Smash Pages Q&A: Jamila Rowser

The co-founder of Geek Girl Brunch and former Girl Gone Geek blogger discusses two comic projects, ‘Wash Day’ and ‘Wobbledy 3000.’

Jamila Rowser is familiar to a lot of people in the comics community because she created Straight Outta Gotham, co-founded Geek Girl Brunch and launched the blog Girl Gone Geek. This fall though she’s doing something different, turning her attention to writing comics.

Wash Day is a comic drawn by Robyn Smith which was kickstarted earlier this year and is out now. In addition to an English language edition, there’s a Spanish language edition of the comic, Dia de Lavado, which is also available. Rowser is following that up with her second comic, Wobbledy 3000, which is drawn by Sabii Borno and is out this month as a digital comic from Black Josei Press.

The comics are very different, made with different artists and approaches, but both of them demonstrate Rowser’s skill at dialogue, her subtle talent of characterization and, through this, a very nuanced and lovely consideration of friendship. One book may be realistic and set in the here and now, and the other is science fantasy, but they are both an effort to tell slice of life narratives, and explore the lives of characters who are rarely explored in comics. Taken together, the comics show Rowser is very interested in finding ways to use the medium to convey and explore personal experience, to both break new ground and be a part of the medium and its traditions. I caught Rowser in between shows, and she was kind enough to answer a few questions.

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Smash Pages Q&A: L Nichols on ‘Flocks’

The ‘Ley Lines’ creator discusses the collected edition of ‘Flocks’ from Secret Acres, music, engineering and more.

L Nichols has been serializing Flocks for years, working on the comics memoir in between other projects, including overseeing the acclaimed quarterly comics series Ley Lines. Flocks is out now in a collected edition from Secret Acres. Also out now is the new issue of Ley Lines, which is written and drawn by Nichols. Nichols and I have met at various shows over the years but never sat down to talk.

Flocks is an immense achievement, but it’s also striking how well Nichols made the individual issues stand on their own and how well they work as chapters of a book — and how well it comes together into a thoughtful and emotional story arc. It is one of the best of the year, but also deserves a place among the very best graphic memoirs ever made. We spoke recently about Beethoven, engineering and religion.

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Smash Pages Q&A: e jackson

The cartoonist and scholar discusses ‘It’s Discourse, Archie’ and much more.

e jackson is a cartoonist and scholar. They have been drawing comics and illustrations for a few years now, making minicomics like Flux and Love Bites, webcomics like Warm Blood and Baby, and appearing in anthologies including We’re Still Here. They cohost the podcast Drawing a Dialogue with Cathy G. Johnson and are currently in the PhD program in Comics Studies at the University of Florida.

One of jackson‘s recent minicomics, It’s Discourse, Archie, captures a lot of what makes their work so interesting and so unique. The comic is autobiographical but states very clearly that it’s talking about issues as a way of commenting on the show Riverdale. The way they play with the expectation of autobio comics and of fanfiction, while also explaining and addressing ideas and theory. These are many of the same concerns that e addresses in their scholarship and I reached out to talk about how they work and being a comics creator in between classes.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Stephanie Phillips and Jamie Jones

The creators of ‘Kicking Ice’ from Ominous Press discuss their graphic novel about hockey, overcoming bullying and breaking down barriers.

The graphic novel Kicking Ice debuts this week at New York Comic Con. Written by Stephanie Phillips with line art by Jamie Jones, and published by Ominous Press, the book is the story of two girls, Bella and Skye who become fans of hockey – especially the NWHL – and become hockey players.

It’s about hockey, it’s about overcoming bullying, and breaking down barriers, but it’s also about being young, about being passionate, becoming obsessed and having the opportunities to pursue that passion. The book is also supported by the National Women’s Hockey League, including a forward by the commissioner and appearances by players in the story.

I spoke with Phillips and Jones about hockey, collaborating with the NWHL, why the book is set in Connecticut – which they don’t say is because the Connecticut Whale is best pro hockey team out there, but that’s clearly what I’m choosing to read into their answers – and their hopes to make a second volume and tell more stories.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Kat Fajardo

The recipient of last year’s CXC Emerging Talent Award discusses drawing a ‘Descendants’ graphic novel for Disney, editing the ‘La Raza Anthology,’ creating comics on Twitter and much more.

Last fall Kat Fajardo received the CXC Emerging Talent Award for her work as both a creator and member of the comics community. She’s the woman behind Bandida Comics, and Gringa, and contributed to Dirty Diamonds, Symbolia and other anthologies and magazines. Fajardo also co-edited and contributed to the anthology La Raza: Unidos y Fuertes.

