Smash Pages Q&A: Megan Rose Gedris on ‘Spectacle’

The longtime webcomics creator discusses her latest collaboration with Oni Press.

Megan Rose Gedris has been making comics for years. From Yu+Me to I Was Kidnapped by Lesbian Pirates from Outer Space to The Lady Eudora Henley and Darlin’ It’s Betta Down Where It’s Wetta, Gedris has been producing thousands of comics pages nonstop and more than a dozen series online and in print in many genres.

Her current project is Spectacle, an ongoing series published by Oni Press about Anna, a fortune teller and an engineer working at a traveling circus. In the first issue her twin sister Kat is murdered, though she lingers as a ghost, which comes as a shock to the scientifically minded Anna. The series is about finding Kat’s murderer, but it’s also about exploring the people who made up the circus and examining their lives. It is not just a beautifully drawn book, but a strikingly insightful look at a community of outsiders and performers.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Jason McNamara on ‘Sucker’

McNamara discusses his latest collaboration with artist Tony Talbert, an original graphic novel about vampires, the pharmaceutical industry and immortality.

A vampire stockbroker from the 1980s reemerges in the present day to find that a pharmaceutical industry wants to sink their teeth into him — and steal his immortality. Writer Jason McNamara (The Rattler) teams with longtime collaborator Tony Talbert (Continuity, First Moon, Less Than Hero) to bring this “mature readers” adventure to life. They’re joined by inker John Heebink and colorist Paul Little.

Using Kickstarter, the team hopes you’ll help them see their vision become a reality. We ran a preview of the new book last week, and I caught up with Jason to learn more about the new book, Kickstarter and more.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Ellen Forney on ‘Rock Steady’

The creator of ‘Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me’ discusses her latest project, which is out now from Fantagraphics.

Ellen Forney has made many comics over the years that were collected in the books I Love Led Zeppelin and I Was 7 in ’75. She collaborated on the National Book Award winning novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Forney curated the traveling exhibition Graphic Medicine: Ill-Conceived & Well-Drawn. Most readers though know her for her book Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me.

Marbles was a stunning book. Both a personal story of her bipolar diagnosis, Forney also investigated the many myths around art and artists and how she has considered and lived with them in her own life. Her new book Rock Steady: Brilliant Advice From My Bipolar Life, which has just been published by Fantagraphics, is a self help guide designed to help people dealing with anxiety, depression and other disorders. It is beautifully drawn, thoughtfully written, and provides a great deal of insight into these issues. She also created a helpful and hilarious mascot to help readers, Smedmerts!

Forney is on book tour right now. She’ll be at Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena with Maria Bamford on Friday night before going to the East coast next week. I spoke with her at home before she left about the book and her work.

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Smash Pages Q&A: A. David Lewis on ‘Kismet, Man of Fate’

The writer and comics scholar shares more about his webcomic collaboration with Noel Tuazon that brings a 1940s character into the present.

A. David Lewis is a comics scholar who’s written books like American Comics, Literary Theory and Religion: The Superhero Afterlife and co-edited many books including Muslim Superheroes: Comics, Islam and Representation, and Graven Images: Religion in Comic Books and Graphic Novels. Lewis is also the founder of CYRIC, Comics for Youth Refugees Incorporated Collective, which makes and distributes comics for children.

Lewis has written comics, but it wasn’t until recently that he wrote a superhero. Kismet, Man of Fate was a character originally created in 1944 as part of the wartime comic boom. An Algerian operative fighting the Nazi occupation in the original stories, Lewis along with artist Noel Tuazon (Elk’s Run, Tumor) has brought the character into the present in a series of new stories. After making some standalone short comics, the two have been serializing a new longer story. Kismet wraps up today and will be collected later this summer. I reached out to Lewis to talk about his many comics and comics-related projects.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Pan S. on ‘Loving Iran, Loving Me’

The comics creator discusses her contribution to ‘Habibi,’ an anthology featuring Muslim women telling stories about love.

