Comics Alternative, On Location: Talking with Creators at SPX 2018, Pt. 1

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Small Is Good!

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This past weekend, Derek attended Small Press Expo in North Bethesda, MD. While there, he interviewed a variety of creators, some of whom he didn’t even know, about their recent releases and their upcoming projects. In this, the first of two on-location shows recorded at SPX, Derek talks with 15 different creators, with each brief interview lasting anywhere from 4 to about 17 minutes. Among the writers/artists/editors Derek talks with are Mike Freiheit, Madeline McGrane, Kelly Phillips and Claire Folkman, Karl Christian Krumpholz, Max de Radiguès, Ryan Holmberg, Scott Roberts, Nathan Gelgud, M. Dean, Emi Gennis, Alex Nall, Ash Thomas and Sara Guzman, and Ellen Lindner.

Comics Alternative Interviews: Christopher Sebela, Ro Stein, and Ted Brandt

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Crowdfunded Death

In Crowded (Image Comics), the protagonist Charlie Ellison finds herself the victim of a crowdfunded assassination. That’s right, a crowdfunded assassination. Charlie lives a quiet, normal life, going about her daily routine as anyone would. But she soon finds herself under fire, hunted by all of Los Angeles with her potential killers fueled by crowdfunding platform Reapr. As a result, Charlie hires Vita, one the lowest-rated bodyguards employed by the Dfend, an app allowing you to hire protection. The two then go on a quest to discover who is behind Charlie’s crowdfunded contract, and do so without Charlie falling victim or Vita screwing up.

The first issue of Crowded was released in August, and last month Derek talked with the creators, Christopher Sebela, Ro Stein, and Ted Brandt, immediately before the release date. The second issue will be coming out next week, on September 12. In this interview Derek talks with the creators about the ideas behind this project, the role that social media and technology plays in the series, how the three collaborate on each issue, and what we might expect as the series unfolds.

Comics Alternative Interviews: Erin Nations

Time Codes:

  • 00:24 – Introduction
  • 02:16 – Setup of interview
  • 03:40 – Interview with Erin Nations
  • 51:50 – Wrap up
  • 52:14 – Contact us

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Illustrating the Self

In December of 2016, Top Shelf Productions published the first issue of Erin Nations’s Gumballs, the one of four issues that would be released over the course of the following year. This quarterly ran as a one-personal anthology, a collection of stories and observations, many of which were autobiographical in nature. Gumballs stood out among its peers in that it recalled the kind of comic books we used to get from other alternative creators such as Seth, Daniel Clowes, and Chris Ware. Now those creators have turned to the “graphic novel” or book form, and it’s a rarity that we get a comic book like this, making Gumballs stand out as a title of note. Now those four issues have been collected as a trade, one that has just been made available in the direct market and next week will be out for wider release.  In this interview, Derek talks with Erin Nations about the genesis of his Gumballs series, his thoughts on being an autobiographical cartoonist, how he uses comics to chronicle his transitioning, and the various tones he strikes among the many stories contained within his series.

Comics Alternative Interviews: Grace Ellis and Shae Beagle

Time Codes:

  • 00:26 – Introduction
  • 02:22 – Setup of interview
  • 03:46 – Interview with Grace Ellis and Shae Beagle
  • 43:14 – Wrap up
  • 43:49 – Contact us

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Magical Baristas

Mythical figures, anthropomorphic characters, and heavy dose of magic, all set in a contemporary urban landscape complete with coffeehouses, mobile devices, and garage bands. This is the world of Moonstruck, a series that began last year and coming out from Image Comics. The writer and artist of this series, Grace Ellis and Shae Beagle, were kind enough to come on The Comics Alternative to talk about the completion of the first narrative arc and what we might expect with the second. These two creators have known each other for a long time, and, along with their editor and designer, Laurenn McCubbin, have experienced a curious incubation period for their project. Derek talks with Grace and Shae about the origins of Moonstruck, their unique mix of fantasy and contemporary cultural concerns, the process of collaboration, and their attempts to build a reading community, not only with their storytelling, but also through social media and a keen understanding of their target audience.

