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The International Comic Arts Forums

This is Daniel from the Grand Comics Database Board of Directors. I just returned from the 2016 International Comic Arts Forum (ICAF). It was well worth my time, and I can’t tell you how glad I am to have had the opportunity to attend. I want to especially thank the ICAF host, Qiana, for her time. She answered all my questions and introduced me to the audience, giving me a chance to speak. I want to also thank the Comic Studies Society President, Charles Hatfield, for his kind words to the conference about the GCD and our contributions.

The Grand Comics Database Project aspires to be the world's most comprehensive online comics database for comic readers, collectors, scholars, and professionals. In 2014, we ramped up our outreach to comic readers and collectors with a stronger presence at conventions, comics shops, and shows across North America and Europe. It is just as important for us to reach out to the scholars who use the GCD database for their research.

ICAF and the Comics Studies Society (CSS) are the types of forums that provide us another glimpse at what the database offers the entire comics community. It is my hope that we can strengthen our relationship with these institutions, learning how we might be able to better address their concerns and using their insight to improve what has already been a valuable resource.

What is ICAF? Started in 1995, ICAF is an annual conference dedicated to promoting the scholarly study and appreciation of comics. They actively seek collaboration with scholars, historians, critics, teachers, journalists, curators, artists, and comics professionals from around the world. I first heard of ICAF through fellow member and fellow convention boother Ray Bottorff. It was too intriguing to let it go, so I made the 443-mile journey to the University of South Carolina in the heart of Columbia, South Carolina (14–16 April 2016). If you want more information, I encourage you to visit http://www.internationalcomicartsforum.org/.

I also discovered The Comics Studies Society during my three day visit. The CSS “is the U.S.’s first learned society and professional association for comics researchers and teachers. It is an interdisciplinary society open to all comics scholars — whether working in the academy or independent — who share the goals of promoting the critical study of comics, improving comics teaching, and engaging in open and ongoing conversation about the comics world” (from the ICAF program). At least two GCD members are also members of the CSS, and I hope to see more in the future. You can learn more at http://www.comicssociety.org/.

I am neither a comics scholar or academic, but I found the panels interesting and understandable. The three days were busy from 0900 through 1700 (and sometimes later). Special guests included Cece Bell, Howard Cruse, Sanford Greene, Dominique Goblet, Gary Jackson, and Keith Knight. I was particularly impressed with the academic panels. There were a total of 14 panel presentations representing 39 colleges and universities. I was only able to attend 7. You can get details at http://www.internationalcomicartsforum.org/2016-schedule.html.

I will make every effort to go to another ICAF conference in the future. I will be looking into areas of mutual interest to ICAF and the GCD, and I will see what I can do to promote academic involvement from those scholars within our membership.

Thank you again to ICAF, CCS, and especially Qiana. It was memorable and fascinating.

GCD Comics Timeline

John Ridgway (born 4 May 1940, UK) initially worked as a professional design engineer and did his first comics for D.C. Thompson on the side. He contributed to books like ‘Commando War Stories’ and ‘Commando Action’, before becoming a fulltime comics artist in 1984. He has worked for many companies, including 2000 AD, Gutenberghus, Marvel Comics and DC Comics.

Continue reading about John Ridgway at LambiekComiclopedia — https://www.lambiek.net/artists/r/ridgway_john.htm

Read about John Ridgway at Wikipedia — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Ridgway_(comics)

Explore items in the GCD with work by John Ridgway — http://ow.ly/4noEgA

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Joseph F. Loeckx (born 4 May 1937, Belgium), best known as Jo-El Azara, studied art at the Saint Luc art school in Brussels. Azara met Willy Vandersteen during a holiday, and the master of Flemish comics asked him to work at the Vandersteen Studios, where he collaborated on the ‘Suske en Wiske’ episode ‘De Lachende Wolf’ in 1953. In 1954, he drew a short story about ‘Hamlet’ for Junior/Ons Volkske.

Between 1954 and 1961, he was employed by Studio Hergé, where he assisted on two albums starring ‘Tintin et Milou’. By 1958, he was drawing for a variety of magazines under pseudonyms like Jo-El, Ernest and eventually Jo-El Azara. Besides publications in Caravane and Spirou, he collaborated with Will on the Peyo series ‘Jacky et Célestin’ for Le Soir Illustré in 1961-62.

