Articles Published the Week of June 19th

Simon Hanselmann on Megg and Mogg in Amsterdam

Simon Hanselmann made a splash a couple years back with Megahex, and now the cartoonist and Vice Magazine contributor is back with another book, Megg and Mogg in Amsterdam. I love the way he blends the wild outrageous humor with darker elements of depression and abuse and getting older and he continues that in this new book. he also opened up about his work, what he's trying to do next and what he's nervous about doing.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar comes to comics with Mycroft Holmes

I was a big fan of Abdul-Jabbar's novel Mycroft Holmes, which was released last year from Titan Books and now Titan Comics is publishing the miniseries Mycroft Holmes and the Apocalypse Handbook. I'm sure people don't often expect possibly the greatest basketball player to be a noted Sherlockian, a columnist for Time magazine, or to be able shout out the comics writers and named drop Earth-2 like he does in this interview, but Abdul-Jabbar isn't just any legendary athlete. He's also an airplane pilot.

Articles Published the Week of June 12th

Cullen Bunn, Brian Hurtt, and Bill Crabtree celebrate The Sixth Gun's 50th and Final Issue

I've spoken with the guys behind the series The Sixth Gun a few times over the years, individually and in a group. I was thrilled that we were able to sit down one last time to talk about the series' ending. Not a lot of independent comics last 50 issues and get to tell a beginning, middle and end of a story in a way they decide. That alone is worth noting, but it's always been a good comic and

The Comics Journal interview with Michael Maslin

Michael Maslin has been contributing cartoons to The New Yorker for decades, published numerous books, but his new book is something different, a biography of Peter Arno. It's the first bio of the legendary cartoonist and illustrator and we spoke about Arno and his influence, Maslin's own work and his time at the New Yorker, and related topics.

Bojack Horseman's Lisa Hanawalt is Hungry for more comics with Hot Dog Taste Test

I've been reading Lisa Hanawalt for years and was thrilled that we could talk about her new book, Hot Dog Taste Test, which is out this week. She's best known now for her work on the show Bojack Horseman - and I asked a few questions about it - but we spoke about her comics work and various projects.

MariNaomi explores being young and Turning Japanese

MariNaomi is a great cartoonist and I was thrilled to get to talk with her again about her new book Turning Japanese which is about her experiences in her 20's in California and in Japan, but it's about growing up, about understanding family, trying to find identity and what that means. It's one of those great memoirs where her experience is so different from mine, but on one level, I could relate to her so completely.


Is The Longest Shortest Time the best comics podcast out there?

I don't have kids, but I do occasionally listen to Hillary Frank's podcast The Longest Shortest Time. Part of this is simply because I enjoy Frank, a novelist and radio producer. An interesting host whose sensibility dominates the show can make any show interesting. Of course she also has some great conversations with people.

I was struck last week, though, when Frank released a new episode, which was a great conversation with CeCe Bell. Like Frank's daughter I really loved the graphic novel El Deafo (okay, Frank's daughter likes it more than I do, it sounds like, but still) which was an amazing book and she and Frank had a great conversation. Earlier in the year, Frank sat down with Dennis and Jessie Hopeless and they spoke about Spider-Woman and life and twins and marriage and all these related issues.

What struck me is that Frank is better than a lot of comics journalists at covering the form. And maybe one reason is that she's not immersed in the form so much so that she can ask about a thousand other things which she sees and thinks about and bring to the larger conversation we're having about comics.

There are conversations among people who write about comics about how there's no money, how people burn out and move onto other things, how so many people and sites are spending more time and energy on clickbait nonsense (how many dumb posts about movies that haven't come out yet repeating the same rumor will people read?). But I think that what gets lost in this conversation is that by framing the conversation in these narrow terms, we're missing a lot of what's happening in the world. Admittedly I don't think the New York Times covers comics well, but they do cover them. I hear Glen Weldon every week on NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour. I hear Hillary Frank tackling a topic she probably didn't give much thought to but she covers it well in thoughtful and interesting ways.

I'm sure someone will attack me for the hyperbolic headline, but my point is that more people than ever are writing about comics in really interesting ways. And comics–and all of us–are better for it.

