Tag Archives: comics

Art Book of the Month, February 2017

Leaves from a Missionary’s Notebook by Stephen Tennant

Leaves from a Missionary’s Notebook by Stephen Tennant
Hamish Hamilton, 1986
(First published by Secker & Warburg Ltd, 1929)

Stephen Tennant, “the brightest” of “The Bright Young People”, was twenty-three years old when Leaves from a Missionary’s Notebook was first published.  The notebook tells the story of the Rev Felix Littlejohn and his quest to convert the heathens to the light and in the process is exposed to all sorts of outrageous, horrifying and hilarious behaviour by natives, sailors and other characters.

from: Leaves from a Missionary’s Notebook by Stephen Tennant

It is in some ways a book ahead of its time, as the story is told in graphic novel format with drawings by the author who was also an artist as well as a socialite and a quintessential English eccentric.

from: Leaves from a Missionary’s Notebook by Stephen Tennant   from: Leaves from a Missionary’s Notebook by Stephen Tennant

Stephen’s life is as interesting as any book if not more so.  The son of British nobility, as a young man he is supposed to have ‘resembled the youthful Shelley’ and was the inspiration for Cedric in Nancy Mitford’s Love in a Cold Climate. Stephen’s friends ranged from Virginia Woolf to David Hockney and his surrealist poses are a frequent feature in Cecil Beaton’s photographs of the 1920s and 1930s.

Dedication in Leaves from a Missionary’s Notebook by Stephen Tennant

Stephen’s niece was British novelist and editor, the Hon. Emma Tennant who sadly died last month.

[Rossella]

Calling all comic fans!

Free Comic Book Day 2016Save the date –
Saturday 7 May is
Free Comic Book Day

Across North America and around the world, comic shops will be giving away free comics. And Westminster Libraries are taking part, courtesy of the lovely folks at Forbidden Planet who are providing the comics.

You can collect yours from your local library (see list of participating libraries below). One title per customer, while stocks last – which won’t be long!

There is a Doctor Who title, a Superhero Girls title and selected libraries will also have Suicide Squad (suitable for teens and over only).

Doctor Who for Free Comic Book day 2016 DC Superhero Girls for Free Comic Book day 2016 Suicide Squad for Free Comic Book day 2016

“Free Comic Book Day is the perfect occasion for newcomers to comics as well as those who have been reading them for years to celebrate comics and discover new titles that debut on the first Saturday in May”
– Free Comic Book Day spokesperson Dan Manser

Why not check out the graphic novel collection while you are there and see what else your library has to offer?

[Rachel]


Participating libraries in Westminster:

3D Printing, Break Dancing, Beast Wagon and more

Westminster BiPs logoDid you know that half of young people in the UK aged 16 to 24 want to start their own business? Well, Westminster Councillors certainly do and when they decided to launch Westminster’s first Enterprise Week , to coincide with Global Entrepreneurship Week 11-22 November 2015, the focus was firmly on young people and access to enterprise.

With this in mind, we hosted an Enterprise Fair at Westminster Reference Library, one of many events held across the council and in BIP libraries for Enterprise Week, showcasing the range of business support and assistance for enterprise and self-employment, creative courses, programmes, apprenticeships, funding and more, offered by organisations from a cross section of industries including fashion, music, dance, food, graphic novels and more.

We were delighted to have with us as stall holders on the day the London College of Beauty TherapyIndustry in the StreetsFashion Retail AcademyNatWest Enterprise,  Westminster Enterprise CentrePortobello Business CentrePaddington Development Trust, Maida Hill PlaceBusiness Launchpad,  Orbital ComicsRain Crew, Young Enterprise and Producer/Presenter N. N. D. who featured sound bites from participants for her programme on The Workplace on ResonanceFM.

Julie Bundy & Simon Aslaaf from Maida Hill Place, at Westminster Reference Library's Enterprise Fair, November 2015

Julie Bundy & Simon Assaf from Maida Hill Place

The day’s highlights also featured guest speakers who shared business journeys and industry insights. We heard from Julie Bundy & Simon Assaf from Maida Hill Place , a social enterprise offering tailored support for food industry start-ups, who spoke about food enterprise and the Pop-Up economy, and why food remains their passion – for Julie, it’s the power of food to bring people together under even the most challenging circumstances; for Simon, it was the food industry’s capacity to stay afloat despite the advent of the internet, where, as he reminded us, you still can’t fry an egg!

Clint Sinclair and Sharifa M Momad breakdance at Westminster Reference Library's Enterprise Fair, November 2015

Clint Sinclair and Sharifa M Momad breakdance

We were also delighted to have Westminster’s very own Clint Sinclair, in his guise as managing director of Rain Crew London Dance, a non-­profit company working to bring people together through dance, delivering classes, events, performances and community based projects. From Clint and guests we learned about the world of the break dancers or b-boys, and the dance ‘battles’ or competitions that take them all over the world. With fellow dancer Sharifa Tonkmor, Clint gave a brilliant live breakdance performance and then introduced guest Spin (aka Juan David Gaviria), a successful B-Boy dancer who spoke eloquently about how looking to his future, he successfully combined his dancing with enterprise by training to become a barber.