Continue reading about Jo-El Azara at Lambiek Comiclopedia — https://www.lambiek.net/artists/a/azara.htm

Explore items in the GCD with work by Jo-El Azara — http://ow.ly/4noCEe

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Nestor Redondo (4 May 1928 – 30 September 1995, The Philippines) was born in Candon, Ilocos Sur. From a very early age he drew comics, influenced by American comics such as ‘Tarzan’, ‘Flash Gordon’, ‘Buck Rogers’ and ‘Superman’. Because his elder brother, Virgilio, was already a comic book artist, his parents felt that he should take up architecture instead. After trying it for a year, Nestor Redondo turned to drawing comics anyway. His first professional job was with Bulaklak Komiks. It soon became apparent that Nestor was a better draftsman than his brother, and Virgilio turned his talent to writing comics instead. The two of them teamed up and produced popular series like ‘Palos’, ‘Tagisan ng Agimat’ and ‘Diwani ang Gagamba’. Nestor’s popularity really skyrocketed when he was commissioned to illustrate the blockbuster series ‘Darna’, written by Mars Ravelo, in the early 1950s.
By the late 1950s, Nestor Redondo was illustrating for several comic books at the same time, Pilipino Komiks, Tagalog Klasiks, Hiwaga Komiks and Espesial Komiks. Each of these books came out bi-weekly, and Nestor would have two or more series going at the same time on any of these four titles. Nestor Redondo did all the penciling and inking himself. Besides doing dozens of pages every week, he also made a lot of book covers.
Continue reading about Nestor Redondo at Lambiek Comiclopedia — https://www.lambiek.net/artists/r/redondo.htm
Explore items in the GCD with work by Nestor Redondo — http://ow.ly/4noDtJ

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Bill Sienkiewicz (born 3 May 1958, USA) began his career as an exponent of superhero-comic artists, then he went deeper into comics and other forms of art. Born Boleslav Felix Robert Sienkiewicz in Blakely, Pennsylvania, he grew up in New Jersey and attended the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Arts in Newark, New Jersey. He found his first job with Marvel Comics, drawing ‘Moon Knight’ in The Hulk magazine, and in the ‘Moon Knight’ title from 1981. Sienkiewicz later drew ‘New Mutants’ and established himself as a distinctive cover painter.

Continue reading about Bill Sienkiewicz at Lambiek Comiclopedia — https://www.lambiek.net/artists/s/sienkiewicz.htm

Read about Bill Sienkiewicz at Wikipedia — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Sienkiewicz

Explore items in the GCD with work by Bill Sienkiewicz — http://ow.ly/4nlZYa

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Flemish artist Arthur Berckmans (born 3 May 1929, Belgium), who used the pseudonym Berck, was born in Louven. He studied drawing at the Louven Art Academy and at the Saint-Luc Institute in Brussels. He started his career making religious drawings for the Jesuites monthly Pro Apostolis from 1948 until 1952. For this magazine, he also created his first comic stories, ‘La Vie de Saint Ignace’ and ‘Le Père de Smet au Nebraska’ (‘De Grote Zwartrok’). Berckmans continued to illustrate the books by the Louven-based Jesuites until 1956.

By the mid 1950s, Berck joined Publi-Art, the advertising division of publishing house Le Lombard. He made a great many illustrations for advertisements and stories, that were published in Tintin and Line, and took over ‘Le Grenadier Victoria’, the advertising comic strip for Victoria chocolat, from Albert Weinberg. Other advertising strips that Berck illustrated include ‘Polochon dans la Pampa’, ‘Vic et Rio’ and ‘Les Frères Cha-Cha’.

By 1958, he found his way to Tintin magazine. His most notable work for this magazine is the series about cabdriver ‘Strapontin’, which he made in cooperation with René Goscinny, and from 1965 with Jacques Acar. Together with writer Yves Duval, he began a second series called ‘Rataplan’, about a little drummer boy in Napoleon’s army in 1961. Berck and Duval additionally made a couple of oneshot comics, such as ‘Panchico’ (1963), ‘Ken Krom’ (1966) and ‘Lady Bound’ (1967).

