Fall 2010 Editor’s Note

A comic strip, according to our dictionary, is a noun dating back to 1920. The definition? “A group of cartoons in narrative sequence.” And a comic book (1941) is “a magazine containing sequences of comic strips.”

If that makes this edition of Somerville Scout a comic book, well – we’re not ducking the definition. After all, Somerville is home to two comics shops – Comicazi (407 Highland Ave) and Hub Comics (19 Bow St). Both of them host events (see our comics calendar on p. 24) and serve as hubs for the arts community. Somerville’s libraries are attuned to the cause as well. The Papercut Zine Library (226 Pearl St) houses a large section of self-published minicomics; the Central Branch of the Somerville Public Library (79 Highland Ave) includes 19 shelves of graphic novels and 22 shelves of comics and manga.
All this is because residents are devoted to the genre as creators, consumers and bemused bystanders. The ten artists profiled in Lorie Reilly’s feature, “Somerville is Comical” (p. 19), are just a slice of the multigrain pizza that is the city’s comics culture. You can often find these artists creating at Somerville coffee shops. One of them, Jef Czekaj, even acknowledged the Diesel Café (257 Elm St) in his first book. Our thanks to Lorie not only for a stellar job on this story, but also for orchestrating all the comic art in this issue. Our thanks, too, to writer and comics fan Kelly J. Cooper, who initially proposed this idea in early summer.
Now that summer’s over, Somerville students have returned to the city’s 11 public schools (we’re counting Prospect Hill Academy, the charter school) and to the many private schools in the region. Even if the closest you’ve come to academics lately is dropping Back to School in your Netflix queue, you’ll enjoy Jason Rabin’s feature on school choice (p.12). Jason profiles four Somerville parents and the education choices – public or private – they are in the midst of making. His story is the first in a four-part Scout series exploring school choice.
Speaking of series, it was one year ago – the Scout’s third issue – that we published a feature called “Building a Business Friendly City.” In response, Somerville’s Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development (OSPCD) has taken several steps to attract and retain growth businesses. In “The Somerville Small Business Notebook” (p. 25), we’ll detail those steps and update other small-biz developments: how the startup iCar (68 Prospect St) is competing with Zipcar and how Second Wind (366 Summer St) moved its manufacturing to Newton after 30 years in Somerville.
We did so much reporting on local businesses, we decided to start an online series about it. So stay tuned to our blog – on the front page of somervillescout.com – for those stories. –Ilan Mochari

Corrections: In the Summer 2010 edition, we neglected to credit a fantastic photo of the annual What the Fluff festival to Linda Skurchak. In our update about how Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) is rebuilding Somerville Hospital (230 and 236 Highland Ave), we misidentified Dr. David Osler as “Steve.” We regret these errors. Our sincere apologies to David, CHA, Linda and Union Square Main Streets.

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