Articles Published the Week of October 8th

Stephanie Graegin on Super Manny Stands Up!

I think Stephanie Graegin is one of the best young picture book artists around right now, and I think her book Super Manny Stands Up! which she drew is a very timely story of standing up for what it is right. It is also, as I said, one of the best and most important superhero stories of the year. This is just the tip of the iceberg - literally, she works incredibly fast and has many books out this year. We talked a little about how she works.

Teva Harrison on In-Between Days

In her book, Teva Harrison writes and draws about one of the worst things that can happen - being told you have terminal cancer - and what she did was make art about that experience. About trying to find a new way to life, about a new way to make art, about how to live in the in-between days. It is haunting and beautiful and terrifying and inspirational.

Michel Fiffe on Zegas

Before he began Copra, Michel Fiffe was making - and self-publishing - the series Zegas. The story of two siblings who live in a strange city, the book consists of small very ordinary stories that can veer towards the strange and surreal. This may sound like science fiction but they come off more as strange, unexpected, the way a city, a new city especially, can be a radically different environment.

Articles Published the Week of October 1st

Etienne Davodeau on The Cross-Eyed Mutt

One of my favorite books of the year, The Cross-Eyed Mutt is also my favorite book thusfar from the great French cartoonist Etienne Davodeau. It involves a security guard at the Louvre whose girlfriend family wants him to get an ancestor's painting in the museum collection. It is funny and smart and weird and profound. It's a book about art and life and museums and I just cannot recommend it enough.

The Death of Stalin graphic novel Inspires Film and Makes Russia Nervous

Fabien Nury's graphic novel The Death of Stalin comes out in English this year form Titan just before the film adaptation hits screens. The film is directed and co-written by Armando Ianucci, his project since leaving Veep, and is a close adaptation of the comic. I had the chance to speak with Fabien Nury, the great comics writer about the project, which has already made the Russian government nervous.

Kim Dwinell on Surfside Girls

Surfside Girls is one of those adventure/mystery stories targeted at kids that is timeless and appeals to kids of all ages. It manages to be fun and silly with dark undertones and a few twists that I didn't expect. It's a great graphic novel and the fact that is Dwinell's first comic is truly impressive. It's the first book in a new series and the second volume can't come out fast enough.


Articles Published the Week of September 24th

What Appears to be Fiction: A Conversation with Nicole Krauss

I've been reading Nicole Krauss for years and so when I was asked to interview her about her new novel I jumped at the chance. Forest Dark is I think her best book yet and we talked about Franz Kafka and multiple lives, in the centrality of storytelling to our lives, and about the desert. I still don't entirely believe I'm the first interviewer to ask about her relationship with the desert

Jennifer and Matthew Holm on Swing It, Sunny

The brother-sister pair have collaborated on a few dozen books, but they tried to tell a different kind of story a few years ago with Sunny Side Up, a story loosely based on some events from their own childhoods. The character is back in a new book from Scholastic's Graphic imprint.

Gale Galligan takes on The Baby-Sitters Club

I talked The Baby-Sitters Club and Garfield with cartoonist Gale Galligan. She's taken over adapting and drawing the books for Scholastic. Raina Telgemeier did four books before going onto make Smile and Drama and Ghosts and becoming Raina, so Gale has big shoes to fill but does a really impressive job with her first full length book.

Janice Macleod on A Paris Year

Janice Macleod's Paris letters are a great idea and her memoir about how they came about - or as I called it, a step by step guide to quitting one's job and becoming a flaneur in Paris - is also great. Her new book is A Paris Year and I think of it first and foremost as an artist's book but it's also just a great tribute to the city that she - and so many of us - love. We talked about art and language - and how across Europe men hear her last name and make a Highlander joke.

Articles Published the Week of September 17th

Alberto Ledesma Talks About Diary of a Reluctant Dreamer

An even timelier book than Ledesma planned, Diary of a Reluctant Dreamer is part memoir, part essay collection, part art book, part collection of nonfiction comics. It's a thoughtful, brutally honest look at what it means to be undocumented in the United States and

Eli Valley Talks Diaspora Boy

Valley has been one of the more controversial political cartoonists in the country for years now. His comics, which tend to look at the relationship between the American Jewish community, the government of Israel and the US government has long been complicated and in his first collection of strips he is unsparing - and draws characters who look almost as grotesque as the words they say.

Frederick Aldama on Latinographix

Alberto Ledesma's Diary of a Reluctant Dreamer is the debut release of a new publishing imprint, Latinographix, and I spoke with the founder and editorial director Frederick Aldama about his goals and plans.

Catel Muller and Jose-Louis Bocquet on Josephine Baker

Muller and Bocquet have impressive careers in comics in France and together they set out a few years ago to craft biographies of great women. Josephine Baker is one of the 20th Century's great figures, a dancer and activist, there's almost too much to fit into a book, but I spoke with the two by e-mail about working together and the great Miss Baker.


Articles Published the Week of September 10th

M.T. Anderson on Yvain: The Knight of the Lion

One of the great YA novelists, this year M.T. Anderson was written his first graphic novel, an adaptation of the classic 12th century epic poem by Chrétien de Troyes. We talked about comics, Arthurian legends, and more.

Glynnis Fawkes on Greek Diary and more

I met Glynnis years ago at SPX and she gave me some of the work she had been doing and over the past two years it's been great to see her career take off. She's a regular contributor to Mutha, has appeared in The New Yorker website, won awards for her books Alle Ego and Greek Diary, and so we spoke about her background and her work and working on archeological digs.

Andrea Offermann on Yvain: The Knight of the Lion

I interviewed Andrea Offermann a decade ago when she had a story in Flight, which just an amazing work, and I was thrilled that this year we had to chance to speak again. She's been illustrating children's books and painting, and this year Yvain is her first graphic novel, and it's a beautiful inventive work. A decade ago it was clear she was an immense talent, and the book makes that clear for all.

And Now...Eric Reynolds

Eric Reynolds, the associate producer at Fantagraphics, has a new project, a three times a year anthology called Now. The first issue is out this weekend at SPX and features work by Eleanor Davis, Noah Van Sciver, Gabrielle Bell, Sammy Harkham, Dash Shaw, and more, and we talked about what it is and his thinking about the project.


Articles Published the Week of September 3rd

An Interview with Dante Luiz and H. Pueyo

Two incredibly talented South American artists. They've been making short comics and stories for a few different anthologies out this year and next and we talked about their work and various projects including Gothic Tales of Haunted Love. They've been making some great short work and hoping they'll assemble a collection or start work on something longer soon.

An Interview with Hope Nicholson

Hope Nicholson is one of those behind the scenes dynamos that keep comics running. The writer-editor-publisher is currently kickstarting an anthology, just published her first nonfiction book, and has edited a number of other books out this year and is publishing a few more and I asked a few questions about things.

An Interview with Joe Corallo and Molly Jackson on their Planned Parenthood benefit anthology

Joe Corallo and Molly Jackson work together at and the two have launched Mine!, an anthology to benefit Planned Parenthood, one of the most important health care providers in the United States. We talked about assembling an all-star group of contributors and putting this kickstarter together.

An Interview with Chris Grine on Time Shifters

Chris Grine's Chickenhare books were entertaining when I read them a few years back but his recent graphic novel Time Shifters was a leap forward in terms of art and storytelling. It's wacky and fun and also very emotional and at the heart of the book is grief and dealing with trauma. So we spoke about craziness and death in our lives.


Articles Published the Week of August 27th

Mark Evanier Celebrates the Legacy of Kirby: King of Comics

I love talking with Mark Evanier because besides being an immensely creative guy who is always working on a lot of projects, he also has a lot of stories. Many years ago he was Jack Kirby's assistant and we talked about the new updated edition of his book Kirby: King of Comics, the full-length biography of Kirby he's working on, and his memories of the man.

