Smash Pages Q&A: Julie Sondra Decker

The writer of ‘The Invisible Orientation’ discusses her two webcomics, her process, world building and more.

Julie Sondra Decker is a writer and artist who is best known for her nonfiction book The Invisible Orientation, but she’s also a webcartoonist. Negative One has been coming out weekly since 2005 and So You Write has been updated occasionally since 2012, though usually monthly. The two comics are very different from how they look, the stories they tell and how Decker makes them.

So You Write is painfully familiar for any writer or creative person, full of insane questions from other people and the excuses we tell ourselves. Negative One is a comic that Decker described as “text heavy,” but it’s also an immersive and strange tale with a large cast that doesn’t look and feel like most comics. It’s an impressive piece of world building, and I reached out to Decker to ask about her two projects and how she thinks about the differences between prose and comics.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Jerry Craft’s ‘New Kid’

The creator of ‘Mama’s Boyz’ talks about his new graphic novel, which just arrived in stores this month.

Jerry Craft has been working as a cartoonist for decades and is best known for his long running comic strip Mama’s Boyz, which he ended late last year. He co-wrote and illustrated the middle grade novel The Offenders, and illustrated numerous books including The Zero Degree Zombie Zone and Khalil’s Way. Craft is also a co-founder of the Black Comic Book Festival at the Schomburg Center, which held its fifth annual show last month. His new book is New Kid, which was just released by Harper Collins.

The semi-autobiographical book tells the story of Jordan, who is the new kid attending an elite private school. The book has a lot of dramatic moments, and as I spoke with Craft I mentioned how many moments resonated with me, but the book is also an incredibly funny and visually inventive story. The way that Craft is able to make the story dramatic and comedic and visually inventive is not surprising to anyone who had read Mama’s Boyz, but the way that the story of Jordan and his friends and family come together make this arguably his best work to date.

We spoke recently while he was in an airport to talk about the book.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Carta Monir

The creator of ‘RIPMOM’ and ‘Secure Connect’ discusses her process, the micropress Diskette Press, her upcoming graphic novel and more.

Carta Monir has been making a series of comics for years. Many people likely know her work in Polygon and Zeal, where she’s made comics about Hitman and Lara Croft. But it’s her more personal stories that have really solidified her place as a major talent.

In work like RIPMOM and Secure Connect, she explores questions of identity and the technology in thoughtful and nuanced ways that are rarely acknowledged in public conversations about the internet.

I first noticed her work when RIPMOM was published in Critical Chips 2 in 2017. The short comic is presented as taking place through a computer interface, in a way that seemed interesting in the way it broke apart our behaviors and feelings in complicated and emotional moments, but becomes this deeply person and emotional journey by the end.

Monir is also one of the people behind Diskette Press, and I reached out to ask her a few questions about her work and what’s she working on right now. You can find her on Twitter and on Patreon.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Keith Lansdale and Jok

The creators of ‘Red Range:Pirates of Fireworld’ discuss the sequel to a 1999 graphic novel by Joe R. Lansdale and Sam Glanzman.

The miniseries Red Range: Pirates of Fireworld, currently being kickstarted for a summer release, is a sequel to the graphic novel Red Range. Originally published in 1999, the book by Joe R. Lansdale and Sam Glanzman was reprinted with new colors recently. The first volume was a dark western tale, which ended with the hero and the boy he rescued falling into the hollow earth, a place filled with dinosaurs and other creatures.

The final page of the book teased a sequel, but nothing ever came of it – until now. Written by Keith Lansdale and drawn by Jok, who colored the reprinted edition, they’re picking up where the original left off in this miniseries. Lansdale has written comics including Crawling Sky, Vampirella: Feary Tales, The X-Files: Case Files and Creepy. Jok has drawn many comics over the years including Strangeways, The Hill, Freud’s Covenant, Mixtape and many others.

I reached out to ask the two a few questions about the book.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Warren Craghead on ‘TrumpTrump’

The creator of ‘La Grande Guerre’ discusses the latest collection of his drawings of Donald Trump.

Warren Craghead has been drawing Donald Trump and his cronies every day for more than two years, and he’s promised to continue “until this nightmare ends.”

