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Sonia Harris, Author at Comics Should Be Good! @ Comic Book Resources

Committed: The Good People of Comic Books and the Role of Maus in Genetic PTSD Study

112614_mausThere are comic books I read for entertainment and comic books I read to expand my mind. Sometimes the two intersect, and once in a while there are books which appeal to such a large demographic that they change the way the world works. At a time when many in the press seek to highlight the negative and destructive elements within out comic book community, I find myself surrounded by impassioned constructive people and I can’t help but think that this has everything to do with our shared interests and passions.

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Committed: “The Dark Knight Strikes Again” 12 Years Later

111914_dk2_amazonRecently I had to take a look at The Dark Knight Strikes Again and it surprised me. It looked pretty good, had some funny, energetic treatments of old characters and an engaging story arc. I particularly enjoyed the variety of techniques used in the coloring, which heavily supplemented the mood and dynamism of the book.

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Committed: The Henry & Glenn Exhibition

P1120767bWhile I was at APE I missed the opening of a very interesting exhibition of art from indie comic book Henry and Glenn Forever and Ever at Los Angeles pop surrealism art gallery La Luz de Jesus. However, on Sunday I was able to attend the closing of the exhibition to take photos and speak to creator Tom Neely about the art, the book, and his work. (Please click on the photographs to see larger versions.)

Sonia Harris: When did you first create Henry and Glenn Forever and Ever? What inspired you?

Tom Neely: Henry & Glenn originally fell out of Gin Stevens beer bottle at a meeting of my art fraternity Igloo Tornado one night while we were having drinks and doodling on napkins at the Bigfoot Lodge. Somewhere around 2005, I think. It was just a silly idea that we started doodling together and we eventually made a little xeroxed zine of it – like 150 copies or so – and it just took off from there. Pretty soon we got an offer to turn it into a book from Microcosm and since the release of that version of Henry & Glenn Forever it has spread like a cult hit throughout the punk/metal/zine world. Continue Reading »

Committed: Why I Can’t Get Excited About Comic Book Screen Adaptations

102914_greenlanternYour interpretation of Batman isn’t the same as mine, and neither is your idea of the Flash, Green Arrow, or John Constantine. We all read different comic books, and from those we each build our own impression of our favorite comic book characters. I’m very fond of the collage of impressions of these characters which has combined in my experience to build a complete portrait of each of them. Yet I am still expected to enjoy and become invested in the way these characters are being depicted on television and in movies.

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Committed: The Unfolding Layers of Alex + Ada

102214_AlexAda1Alex + Ada is one of the very few stories that I cannot wait for, and so I’m reading every 20 pages in each monthly installment. I hate waiting a month, so I definitely couldn’t wait for the trade paperback. You’re lucky though, because if you’re interested in jumping on now, the first 6 issues have already been collected into the first volume.

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Committed: Event Recap (LBCC, The Walking Dead Premiere, The Last SF APExpo, & Ed Piskor at Isotope’s APE Aftermath Party)

101514_edThis is the event write-up and photo diary that got so big, it took me two weeks to pull it all together. First I went from Long Beach Comic Con, to The Walking Dead premiere in Los Angeles, then to San Francisco for the Alternative Press Expo, and on from there to the annual APE Aftermath party at Isotope Comics. Here’s what happened… Continue Reading »

Committed: Hello Kitty Embraces Her Bad Self

hellokitty_chogokin_diveAccording to the New York Times, “studies suggest that cute images stimulate the same pleasure centers of the brain aroused by sex, a good meal or psychoactive drugs like cocaine.” With that in mind, I’m going to suggest that you take a look at some of the fantastically cute stories in the 40th Anniversary Hello Kitty book.

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Committed: Conventions – nearly as much fun as work

logo_apeWith two California comic book conventions coming up in the next two weeks, I’m pretty excited about the future. Usually when I write this weekly column, I’m inspired by what I’m reading or what I’m working on at the moment. For the last week I’ve been working on something very nifty for Comic Book Resources. It has taken up a disproportionate amount of my time simply because it is a project so close to my heart. Unfortunately I can’t tell you about it yet because it isn’t quite finished, and Jonah will notice if I let the cat out of the bag early. (Don’t you hate it when people do that? They tell you something interesting is happening, but then they don’t tell you what it is? Awful, but I want to talk about it because it is so consuming and fascinating to me… sorry about that.) Anyway, keep your eyes peeled over the next week or so for something visually fun on the mother-site. Continue Reading »

Committed: Last Gasp’s Revolutionary Logo Designs

091714_lastgasp_rydenWhile this might be obvious to everyone, I only just realized that Last Gasp don’t have a logo. Or rather they do… they have hundreds of logos, practically one for each book, letter, and business cards… This was such an insane concept  in amongst our uniform, mass-produced world that I had to take a moment to look at a few of the logos by old and new authors, and find out the thinking behind such an adventurous approach to branding.