Kirby Q&A: Tom Scioli

Tom Scioli has long been described as having a Kirby-influenced style and so we took advantage of Kiby week to talk with him about reading Kirby and how the work influenced him.

Kirby Q&A: Mike Allred

Mike Allred is currently drawing two Kirby creations - Silver Silver at Marvel and Bug! at DC - and even though he was busy, he took time out to talk a little about his love of Kirby and his characters.

Kirby Q&A: Ed Piskor

The fourth and final Kirby week article, this time with Ed Piskor, the man behind Hip Hop Family Tree and Marvel's upcoming X-Men: Grand Design talks about Kirby


Articles Published the Week of August 20th

Keith Knight Talks Politics, Satire, and his Very Busy Schedule

I've long been a reader of Keith Knight ever since The K Chronicles was on Salon back in the day and I spoke with him about his three comic strips - a daily, a weekly, and a weekly single panel - in addition to his graphic novel and the kids book he illustrated that was just released. We also spoke about his recent move to North Carolina, politics and political cartooning in the age of Trump, and related topics.

Guy Delisle on Hostage

I love Guy Delisle's work and his recent book Hostage is a very different kind of book for him. It's not a book about him, not a travelogue, not a funny book about parenting, but instead the true story of Christophe Andre, who was held hostage in Chechnya for 111 days. The result is a book that perhaps Delisle's best. It is a masterful and suspenseful and difficult book and I was glad that he sat down to talk with me about the project.

Articles Published the Week of August 13th

Nate Powell Opens Omnibox, Talks Life After March and What's Next

I've been interviewing Nate Powell for many years and reading him even longer. I was thrilled last year when he became the first cartoonist to receive the National Book Award, and I'm glad to see this new box set collecting three of his books from Top Shelf. I think my immense love and respect for Nate and his work comes through. I can't wait to see what's next (which we talk about in the interview).

Shannon Wheeler on Sh*t My President Says

I was a big fan of Too Much Coffee Man back in the day and creator Shannon Wheeler has gone on to work for the New Yorker and elsewhere and we spoke about his current project, drawing the President's tweets. It sounds crazy, probably is, and we talked about it.

Seth on Palookaville #23

I've been a huge fan and admirer of the cartoonist Seth for years, ever since I read his graphic novel It's a Good Life If You Don't Weaken. In recent years he's been working with a new format, hardcover volumes that come out every year and a half or two years and contain a number of projects. We spoke about the long-awaited conclusion of his story Clyde Fans, his memoir comic, and his other projects.


Articles Published the Week of August 6th

Kim Newman on Anno Dracula 1895: Seven Days in Mayhem

In some ways I feel this is my geekiest interview in a while. I'm a fan of Newman and his novels and have been for a long time. Was thrilled that I had the chance to connect with him this year and talk about Anno Dracula and his work and his approach to fiction, which has become much more mainstream and widely accepted. I'm also a big fan of the Anno Dracula comic series and can't wait to see what's next.

Joe Haldeman and Marvano on The Forever War

I was a science fiction geek and so I read plenty of Joe Haldeman. It was a brief interview but this is one of those interviews where I get to check off talking with one of the people who was a big influence on me when I was young. Marvano I admittedly don't know as well but is an amazing Belgian artist, who I really need to read more of, and someone who should be much better known here in the US. We spoke about their first collaboration, adapting Haldeman's classic novel The Forever War to comics, and related topics.


Articles Published the Week of July 30th

Maggie Umber on Sound of Snow Falling
The second book by one of the best young cartoonists right now, Umber's book is a wordless tale of a pair of great horned owls and we spoke about the book and her work.

An Interview with José Muñoz

One of the living legends of the comics world, I spoke with the Argentinian artist about his career and work

Patricia Smith Wants You To Hear Every Gunshot: The Millions Interview

I've been a reader of Patricia Smith for over two decades and her new book, Incendiary Art, is her best yet. It's also a departure and we spoke about why and what it's meant for her and how she works.

Bernie Mireault on XVI

One of the influential figures in North American comics in recent decades, Bernie Mireault doesn't get nearly enough credit or attention. We spoke about his new collection of short comics and what he's working on next.

Erin Nations Explores Phone Anxiety and Gender Identity in Gumballs

Nations's quarterly series Gumballs is a collection of short comics and illustrations from fiction to nonfiction, continuing stories and short pieces, and we spoke about the series.


Articles Published the Week of July 23rd

Cory Thomas on Watch Your Head and more

Like a lot of people I read Cory Thomas' comics essay in fusion late last year, The Weirdness of Being Black in White Spaces After the Election. He did a great job of capturing the moment and what a lot of people were feeling, and his ability to capture complex moments might not be surprising to people who know Watch Your Head, his comic strip turned webcomic. We spoke about that, his book with James Patterson and other topics.

Rosanna Bruno on The Slanted Life of Emily Dickinson

I'm a huge Emily Dickinson fan (who isn't?) and I really enjoyed Rosanna Bruno's playful look at the poet, her work, and the myths around her in the book The Slanted Life of Emily Dickinson and so we had a fun chat about poetry and art and painting and color, how much did she worry that people who didn't know Dickinson wouldn't get the humor, and is she afraid of being attacked by a crazed academic?

No articles this week (or, Who Am I Without Work?)

It's a foolish question to ask, am I more than the work I do? Am I more than my job? And yet, it's not. Because I know that I still exist even if nothing gets published, even if nothing has been completed. And yet, my life is centered around work. I say to people, without irony or humor, that all I do is work. That's an exaggeration, of course, but there is a lot of truth to it. After all I'm alone, I don't date, I don't go out much. I measure my day by work completed, words written, books read, miles walked.

I believe on many levels that I exist outside and independent of the work that I do and the things that I accomplish. I do because I think that it's impossible to logically think otherwise. And yet, my life does not seem to extend past those boundaries.

Sometimes I feel as though I'm simultaneously living my life and considering it through a philosophical lens which may or may not have anything to do with my day to day.  Which I suppose could be argued is the nature of a lot of philosophy.

And so of course part of me thinks that nothing was published because quite simply I'm not working hard enough. We can blame it on the Protestant ethic and all that. Even though half a dozen publications have more than a dozen articles from me. To say nothing of the articles that are in progress. To say nothing of the agent who has my novel. To say nothing of all the work I did last week. I still feel lazy with nothing to show for it.

Would doing more and doing other things negate this feeling? Or would that feeling still exist but I would have other feelings that would allow me to shrug it off better? To be able to accept that some aspects of my life did not go great but other parts did? I don't know. I suppose in the same way that having a network on family and friends and relationships with people who serve different purposes and roles in our lives is a healthier and better way to live than simply have one primary person who shoulders much of that psychic weight.

Or perhaps this is merely a physical manifestation of how loneliness damages one's health? (Something I am writing about)

News From San Diego!

I haven't been to the San Diego Comic-Con for many years. One hears that the place has gotten even bigger, even crazier, even more crowded. But it also means that projects get announced and rumors get spread, and stories get told and dissected online. I don't want to say that I don't care about any of them but the truth is that I don't care much.But amidst all the noise and nonsense, there is news that stands out.

Ed Piskor is writing, drawing, coloring and lettering a six issue miniseries for Marvel, X-Men: Grand Design. Now I love Ed Piskor's work and so I'm excited. If Marvel announced, we are making a series which will retell X-Men #1-280 as a compact story, I would not care. But Ed doing it? I'm on board.

Marvel has done this a few times, let creators go nuts at the company and do something really interesting. It's often just a one off project, mostly because we're dealing with busy people who have projects of their own to do and they have better things than spending years working for Marvel, but it's yielded some truly great work. James Sturm and Guy Davis' Unstable Molecules and Jonathan Lethem and Farel Dalrymple's Omega the Unknown come to mind as examples of that freedom and also two of the best things Marvel has published in the past two decades. I can't wait to see what Ed does.