When Craghead began this project, he expected it to last a few months, but he’s an artist who has worked on a number of long-term projects. Comics readers might know him for Speedy, which received the Xeric Grant, as well as How To Be Everywhere and Ley Lines. Online he’s spent years on projects like La Grande Guerre, a daily project detailing World War I, and Medz Yeghern, which documents the Armenian Genocide.

Retrofit Press has just released TrumpTrump: Modern Day Presidential, the second collection of Craghead’s daily drawings. We spoke recently about daily practice and the importance of paying attention.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Amanda Deibert

Deibert to adapt cult classic Lesbian mystery into graphic novel

Work for a Million is a cult classic novel by Eve Zaremba. The 1986 novel was one of a series of mysteries starring the openly lesbian private eye Helen Keremos. Bedside Press is running a kickstarter to reprint the novel and publish an original graphic novel adaptation written by Amanda Deibert and drawn by Selena Goulding.

Amanda Deibert has written a number of comics including Wonder Woman ’77 and Teen Titans Go!, she’s contributed to the anthologies Womanthology and Secret Loves of Geeks, and wrote the webcomic Hot Mess. As a TV and film writer she’s worked on OWN Tonight, 24 Hours of Reality, SyFy Presents Live from Comic-Con, Take Part Live, The Morning After, and other shows, and she was kind enough to take a few minutes to talk about the project.

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Smash Pages Q&A: David F. Walker on ‘The Life of Frederick Douglass’

The writer of ‘Bitter Root,’ ‘Cyborg’ and ‘Nighthawk’ discusses his work on one of America’s historic figures.

David F. Walker has been writing comics and prose for years. He really broke out when he wrote a novel and two comics miniseries featuring John Shaft, the classic character created by Ernest Tidyman. Since then he’s written for DC (Cyborg, the upcoming Naomi), Marvel (Nighthawk, Luke Cage) and Lion Forge (Superb). Currently he’s co-writing the series Bitter Root, the third issue of which comes out this week.

Also on sale this week is The Life of Frederick Douglass. The graphic novel from Ten Speed Press, which Walker wrote, features art by Damon Smyth and colors by Marissa Louise. The book tells the story of one of the nation’s great figures and his uniquely American story. It’s a very impressive graphic biography, and I would argue that it’s Walker’s best work to date. We spoke about why this was such a personal project for him and what Douglass’ life and work say about the United States and all of its citizens.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Robert Garrett and N. Steven Harris on ‘Ajala’

“A Change in Perspective” marks a different approach to the Glyph Comics award-winning series.

Ajala is a comic series written by Robert Garrett with art by N Steven Harris, and colors by Walt Msonza Barna. It’s a comic that they have been working on in between other projects. Harris is still remembered for drawing the Grant Morrison and Mark Millar series Aztek from years back, but recently he’s been busy drawing The Wild Storm: Michael Cray for DC.

The two are now crowdfunding the next two issues of the comic, which they’re calling “A Change in Perspective.” The title has a lot of meanings, from the young protagonist who, like all teenagers, starts to question and push against what she’s been taught, to the ways that the book wants to grow, to be not just about her, but her family, her community and ways to depict them in all their complexity.

I’ve interviewed Garrett and Harris in the past and reached out to ask them a few questions about the Kickstarter and where Ajala is going from here.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Michael Sheyahshe on ‘Moonshot’

The writer, artist and scholar discusses the new anthology he’s co-editing with Elizabeth LaPensée.

Michael Sheyahshe is a writer, artist and scholar who remains perhaps best known for his book Native Americans in Comic Books: A Critical Study. He’s written stories for both volumes of the Moonshot anthology, and wrote the forward to the first one. His new project is Moonshot: The Indigenous Comics Collection Volume 3, which he’s co-editing with Elizabeth LaPensée

The book will feature work from creators including Lee Francis, Weshoyot Alvitre, Jeffrey Veregge, Jon Proudstar and Rebecca Roanhorse, and is currently being kickstarted by AH Comics. Michael was kind enough to answer a few questions about his work and what readers can look forward to in the new volume.

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