Category Archives: News

ROADTRIP! Ad Astra Comix is [Back] on Tour!

Last year, we packed up our apartment in Toronto and hit the road from December 2015 to April 2016. From the American Southeast to the Pacific Northwest, we met with incredible people doing important work.

In 2017, we’ve decided to do it all again. Stay posted to our social media accounts for updates, photos, and event listings. And, for old time’s sake, here’s the comic we made from our tour last time…

tour 1 tour 2 tour 3tour 4

 

New DC Superhero Based on Indigenous Youth Activist Shannen Koostachin

In a recent posting on DC Women Kicking Ass, sources have confirmed that comic artist Jeff Lemire has followed through on his projection from last year that he would be creating a new superhero based on deceased Indigenous teen activist Shannen Koostachin. They will be appearing in Justice League United #1, which comes out this May.

Shannon DC Jeff Lemire

Who is Shannen Koostachin?

Shannen Koostachin was born in Attawapiskat First Nation on James Bay coast, Ontario, Canada. Most recently Attawapiskat has made headlines for its dire living conditions, from boiling orders to inadequate housing insulation, which has drawn increased attention nationally and internationally to the reality that the conditions of many Indigenous communities in Canada are more comparable to the Third World than an industrialized democracy like Canada.

She attended J.R. Nakogee elementary school, which had been housed in makeshift portables shipping containers since 2000, when it was condemned and closed due to a decades-old fuel leak. Then a teenager, Shannen learned that Canadian government was not giving proper funding to First Nation Aboriginal Schooling systems around Canada.

In 2007, the federal government had backed away from a third commitment to building a new school for Attawapiskat. Using the power of social media like Youtube and Facebook, Shannen and other Indigenous youth launched the Students Helping Students campaign for a school for Attawapiskat.Koostachin spoke out about the experiences of her community in newspapers, at conferences, and on the steps of Parliament Hill in 2008.  In 2009, at the age of 14, in 2009 she was nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize.

Tragically, Shannen died on May 30, 2010 in a car accident. Her legacy to improve the conditions of First Nations communities–particularly youth and students–lives on in a campaign called Shannen’s Dream.

MARCH: Book One honoured in 2014’s Corretta Scott King Book Awards

Left: Coretta Scott King Book Awards Symbol next to 2014 honourable mention, "MARCH: Book 1" by Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and illustrator Nate Powell
Left: Coretta Scott King Book Awards Symbol next to 2014 honourable mention, “MARCH: Book 1” by Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and illustrator Nate Powell

The Coretta Scott King Book Awards are given annually to outstanding African American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults that demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values.  The award commemorates the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and honours his wife, Mrs. Coretta Scott King, for her courage and determination to continue the work for peace and world brotherhood.  The Awards were founded in 1969 at the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

 

“MARCH: Book One”, an autobiographical graphic novel by former Civil Rights leader and Congressman John Lewis, tells the complex, often troubling, often inspiring, story of freedom fighters launching a movement in the U.S. South that would change the entire country. The book is co-authored by Andrew Aydin, a member of Congressman Lewis’ staff, and by veteran comic illustrator and storyteller, Nate Powell.

A full list of award winners is below.

 

2014 Author Award Winner

Rita Williams-Garcia, author of “P.S. Be Eleven” published by Amistad, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. In this spirited stand-alone sequel to “One Crazy Summer,” the Gaither sisters return to Brooklyn after a summer spent with their mother in Oakland, California. Delphine, Vonetta and Fern thrive in the tumultuous era of the late 1960s, but Delphine is tasked by her mother to, “P.S. Be Eleven.”

Rita Williams-Garcia, the author of the Newbery Honor–winning novel “One Crazy Summer,”  also a winner of the Coretta Scott King Award, a National Book Award finalist, and the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction. Residing in Jamaica, N.Y., she is on the faculty at the Vermont College of Fine Arts.

2014 Illustrator Award Winner

Bryan Collier, illustrator of “Knock knock: my dad’s dream for me” illustrated by Bryan Collier and published by Little, Brown and Company, Hachette Book Group. In “Knock knock: my dad’s dream for me,” Bryan Collier brings to life Daniel Beaty’s powerful narrative of a son’s longing for his absent father. With his distinctive watercolor and collage technique, Collier captures the nuances of the urban setting and the son’s journey to manhood.

2014 John Steptoe Award for New Talent

Theodore Taylor III, illustrator of for “When the beat was born: DJ Kool Herc and the creation of hip hop” written by Laban Carrick Hill and published by Roaring Brook Press, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishing Holdings Limited Partnership .  Taylor’s stylish artwork shows young Clive Campbell’s transformation into the DJ who helped launch hip-hop in the early 70’s. Using retro cartoon-style illustrations rendered in a palette that emphasizes browns, greens, reds and greys he transforms words on a page into a rhythmic beat that brings the words alive.

