Andy and Derek are pleased to have as their guest Kirsten Radtke. Her new work Imagine Wanting Only Thishas just been released from Pantheon Books, and it’s a deeply personal speculation on impermanence, decay, and abandonment. Using as a springboard significant events from her own life — such as the loss of a beloved uncle and a fortuitous creative discovery — Radtke explores our sense of place in a culture that privileges newness and disposability. The book has been described as a memoir, but the guys feel that it’s better framed as a meditation, a contemplative graphic essay tinged with introspection and self-analysis. Over the course of the conversation, Radtke discusses the genesis of the project, her experiences with comics journalism, and the challenges of defining the art that she creates.
On this interview episode, Gwen and Derek are pleased to have as their guest Sonny Liew, whose latest work, The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye, was just released from Pantheon Books. They talk with the author about his mock biography and how it engages with comic-book history, the tumultuous politics of Singapore, and his own creative influences. Sonny also discusses the genesis of the project and his strategic use of distinctive art styles reminiscent of Osama Tezuka, Walt Kelly, Harvey Kurtzman, Frank Miller, and Jack Kirby, among others. This mixture of styles and genre influences makes The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye aunique work that’s difficult to pin down. It’s different from anything else out there. Gwen and Derek also ask Sonny about his current work with Paul Levitz on Doctor Fate as well as the possibility of future Shadow Hero or Malinky Robot stories.
Chris Ware’s 2012 work Building Stories attracted a lot of attention because of its unusual format: a box of 14 publications of varying shapes and sizes, which can be read in any order. Ware says the work is about memory, in various ways, and reading the story in various non-chronological ways can give us different points of view on how its characters remember (or mis-remember, or forget) various things.
While Tim finds the examination of memory to be interesting in itself, and feels that the format enhances that, Kumar is less patient with it, wondering what the conclusion is, why all the characters seem so miserable, and whether the work’s form has any relationship to the content. This week, they discuss whether the work deserves a “historical landmark” plaque, or a wrecking ball.