This Month @ SOLRAD: July 2020

Being alive in the United States right now is a hell of a thing, isn’t it? While much of Europe and Asia have managed to mostly contain COVID-19, keeping cases to a manageable level, things are spiraling up in predictable and horrible ways here. The internet, and social media specifically seems to feed the human predilection for anxiety. I hate that doomscrolling is a word. More importantly, I hate that I do it.

If the last 6 months has taught us anything, it’s that endurance is the name of the COVID-19 game. How well you could hang between March and April is small potatoes now; how long you can hang between July 2020 and January 2021 is the real ticket. In these dark times, we hope that SOLRAD offers you a small amount of solace, and hope that you find our work helpful. I feel fully convinced that this work, now more than ever, is critical.

Last month we reported on our concerns with Desert Island’s Rescue Party Kickstarter. You can read more at the link below, but in short, I was concerned that the project sidelined participating artists during a time of economic turmoil.

While I still believe that the Rescue Party project is potentially exploitative (the project has been postponed as of this posting due to the ongoing righteous BLM protests), I also believe that we may have overstepped our bounds. While we did speak with artists about their concerns with the project in general prior to going to print, we did not center the artists involved in the Rescue Party project in our advocacy; we could have done a better job trying to figure out who was engaged with the project, and make sure they felt as though they were getting a fair shake.

SOLRAD as a literary magazine is dedicated to the comics arts and comics artists, and educating and entertaining the general public. Our goal in advocating for cartoonists and those in the comics arts is equity in the comics arts, and fair and living wages for labor. We are not looking to be ideologues, rather we are looking to meaningfully improve the lives of those in the comics arts. Advocacy is a complicated thing, and we are going to work harder to improve the way we center artists in this work in the future.

To that end, SOLRAD is doing some grant-writing with the goal of developing an advisory council that will help us with situations like this in the future.

In less distressing news…

The comics community is doing what it can to fill gaps, and a few new mentorship programs have surfaced are worth note. Sloane Leong and Leslie Hung are starting the Salt & Mentorship, Gale Galligan is running another round of their mentorship program, Roman Muradov is doing an illustration-based mentorship, and other folks are gauging interest in similar activities.

We’re now in our seventh month of publication here at SOLRAD, and I’m excited by the way the magazine has grown and changed over our short history. We will be releasing some updated information, including pitching guidelines, this month, so if you want to write for SOLRAD, please keep your eyes peeled.

This month, you can expect some great features at SOLRAD, including:

  • A new episode of ENEMIES OF THE STATE, featuring Dancing After Ten by Georgia Webber and Vivian Chong, published by Fantagraphics in June 2020.
  • We’re continuing our “The More You Know” series with a host of great cartoonists who are sharing their experiences in the business of comics.
  • An interview between SOLRAD contributor Nicholas Burman and Tommi Musturi, Finnish cartoonist whose three book-length works are available from Fantagraphics.
  • New additions to our SOLRAD Presents line up…
  • And more essays, features, interviews, and reviews from the SOLRAD team. 

Some parting thoughts:

  1. We’re publishing the SOLRAD newsletter every week – if you want a quick and easy way to find out what we’re doing on a weekly basis, with a note from our Editor, this is a way to get that. You can sign up here.
  1. We’ve made some updates to the site for clarity about our vision, purpose, and for ease of use. I’d appreciate your feedback, so if you have a second to shoot me an email, I’d appreciate it. 

Wishing for your good health and safety,

Alex Hoffman
Publisher, SOLRAD

Alex Hoffman is the Publisher of SOLRAD and the Secretary/Treasurer of its parent nonprofit organization, Fieldmouse Press. He has been a comics critic for Manga Widget, Comics Village, Sequential State, The Comics Journal, Comics MNT, and others.

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