Jason Shiga

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Sketchy Behavior | Hellen Jo 

Never afraid to speak and/or draw her mind, Los Angeles based artist and illustrator, Hellen Jo and her characters can be described as rough, vulgar, tough, jaded, powerful, bratty and bad-ass - AKA her own brand of femininity. Known for her comic Jin & Jam, and her work as an illustrator and storyboard artist for shows such as Steven Universe and Regular Show, Hellen’s rebellious, and sometimes grotesque artwork and illustrations are redefining Asian American women and women of color in comics. In fact, that’s why Hellen Jo was a must-interviewee for our latest Sketchy Behavior where we talk to her about her love of comics and zines, her antiheroines, and redefining what Asian American women identity is or can be; and what her ultimate dream project realized would be.  

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All-New X-Men #25 (2014)

Penciler: David Marquez, Bruce Timm, Arthur Adams, David Mack, Robbi Rodriguez, Lee Bermejo, Kent Williams, J.G. Jones, Maris Wicks, Jason Shiga, Dan Hipp, Jill Thompson, & Paul Smith
Inker: David Marquez, Bruce Timm, Arthur Adams, Skottie Young, Robbi Rodriguez, Lee Bermejo, Ronnie del Carmen, J. Scott Campbell, Max Wittert, Jake Parker, & Bob Wiacek
Colourist: Justin Ponsor, Laura Martin, Jason Keith, Marte Gracia, Nei Ruffino, Matthew Wilson, & Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: Cory Petit
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

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I am a big fan of Jason Shiga’s Meanwhile.

It’s a mistake to go into this book thinking it’s a “chose your own adventure” book. This book is a puzzle. There is a complete picture, a complete understanding of the world, that you can put together, and what you are doing is exploring this world by making choices. If you’re expecting an adventure you might get a little frustrated when you find yourself looped back in the story and rereading a scene. Keep investigating. Solve the mystery. I was obsessive with this book. It took me about a week, but I went through the whole thing, and I will say that the ultimate revelation of the world of Meanwhile is epic and even disturbing. After you know what this story is about, even going back to the beginning and choosing vanilla instead of chocolate ice cream turns out to be a kind of disturbing ending. I think this is truly an important comic book. 

Empire State by Jason Shiga.

For those who have the Empire State hardcover, Shiga hid a secret message in the end pages of the book. I would’ve never known about it unless Gene Luen Yang hinted about it on his site.

Even then, it look me about 45 minutes to find it.

When I saw Shiga at a signing at Meltdown Comics, apparently I was the first person who was not his friend to find it.

If you find it and message me what it says, I’ll tell you the rest of the story :)

Jimmy is a stereotypical geek who works at the library in Oakland, California, and is trapped in his own torpidity. Sara is his best friend, but she wants to get a life (translation: an apartment in Brooklyn and a publishing internship). When Sara moves to New York City, Jimmy is rattled. Then lonely. Then desperate. He screws up his courage, writes Sara a letter about his true feelings, and asks her to meet him at the top of the Empire State Building (a nod to their ongoing debate about Sleepless in Seattle). 

Jimmy’s cross-country bus trip to Manhattan is as hapless and funny as Jimmy himself. When he arrives in the city he’s thought of as “a festering hellhole,” he’s surprised by how exciting he finds New York, and how heartbreaking—he discovers Sara has a boyfriend! 

Jason Shiga’s bold visual storytelling, sly pokes at popular culture, and subtle text work together seamlessly in Empire State, creating a quirky graphic novel comedy about the vagaries of love and friendship.

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ALL-NEW X-MEN #25 (APRIL 9TH, 2014)
BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS (W)

This April, New York Times bestselling writer Brian Michael Bendis is joined by the best and brightest artists in the comic book industry for ALL-NEW X-MEN #25 – the oversized, landmark anniversary issue! Featuring the all-star talents of Bruce Timm, Art Adams, Rafael Grampa, Lee Bermejo, J. Scott Campbell, JG Jones, Paul Smith, Jill Thompson, Kent Williams, David Mack, David Marquez, Skottie Young, Ronnie Del Carmen, Jake Parker, Dan Hipp, Robbie Rodriguez, Jason Shiga, Max Wittert and Maris Wicks!

They have ventured from the past to an uncertain future, but the All-New X-Men were never meant to stay. When a mysterious stranger visits the Jean Grey School, Hank McCoy will learn the disastrous effects he has wrought by disrupting the timestream. Consequences that could destroy the entire universe! Is it too late to stop its cataclysmic side effects? Find out when the oversized, overstuffed ALL-NEW X-MEN #25 hits comic shops this April!

