On this interview episode, Gwen and Derek are pleased to have as their guest Tony Cliff, the creative mind behind the Delilah Dirk series. His latest book, Delilah Dirk and the King’s Shilling, was released last month from First Second. In the interview, our adventurous podcast explorers ask Tony about the genesis behind the series, the influence of Jane Austen novels and films like Raiders of the Lost Ark, Delilah Dirk’s original appearance in Kazu Kibuish’s Flightseries, the challenges of writing historical fiction, and how Tony’s background in animation has translated itself into his comics. They not only discuss his most recent book, but also his earlier works, Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant(which Andy Wolverton reviewed for the blog back in 2013) and the short ebook, Delilah Dirk and the Seeds of Good Fortune. But the conversation goes into other directions, as well, such as when Tony brings up the topic of serialization and reading preferences. What doesn’t make the recording, unfortunately, is an interesting discussion on a label that is most apt for the Delilah Dirk titles, “all-age comics.” That was a conversation that Tony had with Gwen and Derek after they concluded the interview and turned off the recorder. Still, there’s more than enough packed into what was actually captured, enough Delilah Dirk talk to last you until the publication of Tony’s next exciting installment.
Note: The portrait of Tony that you see above was drawn on a napkin by Kate Beaton!
Sean and Derek start off the new year of the webcomics series with three exciting titles. They begin with Delilah Dirk and the King’s Shilling, Tony Cliff’s follow up to Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant. The latter began life as a webcomic, but then was published by First Second in 2013. Cliff is doing something similar with his second Delilah Dirk book, although this time he is serializing the narrative in webcomic form only until early March, the release date of the hardcopy (again, by First Second). And although King’s Shilling may not ultimately be a complete webcomic, what is there is well worth reading and has you anticipating the release of the new book. After that, the guys turn to Reckstar, Joey Cruz and Michelle Nguyen’s mashup of sci-fi and comedy with all of the trappings of a classic buddy story. In fact, Sean likens the tale to a space-based Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis team-up, with the immature Finn Wyoming playing the Lewis role in this volatile relationship. The webcomic is just into its third chapter, but there’s much to appreciate in its upcoming developments. Finally, Sean and Derek take a long look at Jason Yungbluth’s Weapon Brown, possibly one of the most engaging and sophisticated webcomics they’ve ever discussed on the podcast. This is a parodic sendup not only of Schulz’s Peanuts, but of the entire history of American comic strips. The story takes place in a post-apocalyptic world, where a nefarious organization known as the Syndicate (read United Feature Syndicate) is attempting to subdue a rebel force and their grasp on a unique food supply known as shmoo. Weapon Brown, occasionally called “Chuck,” enters the fray as a cybernetic right-armed mercenary (with a sidekick dog named “Snoop”) who ends up helping the rebel leaders Annie (see Little Orphan Annie), Hughie X (The Boondocks), Pops (Popeye), and Hildy (Broom-Hilda), among others. The action builds to a final showdown between Weapon Brown and an unstoppable, merciless, stuffed tiger-toting creation known as a Cyber Augmented Legionnaire version 1.N (or C.A.L. V1N for short). In fact, the entire history of newspaper strips seems to be represented in Weapon Brown, and part of the joy of reading this webcomic is discovering the many references, often subtle, embedded throughout. Derek and Sean also point out the risqué nature of the story, with its (at times) explicit sex, violence, and language. But if you’re OK with a little spice in your webcomics, then Weapon Brown should become one of your reading highlights of the year.
Straight from the convention booth of Publishers Weekly at New York Comic Con, it’s More to Come! Your podcast source of insider comics publishing news, discussion and controversy. Starring Heidi MacDonald, the Eisner-nominated blogger of ComicsBeat.com, Calvin Reid, Senior News Editor of Publishers Weekly and Kate Fitzsimons, More To Come’s intrepid producer.
In part three of our New York Comic Con interview special, Calvin speaks with Jeff Gomez about the new religious graphic novel imprint Vital Shift, Kate talks with Jane Espenson and Brad Bell, writers and co-creators of the webseries and graphic novel Husbands, and guest host Matt White talks to Greg Rucka of Veiland Lazarus; Tony Cliff, creator of Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant; Cameron Stewart, creator of Sin Titulo; and Andrew Robinson, artist of The Fifth Beatleon PWCW’s More to Come.