Smash Pages Q&A: Marco Finnegan on ‘Crossroad Blues’

The artist discusses his collaboration with novelist Ace Atkins, his work for the ‘Where We Live’ anthology, his upcoming Young Adult graphic novel, and more.

Marco Finnegan was a comics novice when Last Fair Deal Gone Down was published in 2016 by 12 Gauge, though he’d been working as an artist for some time. The book was his first collaboration with the writer Ace Atkins, and the two have established a close working relationship. Their second collaboration is out now from Image Comics.

Crossroad Blues is the adaptation of Atkins’ debut novel. The two have set out to adapt all of Atkins’ Nick Travers stories to comics. The stories are about a former football player turned academic, blues researcher, and harmonica player. In this book Travers tries to find a missing researcher, and gets involved with a strange cast of characters including an Elvis-worshipping hitman, who are trying to uncover – or hide – the true story of the legendary musician Robert Johnson.

People who follow Finnegan on Twitter know that he seems to always be posting drawings and sketches, and has mentioned working on comics for younger readers. I reached out to ask about working with Atkins, and find out more about his other comics projects.

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C2E2: Image announces new titles from Young/Conley, Culver/Geoffo

‘Bully Wars’ and ‘Burnouts’ due out later this year.

Image Comics has announced two new titles in conjunction with C2E2 in Chicago this week: Bully Wars by Skottie Young and Aaron Conley,and Burnouts by Dennis Culver and Geoffo.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Dean Haspiel on New Brooklyn, his new play and more

The comics creator and playwright discusses The Red Hook, War Cry, his newest play and much more.

Dean Haspiel has always been a busy creator. Right now he’s writing and drawing War Cry, a weekly superhero comic for Line Webtoon, which wraps up next month. It’s a sequel to The Red Hook, which will be published as a print collection by Image Comics in June, part of the New Brooklyn Universe that Haspiel has overseen.

This month Haspiel has the world premiere of his new play in New York. The Last Bar at the End of the World is Haspiel’s third play and his second in two years. Haspiel has been one of those creators doing many things, from making his own comics, drawing books written by other people, working in television and film. This fall The Alcoholic, which Haspiel drew, will be reissued in a 10th anniversary edition. There will also be a collection to Haspiel’s The Fox: Fox Hunt series coming out from Archie Comics.

An Off-Broadway play, an indie superhero, a realistic graphic novel, an Archie superhero – and the fact that Haspiel is able to move from one to other with such ease is just one of the reasons his work has always stood out.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Tee Franklin on ‘Bingo Love’

Following a successful Kickstarter, Franklin discusses how the graphic novel landed at Image Comics.

Last month Bingo Love came out from Image Comics. Written by first-time graphic novelist Tee Franklin and illustrated by Jenn St-Onge, it’s a realistic love story that jumps from 1963 to the present before ending in 2038. It tells the story of two women, Hazel and Mari, who meet when they’re young and are reunited decades later. It’s a story with a happy ending, which is not to say that the book is not also a fraught and complicated journey for the characters.

Franklin is known to many in the comics community for her journalism. She’s written short comics for various anthologies, but after a successful Kickstarter, the book looks to be one of the breakout comics of the year. The book has already gone into a second printing before it was ever published, and Image isn’t run by fools; Franklin announced her next project at Image Expo shortly after Bingo Love hit the shelves.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Sloane Leong on ‘Prism Stalker’

‘It’s a weird sci-fi biopunk adventure about colonization, autonomy, the pain of desire and the wonder, power and horror of expression.’

Comics readers might know Sloane Leong as the artist of From Under Mountains. She’s also drawn fill-in stories for a number of comics, including Prophet, Glory and Bravest Warriors, and has contributed to gallery shows, but starting this week, she will be known for Prism Stalker.

