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Pack Your Bags

Today on the site, the indefatigable Sloane Leong is back again to interview Nivedita Sekar, an animator and cartoonist who has a new comic out through ShortBox.

I feel like road trip stories are a classic American genre but one that mostly features adventurous young white men. It’s cool to see the lead character in your story, a young brown woman, upend that convention. How does her identity play into this story?

Ah thank you! The Instagram comic is very much actually a fairytale and was a ton of fun.

I mean — 100% the “freedom of the road” belongs to those safest in America, right? If you can walk on the highway hitchhiking, if you can sleep in your car or camp by yourself... There’s a bravura in being a woman alone (especially a brown woman) and I’m certainly drawn to accounts of solitary travel from perspectives outside the usual. And given all that, it felt only right that my main character have someone to travel with, someone big and old and more sure-footed.

And of course her identity plays into so many aspects of the story. It’s a bit of a diaspora narrative, I think (to use the term loosely) and — not that it’s made explicit in the text — there’s some tension over her sexuality. And she’s seen immediately as an outsider, or a curiosity, in some towns.

Rob Clough is here as well, with a review of Jaime Hernandez's new children's comic, The Dragon Slayer.

The fact that Hernandez chose stories that aren't strictly morally instructive, but instead convey other kinds of information, simply make people laugh, or act as shaggy dog stories makes this volume especially enjoyable. Seeing his work in color is a special treat (the colorist is Ala Lee) that likely allowed him to work a little looser here than in his usual Love and Rockets stories. Hernandez has always used women as his protagonists, so it seems natural for two of the three stories to focus on female characters. Throw in the historical context behind each of the stories in the afterword, and you have yet another alternative cartoonist make a smooth jump to the Toon Books line.

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—The podcast pipeline remains open, with new episodes of Process Party featuring Josh Simmons and Mindkiller featuring Gina Wynbrandt. (New York City area fans of Wynbrandt should take note that the Scott Eder Gallery in Jersey City will be showing her work in a show opening tomorrow, also featuring works by Gabrielle Bell, Trina Robbins, Mary Fleener, Lauren Weinstein, and Tommi Parrish, among others.)

—The Universal Fan Con debacle is still very difficult to figure out, but this report by Jazmine Joyner and Rosie Knight is the most thorough and sober one I've seen so far.

Universal Fan Con was meant to be a celebration of inclusivity and fandom. But as the show was unceremoniously canceled a week before it was expected to occur, fans are asking what happened. Many find themselves left out of pocket, having backed the Kickstarter and booked often non-refundable flights. We, Rosie Knight and Jazmine Joyner, have compiled a comprehensive investigation into Universal Fan Con and what went wrong. We’ve utilized the now-deleted Fan Con website, Twitter, Kickstarter page, interviews, and emails that were shared with us to put together this piece which we hope will help people gain a better understanding of what happened.


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