Comics Alternative Interviews: Summer Pierre

Time Codes:

  • 00:00:24 – Introduction
  • 00:02:37 – Setup of interview
  • 00:04:33 – Interview with Summer Pierre
  • 01:19:14 – Wrap up
  • 01:20:13 – Contact us

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Musical Definitions

The Two Guys were first introduced to the work of Summer Pierre during June of 2017. At the time, they were wanting to do a special episode of The Comics Alternative devoted to self-published creators, and John Porcellino recommended to Derek that they check out the work of Summer Pierre. At the time her minicomic Paper Pencil Life was at its fourth issue, and so they went to her website to get the full run of the title up to that point. They were impressed by her art and storytelling, and since then, Derek has made it a point of following Summer’s work. She had told him last year in an email that she planned to have a new graphic memoir coming out from Retrofit in 2018, and at this week’s Small Press Expo that book will officially debut. All the Sad Songs is a moving account of the role of music in Summer’s life, from the creation of mix tapes to her performances as a musician, and how that music is linked to key moments with her various relationships and her growth as an artist. In many ways this book is a work of remembrance, but it’s not soaked in the kind of nostalgia that would come across as sentimental. On the contrary, Summer takes a hard look at herself during those times in her life, bearing herself in ways that, at times, may be a bit uncomfortable. But her story is authentic and speaks from the heart. In this interview, Derek talks with Summer about the genesis of this project, her experiences writing in long-form narrative, the role that music has played in her life, and the potential pitfalls in writing about her past in such an open and honest way. This is an interview that’s been a long time in coming, but it was definitely worth the wait.

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

Listen to the podcast!

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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