South African Comics News Roundup: Brandan Reynolds, Captain South Africa, And Sector 9
Learn more about political cartoonist Brandan Reynolds, get a sneak peek of
Captain South Africa, order the last issues of
Stray, and find out more about some of the new South African comics coming out this year. There are also lots of fascinating news snippets and quick highlights of major events happening in the next couple of weeks.
Happy new year and welcome to the first South African comics (#sacomics) news roundup for 2018. We're one month in and there's already a lot to talk about.
I'm going to be experimenting with different formats and presentation ideas in the coming months as I fine tune how I do the news. Your comments and constructive feedback is always welcome. One aspect I'm going to be focussing on is making the individual roundup entries shorter, with a larger "News In Brief" section, where possible. Along with that, I'm going to pull larger news stories into their own posts to give them more breathing room.
I'm still trying to figure out the balance but we'll get there.
Preview: Captain South Africa
Bill Masuku, who is from Zimbabwe but has spent a lot of time in South Africa, is debuting Captain South Africa #1
in print at UCON this weekend in Cape Town.
Masuku sent me a preview PDF so that I could read the comic ahead of UCON. Captain South Africa is a male character that he originally debuted in 2013
but it's also a title designed to be passed on to worthy successors. We learn in Captain South Africa #1
that Captain South Africa is now a woman, and part of the story starts to delve into how that came to be. The story also sets up a conflict between the authorities, Captain South Africa, and a protestor who also happens to be a "heterosapien", an evolutionary subspecies of humans who have developed superpowers.
Unfortunately it ends on a cliff hanger but that's because it's the first part of a larger story that will be continued in the second issue, which is due to be published in print later this year.
The art is a mix of styles and techniques, from the very loosely, but quite aggressive, sketched characters, such as what you can see on the cover above (left), to stylised realism, presumably created through tracing and manipulation of photographs, that's used in some of the establishing shots of Cape Town, such as in the example above (right). In the PDF you can literally see every digital brush stroke so I'm curious to how this translates to print - the sketch style in particular.
Along with Captain South Africa #1
Masuku, who has travelled to Cape Town from Zimbabwe specifically to promote his comics at UCON, will be selling a remastered print edition of issue one of his flagship series Razor-Man
, which debuted two years ago, as well as stickers and digital content. He will also be taking sketch commissions during the convention.
Cover Reveal: Siri Watu: Descendants Of Africa #2
Awali Studios, the creative team of Ziyaad Rahman and Duvan Botha, revealed the cover of Siri Watu: Descendants Of Africa #2
in a Facebook post.
Those who have been following the story, which started with a crowdfunding campaign
and then led to the publishing of the first issue
, will know that the team was intent on bringing out a few issues a year, which was an ambitious target that I didn't think was possible.
Unsurprisingly, the second issue didn't come out at the end of 2017, as had been promised, but the team did post the occasional teaser panel so that fans would know that the production was still continuing. It's unclear as to whether the cover reveal is an indication that the issue is nearly ready but it's good to see progress happening.
I am not at all surprised by the delay as the team's plan was ambitious and I've seen this scenario play out many times. I am glad, however, to see that the creators are still at it and haven't given up. Comics creation is hard work and time consuming. Just getting one made is an achievement but those that are really serious about comics and passionate about their projects have to push through for the long game.
The team generated a lot of momentum last year during the release of the first issue at events such as EGE, Con•ect 2017, and Open Book Comics Fest, and there is a fan base that's ready for the continuation of the story. Let's hope it's out soon.
Siri Watu: Descendants Of Africa: Official Site
, Indiegogo Page
Sector 9 Is Out
Speaking of ambitious projects that lose a bit of momentum but nevertheless continue (and beat the odds)... it's been a bit of a wait but Sector 9
is out this month, featuring a gorgeous cover illustrated by Daniël Hugo, with design by Michael Smith.
This issue finally sees some shorts, and new contributors, added to the mix, which will allow casual readers to jump on board without feeling overwhelmed that they're in the middle of a number of stories and will need to spend more money on earlier issues to catch up. (We want them wanting
to spend money on earlier issues to catch up because they're excited to, not feeling forced to.)