Continue reading about Berck at Lambiek Comiclopedia — https://www.lambiek.net/artists/b/berck.htm

Read about Berck at Wikipedia — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Berckmans

Explore items in the GCD with work by Berck — http://ow.ly/4nlZ8G

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Doug Wildey (2 May 1922 – 5 October 1994, USA) was born on May 2, 1922 in Yonkers, New York. He taught himself to draw. In 1949 he had his first professional publication, ‘Buffalo Bill’, and in the following ten years he freelanced for a variety of comic book publishers. From 1954 until 1957, he made ‘The Outlaw Kid’, which became a popular feature.

After that series, he drew ‘The Saint’ newspaper strip until 1962. Wildey then started producing several animated series for television: ‘Planet of the Apes’, ‘Jana of the Jungle’, and ‘Godzilla’, among others. His most famous cartoon was the adventure series ‘Jonny Quest’. In the 1970s he returned to comic books, where he worked on the strips ‘Eddie Race’, ‘Jonah Hex’, ‘Sgt. Rock’ and his own western, ‘Rio’.

From Lambiek Comiclopedia — https://www.lambiek.net/artists/w/wildey_doug.htm

Read about Doug Wildey at Wikipedia — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doug_Wildey

Explore items in the GCD with work by Doug Wildey — http://ow.ly/4njdyV

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A preacher’s son raised in Alabama, Howard Cruse (born 2 May 1944) saw the comix scene as “an opportunity to experiment freely while exploring myself without inhibiting editorial constraints.” Exploration led him through work in underground comix like ‘Dope Comix’, ‘Bizarre Sex’ and ‘Gay Comix’, of which he was the founder in 1980. From 1971 to 1979, Howard came up with ‘Barefootz’, a humorous comic with a clean animated line and a crisp, uncluttered background. The strip ran in several magazines, and in a couple of anthologies by Denis Kitchen.

Moving to New York in 1979, Cruse pursued a successful commercial and cartoon art career that included his award-winning gay and lesbian strip, ‘Wendell’. His work was interrupted for four years while he created his masterpiece, ‘Stuck Rubber Baby’ (Paradox Press, 1995). This 210-page graphic novel takes place in the South during the civil rights movement in the 1960s and sensitively depicts a saga of coming to terms with sexual identity, racial prejudice and political conflict.

Continue reading about Howard Cruse at Lambiek Comiclopedia — https://www.lambiek.net/artists/c/cruse.htm

Read about Howard Cruse at Wikipedia — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howard_Cruse

Explore items in the GCD with work by Howard Cruse — http://ow.ly/4njcPN

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Liam Sharp was born (2 May 1968) in Derby, United Kingdom. At age 12, upon the advice of the Gifted Children Society, an Art Scholarship was created for him at St. Andrews Prep. School, Eastbourne. At age 17, Sharp was introduced to the legendary Don Lawrence. This led to a one year apprenticeship which in turn opened the doors for him at the 2000AD offices in London. Over the next few years, he drew several ‘Judge Dredd’ stories, the origin of ‘Finn’ for Pat Mills, and eventually ‘ABC Warriors’.

His next work was for Marvel UK, where he created the very successful ‘Death’s Head II’, which also earned him fame in the USA. He eventually went to work for the US market, illustrating among others ‘X-Men’, ‘The Hulk’, ‘Spider-Man’, ‘Venom’, ‘The Manthing’ for Marvel Comics, ‘Superman’ and ‘Batman’ titles for DC Comics, Frazetta’s ‘Death Dealer’ and ‘Jaguar God’ for Verotik, ‘Spawn: the Dark Ages’ for Todd McFarlane, ‘Realm of the Claw’ for Stan Winston and Image. Sharp also worked fro Hasbro to produce designs for the movie ‘Small Soldiers’ and the animated series ‘Batman: Beyond’. He also did concept designs for the movie ‘Lost in Space’, with Geoff Johns and Kris Grimminger.

From Lambiek Comiclopedia — https://www.lambiek.net/artists/s/sharp_liam.htm

Read about Liam Sharp at Wikipedia — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liam_Sharp

Explore items in the GCD with work by Liam Sharp — http://ow.ly/4nj8Go

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The Grand Comics Database Project (GCD) is a volunteer project with the goal of documenting and indexing all comics for the free use of scholars, historians, researchers, and fans.
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