Comics Alternative Interviews: Glenn Head

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That Toddling Town

GlennBookOn this episode of the interview show, Andy and Derek have as their guest Glenn Head, whose new book Chicago: A Comix Memoir was just released from Fantagraphics. They talk with Glenn extensively about the the work and how it is a marked departure from his previous comics. Chicago is Glenn’s coming-of-age account of leaving Madison, NJ, in 1977 to attend the Cleveland Institute of Art, and then deciding to find himself by suddenly running off to Chicago with no friends, no money, and no plans. He quickly finds himself destitute, panhandling on the streets, and young prey for any number of nefarious forces. Between homeless shelters and McDonald’s meals, Glenn tries to make his way into the comics business, along the way meeting the likes Skip Williamson, Robert Crumb, and even Muhammed Ali. His sojourn in the Windy City leads him down some dark paths, but not nearly as dark as the aftermath back home in Madison where he begins to process the events and come to terms with what those Chicago experiences meant to him. Chicago1This isn’t the first time that Glenn has created autobiographically tinged comics — such pieces had appeared in some of his older comics, such as Avenue D and Guttersnipe — but this is the first time he has done so in longer form. Indeed, this is Glenn’s first sustained book-length narrative, having defined much of his career through shorter comics collected in various anthologies, such as Weirdo and Zero Zero, or by editing collections of his own, such Snake Eyes and, most recently, Hotwire Comics. The guys talk with Glenn about those projects, as well, and discuss with him the changes he’s witnessed in the field between the final days of the underground comix to the legitimization of the “graphic novel” form. So this isn’t just an interview with an established creator about his latest book. It’s also a conversation about the current state of comics with a witness to that form’s decades-long trajectory.


Check out Glenn’s website to experience his surreal comics world!


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About Derek Royal

The Comics Alternative is a weekly podcast focused on the world of alternative, independent, and primarily non-superhero comics. (There’s nothing wrong with the superhero genre…we just want to do something different.) New shows become available every Wednesday…much like the comic books you get. Episodes feature reviews of graphic novels and current ongoing series, discussions of upcoming comics, examinations of collected editions, in-depth analyses of a variety of comics texts, spotlights on various creators and their oeuvre, roundtable discussions with prominent critics and scholars in the field, and interviews with the artists and writers who make all of this possible. Along the way, Andy and Derek will talk about the various books that they are reading; the many pop cultural references that, for better or worse, inform their lives; and the unpredictable (and inexplicable) weirdness that seems to creep into each episode. In essence,The Comics Alternative podcast is brilliantly simple: Two guys with PhDs talking about comics.

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