Hidden Forces at the Watkins Museum of History

The Watkins Museum of History in Lawrence, KS is holding an opening event this Friday for a new exhibition, Hidden Forces: The Kansas People’s History Project. Last fall, I had the opportunity to work with project director Dave Loewenstein by getting my Hand Lettering for Illustration & Comics class involved in the Kansas People’s History Project. The students were assigned to participate in the project, which asked artists to research and design a broadside highlighting an overlooked person or event in Kansas history. The exhibition at the Watkins Museum of History will feature screen printed versions of a selection of the submissions, including my own broadside about Annie Diggs, as well as the work of several of my students. If you live in the Lawrence area, come join us!

emigennis_kphpanniediggsThe opening event will take place from 6-9pm on May 27th, and is free to the public. Programming will include presentations by project director Dave Loewenstein, as well as printmaker Josh MacPhee, whose Celebrate People’s History project inspired the KPHP.  Below are a few examples of the work of students from my Lettering class last fall. High resolution versions of all of the submissions to the KPHP can be viewed at the project’s website, kansaspeopleshistoryproject.com.

"Farpoint Observatory" by Cat Jepson

“Farpoint Observatory” by Cat Jepson

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“Buddy Heaton” by Mattie Parrigon

"Susanna Salter" by Jacqueline Denton

“Susanna Salter” by Jacqueline Denton

"Clyde Tombaugh" by Brittney Walton

“Clyde Tombaugh” by Brittney Walton

The Nib Anthology Nominated for an Eisner!

The 2016 Eisner award nominations have been announced, and The Nib’s book, Eat More Comics: The Best of the Nib, has been nominated for “Best Anthology.” Along with a ton of other comics from a wide variety of incredibly talented creators, this book includes two of my own stories that ran on The Nib during their first year. You can read “What to Pack for Certain Death” and “Urine: the Miracle Cure” online, as well as lots of other really phenomenal comics, at thenib.com.

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Eat More Comics: the Best of the Nib was Kickstarter funded last summer, and is available for purchase at Topatoco. You can read the rest of the 2016 Eisner nominations here.

Baseline Blvd Shortlisted for Best Webcomic of the Year

My autobiographical story Baseline Blvd, self-published in May of last year, recently appeared on the shortlist for the Slate Book Review and Center for Cartoon Studies’ Cartoonist Studio Prize. I am very proud and honored to have my work listed alongside that of so many incredibly talented cartoonists. I strongly encourage you to peruse the other comics on the list. From Slate’s website:

The Slate Book Review and the Center for Cartoon Studies are proud to announce the nominees for the fourth annual Cartoonist Studio Prize. The winner in each of our two categories will be announced April 6; each winner will receive $1,000 and, of course, eternal glory. The shortlists were selected by Slate Book Review editor Dan Kois; the faculty and students at the Center for Cartoon Studies, represented by CCS Fellow Noah Van Sciver; and this year’s guest judge, Caitlin McGurk of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum.

The Cartoonist Studio Prize for Best Print Comic of the Year: 2015 Shortlist

Bright-Eyed at Midnight by Leslie Stein. Fantagraphics.
Curveball by Jeremy Sorese. Nobrow.
New Construction by Sam Alden. Uncivilized Books.
Not Funny Ha-Ha by Leah Hayes. Fantagraphics.
The Oven by Sophie Goldstein. AdHouse.
Sacred Heart by Liz Suburbia. Fantagraphics.
Sky in Stereo by Sacha Mardou. Revival House.
Soldier’s Heart by Carol Tyler. Fantagraphics.

Stroppy by Marc Bell. Drawn and Quarterly.
SuperMutant Magic Academy by Jillian Tamaki. Drawn and Quarterly.

The Cartoonist Studio Prize for Best Web Comic of the Year: 2015 Shortlist

Baseline Blvd by Emi Gennis
Cat and Girl
by Dorothy Gambrell
Cavities
by Andrew White
The Creepy Casefiles of Margo Maloo
by Drew Weing
Dorris McComics
by Alex Norris
The Fabric of Appropriation
by Whit Taylor
I Want to Believe
by Boulet
Lighten Up
by Ronald Wimberly
Longstreet Farm
by Mike Dawson
The Perry Bible Fellowship
by Nicholas Gurewitch

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Baseline Blvd was also recently nominated for a DINKy Award in the category “Best Work – Self Published” at the Denver Independent Comic & Art Expo. While it did not win, I was very honored to be nominated. These two nominations (which were announced on the same day, coincidentally) are the first time my work has been considered for an award like this. Baseline Blvd is an incredibly personal story, and I feel very lucky to be able to share this type of intimate work with readers and have it be so well received.

