Category Archives: Ad Astra Exclusives

Talk is Cheap: Episode #4

Hey Everyone,

We’re back this week with a fresh episode of “Talk is Cheap”. This week’s comic features those lovable little critters that come out this time of year: the opinion pollsters.

We’re still looking for a few more newspapers interested in running the comic! TiC is timely, ever so witty, and a steal-of-a-deal. E-mail us at adastracomix@gmail.com for more info.

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Episode 3 of “Talk is Cheap”

Welcome to ‘Talk is Cheap’, our new newspaper-style comic covering the Canadian political scene – such as it is. Following in the tradition of Doonesbury, Bloom County and Weltschmerz, TiC aims to measure the space between rhetoric and reality with a mixture of surrealism, snark and snappy visuals.

Currently running in Trent University’s Arthur Newspaper, with art by Ad Astra Comix founder Nicole Burton and text by lead staff editor Hugh Goldring,

‘Talk is Cheap’ is available for syndication, so send us an e-mail for details if you’re interested!

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Next: Episode 4

Episode 2 of “Talk is Cheap”

Welcome to ‘Talk is Cheap’, our new newspaper-style comic covering the Canadian political scene – such as it is. Following in the tradition of Doonesbury, Bloom County and Weltschmerz, TiC aims to measure the space between rhetoric and reality with a mixture of surrealism, snark and snappy visuals.

Currently running in Trent University’s Arthur Newspaper, with art by Ad Astra Comix founder Nicole Burton and text by lead staff editor Hugh Goldring,

‘Talk is Cheap’ is available for syndication, so send us an e-mail for details if you’re interested!

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Next: Episode 3

Episode 1 of “Talk is Cheap”

Welcome to ‘Talk is Cheap’, our new newspaper-style comic covering the Canadian political scene – such as it is. Following in the tradition of Doonesbury, Bloom County and Weltschmerz, TiC aims to measure the space between rhetoric and reality with a mixture of surrealism, snark and snappy visuals.

Currently running in Trent University’s Arthur Newspaper, with art by Ad Astra Comix founder Nicole Burton and text by lead staff editor Hugh Goldring,

‘Talk is Cheap’ is available for syndication, so send us an e-mail for details if you’re interested!

Episode 1 (Week of Sept 7)

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Next: Episode 2

Drawing the Line: An Exclusive Sneak Preview!

Drawing the Line preview coverAd Astra Comix, in cooperation with Zubaan Books has officially opened pre-orders for “Drawing the Line: Indian Women Fight Back!” here in North America. If you have already ordered your copy off our Kickstarter but can’t wait to see what’s in store, here’s a little teaser to keep you going! Below you’ll find an exclusive sneak preview of the beauty and power of ‘Drawing the Line’, which connects issues of gender, sexuality, shade/race, class, and inter-generational dialogue in one exciting volume. In short, we feel that this book includes a little of everything that North American feminism needs: international and intersectional perspectives on the ‘every day’ of womanhood.

Continue reading Drawing the Line: An Exclusive Sneak Preview!

Climate Comix! A Guest Post by Seth Tobocman

Seth Tobocman1 Seth Tobocman is a radical comic book artist who has been living in Manhattan’s Lower East Side since 1978. Tobocman is best known for his creation of the political comic book anthology World War 3 Illustrated, which he started in 1979 with fellow artist Peter Kuper. He has also been an influential propagandist for the squatting, anti-globalization, and anti-war movements in the United States. We’re very pleased to be working with Seth, and to share his experience and knowledge with Ad Astra readers. -NMB

Why does one read a book? One reason is to inform oneself.

        Why does one create a work of art? The earliest art referred to hunting, which was the means through which we survived.
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Climate change is a matter of survival about which we are very poorly informed. So it’s natural that there are comics about global warming. Here are four good ones.
post-york-01Title: POST YORK
Author/Illustrator: James Romberger
Published: Uncivilized Books (2012)
Pages: 40
Dimensions: 8″ x 11″
         If you want to know exactly what New York City will look like when its permanently flooded up to the second floor, then James Romberger is probably the guy to show you. James is one of the best draftsmen in comics. He can draw anything, from any angle, without reference. He has the kind of skill that we are all jealous of. His pastel cityscapes are in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Yeah, you heard that right, in the Met with Rubens and Rembrandt.
         James wrote POST YORK in collaboration with his son Crosby who is a rap performer. A  disk of Crosby’s music is included in the package. It is the story of two teenagers, a boy and a girl, living in the ruins of Manhattan who encounter each other by chance. It is a concept reminiscent of the movie PLANET OF THE APES and the comic: KAMANDI THE LAST BOY ON EARTH, by one of James’ big influences, Jack Kirby. Romberger also uses a plot device from the experimental films of the 1960s: The story has two endings. The encounter can turn out to be fortuitous or fatal. It is, in the end, a pretty simple story, but Romberger has great compassion for his characters, whose vulnerability is made clear.
          There is not much information or analysis of global warming here. But I’ll take heart without analysis over analysis without heart any day of the week. And POST YORK has heart!

