Smash Pages Q&A: Matt Huynh

The artist, painter and animator discusses ‘Cabramatta,’ his latest contribution to The Believer magazine.

Matt Huynh has been one of the creators making comics without working in the comics industry. Huynh has been making comics, illustrations, animations and paintings for years. His work has been exhibited at MoMA, The Smithsonian and elsewhere. He is known for his collaborations with the writers Nam Le (The Boat) and Viet Thanh Nguyen (The Ark and On True War Stories) and the comic Magpie Magpie.

In 2017-2018, The New York Historical Society opened The Vietnam War, 1945-1975, featuring two 24’ by 6’ murals drawn by Huynh depicting the homefront and the warfront. The exhibition was on display in Pittsburgh until recently and will be on display at the National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City starting on Veterans Day.

In the current issue of The Believer (The Borders Issue: October/November) Huynh wrote and drew Cabramatta, an eight-page comic about the neighborhood where he grew up as a refugee in Sydney, the way that his relationship to the place has changed, and how the neighborhood and its relationship to the majority white community has changed over time. The Believer also debuted an interactive version of the comic on the website that Huynh helped to make.

Huynh just returned from Australia, and we had a chance to speak about the project.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Paul Maybury

The writer of ‘Last Stop in the Red Line’ discusses the Boston-based mystery/horror series and more.

Most comic fans probably know Paul Maybury from his work as an artist. Now living in Austin, Texas, the Boston native made a name for himself on books like Sovereign, Valhalla Mad, Catalyst Comix and D.O.G.S. of Mars, among other titles. While in the past he’s either worked with other writers or drew his own stories, his most recent work, Last Stop on the Red Line, has seen him move into the role of writing for another artist.

Drawn by Sam Lofti, the supernatural mystery brings Detective Migdalia Torres into contact with a very interesting and fun ensemble of characters, as she tries to solve a vicious strangling on the Boston subway.

With the final issue arriving this week from Dark Horse, I spoke to Maybury about the story’s conclusion, stepping into the writer role and what he’s working on next. If you missed the series, it’s a perfect reading for Halloween. You can find all four issues on comiXology, and a trade paperback should be out in February.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Elsa Charretier

The artist of ‘November’ and ‘Star Wars’ discusses her Kickstarter campaign for her new artbook.

Elsa Charretier seemed to come out nowhere a few years ago when the miniseries The Infinite Loop was released. Since then, she’s drawn Superfreaks, Bitch Planet, Bombshells, Star Wars, Starfire, Harley Quinn and the Unstoppable Wasp, along with co-writing a number of comics, and drawing covers for everything from Archie to Black Panther, Nancy Drew to Domino, Ms. Marvel to Sex Criminals.

Charretier has shown that she has a versatile style and sensibility that shows her equally at home whether telling all-ages adventure tales, adult stories, comedy or action.

Next month Image is publishing November, which she drew and co-created with writer Matt Fraction, but today Charretier has launched a Kickstarter for an artbook that collects a lot of her covers and commissions, and also details her process and provides some insight into the production of November. Just a few hours after launch, the project has already reached its funding goal.

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10 thoughts on interviewing cartoonists

Alex Dueben reflects on recent comments from writer Kieron Gillen and others about interviewing and comics journalism.

Last Wednesday, Kieron Gillen made a few statements on Twitter, going after people conducting email interviews.

While I agree with what he said in general and responded that there is a place for such questions, I also hesitate to avoid making such broad statements. Just like with “rules” about writing comics, they don’t NEED to be followed, but one should have a good reason when they are not following them. I am aware that Gillen would likely agree with me on that point.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Rebeckah Murray and Jill Hackett

The creators of ‘Magical Boy Basil’ discuss their creative process, going from a webcomic to print and much more.

Rebeckah Murray and Jill Hackett are longtime friends and the creative team behind the comic Magical Boy Basil. A weekly queer webcomic about undercover teenage magicians who fight monsters, it represents the duo playing with the magical girl genre, making it about a boy and playing with a lot of the tropes and ideas found in work like Cardcaptor Sakura.

In addition to coming out weekly online, they’ve been publishing each chapter in print editions. The fourth chapter came out this summer, and I spoke with the two about how they met, the way they make the comic and how life can get in the way.

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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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Smash Pages Q&A: Maia Kobabe

The comics creator discusses ‘Gender Queer: A Memoir,’ working with siblings, the craft and process of creating comics, and more.

Maia Kobabe has been making comics for The Nib, and anthologies like Mine!, Gothic Tales of Haunted Love, The Secrets Loves of Geeks and elsewhere for years, but eir first book is the just released Gender Queer: A Memoir from Lion Forge.

Gender Queer is an exploration of identity, an explanation of what the term means, but more than that, it’s a thoughtful look at coming to understand oneself over time and what it means to be human. Maia and I spoke recently about the book, working with eir sibling on it and reluctantly crafting a memoir.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Jeremy Holt

The comics writer discusses his latest project, ‘Before Houdini,’ which is about the early life of the magician and escape artist.

Though he came to comics late in life, Jeremy Holt has been making up for lost time. He’s written a number of comics in recent years including Pulp, Southern Dog, Skinned and Skip To The End.

His new book, which was just released by Insight Comics, is Before Houdini. A prequel to After Houdini, the 2018 graphic novel that Holt made with John Lucas and Adi Crossa, the new book looks at the early life of the aspiring magician and escape artist. In these books Holt and Lucas have established an entertaining supernatural universe, but his greatest gift is the sense of sprawl, both historical and fictional, that explodes from the pages, the panels offering but a glimpse into this larger world while also managing the story and plotting.

It’s a fine line to walk, and Holt and I spoke recently about the long path working on both of these books, his love of research and what comes next.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Matt Kindt, Brian Hurtt + Marie Enger

The denizens of St. Louis-based HEK Studios team up on a new anthology, which is up for funding on Kickstarter.

The depth and breadth of what you can do in comics and with comics — and I’m talking story-wise, design-wise and format-wise here — is virtually limitless. Sometimes it takes a particular project and a particular set of creators to remind us of this, and The HEK Treasury serves as just such a reminder.

The HEK Treasury is a creative project by the members of HEK Studios — Matt Kindt, Brian Hurtt and Marie Enger. The three of them have a large assortment of credits within comics — Black Badge, The Sixth Gun, Dept. H, Super-Spy, Fhtagn and Loathing, Shadow Roads, Nosferatu! and many more. The Missouri-based creators formed HEK Studios in 2015 and have purchased a vintage Route 66 garage that they’re converting into “the first full-time exclusive comic book studio in St. Louis.”

In addition to their own projects with various publishers, they’ve decided to team up on a large prestige format hardcover (8 ¾  x 11 5/8 ). This deluxe collection will feature “all new epic, experimental science fiction, fantasy and genre short stories. The HEK Treasury will showcase each creator as they unleash new ideas, using experimental art and storytelling techniques.” The project went live on Kickstarter earlier this week, and the campaign runs for 30 days. If funded, the book will be delivered to backers in the fall.

I spoke with the three of them about The HEK Treasury, HEK Studios and what they hope to accomplish together with this project.

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