Smash Pages Q&A: Chris Schweizer

The ‘Mars Attacks’ and ‘Crogan Adventures’ creator discusses his latest book from First Second on how to fix your car.

Chris Schweizer has been making comics for years and remains best known to some for his series The Crogan Adventures, which was not just three graphic novels but six radio plays as well. He’s made a number of other comics and illustrations over the years including the art book 555 Character Drawings, he made the graphic novel The Creeps, and has worked on other comics projects including the recent Mars Attacks. He’s regularly posting illustrations and short comics on social media and his Patreon. His new book is Maker Comics: Fix a Car.

Part of the new Maker series from First Second books, it’s a departure for Schweizer, which we talked about. Not just an instructional manual, the book is the story of Ms. Gritt who is running a Car Club and teaching a cast of teenagers about car maintenance and repair, about how various parts of cars and trucks operate and offering valuable information. Schweizer is masterful at integrating both these elements together, crafting an ensemble story with large blocks of information, and I was thrilled to get to talk with him about the book, how he works and his many projects.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Falynn Koch

The cartoonist and illustrator discusses her latest work from First Second, ‘Maker Comics: Bake Like a Pro!’

Falynn Koch is a cartoonist and illustrator who graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design and has been focused on making nonfiction comics. Her first two books were part of the Science Comics series from First Second Books, Bats: Learning to Fly and Plagues: The Microscopic Battlefield.

Her new book is Maker Comics: Bake Like a Pro! Part of a new line of instructional comics from First Second, Koch is perhaps a perfect person to make the book, being a cartoonist who also attended culinary school. As an amateur baker, I was glad to have the chance to talk with Koch recently about the book and her process.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Spike Trotman and MK Reed

The duo discuss their comiXology Originals title ‘Delver,’ the fantasy genre and much more.

Spike Trotman is the woman behind Iron Circus Comics, one of North America’s best comics publishers. She is also the creator of the webcomic Templar AZ and the book Poorcraft, the writer of Yes, Roya and Iris and Angel, and cohost of the podcast Dirty Old Ladies. MK Reed is the writer of many comics including Americus, Palefire and Science Comics: Dinosaurs, and the co-writer of The Castoffs.

The two have teamed up with artist Clive Hawken on Delver, a new series coming out from comiXology Originals. It’s the story of Temerity, whose life and town is changed when a portal opens, and the town and the region becomes overrun with adventurers. It’s a story that takes a look at the fantasy genre in a different way and asks a few of the questions that sometimes bother those who like the genre. The second issue is out tomorrow, and they were kind enough to answer a few questions about the series.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Cathy G. Johnson

The creator of ‘Gorgeous’ and ‘Jeremiah’ discusses her new book, ‘The Breakaways.’

Cathy G. Johnson is the cartoonist behind books like Gorgeous and Jeremiah. Her new book, coming out this week from First Second Books, is The Breakaways.

It’s larger than Johnson’s previous books in many regards. The book has an ensemble cast, and it manages to find ways to reveal how each girl is much more complex than they initially seem or than they try to present. It is a beautifully made and thoughtful book that avoids a lot of the cliches around sports stories. They don’t win. They are bad at soccer. But that’s not what’s important. And the ways that this is shown in small, relatable ways, eschewing a melodramatic or sentimental approach, is what makes the book resonate in so many ways.

Johnson is a teacher and podcaster who is one half of Drawing a Dialogue with e jackson, and she was kind enough to talk about the book and her work.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Kwanza Osajyefo

The team that brought ‘Black’ to life returns with the next chapter in the story of a world where only black people have superpowers.

Kwanza Osajyefo worked in comics for years at Marvel and DC Comics, including on Zuda, DC’s webcomics imprint. But in 2016 when he crowdfunded the miniseries Black, he made a lot of people sit up. The book, which was released from Black Mask Studios, asked the provocative question, “What if only black people in America had superpowers?” The resulting book was one of the year’s best comics – featuring some of the best artwork in Jamal Igle’s long career – but readers were left hanging at the end of the miniseries about what X, formerly known as Kareem Jenkins, will do next.