Drawn and Quarterly made a few announcements. They'll be publishing a collection of Lisa Hanawalt's Coyote Doggirl next fall. I've asked Lisa about the project a few times over the years. She's been posting a few pages at a time on her website for years now and I'm thrilled it's finally going to come out. And I think it was pretty inevitable that it would be published at D&Q.

D&Q is also publishing a new edition of Love That Bunch by Aline Komisky-Crumb in the spring, and in the fall, Dirty Plotte: The Complete Julie Doucet. Both of which are important comics by important (if not transformational) creators that everyone should buy.

Next year Scholastic's Graphix imprint will be publishing Jeff Smith's first picture book, Smiley's Dream Book. The first of two picture books from Smith. I know he's been having some health issues which have slowed down his drawing, but glad to see he's back. And I'm sure there's a new issue of Tuki coming out soon as well.

Dynamite is publishing a new Barbarella series this fall written by Mike Carey and overseen by Jean-Marc Lofficier. I love Carey, I think the character is fascinating and interesting and I'm curious what he'll do. No word on the artist, though. And the artist's interpretation will be key.

There's a new League of Extraordinary Gentlemen series coming out. The Tempest will be six issues, launch next year, and according to the press release:

After an epic seventeen-year journey through the entirety of human culture – the biggest cross-continuity ‘universe’ that is conceivable – Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill will conclude both their legendary League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and their equally legendary comic-book careers with the series’ spectacular fourth and final volume, The Tempest.



Articles Published the Week of July 9th

An interview with Keiler Roberts on Sunburning

I'm a huge fan of Keiler Roberts, who I think is making some of the best autobiographical comics around right now. I spoke with her about her new book Sunburning and her work more generally including depicting her daughter, how unsparing she is towards herself,

Vito Delsante's exit interview of The Purple Heart

The Purple Heart has been running as a free webcomic on LINE Webtoon, as part of the The New Brooklyn project that Dean Haspiel created and is the third series after The Red Hook and The Brooklynite, with a fourth - War Cry - on the way this fall. I talked with writer Vito Delsante about the project, which wrapped up this week.

Noah Van Sciver Brings Humor to Failure in Fante Bukowski Two

Noah Van Sciver's new book is a sequel to his earlier book Fante Bukowski, about a horrible writer with delusions of grandeur. The new book continues his story and it is funny and strange and it's a lot of fun. We spoke about the crazed main character, cringe-worthy humor, and Columbus, Ohio.

Ahead Of Its Time, The John Larroquette Show was Brilliant

Some people learn about Thomas Pynchon in school, others on the street, but I learned about him from Don Reo and John Larroquette. Kidding aside, I wrote about the first season of The John Larroquette Show, which came out back when I was in middle school and was a big influence on me. This was a show that talked about Beckett and Kafka, referenced Miles Davis and Edward Hopper, and had an episode that centered around Pynchon. It was dark and moody and complicated and brilliant.

Articles Published the Week of July 2nd

Color is a Language in Itself: Mahtem Shiferraw discusses Fuschia

This month The Rumpus is running a long series of articles re-claiming the idea of patriotism, and as part of that, they ran an interview I did with Mahtem Shiferraw, an amazing young poet whose first book Fuschia was published last year.

An interview with Sophie Yanow

Sophie Yanow's first book War of Streets and Houses made a splash and since then she's been making nonfiction comicsand teaching and she translated Dominique Goblet's graphic novel Pretending is Lying, which was published in the US this year from NYRC. We spoke about this career model, translation, life in Vermont, and about the new collection of her short work from Retrofit.

An interview with Elizabeth Beier

Right now on kickstarter, Northwest Press is running a campaign to collect Elizabeth Beier's comics into The Big Book of Bisexual Trials and Errors. I've been a fan of her work since I came across it a few years back and we spoke about her work, about the value of personal narratives, and finding community while finding oneself.

James Tynion IV's Eugenic Triggers an Apocalypse

James Tynion IV has become a well known comics writer for his work on Batman and other DC Comics, but his most interesting work has been at Boom! where he's written a number of stories about the apocalypse from different angles. His new book is Eugenic, and we spoke about the book, body horror, technology and fear of death.

Mouly and Spiegelman Grab Back with a second, angrier issue of Resist!

Maybe you read RESIST at one of the protests back in January the day after the election. It was a free comics newspaper created for the event that was planned as a one time project, but now editors Françoise Mouly and Nadja Spiegelman have returned with a second free issue to mark the 4th of July. We spoke about the project, why this one time event has continued, and what changed this time around. "Grab back!"


Review: Black Wave by Michelle Tea

Michelle Tea is one of those writers whose work has always punched me in the gut. She doesn't write pretty, she has no distance, her characters may act in an ironic fashion, but her stories never are.

The book starts out as a seeming memoir. For people who have read Tea in the past (Valencia, The Chelsea Whistle, How To Grow Up, etc) some of this ground seems familiar. A character named Michelle who grew up in Chelsea, Massachusetts and moved to San Francisco. Then the character moves to Los Angeles and the narrative takes a turn. It's 1999 and the narrative becomes a tale of the end of the world. Which is also about the end of a relationship. Which is also about alcoholism and addiction. It's also about love.

The character of Michelle is a writer and the book is very interested in storytelling and what it means. She ponders about making her story and experiences "universal" - because they aren't, by literary standards, because she's a woman and queer. And of course she's making a point - and it's a very good point - but I remember thinking throughout how familiar so much of the story was. From the observations about working in a bookstore, about living in Los Angeles, the strangeness of seeing celebrities in casual locations, living in a small studio apartment, unease with off color wall to wall carpeting, walking hungover. I repeatedly kept thinking how she perfectly nailed so many moments and so many feelings and experiences. Of course I'm not an alcoholic and never did as many drugs as Michelle did. I also didn't have as much sex as she did, either. (I'm not proud of that last point, it's just a fact)

I can't spoil the ending, but I will say that my favorite moments appear near the end of the book. One is Michelle's encounter with Ashley. And I will be honestly, I felt the wind knocked out of me by the end of that chapter.

And then not many pages later, Chapter 26 left me breathless, but in a different way for different reasons. "the ocean streaming from her eyes." This moment of great beauty in the face of everything going on.

Black Wave is Michelle Tea's best book to date and it is an immense work. A great addition to the canon of great Los Angeles disaster literature. A great book about the end of the world.

Right now we're overwhelmed with books depicting humanity sliding into destruction. It's a trend that's becomes more exhausting and annoying and cliche-ridden every year and I can't wait for it to end. Mostly because these books have so little to say about human nature and society and the state of the world. Well Michelle Tea's Black Wave is a book about the end of the world that actually has something to say about people and humanity and the world. It is a beautiful, moving, amazing book and I cannot wait to reread it.

Articles Published the Week of June 25th

Mark Fertig on Take that, Adolf!

On the one hand, a book full of superheroes punching Adolf Hitler and going after Nazis sound like something fun and enjoyable for all ages. And it is. But Mark Fertig's book is something more because he's also writing about how the comics industry was forever transformed by World War II, by what that meant, looks at the many racist and sexist portrayals that were so common then, and how to read them now. An excellent art book featuring covers by some great Golden Age artists, and a great look at the history of comics.

Vanessa Davis on Spaniel Rage, Then and Now

I love Vanessa Davis, and spoke with her about the new edition of her first book Spaniel Rage, which Drawn and Quarterly brought back into print. I never read the book when it first came out, and did so only after her second book was published a few years back, so we talked about The Paris Review and the practice of art, living in Los Angeles vs New York, and thinking bout comics and art and time and life.

