It's Banned Books Week, so the Signal boost of the week goes to these lists of frequently challenged books from the ALA. It's terrifying that we still need to defend the freedom of speech as frequently and as strongly as we do, and there's no one closer to the front lines than librarians. Huge thanks go to the ALA for their continuing work against censorship -- and if you'd like to help them out, go check out the Banned Books Week support page. The always-vigilant CBLDF is supporting the cause as well, and if you're a comics reader, and aren't yet a member, now'd be a great time to amend that.
The Signal boost of the week goes to Lea Hernandez, who's giving her Garlicks: Book One fundraiser another shot, this time on IndieGoGo! If you pledged last time on her Kickstarter, head on over and re-pledge now!
The Signal boost of the week goes to Layla Lawlor, who just announced that at long last, she will be releasing print editions of her books Freebird and Kismet: Hunter's Moon! I've been waiting for this news for literal years, and am really looking forward to finally holding them in my hands. There's something so satisfying about print. Yay, Layla!
The Signal boosts of the week go to two Kalamazoo artists --
First to my husband Paul Sizer, who's got a show of his posters up at The Bureau during this Friday's Art Hop. The Bureau is a co-working office on the Kalamazoo Mall, where entrepreneurs and freelancers can rent professional space. It's a great asset to downtown Kalamazoo, and we're really happy that they invited Paul to show his work. If you're in the area this Friday, stop by and have a look!
The second signal boost goes to Judy Sarkozy of Sarkozy Bakery, who just announced that she's re-opening after the tragic fire that wiped out her business earlier this year. The new space will be right downtown (hooray!) in the Columbia Plaza, just down the street from Bimbo's Pizza, and only a couple blocks from her old location. This is such good news, and I'm so excited that we'll have Judy and her staff of wonderful bakers back where they belong, with brand new ovens, and the same great recipes. I can't wait to buy my first loaf of Brewer's Bread -- but in the meantime, if you want to help, you can attend one of their fundraisers -- including visiting them at the Art Hop! -- or, soon, you can buy your bread ahead!
Projects like these remind me of why I got into comics in the first place -- there's no better storytelling than someone's best personal story. Everyone's got one. Here's your chance to make sure more of these intensely human stories get a wider audience!
The Signal boost of the week goes to the Lakota Sioux, who are trying to raise a million dollars to buy two thousand acres of the Black Hills, before developers put a highway through the heart of their most sacred place.
Pe' Sla is an area in the Black Hills of South Dakota (just west of Rapid City) that is considered by the Lakota people to be the Center and heart of everything that is. It is part of our creation story. It is a sacred place. We perform certain ceremonies at Pe' Sla which sustain the Lakota way of life and keep the universe in harmony. This area is currently owned by the Reynolds family. They plan to auction off almost 2,000 acres on August 25, 2012 to the highest bidder. It is likely that the state of South Dakota will put a road directly through Pe' Sla and open up this sacred place for development. The seven bands of the Lakota/Dakota/Nakota Oyate (people) aka Oceti Sakowin (Great Sioux Nation) have a collective effort to buy as much of Pe'Sla as we can at this auction (although we also believe that the land cannot be owned and that our sacred places were illegally taken by the United States). Yet we are trying to work within the current U.S. laws to regain custody of our sacred sites and prevent future road and industrial development. Our sacred ways must be protected and passed on to our future generations so that our children may live.
Native Americans have a long history in the Black Hills. After conquering the Cheyenne in 1776, the Lakota took over the territory of the Black Hills, which became central to their culture. In 1868, the U.S. government signed the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868, exempting the Black Hills from all white settlement forever. However, when European Americans discovered gold there in 1874, as a result of George Armstrong Custer's Black Hills Expedition, erstwhile miners swept into the area in a gold rush. The US government re-assigned the Lakota, against their wishes, to other reservations in western South Dakota.
Got a couple bucks to help try to right a century-old wrong?
Pam Noles, who I have mentioned here many times before, receiveddeath threats earlier this week regarding her essays on Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neil's Black Dossier. Judging by her response, this isn't even the first time it's happened. It goes without saying that this kind of behavior should be condemned, and it's the literal least I can do to speak out in support of someone who's doing good work and getting threatened for it. Kudos to you, Pam, for standing your ground in the face of horrible people, and I'm so sorry that you have had this shit visited on you. Be safe, be as well as you can, call in support if you need it.
The Signal boost of the week goes to Sara Ryan, whose book Empress of the World is getting a lovely new release, and now includes a new introduction by David Levithan, and three minicomics by Steve Lieber and Dylan Meconis! I quite liked Empress, and already own the minicomics, which are also lovely, (and contain corgis) so I can vouch for what a great deal it is to have all these stories in one place.
Additional Signal Boost this week from longtime fan Jürgen Pünter, who dropped me a line saying that the folks who made ShadowRun are trying to Kickstart an online version of the game. I played SR a few times back in the day, so if you remember it as fondly as I do, drop by their Kickstarter and lend them a hand.
Note for sensitive readers: Next week's page bears a trigger warning for sexual harassment. As a reminder, if you feel like you need trigger warnings to better your reading experience, I suggest picking up either the RSS or LiveJournal feed from the JanerBlog, or just visit this page as your starting point for the comic.
The Signal boost of the week goes to Rachel Hartman, whose new book, Seraphina, was finally released on July 10th! I've been anticipating this book for years and years now, and I can hardly wait to get my hands on it. Rachel's Amy Unbounded is still one of my favorite comics -- I just reread it last year and was tickled all over again by how good it was -- and her writing has always been so intricate and beautiful that it's going to be a real thrill to watch her move from comics to prose. Im not the only one raving about the book, either -- check out the pull quotes from the likes of Naomi Novik, Tamora Pierce, Ellen Kushner, and this from Christopher Paolini:
“Beautifully written, well-rounded characters, and some of the most interesting dragons I’ve read in fantasy for a long while. An impressive debut novel; I can’t wait to see what Rachel Hartman writes next.”
In one of the boxes I sorted out, I found an enormous (think: 10 inches thick) pile of letters that my old buddies and I wrote to one another during and immediately post-college. Even when email was readily available, we still wrote. We wrote *obsessively*there for a while. I found Colorado photos from Cece, the letter from Limey Fish from the first time he sat in Glen Alt, watercolored letters from Tiff's trip to Germany. I found a nest of the lets-try-to-outdo-one-another-with-envelope-drawings letters that Lindsay and I sent, some of them so covered in dinosaurs and egg-shitting chickens that he had to write the address somewhere else so it'd actually get delivered. I miss those letters. I miss writing them. I hate that I'm throwing two hours a day away on the facetubeboingfilter instead of creating tangible moments like these, moments that would take even less time to finish and mean so much more.