Smash Pages Q&A: Joe Glass on ‘Acceptable Losses’

The creator of ‘The Pride’ talks about the Kickstarter for his latest project.

Joe Glass is best known by comics readers for his series The Pride, which is an old school superhero tale, but with LGBTQ characters. It manages to play with archetypes, tell very pointed and political stories, but they also very consciously called back to classic superhero stories. Glass clearly knew the genre and the kinds of stories he wanted to both celebrate and subvert.

His new book, which he’s made with Danny Flores, Moose Baumann and Michael Stock, is Acceptable Losses. The book is being kickstarted right now, and it’s a very different story than The Pride, but it shows how Glass is interested in playing with comics concepts that we’re familiar with and finding ways to subvert archetypal and stereotypical characters in interesting ways.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Sophie Campbell on ‘Wet Moon’

The creator of the seven-part graphic novel series discusses the final volume from Oni Press.

I have read Sophie Campbell’s work since the beginning of her career, and as I told her, I still have a battered first edition of Wet Moon Volume 1, her debut as a writer and artist. Since that book came out in 2005, she’s worked on a number of projects. She wrote and drew the graphics novels The Abandoned and Water Baby, in addition to two Shadoweyes books. She’s drawn Glory at Image, Jem and the Holograms at IDW and many issues of TMNT. For some people, her best work, her most intimate and personal work, has been Wet Moon. Oni Press just published the seventh and final book of the series. It’s been a long time coming, but it is a beautiful and perfect ending to the series.

The book doesn’t get enough credit or attention, but I’m far from the only person who loves the books so passionately. Campbell was able to write characters, to craft mysteries with such precision, and she was able to make a series that for the most part was plotless slice-of-life stories about a few months in the lives of these characters and make them so compelling. It is an immense work and even today stands out for so many reasons. Campbell and I have spoken a few times over the years, and I wanted to mark the book’s release by talking with her again.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Amanda Lafrenais on ‘FTL, Y’ALL’ and more

The creator of ‘Love Me Nice’ discusses her newest anthology project for Iron Circus, her own webcomics and more.

Amanda Lafrenais is the creator behind the webcomics Love Me Nice and Titty Time. She’s one of the co-hosts and editor of the Dirty Old Ladies podcast. She’s also an editor who worked on the Iron Circus anthology Tim’rous Beastie and the new anthology FTL, Y’ALL: Tales from the Age of the $200 Warp Drive. The anthology has an incredible premise that attracted creators who readers will know, along with plenty of newcomers.

Lafrenais’ webcomics show a range of artistic and storytelling influences. She clearly understands comics and it’s been fascinating to see her guide two very different anthologies, overseeing very different artists than herself. Lafrenais is a great talent and I took the opportunity to ask her about the new anthology, the graphic novel she’s drawing and her own comics.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Duncan Tonatiuh on ‘Undocumented’

The children’s author discusses his first book aimed at adults, which is about the daily battles that undocumented worker face.

Duncan Tonatiuh has been writing and drawing picture books for children for many years, but his new book Undocumented is something very different. The book for adults is designed in an accordion format, in a way that calls to mind Mixtec codex. Throughout his career, Tonatiuh has been influenced by pre-Columbian art. His children’s books have looked at the lives of Diego Rivera and Amalia Hernandez, re-imagined legends, and looked at how Sylvia Mendez and her family helped to end segregated schools in California.

Undocumented: A Worker’s Fight is about the daily battle that so many workers in the country face and is both an inspirational story of people coming together to create change and improve their lives, and a guide to how people can organize. It’s more important and timely than ever, and one of the year’s most important books. He was kind enough to answer a few questions about his work.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Ali Fitzgerald on ‘Drawn to Berlin’

The cartoonist discusses her latest book from Fantagraphics, the comics workshops she conducted in refugee shelters in Germany and much more.

The full title of Ali Fitzgerald’s first book is Drawn to Berlin: Comic Workshops in Refugee Shelters and Other Stories from a New Europe. The book details time that the Berlin-based cartoonist spent teaching comics workshops in a refugee center and the people she met there. To add a depth to their stories and Fitzgerald trying to understand the changing face of Berlin, she turns to Joseph Roth and his book What I Saw: Reports from Berlin 1920-1933, where Roth documented the lives of refugees in Berlin, demonstrating how this is not a new phenomenon. Moreover, while the refugees have not found the Berlin they were hoping for, neither did Fitzgerald, who was first inspired to visit the city from her reading of Christopher Isherwood and others.

