Comics Alternative, On Location: SPX 2018, “The Practice of Diary Comics” Panel

Time Codes:

  • 00:00:27 – Introduction
  • 00:02:12 – Panel context, with Glynnis Fawkes
  • 00:14:02 – “The Practice of Diary Comics” panel
  • 01:09:40 – Wrap up
  • 01:10:50 – Contact us

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Sriracha

The middle of last month, September 15-16, saw the Small Press Expo held in North Bethesda, MD. At the event, Derek moderated a panel on that Sunday afternoon entitled “The Practice of Diary Comics.” Participating in the discussion were Glynnis Fawkes, Summer Pierre, Kevin Budnik, and Dustin Harbin. This episode of the podcast presents an audio recording of that event, and joining Derek in setting up the context is Glynnis Fawkes. She, Derek, and Summer Pierre were the ones who organized the panel, decided on its topic focus, and reached out to the other contributors about joining in. In setting up the panel recording, Glynnis and Derek discuss their initial plans for the session, some of the concerns they had in coming up with a focus, and how the topic evolved. Then they get to the recording of the event. The sound quality of the audio is “rough” at times — the gain on some of the microphones sounds as if it was turned up a bit too high — but that’s something that the participants had no way of controlling. Nonetheless, everything is legible, and you can certainly make out clearly what everyone says…as well as Dustin’s singing and consuming of donuts.

A big thanks to Rob Clough for working with us on this panel and for overseeing the programming at this year’s SPX!

Participants from the left: Dustin Harbin, Summer Pierre, Kevin Budnik, Glynnis Fawkes, and Derek Royal

Comics Alternative, Episode 263: Reviews of Now #2, The Strumpet #5, and Barbarella # 1 & #2

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Time Codes:

  • 00:00:32 – Introduction
  • 00:03:00 – Catching up with flu-ridden Gene
  • 00:04:21 – Now #2
  • 00:44:07 – The Strumpet #5
  • 01:11:49 – Barbarella #1 & #2
  • 01:26:56 – Wrap up
  • 01:27:55 – Contact us

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Anthologies, Origins, and Rebirths

This week Gene and Derek discuss three recent titles, two of which are anthologies and one a blast from the past. They begin with the second issue of Fantagraphics’ Now, edited by Eric Reynolds. As the guys mention, this one is comprised of various comics that run the gamut of art and narrative styles. While some of the contributions are more “traditional” in their storytelling presentation — such as the pieces by Susan Jonaitis and Graham Chaffee, Ariel López V., Dash Shaw, and Joseph Remnant — others challenge our understanding of the medium. Short works by Fabio Zimbres, Conxita Herrero, and James Turek are just some of the stories in this issue that experiment with how comics mediate narrative.

Next, the guys turn to another anthology, The Strumpet #5. Edited by Ellen Lindner and Glynnis Fawkes, this collection was successfully Kickstarted last year, and the theme of this volume is origins. As Gene and Derek point out, this understanding of “origins” is rather broad, with some of the contributions focusing on origins of identity, origins of awareness, origins of memories, origins of myths, origins of tyrants (Donald Trump, anyone?), origins of sexuality, and origins via birth. This is a transatlantic anthology, with creators from both North America and the UK providing a diversity of story and style. Gene had been familiar with some previous issues of The Strumpet, but this was Derek’s first exposure to the anthology. And he is sorry he hadn’t discovered it earlier.

The Two Guys with PhDs wrap up by looking at a new series from Dynamite Entertainment that brings back a classic, and controversial, figure from the 1960s. Barbarella is Mike Carey and Kenan Yarar’s contemporary take on Jean-Claude Forest’s legendary protagonist. The cheesecakey emphasis and the eroticism is definitely a part of this title, but Carey gives the space-traveling Barbarella more agency, making her more heroic, and less of a passive vessel, than Forest’s original incarnation. The guys discuss the first two issues of the series, the second of which was just recently released, and both Derek and Gene are hooked.

Comics Alternative, Episode 246: Reviews of Greek Diary, Paper Pencil Life, and KatZine

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Time Codes:

  • 00:00:29 – Introduction
  • 00:02:36 – Listener messages!
  • 00:08:24 – HeroesCon, podcast fans, and self-published comics
  • 00:14:58 – Greek Diary
  • 00:37:36 – Paper Pencil Life
  • 00:59:42 – KatZine
  • 01:16:04 – Wrap up
  • 01:17:17 – Contact us

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DIY

This week on The Comics Alternative, Andy and Derek do something they’ve never done before on the podcast: discuss only self-published titles. They got the idea for this special episode from one of the creators they look at, Glynnis Fawkes, when she was kind enough to send them copies of her latest book. So after hearing from her, Derek and Andy thought, “Why not devote an entire episode to creators like Glynnis?”

Appropriately enough, they begin with Fawkes’s book, Greek Diary, which won the 2017 MoCCAfest Award of Excellence. This is an account of the author’s experiences in Greece during June and early July 2016. Fawkes devoted the first part of her diary to her work as an archeological illustrator, but the majority of the text covers the time that her family joined her for vacation after her professional obligations. As the Two Guys reveal, this part of Greek Diary is an entertaining mix between a travelogue and a journal of familial “challenges.” (If you’ve ever traveled with small children, you certainly know what that means.)

Next, they discuss the first four issues of Summer Pierre’s Pencil Paper Life. This is Pierre’s ongoing collection of diary comics that she began keeping back in 2013. Each issue is a series of the creator’s occasional observations, reflections, and personal accounts that mostly follow a standard nine-panel grid. These comics explore her life as an artist, memories linked to pop-cultural signposts, her efforts in negotiating varying social terrains, and especially her joys — as well as her struggles — in being a mother.

Finally, the guys wrap up with Katriona Chapman’s KatZine. At the time of the recording there are so far seven issues that have been released, and this title stands out from Fawkes’s and Pierre’s in several ways. First, KatZine is more of a single-author anthology, with there being a variety of entries, including several regular features (including “Sergio Talk!,” “Local Business,” “Featured Plant,” and “Fears and Loves”). It’s also different in that the comic is a mix between straight-out comics and prose-heavy pieces. In other words, this is a zine in the more traditional sense. But KatZine also stands in contrast to Greek Diary and Paper Pencil Life in that it’s not entirely autobiographically based. There are a few pieces collected among the seven issues that are clearly fictional in nature. What’s more, in some of her more recent issues Chapman expresses her interests in melding life writing with fiction, an impulse that she is apparently carrying into her first graphic novel.

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