Smash Pages Q&A: A. David Lewis on ‘Kismet, Man of Fate’

The writer and comics scholar shares more about his webcomic collaboration with Noel Tuazon that brings a 1940s character into the present.

A. David Lewis is a comics scholar who’s written books like American Comics, Literary Theory and Religion: The Superhero Afterlife and co-edited many books including Muslim Superheroes: Comics, Islam and Representation, and Graven Images: Religion in Comic Books and Graphic Novels. Lewis is also the founder of CYRIC, Comics for Youth Refugees Incorporated Collective, which makes and distributes comics for children.

Lewis has written comics, but it wasn’t until recently that he wrote a superhero. Kismet, Man of Fate was a character originally created in 1944 as part of the wartime comic boom. An Algerian operative fighting the Nazi occupation in the original stories, Lewis along with artist Noel Tuazon (Elk’s Run, Tumor) has brought the character into the present in a series of new stories. After making some standalone short comics, the two have been serializing a new longer story. Kismet wraps up today and will be collected later this summer. I reached out to Lewis to talk about his many comics and comics-related projects.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Pan S. on ‘Loving Iran, Loving Me’

The comics creator discusses her contribution to ‘Habibi,’ an anthology featuring Muslim women telling stories about love.

Habibi is a new anthology of comics and prose from Bedside Press. Edited by Hadeel al-Massari and Nyala Ali, the book collects the work of Muslim women telling stories about love.

One of those creators is Sugarpun, or Pan, as she goes by. Her contribution to the anthology “Loving Iran, Loving Me,” a beautifully drawn and beautifully designed comic. She admitted that comics are something she’s only gotten back into doing recently. Primarily an illustrator, she answered a few questions about the anthology and her own work.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Zack Soto kickstarts ‘The Secret Voice’

‘This is me pouring all my love of adventure and fantasy narratives, artcomics, manga, and eurocomics into one misshapen container.’

Zack Soto has been making and publishing comics for years. People might know him best as the Editor in Chief and Publisher of Study Group Comics, which has published great comics and minicomics from Farel Dalrymple, Aidan Koch, Sam Alden, Jennifer Parks and others. Soto was also one of the co-founders of Linework NW, the comics festival in Portland that ended in 2016.

Soto has also been making his own comics like Power Button, but perhaps his best known work is The Secret Voice. The comic is epic fantasy, but it takes the rough outline of that genre and incorporates elements of superhero and art comics, martial arts, mysticism and psychedelia. The result is both epic fantasy and part of an unclassifiable genre that is familiar to readers of Farel Dalrymple, Michel Fiffe and many other comics creators.

Soto has just launched a Kickstarter campaign to publish a collection of the first volume of The Secret Voice, and I reached out to ask him about the book and his work.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Brian Andersen on ‘Stripling Warrior’

Andersen discusses his collaboration with James Neish, which is about two queer ex-Mormons who are charged by an angel to be the Hand of God on Earth.

When Brian Andersen and James Neish set out to kickstart one issue of their comic Stripling Warrior a few years, they had no idea that not only would it be a success, but that it would strike a nerve. Some of the press and the attention has been about the very idea of a gay Mormon superhero, but Andersen uses Mormon theology and stories similarly to how Catholic teachings have become so familiar to many of us through pop culture.

The series, which has now been collected into a trade collection, is about Sam Shepard and Fe Fernandez, two queer ex-Mormons who are charged by an angel to be the Hand of God on Earth. It sounds heavily religious, but no more so than many other comics that draw from different religious traditions, but it’s a book that also embraces superhero conventions. At its heart, the book is about two conversations. One is between Sam and Fe about how they never stopped believing, the church’s hatred towards them has meant that they refuse to accept this mission as face value, even as they seek to carry out their quest. The other conversation is between their spouses, Jase and Shonda, about identity and how their sexuality is vital to who they have become, but it does not define them because they are so much more than that.

Stripling Warrior is a book unlike anything else on the stands, and I spoke with Brian Andersen about the project, making a sex positive, inclusive story, and what he’s working on now.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Bridgit Connell on ‘Brother Nash’

The webcomics creator discusses her upcoming three-issue miniseries from Titan Comics, her work process, Johnny Cash and more.