Continue reading Climate Comix! A Guest Post by Seth Tobocman

Ad Astra Comix to Release the North American Edition of “Drawing the Line: Indian Women Fight Back!”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 6th, 2015

     Ad Astra Comix and Zubaan Books are pleased to announce a North American edition of the groundbreaking comic title ‘Drawing The Line’. The book is a 162-page anthology of 14 accounts by Indian women of their day-to-day experiences in India, illustrated by the authors. After a successful debut in India, ‘Drawing the Line’ is coming to North America where a whole new audience can glean insight from the diverse perspectives of its contributors.4
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    Released as part of an ongoing national conversation in India around sexual violence and the experience of women in public spaces, ‘Drawing the Line’ is an anthology of comics that range from comics journalism to autobiography. Though some of the comics address sexual violence, other themes include beauty standards, patriarchal attitudes in the workplace, experiences of sisterhood on public transit and other experiences of womanhood in India.
    Although the sexual assault case that sparked this national conversation around gender in India was covered in the western press, that coverage has been heavily skewed. Sexual violence has been portrayed as an Indian problem as though it was not also common in North American society. Rather than allowing western media to speak for Indian women, this title presents the individual, on-the-ground experiences of women in their own words and pictures.
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   At a time when white feminism is struggling to embrace intersectionality in a meaningful way, titles like ‘Drawing the Line’ offer western feminists an opportunity to engage with the lived experiences of Indian women in other parts of the world. For South Asian women living in the diaspora, ‘Drawing the Line’ represents an opportunity to compare similarities and differences between diasporic life and the experience of women still in India.
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     Zubaan Books, the title’s Indian publisher, are an independent feminist publishing house based out of New Delhi that has been operating since 2003.
Ad Astra Comix is a Toronto-based comics press specializing in the production and publication of comics and graphic novels that amplify marginalized voices. Founded in 2012, Ad Astra is working on several publishing projects in addition to ‘Drawing the Line’.
Press Contact: Nicole Marie Burton
E-mail: adastracomix@gmail.com
Phone: 1-647-863-4994

If You Could See a Comic About Any Social Issue, What Would it Be?

This past May, at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (or TCAF), we joined 20,000 other comic and art fans at the Toronto Public Library. Dozens of publishers traded, hundreds of artists talked, and literally thousands of books changed hands… but how many of them were about social issues? Very few. And if that was the case, why? Do people not care about social issues? If they do, which ones to they care about?

What people told us, and how they responded revealed some interesting answers…

Continue reading If You Could See a Comic About Any Social Issue, What Would it Be?

The RCMP slaughter of Inuit dogs: There’s a comic for that & it’s headed for Classrooms

In April 2015 our free webcomic DOGS gained national attention in Canada for its depiction of the little-known but horrific RCMP sled dog slaughter of the 1950s-60s in Eastern Arctic Canada. On Friday, June 5th, Ad Astra Comix launched a small crowdfunder to print the comic as a poster in bulk.

Destination? How about every classroom in Canada?

Continue reading The RCMP slaughter of Inuit dogs: There’s a comic for that & it’s headed for Classrooms

DOGS: A webcomic history of the North

Click on panels to enlarge files.

This comic is shareable, but please cite Ad Astra Comix as the source, and provide a link to the Qikiqtani Truth Commission with any re-postings. Interested in buying a glossy, high-resolution poster of ‘Dogs’? E-mail us for details

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About this comic:

Handling indigenous subject matter is always a challenge for settlers, and to be clear, we are white settlers. We have done our best to avoid speaking on behalf of the Inuit who are more than capable of making themselves heard when qallunaat take the time to listen. But it is a narrow beam to balance on.

Even before Franz Boas wandered into the Arctic and began scribbling, white people have been misrepresenting the Inuit. They were not trapped in the Stone Age until the 1950s; they had already been adapting European technologies to their purposes for more than a hundred years at that point. Southerners love to depict the Inuit as ‘noble savages’ who were ‘ruined’ by civilization. Needless to say, that is not only incredibly racist, it’s frankly wrong.

There’s a great NFB mockumentary called ‘Qallunaat: Why White People are Funny” we recommend if you are interested in seeing the colonial gaze reversed. There’s also a film where the descendants of Nanook of the North (obviously not his real name) laugh at the many inaccuracies of that early documentary.

We have done our best to faithfully render the period and the people. This is a comic and we are working for free so in some places, we have gotten the details wrong. This comic is not a substitute to listening to the stories of the Inuit themselves, or visiting Nunavut to learn from them in person (assuming they’ll have you, which you shouldn’t take for granted). We both had mixed feelings about telling such a sensitive story – both because we are white, and because it is difficult to depict it in all its painful complexity.

Ultimately, the reasons we did it are close to the reasons for our concern. This story badly needs amplifying. It is part of the larger story of the genocide of indigenous peoples carried out by the Canadian state, but it is not so well known as the violence of the residential schools system. We hope this comic can be a starting point to help settlers find more substantial lines of inquiry and in doing so, reach a broader audience than the Qikiqtani Truth Commission has yet done.

Which brings a final disclaimer: Ad Astra Comix is not affiliated with the QTC and this work has been undertaken without their permission. Peter Irniq was contacted to give his consent for the quote we have used, but has not seen the comic as of its release. This is a labour of love and hope, and we only wish it calls attention to this period in Inuit history so that settlers can understand that people live up there, god damn it, not just inukshuks to appropriate when we need a symbol for some imaginary shared nationhood.

Peace,
Hugh Goldring & Nicole Marie Burton

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.