The number of schools offering comic art programs in the US is small but increasing. This time we look at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD).John Bivens and Eliot Rahal give us some background, and then we talk to one of the primary faculty members teaching in their comic art program, Barbara Schulz. She gives us her thoughts on choosing the best comic art program for you, challenges facing anyone trying to get started in comics (such as self-promotion, unscrupulous publishers, and more.
It’s 1985, but the space race never slowed down, so space is busy with human activity. 1985 Black Hole Repo #1, by Seth M Sherwood, Michael Moreci, and John Bivens, is full of punk rock aesthetic and references to the real 1980s. Unfortunately, it can be a little tough to tell what’s happening in they story. Tim and Mulele explore this space.
This week we double back to the beginning of Tim’s summer trip around the US, and meet three of the many creators at the World Monster Headquarters studio in Minneapolis. We’ll meet Peter Wartman, creator of the graphic novel Over the Wall and currently working on the sequel, Stonebreaker. He talks about why Over the Wall is still on his web site, even though the book is out.
Then, Sean Lynch, currently working on his graphic novel The Zoo, which asks the question, does “choice” really exist?
Finally, Lupi McGinty, creator of the web comics Lolly Poppet and Bantam Returns. She tells us about the live action Calvin and Hobbes movie she made as a kid!
Then, a front-porch chat with Charles Brownstein, Executive Director of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. What is the organization’s mission and how did it come to be based in Portland? What have been its biggest victories and defeats? What’s the difference between censorship by the government or by private companies? The difference between comics that show drawings of kids in sexual situations, versus actual child pornography? Also, the rise and fall of the Comics Code. Were comics EVER really “just for kids”?
Our friend Kristin Tipping is back, this time as the artist on a graphic novel written by Jason Vandervort called The Ferocious Five. Their recent attempt to Kickstart the project failed; what should they do differently next time?
This week Koom wraps up London Super Comicon with more interviews.
First, TPub Comics’ Neil Gibson talks about the publisher’s ongoing series Twisted Dark (a series discussed in Critiquing Comics episodes 59 and 85!).
Then, Amrit Birdi (at left in above photo) and Ram V talk about the attraction of comics, the relative merits of various books on the medium, and how (or whether) being from India affects their comics work.
Derf Backderf, author of My Friend Dahmer and a onetime garbage man, is back with Trashed, a book that defies pigeonholing. Part history, part awareness-raiser, part fictionalized reminiscence, part gross-out humor fest (and a few other “parts” as well), Trashed seems like a book that shouldn’t work, but does. In this episode, Tim interviews Derf about Trashed, the Dahmer movie, and more; plus, Tim and Kumar review Trashed!
At London Super Comicon last month, Koom got to sit down with Paul Gravett, a comics journalist and exhibition curator. Gravett is currently preparing the touring Asian comics show Mangasia, which will debut in Rome next month. This is a guy who’s read a lot of comics; do they all become a blur after a while? Koom asks him about avoiding burnout, the amount of progress comics have (or haven’t) made toward being accepted by the “art world”, and much more.
This time, Koom travels to Cardiff, Wales, to talk to David Roach, an artist who’s done work for 2000 AD, Dark Horse, and DC, and is currently working on Dr. Who Magazine in the UK. He’s also a comics archivist and historian, and has written several books about Warren Comics artists of the ‘70s, and one about great British comics creators. He tells Koom what inspired him to be an artist and how he broke into comics, and whether living the dream has lived up to the hype.
DC recently launched a new Mister Miracle series, by Tom King and Mitch Gerads. Well and good, thought Emmet, but then he saw a certain CBR headline that set him off. “King and Gerads have redefined comics”? Hyperbolic much?
So Emmet recruited Kumar to review both Mister Miracle #1 and the hype surrounding it. Is the use of suicide in the story meaningful? Hackneyed? How accessible is this comic to readers who don’t know the character? And, why does everything in comics have to be super-hyped nowadays?
Look who Tim (center) ran into in Columbus: Derf Backderf(My Friend Dahmer, Trashed),Tom Spurgeon (The Comics Reporter), Stephen Bissette (Swamp Thing, Tyrant), and Craig Fischer (English professor and occasional contributor to The Comics Journal)! (Click the photo to enlarge!)
In this episode, Tim talks to Steve and Craig about their summer research tour that brought them to Columbus and the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum, and how it relates to Steve’s revival of his ’90s comics biography of a Tyrannosaurus rex, Tyrant!
At the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum in Columbus, Ohio, curator Jenny Robb has what most of us would consider a dream job. But she and other staff members recently had an unenviable task: choosing which 40 items to include in the museum’s fortieth anniversary exhibit. In this episode, she talks about that decision process, and answers some burning questions: Why was the comics field so male-dominated in the 20th century? How were Windsor McCay’s colors for strips like Tale of the Jungle Imps transmitted to newspapers? And much more.
Meanwhile, in Arkansas, Mike Curtis is helping to keep alive another classic comic, Dick Tracy. He’s the current writer of the strip, which won the Harvey award for best syndicated strip for three straight years through 2015, and in this episode he describes his work process on the strip. He’ll also tell us about being one of Harvey Comics’ last writers, his long-running “furry” comic Shanda the Panda, and his Superman memorabilia collection. It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s a cheese box!
Christopher Jones has done a variety of work for DC Comics (including The Batman Strikes and one story in Batman ’66) and other animation adaptations), a few things for Marvel, and Dr. Who comics for Titan. How did he break in, and why is so much of his work of a more “cartoony” nature?
Lucid is making her living from crowdfunding in support of her webcomic, Avialae, a “boy’s love” story with an emphasis on consensual couplings. She talks about how “living the dream” can sometimes be a double-edged sword.
Eliot Rahal interviews Kristin Tipping at New Comic Book Day at Day Block Brewing Co. in Minneapolis on July 19
Minneapolis is increasingly becoming a “comics town”. While it doesn’t have the publisher presence of Portland, it’s filled with comics creators of all stripes, from mainstream guys to indy creators to web cartoonists.
It also may be the only town in the U.S. where New Comic Book Day is a bar event every Wednesday, with comics giveaways, standup comedy, and a creator interview!
In this episode, Tim talks with:
Katy Rex, writer of Jade Street Protection Services, from Black Mask, editor of another Black Mask title, Kim and Kim, and writer of a forthcoming Dr. Who special from Titan Comics. She also works at local retailer Hot Comics.
John Bivens and Eliot Rahal
Eliot Rahal, writer of Bloodshot’s Day Off and other books from Valiant, and a host of the New Comic Book Day event.
John Bivens, artist on Image Comics’ Spread and Dark Engine.