2014 Author Honor

John Lewis and Andrew Aydin, authors of “March: Book One,” illustrated by Nate Powell, and published by Top Shelf Productions

Walter Dean Myers, authors of “Darius & Twig,” published by Amistad, an imprint of HarperCollins Publisher

Nikki Grimes, author of “Words with Wings,” published by WordSong, an imprint of Highlights

2014 Illustrator Honor

Kadir Nelson, illustrator and author of “Nelson Mandela,” published by Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

The Coretta Scott King Book Awards seal images and award names are solely and exclusively owned by the American Library Association.

Cartoonists to Director of the Angoulême Comics Festival: Drop SodaStream

140131_sodastream4For more information: http://lettertoangouleme.tumblr.com/

CARTOONISTS TO DIRECTOR OF ANGOULEME FESTIVAL: DROP SODASTREAM

Sacco, Siné, Katchor, Kerbaj, Coe, Drooker, Kuper, Madden, Tobocman, among dozens of others protest sponsorship by Israeli settlement manufacturer

FRIDAY, JANUARY 31, 2014– Over forty cartoonists and illustrators from a dozen countries around the world released an open letter today to Franck Bondoux, director of the International Festival of Comics at Angoulême, asking the festival to drop its relationship with the Israeli drink manufacturer SodaStream. Among those signing the letter were French cartoonists Siné, Baudoin, Carali, and Chimulus, Americans Joe Sacco, Eric Drooker, Ben Katchor, Peter Kuper, Matt Madden, Seth Tobocman and Sue Coe, as well as Palestinian cartoonist Mohammad Saba’aneh, Lebanese Mazen Kerbaj, Sudanese Khalid Albaih, Tunisian Willis From Tunis, Israeli Amitai Sandy, Brazilian Carlos Latuff, Spanish Elchicotriste, Italian Gianluca Costantini, and many more.

The letter comes as SodaStream increasingly is targeted by an international boycott due to the presence of its primary factory in the Israeli settlement of Ma’ale Adumim. The day before, headlines were made when actress Scarlett Johansson ended her seven-year relationship with the charity OxFam over disagreements stemming from her role as a paid spokesperson for SodaStream.

140131_sodastream1

The Angoulême International Comics Festival is the largest in Europe, and the second-largest in the world. The announcement that it would be sponsored this year by SodaStream drew immediate condemnation from French activists.

The full text of the letter and list of signatories follows:

Lettre ouverte à / Open letter to:

           Monsieur Franck Bondoux

                 Direction du Festival international de la bande dessinée
71 rue Hergé
16000 Angoulême

We, cartoonists and illustrators from all countries, are surprised, disappointed and angry to find out that SodaStream is an official sponsor of the Angoulême International Comics Festival.

As you must know, SodaStream is the target of an international boycott call for its contribution to the colonization of Palestinian land, due to its factory in the illegal settlement of Ma’ale Adumim, its exploitation of Palestinian workers, and its theft of Palestinian resources, in violation of international law and contravening international principles of human rights.

Angoulême has had an important role in the appreciation of comics as an art form for over 40 years. It would be sad if SodaStream were able to use this event to whitewash their crimes.

We ask you to cut all ties between the Festival and this shameful company.

Sincerely,

+++++++++++++++++

Khalid Albaih (Sudan)
Leila Abdelrazaq (USA)
Avoine (France)
Edd Baldry (UK/France)
Edmond Baudoin (France)
Steve Brodner (USA)
Berth (France)
Susie Cagle (USA)
Jennifer Camper (USA)
Carali (France)
Chimulus (France)
Jean-Luc Coudray (France)
Philippe Coudray (France)
Marguerite Dabaie (USA)
Eric Drooker (USA)
Elchicotriste (Spain)
Jenny Gonzalez-Blitz (USA)
Ethan Heitner (USA)
Paula Hewitt Amram (USA)
Hatem Imam (Lebanon)
Jiho (France)
Ben Katchor (USA)
Mazen Kerbaj (Lebanon)
Lolo Krokaga (France)
Nat Krokaga (France)
Peter Kuper (USA)
Carlos Latuff (Brazil)
Lasserpe (France)
Lerouge (France)
Matt Madden (USA/France)
Mric (France)
Barrack Rima (Lebanon/Belgium)
James Romberger (USA)
Puig Rosado (France)
Mohammad Saba’aneh (Palestine)
Joe Sacco (USA)
Malik Sajad (Kashmir)
Amitai Sandy (Israel)
Siné (France)
Seth Tobocman (USA)
Eli Valley (USA)
Willis From Tunis (Tunisie/France)
Jordan Worley (USA)

Si vous êtes dessinateur et que vous voulez vous associer à cette lettre ouverte, merci d’écrire à: lettertoangouleme@gmail.com

If you are a cartoonist and you want to endorse this open letter, please write to: lettertoangouleme@gmail.com