The Two Guys talk with a lot of comics creators about their craft, their ideas, and their passions. But they never really talk with them about their health. On this interview episode, Gene and Derek have as their guest an artist who is all about health and well-being. Kriota Willberg, whose new book Draw Stronger: Self-Care For Cartoonists and Other Visual Artists (Uncivilized Books) was released last month, discusses her experiences in health care, her years as a massage therapist, and how it all informs her creative trajectory. Draw Stronger is a text targeted to visual artists who work within fine and detailed contexts, and it provides helpful means to avoid pain and address the kind of physical practices that will best nurture creativity. The book is divided into three sections, revealing the basics of creative self-care, exercises that target a variety of body movements, and useful first aid to address stress and pain while waiting to visit a health professional. Over the course of their conversation, Kriota discusses the genesis of this project in her minicomics, the ways in which humor informs her approach, the vast research that went into this guide, and how her work in bioethics has impacted her comics.
On this episode of The Comics Alternative‘s interview series, Derek welcomes Kristin LaLonde. She is one of the cohost of The Secret Stacks podcast, and she has a particular interest in graphic medicine and comics that deal with health and end-of-life issues. Together, the two of them talk with Suzy Hopkins and Hallie Bateman, the writer and illustrator of What to Do When I’m Gone: A Mother’s Wisdom to Her Daughter (Bloomsbury Publishing). This is a book that the mother-daughter team worked on together, addressing the eventual death of Suzy and what advice she might want to give to Hallie before passing on. They talk with Kristin and Derek about the origins of this idea, the long incubation period, its evolution as a text from a personal project to something for a much broader audience, and how both mother and daughter collaborated on a subject matter that, while somber and ominous, was nonetheless was a necessary life-affirming exercise.
For this week’s show, Andy and Derek look at two examples of life writing and one Dracula-infused alternate history. They begin with Paula Knight’s The Facts of Life, one of the latest in the Pennsylvania State University Press’ Graphic Medicine series. This is the story of Knight and her partner’s attempts to get pregnant, but more significantly, it’s a personal account of the contexts and societal expectations surrounding motherhood. After that they look at Sara Lautman’s Black and White Diary Comics, December 2016 – February 2017 (Birdcage Bottom Books), a collection of black-and-white strips that episodically chronicles the artist’s life over the past few months. Finally, the Two Guys wrap up with with Anno Dracula #1 (Titan Comics), the next installment in Kim Newman’s series of novels…this one in comics form. With art by Paul McCaffrey, this first miniseries, subtitled “1895: Seven Days in Mayhem,” could stand as a solid introduction to Newman’s vampiric storyworld.