Articles Published the Week of August 16th

How Sea Tea Improv Built a Comedy Scene from Scratch

If you live in greater Hartford and you haven't been to a Sea Tea Improv show, well, you're missing out. Over the past five years the troupe has done some really impressive work not just making good comedy, but in creating a community and fostering it in a way that I think is valuable and important for the city of Hartford and is something that a lot of people can look at as a model.

Ed Piskor: Hip Hop Family Tree

One of the best comics being produced today is Hip Hop Family Tree. Piskor has been putting out the comic online at boinboing,net and books have been coming out yearly and now he has a monthly comic book.

Living Tradition: Clare Cavanagh on the joys and challenges of translation

Like a lot of people I've long been a great lover of the poetry of Wislawa Szymborska. Clare Cavanagh has translated or co-translated her poetry into English for decades and this year she edited Map, which is Szymborska's collected poetry. I spoke with her about how she works, how she came to translation and related topics in a conversation that was a true joy.

Alex Simmons Celebrates the Return of the Globetrotting Blackjack

Alex Simmons has long been telling stories in comics and prose of Blackjack, a 1930's adventurer who happens to be black. He's not a black Indiana Jones, but if that makes you check it out, then hell, Blackjack is a black Indiana Jones. Simmons has also been great as far as building communities, finding new audiences for comics and art and working with children and we spoke about his many projects including an upcoming class he'll be teaching connecting kids from Harlem (in NYC) with Haarlem (in Holland).


Articles Published the Week of August 9th

J.M. DeMatteis on "Mercy" and creating personal work in comics

I've long been a fan of the work of J.M. DeMatteis. As I mention in the article, he's written so many different kinds of comics - and written them well - that he remains hard to easily summarize or analyze. Starting in the 1980's though he was one of the leading lights creating comics for adults in the United States. "Moonshadow" was a huge influence on me and how I thought about comics when I first read it in the nineties. There's also books like "Brooklyn Dreams" and "Blood" and then more recent books like "The Adventures of Augusta Wind" (to my mind the closest anyone in comics has come to matching the genius of Lewis Carroll). We spoke about an older book, "Mercy," which I didn't read when it first came out, and this aspect of his vast career in comics.

Zeina Abirached on Remembering and Forgetting Beirut

I'm a huge fan of Zeina Abirached's comics and her recent book "I Remember Beirut" looks at her memories of Beirut during and after the Civil War and we talk about her next project - which comes out in France this fall. Of course we had to do the interview in English - my Arabic and French aren't good enough. I think her work is always brilliant and this book is no exception. And I'm thrilled to have the piece on Arablit, which is one of the sites I check at least once a week and read all the time.

Nik Guerra takes on mystery and sensuality in "Magenta: Noir Fatale"

Guerra is an Italian artist and writer and his recent book is an entertaining book, a noir thriller set in London in the sixties. He's intentionally crafting a fetish book. The characters are dressed very deliberately, and yet it's less exploitive than a lot of mainstream comics and in the end has a lot more in common with comics like "Sin City." Definitely not a book for everybody, but those who don't mind the sex - and I should note that it doesn't have much violence - you'll find it worth reading.

Articles Published the Week of August 2nd

Kate Beaton Unleashed "The Princess and the Pony"

Like just about everybody, I'm a fan of cartoonist Kate Beaton and Scholastic just published her first book for kids, "The Princess and the Pony," which stars everyone's favorite Beaton character - the fat pony.

A conversation with Marguerite Van Cook and James Romberger

I've long been a fan of Marguerite Van Cook and James Romberger and their recent book, "The Late Child and Other Animals" is their best work to date. I spoke with them in New York City where we discussed the book, art, punk and much more.

(The article also contains one of my favorite first lines: The new book The Late Child and Other Animals opens at the height of World War II with the co-author’s mother and aunt on top of Portsdown Hill, watching the city of Portsmouth burn.)

Eddie Campbell returns to the world of "Bacchus"

Campbell has long been one of the most interesting, imaginative and innovative creators working in comics and we spoke recently about the new omnibus edition of his long running series "Bacchus"