Eleanor Davis on You & A Bike & A Road

Last year Eleanor Davis decided to buy a bike in Arizona, where her parents live, and bike home to Georgia. For part of the trip she kept a comics diary using the paper and pen she had with her, and then afterwards drew more about the people and places and scenery she passed. We spoke about depression and art, about traveling solo and traveling on this scale. We also spoke about politics and agitprop. 


R.I.P. James Vance

I am so sorry that I missed this. Earlier this month James Vance passed away.

I interviewed Vance twice over the years and we exchanged emails a few other times. I hadn't talked to him in years, though

Vance was a playwright originally. He was part of the generation that came to comics not because they wanted to write superheroes, but because they saw it as an artistic medium, a form that they could use to tell stories. Not because he wanted to write Batman or whoever, but because he wanted to be a storyteller.

The two books that Vance made with artist Dan Burr, Kings in Disguise and its sequel On the Ropes, are quite simply among the best graphic novels ever made. Kings in Disguise won the Eisner and Harvey Awards when it came out and it remains a masterpiece of historical fiction. The story of a young boy during the Great Depression, it is a dark and deeply humanistic portrait of a young man and of a country that is teetering on falling apart.

It's a story that I think is more important now than ever, concerning as it does the labor movement of the early 20th Century, the violent response to the demands of working people. It's about homelessness and hopelessness, about violence and strength. It is a great American story. And it is not talked about nearly enough.

Vance wrote a number of comics over the years. He wrote Batman and Aliens, Predator and The Crow. Probably his most notable work for hire project was when Vance wrote Neil Gaiman's Mr. Hero, The Newmatic Man for Tekno Comix.

Gaiman's name helped to sell the book - Tekno Comix was made up of celebrity-crafted Intellectual Property. Isaac Asimov, Leonard Nimoy, Mickey Spillane, Gene Roddenberry were the big names above the titles. People like Vance, Kate Worley, Max Allan Collins, Rick Veitch, Bryan Talbot wrote the books - initially, at least - and the art was a mixed bag of talented artists, and, well, less impressive ones.

The result was something of a mess. A few years back, in a lengthy series of blog posts, Vance explained what he was trying to do in the series and the many problems he encountered - problems that explain why the book was a failure. It would have been a very different project.

The other significant work of Vance's was Omaha, the Cat Dancer. Kate Worley and Reed Waller are responsible for the series, but to complete the project, Vance took Worley's notes - the two had been together for more than a decade before she died of cancer - and scripted the final volume of the series. Vance and Waller completed the project together, which concluded in 2013.

Vance passed away earlier this month at the age of 64 from cancer. He was an immense writer, with a gift for character and dialogue, who had a social conscience and crafted stories that were not didactic, that were far more than morality tales. His best work continues to have meaning and resonance. His work will live on and he will be missed.

A GoFundMe page was created to help provide for his children and people were asked to donate in lieu of flowers.


Articles Published the Week of June 18th

Dean Motter on Mister X, Terminal City, and How Cities Inspire Comics

Dean Motter is one of the most important, influential figures in North American comics in recent decades. He also doesn't get enough credit for that. He wrote The Sacred and The Profane, which is an important graphic novel from the eighties, he wrote and drew an authorized sequel to The Prisoner, the legendary TV show. But he's best known for Mister X and Terminal City. I talked to him about both series which look at cities and urbanism in very different ways.

Articles Published the Week of June 11th

Famed Spanish Cartoonist Paco Roca Talks About History, Memory and Dreams

Paco Roca is a star of European cartoonists and in the past year two of his books have been published here in the US. Wrinkles is an amazing book about dementia and old age and was turned into an award winning animated film. The Lighthouse is a fable about a soldier fleeing the Spanish Civil War. Both are incredible and I recently had the chance to talk with Roca about his work, memory, the Spanish Civil War and its long shadow, and his forays into animation.

You Might Be an Artist If...You Find Lauren Purje's book all too relatable

I love Lauren Purje's comics, which I call the equivalent of editorial cartoons about the art world. Top Shelf has collected a lot of them into the book "You Might Be An Artist If..." and it is smart and funny and relatable and cringeworthy and just a great read.

Reflections on Bloomsday

Last week I did an event with Sea Tea Improv for Bloomsday. Which yes, means that a group of improvisors made comedy out of James Joyce's epic novel. They were very funny and there were a few truly inspired scenes in the show. Anyway I wrote up a few thoughts about Joyce and Ulysses and posted them on medium.

Articles Published The Week of June 4th

Y; The Last Man Artist Pia Guerra Talks Trump, Politics and Editorial Cartooning

Lately Pia Guerra, the penciller and co-creator of the acclaimed Y: The Last Man has been working as a political cartoonist. Weekly on The Nib and more frequently on her own site she's been taking aim at the current administration and American politics. We spoke recently about her work, politics, and the very different mindset required compared to drawing Black Canary.

Mike Norton Takes on Trump, Guests on Astro City

Mike Norton is at an interesting career crossroads. He's finished a number of longform projects and he announced that he wants a different career going forward. So he's writing and drawing a Battlepug comic, he's collaborating with Sean McKeever on a project that isn't out yet (and doesn't have a publisher - HINT HINT), and he launched a webcomic Lil' Donnie, to work out some of frustration about the state of the country. He's also drawing an upcoming issue of Astro City so we talked about politics, frustration, art, and more.

Articles Published the Week of May 28th

In Conversation with Mai Der Vang

Mai Der Vang's debut collection has a lot of truly exceptional poems and I talked with her for The Brooklyn Rail and we covered a lot of ground - like her poetry - about personal history and collective memory and audiences and I'm so glad that it's now out.

The Rumpus Mini-Interview Project: Max Allan Collins

I've interviewed Max Allan Collins a few times over the years, but in April he was named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America, their lifetime achievement award. To mark the occasion I spoke to him for The Rumpus and we didn't talk about specific books so much or what he's working on now, but on his time at the University of Iowa Writers Workshop, Richard Yates, the Vietnam war, the influence of music on his life, and how his recent health issues and becoming a grandfather has changed him and what he wants to do next.


Lynda Barry in The Family Circus

Last weekend at the National Cartoonists Society held the 71st annual Reuben Awards in Portland, Oregon. Lynda Barry was given the Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award. It's chosen by a unanimous vote of the society board and it places her in good company - Charles Schulz, Jules Feiffer, Sandra Boynton, Frank Frazetta, Jack Davis, Ralph Steadman.

(I know, it's eclectic company, but if you hang around cartoonists long enough, you'll see they'll pretty eclectic people)

But I think it's worth noting that while she may have been given that award by her peers in a black tie event, an award presented by her longtime friend Matt Groening, it's not the biggest honor she received last weekend. You see, she appeared in The Family Circus:

The Family Circus is a comic strip that people like to laugh at and be snarky towards, but Lynda Barry has spoken very eloquently about how much the strip meant to her as a child. How it was this stable, happy world where parents loved their children and it was so unlike her world as a child.

The strip was created by Bill Keane and it's now written and drawn by his son Jeff - who was the original inspiration for Jeffy in the strip. So in the strip, Jeffy is bringing Lynda home and making his friend part of the family. And there's something so very touching and sweet and meaningful and loving about that. Because Jeff Keane knows what this means.

Lynda Barry commented on this the other day on her tumblr page:

"Know this: Love is ALWAYS cool."


Articles Published the Week of May 21st

Ivan Brunetti Returns to Comics with his First Graphic Novel for Kids

Like most people I love Ivan Brunetti's New Yorker covers. It's been a while since he's made comics, though, but this year he's back with an all new book, Wordplay. His first book for kids, it's published by Toon Books and edited by his longtime New Yorker editor, the legendary Francoise Mouly. We talked about his new book, what's been behind his other projects, and his own experiences with learning English.