Fitzgerald has been making comics for years. She made Hungover Bear and Friends for McSweeney’s, and Bermuda Square for New York. Fitzgerald has contributed to many publications including The New Yorker, The New York Times, Huffington Post, and Bitch Magazine. She was kind enough to answer a few questions over email about her book.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Nick Thorburn on ‘Penguins’

The Canadian musician discusses his first graphic novel.

Nick Thorburn is a Canadian musician who has fronted the bands The Unicorns, Islands, Mister Heavenly and others. He’s composed music for various projects, including the film Ingrid Goes West and the podcast Serial.

His new project is the book Penguins, which is out now from Fantagraphics. A wordless book that inventively tells short tales of penguins in stories that are mundane and fantastic and inventive and strange. It’s an inventive and darkly comic debut, and Thorburn was kind enough to answer a few questions about the book.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Lilah Sturges on ‘Lumberjanes: The Infernal Compass’

The writer of ‘Jack of Fables,’ ‘Everafter’ and more discusses her work on an original graphic novel based on BOOM! Studios’ popular title.

Lilah Sturges has been writing comics for more than a decade. People may remember her long runs co-writing Jack of Fables and writing House of Mystery. At DC she worked on Blue Beetle, Justice Society of America and many other titles. More recently she’s written Fables: The Wolf Among Us, Muirwood, Everafter and other comics. She’s also the author of the novels Midwinter and The Office of Shadow and has written the graphic novel The Magicians: Alice’s Story, which has been announced and will be released next year.

Her new project is Lumberjanes: The Infernal Compass, an original graphic novel that she wrote and is illustrated by the Austrian artist Polterink. The standalone story is centered around an orienteering activity, a cursed compass, and Mal and Molly’s relationship. The story has a member of Her Majesty’s Club for Lady Explorers, Adventurers, and Other Die-Hard Womanly Sorts, fully articulated gear-driven, flywheel-powered service automatons (not robots) and more craziness, but it’s the relationship between Molly and Mal and in particular Molly’s fears over being alone and that her relationship might destroy her friendships is what gives the book its emotional weight. Sturges was kind enough to chat about the book and her work.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Jordan Crane on ‘We Are All Me’

The creator of ‘Uptight’ and ‘The Last Lonely Saturday’ discusses his latest from TOON Books, cartooning and design, the forthcoming ‘Keeping Two’ and more.

Jordan Crane is the Ignatz Award-winning cartoonist and designer behind comics like The Last Lonely Saturday and The Clouds Above. He was the editor and publisher of the anthology NON. In recent years he’s been making the series Uptight.

His new book is something of a departure for him. We Are All Me was just released by Toon Books, and it’s a picture book, but it’s also a design project. It’s an abstract visual poem that tries to express this idea of the interdependence and interconnectedness of all things. It is beautifully designed, thoughtful, and moving. I was thrilled to talk with Crane about the book and his other comics projects.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Carolyn Nowak’s ‘Girl Town’

The Ignatz Award-winning creator discusses her latest project from Top Shelf.

Carolyn Nowak might be known to many comics readers for her work drawing Lumberjanes, but she’s also the Ignatz Award-winning creator behind comics like Radishes and Diana’s Electric Tongue. Those two stories, plus two more, along with a brand new story, have been collected in the new book Girl Town, which was just released from Top Shelf.

My feelings to the stories were similar to when I read Nowak’s comic Girl Town years ago. It was a beautifully drawn and thoughtful tale of three women who “got kicked out of astronaut school for being too good-looking to be sent to space. Now we try to make a living raising beans and cabbages, cleaning houses and curating erotic zines about staying on Earth.” It’s a funny opening, but the story itself is strange in a different way. It’s complicated and fraught, about trying to understand the emotions someone else causes in us. About getting older and trying make sense of whether this feeling is love or lust, hate or loneliness, and complexity of relationships and friendship. Nowak half-jokingly described the book as “my twenties” and for those of us who survived those years, that description will resonate in so many ways.

Besides the Lumberjanes collections that Nowak drew, she also wrote and drew the new book Buffy the Vampire Slayer: New School Nightmare, but Girl Town is the work of a masterful artist who has found her voice. Nowak was kind enough to answer a few questions about her work.

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