our Open House Portfolio Day!

This event is ideal for prospective students! Here’s the schedule for the day:

1pm: Introduction and presentation on CCS program by faculty Jason Lutes, meet staff, students

2-4pm: Portfolio reviews 
by CCS faculty Jason Lutes, program coordinator Luke Howard ’13, and current fellow Sophie Yanow

CCS Students will be offering several tours of the campus

Browse The Center for Cartoon Studies SCHULZ LIBRARY! See current student projects, recent alumni publications, and faculty work.

Join us for all or part of the day!

Who Should Attend?
Prospective students, applicants, college students, high school seniors and graduates, family and friends welcome!

Details here.

Preorder Scott Monteiro’s Rex Nocturnus!

Rex Nocturnus Limited Edition Comic Book

After a year in production, Scott Monteiro’s Rex Nocturnus is now available for preorder. The Kickstarted one-shot comic looks absolutely awesome, and Scott, in our mind, has put together one of the best original comics in the state. Here’s what it’s about:

Aboard an aging vessel, the Ocatavia, helmed by Captain Grayson and a small, tight-knit crew, Charly lives the only life she can remember: the Hunt. At a young age she lost her father and half her left arm in a vicious shark attack. Haunted by the loss of the peaceful life she once knew, she replaced her missing hand with a harpoon gun and has been trying to kill the beast ever since. But this is no ordinary shark, this is Rex Nocturnus. “The King” is a legend in this part of the world, feared by all who’ve so much as dipped a toe in the drink. Thought of as a god, the great black shark is whispered to have been roaming the seas for eons. Rex Nocturnus has long been deemed un-killable, a rumor led a large amount of credibility by the scores of broken, rusted harpoons sticking out of it’s back. But you just can’t tell some girls “no”. . .

You can head over to his Etsy page, where you can grab a copy of the comic for $10, as well as a number of prints and limited editions.

“I’m Star-Lord!” “Who?”

If you’ve been catching the ads and trailers for Marvel’s next blockbuster, Guardians of the Galaxy, you too might be asking “Who the heck is this Star-Lord guy, anyway?” Mike Luoma’s been writing about the character over at Comic Related – follow the link to learn more about Marvel’s Star-Lord in Mike’s latest “Cosmic Crackle” column.

Cover & Synopsis: The Expeditioners and the Secret of King Triton’s Lair

The Expeditioners and the Secret of King Triton's Lair

Last year, local author S.S. Taylor and artist Katherine Roy released a YA novel, The Expeditioners and the Treasure of Drowned Man’s Canyon, which really looked awesome. Now, they’re poised to release the second in the series, The Expeditioners and the Secret of King Triton’s Lair, in September.

Here’s the synopsis:

Kit, Zander, and M. K. West are settling into their new lives as students at the Academy for the Exploratory Sciences when Kit finds another mysterious map left for him by their father, the brilliant, famous — and presumed dead — explorer Alexander West. Why did Alexander leave the maps behind, and why are government agents so determined to seize them? What is really going on in a mysterious and unknown stretch of the Caribbean, famous for its violent storms and shipwrecks? And what is the huge contraption M. K. is building in her workshop? As two world powers come to the brink of war, Kit must find a deadly hidden island and unlock its secrets, hoping he has the courage to follow the trail of maps, wherever it may lead.

Looks excellent. It’s set for release on September 23rd, 2014.