Deconstructing Comics #593: Reading “Nancy”, plus “Cat and Mouse”!

How to Read Nancy

A comic strip gag can be a deceptively simple thing. Once you take it about — “deconstruct” it, one might say — you find that it actually has many moving parts.

Click to enlarge

Paul Karasik and Mark Newgarden‘s How to Read “Nancy” takes a close look at each of those parts — as well as arguing persuasively for Bushmiller’s underrated artistic chops, and giving us some comic-strip history as well. Tim and Patrick review.

Cat and Mouse

PLUS: Roland Mann, Dean Zachary, and Kevin Gallegly join Tim to talk about the return of Cat and Mouse!

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Critiquing Comics #134: “Fallen Ones” and “The Five of Us”

Fallen Ones - The Five of UsA werewolf. A female assassin. A grieving father. Varga Balint Bank and Vadas Mate’s Fallen Ones weaves their stories together in a well-thought-out way.

The Five of Us: It All Starts Here, from Sean Conway, Bangkit Myarso, Arief Reza Erlangga, and Dreadink, gives us a group of young African-American men who happen onto Power Rangers-type powers. Yeah, but what’s the actual story here?

Tim and Mulele review.

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Deconstructing Comics #592: “Naruto”

NarutoMasashi Kishimoto’s Naruto, about a school for ninja, ran from 1999 to 2014. What’s appealing about this series to kids? In this episode, Kumar asks a kid — his own 10-year-old son, Ashwin! Kumar’s been reading it himself, so father and son exchange takes on the comic, including what it was about the anime version that didn’t measure up to the manga, and Ashwin’s favorite Naruto character.

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Critiquing Comics #133: “The Old Man of the Mountain” and “On Syntaphore”

Old Man of the Mountain issue 1, by Tom Rapka and Ariez Hernandez, includes an execution-style murder and three teens getting brutally, graphically cut to pieces. And yet, somehow it feels like it’s not meant to be a horror series. What is this comic trying to do?

That question goes double for On Syntaphore, by Lion’s Lips, because, while the art is attractive, the story is hard to discern — and even the reason for that isn’t quite clear.

Tim and Mulele discuss both, and also some listener mail, and Mulele’s upcoming trip to the Toronto Comic Arts Festival!

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Deconstructing Comics #591: “Promethea”: A mind-bending, life-changing comic

While Alan Moore and J.H. Williams’ Promethea, published from 1999 to 2005, is not one of Moore’s most remembered works, it’s not because the author wasn’t at the top of his game. Kumar and Emmet find it to be entrancing, even if you don’t buy into the various magical and spiritual elements that Moore built into it.

Also, inevitably, the incorporation of Promethea and other Moore creations into the DC Universe comes up; is it really just a business decision, or is the publisher singling out Moore’s work out of spite?

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Critiquing Comics #132: “A Light Before the Darkness”, “The Satsuma Rebellion”, and publishing contracts

A Light Before Darkness - The Satsuma Rebellion

Tim and Mulele critique a couple of history-based comics:

A Light Before the Darkness by Ken Mora and Cyrus Mescarcia tells the story of an artist named Michelangelo — but no, not that one. It’s about Michelangelo Da Caravaggio Di Merisi, often known simply as “Caravaggio”. Mora seems to have done his homework, but has he given us a reason to buy into his subject?

The Satsuma Rebellion is Sean Michael Wilson and Akiko Shimojima’s retelling of the titular event in Japanese history. We found it interesting — but then, we live in Japan.

ALSO: Mulele’s “PSA” about what to look for when signing (or, perhaps, NOT signing) a contract with a publisher.

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Deconstructing Comics #590: Chris Stevens and “Once Upon a Time Machine”

Chris Stevens, a comics writer and editor who has co-edited two volumes of the anthology series Once Upon a Time Machine (the second volume is newly released) talks with Koom about Frank Miller’s work, Chris’ time with Philadelphia indy publisher Locust Moon, income inequality among comics creators, and of course, some of the stories he’s edited for the anthologies.

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Critiquing Comics #131: “Vengeance, NV” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Pizza”

Vengeance, NV - Teenage Mutant Ninja PizzaA woman with glowing eyes enters a home, tells the cat that she’s there with Kristen. A man is dying after a superhero battle; after he’s recognized, he tells an acquaintance “Don’t tell Kristen.” Question: Who is Kristen!? That’s just one of the many things we have trouble figuring out about Vengeance, Nevada, by BJ Mendelson and Piotr Czaplarski.

