Smash Pages Q&A: Rick Stromoski on ‘Soup to Nutz’ and more

The cartoonist discusses his syndicated strip, a graphic novel he’s working on, how he works and more.

Rick Stromoski’s comic strip Soup to Nutz has been running on the comics pages since 2000. He had been syndicated before, but was better known for his illustration work, gag cartoons and greeting cards. He has won multiple division awards from the National Cartoonists Society over the years and has served as the organization’s president.

Soup to Nutz has its own sense of design, and it stands out on the comics page for the sense of humor, which has much more of an edge than other family strips, and for the character of Andrew, who remains unique. Stromoski has also been working on a graphic novel drawn in a very different style than the strip. Based on his mother’s life, this has been a project of many years that he’s close to finishing. We spoke recently about his strip, his graphic novel and how working digitally changed the way he’s able to work.

Continue reading “Smash Pages Q&A: Rick Stromoski on ‘Soup to Nutz’ and more”

Smash Pages Q&A: Gabe Fowler on Funhouse: An Interactive Book Fair

The proprietor of Desert Island Comics in Brooklyn discusses the upcoming event, scheduled for March 24-25.

Gabe Fowler is not a cartoonist, but he is a one of the people who makes the comics world run. He’s the proprietor of Desert Island Comics in Brooklyn, one of the great comic stores in New York, and which Fowler has made a hub of comics activity. He’s one of the organizers of Comic Arts Brooklyn, the annual comics show, and he also publishes Smoke Signal, a quarterly comics anthology, and published Resist!, the two comics edited by Francoise Mouly and Nadja Spiegelman last year.

Fowler is one of the organizers of Funhouse: An Interactive Book Fair, which will take place in Manhattan on March 24-25. The event isn’t just another comics show and isn’t quite a workshop, but rather something else, and I reached out to Fowler to ask about what the event will be and trying to make a different kind of show.

Continue reading “Smash Pages Q&A: Gabe Fowler on Funhouse: An Interactive Book Fair”

Smash Pages Q&A: Anneli Furmark on ‘Red Winter’

‘It’s like all the characters in the book have their own universe.’

Anneli Furmark’s Red Winter is a stunning book. It is a love story where the grand romantic scene and gesture happens in the opening pages. It is a narrative that is fractured told from multiple points of view, none of whom understand everything that’s happening. It’s about the politics of 1970’s Sweden and how they intersect with people’s lives. It is an impression of a time and of a place that is rendered and colored beautifully that lingers lost after one finishes reading he last page.

Furmark was kind enough to answer a few questions about her book and how she works.

Continue reading “Smash Pages Q&A: Anneli Furmark on ‘Red Winter’”

Smash Pages Q&A: Tee Franklin on ‘Bingo Love’

Following a successful Kickstarter, Franklin discusses how the graphic novel landed at Image Comics.

Last month Bingo Love came out from Image Comics. Written by first-time graphic novelist Tee Franklin and illustrated by Jenn St-Onge, it’s a realistic love story that jumps from 1963 to the present before ending in 2038. It tells the story of two women, Hazel and Mari, who meet when they’re young and are reunited decades later. It’s a story with a happy ending, which is not to say that the book is not also a fraught and complicated journey for the characters.

Franklin is known to many in the comics community for her journalism. She’s written short comics for various anthologies, but after a successful Kickstarter, the book looks to be one of the breakout comics of the year. The book has already gone into a second printing before it was ever published, and Image isn’t run by fools; Franklin announced her next project at Image Expo shortly after Bingo Love hit the shelves.

Continue reading “Smash Pages Q&A: Tee Franklin on ‘Bingo Love’”

Smash Pages Q&A: Sloane Leong on ‘Prism Stalker’

‘It’s a weird sci-fi biopunk adventure about colonization, autonomy, the pain of desire and the wonder, power and horror of expression.’

Comics readers might know Sloane Leong as the artist of From Under Mountains. She’s also drawn fill-in stories for a number of comics, including Prophet, Glory and Bravest Warriors, and has contributed to gallery shows, but starting this week, she will be known for Prism Stalker.

