Cathy G. Johnson
There’s a truly conversational tone to Cathy G. Johnson’s dialogue, which, when combined with her raw and expressionistic art, creates an immersive sense of being “there” with her characters. Johnson’s loyalty to activist punk scenes clearly informs her subjects, which are so often pitch-perfect representations of young people making sense of living in a system that doesn’t value them. Her stories wrap around central ambiguities, the elusiveness and power of human connection, and the sometimes frightening lengths we’re willing to go to find them. Bold and messy pencils and paint fill her compositions with an infectious energy that drives further reflection on the questions her stories raise long after you’ve put the book down. Cathy G. Johnson was the recipient of the 2014 Ignatz award for Promising New Talent, and has upcoming books from Koyama Press and First Second. She is also a founder and organizer of the Rhode Island Independent Press Expo, where Inaction Comics debuted.
Official website with a selection of her comics from the past years available in full: http://www.cathyboy.com/
Her tumblr which you can follow for sketches and stylistic experiments, and browse them by medium….news and reviews too:http://cathyboy.tumblr.com/
The comics MJ Robinson creates have a musicality to them. You can hear the words in their comics bouncing off of eachother like you are thinking them yourself, their sounds and rhythms revealing as much as their meanings. There’s a playful atonality to some of their work, where they seem to be pulling from children’s drawings in the same way other artists are inspired by outsider art. Which is no surprise, as much of their recent work has been informed by their experiences as an educator of small children. This childish earnestness is counterbalanced by a jangly hipness, and somehow together they reveal complexity and truth in simple autobiographical narratives.
MJ grew up in Pennsylvania (mostly) and graduated from Oberlin College in Ohio with a BA in Studio Art and Creative Writing. They currently work as an arts and museum educator, freelance illustrator, and cartoonist.
You can read through 5 years worth of their comics at http://mjcomics.com/and follow http://kickintheeyes.tumblr.com/ for new sketches, art, and news on upcoming events! Their printed books and comics are available for purchase at Czap Books.
Laurel Lynn Leake
Capable of going very playful and sweet, very thoughtful and minimal, or straight for the throat emotionally and intellectually, Laurel Lynn Leake’s work is able to be immediately identified by it’s distinctive sincerity. From her time at the Center for Cartoon Studies, Leake’s style has a clarity and accessibility that is immediately appealing. She is an active analyst of comics and the arts, and how it all impacts on our world. This is evident in her comics, where she has an interest in portraying a variety of experiences with sympathy and authenticity. She affectionately represents characters who vary in race, gender, ability, and orientation as they navigate realistic contexts in fantastical worlds.
There’s a peaceful and gentle energy that permeates Kimball Anderson’s work, but though it might take a moment to see it, there’s also an unyielding drive to understand and analyze the world. Their art is always in flux, going with the style and medium that most suits the message that is trying to be communicated. Their comics delve into feel of things on a basic level, a phenomenological exploration of human existence. A perfect realism seems often tantalizingly within their grasp, but they intentionally eschew it, aiming for expressionistic messiness. They avoid professionalism and polish, because as a physically and mentally ill person, those ring false for Anderson. They are not trying to represent themself as competent, but to represent the world honestly.
Check out their sketchbook comic at http://outside-life.com/c/comic/sketchbook-1/ for an example of their autobiographical style and more of their work.
Eager for even more? Check out the Inaction Comics Creator Talk at the Boston Comics Workspace on Sunday October 11 at 7 PM featuring Kimball Anderson ( @earnestattempts ) , Cathy G. Johnson ( @cathyboy ), MJ Robinson ( @kickintheeyes ), and Laurel Lynn Leake ( @laurellynnleake ) .
See more information here.