Smash Pages Q&A: Ezra Claytan Daniels

The creator of ‘Upgrade Soul’ discusses ‘BTTM FDRS,’ his collaboration with Ben Passmore.

Ezra Claytan Daniels is a writer, illustrator and designer who made a huge splash in comics when Upgrade Soul first came out. It may have made a huge impact on a lot of readers and critics, winning the Dwayne McDuffie Award in 2017 and being nominated for several awards over the past few weeks, but it was a hard sell to publishers and started out as an app.

Fantagraphics just published his second book, a collaboration with Ben Passmore. BTTM FDRS is a horror story in a very best tradition of the genre. The story of gentrification in a Chicago neighborhood tackles race and class, and involves a monster that is linked to an old building. It’s thoughtful and funny, disturbing and shocking, and Daniels was kind enough to answer a few questions about the book and his process.

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Koyama Press announces Fall 2019/Winter 2020 titles

Publisher announces new titles by Michael DeForge, Keiler Roberts, Patrick Kyle, GG, Ben Passmore and Connor Willumsen.

Coming out of the Toronto Comic Arts Festival this weekend, Koyama Press has announced their lineup of titles for this coming fall and winter, including new books by Michael DeForge, Ben Passmore, Keiler Roberts and more.

“Fall 2019 / Winter 2020 is a mixture of humor and horror, love and pain. The realities of being a part of society, and wanting not to be a part of that society, or being incapable, are explored by a collection of incredibly talented cartoonists of varying style and authorial voices in a season we can’t wait for you to see,” the publisher posted on their website.

More details on each book can be found below …

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Gentrification and body horror collide in ‘BTTM FDRS’

Ezra Claytan Daniels and Ben Passmore’s new graphic novel set to debut from Fantagraphics next summer.

Fantagraphics has announced plans to publish BTTM FDRS by writer Ezra Claytan Daniels (Upgrade Soul) and artist Ben Passmore (Daygloayhole) next summer.

Here’s how Fantagraphics describes the book: “Once a thriving working-class neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side, The ‘Bottomyards’ is now the definition of urban blight. When an aspiring fashion designer, Darla, and her image-obsessed BFF, Cynthia, descend upon the neighborhood in search of cheap rent, they discover something far more seductive… and deadly.”

“Writing BTTM FDRS was a very therapeutic way to work through my feelings about issues like cultural appropriation, gentrification and representation. By reinterpreting these ideas through a candy-coated lens of body horror and snarky dialogue, they became, for me at least, a little less intimidating,” Claytan Daniels said.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Ben Passmore on ‘Daygloayhole’ and more

The creator of ‘Your Black Friend’ discusses his work for Fantagraphics’ ‘Now’ anthology, The Nib, his influences and much more.

Ben Passmore’s short comic Your Black Friend was a sensation when it was published in 2016. It was nominated for an Eisner Award, won an Ignatz Award, was on NPR’s 2017 list of 100 Favorite Comics and Graphic Novels, and was turned into an animated short film. Passmore has become a regular contributor to The Nib and many other outlets, but for people who have been reading Passmore for years, this recent political work has been something of a departure for him. He first came to notice with Daygloayhole, which is a very different kind of comic, but shares a lot of the same sensibilities and ideas that motivate his political and essayistic comics.

This year saw the publication of Your Black Friend and Other Strangers, which collects a number of short comics by Passmore. Silver Sprocket is publishing a print version of Daygloayhole, the second issue of which is out this summer. Passmore has a comic in the current issue of the Fantagraphics anthology Now and has a comic in the June/July issue of The Believer.

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Birdcage Bottom benefit backs ACLU

Publisher/distributor J.T. Yost shares more on his current fundraiser.

Birdcage Bottom Books, which publishes minicomics and distributes for other small presses and individuals, is running a fundraiser through the month of February: 50% of the sales of selected comics will go to the ACLU. This is a great opportunity to pick up minicomics by rising and accomplished creators such as Glynis Fawkes, Whit Taylor, Hazel Newlevant, Kevin Budnik, and Jonathan Baylis, and help a great cause at the same time.

I checked in with J.T. Yost, who runs Birdcage Bottom and publishes his own comics there, to find out more about the fundraiser—and ask for some personal recommendations!

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