Beast Wagon, created by Owen Michael JohnsonThis was followed by Chris Thomson, Event manager at Orbital Comics who chaired a fascinating discussion with Owen Michael Johnson, twice British Comic Award-nominated writer & artist and creator of Beast Wagon, a black comedy comic book series set in a zoo, and Jason Atomic, artist and all round cross cultural creative & performer.

All talked about how drawing as youngsters shaped their future careers and the economic & creative challenges of working in the comics/graphic novel industry. The panel discussion was recorded and is scheduled to be featured on Orbital as a podcast early next year.

We had 3D Printer demonstrations taking place throughout the day, engaging and entertaining visitors, who also had fun with the 3D goggles.

The 3D Printer - guest star at Westminster Reference Library's Enterprise Fair, November 2015

The 3D Printer – guest star!

We enjoyed the day and especially the opportunity to promote Westminster Libraries Business Information Point services and our special collections in fashion, art & design and performing arts here at Westminster Reference Library. We would like to thank everyone who took part and supported the Enterprise Fair.

[Eveleen]

Comic Club update

There have been two recent special events, as well as the regular meetings:

Breaking into Comics 3. Image: Theo Mabayoje for Industry in the Streets (IITS) www.industryinthestreets.co.uk

Breaking into Comics vol 3

After two successful editions of Breaking into Comics our third and final volume for 2015 had to be something extra special.

Between Westminster’s Business Information Points, Westminster Reference Library and Marylebone Graphic Novel Club, we were able to gather a panel of industry experts specifically selected for their success at diversifying their skills in graphic novel production to engage new audiences:

  • Lewis Peake is an illustrator and filmmaker based in London who shared his experience both as an illustrator creating film storyboards and visuals as well as film production.
    www.lewispeake.com
  • Adam Vian – illustrator, animator and Flash Games designer of SFB Games, he is also the man behind the delightful all-ages fantasy Long Lost Lempi.
    Tom Vian – As the programming half of SFB Games, Tom has been making games with the artistic half – his brother Adam – for over 13 years.
    www.sfbgames.com
  • Nigel Twumasi – founder of Mayamada, a company that blends the best of Looney Tunes, Japanese TV and British streetwear. Nigel shared his experience as a a founding member of a startup developing a brand as both retailers and story-tellers. Mayamada produces their own line of clothing, comic books and even uniquely flavoured chocolate bars all bearing the faces of their own characters.
    www.mayamada.com

Comic book fans, budding writers, artists and those interested in creative literature were present to meet them and take part in our presentation and Q&A.

The Essence of Comic Book Storytelling. Image: Theo Mabayoje for Industry in the Streets (IITS) www.industryinthestreets.co.uk

The Essence of Comic Book Storytelling

Hosted by artist Shangomola Edunjobi and writer Emanuel Adelekun, this interactive workshop was aimed at anyone wanting to improve their written and artistic story telling skills.

Selling out with a week to spare, attendees were keen to see what new skills could be acquired in the art of storytelling and Shango and Manny delivered in full. The session was broken up into two main parts: The first half focused on certain principles and concepts that aided good storytelling, the second half focused on applying these concepts and producing a story that can be further developed.

Shango and Manny worked seamlessly together, and showed the creative processes behind both past and future short-story projects.
Keep an eye out for more workshops coming in the near future.

All above images: Theo Mabayoje for Industry in the Streets (IITS) www.industryinthestreets.co.uk


DMZThe next Marylebone Library Graphic Novel Club meeting is on Wednesday 2 September, on War in Comics. We’ll be discussing anything from Battlefield Action or Fightin’ Marines to DMZ or MCU’s Civil War.

We’ll also be reviewing previous meeting topics on race in comics, banned comics and as ever, discussions will be varied and relaxed so please join us for a conversation, some snacks and some good reads.

[Clint] 

 

Free Comic Book Day in Westminster Libraries!

Free Comic Book Day 2015Celebrate and discover the amazing world of comics on Free Comic Book Day!
Taking place annually on the first Saturday in May, Free Comic Book Day is a single day when participating comic book specialist shops around the world give away comic books – and this year, for this first time, we are very pleased to have some free comics from Forbidden Planet to give away.

Participating libraries will have a poster advertising they are taking part. It’s first come, first served, so if you are an avid comic fan, visit one of the participating libraries – Charing Cross, Church Street, Maida Vale, Marylebone, Mayfair, Paddington, Pimlico, Queen’s Park, St John’s Wood or Victoria – on Saturday 2 May to pick up your special free copy.

