Smash Pages Q&A: Matthew Southworth

The artist of ‘The Cloven’ discusses his latest project, working with Garth Stein, the intersection of his art with his music, and more.

Matthew Southworth has been working in comics for years, pencilling and inking a long list of projects, but the odds are that most readers know him for Stumptown. He and writer Greg Rucka made two miniseries about the Portland private eye Dex Parios, and while never a bestseller, the book is beloved by its fans and the basis for the current television show on ABC.

Southworth’s new book is The Cloven, a collaboration with writer Garth Stein that was released by Fantagraphics this summer. The comic is about James “Tuck” Tucker, a genetically modified human who escapes from a research lab to live in the Pacific Northwest. And while the story sounds familiar, what Southworth and Stein do with the story is much less so. Southworth has always been an artist interested in mood and atmosphere, using pacing and color to play with the tone in different ways, and The Cloven is his most masterful work yet.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Garth Stein

The author of ‘The Art of Racing in the Rain’ talks about ‘The Cloven,’ his graphic novel collaboration with artist Matthew Southworth.

Garth Stein is an author, playwright, filmmaker and former race car driver who most people probably know for his international bestseller The Art of Racing in the Rain. His latest project adds another descriptor to the list — graphic novel writer. Stein has teamed up with Stumptown artist Matthew Southworth for The Cloven, a three-part graphic novel series being published by Fantagraphics.

The Cloven is the story of a genetically modified human named Tuck, who is a cross between a human and a goat — a Cloven. While Tuck just wants is to live a normal life as a university student, it all goes to hell when he shows a girl his hooves. It’s a story of labs, family, loss and community, set in the streets of Seattle and the surrounding area, as Tuck searches for a place in the world. It’s also a beautiful graphic novel, showcasing the talent and skill of its creators.

Part one of the planned trilogy came out at the end of July, and Stein was kind enough to talk with me about it, working with Southworth and Fantagraphics, learning the language of comics and a whole lot more.

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Mail Call | Fantagraphics 40% off sale, Batman, Pearl Jam and more

Rounding up news from IDW, DC, Image and more.

Mail Call is a roundup of the announcements we received from publishers in our mailboxes recently. Hit the links for more information.

Fantagraphics is holding a 40% off clearance sale on their website right now, which ends this Saturday. There’s a lot of good stuff to choose from, including volumes of the Mome anthology, Dungeon Quest, some Michael Kupperman books, Roger Langridge’s Fred the Clown and more.

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35 years in the making, Barry Windsor-Smith’s ‘Monsters’ arrives next January

Fantagraphics will publish the 360-page graphic novel next year.

Fantagraphics has announced that they will publish Barry Windsor-Smith’s long-in-the-making Monsters next January.

Monsters is a 360-page graphic novel that has been in development for 35 years. The publisher describes it as “part familial drama, part espionage thriller, part metaphysical journey — in sum, an intimate portrait of individuals and an epic political odyssey spanning two generations of American history.”

“After putting so much time and investing so much creative energy in this project,” Windsor-Smith said in the press release, “I’m pleased that it’s finally being published.”

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Smash Pages Q&A: Sami Alwani

The creator of the award-winning ‘The Dead Father’ discusses his latest work for Fantagraphics’ ‘Now’ anthology.

Sami Alwani is a Toronto-based cartoonist and illustrator who, by his own admission, works slowly, but in the past few years has produced a number of comics for Vice, Broken Pencil and other publications. He received a 2018 Doug Wright Award for his comic The Dead Father.

Alwani has a new comic in NOW #8, the current issue of the Fantagraphics anthology. The Misfortunes of Virtue isn’t just a good comic, but I would argue it’s Alwani’s best work to date. We spoke recently about life during lockdown, working slowly and where that title comes from.

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Support comics retailers by buying this ‘Love and Rockets’ shirt

Sport some Gilbert Hernandez artwork while helping out a good cause.

Fantagraphics is offering a new T-shirt to raise money for the Book Industry Charitable Foundation, or Binc.

“Ripped straight from the pages of Love and Rockets Vol. IV #8,” the new shirt features artwork by Gilbert Hernandez:

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Comics Lockdown: Publishers react to COVID-19

With news from Marvel, Dark Horse, Humanoids, Vault Comics and more.

Marvel offers some suggestions on how to support local comic shops, along with a list of stores that are still open and what services they provide.

Christina Merkler of Discount Comic Book Service discusses the effect of the Diamond shutdown on the Collected Comics Podcast.

UK comics blogger John Freeman rounds up resources and links, including free comics sites, information on UK stores that sell by mail order, and stuff to keep homebound kids amused, at Down the Tubes.

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L.A. Times announces 2020 Book Prize nominees

Works by Eleanor Davis, Michael DeForge, Jaime Hernandez, Keum Suk Gendry-Kim, Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero-O’Connell received nominations.

The Los Angeles Times has announced the nominees for their annual Book Prize awards, which includes a graphic novel category. Three Drawn and Quarterly releases received nominations, along with one each from Fantagraphics and First Second.

The L.A. Times has given an award in the graphic novel category since 2009, when Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli won the award. Other previous winners include The Love Bunglers by Jaime Hernandez, Duncan the Wonder Dog by Adam Hines and Beverly by Nick Drnaso. Tillie Walden’s On a Sunbeamwon the award last year.

The nominees in the “Graphic Novel/Comics” category are:

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Fantagraphics to publish Tenacious D’s ‘Post-Apocalypto’ graphic novel

Jack Black and Kyle Gass bring their unique brand of musical humor to comics.

Jack Black and Kyle Gass, a.k.a. the comedy metal duo known as Tenacious D, will make the jump to comics later this year with a project written by the duo and drawn (really!) by Black.

The graphic novel, Post-Apocalypto, will arrive in stores in September from Fantagraphics.

“When we finished this book there was only one publisher we ever really considered,” Tenacious D said in a press statement. “Fantagraphics has been the shining beacon of creativity in comic books for decades. We are thrilled to release our magnum opus with the undisputed greatest and best comic book publisher in the world. Fantagraphics 4 life.”

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