Smash Pages Q&A: Emma Beeby on ‘Mata Hari’

The UK-based writer discusses her work on the Dark Horse/Berger Books title about the famous femme fatale.

Emma Beeby will perhaps always be known as the first woman to write Judge Dredd in the pages of 2000 A.D. She’s written other comics including Robbie Burns: Witch Hunter, Judge Anderson, Doctor Who, and created series for 2000 A.D., in addition to writing audio plays and games and films. She’s a contributor to the amazing (and all female) lineup of creators responsible for the 2000 A.D. Sci-fi Special, which was just released in the UK.

This year Berger Books has been publishing Mata Hari, a comics miniseries written by Beeby that explores the life of the titular spy and femme fatale. People might know the name Mata Hari, but much of what is known about her is myth and lies and misinformation. In the miniseries, Beeby tries to explore all of these things. Mata Hari is a hard character to love, a complicated antihero who dealt with a lot of things in her life that sound very contemporary and relevant.

Mata Hari #4 is out this week from Berger Books/Dark Horse Comics, and Emma was kind enough to answer a few questions about the book and how she worked.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Gabrielle Lyon on ‘No Small Plans’

The Vice President of Education and Experiences at the Chicago Architecture Foundation discusses her organization’s mission and why they chose to create a graphic novel to help celebrate its 50th anniversary.

One of the most striking and interesting graphic novels of 2017 was No Small Plans, and the book came from an unexpected source – The Chicago Architecture Foundation. In three stories set in three different periods of time, teenagers explore the city of Chicago, confront segregation, development and reconsider not just they think about their city – but how. The story of cities and how they are built and function is very much the story of how we relate to one another, both as individual human beings and through institutions. No Small Plans is a call for teenagers to engage with the city and with government. More than just a call to engagement and action, the book wants people to ask questions, and understand the history of these issues.

Gabrielle Lyon is the Vice President of Education and Experiences at the Chicago Architecture Foundation and the writer and editor of No Small Plans, which she made with Devin Mawdsley, Kayce Bayer, Chris Lin and Deon Reed, members of the Eyes of the Cat Illustration Studio. Lyon is an activist, a comics fan, and she talked about the unlikely origins of the book and their ambitions for it.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Tatiana Gill

The creator of ‘Blackoutings: How I Quit Drinking’ discusses her early influences, her anthology work, teaching comics, drawing body-positive women and more.

Tatiana Gill is a cartoonist and illustrator. She’s the author of the graphic memoir Blackoutings: How I Quit Drinking. Her comics have been collected in books like Wombgenda, Living in the Now and Omnibusted. She’s also the person behind the adult coloring book Down to Clown.

Gill works as a teacher and illustrator in Seattle. In the past few years she’s had comics in a number of anthologies like Comics for Choice, she was in Resist!, and has contributed comics articles and book reviews to The Stranger and The Seattle Review of Books. After seeing her comics and illustrations keep coming up in my social media feeds and in different publications, I reached out to Gill to talk about her work.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Van Jensen + Amber Bellerjeau on ‘Walk Together’

Jensen and Bellerjeau discuss making a comic book about Stacey Abrams, who is running for governor of Georgia.

Stacey Abrams is running for governor of Georgia in November. Abrams’ campaign is historic and notable for many reasons, but her campaign did something really dynamic and interesting – they made a comic book. It’s not the first time someone has used comics for a campaign or for educational purposes, but Walk Together was a striking project and I reached out to writer Van Jensen and artist Amber Bellerjeau to talk a little about the project.

Van Jensen is perhaps best known to comics readers as the writer of Flash, Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer, and the new publisher of the website ArtsATL. Bellerjeau is an artist and illustrator. Both are Georgia residents and were kind enough to answer a few questions about the project.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Beth Evans on “I Really Didn’t Think This Through”

The webcomics creator discusses the release of her first book, her influences and process, Eurovision and more.

Beth Evans has been posting comics online for a few years now. In the comics, which range in length, she uses a fairly simple style to tackle anxiety and depression in ways that range from the strange to the funny to the disturbingly true.

