Why not toss some of your holiday gift budget toward a visual journalist who might be selling just what you need for that special someone on your list?
Today’s topic: Comics and cartoons…
Graphic novel: NAMESAKE
Meg Lavey — a web and mobile news producer and a SMO specialist for the PA Media Group of Harrisburg, Pa. — is the writer for a wonderful web comic called Namesake.
Meg and her Canadian artist pal, Isabelle Melançon, tell the story of a young woman who learns she has the mystical ability to travel between worlds. The problem is: The world she finds herself on is basically Oz — you know, from the Wizard of Oz books.
She meets people — or people track her — from other works of fiction. In fact, the first chapter of the story opened as a fictionalized Charles Dodgson is startled by someone coming through from the other side…
…that someone turns out to be someone he knows.
And, yes, nefarious forces are at work. All this is unfolding in graphic novel format at a rate of three pages a week: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
I’ve been following the story since it started in October 2010, and I’ll say this: The story is extremely well-drawn and well-told. Megs and Isa are doing a fabulous job. I’m totally hooked.
Huge chunks of the Namesake story have been issued as Book 1 and Book 2.
I have Book 1 and I love it. Book 2 should be arriving shortly. They’re available as softcovers for $20 each or $35 for both. Or, you can buy them for $30 each in hardcover or $50 for both.
In their online store, you can also find a number of interesting prints and posters by Isabelle.
Find the Namesake web site here and the Namesake store here.
I wrote a Q&A with Meg when they launched Namesake. Find that here.
A 2002 graduate of the University of Alabama, Meg worked for the student paper — the Crimson White — and was a member of ‘Bama’s famed Million Dollar Band. Meg worked at the Selma (Ala.) Times-Journal and the Bristol (Va.) Herald Courier before joining the Lewiston, Maine, Sun Journal in 2004. She moved to the Arizona Daily Star of Tucson in 2006 but left the newspaper business two years later.
She returned in 2010 with the Patriot-News of Harrisburg, Pa. I shadowed her one night, in her first month there. In addition, Meg is a tech blogger for the Unofficial Apple Weblog.
Find her portfolio here and her Twitter feed here.
Comic collections: COOL JERK
My friend Paul Horn “retired” in 2006 as a graphic artist at the San Diego Union-Tribune to concentrate on the comic strip he’s drawn since his college days at the University of Nevada, Reno.
That strip — now called Cool Jerk — is a weekly web comic. Paul’s been drawing it for so long, now, that he’s built up an impressive catalog of collected editions.
The four Cool Jerk books each sell for $12. The Doc Splatter book — which emphasizes the ever-popular horror genre — is just $8.
The Donut Tattoo book is a book containing commentary, recipes and cartoons. Paul illustrated this for his wife, news designer and food blogger Darlene Horn. Now in its third printing, this book is just $5.
I own every one of them and I love them. That special comics fan on your Christmas list will, too. Order them here.
If you scroll down that page, you’ll find all sorts of other goodies: Cool Jerk t-shirts, buttons, canvas panels and so on.
A 1991 graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno, Paul spent a year as an illustrator for the Daily Sparks Tribune of Sparks, Nev., before becoming assistant graphics editor of the Reno Gazette-Journal in 1990. He moved to the San Diego Union-Tribune in 1994 and worked there nearly 12 years.
I wrote about him most recently during the big San Diego Comicon. Find that here.
Find Paul’s web site here, his infographics samples here and his Twitter feed here.
Find Darlene’s blog, My Burning Kitchen, here. Find her Twitter feed here.
Sci-Fi humor: STAR BABE INVASION COMICS
My old pal Mike Fisher of the San Antonio Express News is a huge name in science fiction and horror circles. He’s cartooned for Starlog magazine since the 1980s. He also publishes the occasional fanzine comic, featuring his ultimate geekazoid character, 3D Pete.
His last few issues have been called Star Babe Invasion specials.
That’s the current issue at lower right. Mike’s selling it for just $5 at his web site.
Sounds like perfect stocking stuffer material for that sci-fi
fanboy fanperson geek on your list.
I’ve known Mike a long, long time. When I got my first fulltime newspaper job in Athens, Ga., he was an artist at our sister paper in Augusta. Later, I moved to the Rock Hill, S.C., Herald and he moved to Charlotte (N.C.) Observer. Where he eventually worked his way up to graphics editor.
He spent several years with Knight-Ridder’s TV animation studio, News in Motion, in Washington, D.C. He’s been with the Express-News for several years, now. I wrote about him most recently here.
Find Mike’s web site here and his YouTube channel here.
Find a nice Q&A with him here.
Indie comic collection: LATE NIGHTS AT KINKO’S
Will Pfeifer is a communication design specialist for the Rosecrance Health Network in Rockford, Ill.
In addition, he’s worked as a freelance writer for DC comics: Aquaman, Catwoman, H.E.R.O. and a handful of others.
Will self-published a collection of his old self-published work. According to the blurb:
This book collects a decade’s worth of self-published work, including eight issues of the pop culture satire Violent Man and various other short strips, behind-the-scenes drawings and oddball Christmas cards.
Complete with pages and pages of self-serving annotations explaining all the outdated jokes!
The book is 233 pages for just $12. Buy it here.
A 1989 graduate of Kent State Univeristy, Will spent 18 years as a designer, editor and movie columnist for the Rockford Register Star. He left newspapers in 2012. Find Will’s personal blog here.
Issue 1 of a comic: TOMBSTONE OF THE DEAD
Dan Taylor is a freelance comic book writer right here in Orange County, Calif. He’s the writer and co-creator of the web comic Hero Happy Hour, about the bar where superheroes hang out when their working day is done.
As much as I’d love to see a print version of Hero Happy Hour, one doesn’t exist yet. That I know of. However, Dan does have a few swag-like items for sale via his Zazzle store.
Check it out here.
In the meantime, if there’s someone on your list who loves small-press comics and zombies and owns a Kindle, you’re in luck. Dan’s collaboration with artist Dan Lauer, Tombstone of the Dead…
…tells the story of Wyatt Earp, his brothers Virgil and Morgan, and Doc Holliday. They defeated the Clanton brothers in a soon-to-be-famous gunfight, but their troubles are just beginning. Because the dead have come back to life in Tombstone.
Go here to find issue one for the Kindle for under a buck-and-a-half.
A graduate of California State University in Long Beach, Dan spent two-and-a-half years as an editor with IDW publishing before going it alone. Find his web site here and his Twitter feed here.
You’re reading the sixth of a series of blog posts offering up ideas for Holiday gift giving, but with items created by your visual journalism colleagues around the world.
The schedule, so far:
DEC. 2: Greeting cards
DEC. 3: Cool stuff
DEC. 4: Homemade jewelry
DEC. 5: Paper and fabric goods and stuff for the home
DEC. 6: Children’s books
TODAY: Comics and cartoons
WEDNESDAY: Nonfiction books
Also, check out the gifts for geeky collector-types that I wrote for the O.C. Register‘s Holiday Gift Guide in the Thanksgiving day paper.
Do you know of anything — or anybody — I should add to my list? Give me a ho-ho-holler.