Pronto Presents: Writer Cedrick Lui

Pronto Presents Cedrick Lui
By David Rondinelli

DSC01020Cedrick Lui is an Ottawa native whose work is showcased in Pronto’s Strange Stories #6. Feeling a creative urge and possessing a love of comics the young writer has taken the surreal approach with his first story for Pronto Comics, “Son of God.”, Lui’s character-driven approach to storytelling is paired with the dynamic art of illustrator C.H. Kim. The two have started a new Pronto Comics duo that we hope to see more of. Read more about Lui and his approach to comic book writing as he opens up about his creative approach, his inspiration, and what we can expect to see from him in the future.

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Pronto Comics Fundraiser on Indiegogo

Pronto has launched its very first Indiegogo campaign! We’re trying to raise $4,500 to cover operating costs for the rest of the year, and we’re currently a third of the way to our goal! You can donate here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/leveling-up-pronto-comics. Any amount helps, and all contributions, even as little as $5, come with a great perk! Check out our press release below and pass it along (click to view full size and/or download). Thank you to all our supporters!

press release

Pronto Presents: Artist Chris Brimacombe

Pronto Presents: Artist Chris Brimacombe
By David Rondinelli

Head_Shot01Growing up, Canadian native Chris Brimacombe had to contend with constant cold weather that gave him large amounts of time to kill. With little else to do, he refined his skills and set sights on an expanding portfolio. Today his work displays a wide variety of talents in composition, character design, and visuals that make up highly stylized pages featuring the worlds of fantasy and the macabre.

Brimacombe’s early entry for Pronto was American Monsters, a series that highlights famous American serial killers in a black and white noir style. The gritty books give an unapologetic look at the violent lives of those who did it and tried to get away with it.

Nap Boy is Brimacombe’s newest title with Pronto. A tale that weaves the supernatural with the psychedelic, the story revolves around a young man who dreams of having extraordinary abilities and then wakes up with those same abilities in the real world. As the lead artist, Brimacombe gives us a peek into the world of Nap Boy, while letting us in on a bit of his own life too.

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Pronto Presents: Comic Creator Ken Knudtsen

Pronto Presents: Comic Creator Ken Knudtsen
By David Rondinelli

72845_10151016563772835_742622834_12138876_435477765_nKen Knudtsen is a writer and artist who has been a prolific voice in independent comics. Quite the Renaissance man, he’s been a letter, editor, and colorist for SLG Publishing, and is perhaps best known for his own title, My Monkey’s Name is Jennifer. The series follows a male monkey named Jennifer who gets embroiled with Dr. Tunick, a man bent on harvesting the brain energy of people.

A graduate of New York’s School of Visual Arts, Knudtsen has worked in the comic industry since 2002. He became a regular with Pronto Comics when he hosted a Q&A with our monthly podcast. Knudtsen has also lent his talents to Pronto Comics as a guest judge at our semi-annual Phrases to Pages fundraiser and by illustrating the cover of Blackout #2. Below, Knudtsen shares some tips on how he creates a cover, ways to unblock creative jams, and what’s coming up for him in the future.

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The Non-Cartoonist Cartoonist ~ The Non-Political Political Cartoonist

By James Donahue

As someone who creates a politically oriented comic strip, I’m sorry to admit that I’m not actually very politically savvy. However, 2014 is already shaping up to be big year for politics and political cartoons, so I expect that to include I’ll Kick Your Ass and Asskickin’ Jim.

The landscape in American politics could see some very serious changes by the end of 2014. For the briefest of overviews, I can tell you that it’s an election year for the House of Representatives, which is currently controlled by the GOP. Of the 435 congressional seats, the Democrats need 17 more than they currently hold to take back Congress. In the Senate, 33 of the 100 seats are up for election, and the Republicans need six more seats to take control. Each state will deal with its independent issues, of course, but some nationwide themes could end up making the difference in the end.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is the most incendiary issue today and will probably be the issue most Republicans use as a jumping off point when facing their Democratic rivals. More commonly known as “Obamacare,” the ACA took a major hit when the October launch of healthcare.gov turned out to be an epic failure. It could not be accessed by many of the people who visited the site and was rife with technical difficulties and glitches. The president had to address the issue multiple times and even had to apologize for the errors in launching a government website that didn’t work. This does not bode well for an already controversial program or the people who backed it.

On the same day as the launch of the website, the United States government shut down. This was due in part to disagreements over the ACA and the fact that Congress would not agree on a variety of fund appropriations for fiscal year 2014. This shutdown saw many government agencies closed or understaffed and some employees furloughed or asked to come to work not knowing when they would next be paid. It even closed down the National Zoo’s Panda Cam!

Congress was finally able to reach an agreement to get the government up and running again 16 days later, but the issue will be revisited in February 2014. This agreement was reached one day before the US would default on public debt. The debt ceiling has remained an issue since 2011 and will no doubt be revisited again in the coming years. A failure to solve the debt ceiling problem would cause the credit rating of the United States to be lowered, affecting its economic power in the future.

But the real question for political cartoonists is who will garner the most attention by saying or doing something stupid on the campaign trail. Considering that an army of advisers surrounds most politicians, it’s especially disconcerting that they are so notorious for saying and doing unwise things.

Here are a couple choice doozies, both spoken by former vice presidential hopefuls. How these two statements ever saw the light of day is anyone’s guess:

But obviously, we’ve got to stand with our North Korean allies.
—Sarah Palin

I was recently on a tour of Latin America, and the only regret I have is that I didn’t study Latin harder in school so I could converse with those people.
—Dan Quayle.

Not that I’m complaining. It makes the job of any political cartoonist easier when politicians have a huge public platform and endless media outlets from which to share their too often misguided opinions. Politics is a passionate subject for many people, from supporters, rivals, and members of the media, all the way down to the average citizen. When emotions become involved, logical thinking has a way of exiting stage left, resulting in wildly unpredictable statements. Celebrities often get involved or are actively recruited by political parties, to interesting results (see Clint Eastwood, Chair).

As such, you can expect to see a bit of evolution for the I’ll Kick Your Ass strip in the new year. Politicians have been targeted in the past mainly because of the reasons stated above. It’s the same reason celebrities and athletes are often the butt of the joke: With social media and countless networks dedicated to every word they say, they have a constant platform to spew their every thought.

I think this is a good time to evolve and become more aware of those making the decisions that affect the country in which we live. I’m certainly not going to stop picking on other public figures who say idiotic things, but may make an effort to focus more on politics. The 2014 federal elections could be even bigger and more hotly contested than ever because the issues are so emotional. The ACA and Debt Ceiling are hugely disputed, for starters, but as long as politicians continue to vomit careless rhetoric at their every chance, the possibilities are endless.