The duo discuss their work on the biography of the actress, dancer and Civil Rights activist.
Catel Muller and José-Louis Bocquet have been working together for a number of years, though American readers likely first read them in 2012 when SelfMadeHero/Abrams released Kiki de Montparnasse, which was awarded the Audience Prize at the 2008 Angoulême International Comics Festival. Bocquet is a writer, editor and former journalist with a long list of credits both in and out of comics. Muller, who goes by “Catel” has received a number of awards for her solo work and her collaborations including the 2005 Audience Prize at Angoulême for Le Sang des Valentines, and the 2014 Prix Artémisia for Ainsi soit Benoîte Groult.
The two have set out to tell the stories of great women and their most recent book is a biography of and tribute to one of the great figures of the 20th Century, Josephine Baker. Perhaps more beloved in France than in her home country of the United States, she was a dancer and actress. Baker fought her whole life for Civil Rights and was a member of the French Resistance. At the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, she told the crowd, “I do not lie to you when I tell you I have walked into the palaces of kings and queens and into the houses of presidents, but I could not walk into a hotel in America and get a cup of coffee.”
The result is Josephine Baker, a lengthy book with more than a hundred pages of bibliography and supplemental material. It is also a visual masterpiece and perhaps Catel’s most inventive work to date. The two were kind enough to talk about the project and answered their questioned together. Thanks to Maya Bradford at Abrams for arranging this.
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The Ohio State University professor discusses the new imprint, Latin comics, his new website and more.
Frederick Luis Aldama is an Arts and Humanities Distinguished Professor at Ohio State University where he teaches in multiple departments. One of his passions has always been comics. He’s written books like Your Brain on Latino Comics: From Gus Arriola to Los Bros Hernandez and co-edited books like Graphic Borders: Latino Comic Books Past, Present, and Future, among many others. His new project is the Latinographix imprint, part of Mad Creek Books at Ohio State University Press.
This month the imprint is releasing its first book, Alberto Ledesma’s Diary of a Reluctant Dreamer, and Aldama also launched a website, The Planetary Republic of Comics. We spoke recently about these projects, the conversations he’s hoping to launch around about Latinx comics and talks about the books he’s publishing in the coming years.
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The political cartoonist discusses his first book from OR Books.
Eli Valley has been making comics for just over a decade. Unlike most political cartoonists, though, most of his work aren’t single panel comics, but rather long page-size comics intended for a broadsheet publication. In The Forward, +972 Magazine, The Nib and other publications, Valley has been skewering politics and individuals in hilarious, grotesque and inventive ways.
In these longer comics, which show the influence of EC Comics and other horror artists, Valley shows himself a gifted artist, though sometimes his own exaggerations aren’t nearly as grotesque as the actual words spoken by actual people that he’s skewering. Some of his comics have their own shock and awe, as Valley is not afraid to offend people or worry about people’s sensibilities. This has led to problems with some editors, he’s been denounced by individuals, but he refuses to shy away from controversy.
His first book Diaspora Boy has just been released by OR Books with an introduction by Peter Beinart. He took time out to talk about the book and how his work has changed in the past year.
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In his first book, Alberto Ledesma combines comics, illustrations and essays to examine what it means to be undocumented in the United States.
Alberto Ledesma’s first book, Diary of a Reluctant Dreamer: Undocumented Vignettes from a pre-American Life combines comics, illustrations and essays to examine what it means to be undocumented in the United States. It’s a deeply moving book that is very personal, but Ledesma is also interested in using his own story as a springboard to discussing other topics and towards a larger conversation. Ledesma has a love of comics, and makes clear in the book that keeping a sketchbook is key to how he works. It is a deeply felt, very political book that eschews narrative and seeks many ways to think about these political concerns and the artistic approaches of combining text and art.
The book is the first of a new imprint, Latinographix, part of Mad Creek Books at Ohio State University. Ledesma holds a doctorate degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and works there today, but he’s very interested in starting a much wider conversation around these issues and how they relate to questions of American identity.
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The associate publisher of Fantagraphics discusses his new anthology project, which launches this month.
Eric Reynolds is the associate publisher of Fantagraphics, which means that he’s edited some of the best comics in the world. Throughout his career though he’s had a special interest in anthologies.
