The panel discussion “You can get killed doing this: sketches from the satire biz” was held at the recent MoCCA Fest in New York. The panel discussed the chilling effects on what satirical works get published, and why it’s important to keep publishing satire anyway. The blurb in the festival’s booklet reads in part: “Can satire survive in a world of trigger warnings and Kalishnikov triggers? Could the National Lampoon be published in a post-Charlie Hebdo world? Is self-censorship the greatest sin of all?” This week we present an excerpt of that discussion.
Allegories and Bathroom Catastrophes
On this episode of their interview show, Derek and Andy are happy to have as they guest Miss Lasko-Gross, whose new book, Henni (Z2 Comics), has been getting a lot of press. They begin by asking her about all of the attention her graphic novel is receiving, especially in light of the recent Charlie Hebdo tragedy. She tells the guys that while the message of her book is rather timely, she wrote it as a broader, more allegorical narrative, one that addresses intolerance and oppression in a variety of forms. As Miss points out, our culture and those of others are unfortunately never in short supply of narrow-mindedness, a condition for which Henni can be an going reminder. The guys also ask her about her creative process, the narrative catalyst of drawing, and the role of scripting in her longer-form comics. Her art-driven style gives Henni a more deliberate, measured pacing, allowing the narrative more time to breathe. Andy and Derek also ask her about her earlier semi-autobiographical books, Escape from “Special” and A Mess of Everything, and how those narratives may relate to what she’s doing in her latest graphic novel. The guys ask Miss about her strategies in writing the auto-bio books and what kind of reactions she has received from her fan base. Yet while Escape and Mess may share some links to her new book — both Melissa in the auto-bio books and Henni are curious, questioning young women on a journey — they are nonetheless two distinct projects. While the earlier books were attempts to represent her own life story, Henni is the first of a trilogy of books centered around a fantastic, pre-industrial land populated by anthropomorphic feline characters. Miss may eventually return to her autobiographical writing — although that’s not certain — but she’s definitely deep into and committed to Henni’s story. So we can expect more well-crafted comics from Miss in the coming years.