Smash Pages Q&A: Rick Stromoski on ‘Soup to Nutz’ and more

The cartoonist discusses his syndicated strip, a graphic novel he’s working on, how he works and more.

Rick Stromoski’s comic strip Soup to Nutz has been running on the comics pages since 2000. He had been syndicated before, but was better known for his illustration work, gag cartoons and greeting cards. He has won multiple division awards from the National Cartoonists Society over the years and has served as the organization’s president.

Soup to Nutz has its own sense of design, and it stands out on the comics page for the sense of humor, which has much more of an edge than other family strips, and for the character of Andrew, who remains unique. Stromoski has also been working on a graphic novel drawn in a very different style than the strip. Based on his mother’s life, this has been a project of many years that he’s close to finishing. We spoke recently about his strip, his graphic novel and how working digitally changed the way he’s able to work.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Gabe Fowler on Funhouse: An Interactive Book Fair

The proprietor of Desert Island Comics in Brooklyn discusses the upcoming event, scheduled for March 24-25.

Gabe Fowler is not a cartoonist, but he is a one of the people who makes the comics world run. He’s the proprietor of Desert Island Comics in Brooklyn, one of the great comic stores in New York, and which Fowler has made a hub of comics activity. He’s one of the organizers of Comic Arts Brooklyn, the annual comics show, and he also publishes Smoke Signal, a quarterly comics anthology, and published Resist!, the two comics edited by Francoise Mouly and Nadja Spiegelman last year.

Fowler is one of the organizers of Funhouse: An Interactive Book Fair, which will take place in Manhattan on March 24-25. The event isn’t just another comics show and isn’t quite a workshop, but rather something else, and I reached out to Fowler to ask about what the event will be and trying to make a different kind of show.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Anneli Furmark on ‘Red Winter’

‘It’s like all the characters in the book have their own universe.’

Anneli Furmark’s Red Winter is a stunning book. It is a love story where the grand romantic scene and gesture happens in the opening pages. It is a narrative that is fractured told from multiple points of view, none of whom understand everything that’s happening. It’s about the politics of 1970’s Sweden and how they intersect with people’s lives. It is an impression of a time and of a place that is rendered and colored beautifully that lingers lost after one finishes reading he last page.

Furmark was kind enough to answer a few questions about her book and how she works.

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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: Ilan Stavans

The essayist, translator, editor and scholar discusses his latest work, an autobiographical graphic novel with artist Santiago Cohen.

Ilan Stavans does so many things that most of his readers likely struggle to keep track of them. Stavans is a renowned essayist, translator, editor and scholar. The publisher of Restless Books, he was the General Editor of The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature. He’s written or co-written dozens of books including Quixote: The Novel and the World, Singer’s Typewriter and Mine: Reflections on Jewish Culture, Octavio Paz: A Meditation and Gabriel García Márquez: The Early Years, the first of a two-volume biography. He’s the producer and host of the podcast In Contrast, a fiction writer and playwright, and his debut volume of his own poetry, The Wall, comes out this year as part of the Pitt Poetry series.

Stavans is also a lover and writer of comics. He’s collaborated with Lalo Alacaraz on two books (Latino USA: A Cartoon History and A Most Imperfect Union: A Contrarian History of the United States) in addition to writing graphic novels like Mr. Spic Goes to Washington and El Iluminado. His new book, a collaboration with artist Santiago Cohen, is Angelitos.

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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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Smash Pages Q&A: Anuj Shrestha flies high with ‘National Bird’

The creator talks about his latest project, a story for Fantagraphics’ ‘Now’ anthology.

In the second volume of the anthology Now, editor Eric Reynolds has assembled another great lineup of creators including Dash Shaw, Joseph Remnant and Sammy Harkham. One of the standout stories has to be the striking short comic National Bird from artist and illustrator Anuj Shrestha.

Shrestha has been making short comics and illustrations for a number of years now. He’s made short comics for a number of anthologies including 4Panel, Alternative Comics, and Future Shock 0. He also produced a number of very moving short comics illustrating the stories of refugees for the Syrian Refugee Project. We spoke about contributing to Now and his work.

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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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Smash Pages Q&A: Alex de Campi aims for the heart with ‘Twisted Romance’

The versatile writer discusses the weekly anthology series, which breaks hearts this month from Image Comics.

Alex de Campi has established a reputation as a versatile writer who seems to move effortless from one genre and one approach to another. Her work has ranged from Smoke and its sequel Ashes to the mobile comic Valentine, from Grindhouse to My Little Pony, and Archie vs. Predator, which is hard to classify for a number of reasons. More recently she’s written books including Mayday, No Mercy, Bankshot, Semiautomagic and Astonisher for a number of companies and worked with a broad range of artists working in a broad range of styles.

To continue her habit of working with many artists in many styles, de Campi’s new big project tackles one genre she hasn’t written – romance. Twisted Romance is a four-issue weekly series coming out this month from Image Comics. Each issue is self-contained with two comics stories and a prose story. I reached out to Alex to find out more about the project.

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