July 13, 2018 … Beginning with its August 8 issue, the Pittsburgh Current is proud to begin offering a bi-monthly, four-page comics section curated by Joe Wos, local comics historian and founder and former director of the Toonseum.
“This is a unique opportunity to curate comics and present the best of the best, the funniest of the funniest,” Wos says. “We plan to showcase both local and national talent not currently seen in Pittsburgh.
“As comics pages are shrinking across the nation, we are going to dedicate four pages so these comics can be seen the way the artist intended.”
Wos will also be debuting a new comic, “Yinzer Funny.”
Calling Local Comics Artists Have a strip or panel you’d like considered for an upcoming issue of the Pittsburgh Current? Email samples to: firstname.lastname@example.org
“Anyone can throw comics on a news-page, but at that point, it just becomes space-filler,” says Current Publisher/Editor Charlie Deitch. “We want to offer an experience that offers many different voices for our readers. We will work hard to present a section that is diverse in gender, race and cultures. Joe is the perfect person to provide that along with the historical context of the funny pages in America.
“What I’m most excited about, is the opportunity to present local comics, some you’ve heard from and some you haven’t. We have an open submission policy [send to Charlie@pittsburghcurrent.com] and intend to provide significant space for local artists.
While other titles will be announced in the near future, PC will be bringing back to the city, Pittsburgh-native Matt Bors’ popular and politically charged comic. The section will also feature “The Laughing Redhead,” from Pittsburgh-based syndicated artist Teresa Roberts Logan. Indie comics artist Jim Benton of Cleveland will also be showcased. Other syndicated strips will include Knight Life by Keith Knight and F-Minus by Tony Carillo.
In addition to these artists, local cartoonists will also be featured. Local comics artist DJ Coffman will present a serial strip based on characters from his “Secret Forces” sci-fi comics universe. Coffman says his strip will be a “love-letter to really old-school daily and weekly adventure comics and science fiction.”
“Comics like these and others in the newspaper just makes sense naturally, like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich” Coffman says. “Comics and escapism used to be a big draw for newspapers, but over the years the comics pages have shrunk and have been devalued.
“So how can comics be innovative across all platforms and channels? That’s my real goal. I envision a comic universe that has layers to it. You might see the one storyline in the Pittsburgh Current and be sucked into the Instagram comic storyline. Or maybe you’re reading an online storyline, but a piece of the overall puzzle is missing for you to collect as a fan, and you can only find it in the print-edition newspaper!’
Coffman, who will be a frequent Current collaborator, says that as the world becomes increasingly digital, “print” can be made very special again if we apply creativity and sense of urgency for the readers. I think it’s great that Pittsburgh Current sees the value in the comics medium as entertainment and an escape for the readers. We all could use a brief trip to some other worlds since this one has gotten so heavy.”