Smash Pages Q&A: Mariko Tamaki

The award-winning author discusses her latest graphic novel from First Second, ‘Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me.’

Mariko Tamaki is the award-winning author of the graphic novels This One Summer and Skim, both of which she made with her cousin, the artist and writer Jillian Tamaki. Mariko has written a number of comics series including Tomb Raider, She Hulk, Supergirland X-23. She’s written graphic novels like Emiko Superstar and the upcoming Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass, in addition to writing a trilogy of Lumberjanes novels and various other works of fiction and nonfiction.

Her new book, with artist Rosemary Valero-O’Connell, is Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me, which is just out from First Second Books. Frederica Riley is dating Laura Dean, the most popular girl in school, who is amazing — and a horrible girlfriend. While Freddy is writing to an advice columnist about what she should do, her friends are dealing with their own problems and trying to be delicate, and inanimate objects around Freddy are offering their own ignored Greek chorus in the background. It is a brilliant work that manages to balance comedy and drama, and capture something truly essential about relationships and teenage life.

Tamaki is a featured guest at this weekend’s Queers and Comics Conference in New York, and we spoke recently about the book.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Blue Delliquanti

The creator of ‘O Human Star’ discusses entomophagy, working with food writer Soleil Ho and much more.

Blue Delliquanti is best known for the webcomic O Human Star, which has been running since 2012. Delliquanti has also made shorter comics which have appeared in The Nib, Mine!, Beyond and the just-released Smut Peddler: Sex Machine, but Delliquanti’s new book is something of a departure. Meal was co-written with food writer and journalist Soleil Ho and centers around Yarrow, who moves to Minneapolis to work at a restaurant that serves insects.

The book is an enthusiastic and thoughtful primer for those who are unaccustomed to entomophagy (that’s eating bugs), but it’s more than that. It’s a story about food and our connections to it. It’s about the communities that have eaten and have a relationship to these foods for generations, and what it means for others to “discover” that. It’s a love story that captures some of that feeling from moving to a new place and working at a job that’s much more than a job. The tagline for the book is “Dreams. Love. Entomophagy.” I recently talked about those things and more with Delliquanti, who will be appearing this coming weekend at the Queers and Comics Conference in New York.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Maggie Umber

The co-founder of 2d Cloud discusses their latest Kickstarter, their 2019 lineup, her latest project and more.

Maggie Umber is the acclaimed cartoonist behind the books 270˚, Sound of Snow Falling, Time Capsule and other comics. She is also one of the founders of 2d Cloud, which in the past decade has established itself as one of the most important comics publishers in North America.

Umber wrote a blog post recently about the state of 2D Cloud and her own health, and about how the company plans to move forward. The company has just launched Artist Book Boxes at the Center of the Universe, a Kickstarter for the company’s 2019 lineup. We spoke recently about her new book, what kinds of books 2d Cloud will be publishing this year and why they just couldn’t walk away from the company.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Ben Nadler

The creator of ‘Sonder’ and ‘Heretics!’ discusses his newest project, ‘The White Snake’ from Toon Books.

Ben Nadler‘s first book was a collaboration with his father, the noted philosopher Steven Nadler. In addition to Heretics!: The Wondrous (and Dangerous) Beginnings of Modern Philosophy, Nadler also makes the comic series Sonder, both of which are very different from his new book.

The White Snake, just out from Toon Books, is an adaptation of a Grimm’s Fairy Tale, and it’s not just Nadler’s first book for children, but also his first adaptation. We spoke recently about the book, how he works and underplaying the violence in the original story.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Darryl Ayo

The cartoonist and comics critic discusses his work, the differences in comic strips vs. comic books, and much more.

Darryl Ayo has been making comics for years and remains known today for not just his comics, including the series Little Garden, but for his criticism. He has been published in The Comics Journal, Comixcube, Comics MNT, The Hooded Utilitarian and elsewhere. Little Garden features mythological creatures and humans in a world that is clearly not ours, but the focus of the series is centered around more mundane events and interactions. It also possesses Darryl’s sense of humor and a great sense of design and composition.

Ayo and I have met at shows for years and we’ve interacted on Twitter, but we’ve never before sat down to talk in a formal interview. So we took the opportunity to chat about his work and process.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Kori Michele

The creator and editor discusses ‘Filed Away,’ ‘A Lucid Date’ and more.

Kori Michele has been making short comics and minicomics for years in addition to co-editing the acclaimed The Other Side: An Anthology of Queer Paranormal Romance with Melanie Gillman. They’ve made projects including Talk It Out and Public Displays, which appeared on Filthy Figments, Prince of Cats, Portals, Dovetail and others. A few years ago after making an enviable body of work they went back to school and are currently working on an MFA at the Center for Cartoon Studies.

Last year Michele produced their best work to date with comics like Filed Away and A Lucid Date, and they were kind enough to take time out of their busy schedule to answer a few questions about personal comics, erotic comics, and how their time at CCS has affected their work.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Omaha Perez

The creator of ‘The Drude’ discusses the second volume of the series, what’s next for ‘Super Terre.r,’ working with Tony Talbert and more.

Omaha Perez has been making comics on and off for years in between working other jobs. He wrote and illustrated the comics Bodhisattva and Holmes, and was a contributor to the anthology Periphery, which he also edited. In more recent years he’s been writing comics like Super Terre.r and The Drude.

He wrote the new graphic novel The Drude 2: Lost Angeles, which is just out from First Comics. Drawn by Tony Talbot, with whom Perez has collaborated before, the book starts roughly where The Drude ended. In that book the titular character begins to see the alien creatures living among us, and in Lost Angeles, the story goes in a different direction. We spoke recently about his new book, writing and that cover.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Paul Constant

The journalist and critic discusses his newest project with AHOY Comics, ‘Planet of the Nerds.’

Paul Constant has a long career as a journalist and literary critic working for The Stranger and many other publications. He’s currently a writer at Civic Ventures, a public policy incubator in Seattle, where he writes about politics and economics, and is the co-founder of The Seattle Review of Books.

His new comic is Planet of the Nerds, with artwork by Alan Robinson and Randy Elliott. The first issue of the series is out this week from AHOY Comics. The comic opens in the 1980s when a science experiment goes wrong, and three jocks wake up in 2019 to find that comic conventions are massive, superhero movies rule the box office and everyone uses computers. They are horrified by this world. We spoke recently about how he ended up writing the comic, the way he uses backup stories in the series, and the different roles of editors in comics as opposed to journalism.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Dean Haspiel on ‘Starcross’

The prolific creator discusses the next chapter in his New Brooklyn universe.

Dean Haspiel has always been a creator doing many things and making many kinds of projects. From drawing books at Vertigo including The Quitter and The Alcoholic, to helping to launch webcomics first at the collective act-i-vate to the series Street Code that he made at DC’s Zuda imprint. He received an Emmy Award for designing the titles to the HBO show Bored to Death, co-wrote and drew The Fox for Archie Comics, and drew the children’s book Mo and Jo, which was written by Jay Lynch. In recent years he’s written three plays which have been produced in New York City and just launched the podcast Scene by Scene with fellow artist Josh Neufeld.

In recent years he’s been making The Red Hook, a superhero saga that he’s been serializing on Line Webtoon in two volumes, the first of which has been published in a print edition by Image Comics. Over the course of two volumes, the focus has gone from the titular character to other characters, and that focus continues to expand in this third volume in interesting ways. The third Red Hook story, Starcross, is being serialized starting this week, and we sat down to talk about the book.

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