Europe Comics

So I’ve been reading comics on-line more and more frequently, especially these days. A lot of these I get through ComiXology or Sequential. But then my library also has a service, Hoopla, that has a lot of graphic novels. And I just noticed that many of the ones that I’ve been enjoying recently have all been published by the same publisher, Europe Comics. So here’s a little list of what I’ve enjoyed.

Alt-Life. Thomas Cadéne and Joseph Falzon.
A sci-fi story about two test subjects trying out a new virtual reality system that is intended to be the future fir humanity. Funny and sexy.

Blossoms in Autumn. Zidrou and Aimée de Jongh.
A very real story of getting older and finding love when you no longer recognize yourself in the mirror.

Daughters of Salem. Thomas Gilbert.
A tale about the old days of Salem that portrays the horror of the witch trials but yet manages to not be too heavy-handed. Beautiful color work.

Human. Diego Agrimbau and Lucas Varela.
A really engaging story about the last humans returning to Earth and hoping to start over. I love the art and visual storytelling in this.

Just Enough. Flavia Bondi.
This sounds like the kind of comic you’ve read countless times before: young people who don’t know what to do with their lives. But the focus here is on a relationship and it mines some very real territory. And the art is incredible.

The Muse. Zidrou and Oriol.
A beautiful little art mystery story.

The Perineum Technique. Florent Ruppert and Jérome Mulot.
I wrote about this before, but I recently reread it. This is a story about on-line dating, love, and the art world. Really clever and fun.

Seven Places Without You. Juan Berrio.
Simple line art with beautiful color that creates a sense of space and the slow passage of time as a relationship ends.

old work

With the sheltering in place, I’ve been taking time to organize things. The other day I went through a bunch of old drawings and comics work and saw a few things I hadn’t thought about in years. Here are a few.

“Mummy” from 2004
“Conjurer” from 2004
From 2007, this is the original attempt at “Museum Piece.” I actually kind of like the art better on this one.
Also from 2007, “The Planner,” which appeared in The Comic Eye anthology.

the Silent Kingdom – comics online

With everyone sheltering in place, it’s been a time to share recommendations. A long time ago, I had the idea of posting something weekly about online comics that I was discovering. For various reasons, I never did and a lot of those old links are either dead or lost. But I have a few more recent ones that I’ve saved, so here they are…

Amelia Onorato “Sorgin”
A story that is sweet on the surface, but is actually about war and its consequences.

Aminder Dhaliwal Woman World
A funny comic about a future inhabited only by women.

Andrew White Yearly 2018 and Yearly 2019
You’ll have to download these (the ones above are free). White creates beautifully poetic little ruminations. I really like his work.

Connor Willumsen “I Needed the Discounts”
Willumsen always has amazing drawings but his stories are often obtuse or unfinished. This one is like a Dark Mirror episode. It’s focused and thought-provoking.

Dakota McFadzean “Soon We’re Both Screaming”
A real story about a stay-at-home-dad.

Dylan Horrocks “Words Are Gas”
A little piece by Horrocks in Poetry.

Emily Carroll “Some Other Animal’s Meat”
I always love Carroll’s work. This is one of my favorite stories by her.
And as a bonus, her little comics poems based on Fallout 4.

Lauren Weinstein “Being an Artist and a Mother”
Art history and parenting from one mother (and cartoonist’s) perspective.

Leela Corman “The Blood Road”
An autobiographical story about a visit to Berlin and Buchenwald.

Sophia Foster-Dimino Sex Fantasy 4
Don’t let the title mislead you. It’s hard to describe this story, but it’s one my favorites from Foster-Dimino. Surprising emotional.

Tille Walden On A Sunbeam
A character driven sci-fi story.

Will Tempest “No Longer Ours”
A sci-fi story about humans struggling to survive on a planet that no longer wants them.

Working with acrylic ink – Holbein Super Opaque Black

I was really into Holbein Special Black drawing ink. It was smooth, black, and created nice thin lines. But then I was out and the local store I was buying it from didn’t have it. I looked on-line and couldn’t find it anywhere either. Yet what I did discover was that Holbein made an acrylic ink. I had somehow formed the opinion that India inks were better and that acrylic inks were harder on drawing tools, but I didn’t have any actual experience and I had really liked the Holbein Special Black. So I decided to try Holbein’s Super Opaque Acrylic Ink out.

At first, I really liked the ink. It was dark and fine, just like Holbein’s Special Black. Then I started to notice an issue. I have the habit of pouring my ink into a a pewter ink well that I have. When I am done for the day, I screw on the cap to keep the ink from drying overnight. What I noticed is that when I would come back the next day the acrylic ink would be watery and gray. Lines would bleed and the ink would dry a bit faded. This was frustrating. So I would pour the ink back into the original container, shake it up, then pour a new a new batch into my ink well. And it was fine again. Black and sharp.

So by reflecting on this and with a bit of internet research I realized what was going on. Acrylic ink settles. The pigment is heavier than the rest of the liquid it is with, so over time it sinks to the bottom of the ink well. In practical terms, this means that I can’t leave the ink in the ink well overnight. I need to get a fresh supply each time I sit down to draw. This isn’t a big deal, but it helps to have figured it out.

So I’m not sure yet how I feel about acrylic ink. This is the only issue I have had with it so far. Otherwise it has performed really well and works on almost any paper, which is one of the main drawbacks of Speedball Super Black (my former favorite ink). That said, I’ve read that acrylic ink doesn’t hold up as well in the long run and that it can bleed if it gets wet. Seeing that I scan my work pretty soon after I create it, these issues probably won’t be a problem for me. Still, I want to wait and see before I wholeheartedly endorse acrylic ink.