Comics Alternative Interviews: Jonathan Case

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Craft and Capers

JonathanCaseOn this episode of their interview series, Derek and Andy W. talk with Jonathan Case about his new graphic novel that was just released, The New Deal (Dark Horse Books). It’s the Depression-era story of Frank and Theresa, a bellhop and maid working at the Waldorf Astoria who get caught up in a series of mysterious thefts. It’s a kind of heist narrative with an old screwball comedy flair — think of Cary Grant and Kathryn Hepburn — and one that involves references to both Orson Welles and Ernest Hemingway. The Two Guys talk with Jonathan about his skills at characterization, both in the construction of his personae and his use of NewDealCoverclean-line art to bring out each one’s best defining qualities. They also discuss Case’s background in the performing arts and how his sense of dialogue and timing manifests itself on the paneled page. Although most of the conversation centers on The New Deal, Andy and Derek also ask Jonathan about his work with Jeff Jenson on Green River Killer, a new edition of which will be coming out soon from Dark Horse. This was a completely different kind of project from Jonathan’s fictional work, and the guys ask their guest about the challenges of representing one of the most notorious serial killings of modern times. Of particular interest was Case’s working relationship with the Jenson family and the distance the artist needed to maintain while crafting the story’s documentary tone. Along the way, they discuss Jonathan’s work on other titles such as Dear Creature and Batman ’66, his association with Periscope Studio, and the ways in which his family life impacts his art. The result is a highly informative, personal, and measured conversation about the many facets of comics storytelling…something the Two Guys with PhDs are always able to get out of their guests.