Posted in Comics, Graphic Novels

Dan Mishkin


Tell me a little about you: I’ve written comics professionally since 1979, and I’ve loved comics since the first time I read one at age 5. I think it’s fair to say that comics shaped who I am as a person — because they fired up my imagination, showing me that there were all sorts of possibilities in the world that I hadn’t dreamed of; and because they gave me role models whose actions taught me that the amount of power you have in life is not as important as how you use that power.

Describe event: The Ann Arbor Comic Arts Festival is a free, two-day celebration of comics held at the Ann Arbor District Library (downtown). There will be over 50 cartoonists and writers on hand who will not only have comics to sell, but are eager to share their passion for making and reading them. We’ll also have hands-on comics-making workshops, art demonstrations, interactive drawing games, and an awesome music and dance party!


What is the easiest part of the event? Most of the work I contribute to A2CAF takes place before the event, so the easiest part is attending — and especially having lots of conversations about comics with kids, teens and adults.

What is the hardest? The hardest part is making sure we’re sharing all the information we need to with our Artists Alley guests, library staff and the public in a timely way. And that we’re hearing about concerns when they first come up and are more manageable. There are a lot of people we need to keep in communication with from about January forward in order to make sure the two days in June go smoothly.


As a writer yourself, how did you get started? I was lucky that when I was trying to break into the comic book field, DC Comics was publishing anthology series featuring stories that were sometimes as short as 2 or 3 pages — usually science fiction, fantasy or horror and often with a twist ending. That made it easier for an editor to take a chance on a new artist or writer, knowing they wouldn’t ruin an issue with one clunker of a story, or worse, turn out 20 or more pages of unpublishable work that the company would still have to pay for. The first story I got to do in comics was the only idea one editor liked out of a dozen I sent him, and he gave me 3 pages to tell it.

What is your favorite comic you have worked on? I’ve had a lot of great experiences working on superheroes like Wonder Woman, Batman, and Superman — sometimes with editors and artists that I’d idolized in my childhood — as well as on titles like Star Trek and Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (and even a Roger Rabbit story). But my favorites have been the comic book series that I helped create, like Blue Devil and Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld

Why do you think kids should read comics? My hope is that comics can still do for kids today what they did for me as a child: expand their imaginations and help them see that life doesn’t have to be limited by other people’s expectations. Making comics can also be a great outlet for creativity and expressing emotions. And as many people have pointed out (though this is actually at the bottom of my personal what-comic-are-good-for list), they can be a stepping stone to all kinds of reading that some young people might have a hard time starting out with — which is fine by me as long as they don’t then abandon comics.

Can you recommend a comic series to me? If you haven’t read it already, the Zita the Spacegirl series by one of this year’s A2CAF guests, Ben Hatke, is one of my favorites. (Bridget note: agreed. I like Zita a lot) And I hear terrific things about Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur. You could even try my old Amethyst series, which has been collected into a single paperback volume.

Bridget Note: if you can join this event next weekend, I hope to see you there!

Posted in Book Review, Comics, Graphic Novels

Cleopatra in Space 4: The Golden Space


By Mike Maihack

You can’t buy this book quite yet but definitely put this on your to buy list. You can preorder it (my favorite comic book guy did for me). While you are at it, get the first three if you don’t have them already. This is a series I strongly recommend for kid readers!

It is about Cleopatra (our favorite Space heroine) going into space and not following directions, as usual. Seriously Cleopatra, can’t you follow the rules just once?

So the Golden Lion is a source of energy. Cleopatra is not supposed to have anything to do with it. But she does anyway. 

There is a bad guy out to get her. That add extra drama to the story.  I couldn’t put the story down. I have re read it so many times I have lost count.

She and Kensu get into a fight. They fight like they are siblings.

I absolutely love the artwork in this book. Cleopatra has some super awesome costumes. I made her uniform for Comic Con but really want to make her island look.


I was so excited to get my advanced copy of this book. Do you know how hard it is to wait a year for your favorite book series to update? The only downside is I have to wait a whole year for book 5 😭

I just love Cleopatra. She is my favorite book character (don’t worry Penguin, you are my favorite book animal character). 

I was reading Gronk the other day and immediately recognized artwork by Mike Maihack. I haven’t met him yet but one day I will and he can sign all my Cleopatra books! 😆

Me as Cleopatra with Captain Phasma

Ps check out this funny image at the back of the book

Posted in Graphic Novels, Illustrators

The illustrator says: Keith Grachow


Website/social media: http://kgrachow.com/ 
I also use my Facebook page for promoting my work which can be found at Keith Grachow and also have an On A Planet Named Up In The Sky page for me and my mom’s children’s book series. You can also find my comic book work at http://www.kikamikacomics.com/
Tell me a little about yourself: I’m a professional illustrator that does comic books, children’s books, and illustration work for companies. I also teach workshops for kids and adults on Visual Storytelling.
How long have you been drawing? Since as long as I could hold a pencil.

How did you get into illustrating? My parents owned an advertising agency when I was a kid, and when I turned thirteen they let me draw a cover for a tv guide like magazine they put out. It was terribly amateurish, but super cool to see my art in print for the first time. I’d always been drawing, but that was my first taste of commercial work, so I think that idea stuck in my head when I went to university. In school I studied fine arts with a concentration in graphic design, so I took jobs related to that in college and after I graduated. I did some spot illustration and concept art as well as toy package design but it wasn’t really making me happy. 

What I really always wanted to do was comic book illustration, so about 10 years ago, I went back to school to focus on illustrating for comic books. I’m so glad I did, because it’s been really gratifying to create stories with my mom and other writers and to do illustrations for families and friends. And to make a living at it!


What is your favorite book you have worked on? Whatever I’m usually working on becomes my favourite book most of the time, however if I had to choose, it’s probably my latest Up-In-The-Sky book Above A Planet Named Up-In-The-Sky. I think me and my mom knocked that one out into space (pun intended)!

What illustrators do you like? I was classically trained in fine arts, so I always loved the paintings of the renaissance artists like Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci, but illustrators really came into their own during the golden age of commercial art in the early parts of the 20th century and that’s where I’d begin to choose the ones I like. So artists like Mucha, NC Wyeth, Norman Rockwell really inspired me. There were also classic comic strip artists I liked such as Alex Raymond, Austin Briggs, Hal Foster and classic comic book artists like Joe Kubert, Wally Wood, Jack Kirby, and John Buscema to name a few. Modern artists like Mike Mignola Bill Sienkiewicz, Lee Weeks, Dan Panosian and many many others are also in this list. There are just too many to count!

Posted in Book Review, Graphic Novels

Throwback Thursday: Ghosts

 

I first shared about this book in the fall, but it is a great graphic novel that you should read. In case you missed it the first time, here is my review of Ghosts

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By Raina Telgemeier

Ghosts is a graphic novel.  It is really nice. It was a good book to read just before Halloween.

In the book, the two girls meet a ghost. It is a boy ghost. He is not scary. They become friends. The girls had moved to a place where ghosts live and met the boy ghosts. (Bridget note: I have not met a ghost in my new house yet but I have seen weird shadows.)

I liked that this was a graphic novel. I think they are a good way for kids to read. You get a picture for every line.

I would recommend this to everyone. I think you will enjoy it.