Smash Pages Q&A: Cullen Bunn on ‘Blossom 666’

The writer of ‘Harrow County,’ ‘The Sixth Gun,’ ‘X-Men Blue,’ ‘Unearth’ and more discusses the recently wrapped-up Archie Horror title.

Cullen Bunn has written a lot of horror comics in recent years – along with a lot of comics in a lot of other genres. In comics ranging from Harrow County to The Empty Man to Bone Parish to The Damned, he’s played with the genre in different ways.

The five-issue miniseries Blossoms 666 which Bunn made with artist Laura Braga just wrapped up, in which Cheryl and Jason Blossom compete to become the Antichrist. The Archie Comics horror line has a reputation for being shocking and brutal in a lot of strange and creative ways, but Blossoms 666 is a much quieter book compared to the others, with the horror being much more subtle and running under the seemingly placid surface.

Now that the series has wrapped up, Bunn answered a few questions about the comic and playing with an ideal version of Riverdale.

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Smash Pages Q&A: David Pepose on ‘Going to the Chapel’

The writer of ‘Spencer & Locke’ discusses the upcoming action/romcom miniseries from Action Lab.

Fans of David Pepose and Jorge Santiago Jr.’s two Spencer & Locke miniseries might be surprised to see something very different from Pepose for his sophomore project. Going to the Chapel is one part romcom, one part action heist, with a host of interesting characters, one-liners and twists along the way. And that’s just the first issue.

Pepose teams up with Gavin Guidry and Liz Kramer for this four-issue miniseries, which arrives in comic shops this September. I spoke with Pepose about his approach to the series, its influences, the differences between it and his previous work, and more.

Also, you can meet Pepose at this week’s Comic-Con International at the Action Lab Booth #1737, where they will be selling the first issue with a convention-exclusive cover by MJ Erickson.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Ben Sears

The creator of Plus Man and Hank discusses his latest book, ‘House of the Black Spot,’ working with Annie Koyama, designing covers and more.

Comics creator Ben Sears is known for his brilliant use of design, color and composition. His Double+ series of graphic novels feature all-ages adventures about two characters, Plus Man and Hank, and their various escapades as treasure hunters, breaking into haunted houses and old tombs.

His new book House of the Black Spot from Koyama Press is something of a departure for Sears. The wild adventures take a backseat as Hank’s uncle, who raised him, has died under mysterious circumstances, and the two go back to Hank’s hometown to try and solve the mystery. The art in this book manages to be as exciting and dynamic as anything Sears has made.

While the story is a lot quieter than his previous books, Sears makes it as engaging and intense an experience as his previous narratives. It’s his best work to date, and I was thrilled to talk with Sears about how his work has changed, Patreon and working with Annie Koyama.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Jason McNamara on ‘The Cicada’

The writer of “The Rattler” and “Sucker” returns to Kickstarter for a new project about small town horror.

Jason McNamara is the writer behind Sucker, The Rattler and other graphic novels that fall into, or at least somewhere close to, the horror genre. Using Kickstarter, he has brought his character-driven visions to life over the last few years, establishing himself as a “go to” creator for chills on the comic book page.

His latest project is The Cicada, a five-issue comic series he’s kickstarting in conjunction with Evoluzione Publishing. The first issue introduces the town of Braddock, Texas, where a serial killer returns every 13 years to target children. But this killer may have met their match in teenage prodigy Emma Dale.

I spoke to McNamara about the project, working with a publisher and what else he has planned as part of his new venture, Polite Strangers.

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MAD Memories: Talking ‘Spy vs. Spy’ with Peter Kuper & John Ficarra

As MAD Magazine closes its doors, we flash back to 2013, when Peter Kuper had just taken over ‘Spy vs, Spy.’

The internet is reverberating this week with the sad news of the changes coming for MAD Magazine. I’m one of the mourners; when I was growing up, we always had MAD in the house, and I’m one of those people who got more pop culture knowledge from the movie and TV satires than from actual movies and TV.

When I saw the news, I remembered an interview I did with Peter Kuper and then MAD editor John Ficarra back in 2013, when Kuper took over the venerable Spy vs. Spy feature. As sometimes happens, the interview slid to the bottom of the pile and never got published. Until now.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Vivek Shraya

The writer, artist, musician and performer discusses her collaboration with Ness Lee, ‘Death Threat.’

Vivek Shraya is a writer, artist, musician, performer who has consistently pushed boundaries between forms and genres. Given this, it was perhaps inevitable that Shraya would eventually make a comic.

Death Threat, a collaboration with the artist Ness Lee, was published earlier this year by Arsenal Pulp Press. In fall 2017, Shraya began receiving a series of threatening, disturbing letters and while terrifying, they were also visual in a way that Shraya couldn’t ignore. The result is a book about receiving such letters, about how to survive such an experience that is chilling, moving and deeply powerful.

I spoke with Shraya recently about comics, collaboration, and the connections between this book and her previous one, I’m Afraid of Men.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Sarah W. Searle

The creator of ‘Sincerely, Harriet’ discusses the book’s themes, her creative process and much more.

Sincerely, Harriet was released by Graphic Universe earlier this year but cartoonist Sarah Winifred Searle has been working in comics for years. Searle has contributed short comics to Jem and the Holograms, Gothic Tales of Haunted Love, Twisted Romance and Colonial Comics, among many others. She’s contributed to publications like Bitch, Symbolia and The Nib about subjects personal, historical and political.

Sincerely, Harriet is a middle-grade novel that like so much of her work is subtle and nuanced in ways that reward repeated reading. We spoke recently over email about the book, her upcoming graphic memoir and life in sunny Perth, Australia.

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Smash Pages Q&A: G.E. Gallas

The creator of ‘The Poet and the Flea’ discusses ‘The Plague and Doctor Caim,’ which she is currently crowdfunding.

G.E. Gallas has been making historical comics for years and is currently crowdfunding her newest project, The Plague and Doctor Caim, about a 17th Century plague doctor. The image of a plague doctor is familiar to a lot of people, but the reality and experience of that period is rarely explored.

Gallas is perhaps best known for her comic The Poet and the Flea, an amazing story of the great William Blake, and here she’s returning to historical fiction with a very different story and an aesthetic and design that draws form illuminated manuscripts. Gallas is currently crowfunding the book on Unbound and we spoke recently about the book, research, and what’s funny about the plague.

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Smash Pages Q&A: June Brigman

The cat is out of the bag for the Mary Worth illustrator

June Brigman has had a long, varied career in comics. She started working in comic books where she co-created Power Pack with Louise Simonson at Marvel, and drew a wide variety of projects including Supergirl, Star Wars: River of Chaos, and adapting and illustrating Black Beauty into comics. She’s also been working in comic strips for decades. She drew Brenda Starr from 1995 to when the strip ended in 2011, and since 2016 she’s been drawing Mary Worth seven days a week.

Brigman returned to comic books last year with arguably her best work to date, the miniseries Captain Ginger. The science fiction series features cats who have outlived the human race, and it’s a funny and dark and inventive story. The trade collection of the miniseries is out from Ahoy Comics this month, which also announced that there’s a sequel in the works – though readers are unlikely to forget the comic’s final page that sets it up.

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