NBS Comics
Nature to save the world

Many voices. Greener cities. Better cities.

OPEN CALL TO EU-BASED COMIC CREATORS

Want to create a comic about nature that saves the world? About nature-based solutions to our shared global challenges? We are creating a new series of comics called Nature-based Solutions Comics, or NBS Comics; it’s a partnership between NetworkNature and The Nature of Cities.

A nature-based solution is some design or aspect of nature that is a solution to one of the many wicked problems we are facing today.

Create a love story to nature. Tell a funny joke about how business-as-usual will be the death of us. Or a business or community taking an ecological approach. Convey a scene of nature solving our gathering problems, from floodwaters to urban heat, if we just let her.

Deadline: 15 January
This is an open call to EU-based creators for proposals for short comics that explore graphic storytelling about the challenges we face as people and societies — climate change, biodiversity loss, stormwater surges, urban heat, inequity of green space distribution, social justice, and more — and how working with and not against Nature can help us create a world that is better for both people and nature.

The theme? Nature to save the world 

We invite comic creators in the EU (citizens or permanent residents) — using any comic style, various approaches to storytelling, many languages — to imagine comics about nature and her benefits. Based on submitted  proposals, we will commission up to seven comics and intend to publish them on both public platforms and on our own, purpose-built platform. After that, we’ll do it all again to build a series. NOTE: we are not accepting animations at this time.

One of our hopes for this series is to tell good stories about nature that are both intelligent, entertaining, and change-making; from new voices; stories that reach more people. We want to create dialogue and raise awareness about nature and what essential role it plays in our daily lives.

NBS: Nature-based Solutions

Want a different language? See SELECT LANGUAGE at the top of this page.

A nature-based solution is some design or aspect of nature that is a solution to one of the many complicated problems we are facing today. These could be street trees sucking up storm water; or parks cooling urban heat; or re-wilded cities reducing biodiversity loss; or green spaces that promote happiness; or a tree under whose shade we fall in love. It could be realism, or fantasy or sci-fi: For example, Ents fighting for middle earth are nature-based solutions; WALL-E was a love story wrapping a tale of global waste; it could be a superhero forest animals undoing the mistakes of urban planners to save a community from urbanisation; it could be realism telling a story of a community planting trees.

And without nature? Our problems grow worse.

NetworkNature is a resource for the nature-based solutions community, creating opportunities for local, regional and international cooperation to maximise the impact and spread of nature-based solutions. The project is funded by the European Commission.

Read more about NBS.
Want to know more? Read on to The Call.
Questions? Write us here: [email protected]

The Call

Who is Eligible? The NBS Comics Call is open to all comic creators who are citizens or have Permanent Resident status of an EU country (with a European bank account), aged 18 or older; submissions can be in any of 24 official languages of the European Union.

Theme: “Nature to save the world”. Submissions must include as plot elements or central ideas both people and nature, and specifically with nature as a solution to social/environmental challenges; that is, a “nature-based solution”.

Style and Mood: Any style of comic. We like good storytelling, but the proposed work can be comedic, dramatic, present or future, realistic or fantastic or sci-fi, utopian or dystopian. It could be a love letter to nature. It could be a crime story or a sad tale of people in need. The storytelling can be simple and allegorical, or densely complicated. It can be pitched toward young people or adults. The art can be lush or simple.

Submissions: Propose a story line, idea, or scenario that fits the theme, in one of two length categories (3+ pages; 1-2 pages). We accept any style or form of graphic narrative. Include a brief story proposal (story board or sketches optional but appreciated); artist statement of why interested; resume and portfolio/previous work (at least enough so we can see your style). Any individual can propose more than one idea, but each idea must be a separate and complete submission.

Timeline:
Want to know more? Read on to Commissions.
Ready to submit? SUBMIT HERE.

A form will open a new browser window.