Bridgit Connell started Brother Nash as a webcomic about a trucker forced to detour through the Southwestern United States. Connell had drawn comics and covers and cards, but Brother Nash was her debut as a writer and artist. The book attracted the attention of Titan Comics, and is now a three-issue miniseries launching in June. Connell was kind enough to answer a few questions about the book.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Julia Kaye on ‘Super Late Bloomer’

The cartoonist and animator discusses the first collection of her webcomic ‘Up and Out.’

Julia Kaye had been making comics for years – and making the webcomic Up and Out for years – before she transitioned. What had been a humor strip made in full color then became something else as Kaye used the strip to document her own life and trying to adjust to life as a woman. Her first book is Super Late Bloomer: My Early Days in Transition. The book collects six months of strips from 2016. They range from funny to absurd to heartbreaking as Kaye captures her changing life three panels at a time.

Kaye is currently working at Disney Animation and continues to draw Up and Out. With Super Late Bloomer out this week, we sat down to talk about the book, her work and how it’s changed over the years.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Remy Boydell and Michelle Perez

The duo discuss the collected edition of ‘The Pervert,’ which is out this week from Image Comics.

The short-lived anthology Island featured great artists producing great work, but one of the stand outs had to be the series of stories by Remy Boydell and Michelle Perez around a young trans sex worker. Beautifully painted, powerfully raw, the stories from Island have been collected along with a number of other stories that have never been published in the new book The Pervert, which is out this week from Image Comics.

The Pervert utilizes a structure and approach that might be more familiar to prose readers accustomed to short story collections following a single character. The book isn’t interested in tackling stories and themes that are common in trans narratives. It is a story about sex work that refuses to glamorize or demonize sex workers and their work. The artistic choices and the way the book is drawn, using mostly anthropomorphized animals, forces the reader to rethink their assumptions of the characters’ gender. It also lends the story, which can be dark and ugly, a certain dreamy quality.

The book can be laugh out loud funny, but also tough to read. It is beautifully drawn, and tackles ugly topics. It is in the end heartbreaking and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since finishing it. I spoke with Remy and Michelle about the book and how they worked.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Pamela Ribon and Cat Farris on ‘My Boyfriend is a Bear’

‘This is a story for people who can relate to falling in love with someone they least expected.’

My Boyfriend is a Bear is about a woman dating an American black bear. As a woman in East Los Angeles, it’s far from her worst relationship, and the two navigate a new relationship and its many challenges in ways that are bizarre but also touching. It is quite possibly the most touching interspecies relationship since Gonzo and Camilla started dating on the Muppets. Written by Pamela Ribon and drawn by Cat Farris, the book is also one of the funniest and most emotionally honest romance stories of the year.

Pamela Ribon is best known in comics for writing Slam! at BOOM! Studios and for writing Rick and Morty at Oni, though she’s also a well-known novelist, screenwriter, memoirist and filmmaker. Cat Farris has drawn a number of comics including Emily and the Strangers, the minicomic series Flaccid Badger and her webcomic The Last Diplomat. They answered a few questions about why they made a romance story involving a nameless bear who likes to wear an Arcade Fire T-shirt.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Marco Finnegan on ‘Crossroad Blues’

The artist discusses his collaboration with novelist Ace Atkins, his work for the ‘Where We Live’ anthology, his upcoming Young Adult graphic novel, and more.

Marco Finnegan was a comics novice when Last Fair Deal Gone Down was published in 2016 by 12 Gauge, though he’d been working as an artist for some time. The book was his first collaboration with the writer Ace Atkins, and the two have established a close working relationship. Their second collaboration is out now from Image Comics.

Crossroad Blues is the adaptation of Atkins’ debut novel. The two have set out to adapt all of Atkins’ Nick Travers stories to comics. The stories are about a former football player turned academic, blues researcher, and harmonica player. In this book Travers tries to find a missing researcher, and gets involved with a strange cast of characters including an Elvis-worshipping hitman, who are trying to uncover – or hide – the true story of the legendary musician Robert Johnson.

People who follow Finnegan on Twitter know that he seems to always be posting drawings and sketches, and has mentioned working on comics for younger readers. I reached out to ask about working with Atkins, and find out more about his other comics projects.

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