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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

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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Alain Dodier (born 2 May 1955, France) saw his first comics pages published in the fanzine Falatoff in 1973, and in the Carte Blanche section of Spirou in 1975 and 1976. He made his professional debut in the environmentalist magazine Pistil in 1977 with the detective series series ‘Janotus, Agent Spécial’ and the animal gag series ‘Marty et Titine’. By 1980, he began a fruitful collaboration with scenarist and neighbour Pierre Makyo.

Their first creation was ‘Gully’, the only melancholic boy in the joyful kingdoms of Yridor and Onriflor. The series started in Mercredi and was continued .to start the humorous historical series about the melancholic ‘Gully’ in Mercredi in 1980 and was continued in Spirou between 1983 and 1989.

Continue reading about Alain Dodier at Lambiek Comiclopedia — https://www.lambiek.net/artists/d/dodier_alain.htm

Explore items in the GCD with work by Alain Dodier — http://ow.ly/4nj85f

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Marten Toonder (2 May 1912 – 27 July 2005, The Netherlands) may well go down in history as the most important Dutch author of comics. Undoubtedly, there is no comic artist who has put his mark on the Dutch comics scene like Toonder. His creations have been published in dailies and periodicals all over the world. His most famous series was ‘Tom Poes en Heer Bommel’ (‘Tom Puss and Mr. Bumble’), which ran virtually non-stop for nearly 45 years. Toonder has received a great many awards and honorary distinctions for both his illustrating skills and the quality of his literary output.

When he was 19 years of age, his father, a captain in the Dutch merchant navy, offered him passage aboard his ship which called at various South American ports. In Buenos Aires, Toonder got acquainted with Jim Davis, an animator who worked with the well-known Argentine artist Dante Quinterno. Quinterno’s creations impressed him to such a degree that he decided to become an artist himself.

Continue reading about Marten Toonder at Lambiek Comiclopedia — https://www.lambiek.net/artists/t/toonder.htm

Explore items in the GCD with work by Marten Toonder — http://ow.ly/4nj7DF

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Nanase Ohkawa (born 2 May 1967, Japan) is a member of the all-female manga-creating team CLAMP. She is the director of the team and is primarily responsible for writing the stories and scripts for CLAMP’s various works.

As part of CLAMP’s 15th Anniversary, each of the four members changed their names reportedly because they wanted to try out the new monikers. Ohkawa changed her name to Ageha Ohkawa in 2004. Ohkawa still used her previous name for some of the scripts she wrote for animated series. Ohkawa announced in her blog that from 1 March 2008, she should be addressed as Nanase Ohkawa again.

From Wikipedia — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nanase_Ohkawa

Explore items in the GCD with work by Nanase Ohkawa — http://ow.ly/4njc6W

(The cover of CARDCAPTOR SAKURA #1, May 2000, is by Satsuka Igarashi of CLAMP.)

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Win Mortimer (1 May 1919 – 11 January 1998, Canada) was a comic book and comic strip artist best known as one of the major illustrators of the DC Comics superhero Superman. He additionally drew for Marvel Comics, Gold Key Comics, and other publishers. He was a 2006 inductee into Canadian comics’ creators Joe Shuster Hall of Fame.

Continue reading about Win Mortimer at Wikipedia — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Win_Mortimer

Read about Win Mortimer at Lambiek Comiclopedia — https://www.lambiek.net/artists/m/mortimer_win.htm

Explore items in the GCD with work by Win Mortimer — http://ow.ly/4nhvQ3

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Tim Sale (born 1 May 1956, USA) made his debut in ‘Thieves’ World’ in 1985, but had his professional breakthrough as the inker of ‘Myth Adventures’ at Warp Graphics. He has drawn for such titles as DC’s ‘Challengers of the Unknown’, Wildstorm’s ‘Deathblow’ and Matt Wagner’s ‘Grendel’ at Comico. He began a steady collaboration with writer Jeph Loeb, starting with three ‘Legends of the Dark Knight’ Halloween Specials (‘Choices’, ‘Ghosts’ and ‘Madness’). They went on to do such mini-series as ‘Batman: The Long Halloween’ (1996-1997), ‘Superman: For All Seasons’ (1998), ‘Batman: Dark Victory’ (1999-2000), ‘Daredevil: Yellow’ (2001), ‘Spider-Man: Blue’ (2002) and ‘Hulk: Gray’ (2003). He also had a run on ‘Superman Confidential’ with writer Darwyn Cooke.

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

Read about Tim Sale at Wikipedia — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Sale_%28artist%29

Explore items in the GCD with work by Tim Sale — http://ow.ly/4nhuPO

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Alex Niño (born 1 May 1940, The Philippines) dreamed of being a comic artist since he was a small boy. He began his career assisting his father, who was a photographer. He was a medical student at the University of Manilla, but eventually chose an artistic profession. In 1965, after learning the finer points of the comics profession from Jess Jodloman, he started a collaboration with Clodualdo del Mundo and created ‘Kilabot Ng Persia’ (‘The Terror of Persia’) for Pilipino Komiks. Later, he teamed up with Marcelo B. Isidro to create ‘Dinoceras’ for Redondo Komiks.

Continue reading about Alex Niño at Lambiek Comiclopedia — https://www.lambiek.net/artists/n/nino_a.htm

Explore items in the GCD with work by Alex Niño — http://ow.ly/4nht7J

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