More recently, Fajardo has been drawing diary comics, which she’s been posting on Twitter. Fajardo drew the comics adaptation of Melissa de le Cruz’s novel The Isle of the Lost, which is out this month from Disney/Hyperion. She’s also a contributor to the anthology Tales from La Vida. I reached out to ask about her work.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Eric J. Garcia is Drawing on Anger

The creator of El Machete Illustrated discusses the latest collection of his work from Latinographix.

Since 2004, Eric J. Garcia has been making the weekly syndicated political cartoon El Machete Illustrated. The strip is brilliant and scathing look at veterans issues and immigration, imperialism and history. Comics are just one of the many field Garcia works in. He’s a teaching artist, a muralist sculptor, and painter who has created public art projects and whose work has been in museums around the country.

The Latinographix imprint is publishing a collection of Garcia’s comics, Drawing on Anger: Portraits of U.S. Hypocrisy, a selection of his work from 2004 to 2017. Garcia is also one of many contributors to the new anthology Tales From La Vida: A Latinx Comics Anthology. Drawing on Anger comes with advance praise from cartoonists and scholars, and like all great collections manages to provide a sense of not just what Garcia thinks, but how he thinks.

Garcia will be at SOL-CON this weekend at Ohio State University in Columbus, where the book will be debuting, and he was kind enough to answer a few questions about his comics work.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Tom Peyer on AHOY Comics

The editor-in-chief of the new comics line discusses how the company was formed with longtime friend and collaborator Hart Seely, the first two titles (which Peyer is writing) and more.

Tom Peyer has had a long career in comics as a writer and editor. He’s written a long list of superhero titles including Hourman, Legion and The Flash. He co-wrote Cruel and Unusual with Jamie Delano, and with Rachel Pollack, New Gods. Peyer was also a longtime editor at DC and was one of the founding editors of the Vertigo imprint.

His new project is AHOY Comics, where he is the editor-in-chief and has written the first two titles from the publisher. The Wrong Earth is a superhero series with artist Jamal Igle, essentially about how the Adam West Batman and The Dark Knight Returns Batman change places. Coming out this week is the second title, High Heaven, a dark comic tale of the afterlife drawn by Greg Scott. Both series contain other material, including short comics and prose stories and various other backup material. Hashtag: Danger, a backup series by Peyer and Chris Giarrusso will appear in the pages of High Heaven.

The publisher of AHOY is Hart Seely, who Peyer has long been friends and collaborators with. The two previously edited O Holy Cow!: The Selected Verse of Phil Rizzuto, a book of found poetry by the Hall of Fame baseball player and broadcaster. With High Heaven #1 out this week, I reached out to ask a few questions about the imprint, assembling a comics magazine and not going for laughs when writing the absurd.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Summer Pierre’s ‘All the Sad Songs’

The creator of ‘Paper Pencil Life’ discusses her latest book, poetry and more.

Summer Pierre has been making comics for years in the pages of her series Paper Pencil Life and in magazines and anthologies, including Mutha Magazine, The Rumpus, Ink Brick and Bottoms Up! She’s illustrated All the Pretty People by Ariel Gore, It’s Not You, It’s Brie by Kirstin Jackson and other books.

This month Retrofit is releasing Pierre‘s graphic novel All the Sad Songs. The book is about music, which sounds amorphous and vague, but Pierre begins by examining mix tapes she made and still has, the songs and the bands that defined her life, her own music and the years she spent in her twenties singing in clubs and cafes around Boston. Pierre and I have been running across each other at shows in recent years and often end up talking about poetry. When she mentioned that she had a book coming out, I asked if we could talk about the book and her work.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Ivan Brunetti’s ‘3×4’

The cartoonist and illustrator discusses his latest project for Toon Books.

Ivan Brunetti has had a unique career in comics. He’s the cartoonist behind comics like Schizo, Hee! and Haw! He’s a noted New Yorker cover artist and illustrator in addition to being the author of the books Cartooning: Philosophy and Practice and Aesthetics: A Memoir. In 2017 Toon Books published Brunetti’s first book for children, Wordplay, and this fall they’re publishing his second.

3×4 is about numbers and math, but also about art. It focuses on the children that readers might remember from his first book and gives them a new homework assignment. I asked him about how he worked on the new book, the relationship between art and numbers, and what he’s thinking about next.

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