Sonya Walger should be Modesty Blaise

Sonya Walger should be Modesty Blaise.

To backtrack for a second, Sonya Walger - the actor perhaps best known for her roles in Lost and FlashForward and Tell Me You Love Me and Common Law and the first The Librarian movie - was one of the stars of the show The Catch, which was just cancelled by ABC after two seasons.

Now it was cancelled because it wasn't especially good - for a variety of reasons - but one of the best things about the show was Walger. In particular her character of Margot Bishop. As initially introduced, the character is a con artist working with a small team in Los Angeles, but then it becomes clear in the first season that she is in fact the daughter of a major crime lord, with criminal operations in many countries across the globe. But not in America. And so when she left the family business along with her partner, they went to where the organization wasn't.

Though her brother (played by John Simm, who's a joy) and her mother arrive in Los Angeles with plans for expansion and then Margot takes the helm of the company by pushing the two of them out...

The point is that she managed to play a character who was a woman who was in her thirties or forties, but looking fabulous, who has relationship drama and familial issues, but she was also cold blooded, dangerous, had a sense of humor, was sexual, could be wounded and vulnerable, and in each episode was very dangerous. She was in short, a really interesting character.

Bishop reminded me of another character, Modesty Blaise. Created by Peter O'Donnell, the character grew up in an IDP camp in the aftermath of World War II, assembled a criminal operation and then gave it up to live a life of quiet and luxury. Which she found boring and then took cases from British intelligence to do the kind of wetwork and quiet operations that the government would of course never condone or assign to anyone. Or just take up doing favors for people or take care of business that crept up from her criminal past.

The novels and short stories are fabulous - even better than the long-running comic strip where she first debuted, at least to my mind. The films aren't as good. That's a story for another time.

But I do think that a Modesty Blaise series starring Walger as Modesty would be amazing. An ex-criminal mastermind who now does criminal things but for the government. Powerful, intelligent, colorful, dangerous. Walger could nail the character. All that's needed is a good actor to play Willie Garvin...although John Simm was funny and dangerous and great on The Catch...and the two actors already have chemistry...Simm isn't necessarily who I might have thought of it, but I do think Simm is brilliant and can do just about anything.

It would be great fun. Someone really needs to make this show. (I mean, I'd watch it...)


Articles Published the Week of May 14th

Thi Bui's The Best We Could Do Already Among Comics' Best Memoirs

One of the best new books I've read this year is Thi Bui's graphic memoir The Best We Could Do. I'm honestly not sure what I can say that I didn't put in the article except that this is a great book and I think it's a great conversation and I'm so glad that this is in the world.

Articles Published the Week of May 7th

La Cucaracha Cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz uses Humor as Resistence

I've long thought Lalo Alcaraz is one of he funniest cartoonists on the comics page. His strip La Cucaracha is one of the best strips of the 21st Century. He's also drawing political cartoons, has illustrated books, teaches, hosts a radio show, works in TV and film. We sat down to talk about the strip, about political cartooning, but also about the current administration, what happened back in the nineties in California during the Pete Wilson administration, how he hasn't changed but the national conversation has changed, and more.


Articles Published the Week of April 30th

An Interview with David Wiesner

Wiesner is one of the great picture book artists of all time. He has three Caldecott Medals among a long list of other awards. I think his Three Little Pigs book is especially brilliant. He's long talked about the influence that comics, and Jack Kirby in particular, has had on his work, and he just released his first graphic novel, Fish Girl. We talked about the many choices that were involved in the project, delve into his process and how he thinks, and whether this long project has made him excited to try it again, or if he wants to run away and never try it again.


Articles Published the Week of April 23rd

My Favorite Thing is Monsters' Author Talks 2017's Buzziest Graphic Novel

Emil Ferris' debut graphic novel My Favorite Thing Is Monsters is not just one of the best graphic novels of the year, it's one of the best books of the year and should go on the long list of the great all-time graphic novels. I had a great, lengthy conversation with Emil, which I think shows in the text, and I'm so proud to present this interview.

1942's Woman of the Year Remains a Contemporary Romantic Comedy, But Not Necessarily for Good Reasons

I have long loved Katherine Hepburn. The characters she played in films like Bringing Up Baby, Holiday, the Philadelphia Story and others are some of the funniest I know – and my love of screwball comedy has likely played a role in shaping my idea of what a perfect mate should be. When it comes to Woman of the Year, the 1942 comedy she starred in with Spencer Tracy - the film where they met, and their legendary love affair began - is one I have mixed feelings about. On the one hand it is a more mature and subtler comedy than the earlier screwball films I mentioned, and there are many elements and moments I loved. But it remains troubling contemporary in some ways. The film is just out from Criterion and Splitsider let me talk about the film.

Articles Published the Week of April 16th

First Time Creator Explores Deserted Cities in Imagine Wanting Only This

One of my favorite comics to come out so far this year has to be Imagine Wanting Only This by Kristen Radtke. It's her first book and she makes it clear that she doesn't come from a cartooning background. She went to art school and then got an MFA in writing and combining the two came later, but she's an immensely talented writer and artist and this book hits so many of my fields of interest. I got to talk with her about the book, which is the kind of essay-istic comic that I think that comics needs more of.


Only You Can Stop Celebrity Prom Proposal Videos!

What the hell is wrong with kids today?

Okay now that I sound like an old man, let me start by admitting that I never went to prom. I'm sure that in the mind of someone, that will color my ability to comment on this.

What the hell is wrong with people inviting celebrities to prom via videos they post online? Because no one sane or well-raised would do such a thing. It's a rude, narcissistic act that needs to stop.

A few points:

One, if you want to go to prom, ask a friend.

Two, you want to f*** a celebrity? Good for you. You think that makes you unique? It doesn't. No one should care.

Three, you want to ask out a total stranger? That's creepy. No one wants to date a total stranger! If you're all I don't know anything about you and we've never talked before but I think you're hot, wanna go out? Because that is what you're asking. It's weird, it's creepy.

Four, you're asking someone older to prom. Hard no. Seriously, what adult wants to go to prom with an underage kid? (Answer: an adult you don't want to be around)

Five, get some ****ing manners. Were you raised by wolves? Demanding a stranger's time and attention like this? You're showing no class and no respect for others and demanding that they respond to you. It's rude and manipulative.

Six, Some people have called this sexual harassment. Not sure I'd go that far, but I do understand it.

Seven, I also blame the media for covering it. This is what happens when we have fifty million channels filling hour after hour every day. they cover a lot of nonsense that they really should not be covering simply to avoid having dead air. They should just say no.

Eight, I'm sure people will go, oh women do this to guys. Yes, they do. It's obnoxious and inappropriate then, as well.

Nine, I still don't get prom. I blame the media and this idea that prom is wonderful and special and blah blah blah.

Ten, just because it still needs to be said - even if a person isn't a celebrity, they don't owe you a yes, and even if they say yes, they don't you owe you anything. I say it because clearly it's not a widely enough held belief.


Articles Published the Week of April 9th

Pulitzer finalist Jen Sorensen talks about the True Horrors of DeVos and Trump-era Political Comics

This might seem to be topical since this week cartoonist Jen Sorensen was named a finalist for this year's Pulitzer Prize. It's the most recent of a long list of awards. Of course we talked a couple weeks back so it's all just coincidence. I just have really good taste in comics.And Sorensen is just that good.

Articles Published the Week of April 2nd

Joe Ollmann on The Abominable Mr. Seabrook

I've always enjoyed Joe Ollmann's comics, but his new book The Abominable Mr. Seabrook is really something else. A graphic biography of William Seabrook who is best known as the man who introduced zombie into the English language, but he was a writer and traveler in the vein of Hunter S. Thompson and the new journalists. He traveled through Haiti and Africa, talked about zombies (in a way which was considered over the top but many of his arguments and observations have been proven by others), was interested in voodoo and treated it seriously, wrote about alcoholism and drying out. He was immensely successful, but he was never the writer he wanted to be. It's a fascinating life and it's a fabulous book.


