Critiquing Comics #121: “Void Trip”

Void Trip

Ryan O’Sullivan, whose writing on Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War we discussed a few months back, returns with a new Image book called Void Trip, with art by Plaid Klaus. The story features a couple of stoners traveling through space, with a mysterious pursuer. But what, exactly, is it about? Tim and Mulele ponder.

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Deconstructing Comics #579: Helioscope: Fred Chao and Ron Randall

Fred Chao and Ron Randall

This week we wrap up both Tim’s visit to Heliscope Studio in Portland, and the whole three-month string of episodes from Tim’s trip around the US this past summer.

We’ll hear from Fred Chao about the double-edged sword of living in New York and how it informed his book Johnny Hiro: Half Asian, All Hero; how his approach to photos is really old-school; and his Kickstarted childrens’ book Alison and Her Rainy Day Robot.

Then, veteran comics artist Ron Randall on the right and wrong ways to use photo reference, his experience pencilling from an Alan Moore Swamp Thing script; his creator-owned project from the ‘80s, Trekker, and why he’s reviving it now; attending the nerd Mardi Gras; and why we’re living in a golden age of comics!

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Deconstructing Comics #578: Helioscope: Steve Lieber, Maria Frantz, and Ben Dewey

Steve Lieber, Maria Frantz, and Ben Dewey

Three more talks with the folks at Helioscope Studio in Portland in this episode!

Steve Lieber, an artist in his own right and also manager of the studio, gives us a brief history of the studio (including its self-naming woes) and tips on how to start your own studio.

Intern/mentee Maria Frantz, a university student and web cartoonist who grew up reading Calvin and Hobbes, explains her internship and the aims of her comics work, and how her generation approaches comics.

Finally, Ben Dewey (Autumnlands, Beasts of Burden) talks about his process of doing art (involving digital pencils and analog watercolors), why you shouldn’t get too fussy over your comics, managing your comics creating time, and what was good about Rob Liefeld’s work.

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Deconstructing Comics #577: Why do we like “bad futures”? w/Mark Hobby

Job Dun, Fat Assassin

For the past several decades there have been a lot of comics, movies, and other fiction involving “bad futures”, with lots of poverty, violence, environmental destruction, and the like. Why has this genre been so appealing to so many?

In this episode, Emmet O’Cuana talks with Mark Hobby about why this genre endures and how Mark has approached it in his own comic, Job Dun: Fat Assassin. They also discuss why British writers have led the pack on bad future stories, how Watchmen and the X-Men fit into the discussion, why sex in media seems to upset some people more than violence, and more.

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Deconstructing Comics #576: Helioscope: Cat Farris and Terry Blas

Cat Farris and Terry Blas

This week, two more creators from Portland’s Helioscope Studio:

Cat Farris is working on “Emily and the Strangers” for Dark Horse, and her own web comic “The Last Diplomat.” She talks about the learning curve of drawing digitally, pacing the revealing of story information, the down side of telling people what she does for a living, and more.

Terry Blas has done covers for such comics titles as Adventure Time and Rick & Morty, and is the co-writer of a forthcoming graphic novel from Oni Press called Morbid Obesity, a murder mystery set at a fat camp. He talks about how to make stories less formulaic and more emotional, and points out a neglected segment of the American comics market.

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Deconstructing Comics #575: Helioscope: Karl Kesel and Dylan Meconis

This week we begin our visit with the creators at Helioscope, a comics studio in Portland, Oregon!

Karl Kesel has been in mainstream comics for 30 years and has worked on some of the most popular characters from the Big Two. How has the industry changed in that time, for good and bad? Why is his fingernail always broken? How is inking therapeutic for him?

 

 

Then graphic novelist Dylan Meconis (Bite Me!: A Vampire Farce; Family Man; Outfoxed) gives us a lot of thoughts and tips for promoting a comic online, as well as why foxes are thought of as tricksters in numerous cultures, and how we’ll know when comics have really “arrived”.

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#574 Thumbnailing pages, and a collaboration gone wrong

Irene and Jason

This week, a couple of old friends stop by to give us their thoughts and advice on comics creation.

First, artist Irene Strychalski (Gwenpool) talks about her 10 tips for thumbnailing a comics page. At this stage, your main concern is clear storytelling technique. Listen for some guidelines!

Then, writer Jason McNamara (The Martian Confederacy, The Rattler), now creative consultant for the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, talks about recognizing when a comics collaboration isn’t gelling, and knowing when to let go.

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Deconstructing Comics #573: Bryan Talbot

Grandville

UK creator Bryan Talbot (The Adventures of Luther Arkwright, Heart of Empire, Grandville series) talks with Koom about co-founding the Lakes International Comic Art Festival, the difference between a “comicon” and a “festival”, working with Alan Moore on “Nightjar”, and much more.

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Deconstructing Comics #572: Barbara Schulz on MCAD’s Comic Art Program

Barbara Schulz

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.

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Critiquing Comics #120: “1985 Black Hole Repo #1”

1985 Black Hole Repo

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.

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Deconstructing Comics #571: Minneapolis’ World Monster Headquarters

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!

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Deconstructing Comics #570: Body Positivity and Free Speech

This week, Tim presents two interviews from his time in Portland, Oregon!

First, Lacy Davis and Jim Kettner talk about their first graphic novel, Ink in Water: An Illustrated Memoir (Or, How I Kicked Anorexia’s Ass and Embraced Body Positivity), about Lacy’s battles with anorexia. They talk about the process of making the book, the challenges of collaborating with your spouse, and the nature of eating disorders, which have both physical and mental effects.

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”?

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Critiquing Comics #119: “The Ferocious Five”

The Ferocious Five

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?

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Deconstructing Comics #569: A Toast to London and Comics! with Amrit Birdi, Ram V, and Neil Gibson

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.

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Deconstructing Comics #568: Getting “Trashed” with Derf Backderf

Trashed - Derf

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!

Derf will be headlining at Cartoon Crossroads Columbus later this month!

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