The ongoing series launches next week from Image Comics, and the first issue is simply stunning. It manages to convey a lot of information about this world, much of it through suggestion. Her pages quite frankly do not look like most comics pages but are instead complex works of design that echo the musicality within the story and defining the pacing. The story itself, which is about language and culture, memory and what is passed down, could not be more relevant today. Like the very best science fiction, the issue manages to depict something strange and truly alien, while drawing parallels to the present, the past and our own experiences.

For many, writing, drawing and coloring a monthly series is more than enough, but Leong is also finishing a graphic novel, A Map to the Sun, for First Second Books, and writing a regular review column for The Comics Journal. Happily, she somehow found the time to talk with me.

Leong will be at Emerald City Comic Con this weekend at Table #208 where she’ll have advance copies of the first issue for sale. It will be available in stores on March 7.

Continue reading “Smash Pages Q&A: Sloane Leong on ‘Prism Stalker’”

Smash Pages Q&A: Ilan Stavans

The essayist, translator, editor and scholar discusses his latest work, an autobiographical graphic novel with artist Santiago Cohen.

Ilan Stavans does so many things that most of his readers likely struggle to keep track of them. Stavans is a renowned essayist, translator, editor and scholar. The publisher of Restless Books, he was the General Editor of The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature. He’s written or co-written dozens of books including Quixote: The Novel and the World, Singer’s Typewriter and Mine: Reflections on Jewish Culture, Octavio Paz: A Meditation and Gabriel García Márquez: The Early Years, the first of a two-volume biography. He’s the producer and host of the podcast In Contrast, a fiction writer and playwright, and his debut volume of his own poetry, The Wall, comes out this year as part of the Pitt Poetry series.

Stavans is also a lover and writer of comics. He’s collaborated with Lalo Alacaraz on two books (Latino USA: A Cartoon History and A Most Imperfect Union: A Contrarian History of the United States) in addition to writing graphic novels like Mr. Spic Goes to Washington and El Iluminado. His new book, a collaboration with artist Santiago Cohen, is Angelitos.

Continue reading “Smash Pages Q&A: Ilan Stavans”

Smash Pages Q&A: Trungles on ‘Twisted Romance’

The comics artist discusses his work with Alex de Campi on the Image Comics anthology, how he came into comics and more.

Trungles is coming off a busy 2017. His Fauns and Fairies: The Adult Fantasy Coloring Book was published by Limerence Press, he was a contributor one of the year’s best anthologies, Mirror Mirror II, and he’s been making the webcomic Vampire Buddy. His new project is “Treasured”, the main story in the fourth and final issue of Twisted Romance, which is out this week from Image Comics. I reached out to ask him about romance stories, fairy tales, and finding ways to subvert expectations and tropes.

Continue reading “Smash Pages Q&A: Trungles on ‘Twisted Romance’”

Smash Pages Q&A: Anuj Shrestha flies high with ‘National Bird’

The creator talks about his latest project, a story for Fantagraphics’ ‘Now’ anthology.

In the second volume of the anthology Now, editor Eric Reynolds has assembled another great lineup of creators including Dash Shaw, Joseph Remnant and Sammy Harkham. One of the standout stories has to be the striking short comic National Bird from artist and illustrator Anuj Shrestha.

Shrestha has been making short comics and illustrations for a number of years now. He’s made short comics for a number of anthologies including 4Panel, Alternative Comics, and Future Shock 0. He also produced a number of very moving short comics illustrating the stories of refugees for the Syrian Refugee Project. We spoke about contributing to Now and his work.

Continue reading “Smash Pages Q&A: Anuj Shrestha flies high with ‘National Bird’”

Smash Pages Q&A: Whit Taylor on ‘Ghost Stories’

The award-winning cartoonist discusses her new book, her work at ‘The Nib’ and more.

Whit Taylor has been making a number of award-winning and nominated comics and mini-comics for years including Watermelon, Boxes and Ghost. She’s written for The Comics Journal and Publishers Weekly, and has contributed to The Nib where she’s written about race, Chris Christie, pandemics, health care and hair.

Ghost Stories, which was just published by Rosarium, is her first book. It collects three stories, each made in a different style and approach, that deal with questions of memory in different, interesting ways. I read Ghost when it was first published and like a lot of people thought it was her best work to date, and while none of the stories are ghost stories in that way, each involves hauntings in interesting ways. Taylor was kind enough to answer a few questions about the book and her work.

Continue reading “Smash Pages Q&A: Whit Taylor on ‘Ghost Stories’”