Kids Comics Recs

For whatever reason, this is a question I get A LOT.  So I asked Milkfed Intern Sophie to put together a list we can use as a starting place and this is what she came up with!  Hope it’s helpful.  (Take the age ranges with a grain of salt – my kids loved BONE and they were 4 and 6 when we read it.)

xo 

Kelly Sue 

KIDS COMIC RECOMMENDATIONS

All Ages
Cartozia Tales, Isaac Cates, et al.
Leave It to Chance, James Robinson and Paul Smith

Young Readers
Herobear and the Kid, Mike Kunkel (3+)
Tippy and the Night Parade, Lilli Carre (4-8)
Dragon Puncher, James Kolchaka (4-8)
Owly, Andy Runton (5+)
Long Tail Kitty, Lark Pien (5-10)
Babymouse, Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm (6+)
Fairy Tale Comics, ed. Chris Duffy (6+)
The Zoo Box, Ariel Cohn & Aron Nels Steinke (6-8)
The Kurdles, Robert Goodin (6-9)

Elementary Age
Teen Titans Go!, Various (7-10)
Tiny Titans, Art Baltazar and Franco (7-10)
Calvin & Hobbes, Bill Watterson (8+)
Walt Disney’s Uncle Scrooge, Carl Barks/Don Rosa (8+)
Tintin, Herge (8+)
El Deafo. By Cece Bell (8-12)
The Lost Boy, Greg Ruth (8-12)
Meanwhile, Jason Shiga (8-12)
Mermin, Joey Weiser (8-12)
Princeless, Jeremy Whitley (8–12)
Robot Dreams, Sara Varon (8-12)
Smile, Raina Telgemeier (8-12)
Sisters, Raina Telgemeier (8-12)
Zita the Spacegirl, Ben Hatke (8-12)
Mouse Guard, David Petersen (9+)
Spera, Josh Tierney, et al. (9+)
The Adventures of Superhero Girl, Faith Erin Hicks (10+)
Bad Machinery, John Allison (10+)
Hildafold/Hilda and the Troll, Luke Pearson (10+)
Laika, Nick Abadzis (10+)
Lumberjanes, Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Shannon Watters, Brook Allen (10+)
Bone, Jeff Smith (11+)

Tweens and Teens
American Born Chinese, Gene Luen Yang (12+)
Anya’s Ghost, Vera Brosgol (12+)
Battling Boy, Paul Pope (12+)
Ms Marvel, G. Willow Wilson, et al. (12+)
Nimona, Noelle Stevenson (12+)
Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas, Jim Ottaviani & Maris Wicks (12+)
Shackleton: Antarctic Odyssey, Nick Bertozzi (12+)
This One Summer, Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki (12+)

Every Book I Read in 2015

This is inspired by Emily’s list, which you should go read too!  

My resolution in 2015 was to read 52 books in 52 weeks, which I exceeded!  These books are listed in the order I read them. Comics are only included if they’re book-length or if it ran for a year and I read every issue (Demon is the only one that meets that criteria, I think).  A * is a re-read.  

My resolution in 2016 is to read more non-fiction!

There’s a lot of Marvel history stuff at the beginning of the year because I hah hah hah there’s lots I don’t know about Marvel, WHOOOOPS

Fade In by Michael Piller - this is an unpublished book by the late Michael Piller, who did a lot of great work on Star Trek, talking about his first motion picture screenwriting credit: Star Trek Insurrection, aka Nobody’s Favourite Star Trek Movie.  It’s a really brave book, taking you from initial idea through first treatment, notes from Paramount, feedback from the actors, second drafts, shooting scripts, cuts made for budget reasons, up to release, and then a post-mortem where he talks about what, in retrospect, he would’ve liked to have changed.  It was fascinating, and made me appreciate Insurrection in a new light.  The final film has its problems, but Piller asks you what you’d do differently, and you can see pieces of the film he was trying to make left there still.  If you’re interested in both writing and Star Trek, this is an ideal book for you!  Unpublished (apparently Paramount changed their mind when they saw the manuscript), but available online if you Google it.  I devoured this book and read it in two days.

Demon by Jason Shiga - I LOVE JASON SHIGA.  The premise for this comic is great, the way it’s explored is great, everything is great.  Every time I read a Shiga book I learn something new.

Marvel Chronology - my parents got me this for Christmas: a big giant book with lots of pictures, talking about all the characters and stories Marvel did from start to finished.  Oddly, they re-typeset all the comics in it, so the old comics have great retro art and weird lifeless letters.  Still great to fill in the blanks in my Marvel knowledge though!  SQUIRREL GIRL IS BARELY IN IT AT ALL THOUGH, WTF

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