Comics Alternative Interviews: Back with John Porcellino

Time Codes:

  • 00:00:25 – Introduction
  • 00:02:50 – Setup of interview
  • 00:04:21 – Interview with John Porcellino
  • 01:21:07 – Wrap up
  • 01:23:19 – Contact us

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Despecking

Gene and Derek are excited to have John Porcellino back on the podcast. His new book From Lone Mountain has just been released by Drawn and Quarterly, and John talks in depth about the time in his life covered in this collection, as well as the process of pulling all of these experiences together. The book collects King-Cat Comics & Stories #62-#68, released between 2003-2007. The Two Guys ask John about the evolution of his compositional strategies, the role that place and landscape play in his comics, how both prose and illustrations function for self-exploration, his thoughts on punk and the DIY aesthetic, and how his comics serve as a release for, as well as a reflection of, the many changes in his life. This isn’t the first time John P. has been on The Comics Alternative — he came on for an interview around the release of issue #76 of King-Cat Comics & Stories — and the guys certainly hope that this isn’t his last visit.

And be sure to check out John’s online store, Spit and a Half. There you can find not only his King-Cat Comics & Stories, but also a variety of other mini- and indie comics by other creators, as well!

Comics Alternative Interviews: Joseph Remnant

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Time Codes:

  • 00:00:24 – Introduction
  • 00:02:33 – Setup of interview
  • 00:03:45 – Interview with Joseph Remnant
  • 01:18:05 – Wrap up
  • 01:19:38 – Contact us

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Growth

Derek is pleased to have Joseph Remnant on the podcast. His new book, Cartoon Clouds, was released last month from Fantagraphics. This is a graphic novel in the truest sense, a work of fiction that explores the nuances of relationships, defining yourself, and growing apart from those with whom you were once close. As Joseph reveals, this is a narrative that began in serial installments on a website he once maintained with Noah Van Sciver, but it soon developed into something more complex and ambitious. Most of the interview is devoted to Cartoon Clouds, but Derek also asks his guest about his comic-book series Blindspot and his illustration work with Harvey Pekar. Along the way Joseph talks about his contribution in the upcoming second issue of Now, and he hints at some of the new work he currently has underway.

Joseph will be at CAB, Comic Arts Brooklyn, this coming weekend. If you’re in the area, be sure to stop by and tell him hello and that you heard him on The Comics Alternative!

Comics Alternative Interviews: Back with Sophie Goldstein

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Time Codes:

  • 00:00:24 – Introduction
  • 00:02:39 – Setup of interview
  • 00:04:28 – Interview with Sophie Goldstein
  • 01:16:41 – Wrap up
  • 01:18:21 – Contact us

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Sci-Fi and the Art of Psycho-Sexual Drama

On this episode of The Comics Alternative‘s interview series, Paul and Derek are pleased to talk with Sophie Goldstein. Her new book, House of Women, was recently published by Fantagraphics, and she talks with the Two Guys about her four-year process of creating her narrative. As Sophie describes it, this is a psycho-sexual sci-fi drama about a group of female missionaries who travel to a distant planet to help educate — and colonize — the local population. Complications ensue when an earlier missionary, Jael Dean, goes native and becomes the focus of rival affections. During their insightful conversation, Goldstein discusses the genesis of the project, how it springs from her love of the film Black Narcissus and how it began as a thesis while she was at the Center for Cartoon Studies. She also reveals her strategies for composing her protagonists, the evolution of the storyline, and the history of originally self-publishing her work in three parts.

Be sure to check out Sophie Goldstein’s Patreon page, as well as her previous times on the podcast:

Comics Alternative Interviews: Ger Apeldoorn

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Time Codes:

  • 00:00:25 – Introduction
  • 00:02:24 – Setup of interview
  • 00:03:34 – Interview with Ger Apeldoorn
  • 01:06:35 – Wrap up
  • 01:08:17 – Contact us