His new project is Now, a three-times-a-year anthology with cartoonists well known and not, working in a variety of styles from all over the world. The first issue features work by Gabrielle Bell, Noah Van Sciver and a long story by Eleanor Davis in addition to a number of cartoonists people might not know as well. Reynolds wanted to create a relatively cheap ($9.99) project with a feel and approach he didn’t see anywhere else.
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The artist discusses the artistic choices she made for the book, the ways that she was allowed to play with the script and help shape the story, and the comics scene in Germany right now
Andrea Offerman has drawn picture books and illustrated novels including The Midnight Zoo, The Boneshaker, The Broken Lands, and The Thickety. Her art has been exhibited in Germany, the United States and elsewhere. Comics fans might known here best as one of the members of the Flight collective, contributing stories to two volumes of the anthology series.
I spoke with her in 2007 about the short comic she made for Flight Volume 4, her first published comic, and we spoke again recently about the graphic novel Yvain–The Knight of the Lion, written by M.T. Anderson, which is out now from Candlewick Press. The book is her first graphic novel and it is an artistic tour de force for many reasons, and we spoke about the artistic choices she made, the ways that she was allowed to play with the script and help shape the story, and the comics scene in Germany right now.
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The creator discusses working as an illustrator on archeological digs, co-editing a new issue of ‘The Strumpet,’ upcoming projects and more.
Earlier this year Glynnis Fawkes published Greek Diary, a collection of comics about the previous summer that was spent working on an archeological dig in Greece and a trip through the Greek islands. Fawkes has been working since art school as an illustrator for archeological digs, and has illustrated a number of scholarly books including Three Stones Make a Wall by Eric Cline and Kinyras: The Divine Lyre by her husband John Curtis Franklin. This interest can be seen in a lot of Fawkes’ comics work like Corinthian Diary, Time Out in Palestine and Alle Ego, which was given a MoCCA Art Festival Award of Excellence in 2016.
When it debuted at this year’s MoCCA Arts Festival, Greek Diary received the Silver Medal for Long Form Work. This year also saw the release of Reign of Crumbs from Kilgore Books, which collects many of Fawkes’ diary comics that have appeared in Mutha Magazine, The New Yorker.com and elsewhere. Fawkes has also been in both of issues of Resist!, and is co-editing and contributing to the new issue of The Strumpet coming out this fall.
Fawkes will be at the Small Press Expo, or SPX, this weekend in Bethesda, Maryland. You can find her at SPX table I7B and will have copies of Cinderbunny and the “spanking new” Strumpet 5, as well as Reign of Crumbs and Greek Diary.
Fawkes and I spoke after she returned from this year’s trip to Greece.
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M.T. Anderson has written everything from picture books to young adult novels. Anderson received the National Book Award in 2006 and he’s written contemporary stories, historical ones, fantasy and science fiction novels including Feed, The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, and the recent Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad. His first graphic novel, Yvain: The Knight of the Lion, illustrated by Andrea Offermann, is out now from Candlewick Press.
The book is a retelling of a 12th Century epic poem by Chrétien de Troyes. Though not well known today, de Troyes is considered one of the greatest and most influential medieval writers. Anderson and Offermann made a number of striking and inspired artistic choices as far as how they approached and presented the story, which is both very much about the 12th-13th centuries, but also very contemporary in some ways.
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The creator of ‘Chickenhare’ discusses his latest all-ages graphic novel from Graphix, dealing with grief, not talking down to kids and more.
Chris Grine’s first graphic novel was Chickenhare, which was published first by Dark Horse Comics and then was reprinted in a new full-color edition by Scholastic’s Graphix imprint, along with its sequel. This year Scholastic published Time Shifters, which, like his earlier books, is written, drawn, colored and lettered by Grine.
But this one is a leap forward in terms of his art and storytelling. On one level, the book is a wild adventure story about a boy who gets caught up with a misfit band that is jumping from one universe to another. On another level, it is a story about grief and loss told in a very real and raw way. The book manages to be both very silly and wild, and a great adventure story, but never shies away from the sadness at the core. Grine and I talked about the book’s tonal shifts, grief and never playing down to kids.
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