Habibi is a new anthology of comics and prose from Bedside Press. Edited by Hadeel al-Massari and Nyala Ali, the book collects the work of Muslim women telling stories about love.

One of those creators is Sugarpun, or Pan, as she goes by. Her contribution to the anthology “Loving Iran, Loving Me,” a beautifully drawn and beautifully designed comic. She admitted that comics are something she’s only gotten back into doing recently. Primarily an illustrator, she answered a few questions about the anthology and her own work.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Zack Soto kickstarts ‘The Secret Voice’

‘This is me pouring all my love of adventure and fantasy narratives, artcomics, manga, and eurocomics into one misshapen container.’

Zack Soto has been making and publishing comics for years. People might know him best as the Editor in Chief and Publisher of Study Group Comics, which has published great comics and minicomics from Farel Dalrymple, Aidan Koch, Sam Alden, Jennifer Parks and others. Soto was also one of the co-founders of Linework NW, the comics festival in Portland that ended in 2016.

Soto has also been making his own comics like Power Button, but perhaps his best known work is The Secret Voice. The comic is epic fantasy, but it takes the rough outline of that genre and incorporates elements of superhero and art comics, martial arts, mysticism and psychedelia. The result is both epic fantasy and part of an unclassifiable genre that is familiar to readers of Farel Dalrymple, Michel Fiffe and many other comics creators.

Soto has just launched a Kickstarter campaign to publish a collection of the first volume of The Secret Voice, and I reached out to ask him about the book and his work.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Brian Andersen on ‘Stripling Warrior’

Andersen discusses his collaboration with James Neish, which is about two queer ex-Mormons who are charged by an angel to be the Hand of God on Earth.

When Brian Andersen and James Neish set out to kickstart one issue of their comic Stripling Warrior a few years, they had no idea that not only would it be a success, but that it would strike a nerve. Some of the press and the attention has been about the very idea of a gay Mormon superhero, but Andersen uses Mormon theology and stories similarly to how Catholic teachings have become so familiar to many of us through pop culture.

The series, which has now been collected into a trade collection, is about Sam Shepard and Fe Fernandez, two queer ex-Mormons who are charged by an angel to be the Hand of God on Earth. It sounds heavily religious, but no more so than many other comics that draw from different religious traditions, but it’s a book that also embraces superhero conventions. At its heart, the book is about two conversations. One is between Sam and Fe about how they never stopped believing, the church’s hatred towards them has meant that they refuse to accept this mission as face value, even as they seek to carry out their quest. The other conversation is between their spouses, Jase and Shonda, about identity and how their sexuality is vital to who they have become, but it does not define them because they are so much more than that.

Stripling Warrior is a book unlike anything else on the stands, and I spoke with Brian Andersen about the project, making a sex positive, inclusive story, and what he’s working on now.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Bridgit Connell on ‘Brother Nash’

The webcomics creator discusses her upcoming three-issue miniseries from Titan Comics, her work process, Johnny Cash and more.

Bridgit Connell started Brother Nash as a webcomic about a trucker forced to detour through the Southwestern United States. Connell had drawn comics and covers and cards, but Brother Nash was her debut as a writer and artist. The book attracted the attention of Titan Comics, and is now a three-issue miniseries launching in June. Connell was kind enough to answer a few questions about the book.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Julia Kaye on ‘Super Late Bloomer’

The cartoonist and animator discusses the first collection of her webcomic ‘Up and Out.’

Julia Kaye had been making comics for years – and making the webcomic Up and Out for years – before she transitioned. What had been a humor strip made in full color then became something else as Kaye used the strip to document her own life and trying to adjust to life as a woman. Her first book is Super Late Bloomer: My Early Days in Transition. The book collects six months of strips from 2016. They range from funny to absurd to heartbreaking as Kaye captures her changing life three panels at a time.

Kaye is currently working at Disney Animation and continues to draw Up and Out. With Super Late Bloomer out this week, we sat down to talk about the book, her work and how it’s changed over the years.

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