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Wannabes

Just in time for the San Diego Comic-Con — where he and Craig Yoe will be meeting with fans and signing books — Ger Apeldoorn is on the show to talk with Derek about his new book, Behaving Madly: Zany, Loco, Cockeyed, Rip-off, Satire Magazines (IDW/Yoe Books). It’s a beautifully produced work that highlights the many knockoffs of Bill Gaines’s Mad that appeared between 1954 to 1959, attempting to capitalize on the kind of success the Usual Gang of Idiots enjoyed once the title changed to magazine format. These Mad wannabes appeared with such titles as From Here to InsanityCockeyedBunk!, SNAFULunatickleWho Goofed?ThimkShook UpFrenzyFrantic!LocoZany, and Nuts! You might think — or thimk — that these rip-offs would all be cheesy and subpar, but as Ger makes clear, these short-lived satire magazines included work from such comics legends as Jack Davis, Al Jaffee, Steve Ditko, Jack Kirby, Joe Kubert, Howard Nostrand, Bob Powell, Ross Andru, Basil Wolverton, and Russ Heath. Derivative and second-rate? Perhaps. But the selections in Behaving Madly are no laughing matter. Well…actually, they are.

Check out this great promo from Yoe Books!

 

 

Comics Alternative Interviews: Gabrielle Bell

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Time Codes:

  • 00:00:24 – Introduction
  • 00:02:26 – Setup of interview
  • 00:04:21 – Interview with Gabrielle Bell
  • 01:00:03 – Wrap up
  • 01:01:21 – Contact us

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“The anxiety and the happiness are just so close together”

On this interview episode Andy and Derek are pleased to have as their guest Gabrielle Bell. Her latest book, Everything Is Flammable, came out recently from Uncivilized Books. The guys talk with Gabrielle extensively about the idea for this book — described as her first long-form graphic memoir — and how it evolved from her work on short diary pieces. What binds most of the entries in Everything Is Flammable are her experiences with her mother after her northern California house was destroyed in a fire. The guys also ask her about her annual event, the July diary, a project in which she was in the middle of at the time of this recording. Gabrielle discusses both the pleasures and the struggles of completing her self-imposed month-long project and how this year’s daily stories surround her time house- and pet-sitting for her friend and publisher, Tom Kaczynski. Along the way, Gabrielle reveals her various thoughts on being a semi-autobiographical cartoonist, the uncertainties of including friends and family members in her comics, the responsibilities she feels in those representations, and the very problem of trying to pigeonhole her work within a particular genre or form.

 

Comics Alternative Interviews: Denis Kitchen

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Time Codes:

  • 00:00:24 – Introduction
  • 00:02:42 – Setup of interview
  • 00:04:01 – Interview with Denis Kitchen
  • 01:09:50 – Wrap up
  • 01:11:09 – Contact us

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Working on (and with) the Masters

Andy and Derek are happy to have Denis Kitchen back on The Comics Alternative. On his previous appearance surrounded Will Eisner Week 2015, but this time, he discusses the Will Eisner centennial as well as his work on the Essential Kurtzman volumes. Earlier this year Dark Horse Books, through the Kitchen Sink Books imprint, published Will Eisner: The Centennial Celebration: 1917-2017, a dual English-French album based on recent exhibitions at Le Musée de la Bande Dessinée in Angoulême and the Society of Illustrators in New York. Denis served as one of the curators of those exhibits, as well as one of the authors of the catalogue. He talks with the guys about his experiences helping to pull everything together for the exhibitions and working with John Lind (his Kitchen Sink Books colleague) on the centennial volume. Derek and Andy also ask him about his work on the Essential Kurtzman library, also published through Dark Horse and its Kitchen Sink Books imprint. They get the lowdown on the first two works in the series, Harvey Kurtzman’s Jungle Book and Trump: The Complete Collection, as well as what we might expect in future volumes. The Two Guys also ask Denis about future projects from him, as not only an editor, but as an artist. He’s a little close-to-the-vest with the specifics, but nonetheless suggests that important news is to come.

