Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Two of my favourite finds from LFCC: Asia Alfasi and Rachael Smith

It's taken me a while to get this posted but I just wanted to show you all a couple of little comics that I picked up at LFCC in July. One is from a creator I've been following for about a year, because of the time I spent in Libya. She is Libyan-Scottish artist/creator Asia Alfasi and is one of the nicest people you'll ever meet. I can't wait to read her finished graphic novels when they're ready. She is at most cons so look out for her table if you go. Another one is just a charming little book called Flimsy's Guide to Modern Living by Rachael Smith. It features a cat, which pretty much sold it straight away, and his life advice - delivered with humour and genuine insight!

Flimsy is pretty awesome. Look at that smile. He's a little blue kitten and she's done a few mini-comics with him in his infinite wisdom. They're great on a rainy day and the advice is pretty solid. You can see more of her work (including Doctor Who cartoons) on her website:

She works with Titan and does many of the comic strips at the back of Doctor Who single issues and was nominated in the Emerging Talent category in the 13/14 British Comic Awards. Her second graphic novel, The Rabbit, is out this year!

She's also illustrating a book about a boy with Asperger Syndrome called Blue Bottle Mystery.

I also got Asia Alfasi's mini (con-only) collection called Harvest, which is beautiful and just makes me want an Alfasi/Ewa graphic novel soon!
The introductory story is part memoir as she comes to terms with her identity in Scotland in 1997. She is called things like 'hanky head' and accused of 'nickin' the books'. She only begins to feel at home when she is by herself with her manga, one that she'd watched years ago in Libya. It is something familiar in a new and often unwelcoming country. Rediscovering manga helped her start drawing again and won the admiration of her peers and it helped her to 'bridge relationships between a Libya lass and her Scottish peers'. Asia then inserts a statement of intent: 'my goal since has been to use this beautiful art to take part in a global cultural dialogue. Will you take part in the conversation? *smiles*' 
It's charming and beautifully illustrated, a great taster that makes you want more. The middle story is A Drought of Another Sort: A Silent Reflection and showcases another, more sparse style. In it, a small child falls and drops their glasses. When he puts them back on the world is barren and rocky, until he finds a paintbrush which restores life and colour. The only words are 'What did you read?' - it's a lovely meditation on the power of art and creativity and how vivid and colourful it can make the world, and how it connects us to other people. 
The final piece is Asia's translation and adaptation of Juha: The Fantastic Tales of Sheikh Nasruddin, which are traditional Middle-East folktales and often humorously portray a life-lesson. They are both funny and thought-provoking and Asia brings them to life with beautiful colour and definition. It was lovely to be introduced to some of these charming tales which I may never have come across otherwise! I would love to read more and will keep looking out for her at cons. I definitely recommend you do too - art is the great communicator and can enlighten us so much. 

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