Carol Tyler honored with a gold medal by the Society of Illustrators

My admiration of and respect for Carol Tyler is immense and I believe that her book Soldier's Heart is one of the best comics created so far in the 21st Century. It's an immensely powerful book, personal, sociological, and important.

The Society of Illustrators awarded a Gold Medal to the book Soldier's Heart. I'm sorry that I can't be there for the awards, but the book deserves every award it receives. It's an immense piece of work.


Articles Published the Week of June 5th

Filling a Vacuum: Kwame Dawes on directing the African Poetry Book Fund

I'm a great admirer of Kwame Dawes' work, but in recent years he's also shown himself to be a great editor, in large part through his work on the African Poetry Book Fund. For people who read poetry in English, the series has become essential, publishing some great young writers and established writers as well, and we discussed his work.

How The Odyssey of Sergeant Jack Brennan uses marines to start a dialogue about trauma

Bryan Doerries and his project, Theater of War, has been doing some amazing work in the past decade, presenting Greek drama for military audiences and using the performances to help start a dialogue about war and pain, and we spoke about his work and his new book, which adapts The Odyssey.

Drew Ford on Sam Glanzman's Red Range and the new comics imprint It's Alive

There are many highlights to Drew Ford's time on the Dover graphic novel imprint, but one has to be collecting the work of Sam Glanzman. Now that Ford is starting his own imprint, It's Alive, he's launching it with another Glanzman book, and kickstarting the project.

The Rumpus Interview with Shawn Vestal 

I really liked Shawn Vestal's novel Daredevils, and I was thrilled to conduct the Rumpus interview with him to talk about his debut novel, faith, and the myth of the American West.

When Muhammad Ali and Superman saved the world

Muhammad Ali passed away recently and I wrote about one of the stranger comics ever published - 1978's Superman vs Muhammad Ali, and what it meant. Really, I wrote about Ali and how he was because he was an amazing man, and it's hard to imagine anyone else would could have stood next to Superman.


Articles Published the Week of May 29th

Mike Mignola: Hellboy in Hell

One of my favorite comics creators is Mike Mignola. There are a lot of reasons why I like Hellboy - more than I can probably list here - but the series is an amazing one and has been a success for more than two decades. A few years ago Mignola killed the character and sent him to hell where he's been wandering around, and now Mignola has concluded the series with Hellboy in Hell #10. I'm curious how people will read it. I think the issue worked well and i think that it's a fitting conclusion. We'll have to wait a while for what comes next, as Mignola is taking a year off to paint and think about what he's going to do for the rest of his life, as he said in our conversation, but i'll stand in line to see it.


Articles Published the Week of May 22nd

Carol Tyler: Soldier's Heart

I've long been a reader of the Los Angeles Review of Books and I'm thrilled to write for them. I'm even more thrilled that it's an interview with Carol Tyler, who is one of our great cartoonists and we spoke about her book Soldier's Heart, which

Farel Dalrymple on Pop Gun War: Gift, New York, and Brandon Graham's Island

Pop Gun War is a book that I fell in love with years ago when Dark Horse first collected it. Now Image Comics has published a new edition of the book and Dalrymple is working on a sequel and I got to speak with him about the project and his career.

The Carlos Gimenez Interview

Carlos Gimenez's Paracuellos is one of the most important comics that will be published this year. The book is about his youth, growing up in a home run by Spain's fascist government and the Church. It is not an easy book, but it is among the most moving, powerful graphic novels I know, and I can only hope that this book finds the audience that it so deserves.

Everything is teeth explores Novelist Evie Wyld's Childhood Fear of Sharks

I discovered Evie Wyld's novels last year and fell in love with the two. Now she has written a graphic memoir and I was thrilled to get to speak with her about the project, which is similar but very different from her fictional work. Hopefully I managed to convey that many of us think she's one of the great novelists of our generation. (And she talks a little about her novel in progress)

Belgian Cartoonist Brecht Evens Invokes Fear with a Handful of Colors in Panther

Brecht Evens creates unbelievably beautiful comics. He's a fabulous with a great sense of color and design. In Panther, his new book out now, he tells a very disturbing and haunting story, that if you glance at it, might seem like a children's book.