Hourly Comic Day 2016

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It’s Hourly Comic Day again! Or, it was on Monday, anyway. Since beginning my position at Pittsburg State University in 2013, February 1st has happened to fall on a weekend. This year, however, was just a little busier. Doing hourlies on a work day was hectic and stressful, but I’m glad I did it. I really value having this quick glimpse into my daily life from each year, and I enjoy making them. This is my seventh year making hourly comics. At some point, I may collect these into a minicomic, but for now you can read all of my hourlies here (or jump to a specific year: 20152014, 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2010).

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Kansas People’s History Project: Annie Diggs

During the fall semester, I got my Hand Lettering for Comics & Illustration class involved in the Kansas People’s History Project, a statewide art project lead by artist Dave Loewenstein. Inspired by Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, as well as a Josh MacPhee’s similar Celebrate People’s History! project, the KPHP’s objective is the creation of a series of screen printed broadsides detailing forgotten, underrepresented, or otherwise marginalized stories from Kansas history. As we conducted our research for the project, my class learned about all sorts of figures, groups, and events from Kansas history, of which we had been previously unaware. My students chose a diverse range of fascinating subjects, including Clyde Tombaugh, the Kansas native and self-taught astronomer who discovered Pluto; Susanna Salter, former mayor of Argonia, KS, and the first female mayor in the United States; and the traqueros, Mexican and Mexican-American workers who built the railroad tracks that stretch across the Midwest and other areas of the United States. We had such a great time working on these projects that I decided to create a poster of my own:

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Annie LaPorte was born in London, Ontario in 1848 and moved to the states as a child, first settling in New Jersey, and later in Lawrence, Kansas. In 1873 she met an married a postal worker in Lawrence, Alvin S. Diggs. She became very involved with the local Unitarian Church in the 1870s, where she sometimes served as a lay preacher, and gave public lectures on the subject of temperance. Through the church community, she also became interested in Populism. She began writing articles for local and New York newspapers, on Populist positions and causes. In 1881, she helped found the Kansas Liberal Union, an organization of “spiritualists, materialists, Unitarian Universalists, Free Religionists, Socialists, and agnostics,” serving as the group’s first secretary. That winter, she attended the Free Religious Association’s convention in Boston, and was elected Vice-President to fill a vacancy left by the death of one of her heroes, Lucretia Mott. The following year, she and her husband began publishing The Kansas Liberal from their home. Their newspaper criticized an economic and political system run by a small wealthy class, and demanded rights for laborers and farmers.

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“For the first time in the life of the great republic, there was a political organization which grappled directly and fundamentally with the growing injustice which marked the dealings between Exploiters and the Exploited.” -Annie Diggs, on Populism

Throughout her career, Diggs became a respected journalist and orator. She held leadership positions in several local and national organizations, including the Kansas Equal Suffrage Association, Kansas Woman’s Free Silver League, National Populist Committee, Social Reform Union, and Kansas Women’s Press Association. Her political involvement led opponents to dub her “Boss” Diggs, and to criticize her “petticoat politics.” In 1898, following a Populist-Democrat fusion ticket which she had spearheaded, she became the first woman to serve as the state librarian for the State of Kansas.”It has been said that the biggest man in the Populist party of Kansas today,” The Leavenworth Times joked in 1900, “is a woman.” In her later years, Diggs retired from politics and moved to New York City, where she focused on writing. She wrote two books before her death in 1916 at her son’s home in Detroit.

I was surprised to find that Annie Diggs does not yet have a Wikipedia page, and felt that she was the perfect candidate to be highlighted by a project of this kind. You can see my poster, as well as my students’ posters, and all the other posters that have been submitted from across the state on the gallery page of the Kansas People’s History Project website. If you are a Kansas-based artist and would like to participate in the project, the deadline was recently extended to February 21st!