On this interview episode, Derek talks with Karl Steven about Penny, his current weekly/semiweekly strip appearing in The Village Voice. The two discuss this ongoing comic and its genesis, but they also talk about a variety of Karl’s other works. Of particular focus are the series of strips he created for the Boston Phoenix between June 2005 and November 2012. The earliest ones are collected in Whatever (Alternative Comics), and the later comics in two follow-up compilations, The Lodger (KSA Publishing) and Failure (Alternative Comics). In this way, Derek is able to talk with Karl about his distinctive realistic style and how he has evolved from a heavily reliance on crosshatching to a more simple, even softer approach. Along with this, Karl shares is aesthetic philosophy of naturalistic detail and how it differs strongly from that of creators such as Scott McCloud, Jessica Abel, and Matt Madden.
The guys also talk about Karl’s first book, the Xeric Award-winning Guilty. This effort is what put Karl Stevens on the map in 2005, and even today it serves as a wonderful introduction to his style. They also cover the artist’s efforts in the fine arts, including his highly informative Anatomy for Artists: A New Approach to Discovering, Learning and Remembering the Body(North Light Books), coauthored with Anthony Apesos. Karl also shares some information about The Winner, his new book that will be coming out this fall from Retrofit Comics/Big Planet Comics, and future plans to collect his and Gustavo Turner’s Succe$$ comics into book form.
On this Veteran’s Day, the Two Guys salute one of the most talented, and certainly the most satirical, men to serve in the U.S. military: Jules Feiffer. They talk with him about his latest book, and his first graphic novel, Kill My Mother (Liveright), and about his decision to write within the noir/crime genre. Derek and Andy are particularly curious about the artist’s interest in classic film noir, his handling of fast and smart dialogue, and his use of a cinematic technique to tell his story. They spend a good deal of time asking Feiffer about the evolution of the narrative and the ways his characters unfolded during the creative process. Kill My Mother is set in the 1930s and early 1940s, and Feiffer reveals to the guys — and much to their surprise — that this is just the first in a planned trilogy of stories. The next book, Cousin Joseph, will be a prequel to the recent graphic novel, and then the third will take place during the McCarthy era and deal with the blacklist. Along the way they discuss Tantrum — a “novel-in-pictures,” not a “graphic novel” — the impetus behind the classic The Great Comic Book Heroes, his experiences writing for film and the theater, and his relationship with Will Eisner and his time on The Spirit. This is a great interview, and Andy and Derek are grateful for the time that Jules gave to them. Plus, they’re excited because this is the first time they’ve ever had a Pulitzer Prize winner and an Academy Award winner on the show!
Jules Feiffer’s Sick Sick Sick began appearing in the Village Voice in 1956, satirizing both the kinds of people he met in New York, and politicians and the military-industrial complex. Feiffer remains a highly influential creator, with a new graphic novel coming out later this year. Tom Spurgeon, former editor of The Comics Journal, joins Kumar and Tim to discuss Sick Sick Sick and Feiffer’s work in general.