Smash Pages Q&A: Garth Stein

The author of ‘The Art of Racing in the Rain’ talks about ‘The Cloven,’ his graphic novel collaboration with artist Matthew Southworth.

Garth Stein is an author, playwright, filmmaker and former race car driver who most people probably know for his international bestseller The Art of Racing in the Rain. His latest project adds another descriptor to the list — graphic novel writer. Stein has teamed up with Stumptown artist Matthew Southworth for The Cloven, a three-part graphic novel series being published by Fantagraphics.

The Cloven is the story of a genetically modified human named Tuck, who is a cross between a human and a goat — a Cloven. While Tuck just wants is to live a normal life as a university student, it all goes to hell when he shows a girl his hooves. It’s a story of labs, family, loss and community, set in the streets of Seattle and the surrounding area, as Tuck searches for a place in the world. It’s also a beautiful graphic novel, showcasing the talent and skill of its creators.

Part one of the planned trilogy came out at the end of July, and Stein was kind enough to talk with me about it, working with Southworth and Fantagraphics, learning the language of comics and a whole lot more.

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Fund Me Monday | ‘Cupid’s Arrow,’ ‘Dagger Dagger’ and more

Check out new crowdfunding projects by Thom Zahler, Ron Marz, Matthew Dow Smith, Vincent Fiorello and more.

Crowdfunding continues to serve as a viable method for creators to fund their creative endeavors, as comic-related projects flourish on sites like Kickstarter, Patreon and IndieGoGo. If you’re looking to buy something from or support a creator directly, you’ve come to the right place. And that’s a good thing to do, now more than ever.

Send any suggestions of your own to jkparkin@yahoo.com.

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What Are You Reading? | ‘Pulp,’ ‘Amazing Spider-Man,’ ‘Hedra’ and more

See what the Smash Pages crew has been reading lately.

Welcome to What Are You Reading?, our weekly look at what the Smash Pages crew has been reading lately — including comics from the past, present and future.

Let us know what you read this week in the comments or on social media.

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Mail Call | DC announces more ‘Tales from the Dark Universe’

A round-up of news from DC, Drawn & Quarterly, Image and more.

Mail Call is a roundup of the announcements we’ve received from comics publishers in our mailboxes recently. Hit the links for more information.

DC has announced two more one-shots for its Tales from the Dark Multiverse line: one that re-imagines Batman: Hush and one that puts a new twist on the already twisted-up Flashpoint.

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U.S.Agent suits up for a new series by Priest + Landini

The former Captain America returns in an ongoing series this November.

Marvel has announced plans to launch a U.S.Agent series this fall, from the creative team of Christopher Priest and Stefano Landini.

The first arc, titled “American Zealot,” starts with the former Captain America, John Walker, operating as an independent contractor for the U.S. government. His latest job pulls him into a conflict between a small town and a big corporation, as he suits up in a new costume, recruits a new sidekick and takes on a new enemy.

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Comics Lowdown | IDW ‘has parted ways’ with Publisher Jud Meyers

Plus: How the pandemic has impacted Scholastic and VIZ Media, the ‘Thundarr the Barbarian’ comic that almost was and more!

IDW Publishing has “parted ways” with Jud Meyers, who they had named as their new publisher on July 22.

“IDW Publishing has parted ways with Jud Meyers and would like to thank everyone for their discretion,” the company said in a short statement. Meyers was named publisher after longtime publisher Chris Ryall departed the company, but was then placed on administrative leave a few days after the announcement.

Publishing: Publisher’s Weekly looks at Scholastic’s fourth-quarter and full year results for fiscal year 2020, which ended May 31 for the company. Not surprisingly, given the COVID-19 pandemic, they were down significantly compared to last year. Revenue was down $187 million, or almost 40%, leading to a 10% drop in their full-year revenue for FY20.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Sean Damien Hill

The artist of ‘The Hated’ discusses how he works, his influences, drawing horses and more.

Sean Damien Hill has been working on comics for years now, on projects ranging from Dark Shaman to Route 3 to The Gilded Age. His linework shows traces of a number of influences, finding ways to incorporate manga and classic American illustrators. The result is work that manages to be detailed and dynamic, with an impressive sense of design and layout.

Hill is an immensely talented young artist, and his new project, with David Walker, is The Hated #1. The comic is a Western set in an alternative world that Walker described as part spaghetti Western and part blaxploitation. It’s out now from Solid Comix, and Hill was kind enough to answer a few questions about the book and how he works.

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Wally West can’t stop running

Tom Bondurant recounts the history of Wally West, from reluctant superhero to generational avatar.

For many superhero-comic readers of the 1980s and ’90s (not to mention viewers of the Justice League animated series in the 2000s), Wally West was the Flash – the fastest man alive. Created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino for January 1960’s The Flash issue #110, Wally gained super-speed just as his idol did, by being doused in Barry Allen’s laboratory chemicals and struck by lightning. Today Wally has become a symbol of DC Comics’ superhero legacies, so much so that his role in 2016’s DC Universe Rebirth special signaled a wholesale return to a previous timeline. However, when editorial fiat dispatched him in 2011, Wally had arguably done everything he’d set out to do. Indeed, Wally’s history includes a couple of prominent retirement periods already. Now he’s inherited Metron’s Mobius Chair and Doctor Manhattan’s powers, but the question still remains: What’s left for Wally West?

Wally started out as Kid Flash, sidekick and sometimes backup-feature star. At first he wore a kid-sized Flash costume, so his more familiar duds (acquired in March 1963’s Flash #135) represented a significant step in his development. He was a charter member of the Teen Titans from its primeval beginning (June-July 1964’s Brave and the Bold #54) to its February 1978 dissolution (Teen Titans #53). Shortly thereafter, in 1978’s DC Special Series issue #11, writer Cary Bates and artist Irv Novick had Wally tell his family that he would only be Kid Flash through the end of his college career; and upon graduation, he’d retire from superheroics.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Marco Finnegan

The artist of ‘Crossroad Blues’ returns with a new YA graphic novel about the Zoot Suit Riots, family tension and lizardmen.

In the early 1940s, racial tension between the Chicano community and white servicemen in the Los Angeles area led to the Zoot Suit Riots, named for the baggy suits worn by Mexican-American youths at the time.

Lizard in a Zoot Suit is a new graphic novel from Marco Finnegan (Crossroad Blues) that uses these riots as a backdrop for a socially relevant tale of racial tension, family and magical realism. Inspired by playwright Luis Valdez and movies like LA Confidential, Lizard in a Zoot Suit features two sisters who discover a lizardman — a lost member of an underground species who just wants to get home. Amidst the chaos, the sisters do what they can for their new friend in a beautiful tale told in two colors.

I spoke with Finnegan about the book, his inspiration for it and more.

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