The Cartoon Picayune

Favorite Nonfiction Comics of 2013

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.

This was also a good year for special comics journalism issues and columns from other publications. Both inkt|art and truthout specifically featured female comics journalists.

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)


New Book Plugs

There are number of books that are new or newish that deserve your attention so I thought I'd take a sec to direct your attention to each. The first is a slim paperback from Darryl Holliday and E. N. Rodriguez called The Illustrated Press: Chicago. It's their first print publication, and a great record of their first year or so producing comics journalism. If you're mostly familiar with them from their appearances in the last two issues of The Cartoon Picayune, this is a great chance to see their work larger and in color. There is a nice crop of stories, along with text to provide context and extras. Years from now you'll be glad you bought this now and watched them both evolve as journalists and comics creators.

Next is a book that's not even done yet, but you can help it be birthed! Matt Bors is a editorial cartoonist and a comics journalist. His book will be a compendium of his hilarious cartoons as well as more serious reported work and essays. Matt is a great guy and an important figure in this tiny but rapidly emerging field. Support him by pre-ordering his book on Kickstarter and you'll be rewarded with what looks like it'll be a great book anyway.

Finally, there's a book I want to tell you about that's not actually comics journalism related, but I happen to be in it. Three years ago I did this comic, and then it ended up on Significant Objects, and now it's in a books they've released through Fantagraphics. It's an honor to be included, and it has connected me to Rob Walker among other awesome people. The book itself is a pretty great design object and a really fun collection. You can learn what the whole project is about on the site and buy the book here.