Denis Kitchen – “Day I Met Will Eisner” (2005)

 

 

Comics Alternative Interviews: Hope Larson and Rebecca Mock

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Time Codes:

  • 00:25 – Introduction
  • 02:31 – Setup of interview
  • 03:11 – Interview with Hope Larson and Rebecca Mock
  • 54:00 – Wrap up
  • 57:40- Contact us

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Sailing Takes Me Away…

On this interview episode, Gwen and Derek are pleased to have as their guest the creators behind the Four Points books, Hope Larson and Rebecca Mock. The second (and perhaps final) work in the series, Knife’s Edge, comes out this week from Farrar, Straus and Giroux, and your two highly credentialed cohosts talk with the creators about the new book and follow up to last year’s Compass South. Over the course of their conversation Rebecca and Hope discuss the genesis of the project, their process for collaboration, the research that went into the two books, and the evolution of the various characters that populate their narrative. They even tease a little bit about their yet-unannounced new collaboration that’s completely separate from the Four Points series.

 

Comics Alternative, On Location: Talking with Creators at HeroesCon 2017, Pt. 2

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More Heroes Talk

In the second of two on-location interview episodes recorded at this year’s HeroesCon in Charlotte, NC, Derek talks with Fabian Rangel, Jr. (author of Tarantula), Charles Forsman (Slasher), Chris Sheridan (Motorcycle Samurai), Shawn Pryor (Cash and Carrie), and Alison Sampson (Winnebago Graveyard), and Andy and Derek speak with Darren Neely (Chase Van Bolt). Fun stuff!

Stay tuned over the next week for more HeroesCon episodes!

 

 

Comics Alternative, On Location: Talking with Creators at HeroesCon 2017, Pt. 1

Listen to the podcast!

Time Codes:

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Heroes Talk

In the first of two on-location interview episodes recorded at this year’s HeroesCon in Charlotte, NC, Derek talks with a variety of artists, writers, and editors. Some of these are creators with whom Derek was already familiar, some have even talked on the podcast before, and some are are new discoveries. In this show you’ll hear brief discussions with Ben Sears (author of Volcano Trash), Abby Howard (The Last Halloween), Jody Leheup and Sebastian Girner (Shirtless Bear Fighter), Andy Hirsch (Science Comics: Dogs), Matthew David Smith and Jeremy Massie (Amazing Age), Tyler Chin-Tanner (Broken Frontier), Sam Costello (Split Lip Comics), and Thom Zahler (Time and Vine).

Stay tuned over the next week for other episodes generated at this year’s HeroesCon!

Comics Alternative Interviews: Dave Chisholm

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Time Codes:

  • 00:00:24 – Introduction
  • 00:02:31 – Setup of interview
  • 00:03:48 – Interview with Dave Chisholm
  • 01:03:55 – Wrap up
  • 01:05:04- Contact us

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With Great Talent Comes…

On this interview episode, Derek talks with Dave Chisholm, whose new book Instrumental comes out soon from Z2 Comics. This is the story of a musician who comes upon a trumpet with unique powers, allowing him to transform the lives around him, including those of his fellow bandmates. Dave’s background — a professional trumpet player, songwriter, composer, bandleader, and educator — becomes the wellspring from which he pulls his narrative, so much of his conversation with Derek is devoted to the power of music and its translation into visual form. The graphic novel also comes with a soundtrack, seven songs composed and performed by Dave. Over the course of the interview the two discuss the genesis of this project, the fantastical nature of the story, the unique links between audio and visual representations, and Dave’s work as an artist on this and other projects, including the Study Group webcomic, The Tyranny of the Muse.

Comics Alternative Interviews: Sharon Shinn and Molly Knox Ostertag

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Time Codes:

  • 00:26 – Introduction
  • 02:14 – Setup of interview
  • 04:04 – Interview with Sharon Shinn and Molly Knox Ostertag
  • 57:52 – Wrap up
  • 59:37 – Contact us

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The Stars Are Indispensable

On this interview episode Gwen and Derek talk with Sharon Shinn and Molly Knox Ostertag. Their new book Shattered Warrior comes out this week from First Second, and they discuss their experiences in developing the project and their process of collaboration. This is Sharon’s first graphic novel — she’s the author of over 25 prose novels — so she shares her journey of discover while working in a different medium. And while Molly is primarily known for her successful webcomic Strong Female Protagonist (co-created with Brennan Lee Mulligan), this is her first time in working on a longer, sustained narrative for print. Gwen and Derek talk with their guests about the genesis of this story, the excitement of world creation, and their thoughts on intended reading audiences.