Smash Pages Q&A: Rory Frances and Jae Bearhat

The creators of ‘Little Teeth’ discuss the recently released collection from Czap Books, how they first started working together and more.

Rory Frances had been making comics like Boys Are Slapstick for years before connecting with Jae Bearhat, who’s currently the editor of ZEAL Magazine. The two teamed up to make the serial comic Little Teeth, parts of which were first published on Hazlitt in 2015-16, and has just been published by Czap Books in a collected edition.

Little Teeth is a story of a group of friends living in an unnamed city. The characters are never named and the reader is immediately dropped into the story, to try and make sense of the relationships between characters and the larger dynamics. The anthropomorphic animals allow the creators to play with questions and expectations of gender and gender identity. There were scenes that made me laugh out loud and scenes that made me cringe in recognition. It is a thoughtful, funny and insightful comic about characters who are all too human, and simply one of the best graphic novels out so far this year. I recently spoke with Rory and Jae over Skype.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Brian Azzarello and Sierra Hahn

The writer and editor of Faithless from BOOM! Studios discuss the lead character, working with artist Maria Llovet and more.

Faithless is a new miniseries written by Brian Azzarello, and it’s a somewhat different project for him.

It’s the story of a young woman who is playing around with magic, and by the end of the first issue, it’s clear that she’s in much deeper than she thought. Which admittedly, structurally sounds like a lot of the crime stories that Azzarello has written.

I spoke recently with Azzarello and Faithless editor Sierra Hahn. The two have known each other for years but never worked together, and we spoke about how this project came together, working with artist Maria Llovet, and Dante Alighieri.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Mariko Tamaki

The award-winning author discusses her latest graphic novel from First Second, ‘Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me.’

Mariko Tamaki is the award-winning author of the graphic novels This One Summer and Skim, both of which she made with her cousin, the artist and writer Jillian Tamaki. Mariko has written a number of comics series including Tomb Raider, She Hulk, Supergirland X-23. She’s written graphic novels like Emiko Superstar and the upcoming Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass, in addition to writing a trilogy of Lumberjanes novels and various other works of fiction and nonfiction.

Her new book, with artist Rosemary Valero-O’Connell, is Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me, which is just out from First Second Books. Frederica Riley is dating Laura Dean, the most popular girl in school, who is amazing — and a horrible girlfriend. While Freddy is writing to an advice columnist about what she should do, her friends are dealing with their own problems and trying to be delicate, and inanimate objects around Freddy are offering their own ignored Greek chorus in the background. It is a brilliant work that manages to balance comedy and drama, and capture something truly essential about relationships and teenage life.

Tamaki is a featured guest at this weekend’s Queers and Comics Conference in New York, and we spoke recently about the book.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Blue Delliquanti

The creator of ‘O Human Star’ discusses entomophagy, working with food writer Soleil Ho and much more.

Blue Delliquanti is best known for the webcomic O Human Star, which has been running since 2012. Delliquanti has also made shorter comics which have appeared in The Nib, Mine!, Beyond and the just-released Smut Peddler: Sex Machine, but Delliquanti’s new book is something of a departure. Meal was co-written with food writer and journalist Soleil Ho and centers around Yarrow, who moves to Minneapolis to work at a restaurant that serves insects.

The book is an enthusiastic and thoughtful primer for those who are unaccustomed to entomophagy (that’s eating bugs), but it’s more than that. It’s a story about food and our connections to it. It’s about the communities that have eaten and have a relationship to these foods for generations, and what it means for others to “discover” that. It’s a love story that captures some of that feeling from moving to a new place and working at a job that’s much more than a job. The tagline for the book is “Dreams. Love. Entomophagy.” I recently talked about those things and more with Delliquanti, who will be appearing this coming weekend at the Queers and Comics Conference in New York.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Maggie Umber

The co-founder of 2d Cloud discusses their latest Kickstarter, their 2019 lineup, her latest project and more.

Maggie Umber is the acclaimed cartoonist behind the books 270˚, Sound of Snow Falling, Time Capsule and other comics. She is also one of the founders of 2d Cloud, which in the past decade has established itself as one of the most important comics publishers in North America.

Umber wrote a blog post recently about the state of 2D Cloud and her own health, and about how the company plans to move forward. The company has just launched Artist Book Boxes at the Center of the Universe, a Kickstarter for the company’s 2019 lineup. We spoke recently about her new book, what kinds of books 2d Cloud will be publishing this year and why they just couldn’t walk away from the company.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Ben Nadler

The creator of ‘Sonder’ and ‘Heretics!’ discusses his newest project, ‘The White Snake’ from Toon Books.

Ben Nadler‘s first book was a collaboration with his father, the noted philosopher Steven Nadler. In addition to Heretics!: The Wondrous (and Dangerous) Beginnings of Modern Philosophy, Nadler also makes the comic series Sonder, both of which are very different from his new book.

The White Snake, just out from Toon Books, is an adaptation of a Grimm’s Fairy Tale, and it’s not just Nadler’s first book for children, but also his first adaptation. We spoke recently about the book, how he works and underplaying the violence in the original story.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Darryl Ayo

The cartoonist and comics critic discusses his work, the differences in comic strips vs. comic books, and much more.

Darryl Ayo has been making comics for years and remains known today for not just his comics, including the series Little Garden, but for his criticism. He has been published in The Comics Journal, Comixcube, Comics MNT, The Hooded Utilitarian and elsewhere. Little Garden features mythological creatures and humans in a world that is clearly not ours, but the focus of the series is centered around more mundane events and interactions. It also possesses Darryl’s sense of humor and a great sense of design and composition.

Ayo and I have met at shows for years and we’ve interacted on Twitter, but we’ve never before sat down to talk in a formal interview. So we took the opportunity to chat about his work and process.

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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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