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January 10th, 2017

Earthseed by Octavia Butler

Filed under: SF Reviews — Tags: , , — William Cardini @ 9:20 am

Octavia Butler’s Earthseed series is two beautifully written, brutal but sometimes hopeful and emotionally devastating epistolary novels, Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents, that came out in the 1990’s.

Butler has been on my to-read list for a while. I started with these two novels that are some of the last that she wrote because I heard that in the second novel, America elects a fascist President whose campaign slogan is “make America great again.” Very relevant to our recent election.

Cover for a new hardcover edition of Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
Cover for a new hardcover edition of Parable of the Sower coming out in February from Seven Stories Press. I couldn’t find the cover artist on their website.

Parable of the Sower is terrifying because it’s very plausible. Butler portrays a future America that has been devastated by an economic collapse caused by climate change. No one but the ultra rich can afford gas for vehicles. Food is expensive so middle class communities grow their own in gardens and learn how to eat foods like acorns. Many people are homeless migrants walking long roads to escape extreme drought further south. Everyone is so desperate to survive and there is so much crime that no one can afford to be kind. I don’t read a lot of post-apocalyptic SF so I found the breakdown of the social order to be frightening, but if you read a lot of those books this may not affect you as much.

The book is a sequence of diary entries and religious verses by the main character, Lauren Oya Olamina. This format adds to the realism. At first Olamina is introducing you to her walled neighborhood, a somewhat familiar place of relative stability in the chaos. But then she is forced to make a harrowing journey, walking north on California’s highways, surrounded by violent vagrants and fleeing before walls of fire set by drug addicts who experience orgasmic pleasure when they watch flames burn.

Cover for a new hardcover edition of Parable of the Talents by Octavia Butler
Cover for a new hardcover edition of Parable of the Talents coming out in February from Seven Stories Press. I couldn’t find the cover artist on their website.

Parable of the Talents is set five years after the end of Parable of the Sower. At first, the sequel feels less alarming, perhaps because Butler adds introductory texts by other characters to Olamina’s diary entries. Until the halfway point – then a major change in Olamina’s circumstances upset me so much I could barely read it.

There are some spoilers and mention of sexual assault and slavery in the paragraph ahead. Click through to read the rest of the review.

January 4th, 2017

Check out my Comics on Birdcage Bottom Books

Filed under: Print Comics — Tags: — William Cardini @ 8:21 am

J.T. Yost recently had to redo the site of his publishing company and distro, Birdcage Bottom Books. Unfortunately all the old links no longer work.

Check out my new page on the site!

Birdcage Bottom Books new site screenshot

J.T. included me in the anthology Digestate, which is still for sale, and also distributes Vortex and all the still in-print issues of Future Shock.

January 3rd, 2017

2015 and 2016 in Review

Filed under: Life — William Cardini @ 9:50 am

Like many progressive American people, 2016 has been an alarming year for me.

I got re-invested in the political process during the primaries. Thinking about the issues led me to finally get to This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate by Naomi Klein on my to-read list. This book is a clarion call to agitate for immediate climate action.

And then Trump was elected. In addition to his distressing racist, sexist, and dishonest rhetoric and behavior, his potential nominations for his cabinet are a climate nightmare.

In comparison to the challenges of climate change mitigation and an authoritarian president, my psychedelic space fantasy comics have seemed such an inadequate pursuit. I still believe in the power of stories and that art has transcendent value but I feel so privileged working on comics while the world collapses around me. Especially when I see what activists can accomplish in places like Standing Rock. I’m not sure if I want to make my comics more political or just get more involved with activist groups.

So I haven’t been as productive in 2016 as I was in 2015.

In 2015 I drew a lot and tabled at SPX for the first time. I had pages in four anthologies, Blank Hill Zine, RhiZome #3, Ink Brick #4, and Future Shock Zero. Yeah Dude Comics put out my mini-comic Sphere Fear. I finished Skew Part 3 and a couple other comics for Study Group. I did two large Acrylic paintings as rewards for the Fall 2014 Sparkplug Books Kickstarter.

In 2016 I tabled locally at the KC Zine Fest but didn’t travel to any national shows. I did some watercolor paintings for a couple of KC area art shows. Alternative Comics took over the Sparkplug backstock and then released Vortex through Diamond and produced a digital edition.

My biggest accomplishment was finishing Skew Part 4 and an epilogue. As a reward for reading through this post, here are six pages from Part 4:

Skew Page 183
Page 183.

