Sign up for our newsletters   

Baltimore City Paper home.
Print Email

Comics Feature

Out of Sequence

The Third Annual City Paper Comics Contest--Plus . . .

Under the Covers: Look for Nick and Leo Hussey's Sheet Comics, the winner of City Paper's Third Annual Comics Contest, in the paper each week. Open a larger pdf version HERE
Open a larger pdf version HERE
Open a larger pdf version HERE.  
Second Place: Plein Air Kitty by John Ebersberger. Open a larger pdf version HERE
Open a larger pdf version HERE
Open a larger pdf version HERE.  
Third Place: Untitled by Alan Laidlaw. Open a larger pdf version HERE
Open a larger pdf version HERE
Open a larger pdf version HERE.  
Honorable Mention: Soulless Joe Retail Zombie by Alex Gershenow. Open a larger pdf version HERE.  

Comics Issue 2004

Out of Sequence The Third Annual City Paper Comics Contest--Plus . . .

The Trouble With Girls Playboy Cartoons Sell, Don’t Shock | By Tim Kreider

Comics 101 | By Tom Chalkley

Found in Translation Lillian Olsen Has Discovered a Way to Make a Living From Comics Thanks to the Japanese Invasion | By J. Bowers

Posted 9/29/2004

For nigh-irrefutable proof that comics has entered the greater arts pantheon, look no further than this week’s City Paper Baltimore Weekly, which features hype for no fewer than four comics-related events. In particular, note this weekend’s SPX in Bethesda. The nation’s largest alternative and small-press comics festival, since the mid-’90s SPX has helped foster this renaissance of sorts by providing a place for alt-comix cartoonists to not only ply their wares, but also to meet and scheme in a hothouse, movement-building environment, while traditional bookstores, readers, and critics caught up to the idea of graphic novels.

First Place: Sheet Comics by Nick and Leo Hussey

Second Place: Plein Air Kitty by John Ebersberger

Third Place: Untitled by Alan Laidlaw

Honorable Mention: Babe's Bar by Sevilla King and Soulless Joe Retail Zombie by Alex Gershenow

A selection of OTHER entrants.

 
In recognition of comics’ growing respect and popularity—and also to give us something fun to work on after the Hell Week that is Best of Baltimore—CP added a suite of related stories to this year’s Comics Contest. While none of the stories covers the alt-comix you’ll find in Bethesda, we think you’ll enjoy arts writer J. Bowers’ talk with local manga translator Lillian Olsen, The Pain—When Will It End? creator Timothy Kreider’s thoughts on Playboy and other “girlie” cartoons, and longtime CP contributor Tom Chalkley’s comic about teaching, of course, comics.

The main course is our third annual Comics Contest. We got more entries than ever this year—more than 60—and, perhaps concurrently, more disagreement than ever among our esteemed panel of judges. Marc Hempel, the Baltimore cartoonist behind Naked Brain, Gregory, and “The MAD World of . . . ” regular feature in MAD magazine, says he couldn’t find much humor in the submissions, so he favored those with outstanding draftsmanship. Atomic Books co-owner Rachel Whang, on the other hand, was looking for The Funny and judged accordingly. CP’s resident comics guru, Christopher Skokna, wanted to find that certain weirdness that makes for a good alt-weekly comic strip.

And we think we came up with a winner that fulfills all three requirements with Sheet Comics, by Baltimore’s Hussey Brothers, Nick and Leo—not a big surprise, since it won second place last year. (This year’s winning strip will run in the paper each week for the next year. Second place gets a $100 prize; third takes home $50.) One of last year’s judges, Brian Ralph, said of Sheet, “It’s like Edward Gorey collaborating with Ben Katchor. Not so much funny in a ha-ha way, more funny in a way you might say, ‘Whoever writes this comic is kind of . . . you know . . . funny.’” That’s pretty much what all of this year’s judges said as well, though not as eloquently, so we happily steal Ralph’s praises.

In second comes Plein Air Kitty, by John Ebersberger of Annapolis, a whimsical, beautifully drawn strip about a cat that seems to do pretty much whatever it wants to do. Whang calls it “a beautiful ripoff of Tony Millionaire,” while Skokna sees the inspiration of Millionaire’s own influences—the magazine illustrators and newspaper strip cartoonists of the late 1800s and early 1900s—in Ebersberger’s fine lines. “He’s plainly interested in comics history,” Skokna says. PAK, it should be noted, was Hempel’s first-placer.

Alan Laidlaw’s untitled strip takes third, though none of the judges could really figure out why. “Nice drawing—but I don’t get it,” Hempel says. “Good art, interesting character, fine writing,” Skokna says. “But I’m not sure where it’s going.” Nevertheless, all agreed that they want to see where this Pikesville cartoonist’s strip leads.

Finally, the judges felt Babe’s Bar by Sevilla King and Soulless Joe Retail Zombie by Alex Gershenow also deserved recognition, and so dubbed them “Honorable Mentions.” Congrats to the winners, examples from whom, and plenty of samples from other submitted comics, follow. (This year’s weird, inexplicable trend: dragons—look for ’em.)  

Related stories
Comments powered by Disqus
Calendar
CP on Facebook
CP on Twitter