The ongoing series launches next week from Image Comics, and the first issue is simply stunning. It manages to convey a lot of information about this world, much of it through suggestion. Her pages quite frankly do not look like most comics pages but are instead complex works of design that echo the musicality within the story and defining the pacing. The story itself, which is about language and culture, memory and what is passed down, could not be more relevant today. Like the very best science fiction, the issue manages to depict something strange and truly alien, while drawing parallels to the present, the past and our own experiences.

For many, writing, drawing and coloring a monthly series is more than enough, but Leong is also finishing a graphic novel, A Map to the Sun, for First Second Books, and writing a regular review column for The Comics Journal. Happily, she somehow found the time to talk with me.

Leong will be at Emerald City Comic Con this weekend at Table #208 where she’ll have advance copies of the first issue for sale. It will be available in stores on March 7.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Trungles on ‘Twisted Romance’

The comics artist discusses his work with Alex de Campi on the Image Comics anthology, how he came into comics and more.

Trungles is coming off a busy 2017. His Fauns and Fairies: The Adult Fantasy Coloring Book was published by Limerence Press, he was a contributor one of the year’s best anthologies, Mirror Mirror II, and he’s been making the webcomic Vampire Buddy. His new project is “Treasured”, the main story in the fourth and final issue of Twisted Romance, which is out this week from Image Comics. I reached out to ask him about romance stories, fairy tales, and finding ways to subvert expectations and tropes.

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Image reveals many, many new titles at Image Expo

New projects announced from Matthew Rosenberg and Tyler Boss, Rob Guillory, J.H. Williams and Haden Blackman, Sam Humphries and Jen Bartel, Annie Wu and more.

As they’ve done in previous years, Image Comics dropped a metric ton of announcements at their Image Expo event, held today in Portland, Oregon.

The line-up of announcements this year includes five new titles from Todd McFarlane’s camp, new titles from Chew creators John Layman and Rob Guillory, two comics from Christoper Sebela, the fact that they’ll publish the Netflix/Millarworld titles starting with The Magic Order and much more. No doubt there are interviews aplenty dropping around the internet on all these new projects, so I’ll start with the text of the press release, then add art and commentary as I find it.

So let’s get to it …

Blackbird by Sam Humphries & Jen Bartel
Sam Humphries and Jen Bartel team up to co-create Blackbird, a modern fantasy story best described as Harry Potter meets Riverdale. It follows a young woman named Nina who discovers a neon-lit world of magic masters in Los Angeles. Now they’ve kidnapped her sister, and Nina is the only one who can save her.

“Blackbird is a labor of love, a coming of age story and beautiful people doing insane things with magic,” said Humphries.

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Keatinge + Clark serve up some ‘Flavor’ in May

A true ‘Hunger Games’ hits comics as chefs compete in a high-stakes competition.

Shutter writer Joe Keatinge and Megagogo creator Wook Jin Clark will spice up the Image Comics line this May with Flavor, the story of a young chef in a closed-off metropolis who enters a high-stakes cooking tournament — and discovers a mystery along the way.

Flavor is a book with a lot of ingredients; we’re cooking up a comic unlike anything else I’ve collaborated on before,” said Keatinge. “I’ve long desired to work with each and every person on this creative team, and I could not be happier with the results.”

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Smash Pages Q&A: Alejandra Gutiérrez on ‘Twisted Romance’

The comics creator and designer discusses her work with Alex de Campi on the Image Comics anthology, how she came into comics and more.

Alejandra Gutiérrez has been posting comics and illustrations online for a while now on Twitter and Instagram in addition to her published art and covers. She’s shown a sense of design and fashion, a willingness to play with layout. Some of that may come from her background in design, but she’s clearly interested in multimedia, in playing with how people read the page and finding ways to tweak that.

Gutiérrez may wear her influences on her sleeve, but she’s also moved past simply imitating them and is clearly coming into her own. She’s drawing “Twinkle and Star” in Twisted Romance #2 written by Alex de Campi and so I asked her about how she came to comics and why she signed on to draw romance.

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