Nerd Alert! Langara launches comics program; Cloudscape takes public transit

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      Welcome once again to your weekly round-up of news from the world of science fiction, fantasy, comic books, animation, and all things nerdy.

      DID YOU KNOW THAT you can now become an officially certified graphic novelist? It's true! This fall, Langara College is launching a new continuing-studies certificate program, Graphic Novel & Comix. The program, designed for those interested in pursuing careers as graphic novels and comic-book illustrators, consists of 12 courses, covering everything from lettering and layout to working with digital applications such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. Instructors include illustrator Andrew McDermott, graphic novelist Amancay Nahuelpan, writer Shannon Campbell, veteran comics creator (and former Straight staffer/illustrator) Josué Menjivar, and Jeffrey Ellis, vice-president of Cloudscape Comics Society.

      SPEAKING OF CLOUDSCAPE, the locally based indie comics collective recently announced a public-art project that will present comics to the citizens of Metro Vancouver in a new format. The Comics in Transit project features 20 poster-sized one-page comics, to be installed in bus shelters around the city this month and next. According to a news release from Cloudscape, "Each comic documents city life around the globe, including such places as Vancouver, Paris, Guadalajara, Copenhagen, Thailand, Japan, Ireland, and many more. The project includes both fictional and nonfictional stories and their genre and style vary greatly: comedy, tragedy, slice of life, biographical, abstract, or even political commentary."

      Artists include many veterans of the local comics scene, including Nina Matsumoto, Colin Upton, Steve Rolston, Chloe Chan, Edison Yan, Jordyn Bochon, John Christmas, Sean Karemaker, James Lloyd, and Sam Logan.

      In other Cloudscape news, you can drop by the collective's HQ (which is located on the third floor of the South Memorial Park fieldhouse at Ross & 43rd) on September 26 for an all-ages workshop on making mini-comics. The event runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. as part of Culture Days.

      I WAS PRETTY EXCITED earlier this week to receive a parcel from Drawn + Quarterly containing Step Aside, Pops!, the latest Kate Beaton book. (That's the front cover up above.) The collection of strips is a follow-up to the Toronto cartoonist's 2011 volume, Hark! A Vagrant. I'm only a few pages into it and I've already been treated to a look inside the world of a feminist Lois Lane, the fraught relationship between Frédéric Chopin and Franz Liszt (who were apparently the best of frenemies in real life), and a version of the Ides of March that William Shakespeare never touched upon. As always, Beaton's musings on history and pop culture are on-point and hilarious. (Check out this excerpt courtesy of D+Q.)

      SEE HOW MANY POP-CULTURE icons you can recognize in "Hell's Club", an insane new mashup video by Paris-based filmmaker Antonio Da Silva. It's not so much a coherent story as it is a triumph of editing and colour correction. Enjoy.