Thursday, August 11, 2011

area cartoonist makes animals talk

  I've been a fan of the local publication, AREA Chicago for years, and I've contributed (lousy) illustrations to the biannual newspaper twice before.  AREA stands for Art Research Education and Activism, and each issue focuses on a particular topic related to the city, with the intention of creating a multi-faceted cultural and social map of the city.  The most recent issue of AREA came out on the issues of immigration and migration, and I have a comic in it! 

   If the description of AREA sounds a little dry, or pretty intellectual, there's a reason for that.  It kind of is.  Throughout its history, it's been run by kids who are pretty brilliant.  The type of people you kind of have to make an effort to keep up with in a conversation, so it's not a fun read.  It's a great read, but definitely not one I would describe as fun. (Recent things I've read that I would consider fun: Beasts of Burden by Evan Dorkin & Jill Thompson, the Convalescent by Jessica Anthony, Love and Rockets by Jaime Hernandez, Snarked #0 by Roger Langridge, several comics by Jason) 

  I was asked for this issue to document a community event at Mess Hall in Rogers Park for which participants were invited to bring a border-crossing tool to help build a border-crossing tool kit. It was a great casual gathering, which started with potluck snacks & socializing.  Later, each participant presented their tool, most of which were not physical.  I took notes through the whole thing, and then tried to figure out how to present it. 

  I finally landed on a fairly straight-forward presentation of each person presenting their tool, but instead of trying to remember what people looked like, or trying to imagine a group of people, I decided to use five migratory animals as their spokespeople.  Hopefully it added some goofiness into the discussion, and some levity into a fairly serious publication.

  AREA Chicago #11, IM/MIGRATIONS, a local reader about how borders are made, experienced and challenged through human movement is available for free at many locations throughout the city! Unfortunately the comic is not available on their website, though most of the rest of the issue is, including an essay about Garlic and Greens, a food histories project I've been volunteering for, and which you can participate in by sharing your soul food stories.


kenan said...

i really want to read this. can you grab me a copy?

neil-brideau said...

man, I was hoping I'd have at least one comic you hadn't read, so oh boy, COMICS! #2 would be somewhat exciting for you, but sure.