The 2017 Tournament of Books

In years past I've blogged daily during the month of March about The Tournament of Books run by The Morning News website. I'm a big fan of the competition and in years past I've written about each matchup. This year I didn't read all the books and one reason for that was simply that I lacked the same passion. The truth is that the past few months have knocked the wind out of me for a few reasons.

Another reason, though, is that in years past I've read all the books as part of an hour long episode of The Colin McEnroe Show. This year we picked four books (okay, I didn't pick the four...) but we only read four books and talked about those.

Moonglow by Michael Chabon
The Nix by Nathan Hill
Mister Monkey by Francine Prose
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

The results were of course different. We liked Moonglow by Michael Chabon, but it didn't survive the first round of the tournament. We thought that Mister Monkey was an interesting but unimpressive book and it made it to the quarterfinals. Both the show and the tournament did have The Nix face off against The Underground Railroad, with the same result.

Of course despite the fact that we did something entirely different, we did end up with the same winner, which is to say, Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad.

There is a reason that this book has become such a huge success. I've been a big fan of Whitehead since the beginning of his career. I met him years ago and got to talk about his second novel, John Henry Days, which I think more than anything else he's written is really the precursor to The Underground Railroad. It's interested in history and personal experience, it tries to be both precise and personal and at the same time mythic.

If you listen to the show I also admit that my knowledge of Jonathan Swift comes from cartoons and not from actually reading Gulliver's Travels. I made that point because I was told that the book is in many ways a model for The Underground Railroad - and I'm pretty sure that's true, or at least as sure as anyone who didn't read one book can say. I would have happily spent an hour talking about the Whitehead novel, but in the end it's a great hour where I talked with some very smart people.

Long Live the Rooster!


Articles Published the Week of March 26th

Marty Two Bulls, Sr. speaks out on DAPL and the role of journalism in an unstable time

Marty Two Bulls, Sr. is a great artist and cartoonist. He was the finalist for the Herblock Prize in large part for his comics and commentary about the DAPL protests. We spoke about his life and career, writing for a Native audience, and the role of journalism.

Jay Chandrasekhar on the Rhythm of Comedy

At Splitsider I talked with director-writer-actor-standup Jay Chandrasekhar, who remains best known as one of the comedy troupe Broken Lizard and the films he's directed like Super Troopers. He just wrote a memoir which is funny and weird and talks about growing up Indian-American in the Midwest, comedy, life in Hollywood, and more.

Corinne Lee on Finding an antidote to America's Toxicity

I hadn't heard of Corinne Lee before Penguin Poets published her book Plenty last year. Her second book, this is a book length project that looks at America and the environment, picks up on the ideas in Whitman's Leaves of Grass and continues them to the present, looking at the takeover of Hawaii, about ecological destruction, about what it means to love America when America is literally poisonous. It is a lyrical and haunting book.

Colleen Coover Revisits "Girly Porno" Comic Small Favors with New Collection

I've spoken with Colleen Coover in the past and this time we spoke about the new collection of her first comics project, Small Favors, which is being collected in a new definitive collection. We spoke about starting out as an artist, about pornography, and the challenges of making comics that are fun. 

Bringing Dick Tracy and The Spirit Together For The First Time

Mike Curtis and Joe Staton took over the Dick Tracy comic strip a few years ago and ever since they've been utilizing characters from other comic strips which are no longer around and making it a space where Little Orphan Annie and Daddy Warbucks and characters from Terry and the Pirates and others will pop up. This year to mark the Will Eisner centennial, they have The Spirit guest starring in a long story arc finishing this month. We spoke about Eisner, The Spirit and the strip.


R.I.P. Stuart McLean

I started listening to The Vinyl Cafe because of a joke.

A longtime listener of the podcast The Irrelevant Show, which is a great sketch comedy show on CBC Radio, they had a segment a few years back called Stuart McLean gives directions, which is very funny and I won't quite do justice to it. Of course being American I had no idea who they were talking about but at some point between this and a few other Stuart McLean jokes, I picked up on the fact that this was a real person. So I looked him up.

For Americans it might be easiest to compare McLean and his radio show The Vinyl Cafe with Garrison Keillor and A Prairie Home Companion. It's not an exact thing, but they do have a lot in common on the surface. Both are Award-winning writers with good reputations. Both have music - though I would argue that McLean has better taste than Keillor (though not as good as Chris Thile) and is much better about letting them have fun. And unlike Keillor, McLean doesn't insist on singing every week. McLean does sing on the Christmas show, but he also has fun with it, and of course he's trying to get everyone in the audience to sing along so it works because he's getting into the spirit of things and having fun.

Also while Keillor had comedy sketches throughout the show - The Lives of the Cowboys, Guy Noir Private Eye, etc - most people know him for and remember Tales from Lake Wobegon. It's a mostly improvised meandering story in which Keillor talks about the lives of residents of this small town. In truth I long along lost track of just how many characters he tackles. But it's about mood and tone. McLean is quite frankly a better storyteller and he takes a lot of care in crafting a series of stories

McLean's main character Dave is a comedic figure, one that everyone who's ever seen a sitcom will recognize, as is his wife Morley, and McLean's world that he crafted around them is just as finely tuned and designed as any good sitcom. The neighborhood is filled with various foils and characters, there's a lot of confusion. It's not mean or cruel, though. It can be sentimental, but it often earns that sentiment. Right now the idea that kindness, that niceness, that being neighborly is not just a virtue, seems a little foreign, but it is also a comfort.

I think this is part of where it being a radio show really helps to define what the show is because this aired on the CBC and in a sense McLean was crafting a program that could be listened to by the entire family, that was offering a mirror of what Canada and Canadians were. Perhaps more accurately a funhouse mirror, slightly distorted, that showed what they could be.

There was an episode of the show from a while back where McLean discovered that some of his stories - there have been many collections of his stories published over the years - were being taught in schools. McLean was a bit flummoxed by this and when he was confronted by some questions about the symbolism of birds in one story, he responded, I saw the birds that day and so I mentioned it, which led his producer to joke that he would fail the test about the story he wrote. McLean then brought on two teachers and the conversation the three had was a fascinating dive into the story that McLean wrote, and really opened his eyes about what it meant. Not just to the teachers, but also to his own life in a way that surprised him.

It brought me back to why I first started listening to the Vinyl Cafe. Because it's one thing to listen to one episode and get the joke, but I remember the first story which really stood out to me. "Morley's Birthday Bash" was about Dave planning a party for Morley's 40th birthday and he had been planning in advance and invited friends and neighbors - but the caterers set up in the wrong house. So there was confusion and running around, the family that had just moved in tried to figure out what was going on, but in the end there were a few funny scenes, a great scene about their son trying a cigarette for the first time and his exchange with his mother, everything worked out okay, and Dave and Morley are dancing in the kitchen.

It earned its sentiment.

And that's not to say that McLean and the show always hit its target. It's a hard target to hit, but McLean understood how people listen to radio and he understood what it could do. And today a lot of could use that kind of story about how we can be kind neighbors and understanding people and how things can work themselves out. That's one of the things that stories can do. That's one of the things that we need from stories.

But no matter whether I found the musical guests lacking, had no interest in stories submitted by people or found the main story too maudlin or too cloying for my taste, the truth is that I always looked forward to hear what McLean would read. Before it became the new big thing, McLean did Christmas concerts and took the show on tour in Canada and the US. I never got to go to one.

Maybe there's a lesson in his work and life. About building a community and an audience. About engaging people. About using audio and stories. About what we want and what we want to be. I was, and remain, an unabashed fan of The Vinyl Cafe and Stuart McLean. And I miss his presence and voice on the airwaves.