One short is Nuclear Family
, by Gina-Rae Proxy
and Dennis Dvornak, and the other is Eat To Live
by Ben Michael Byrne. The issue also sees the continuation of the flagship serialised story Uncharted Waters
, by Moray Rhoda, Jayson Geland, and Daniël Hugo.
The issue is, or will shortly be, available at local comics shops, including Readers Den Comic Shop in Cape Town and Cosmic Comics and Central City Comics in Johannesburg.
In related news, issues 3 and 4 of Sector
are now available as digital downloads at DriveThruComics.com
Spotlight: Brandan Reynolds
In August political cartoonist Brandan Reynolds recorded a timelapse video showing the creation of a cartoon that was subsequently published in Business Day
on 1 September 2017.
The video, which was later made available on YouTube, was created for the exhibition Alternative Press
, which opened in September in Cape Town at the Iziko South African National Gallery (see the Events section for more details - the exhibition is still running and is highly recommended). It's a retrospective of Apartheid-era political cartoonist Derek Bauer's work that includes contributions from Reynolds and Zapiro.
During the First Thursdays event in December Reynolds was invited to set up inside the gallery to create his next cartoon live, which was really enjoyable for the crowds to watch but I imagine it made his process a lot harder as he was constantly being interrupted by fascinated people who asked questions and made comments. (I admit I was one of them, although I tried to keep the conversation short. I also captured some footage that will be highlighted in a future episode of #sacomics Cast
A few days later Business Day
published an essay by Reynolds in which he talks about growing up influenced by Giles cartoons and the St John's Ambulance First Aid Guide
("I enjoyed its graphic drawings of broken, bleeding limbs and bandaged heads"), his formal training once he left school, being inspired by Derek Bauer, and highlights of his career.
The article is behind a login on the Business Day
web site so Reynolds has made a PDF available via his web site
. It offers fascinating and important background information on one of South Africa's most prolific contemporary cartoonists.
Ben Winfield Illustration Timelapse
If you can't get enough of timelapse videos, here's one more. Ben Winfield posted a short one showing the creation of one of his illustrations. He fully admits it's "not the best quality" but anyone who loves his art will enjoy seeing him meticulously create the intricate linework in Photoshop
You can see the final piece here
The Final Stray Is On The Way - And So Is The Trade Paperback
The second volume of Stray
(technically it's now titled the clunky Actionverse Featuring: Stray
) is coming to its conclusion, with the sixth and final issue, and the trade paperback, due soon.
First, however, here's some information on the fifth issue, which I didn't report on due to brainwavez.org's holiday break. It features a cover by Stray
co-creator Sean Izaakse that showcases the many superheroes who have emerged in the second volume.
The issue features the second half of the "The Intolerance" storyline, by Stray
co-creator Vito Delsante, which includes the character Midnight Tiger, who is part of the Action Lab Actionverse (and is also on the cover), with Ares Taveras continuing on art duties with Wilson Ramos Jr and another short story by Jay Piscopo in the back matter.
It's too late to pre order the issue, which will be out on 14 February 2018, but you can ask your local comic shop if it can back order it. The Diamond code to quote is NOV171102.
The final issue is due just two weeks later, on 28 February 2018, and it concludes the volume and storyline "The Rottweiler Years". This issue features two covers. Cover A (pictured above left) is by Mitch Ballard and Wilson Ramos Jr and cover B (pictured above right) is by Sean Gregory Miller and Wilson Ramos Jr.
The Diamond code to give to your local comics retailer for cover A is DEC170980 or you can pre order it through Things From Another World
The Diamond code for cover B is DEC170981 or you can pre order it through Things From Another World
The cutoff date for pre ordering is now so get your order in as soon as possible.
Finally, in March, the trade paperback, which collects all six issues of the second volume, will be published. Because Stray (the character) was pulled into the Action Labs Actionverse event in 2015-2016, Stray
(the comic) is now branded under the Actionverse banner so even though this is the second volume of the story (the first being Stray Volume 1: The Doberman Years
, which features the comics from 2014 to 2015), the new trade paperback is called Actionverse Featuring: Stray Volume One: The Rottweiler Years
It's wonderfully confusing if you're just a casual reader.
The book will be 192 pages and the on-street date is 28 March 2018. The Diamond code, which you can give to your local comics retailer for pre ordering purposes, is JAN181092 and the ISBN, if you want to buy it through a regular book store, is 9781632292995. You can pre order it now through Raru
if you're in South Africa and Things From Another World
if you're elsewhere.