Free Comic Book Day 2015 - DC Comics: DivergenceWhat are we giving away?
DC Comics: Divergence

A first look at upcoming storylines, featuring three 8-page previews for the June releases of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman, as well as Geoff Johns and Jason Fabok’s launch of the “Darkseid War” within Justice League featuring the biggest villains in the DCU – Darkseid and the Anti-Monitor, and Gene Luen Yang’s DC Comics debut with celebrated artist John Romita, Jr on Superman.
Rating: Teen

Why not join the library and check out the graphic novel collection at the same time? All of Westminster’s lending libraries have a comics section which is constantly being renewed and added to, so visit your local library and see what’s in stock.  Marylebone Library, being the home of the Graphic Novel Club [read more], joins Pimlico and Victoria libraries in having the largest selection of titles.

If there’s something in particular you’re looking for, check the catalogue in advance to find out where it’s in stock. We have lots of Marvel comics, the DC 52 reboot titles, Robert Kirkman’s ‘Invincible’ and reprints of classics such as Ex Machina and manga titles Naruto and Dragonball…  to name but a few!

[Rachel and Nick]

Comic Club update: The Golden Age of Comics

Superman comicsThe Golden Age of Comic Books describes an era of American comic books from the late 1930s to the early 1950s.
The March meeting of the Marylebone Library Graphic Novel Club considered the various comic book eras including the Golden Age (1930 – 1955), Silver Age (1956 – 1970), Bronze Age (1970 – 1985) and the Modern Age (1986 – present) of comics and their influences.

In the Golden Age, modern comic books were first published and rapidly increased in popularity; the superhero archetype was created and many famous characters debuted, including Superman, Batman, Captain America, Wonder Woman, and Captain Marvel. Although Captain Marvel had the greatest sales of all the Golden age heroes with 1.4 million copies sold, Superman has been considered the archetype of the Superhero.

It’s unclear if this ‘reduced standard’ in the naming of the ages from Gold to Bronze represents a reduction in the quality of comics over the years, but it is clear that the style and content of comics has changed throughout each age due to external social influences at the time.

Established in the shadow of two world wars, the superhero represented clear ideas of morality, honor and justice that were uncompromising and unwavering in the face of overwhelming adversities. Social norms were represented to the young, male-dominated audience who consumed the medium and female characters were largely under-developed. As the Cold War became more apparent, the superhero became less popular in the face of new independent comic book companies creating various scenarios to analyse and criticise the society they lived in. Stories became more cynical, violent and  “adult”, leaving behind both young readers and the idea that the hero would save us.

Many voices in our group agreed that the superhero archetype, specifically Superman, was clichéd, outdated and unrepresentative of the views or realities of the modern age. Others argued that superheros are a creation of fiction and fantasy to escape reality, who inspire us to imagine a better world of gods and giants where we are the best version of ourselves.

In each case, the hero has evolved from being faster than a speeding train and leaping tall buildings, to outrunning bullets, flying and more recently releasing the energy of the sun. Only time will tell if the most recent incarnations of our classic heroes will survive the next age of the comic book.

Garth Ennis comicsEd Brubaker comicsRobert Kirkman comics Howard Chaykin comics Mark Millar comics

In the next meeting – this evening, 1 April – we’ll be discussing whether and why sex and/or violence is essential in comics. Over the course of our previous discussions, the recurring theme of violence and sex has appeared briefly within the context of specific works. The presence of scantily clad female characters, coupled with scenes of sometimes extreme violence is now almost a mandatory requirement for comic books; more so than any comedic characteristic to a story.

In this discussion we’ll be considering:

Come to Marylebone Library this evening at 6.30pm and join in.

[Clint]

Comic Club update – Breaking in to Comics and more

Breaking into comics event 2015At ‘Breaking in to Comics Vol.2: The Art of Self Publishing’ we were treated to a panel of industry experts including author Ilya Hilyer and illustrators Tom Pearce, Shango Edunjobi and David L Bannister.

Building on our previous installment of Breaking into Comics, this episode featured an open discussion with our panel lead by Ilya, with Q&As and a visual presentation.

In this sellout event with over 50 attendees, discussions ranged from how to get started and what materials to use to questions around copyright and the law. Please keep an eye out for the next installment this summer!

Breaking into comics event 2015

Gosh! is a comic speciality store in the heart of London Soho and the supplier of all Westminster Libraries’ Graphic Novels. In our recent visit, our aim was to select new titles to supplement our already healthy collection of graphic novels in addition to meeting our counterparts in the boroughs of Kensington & Chelsea and Hammersmith & Fulham. All three boroughs will be working closer together to deliver a comprehensive collection of graphic novels and related events.

Breaking into comics event 2015

After a fantastic month of shop visits and special guest panels we’ll be taking time at the next meeting to catch a breath and look back at some of the classic and iconic western titles from the golden age of comics.

The Golden Age of Comic Books describes an era of American comic books, from the late 1930s to the early 1950s. During this time, modern comic books were first published and rapidly increased in popularity. The superhero archetype was created, and many famous characters debuted, including Superman, Batman, Captain America, Wonder Woman, and Captain Marvel.

We now have a display shelf within Marylebone Library‘s graphic novel collection dedicated to our discussion topics, and currently featuring some recommended reading for this meeting.

The Golden Age of Comics: Classic superheroes and superheroines takes place on 4 March, 6.30pm at Marylebone Library – see you there.

[Clint]