Rest in Peace, sir.

Articles Published the Week of March 19th

Remembering Bernie Wrightson

The great artist Bernie Wrightson died over the weekend. He's a man I met a few times and had the opportunity to interview once and CBR asked me to write a few words about him.

7 Books to Read to Celebrate the Will Eisner Centennial

March is the centennial of the late Will Eisner, who remains one of the great masters of comics, and I wrote a short piece about his work for CBR about what people should read and why, especially if they've never read Eisner. I also talk for a bit about how I love his book A Contract with God.

Jessi Zabarsky conjures magic with fantasy adventure Witchlight

Jessi Zabaraky's book Witchlight really charmed me. It manages to be very familiar in some ways - Jessi describes the book as "shojo-adventure" and Studio Ghibli fans will see aspects of the tone in the book - but it also is visually dynamic, it plays with a lot of ideas the genre tends to avoid. And in some ways the ending wasn't a surprise but in other ways, in other ways it was surprising and charming.

Articles Published the Week of March 12th

Film Review: A Critically Endangered Species

I had the chance to review two films appearing at SXSW. One was A Critically Endangered Species and I was not a fan of the film, but the reason I wanted to see the film was because of the lead actor Lena Olin, who is amazing, and this is one of her best performances. I think in the end the film has a lot of narrative problems, but whenever Olin is onscreen, you don't really care. It's a reminder of just how good she is and how rarely we see her on screen.

R Sikoryak Talks Bringing the iTunes Terms and Conditions to Comics

Sikoryak's book Terms and Conditions sounds insane. He adapted the iTunes Terms and Conditions into a graphic novel. He did so by using every single world and doing each page of the comic in a different style and uses actually comics pages that he transforms. It's beautiful and amazing to look at just how well Sikoryak can draw like Romita and Macfarlane and The Walking Dead and My Little Pony and dozens of others. We talked about the fun and insanity.

Film Review: Spettacolo

I was blown away by the film Spettacolo and the story it tells. For fifty years a small hill town in Tuscany has been putting on a play each summer, a play about themselves. It's a story about community, about art, about how the world is changing and how ordinary people are struggling to keep up with everything. It's the story of us. And maybe we don't all put on plays about how we're struggling with the state of the world, but maybe, just maybe, we should.

Articles Published the Week of March 5th

Johnston and Perkins Prepare for Atomic Blonde's Coldest Winter

So I am a great admirer of the writer Antony Johnston, and we've taken a number of times over the years. He's written a lot of graphic novels and video games and other projects and I think 2017 will be his biggest year yet. The upcoming movie Atomic Blonde - starring Charlize Theron, James McAvoy and others - comes out this year based on his book The Coldest City, and the prequel to the book, The Coldest Winter (starring McAvoy's character) is just out from Oni Press. I spoke with Antony and artist Steven Perkins about the project and we talked about the unusual preparation Perkins had which prepared him for this, trying to capture this period of Berlin, and Cold War intrigue.


Sitcom Realism Nitpick: Superstore

I feel no shame in admitting that I really love Superstore, the sitcom starring America Ferrera, Ben Feldman, Mark McKinney and a great ensemble cast. The show centers around a crew that works at Cloud 9, a big box store in St. Louis. The show was created by Justin Spitzer, who was a writer on The Office for years

The first season was good, but in its second season I think the show has really found its footing. The Olympics episode was really entertaining and the election episode was hilarious. And I say this well aware of how hard it is to make an episode around an election funny and not political, but they managed. Also the Good Friday episode was great.

I do have to say that while on the one hand last week's episode "Super Hot Store" which was written by Joe Barrasas was funny and well-acted, it did fail a pretty basic test of what I like to think of as, this just isn't at all how a workplace operates.

Now I am aware that most sitcoms - and indeed, this show - is not how most workplaces operate. For good reason. But this one just stuck out for me.

The thermostat in the store is malfunctioning and so everyone is hot and irritable. It leads to a lot of really funny scenes, but here's the problem. If this happened in winter, it wouldn't play out like this. The warehouse part of the store is less insulated than the rest of the store. Let's be honest, only employees are there. Plus of course the garage doors are there and opening and closing all day as shipments arrive. Therefore the warehouse part would be reasonably temperate - caught between the cold outdoors and the sweltering store.

If anything the warehouse workers would be so used to working in layers in the cold that they'd either be celebrating the warm temperatures or freaking out.

But really the fact that the warehouse is nice would mean that they would keep the doors open. Which means that the warehouse crew would refuse to deliver anything onto the floor because of the brutal temperatures, engaging in their own work stoppage. And the crew of the floor would find any excuse to go into the back - because of course with Dina they would need a reason as to why they were going into the warehouse.

For example a customer would ask for something and ask if there's more or a different size or something like that and ask - or sometimes demand - that the employee go check "the back." Now whenever I was asked this, I would walk into the back room, hang out for a bit, get a drink of water, chat with another employee and then walk out to say, "nope, sorry."

I keep picturing each employee coming up ever more elaborate reasons to go into the back room and the warehouse staff coming up with ever more elaborate reasons as to why they can't work on the floor and just how much of the staff can lounge around in the back room together until Dina and Glenn's noses. And then of course things spiral out of control and, well, you get the idea.

Having said all that, I did really like the Super Hot Store episode. Clearly I just worked in stores where we, um, tried not to do so much work.

(BTW if I wrote this up as an you think I could get a job writing for the show...? Asking for a friend...)


For International Womens Day (The Comics Edition)

It's International Women's Day, and right now I'm in a cleaning/organizing phase and so I wanted to say something about the state of comics. Namely, the greatness of the artform that is comics is due to the presence of women. They didn't start making two years ago and ruining old fanboys' fun with their cosplay and readers of many ages. They've been making comics for decades. They've been making great comics. So I pulled a few names from my interview files and people will read this and go, well, I don't like person X or person Y. Which is fine. But comics without this list of people would be poorer, less intelligent, less interesting, less fun, less inventive.

This is the greatest time in comics ever with more talent, more great work than ever before. Women make up a massive chunk (if not the majority) of those creators. To say nothing of how much of the audience they make up. We're at the point now where not believing this means that you either hate women or you're an idiot.

So these are a few of the people that I've interviewed over the years. Not everyone on this list is still with us, sadly. Some people I've become friends with. Some people didn't seem to like me very much when I talked to them. Some of them are to my mind among the greatest, most creative people alive today. 

