Welcome, once again, to the South Side Weekly’s annual Comics Issue—our third. After three years of publishing comics in a city also home to the Illustrated Press, For the People Artists Collective, Curbside Splendor, CAKE, and so much more, we’re confident Chicagoans know their city is full of stories only images can tell.
At the Weekly, we dedicate ourselves to true stories, and this week is no different. In this issue, you’ll find a review of a radish-themed Mexican restaurant in Pilsen, a reflection on Blackness and perceptions of danger, a tribute to a nosy neighbor, an account of the history of Black jockeys across the nation and on the South Side, a tale of seeking citizenship in an era of ICE raids, and more. Each in a rich, visual form that spans as many pages as a text-only article, these pieces take as much time as they need, bringing to life narratives, ideas, and emotions that would take hundreds of words to recount. Some—the joyful frenzy of a horse cantering past its opponents, using virtual reality technology for solace rather than entertainment, a prying narrow-eyed stare—communicate what words can’t capture.
But don’t just take our word for it. We consider ourselves lucky to be able to print graphic narratives that both inform and inspire—works that make us say, as Rohan McDonald’s cover puts it, “Wow.”
“I Ride to Win” → The age of great Black jockeys barely outlasted the nineteenth century, due to deep-seated racism in America. By Michael Wasney and Ellen Hao
The Queen of Princeton → By Tucker Kelly
Excerpt From Manual of Violence → By Carlos Matallana
A Visual Feast → A review of Cinco Rabanitos. By Bridget Newsham and Ellen Hao
Wolf Pack → By Sean Mac
Being Here → By Mike Centeno
Say Her Name → I often wait up at night worrying about my brothers, or any Black man in my life, because so many have fallen. By Bianca Xunise
Meet the Artists
Rohan McDonald created the cover for this year’s Comics Issue. He is an artist living and working in Chicago. He currently explores ideas that question the boundaries between fine art and design within printmaking and animation. rohanpmcdonald.com
Ellen Hao draws comics, but it’s kind of a new thing. Most of the time she’s behind the computer as the visuals editor of the Weekly.
Tucker Kelly is a writer, inkist, and recent transplant from small town Oberlin, OH. Follow him on Twitter @tuckerwrites for articles, artwork, and artless jokes.
Carlos Matallana is an illustrator, graphic designer, and teacher. Over the past few years he has made games, installations, and sculptures as part of his research for his upcoming comic book Manual of Violence. manualofviolence.org
Sean Mac is an artist living in the Bridgeport neighborhood of Chicago. He works at Jackalope Coffeeshop and enjoys hanging with friends, going to the beach, and making comics. “Wolf Pack” is based on a day spent going to the beach with friends.
Mike Centeno was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela. He’s been living in the U.S. since 2010 and making comics feverishly ever since. He still doesn’t know where he fits in in the world, and tries to figure it out by drawing weird little cartoons. mikecenteno.com
Bianca Xunise is an illustrator based out of Chicago. When she’s not doodling her feelings, she’s probably somewhere eating donuts or dancing to Bauhaus. biancaxunise.com
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