One thing we had no trouble figuring out: Daniel Arruda Massa and Nick Marino are on a roll. After wowing us with their irreverent but undeniably skillful Holy F*ck and Holy F*cked, they’re back with Teenage Mutant Ninja Pizza, a comic that totally shouldn’t work, but does. Tim and Mulele open the box and dig in.

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Deconstructing Comics #589: Dorman, Mackie, and McCrea at Toronto Comicon

This week, three interviews that Koom got at Toronto Comicon, in a special two-hour episode!

Dave Dorman is best known for his Star Wars art, as well as other fantasy work, and even some Batman. Here he talks about being one of the first students at the Kubert School, and the lasting friendships he made there with other now-famous names, and about his approach to painting, including doing likenesses.

Howard Mackie entered Marvel in 1984 as an editor, and eventually became the writer on such characters as Ghost Rider, Iron Man, and Spider-Man. He talks about that transition, working with the guys who would later form Image Comics, and what he’s done since leaving Marvel.

John McCrea is best known for his work with Garth Ennis on such works as Troubled Souls, Hitman, and Section 8. What’s it like working with Garth? Why should you avoid doing work that goes against your publisher’s expectations? Why did he set out to do a different kind of comics than the type he’s seemingly best suited for?

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Critiquing Comics #130: “Jynx” and “Dark Soul”

Jynx and Dark Soul

Two manga-influenced titles are up for critique this time. First, in Kyle Fast’s JYNX, a white-furred monkey takes off to find adventure, leaving his guardian in the lurch. Then, organized crime gangs face off in Kitito Minami’s Dark Soul. Tim and Mulele give their opinions and advice.

Check out Mulele’s Kickstarter project!

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Deconstructing Comics #588: We love “HATE”

HATE

Peter Bagge’s HATE was an amazing hit for a ’90s indy comic, outselling some Big Two titles. Tim, Kumar, and Tom Spurgeon talk about some of the amazing aspects of this strip, and discuss whether it’s accurate to classify it as a comic about slackers.

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Critiquing Comics #129: “The Goodes” and “Undergrown”

The Goodes - UndergrownTim and Mulele finish up their look at Irrational Comics’ 2018 PITCH page with L.J. Bell’s The Goodes (a superhero/kid-dealing-with-parents’-divorce tale) and Julian Dominguez’ Undergrown (exploring the idea of an earth with no humans on its surface). Irrational Comics gives each writer eight pages to rope readers into his or her tale; did these writers make the best use of the eight pages? Who won this year’s contest?

Also, Mulele fills us in on his new Kickstarter project!

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Deconstructing Comics #587 Science in a comic: Dialogue about “The Dialogues”

This is the story of a very unusual project: a 250-page comic showing people talking about science. Not your cup of tea? Actually, the seeming lack of overlap between “comics people” and “science people” is part of this story. It was one reason this book took nearly two decades from inception to publication.

In this episode, Ryan Haupt joins Tim to review this book, called The Dialogues; then, the book’s author, USC physics professor Clifford V. Johnson, explains the arduous journey of this book, which explains a topic that’s poorly understood by the public via a medium that’s also poorly understood by the public.

Also including some actual science talk, including Ryan’s recommendations for other non-fiction comics about science!

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Critiquing Comics #128: “Osaka Mime” and “Pantheon’s End”

Tokyo Mime and Pantheon's EndTim and Mulele progress through the 2018 Irrational Comics PITCH page in this episode with Tokyo Mime, featuring two cops going up against a monster that takes the form of the last person it ate, and Pantheon’s End, in which a superhero team is faced with an apparently unstoppable end to the world.

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#586 Flirting with death, and recovering your life

This week Koom interviews Prabal Purkayastha, author of Flirting with Death, about how he tried to use the structure of a comic to communicate music, and how his next project is just the opposite of this one.

Then, what would you do if you found yourself on a park bench along a city street, and you knew where you were but you didn’t know who you were? Your home, friends, family, job, all forgotten. Tim and Eugenia review the French graphic novel Blank Slate, by Boulet and Penelope Bagieu, in which a young woman in Paris encounters exactly this problem.

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