In the years since, Osajyefo and others have been telling stories in this universe in the Black AF books, but now Osajyefo is back with a new Kickstarter for the miniseries White. The direct sequel to Black and the middle chapter of the trilogy that is the story he always intended to tell, this book gets the band back together, including Igle, Khary Randolph on covers, co-creator and designer Tim Smith 3, and editor Sarah Litt. The Kickstarter is live now and without offering any spoilers, Osajyefo answered a few questions about White, the Black universe and what comes next.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Liz Suburbia

The creator of ‘Sacred Heart’ discusses her latest project, ‘Egg Cream,’ as well as her first exposure to comics, the way she works and serialization.

Liz Suburbia has been making comics for years in her zine series Cyanide Milkshake, and Sacred Heart, which was collected into a single volume and published by Fantagraphics in 2015. Suburbia’s new project is Egg Cream. An annual comic published by Czap Books and Silver Sprocket, it will feature not just the sequel to Sacred Heart but new comics and illustrations from Suburbia as well.

Egg Cream is completely accessible for those who have never read Scared Heart, set 10 years after the events of that book and told in a different manner than that book. This first chapter explains some of the questions that were never answered in the first volume, and add a few more than we’ll no doubt learn more about in future issues. Suburbia talked about this larger story she’s telling, the way she works and serialization.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Kel McDonald

The cartoonist discusses her latest project, now up on Kickstarter, as well as the urban fantasy genre, ‘The Stone King’ and more.

Kel McDonald has been making comics for years. I read her webcomic Sorcery 101 years ago, but she’s also made comics series like Misfits of Avalon, written Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics and contributed to Dark Horse Presents. Late last year Comixology Originals released The Stone King, a comics series that McDonald made with artist Tyler Crook. Her work is always interesting because she clearly loves fantasy, but she wants to do interesting things with the genre, telling different kinds of stories in really exciting ways.

In recent years she’s been making the series The City Between, composed of different books with different characters and genres set in the same world. Right now she’s kickstarting the third book in the series, The Dead Deception. I’ve been reading McDonald’s work for years and she was kind enough to answer a few questions about urban fantasy, werewolves, her future plans for the series, and how Kickstarter has changed over the years for the better.

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Smash Pages Q&A: W.T. Frick

The creator of “Ipsum Lorum” discusses her issue of “Ley Lines,” which focuses on the writing of Ursula Le Guin.

W.T. Frick has made comics for Ink Brick and other publications, but she’s likely best known for her webcomic Ipsum Lorum, a remarkable work about the experience of creating and experiencing art, about doppelgängers and what that means for people. In so much of her work, Frick is less interested in narrative than she is with studying characters and exploring ideas. At one point she described her process as intuitive and her work could be described in those terms, but it also feels much too solid, too involved to ever be dreamlike, or seem unreal.

Frick is also the cartoonist behind the new issue of Ley Lines. The quarterly series is focused on crafting a dialogue between comics and the world of fine art. In the 18th issue, which was just released, Frick interrogates the writing of the late Ursula K. Le Guin along with the work of a number of visual artists. It’s arguably her best work to date and a striking introduction for those who have never encountered her work before.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Stuart Moore

The comics veteran discusses his work for Ahoy Comics, “Captain Ginger,” the upcoming “Bronze Age Boogie” and more.

Stuart Moore has been working in comics in a variety of ways for decades. He was an editor at DC Comics, where he was one of the founding editors of the Vertigo imprint, overseeing books like Swamp Thing, Jonah Hex, Preacher and Hellblazer, before working on DC’s Helix imprint, where he oversaw Vermilion, The Black Lamb and Transmetropolitan, before working on the Marvel Knights imprint, overseeing Alias and Fantastic Four 1234. He’s written books like Firestorm with Jamal Igle, Namor: The First Mutant and The 99. He also adapted Brian Jacques’ Redwall, and created projects like Earthlight, Lone, Giant Robot Warriors and Para.

Right now Moore is working at Ahoy Comics, where he’s not just working behind the scenes, but also writing books for the company. Those books include Captain Ginger, the first season of which wrapped up last month, and Bronze Age Boogie, which launches in April. That’s in addition to writing a story for Ahoy’s Free Comic Book Day issue coming out in May, and one story in June’s Steel Cage One Shot. The titles are all very different kinds of stories that feature collaborations with talented artists doing some of the best work of their careers.

Somehow Moore found a few minutes to answer my questions.

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