Jessica Abel
Zeina Abirached
Nancy Ahn
Meg-John Barker
Kate Beaton
Alison Bechdel
Gabrielle Bell
Lucy Bellwood
Paige Braddock
MK Brown
Nina Bunjevac
Peggy Burns
Nancy Burton
Sophie Campbell
Jennifer Camper
Emma Capps
Lilli Carre
Emily Carroll
Genevieve Castree
Roz Chast
Becky Cloonan
Chynna Clugston
Colleen Coover
Leela Corman
Danielle Corsetto
Molly Crabapple
Camilla D'Errico
Dame Darcy
Anya Davidson
Eleanor Davis
Vanessa Davis
Felicia Day
Alex de Campi
Aimee de Jongh
Kelly Sue DeConnick
Vanessa R. Del Rey
Colleen Doran
Julie Doucet
Jamaica Dyer
Rene Engstrom
Leslie Ewing
Joyce Farmer
Christa Faust
Emil Ferris
Jess Fink
Mary Fleener
Shary Flenniken
Ellen Forney
Lora Fountain
Ramona Fradon
Aisha Franz
Renee French
Amy Kim Ganter
Shaenon Garrity
Julia Gfrorer
Sarah Glidden
Phoebe Gloeckner
Annie Goetzinger
Sophie Goldstein
Meredith Gran
Isabel Greenberg
Roberta Gregory
Barbara Hambly
Lisa Hanawalt
Jennifer Hayden
Faith Erin Hicks
Joan Hilty
Emily Horne
Kathryn Immonen
Rebekah Isaacs
Joelle Jones
Miriam Katin
Megan Kelso
Caitlin R Kiernan
Mia Kirshner
Aline Kominsky-Crumb
Meredith Kurtzman
Miss Lasko-Gross
Elaine Lee
Caryn Leschen
Kate Leth
Renee Lott
Lisa Lyons
Lee Marrs
Carla Speed McNeil
Dylan Meconis
Barbara Mendes
Melissa Mendes
Lena Merhej
Rutu Modan
Erika Moen
Patricia Moodian
Francoise Mouly
Hazel Newlevant
Anne Nocenti
Diane Noomin
Danica Novgorodoff
Diane Obomsawin
Andrea Offermann
Sarah Oleksyk
Sydney Padua
Nina Paley
Xenia Pamfil
Sarah Pichelli
Liz Plourde
Mimi Pond
Rhianna Pratchett
Hilary Price
Liz Prince
Lauren Purje
Jen Lee Quick
MK Reed
Amy Reeder
Sandrine Revel
Rachel Richey
Trina Robbins
Sharon Rudahl
Sara Ryan
Nicola Scott
Tara Seibel
Gail Simone
Dana Simpson
Taki Soma
Jen Sorensen
Nadja Spiegelman
Fiona Staples
Leslie Stein
Bianca Stone
Liz Suburbia
Jillian Tamaki
Mariko Tamaki
Sarah Stewart Taylor
Raina Telgemeier
Maggie Thrash
C Spike Trotman
Carol Tyler
Anya Ulinich
Sara Varon
Emma Vieceli
Jen Wang
Shannon Watters
Christina Weir
Maris Wicks
Rebecca Wilson
G Willow Wilson
Teri S. Wood
Evie Wyld
Gina Wynbrandt
Ru Xu
Chrissie Zullo

Articles Published the Week of February 26th

Ray Billingsley Reveals the Hard lessons that Will Eisner and the Comics Industry Taught Him

I've been reading Ray Billingsley's strip Curtis for years, and I had the chance to talk with the man about the long-running strip and his career which began when he was only 12. He opened up about his career, his friendship with the late Charles Schulz, his teacher the late Will Eisner, but also the problems he's faced within the industry and continues to face. I really appreciate that Ray was willing to open up. We need people who are willing to be blunt and honest.

I also mentioned one of my favorite recurring gags from Curtis from when I was a kid (way back when), the music store which sold rap, and which kept getting burned down by angry parents only to re-open under a different name. It's no longer there for obvious reasons, but I always loved that gag.


Articles Published the Week of February 19th

Meg-John Barker Discusses Bi-erasure and Gender Performativity in Queer: A Graphic History

Writer and activist Meg-John Barker spoke with me about her book, which I took as a chance to try and talk out what queer theory is and discuss bisexuality and bi-erasure at some length, which is a topic we're both interested in and concerned about. Also because I'm old (over 30) I ask a question about some of the lingo that "kids today" use. (Yes, I'm serious)

Jamie Delano Talks Politics, Anger and His World Without End

I never read World Without End when the miniseries was published by Vertigo a quarter century ago, so I was glad for the new hardcover collection from Dover Books with collects the project from writer Jamie Delano and artist John Higgins. I've long been a fan of Delano's work on Hellblazer and other projects and we spoke about WWE, politics, and writing while angry

"What I Detest Most of All is Boredom in Work": An Interview with Sandrine Revel

One of my favorite comics of 2016 was the biography of the pianist Glenn Gould by Sandrine Revel. I had a chance to speak with the French artist about the project, which isn't a typical biography but a beautiful and strange look at how Gould thought.


Articles Published the Week of February 12th

The Sixth Gun Team Crafts a Supernatural Noir World in The Damned

I've talked with Cullen Bunn, Brian Hurtt, and Bill Crabtree in the past. The trio behind The Sixth Gun now have a new series launching at Oni, The Damned. The supernatural noir series is very different from the Western fantasy series they wrapped up last year, but their new series is something very different. We spoke about the collection and the new ongoing series.

Alexey Sokolin and Alex Rothman showcase the comics poetry journal INK BRICK

Comics poetry has been one of the interesting developments in comics in recent years. I spoke with Alexey and Alex from Ink Brick, which is a journal that specializes in the form, about the journal, their new kickstarter, and just what comics poetry is.


Articles Published the Week of February 5th

Cartoonist Ru Xu on her dieselpunk adventure Newsprints

Newsprints is a great new dieselpunk (or steampunk, whichever works for you) set in an early 20th Century world featuring a young girl named Blue, who passes as a boy so that she can be a newsboy. Blue quickly get involved with an inventor, a strange young boy named Crow, and finds herself caught up in a much bigger plot. A great YA comic that deserves a big audience (you could do worse if this is your intro to the genre)

Seth Tobocman on Art, Activism and Advice in the age of Trump

I interviewed Seth Tobocman a few years ago about the anthology World War 3 Illustrated, the progressive series that he and Peter Kuper launched in 1979 and continues. Last year Tobocman's first graphic novel - War in the Neighborhood, about the squatters movement in NYC in the 1980's - was re-released, and his second graphic novel - the biography Len, about the lawyer Leonard Weinglass - was published. In the time between us first reaching out and finally being able to sit down and conduct the interview, the election happened. And so while we spoke at length about Tobocman's work and career, I also very bluntly asked for thoughts and advice for those of us (artists and not) who didn't live through the Reagan years, and advice he has for us as we move forward and how to resist.

Articles Published the Week of January 29th

A Conversation with Maureen N. McLane

Last year I had the chance to sit down with Maureen N. McLane, who is a great poet and scholar. I loved her book My Poets which was published years ago which was this very personal look at a number of poets she loves and have influenced her work and life. Her previous book of poetry, This Blue, was a finalist for the National Book Award, and her new book Mz N is her best and most ambitious work of verse to date. The book tracks the life of a character named Mz N and is strange and familiar, mocks and embraces poetic conventions, and is a very moving volume. I found myself choked up in some poems, as a character who is almost nothing like me was able to so perfectly sum up aspects of my life and experience. I even read passages to a friend over the phone.

Articles Published the Week of January 22nd

Genre Vet Tony Todd Talks About His Career, Zoom, and Returning to the Theater

I've been a fan of actor Tony Todd since the 90s when I first started noticing his work. He played Worf's brother Kurn on Star Trek, starred in one of the best episodes of Deep Space Nine, has a long list of voiceover credits - including recently Zoom on The Flash. I also remember a series of TV westerns he co-starred in with Christopher Reeve, which I found out was a big project for Todd as well for a few different reasons.

Right now he's in Hartford, CT, where he grew up, in the play Sunset Baby written by Dominique Morisseau. It's a great play and Todd is great in it. I sat down with him one morning to talk about the play, theater training, and his long career. Todd is a great actor and a nice guy and when I asked him about what's next he mentioned that he's reading scripts for the next play or show, but for the moment he's focused on the play and wants to "be a Hartford citizen." And we're glad to have him.


Artciles Published the Week of January 8th

How His Girl Friday, One of the Best Movies of All Time, Led to Today's TV Dramedies

For the comedy website Splitsider I wrote about one of my favorite movies - and one of the best movies of all time - His Girl Friday. I've long been of the opinion that Howard Hawks is one of the greatest filmmakers ever, that Cary Grant is hilarious, and that this is one of the best screwball comedies. I also talk about how the film's genius - the fact that it's dark and emotionally complex while also being laugh out loud funny, the ways that it combines dark subject matter with verbal wordplay. Also how it shows Russell's Hildy Johnson as a brilliant journalist.