On this interview episode, Derek is pleased to have as his guest one of his favorite creators, Seth. His latest volume of Palookaville was published last year by Drawn and Quarterly, and while every release of Seth’s signature series is worth noting, this one is particularly significant. It wraps up his “Clyde Fans” storyline, one he began in 1997 in Palookaville #10. Derek asks Seth about the process of undertaking this ongoing narrative and the considerations of sustaining it for twenty years. They also discuss the autobiographical “Nothing Lasts,” a series that Seth began in volume 21 of Palookaville. Much of the conversation concerns Seth’s autobiographical storytelling, or his faux-autobiographical comics (in the case of It’s a Good Life, If You Don’t Weaken), and the ways in which the past informs his sense of place and identity. Indeed, memory is a major theme in Seth’s stories, and the two spend a good deal of time talking about it as a defining feature of his comics. But while much of the discussion centers on the most recent volume of Palookaville, Derek also asks his guest about the general trajectory of his career. They talk about his sketchbook comics, such as Wimbledon Green and The Great Northern Brotherhood of Canadian Cartoonists, his evolving illustration style, the creation of Dominion, the melancholy George Sprott: 1894-1975,his rubber stamp diary, his life-defining relationships with Chester Brown and Joe Matt, his design and illustration work for Fantagraphics’ Complete Peanuts series and Lemony Snicket’s All the Wrong Questions books, his plans for future issues of Palookaville, and his wife’s business, Crown Barber Shop.
“Not the Comics to Read to Ukelele Music in the Background”
This week the Two Guys with PhDs review Seth’s Palookaville #21 (Drawn and Quarterly) and The Fox #1, by Dean Haspiel and Mark Waid (Red Circle Comics). They begin by providing a primer on Palookaville and the 16-year run (so far) of the serialized Clyde Fans. They spend a good amount of time talking about the latest installment of Clyde Fans, part four, and then move on to the two overtly autobiographical sections of this issue of Palookaville: “Rubber Stamp Diary” and “Nothing Lasts, Part One.” Both Gene and Derek are fascinated with the very concept of the former, using specially designed rubber stamps to keep an illustrated diary. And they are bowled over by “Nothing Lasts,” a section from one of Seth’s sketchbooks and a better story than most people’s finished comics. Next they turn their critical eyes to Haspiel and Waid’s The Fox, a new superhero title for Archie Comic’s Red Circle imprint. (Yes, we know that The Comics Alternative doesn’t focus on superhero comics, but this first issue is a notable and justifiable exception, especially since Dean Haspiel is a friend of Gene’s.) They comment on the history of The Fox, beginning back in the 1940s, and then discuss how Haspiel and Waid revive the character for current times. What the Two Guys discover inadvertently are the thematic similarities between The Fox — Haspiel’s critique of social and digital media — and Seth’s emphasis on the past and older printed materials. All in all, it is a fun review show for Derek and Gene, and they both wholeheartedly recommend Palookaville #21 and The Fox #1 to everyone.