Skew Page 183
Page 184.

Skew Page 183
Page 185.

Skew Page 183
Page 186.

Skew Page 183
Page 187.

Skew Page 183
Page 188.

One of my goals in 2017 is to find a publisher for a print edition of Skew.

I’ve also been working on another comic that should come out next year. It’s weird to work on comics that I’m not posting as soon as they’re finished. I don’t want to say anything else for fear of jinxing it. And I’m involved in at least one other anthology-ish project for 2017.

December 13th, 2016

Hyper-Grid Mount Miizzz

Filed under: Artwork — Tags: , — William Cardini @ 9:14 am

Sup y’all, I’m just melting into a hyper-grid mountain over here.

Hyper-Grid Mountain Miizzzard by William Cardini

In other news, the Vortex eBook is now available on itch.io!

October 18th, 2016

Vortex Now Available for Kindle and comiXology

Filed under: Digital Comics — Tags: — William Cardini @ 9:25 pm

The digital version of Vortex, produced by Alternative Comics, is now available for Kindle and comiXology. It’s $4.99.

You can buy it on the Amazon site or on the comiXology site.

September 28th, 2016

Vortex Available in Comic Shops Today!

Filed under: Press,Print Comics — Tags: — William Cardini @ 9:56 am

Vortex should be available at your local comic shops today!

The comics critic Jog has chosen Vortex as a spotlight picks for his weekly column on new releases for The Comics Journal website, here’s a screenshot:

Screenshot of This Week in Comics by Jog for The Comics Journal

If you can’t find Vortex at your shop you can ask them to order it for you.

September 22nd, 2016

Vortex in Comic Book Shops Next Week 9/28!

Filed under: Print Comics,Web Comics — Tags: — William Cardini @ 10:51 pm

Turns out I was wrong in my previous posts – Vortex isn’t arriving in comic shops on October 26th, it’ll arrive much sooner, next Wednesday, September 28th!

Vortex spread 23
Vortex spread 23.

If you want to check out a preview of Vortex, I’ve been posting the two-page spreads on the Comics Workbook Tumblr:

Here’s a few more spreads:

Vortex spread 12
Vortex spread 12.

Vortex spread 14
Vortex spread 14.

Vortex spread 21
Vortex spread 21.

Vortex spread 25
Vortex spread 25.

Vortex spread 30
Vortex spread 30.

Vortex spread 35
Vortex spread 35.

September 7th, 2016

KC Zine Con #2

Filed under: Events — Tags: — William Cardini @ 10:05 pm

Hey hey hey! On this Saturday, September 10th, I’ll be tabling next to my buddy Tim Brown at the second KC Zine Con from 10am to 6pm.

KC Zine Con 2 will be in Pierson Auditorium at The University of Missouri, Kansas City, MO 64110
Poster by Kelsey Wroten.

I’ll have Vortex, Future Shock Zero, Ink Brick #4, RhiZome #3, Digestate, and these risograph Vortex posters:

Red and black risograph Vortex poster
Posters printed by local shop Oddities Prints.

This’ll be my first time tabling in Kansas City and my only time tabling in 2016!

August 31st, 2016

Update on Vortex in Previews

Filed under: Print Comics — Tags: — William Cardini @ 10:33 pm

This Friday 9/2 is the final order cutoff to get Vortex from your local comic book stop on its release date of 10/26 9/28.

Check out the full listing in Previews here.

August 23rd, 2016

Vortex is in the August Previews

Filed under: Press,Print Comics — Tags: — William Cardini @ 10:37 pm

I’m very excited to tell y’all that Vortex is on Page 269 of Previews, the Diamond comics catalogue! It’ll be on shelves in fine comic book stores across the US on October 26th September 28th.

If you’d like a copy, ask your local comic book store to order it for you before September 2nd.

Order code AUG161125.

Alternative Comics page of the August Previews

You may have noticed that these two pages are the Alternative Comics section of Previews. After Virginia Paine decided to close Sparkplug Books, Marc Arsenault of Alternative Comics inherited most of Sparkplug’s backstock. I’m grateful to Virginia for taking a chance on Vortex and all the work she did to get the Kickstarter funded and the book printed and distributed. Running a publisher as a third job is hard work and I’m glad that she’s going to be able to focus on her own awesome comics, like The WHYs, an epic webcomic about queer superpowered teens.

The reviewer Rob Clough of High-Low said goodbye to Sparkplug in a review round-up that includes Vortex.

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