Commissions

Credit: Julia Louise Perreira.
  • From among the submissions, up to seven proposals will be commissioned to create finished comics. NOTE: we are not accepting animations at this time.
  • Up to seven completed works will then be published. The expectation is for publication, but it is not guaranteed; it depends on the quality of the finished work.
  • Selection of commissions: Submissions will be judged on: (1) connection to and creativity of storytelling in relation to the theme of the call; and (2) evidence of quality prior work and innovation. We also appreciate an innovative approach to the call (e.g., in graphic style or interesting story telling).
  • In some cases, the project team can work with the appointed artists to help interpret nature-based solutions for the purpose of their storytelling.
  • Decision to publish: Finished commissions will be judged on (1) artistic merit (e.g., storytelling); (2) technical merit (e.g., drawing, shading and, if appropriate, coloring skill); and (3) relevance to the theme of the call.
  • Selected proposals will be commissioned to complete the proposed comic by 1 May 2023.
  • The submitter can propose one of two lengths:
    — Long form (3+ pages; 4 commissions) = €3,000 (€2,000 commission; €1,000 more if selected to be published)
    — Short form (1-2 pages; 3 commissions) = €1,500 (€1,000 commission; €500 more if selected to be published)
  • The selection committee reserves the right to modify the total number of commissions and how many are commissions in each length category.
  • For works not selected at either stage, all rights revert to the creators.
  • We intend to publish accepted comics on both pubic platforms and on our own, purpose-built platform.
Ready to submit? SUBMIT HERE.

A form will open a new browser window.

Read on for the FINE PRINT.

The Fine Print

  • We welcome submissions from all comic creators who are citizens or have Permanent Resident status of an EU country (with a European bank account), aged 18 and up (as of 15 February 2023). (Sorry, the country and age restrictions are a requirement of the funder and the GDPR rules of privacy.) See a list of EU countries here.
  • Final commissioned works may be in any of 24 “official” languages of the European Union.
  • Any individual can propose more than one idea, but each idea much be a separate and complete submission.
  • Submissions that are incomplete at the deadline will not be considered.
  • All submissions must include a text with an English translation of the story idea, if not in English. (Don’t worry: submissions will not be judged on the quality of the English translation.)
  • Submitters must be the owner and/or hold all rights associated with the comic’s characters and story. Any submission determined to be a copy, reproduction, variant, or derivative of another artist’s work will be disqualified.
  • Works that have been previously published are not eligible.
  • We ask that submitted works to this opportunity not be simultaneously submitted to other opportunities. But if your submission is accepted elsewhere, you must withdraw from ours.
  • The decisions of the selection committee are final.
  • The selection committee reserves the right to modify the total number of commissions and how many are commissions in each length category.
  • The selection committee will be made up of scientists, NBS practitioners, and artists.
  • We will be unable to provide comments on submissions that are not selected.
  • No proposals will be accepted that are racist, sexist, otherwise offensive, overtly sexual, or gratuitously violent.
  • Submitters will be asked in the submission form for which age groups the comic would be suitable.
  • NBS Comics makes no claim of rights on comics that are submitted to us but are not selected for publication.
  • The authors retain all rights to their comic, including characters, settings, and story.
  • The creators of comics that are ultimately accepted for publication must grant NBS Comics the right, in perpetuity, to (1) publish the comic; and (2) use the comic’s name, its art, and the names of the comic’s creators for promotional purposes without any payment beyond the commissioning and publishing fees.
  • After the publication, creators are free to submit their comic for publishing with any publisher or sell the comic without any payment to NBS Comics. Such uses, however, do not affect the rights of NBS Comics to use the work. (If you make a huge pile of money, we would appreciate a charitable donation, though.)
Ready to submit? SUBMIT HERE.

A form will open a new browser window. 

NBS Comics Advisory Group

Emmalee Barnett, Carmen Bouyer, Marcus Collier, Stuart Connop, Marthe Derkzen, Isobel Fletcher, Susanna Gionfra, Ivelina Ivanova, Patrick Lydon, Eddy Grand-Meyer, Israa Mahmoud, Paul Mahony, Siobhán McQuaid, David Maddox, Claudia Mistelli, Sandra Naumann, Nea Pakarinen, Baiba Pruse, Alice Reil, Roger Roca Vallejo, Maria Rodriguez Nunez, Shreya Utkarsh, Chantal van Ham, Sofie Vandewoestijne, Tom Wild, Bettina Wilk, and Marianne Zandersen.

Image credits

The comic above are based on original photographs, all originally published at TNOC. Photo credits, top to bottom: Dragonfly (Bruce Roll); Parking Lot (City of Melbourne); Where is the shade (Rawle C. Jackman, Flickr Creative Commons); Pelican Skyline (Eric Sanderson); Bangkok flood (Richard Friend); Central Park (David Maddox).

All comic renderings and texts are by David Maddox.   EXCEPT: “All our cultural forms …” which is by Julia Louise Perreira.

NOTE: The images included here are simply “teasers” and in no way intended to limit the choices of the creators proposing ideas.

Funding

Project partners