The Subscriber Drive has been a big success: thanks for your help! To round things off, I thought I'd look at other people outside The Cartoon Picayune doing excellent nonfiction comics work.
On the macro level, Symbolia has put out a whole year's worth of issues, and brought some excellent work to the tablet while doing it. My favorite issue was probably the one with the theme of Heroines, which had some really beautifully drawn stories that were quite moving. This issue especially was diverse in content and every story was indeed a keeper.
Cartoon Movement is doing a little less this year but still publishing, although former editor Matt Bors has moved over to Medium and started The Nib. He's doing all sorts of stuff over there, including publishing great work like this piece by Josh Neufeld.
Mainstream media also continued to publish freelance pieces of nonfiction comics in various forms. Art Hondros had this piece with the Washington Post magazine. Susie Cagle did many combinations of text and art when she was at Grist. Emi Gennis appeared in Bitch magazine. Andy Warner had more excellent explainers at Slate and elsewhere. There are many other examples.
This year there were plenty of great examples of people doing comics about their own lives but with some distance and perspective. Not necessarily journalism but not necessarily autobio either. Two favorites are this piece by Gabby Schulz and this comic by Mike Freiheit.
Predictions for next year: Higher-profile freelance pieces in national publications, new and exciting books, and new ways to post comics online that are intuitive and offer a natural reading experience.
(above art copyright Josh Neufeld)
Here's what's inside. First is "Sex Workers of the World, Unite!" by Andy Warner. (This issue is for mature readers.) It's our first story supported by advertising, and I helped Andy shape it more directly as a hands-on editor. I think it's a great example of why Andy is becoming one of the best comics journalists working today. Here's a page:
The other longer story in this issue by Emi Gennis. Her commitment to research and documentation in her historical pieces is impressive. "Radium Girls" is a tragic and deftly told story about women poisoned by their own workplace. Take a look:
This issue also has a new section with shorter stories called Briefs. The first is mine and it's another piece about Kirk Francis, mobile cookie entrepreneur. "Feeding the Meter" is a quick look at Kirk's business and the proposed regulations that he worries may change it. Finally, newcomer Erik Thurman guides us through the challenges of owning South Korean coffee shops in "Seoul Grind."
Don't forget that the next issue's theme is Small Worlds, and that the deadline for pitches is August 1st. Email me with any questions or ideas you might have.
Perhaps you've noticed that this blog tends to be sparsely populated by new entries in the slow season between issues. For more recent posts that might not be necessarily Cartoon Picayune information but are still written by me and skew to my interests, take a look at my tumblr. I like the faster pace and more whimsical style, but I think The CP still deserves longer, more thought out posts, even if it takes a month a more.
Anyways, there's plenty of spring and summertime news to report.
The fifth issue of The Cartoon Picayune is well underway. There's a theme of Hard Work and there is plenty of it happening in production of the issue. For 2013, I'm shifting the schedule a little so that Issue 5 will be the first Summer issue. You can look forward to at least two excellent, longer stories as the main focus:
Andy Warner, who brought us "The Man Who Built Beirut" in the third issue, is back with our first advertiser-supported feature, ever! His piece examines the political fight around the legal status of sex workers in the city of San Francisco. I've been working closely with Andy on this one, and I'm very excited about it.
Emi Gennis, Editor of a Hic & Hoc anthology about unsolved mysteries and a tremendous cartoonist herself, brings us a tragic and richly rendered tale about the so-called "Radium Girls," female factory workers in the early twentieth century poisoned by unsafe working conditions. Emi's process on this is fascinating, and she has generously explained it on her blog, in addition to creating this GIF showing the evolution of a page:
I'm happy to report that I'll once again be tabling at TCAF in Toronto, May 11 and 12, with comics wunderkind Pat Barrett. Then, in June, I'll debut Issue 5, the Hard Work issue, at CAKE in Chicago on the 15 and 16. I'll be joined at that table with Chicago's finest in comics journalism: Erin Polgreen and Joyce Rice of Symbolia and Darryl Holliday and Erik Rodriguez of The Illustrated Press (and the last two issues of The CP).
I would be remiss to not mention that you can now buy Symbolia's first Issue, "We Don't Belong" on iPad or as a PDF. Also, if you are in Chicago, you must check out The Illustrated Press exhibit at the Harold Washington Library.(I can't wait to see it!) Here also is a great interview with CP contributor Jess Ruliffson about her ongoing projects.
Finally, since this is the first year with a Summer issue, it is only fitting to be the first year with a Winter issue also. Issue 6 will be out in November. The theme is Small Worlds, and the deadline is August 1st.
More soon. If you've been paying attention, you know that I owe you one more Q+A, which I hope to post shortly.