Evans’ first book, I Really Didn’t Think This Through: Tales From My So-Called Adult Life came out this month. The book is part memoir and part self help guide, part comics and part prose, Evans talks in depth about her own life and details her struggles with mental illness and ways to cope and find stability.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Ben Truman on ‘Scout: Marauder’

Truman discusses working with his father on the next chapter of ‘Scout,’ which you can help bring to life on Kickstarter.

Ben Truman is a writer and game designer, but comics fans might know him best for co-writing A Man Named Hawken with his father, the great Timothy Truman. He’s written or co-written other comics over the years for Creepy, Conan, FUBAR and elsewhere, but he and his father have just launched a Kickstarter for their biggest project to date, Scout: Marauder.

For people who don’t know, Scout and its sequel Scout: War Shaman were two books written and drawn by Tim Truman in the 1980s and early 90s about Emmanuel Santana, an Apache ex-Army Ranger in a collapsed United States in the distant future of 1999. At the end of the series, Scout was killed leaving his two sons behind. The new book opens years later, the two boys having been separated since. At a time when the idea of an environmentally ravaged United States that collapsed due to infighting no longer seems insane or absurd, it is perhaps a good time for Scout to return.

The Kickstarter recently launched and Ben Truman answered a few questions about the book and working with his father on it.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Audrey Mok on ‘Archie’ and more

The ‘Heroine Chic’ artist discusses her work on ‘Josie and the Pussycats,’ the latest issue of ‘Archie,’ how she works and more.

Audrey Mok made a big impression when Josie and the Pussycats #1 came out in late 2016. Some of us knew her for her work on the comic Heroine Chic, but her work on Josie managed to straddle the original work of Dan DeCarlo and put her own spin on the characters and their designs. She found a way to visually balance the madcap humor with honest emotion, and find interesting ways to draw both battle scenes and concert scenes with equal ease.

Since Josie wrapped, Mok has been drawing Archie beginning with issue #23. Issue #31 of the series is out this week, and I asked Mok a few questions about her career and how she works.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Maximilian Uriarte on ‘Terminal Lance’

The cartoonist and Marine discusses his ongoing strip about the military and its recent collection.

Maximilian Uriarte began making the comic strip Terminal Lance when he was still an active duty Marine. He continued making the strip while in art school and since. The strip has become a phenomenon, but Uriarte gained a larger audience with the publication of his 2016 graphic novel The White Donkey.

Little Brown has just released Terminal Lance: Ultimate Omnibus, which collects much of Uriarte’s strip along with notes and commentary. The strip skirts the brutal realism of The White Donkey and is instead strange and surreal, funny and weird. It’s easy to see why the strip became so popular. So often marines are portrayed in very one-dimensional ways, but what runs through all of Uriarte’s work is the desire to show them as human. This is not propaganda, this is not a recruitment tool; rather, in both the comic strip and the graphic novel, Uriarte seeks to be honest above all. Sometimes it’s funny or absurd, sometimes disturbing, sometimes brutal. I spoke with Uriarte about the strip and the collection.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Megan Rose Gedris on ‘Spectacle’

The longtime webcomics creator discusses her latest collaboration with Oni Press.

Megan Rose Gedris has been making comics for years. From Yu+Me to I Was Kidnapped by Lesbian Pirates from Outer Space to The Lady Eudora Henley and Darlin’ It’s Betta Down Where It’s Wetta, Gedris has been producing thousands of comics pages nonstop and more than a dozen series online and in print in many genres.

Her current project is Spectacle, an ongoing series published by Oni Press about Anna, a fortune teller and an engineer working at a traveling circus. In the first issue her twin sister Kat is murdered, though she lingers as a ghost, which comes as a shock to the scientifically minded Anna. The series is about finding Kat’s murderer, but it’s also about exploring the people who made up the circus and examining their lives. It is not just a beautifully drawn book, but a strikingly insightful look at a community of outsiders and performers.

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