Last Gasp is the one of the largest and oldest underground publishers and the most well-established company not to have a consistent logo. Founded in 1970 by Ron Turner to publish underground comix, the job of adding a Last Gasp logo was given to each individual who published a book with them, from Robert Crumb, to Bill Griffith, to Frank Kozik (see below for examples, click to enlarge). Authors are asked only to make sure that they “incorporate a skull or a skeleton reading a book or with a book. Ideally the skull should have eyeballs and a tongue.”

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Committed: Designing a Prohibition-Era logo for RUM ROW

rumrowA few months ago I was commissioned to design a logo for the upcoming comic book Rum Row, by Andrew Maxwell and Michele Bandini. I thought you might be interested in the process of designing a logo, from brief to research, to sketching, through to the final logo (pictured on the right, click to view it enlarged).

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Committed: Sadness & Chris Ware’s Early Work

quimby_coverAs regular readers are probably aware, I’ve been a huge fan of Chris Ware’s work for a long time. In recent years I was happy to vote for his books Lint and Building Stories as books of the year, (along with most of the rest of the CBR staff in 2010 and 2012) but that isn’t where my appreciation for him began. Those beautiful books are the culmination of a great body of work, using skills honed over years spent producing a slew of incredible, personal, exploratory comic books. It is in those early comic books that we can see the real roots of Ware’s talent at observing and expressing the breadth of human emotion.

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Committed: Snowpiercer Vol 1: The Escape & Snowpiercer the movie

snowpiercer4Snowpiercer Vol 1: The Escape is a comic book (or graphic novel) by Jacques Lob and Jean-Marc Rochette (published in English by Titan Comics). 30 years since the original publication, it is a powerful example of the post-apocalyptic books of the era, depicting our ice-covered world, too cold to support life. The remains of humanity cling to life in a giant, high-speed train which is continuously moving, the poorest inhabitants stuck in cattle trains at the back, the richest living in comparative luxury at the front. After escaping from the back of the train, one man fights to reach the engine room at the front of the train and freedom, or some vague idea of it. Continue Reading »

Committed: What’s your bag?

Whenever I go to the comic book shop, they offer me a bag, but I always carry my comic books in my purse (which makes some comic book collectors cringe, but it’s a pretty big bag and they don’t get crushed). This year in San Diego at Comic-Con International people had a huge range of ways to carry their supplies and purchases, so I took a few photos of the best ones. bags_longer Continue Reading »

Committed: A Job in the Arts (or “Comics are actually really easy if you’re willing to work your balls off.”)

081314_sex_godland

Left: My cover art & designs for “Sex” volumes 1 & 2. Right: My cover design for “Gødland” volume 6 with art by Tom Scioli.

It has only recently become obvious to me that designing for comic books has absolutely changed my life in a number of unexpected ways. While I always hoped the work would be enjoyable, I didn’t expect to find out so much about my own taste and style. I’d always thought of myself as a cautious, rule-driven designer, somewhat trapped by my visually obsessive tendencies, in fact I once met a famous graphic designer who admired tremendously, but when I showed him my sketchbook he couldn’t stop laughing. “Everything you do is in a grid, even your rough sketches. You’ve got to loosen up!” he exclaimed. It wasn’t intentional, I just couldn’t bring myself to break the grid back then…

Life is a tricky thing, it is so easy to fall into a certain way of living that we hardly need to make any choices to do so. Even the tiniest action can result in a huge life shift. In tidying up my email recently, I discovered a hidden inbox of messages from a comic book company who had offered me a job 8 years ago. I’d completely forgotten about it, but at the time I nearly took a job doing production design (i.e. I would have been designing titles, ad copy, and sound effect too). At the time I was offered a job earning twice as much in a sports and commerce advertising agency, and I elected to take that one. My logic was that graphic design was graphic design, and it didn’t really matter where I was designing, so I might as well take the job which would make me more money. Now here I am, 8 years later, happily taking on comic book graphic design work because it is infinitely more fun for me. I’ve learned a lot in the intervening years, and for all I know, the job in the comic book company might not have been much fun… Back then I didn’t know what it would be like and how it would impact my own feelings about the world. But 8 years later I can say that for me, personally, I am a much better designer in this field than I was able to be in ad agencies, and when I do create advertising designs for my clients, I am far more excited and driven, because it isn’t what I do all day, ever day. The variety of working with comic book designs has revitalized and renewed my love of design. Continue Reading »

Committed: “Is Sexism a REAL Problem for Women?”

I’m just back from San Diego and I would like nothing more than to write you some fun things about Comic-Con International, but they’ll have to wait because when I was asked (by an intelligent and well-educated friend) if sexism is a “real” problem, I had no choice but to drop everything and write about the very real abuse women in the world contend with, simply because “they’re women”. A world with these kind of prejudices impacts the quality of life for us ALL, male and female and it is in ALL of our interests to be aware of it and combat it. This is a lot of information, but it really is just the tip of the iceberg. Unfortunately there is still a long way to go before sexism is a thing of the past.

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