Smash Pages Q&A: Otava Heikkilä

The Finnish cartoonist discusses the latest chapter of ‘Letters for Lucardo’ from Iron Circus.

Otava Heikkila had been drawing comics for a while, but he made an impression when Letters for Lucardo was published by Iron Circus Comics in 2017. The book is about the relationship between a vampire and a mortal, which is a familiar and recurring story, but Heikkila managed to play with the genre in interesting ways — in this volume by making the vampire young and the mortal old, and by featuring explicit gay sex.

Letters for Lucardo: Fortunate Beasts is the second volume in Heikkila’s series and he answered a few questions from Finland about the book and the series, and how to approach drawing the sex scenes.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Kori Michele

The creator and editor discusses ‘Filed Away,’ ‘A Lucid Date’ and more.

Kori Michele has been making short comics and minicomics for years in addition to co-editing the acclaimed The Other Side: An Anthology of Queer Paranormal Romance with Melanie Gillman. They’ve made projects including Talk It Out and Public Displays, which appeared on Filthy Figments, Prince of Cats, Portals, Dovetail and others. A few years ago after making an enviable body of work they went back to school and are currently working on an MFA at the Center for Cartoon Studies.

Last year Michele produced their best work to date with comics like Filed Away and A Lucid Date, and they were kind enough to take time out of their busy schedule to answer a few questions about personal comics, erotic comics, and how their time at CCS has affected their work.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Lin Visel and Joseph Bergin III

The creators of ‘How Do You Smoke a Weed?: A Comics Guide to a Responsible High’ discuss their approach to helping people learn to smoke.

Lin Visel and Joseph Bergin III, also known as Owlin, are the comics creators behind Mr. Invisible, SuperTwomp, Restless Princess and Welter Hitch, among others. Along with Lauren Keller, they are behind the new comic How Do You Smoke a Weed?: A Comics Guide to a Responsible High, which is out now from Iron Circus Comics.

The book tells the story of Sprout, who wants to smoke but has no idea where to begin, and meets a series of people who explain marijuana and various ways to ingest it. The book has a lot of information even for those how already smoke, and conveys it using entertaining characters. Visel and Bergin were kind enough to answer a few questions by email about the book.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Omaha Perez

The creator of ‘The Drude’ discusses the second volume of the series, what’s next for ‘Super Terre.r,’ working with Tony Talbert and more.

Omaha Perez has been making comics on and off for years in between working other jobs. He wrote and illustrated the comics Bodhisattva and Holmes, and was a contributor to the anthology Periphery, which he also edited. In more recent years he’s been writing comics like Super Terre.r and The Drude.

He wrote the new graphic novel The Drude 2: Lost Angeles, which is just out from First Comics. Drawn by Tony Talbot, with whom Perez has collaborated before, the book starts roughly where The Drude ended. In that book the titular character begins to see the alien creatures living among us, and in Lost Angeles, the story goes in a different direction. We spoke recently about his new book, writing and that cover.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Paul Constant

The journalist and critic discusses his newest project with AHOY Comics, ‘Planet of the Nerds.’

Paul Constant has a long career as a journalist and literary critic working for The Stranger and many other publications. He’s currently a writer at Civic Ventures, a public policy incubator in Seattle, where he writes about politics and economics, and is the co-founder of The Seattle Review of Books.

His new comic is Planet of the Nerds, with artwork by Alan Robinson and Randy Elliott. The first issue of the series is out this week from AHOY Comics. The comic opens in the 1980s when a science experiment goes wrong, and three jocks wake up in 2019 to find that comic conventions are massive, superhero movies rule the box office and everyone uses computers. They are horrified by this world. We spoke recently about how he ended up writing the comic, the way he uses backup stories in the series, and the different roles of editors in comics as opposed to journalism.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Dean Haspiel on ‘Starcross’

The prolific creator discusses the next chapter in his New Brooklyn universe.

Dean Haspiel has always been a creator doing many things and making many kinds of projects. From drawing books at Vertigo including The Quitter and The Alcoholic, to helping to launch webcomics first at the collective act-i-vate to the series Street Code that he made at DC’s Zuda imprint. He received an Emmy Award for designing the titles to the HBO show Bored to Death, co-wrote and drew The Fox for Archie Comics, and drew the children’s book Mo and Jo, which was written by Jay Lynch. In recent years he’s written three plays which have been produced in New York City and just launched the podcast Scene by Scene with fellow artist Josh Neufeld.

In recent years he’s been making The Red Hook, a superhero saga that he’s been serializing on Line Webtoon in two volumes, the first of which has been published in a print edition by Image Comics. Over the course of two volumes, the focus has gone from the titular character to other characters, and that focus continues to expand in this third volume in interesting ways. The third Red Hook story, Starcross, is being serialized starting this week, and we sat down to talk about the book.

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Smash Pages Q&A: J.P. Ahonen

The creator of ‘Sing No Evil’ discusses the first collection of his webcomic ‘Belzebubs.’

Belzebubs is a “trve kvlt mockumentary,” a family comedy, a heavy metal family tale that involves demons, Lovecraft, child-rearing, teenage love and the problems of keeping a band together. The parents are Sloth and Lucyfer, their kids are named Lilith and Leviathan – and Lilith’s best friend is Blasphe My (who in no way resembles the beloved Moomin character Little My). Even for those who are not heavy metal fans, the strip is simply funny, with beautifully rendered artwork. The strip has become an internet sensation, with print editions in multiple countries and in multiple languages. More than a comic, Belzebubs is now an actual band with an album, Pantheon of the Nightside Gods, coming out later this month.

J.P. Ahonen made a splash when Sing No Evil was released in the United States in 2014 after being published in his native Finland, where he’s been making comics for many years. I’ve been a reader and fan of his for many years and we had a chance to speak recently in between his busy schedule to talk about Belzebubs, the collection of which is out now from Top Shelf.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Joseph Galluccio

The senior art director for LEGO talks about his first comic, ‘Space is Cold: Escape Velocity.’

Joseph Galluccio is a newcomer to comics, but he’s far from an artistic novice. A senior art director at LEGO, and he’s had his paintings and other artwork shown in galleries in various states. His first comic, which is out now is Space is Cold: Escape Velocity. The story of Betty, her dog Donut and their kid-friendly adventures, which, as set up in the first issue, demonstrate that Galluccio has a lot more story planned.

Galluccio and I share a favorite coffee house, which is how we met, and we recently spoke about how making a comic required him to approach his work differently, his lifelong love of space and science fiction, and what he does at LEGO.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Diana Chu

The award-winning cartoonist discusses her work on the latest Patti Smith-influenced issue of “Ley Lines.”

Diana Chu is a cartoonist and illustrator based in Milwaukee, who in recent years has made an impressive body of comics and zines including Where Everything is Music, Woolies, No Mames Guey, Cloud Houseand Sudden Death. She was awarded a Gold Medal by the Society of Illustrators at last year’s MoCCA Festival.

Her new project, which comes out next month, is the new issue of Ley Lines. The issue is about Patti Smith and music, but it’s also about Jimi Hendrix, Dante Alighieri and Henri Rousseau. Chu is an artist who is not especially interested in narrative, but she’s fascinated in mood and design in interesting ways. She was kind enough to open up and talk about her work in process.

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