Meanwhile Sean Izaakse continues to collaborate with writer Jim Zub on Marvel comics - the team has just been moved to Champions
. I'll have more on this soon. His increasing workload at Marvel has meant that his contributions to Stray
, which were down to cover art, have been reduced even further - I don't know that he did any work for the final issue of Stray
. It's unfortunate for Stray
but Marvel readers are benefitting immensely from his quality work and perhaps his higher profile will bring more fans to Stray
and the Actionverse.
News In Brief
Central City Comics
in Johannesburg opened a pop-up shop inside Fourways Mall, on the corner of William Nicol Drive and Fourways Boulevard, for December and January in order to spread the geek love to more people.
, the creator of the syndicated US comic strip Stone Soup
, is in Cape Town at the moment. She attended the ToonZA Tuesdays event (see the Events section for more details) this past Tuesday at The Hive in Muizenberg.
An illustration by Gerhard Human
, a hand-printed silkscreen in an edition of 20, is on display (and for sale) in the restaurant at Rust-En-Vrede Gallery
in Durbanville, Cape Town, until 31 January 2018.
, who will be at UCON
this weekend, has started posting Kowakawaii 01: Grim
on Tapas. There's a new page every week or so so add it to your subscription list or bookmark the page.
is deep into the production
of Chapter 4 of Sophie The Giantslayer
and now thinking about the editing process.
has been posting photos of some of his recent fine-art paintings in his Twitter stream
Members of the South Peninsula (Cape Town) arts community, including comic artists and cartoonists, collaborated to produce a 2018 calendar, the Beach & Berg Calendar
, as a companion to the Beach & Berg
exhibition that's currently running at The Hive in Muizenberg (see the Events section for more details). If you'd like to order a copy you can find more information here
has posted a really interesting and eye-opening essay
that looks at the challenges and ethical grey areas he and other photographers who do work for humanitarian organisations face in trying to get shots that will ultimately do good. He also discusses being royally screwed by organisations needing his skills that initiate poorly planned and badly implemented projects in a last-minute rush to use up donor funds before the financial year ends.
From this month the monthly English-language printed issue of Supa Strikas
is going to be a little harder to find. It used to come as part of the package for a variety of publications, including You
, but the January issue was only available with The Daily Sun
and it seems likely that this will be the case for the foreseeable future. You can still read the comics on the official web site
, however, although it isn't always updated quickly.
The 2018 Global Game Jam has kicked off in South Africa. Ben G Geldenhuys
and Dorianne Dutrieux
are participating in Cape Town. The jam runs until 17:00 (local time) on Sunday, at which point all the games have to be uploaded to the global web site.
The bulk of the events taking place at the moment are exhibitions. Some are closing soon, one will be opening next week, and the rest still have some time to go but don't put off making a plan to see them.
is on this weekend in Cape Town. Bill Masuku and Milo Wildcat will be there, as will Readers Den Comic Shop and Outer Limits.
Exhibitions: The Spiritual Grunge
in Cape Town, which closes on 31 January 2018, and The Cruel, Cruel Summer Exhibition
in Klapmuts (outside Cape Town), which closes at the end of March 2018, both feature new fine-art works by Conrad Botha. Beach & Berg
, which runs until the end of February 2018 and aims to determine whether there is such a thing as a Muizenberg aesthetic, features fine art work by a number of cartoonists and comics creators, as well as a multi-page silent comic by Tyler Pike. Alternative Press
, which showcases the political cartoons of Derek Bauer, is on at the Iziko South African National Gallery until the end of May 2018. Oneirica
, featuring new illustrations by Karl Schulschenk, Daniël Hugo, and David Griessel, opens on 1 February 2018 in Cape Town as part of First Thursdays.
The final Open Art Sketch Meet
to be held at The Drawing Room in Cape Town will be taking place on 27 January 2018. Thereafter the meetups are looking for a new home. ToonZA has initiated a weekly sketch event called ToonZA Tuesdays
, which is divided into an early-evening teen event and an evening adult event. The meetups are scheduled for every Tuesday until the end of February 2018.
The South African Comics Calendar Of Events
is updated regularly as more events are announced. Bookmark it and consult it for both an overview of what's happening and more details on each event.
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