Hey hey, Victor Martins here! I’m CCOL’s Comics-Creator-In-Residence for the month of August. It is the last day of August*, so here is some “me talking about some of the books I picked to display on CCOL’s shelf!”
*Actually technically the first day of September, oops.
Carpe Fin – Michael Yahgulanaas
The thing I love the most about Michael Yahgulanaas’ work is how huge and rich and exciting the world feels in his stories. I have no idea how he does it–is it the art? Is it the way he structures his stories? Is it the words he picks to tell them? No idea, but it’s very, very cool. Also pretty cool to watch Yahgulanaas talk about the mural which eventually became this book – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tn9a0mKqAW8
Indigeneity in Comics – edited by Cole Pauls
This is such a great zine. It’s made up of two parts, two “sessions” of a reading group – the first is an examination and critique of representation of indigenous people by non-native authors (mostly older stuff). The second part is a review of comics created by indigenous artists. The care and attention that was put into this zine is astounding–it’s a cool, accessible, and informative read. The editor, Cole Pauls, is an incredible cartoonist in his own right, and has a bunch of cool stuff in his website – https://tundrawizard.com/
So Pretty/Very Rotten – Jane Mai, An Nguyen
This book is such a good example of the possibilities of printed books as a medium. It was published by Koyama Press* in 2017, and it’s a collection of essays, comics, and interviews. It reads like a conversation between two incredibly smart people on a subject they’re both knowledgeable and passionate about. The fact that Nguyen and Mai are two of my all-time fave cartoonists is a nice bonus.
Hello, Summer by Beena Mistry
A love letter to 99? frosties. I don’t know what Wendy’s is doing and why they haven’t dumped their entire marketing budget onto the person of Beena Mistry. I love the way Beena thinks about and composes ~the page~. This reads so effortlessly, it feels like floating.
Good Chicken – Natalie Mark
I’ve made a solemn vow to publicly talk about every piece of media that makes me ugly cry. This zine made me ugly cry. Natalie Mark is amazing. There’s nothing else I can say about this without risking ugly crying again, so here is a description of the zine from Nat’s shop:
“A perzine and fanzine based on a dream I had where Dabi (BNHA) and I unpacked our ptsd, desirability, apologies, and what it means to take responsibility for causing and carrying hurt. Feat. my sister and a chicken.” (you can buy it here, btw- https://nataliemark.storenvy.com/)
Super Life On The Hill – Love Love Hill
Love Love Hill rules! They are the collective that inspired my collective, Hello Boyfriend. Except they are way cooler (everyone at HBF agrees). SLOTH is a collection of their autobio comics. They are SO FUNNY! And their range! Their range!! Everything from fake magazines about cute animals to uhhhhhh tender NSFW old man bondage. Anyways, https://lovelovehill.com/
Wavering Line – Wavering Line
This is an issue of the eponymous arts and illustration zine published by Wavering Line Collective. I know what you’re thinking–”A comics collective? In Toronto? Started at around the same time as Hello Boyfriend?? Surely you are enemies, or, at the very least, rivals??”
Dear reader, you would usually be absolutely right, but these people are so cool and so good at comics that I would like to be friends with them instead. (https://wavering-line-collective.format.com/)
Stargazing – Jen Wang
Stargazing is the story of a best-friendship between two chinese-american kids, and my favourite book of Jen Wang’s. Illness x being a weirdo x pressure to conform x “model minority” bullshit. It’s so rare to find stuff made for kids that’s not at least a little condescending, and, hey, this book is not, not even a little bit. All of her books are incredible, so you know “Jen Wang’s best book” has to be extra super incredible!
Surviving The City – Tasha Spillett, Natasha Donovan
The art is so sunny, but this book is so spooky and sad. It’s the story of two Indigenous girls who are best friends and live in the city. The weight of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Crisis haunts this little book– there are literal ghosts drawn on the page. Natasha Donovan’s art is amazing, i can’t wait to see what else she does.
The Greatest Of Marlys – Lynda Barry
Lynda Barry, amirite lads? Greatest Of Marlys is the quintessential “my life is kind of shitty and adults on the whole really really suck but you know what I am here to have a good time” book. Compare and contrast with The Freddie Stories, which is the quintessential “oh there’s a cute dog on the spine of this book, maybe I will–oh god, oh god, oh no” book**.
**Still very good
Quick and Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns – Archie Bongiovanni, Tristan Jimerson
Honestly, I just love a book I can throw at people if they have any questions about they/them pronouns, so that they will hopefully sit tight for 15 minutes, read it, and get some learning done, instead of bothering me. Thank you Archie Bongiovanni for your service. Also hats off to the ignorant cis strawman plot device (this is a very funny joke but you have to read the book to get it).
If one of these books piqued your interest, you should check it out! I promise they are all extremely good. 🙂
P.S.: Here’s a pick of the full display, courtesy of Jordan. Thanks, Jordan!