Articles Published the Week of April 19th

Danielle Corsetto on "Girls with Slingshots" finale: "I'm ready to do the next thing"

I've been a huge fan of Danielle Corsetto's webcomic "Girls with Slingshots" for years. I spoke with her about it years back and after the strip ended last month, we talked again about ending the strip after more than a decade and her plans for the future. I can't wait to see what she comes up with next.

Roy Thomas talks creating Avengers villain Ultron and 50 years in comics

It's hard to underestimate Roy Thomas' influence on American comics. Fifty years ago this summer, he started working in comics and just listing the characters he created, the comics he wrote, the films he worked on would take pages. Among other things he co-created Ultron and Vision, two characters who appear in Avengers: Age of Ultron and he was kind enough to take the time out to talk with me


Articles Published the Week of April 12th

Meredith Gran finds herself adrift with "Adventure Time," finishing "Octopus Pie"

"Octopus Pie" remains one of my favorite webcomics after all these years. I've spoken with Meredith Gran in the past and we talked recently about the changes that have gone on in the strip, from color to the new dimensions of the page, to the characters growing older and the nature and meaning of their experiences changing.

Ryan Burton plots a return to the horrific future of "Dark Engine"

I spoke with my CBR colleague Ryan Burton about his Image Comics series "Dark Engine" which is a strange Lovecraftian horror series set in a bleak and strange future. He and artist John Bivens have done some really interesting things with the second story arc in a way that really expands the world they established in the first arc.

Tom DeFalco says he's lucky to write the last issue of "Archie"

Tom DeFalco has worked on a lot of high profile in his long career in comics and this year he's writing "Archie" #666, aka, the last issue before the series gets relaunched by Mark Waid and Fiona Staples. I spoke with DeFalco about the issue, starting his career at Archie Comics, what the characters mean to him and some larger thoughts about reinventing characters and comic series.


Congrats to Kerry Roeder for winning the Rollins Book Prize

I was thrilled to learn that Katherine Roeder received a 2015 Rollins Book Award. (Admittedly I'm a few weeks late on this, but I'm still catching up from being sick)
The Rollins Book Awards are given by the Southwest Popular and American Culture Association to scholarly books in three topics. Roeder was given the award for "Sequential Art/Comics and Animation Studies" for her book Wide Awake in Slumberland: Fantasy, Mass Culture and Modernism in the Art of Windsor McCay. Previous winners have included Philip Nel (for his great book Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss) and Jeet Herr and Kent Worchester (for A Comics Studies Reader)

I was a huge fan of the book, which I think it's an incredibly thoughtful and important book about McCay's work and a really important project in the ongoing effort to build a library of comics scholarship. I had the chance to talk with Roeder last year when the book came out and we had a great conversation about the book and McCay, Freud, modernism and related topics.



R.I.P. Herb Trimpe

I was sad to hear that Herb Trimpe died recently.

I had the opportunity to speak with Mr. Trimpe in 2011 and we talked about his education, his early years at Marvel, some of the major projects on which he worked. He shared some stories of Stan Lee and Roy Thomas and Tom DeFalco. We barely even scratched the surface, though, of all that he had done both inside and outside of comics. I do regret that we never had the opportunity to talk again. I would have loved to speak more about a few different projects, leaving Marvel after thirty years and going back to school, teaching, his volunteer work at Ground Zero after 9/11.

What struck me re-reading the interview today was how there was so much more that he wanted to do, how much energy he had, but also how content and happy he was. It's an annoying cliche that artists are grumpy and dissatisfied people. Admittedly it's common. I won't argue that, but Mr. Trimpe was a man who wasn't a superstar artist. He wasn't huge then and he isn't huge now, though he is deeply respected and admired by so many of us who work in comics. But he was a man who felt that he had nothing left to prove to anyone–including himself. There was still plenty he wanted to do. I remember when we spoke he was talking about taking lessons to learn to fly a helicopter and he wanted to write. Maybe he was always a well-natured, kind-hearted guy, but it's always nice to encounter that among people.

He was a talented artist, a thoughtful person, and a kind man. I don't know what more I can say. Or what higher compliment I can say about anyone.


Articles Published the Week of April 5th

The Rumpus Interview with Jennifer Michael Hecht

I've long been a great admirer and reader of Jennifer Michael Hecht. Her nonfiction books have been a great influence on my life. Doubt is one of the great books about atheism and the history of doubt and questioning in the Western cultural tradition. The Happiness Myth is a thoughtful and fascinating portrait about how happiness has been defined and redefined by one culture after another over the centuries. She's also a gifted poet who has published three books including most recently, Who Said.

Her most recent book Stay is a book about suicide. It is a look at how cultures have considered suicide and the reasons against suicide - which recur time and again across cultures. As one who has struggled with depression for much of my life, there's a lot in the book that spoke to me and that I could relate to. It's a book that I think everyone should read because people should have to address these ideas in their own lives. It should be something we carry with us, even in those times that are hard–especially in those times where it's so hard to continue.

In the end, the book is a plea, asking all of us, to stay.