Stuck in Vermont and a Book Launch

Join me and Jason Lutes at Phoenix Books on Sept 26th for a launch of Charlotte Bronte Before Jane Eyre and Houdini: the Handcuff King. We’ll have a discussion about historical biography and creating graphic novels.

If you can’t wait for that, here’s Episode 591 of Eva Solberger’s Stuck In Vermont, where I talk about making the book about Charlotte Bronte, the great cartooning weather in the state of Vermont, and a theme park idea. (hint: there will be gruel.)

Joining the Center for Cartoon Studies

This fall (2019) I am joining the faculty at the Center for Cartoon Studies, that offers a two-year MFA and certificate program in creating comics. It’s so exciting to come out of my hermit cave and to be a part of this community dedicated to providing the highest quality of education to students interested in creating visual stories.

Not Actually the Center for Cartoon Studies!

Not Actually the Center for Cartoon Studies!

This is Roe Head School where Charlotte Brontë studied and taught. If only they had offered comics as a subject—would we be reading Jane Eyre the graphic novel?

The New Yorker: Nineteenth-Century Novels, with Better Birth Control

If our fave literary heroines of the Nineteenth-Century had access to birth control, many of the plots are solved almost before they begin. Or maybe it’s the institution of marriage that is the problem? Read all ten panels on The New Yorker.


Interview on The Comics Journal

Sloane Leong interviewed a bunch of people who had residencies at La Maison des Auteurs in Angouleme for The Comics Journal— including me. I was there in 2015 and 2018, and though I’m not there now, I haven’t unsubscribed to the group messages (because being au fait to when residents are going out for coffee/beer helps me concentrate) and so when she appealed there for people to talk about their experiences at the MDA, I answered the call.

Read the Interview on The Comics Journal.

Thanks to Alan Francois for the photo!


August Garden on Spiralbound

I wrote this comic last May from notes I’d taken the August before, and drew, inked and colored it in December. A year and a half later, the disease has progressed.

Read all 3 pages on Spiralbound.


Travel Anxieties Flow Chart of Popula

I drew this comic for Popula in June after a surprisingly eventless trip to the UK and Angouleme, France. Fortunately, I’ve had plenty of anxiety-inducing travels to draw upon for this—and I’m certainly not alone! See the whole thing here.

Meanwhile I’m finishing the book about Charlotte Brontë—I’m doing nothing else these days in order to get it done! It will be out in Sept 2019.


Aqualitt in the New Yorker

Several people have asked me if this European Literary water park is a real place.  There is a place sort of like it in Ayia Napa, Cyprus, Water World Themed Water Park, where the slides have a Greek Mythology theme, such as "Drop to Atlantis," "Aeolos Whirlpool," "Fall of Icarus," "Quest of Herakles," and more. I started thinking of the slides they could add that would make the place too sinister to visit—who would go on “Scylla and Charybdis”, “Kronos’ Catapult,” “Medea’s Moshpit,” or “Cyclops’ Cavern”?  We went for Helen's 11th birthday, and she was thrown into conflict by her aversion to Greek Mythology and her enthusiasm for sliding.  


Review of Alle Ego on High-Low

Rob Clough reviewed Alle Ego on High-Low on August 29, 2018.

It's a blast from the past to read this thoughtful thorough review of a project that I was working on 3 years ago!   It's always in the back of my mind that I plan to edit, revise, and expand the book after this coming year--but I have several exciting projects to finish before I can get to it.   The themes of the book are still relevant, while my working methods, writing, and drawing, have evolved in the last few years.  Inshallah, I plan to return to working on Alle Ego with new eyes in 2019.  


Angouleme Sketchbook

I made a few drawings while in residence at La Maison des Auteurs in Angouleme, and now they're collected here, by Marsam.  


What is Marsam?  "Une bande cosmopolite d’auteurs de bande dessinée, d’écrivains, scénaristes et artistes qui se croisent, se découvrent, se retrouvent, s’emmêlent et s’entremêlent autour d’Angoulême, petite ville du sud-ouest de la France."

That is, a group of cosmopolitan comics creators, writers, scriptwriters, and artists who come together, discover, meet, and get tangled up around Angouleme, a small town in south west France.  

I spent a month in residence, very happily working on several projects.  One of these will be a book published by Secret Acres, a collection of comics I've drawn over the past few years, including comics that have appeared on The New Yorker, Spiralbound,  and Muthamagazine, as well as new comics I drew while in Angouleme.  This book will be all color (oh boy, a lot of fun work ahead!), ~250 pages, and out in 2019!  I can't wait to see it come together.

Also while in Angouleme, I made a first draft of a middle grade adventure comic set in Late Bronze Age Greece, before, during, and especially after the eruption of Santorini.  This book is due next year, and will be published the year after that (2020), all things going well, inshallah, etc.  This is my first time writing so much fiction, and it is mighty fun. The story is about migrant artists and musicians, and is inspired by the Minoan-style frescos found in Egypt and the Levant and by my husband John's research on ancient music.  Nothing to share yet in these early days!  This book will be around 120 pages and in color. 

In Angouleme, I had the great pleasure of sharing a studio with Giorgia Marras, who is working on a beautiful and epic book in monochrome watercolor on the empress Sisi.  I shared a house with Giorgia Casetti, who was coloring her lovely book Ocean that will be out this summer in France.  I often had lunch with them, as well as Tamia Bauduin who is working on a second book with Nathalie Ferlut, following their book Artemisia (I love my signed copy).  I was happy to see Amruta Patil again and to meet Mathilde Vangheluwe, Francesca Oltremare Marinelli, and others cartoonists (I'm sorry not to mention everyone here) whose work I admire, and who make life much richer and more fun.  

Euripides' Helen

The week of March 20-25 is consumed by the production of Euripides' Helen at the Black Box Theatre at the Main Street Landing in Burlington, VT, and stars UVM students & affiliates.  The show is a unique mix of pathos and comedy, with new music, dance, costumes, and my projected images.  


The play began with John (Franklin)'s idea to honor Phil Ambrose (professor emeritus) and his desire to compose music for ancient songs.  Following the constraints of ancient rhythms and tunings, John creates songs that are both accurate to possiblilty and catchy.  He had an electrified lyre made especially for the occasion by Creston Guitars.  John and the other two musicians seem to be having a very good time with this music.

John asked me to design the costumes, sets, and to create projections that accompany three of the songs.  I hand-cut stencils and then painted trims that were sewn onto costumes for the chorus, Helen, Menelaos, the Dioscouri, and the orchestra. Rachel Cosgrove and very hard working student volunteers Zoe Anszperger, Eileen Parks, and Claire Wilcox made all the costumes with tremendous care and attention to detail.  The inspiration for the costumes comes from Greek vase painting, Minoan wall paintings of Santorini, and Egyptian art.  

On stage there is a 4-foot high fence of lotus flowers and the one prop, a bench with hieroglyphs, that I painted in our garage.  

I created around 80 images that are projected while the chorus sings the three Stasimon songs.  The effect of the chorus of seven women dancing and singing to a live band in front of the projections is magical--in a strange Ancient-Greece-in-Vermont kind of way! 

So many people have been involved in making this production happen--that alone is impressive for an extra-curricular event for all of us.  Many thanks to everyone for making this show possible.  

Dan Bolles wrote an article for SevenDaysVT about the play.

Demeter beside the deep roaring ocean

Demeter beside the deep roaring ocean

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