John Steven Gurney at Work

“Is it true you have illustrated 100 books?” “150!,” replied John Steven Gurney. He quickly explained these were series chapter books which entailed a color cover and a handful of interior black and white illustrations. Even so, that’s a lot of books! The A to Z Mysteries, Bailey School Kids, and The Calendar Mysteries seriesContinue reading “John Steven Gurney at Work”

Not that Nathan Hale, Meet the Cartoonist.

Nathan Hale is a fitting name for a graphic novelist specializing in historical biographies. I ran into him at the American Library Association convention in San Francisco. I asked if he was named for the hero of the American Revolution. He wrote One Dead Spy, about that hero. “No, I am named for my grandfather,”Continue reading “Not that Nathan Hale, Meet the Cartoonist.”

PYONGYANG on my mind.

I’ve been to Seoul and Pusan in South Korea, but everything I know about Pyongyang I learned from a comic book. Guy Delisle drew a marvelous book, Pyongyang, a graphic memoir of working there in 2001. Few Americans ever visit Pyongyang. Delisle is Canadian from Quebec, He was hired by a French studio to directContinue reading “PYONGYANG on my mind.”

Citizen 13660: It happened in the U.S.A

  I picked up a sad old book for 50¢ at the Kutztown Library sale. The cover reminded me of Jean Charlot’s art. The pages were yellowed, torn in places, many illustrations were defaced with crude blue pencil marks. Even in this sorry state I found the book quite moving. Citizen 13660 is a graphicContinue reading “Citizen 13660: It happened in the U.S.A”

Andre the Giant is BIG!

  I was reading multiple great books: a novel set in Mexico; a literary biography; a history of the U.S invasion of Iraq. Then I opened a padded envelope to find a review copy of Box Brown’s Andre the Giant: Life and Legend. Those other books got thrown out of the ring. Looking at theContinue reading “Andre the Giant is BIG!”

The Man from The Thought Cloud Factory

We are all different, but Theo Ellsworth is more different. I met the artist at Pittsburgh’s Toonseum where his enchanting one-man show hangs through April 30. He calls his studio The Thought Cloud Factory. He came to Pittsburgh from his home in Montana to participate in PIX, the Pittsburgh indy press expo. Big Sky countryContinue reading “The Man from The Thought Cloud Factory”

AdHouse at PIX

Went to the PIX 2014 this weekend. PIX is Pittsburgh’s indy press expo of creator-owned, self-published, small-press, and handmade comics. Not the biggest expo I’ve seen, but I had a blast. One of the first people I met at PIX was graphic designer and publisher Chris Pitzer of AdHouse Books. Chris told me he launchedContinue reading “AdHouse at PIX”

Bak’s Book: Island of Memory

The adventurous graphic novelist T. Edward Bak is coming to Kutztown University to speak about another adventurous explorer from the 18th century.  Bak’s ‘Wild Man’ tour includes stops at the Center for Cartoon Studies in Vermont, SAW in Gainesville as well as KU. The KU event is Free. Boehm, Lecture Room 261, Tues. Nov. 19Continue reading “Bak’s Book: Island of Memory”

Nils Balls and The Ship of Soiled Doves.

“Soiled Doves” is Civil War slang for prostitutes. Hold that thought. We’ll get back to the prostitutes shortly. Meet Nils Balls. He is the guy wearing a tin foil helmet in the Carnegie Library on Pittsburgh’s Northside. He’s seated with a fairy princess and a teen zombie who has a knife through his head, drawingContinue reading “Nils Balls and The Ship of Soiled Doves.”