Smash Pages Q&A: Michael Avon Oeming

The award-winning writer and artist discusses his latest work, ‘After Realm,’ the influence of Norse mythology on the story and much more.

Michael Avon Oeming is the award-winning writer and artist of books like Powers and The Mice Templar, Takio and Hammer of the Gods, Bastard Samurai and The United States of Murder, Inc. In recent years he’s drawn Cave Carson for DC’s Young Animal imprint, and wrote and illustrated Dick Tracy Forever at IDW. His current ongoing project is After Realm, which comes out quarterly from Image Comics.

The story of an elf named Oona, After Realm takes place after Ragnarok. Oeming has been using Kickstarter to help fund the series, but other readers can pick up the third issue this week. It’s a story of battling trolls and other creatures, a tale of exploration and crafting maps, of rediscovering what has been lost. As Oeming and I discussed, Oona is very much a hero for this moment, in ways that he never could have anticipated. We spoke recently about epic fantasy, how the meaning of myth is in the telling and the personal nature of a story that might seem anything but.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Greg Anderson Elysée

The creator of Is’nana the Were-Spider discusses the new volume of the series, which is currently up on Kickstarter.

Greg Anderson Elysée is the creator of Is’nana the Were-Spider, the award-winning horror-fantasy series. Over the course of three volumes, the story has managed to navigate a world that’s mundane and also features the character interacting with mythological and folkloric characters from Africa and the diaspora. The new volume of the series, Showtime, is a change of pace for the series, a more playful story, but also a darker one, as the main character has to deal with what it means to be a young black man in America today.

Elysée is kickstarting Showtime, which runs through the end of the month, and he was kind enough to talk about his mythological influences and how he writes characters.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Rob Kirby

The creator and editor discusses his new Patreon, his graphic novel ‘Marry Me a Little’ and much more.

Rob Kirby is the acclaimed creator of the long-running comic strip Curbside and many other comics. He’s a critic and interviewer for publications like Publisher’s Weekly and The Comics Journal. And in a series of anthologies like QU33R, The Book of Boy Trouble, The Shirley Jackson Project and What’s Your Sign, Girl? has demonstrated that he’s one of the best comics editors around.

Kirby recently launched a Patreon, and I reached out to ask about his current project, Marry Me a Little; why he decided to make a graphic novel after all this time; taking advice from cartoonist life coach MariNaomi; and our shared dislike of “romance.”

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Smash Pages Q&A: Monalesia Earle

The scholar and researcher discusses her new book, ‘Writing Queer Women of Color: Representation and Misdirection in Contemporary Fiction and Graphic Narratives.’

Monalesia Earle is a British based scholar and researcher and the author of the new book Writing Queer Women of Color: Representation and Misdirection in Contemporary Fiction and Graphic Narratives. Her analyses of comics like Sexile/Sexilio and My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness are insightful and thought provoking, finding ways to consider not just representation but the depictions of power dynamics, elision and how comics can illuminate and depict liminal spaces.

It’s an incredible work of scholarship, and Earle was kind enough to answer a few questions about the book.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Lonnie Nadler and Jenna Cha

The writer and artist of ‘Black Stars Above’ discuss the Lovecraftian horror tale, the tone and texture of the tale, and more.

Black Stars Above is a comic by Lonnie Nadler and Jenna Cha, which was just collected by Vault Comics. Set in 1887, this Lovecraftian horror tale is set in the Canadian frontier, and the story itself is this eerie, atmospheric horror story. You can read the complete first issue right here on Smash Pages.

But what fascinated me most was the small details in how both Nadler and Cha told the story — from the artist’s details that went into capturing the feel of the period to the language and the journal entries to the landscapes.

It’s a stunning book, and the two were kind enough to answer a few questions about the project, what they took from Lovecraft and more.

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Smash Pages Q&A: David Pepose enters ‘The O.Z.’

The writer of ‘Spencer & Locke’ and ‘Going to the Chapel’ discusses his latest project, which is now up on Kickstarter.

Most online comic fans probably first knew David Pepose as a reviewer for the comic site Newsarama, where he contributed to, and eventually took over, their Best Shots review column. He recently left that position to pursue a growing career as a comics writer, having written two Spencer & Locke miniseries and the excellent Going to the Chapel miniseries, all with publisher Action Lab.

For his latest project, Pepose is taking a new path, as he branches out into crowdfunding and self-publishing. Much like he did with Spencer & Locke, Pepose is taking a beloved, iconic property — in this case, The Wizard of Oz — and remixing it with another genre. The O.Z. stands for Occupied Zone, and features the granddaughter of Dorothy Gale, a war veteran, entering the war-torn land of Oz. Pepose is joined by artist Ruben Rojas, colorist Whitney Cogar and letterer DC Hopkins on the project.

The O.Z. Kickstarter is now live. I spoke with Pepose about his first crowdfunding project, L. Frank Baum and more.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Remy Boydell

The artist of ‘The Pervert’ discusses his latest, ‘920London,’ which is out now from Image Comics.

Remy Boydell’s new book, 920London, will remind a lot of readers of The Pervert, the book that Boydell made with Michelle Perez that was published by Image Comics in 2018. 920London establishes very early that this book may look similar, but it has an approach and tone of its own.

920London is an intimate love story that is raw and emotional, and will remind many of their 20s. It features a couple who see the apocalypse just over the horizon. Boydell’s great gift is the skillful mix of funny and unsettling, as the two main characters are searching for something. It is beautiful and sad and funny and painfully relatable, and Boydell was kind enough to answer a few questions about the book.

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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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Smash Pages Q&A: Marco Finnegan

The artist of ‘Crossroad Blues’ returns with a new YA graphic novel about the Zoot Suit Riots, family tension and lizardmen.

In the early 1940s, racial tension between the Chicano community and white servicemen in the Los Angeles area led to the Zoot Suit Riots, named for the baggy suits worn by Mexican-American youths at the time.

Lizard in a Zoot Suit is a new graphic novel from Marco Finnegan (Crossroad Blues) that uses these riots as a backdrop for a socially relevant tale of racial tension, family and magical realism. Inspired by playwright Luis Valdez and movies like LA Confidential, Lizard in a Zoot Suit features two sisters who discover a lizardman — a lost member of an underground species who just wants to get home. Amidst the chaos, the sisters do what they can for their new friend in a beautiful tale told in two colors.

I spoke with Finnegan about the book, his inspiration for it and more.

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