What is Caitlin reading? Ladies' Night Anthology

 The covers for all five volumes of Ladies' Night Anthology:  Chicago ,  Death & Prom ,  How to Magic ,  Eat It Up! , and  Sisters .

The covers for all five volumes of Ladies' Night Anthology: Chicago, Death & Prom, How to Magic, Eat It Up!, and Sisters.

Not everyone who knows I love comics knows that I also help to edit an annually published anthology that grew up out of the Ladies' Night I go to at my local comic shop (shout out to Graham Crackers in the Loop!).  Back in 2012, I realized that I'd missed the deadline to apply to be a writer for the first volume, and volunteered to help edit.  I was, at the time, woefully unprepared to take on the responsibility of being an editor and had basically no clue what I was doing, but both my fellow editors and the creative teams I worked with were patient with me.

Five years later, I'm still one of the editors for LNA, and I also sort of operate as the COO, managing our inventory and finances.  I love this gig, really and truly, and it's  a natural growth from my love for comics.  LNA works mostly with people who've never made comics before, or have never collaborated before, or both.  It's open to women, non-binary, and gender non conforming creators from all over the world, though we do try to keep some folks local to Chicago, where all of the editors are based.

 Enamel pins designed by Elizabeth Perez, a perk for Volume 5.

Enamel pins designed by Elizabeth Perez, a perk for Volume 5.

The thing about LNA is that we are involved in every step of the process as editors.  A lot of anthologies don't teach you how to make a comic, and that's great because you get a lot of really polished, professional people making dozens of incredible comics and collecting them.  But LNA is different, we walk our creators through the process from pitch to character design to script, thumbnails to art to lettering.  We host workshops, help people tackle new skills, and manage most of the promotion and marketing for the book.

We don't pay our participants, which can be a struggle sometimes.  We know we've lost out on some really great folks because of that, but for the last five years we've really wanted to focus on the people that have never done this before, and help them get their foot in the door.  We've had a couple of participants in past books go on to professional jobs as story boarders, writers, inkers, artists, and colorists.  It's incredibly gratifying to be able to pick up a comic at Graham Crackers and see the names of people I worked with on LNA on the cover of a comic from a big publisher.

 From "Do you kiss your sister with that mouth?" by Jade Armstrong and Ellen Linzer

From "Do you kiss your sister with that mouth?" by Jade Armstrong and Ellen Linzer

We're almost 3/4 of the way through our Kickstarter for Volume 5, and almost halfway to our goal.  Next week, the other editors (Lauren Burke, Megan Byrd, Kris Mackenzie, and Summer Sparacin) and I will take on the daunting task of putting the pages in order and starting prepress.  So a lot of my free-reading time has been dedicated to LNA lately, doing copyediting and checking things over.

So what I'm reading this week is the work of 24 amazing female and non-binary creators, most of whom have never been published before.  And I want you to be reading it too, so please check out our Kickstarter, get yourself an awesome book.  If you can part with $20, you'll get a book and the matching pins, which to be honest are a huge draw for me.  It's not an addiction if you don't admit it's a problem, right?

Please help us get this book to the printer and into the hands of hundreds of people.  I've read the pages as they come in, and you'd never guess that most of these creators have never made a comic before.  

 LNA Vol 5: Sisters (cover by Elizabeth Perez) and the companion zine (cover by Abby Shaffer)

LNA Vol 5: Sisters (cover by Elizabeth Perez) and the companion zine (cover by Abby Shaffer)

This week in Kickstarters...

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One of my New Year's resolutions for 2016 was to spend less money on Kickstarters.

I failed.  Spectacularly.

I had a completely different set of resolutions this year, but I realized that I haven't done a great job of plugging projects that I like and believe in that are looking for funding, so...introducing a new semi-regular feature: This week in Kickstarters.  My goal is to pick a couple projects from comics creators that might be of interest to the folks that follow my writing.

First up is Eisegesis: Kings + Queens from the Sun Bros Studios.

Eisegesis: Kings + Queens is a full-color, all-ages comics anthology written by the Sun Bros and illustrated by Ali Cantarella, exploring the thin boundary between our everyday interactions and the unexpected inner worlds we inhabit.
A royal couple quarrels while their kingdom falls under siege by monsters. A lonely old shopkeeper rules his gift shop with an iron fist. A late night chance encounter leads to an unlikely journey across rooftops and donuts.
These tales dare us to infuse our own perspective into each of them. They're not meant to teach us lessons. Instead, they simply invite us to wonder.

Wes, one of the two brothers that make up the Sun Bros, and Cantarella are both local to Chicago and pretty involved in the independent comics community.  They're great folks, and super talented, so seeing them work together (with Brad) is really exciting to me.  I love the David Lynch-ian sensibility that a lot of the Sun Bros books have, twisting and psychedelic with a wry sense of humor, and it'll be neat to see that translated into an all ages book.  As of the time of writing, they were less than $100 away from their goal.

Next is Simon Says: Nazi Hunter.

I'll be honest: I'm super motivated to punch Nazis in the face right now, so this book is speaking to my lizard brain is all the right ways.

From the creators:

The comic is inspired by the true story of the famed Nazi Hunter, Simon Wiesenthal. Written by Andre Frattino and Illustrated by Jesse Lee, this comic is intended to be the prototype first issue for a potential graphic novel. 
Wiesenthal was an Austrian architect who survived the Holocaust thanks partly to his artistic skills (he was spared from execution when he was employed to paint swastikas on train cars). After the war, he discovered that he and his wife lost over 80 members of their family. Wiesenthal dedicated the rest of his life to hunting down notorious war criminals including Adolf Eichmann (a chief orchestrator of Hitler's "Final Solution to the Jewish Question") and Joseph Mengele (a.k.a. "The Angel of Death" who conducted horrifying experiments on his subjects).  
While Simon Says: Nazi Hunter #1 is inspired by Simon Wiesenthal, it is not merely a dramatization of his experiences alone. The story takes from many aspects of various Nazi Hunter stories following the war. The tone of the comic is a mixture of noir and pulp fiction which was prevalent in the 1950s and 60s. Other influences include Ian Fleming's James Bond Series as well as such films as Schindler's ListInglorious Bastards and TV series like Sherlock and Man in the High Castle.

The team is now close to twice their goal, with a deadline of the end of February.