Smash Pages Q&A: Falynn Koch

The cartoonist and illustrator discusses her latest work from First Second, ‘Maker Comics: Bake Like a Pro!’

Falynn Koch is a cartoonist and illustrator who graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design and has been focused on making nonfiction comics. Her first two books were part of the Science Comics series from First Second Books, Bats: Learning to Fly and Plagues: The Microscopic Battlefield.

Her new book is Maker Comics: Bake Like a Pro! Part of a new line of instructional comics from First Second, Koch is perhaps a perfect person to make the book, being a cartoonist who also attended culinary school. As an amateur baker, I was glad to have the chance to talk with Koch recently about the book and her process.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Cathy G. Johnson

The creator of ‘Gorgeous’ and ‘Jeremiah’ discusses her new book, ‘The Breakaways.’

Cathy G. Johnson is the cartoonist behind books like Gorgeous and Jeremiah. Her new book, coming out this week from First Second Books, is The Breakaways.

It’s larger than Johnson’s previous books in many regards. The book has an ensemble cast, and it manages to find ways to reveal how each girl is much more complex than they initially seem or than they try to present. It is a beautifully made and thoughtful book that avoids a lot of the cliches around sports stories. They don’t win. They are bad at soccer. But that’s not what’s important. And the ways that this is shown in small, relatable ways, eschewing a melodramatic or sentimental approach, is what makes the book resonate in so many ways.

Johnson is a teacher and podcaster who is one half of Drawing a Dialogue with e jackson, and she was kind enough to talk about the book and her work.

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Smash Pages Q&A: David Pepose on the influences behind ‘Spencer & Locke’

With a sequel set to debut in April, the writer of the surprise hit series breaks down the comics DNA of the book.

It’s been called “What if Calvin and Hobbes grew up in Sin City?” but David Pepose and Jorge Santiago Jr.’s Spencer & Locke proved to be more than that. While it does wear those two inspirations on its sleeve, the DNA of this particular project goes deeper than its tagline.

With the followup to the surprise hit set to debut in April (and a movie in the works), I spoke with David about some of the influences on the series that go beyond the surface, including Moon Knight, Criminal, Batgirl and more. Admittedly this was a really fun interview to conduct, as it gave me an excuse to re-read several great comics and discover one that I need to add to my own “to read” list.

You can find out more about Spencer & Locke 2 on Twitter or Facebook. And you can buy the first volume at your local comic shop or ComiXology.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Kel McDonald

The cartoonist discusses her latest project, now up on Kickstarter, as well as the urban fantasy genre, ‘The Stone King’ and more.

Kel McDonald has been making comics for years. I read her webcomic Sorcery 101 years ago, but she’s also made comics series like Misfits of Avalon, written Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics and contributed to Dark Horse Presents. Late last year Comixology Originals released The Stone King, a comics series that McDonald made with artist Tyler Crook. Her work is always interesting because she clearly loves fantasy, but she wants to do interesting things with the genre, telling different kinds of stories in really exciting ways.

In recent years she’s been making the series The City Between, composed of different books with different characters and genres set in the same world. Right now she’s kickstarting the third book in the series, The Dead Deception. I’ve been reading McDonald’s work for years and she was kind enough to answer a few questions about urban fantasy, werewolves, her future plans for the series, and how Kickstarter has changed over the years for the better.

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Smash Pages Q&A: W.T. Frick

The creator of “Ipsum Lorum” discusses her issue of “Ley Lines,” which focuses on the writing of Ursula Le Guin.

W.T. Frick has made comics for Ink Brick and other publications, but she’s likely best known for her webcomic Ipsum Lorum, a remarkable work about the experience of creating and experiencing art, about doppelgängers and what that means for people. In so much of her work, Frick is less interested in narrative than she is with studying characters and exploring ideas. At one point she described her process as intuitive and her work could be described in those terms, but it also feels much too solid, too involved to ever be dreamlike, or seem unreal.

Frick is also the cartoonist behind the new issue of Ley Lines. The quarterly series is focused on crafting a dialogue between comics and the world of fine art. In the 18th issue, which was just released, Frick interrogates the writing of the late Ursula K. Le Guin along with the work of a number of visual artists. It’s arguably her best work to date and a striking introduction for those who have never encountered her work before.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Stuart Moore

The comics veteran discusses his work for Ahoy Comics, “Captain Ginger,” the upcoming “Bronze Age Boogie” and more.

Stuart Moore has been working in comics in a variety of ways for decades. He was an editor at DC Comics, where he was one of the founding editors of the Vertigo imprint, overseeing books like Swamp Thing, Jonah Hex, Preacher and Hellblazer, before working on DC’s Helix imprint, where he oversaw Vermilion, The Black Lamb and Transmetropolitan, before working on the Marvel Knights imprint, overseeing Alias and Fantastic Four 1234. He’s written books like Firestorm with Jamal Igle, Namor: The First Mutant and The 99. He also adapted Brian Jacques’ Redwall, and created projects like Earthlight, Lone, Giant Robot Warriors and Para.

Right now Moore is working at Ahoy Comics, where he’s not just working behind the scenes, but also writing books for the company. Those books include Captain Ginger, the first season of which wrapped up last month, and Bronze Age Boogie, which launches in April. That’s in addition to writing a story for Ahoy’s Free Comic Book Day issue coming out in May, and one story in June’s Steel Cage One Shot. The titles are all very different kinds of stories that feature collaborations with talented artists doing some of the best work of their careers.

Somehow Moore found a few minutes to answer my questions.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Carta Monir

The creator of ‘RIPMOM’ and ‘Secure Connect’ discusses her process, the micropress Diskette Press, her upcoming graphic novel and more.

Carta Monir has been making a series of comics for years. Many people likely know her work in Polygon and Zeal, where she’s made comics about Hitman and Lara Croft. But it’s her more personal stories that have really solidified her place as a major talent.

In work like RIPMOM and Secure Connect, she explores questions of identity and the technology in thoughtful and nuanced ways that are rarely acknowledged in public conversations about the internet.

I first noticed her work when RIPMOM was published in Critical Chips 2 in 2017. The short comic is presented as taking place through a computer interface, in a way that seemed interesting in the way it broke apart our behaviors and feelings in complicated and emotional moments, but becomes this deeply person and emotional journey by the end.

Monir is also one of the people behind Diskette Press, and I reached out to ask her a few questions about her work and what’s she working on right now. You can find her on Twitter and on Patreon.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Keith Lansdale and Jok

The creators of ‘Red Range:Pirates of Fireworld’ discuss the sequel to a 1999 graphic novel by Joe R. Lansdale and Sam Glanzman.

The miniseries Red Range: Pirates of Fireworld, currently being kickstarted for a summer release, is a sequel to the graphic novel Red Range. Originally published in 1999, the book by Joe R. Lansdale and Sam Glanzman was reprinted with new colors recently. The first volume was a dark western tale, which ended with the hero and the boy he rescued falling into the hollow earth, a place filled with dinosaurs and other creatures.

The final page of the book teased a sequel, but nothing ever came of it – until now. Written by Keith Lansdale and drawn by Jok, who colored the reprinted edition, they’re picking up where the original left off in this miniseries. Lansdale has written comics including Crawling Sky, Vampirella: Feary Tales, The X-Files: Case Files and Creepy. Jok has drawn many comics over the years including Strangeways, The Hill, Freud’s Covenant, Mixtape and many others.

I reached out to ask the two a few questions about the book.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Warren Craghead on ‘TrumpTrump’

The creator of ‘La Grande Guerre’ discusses the latest collection of his drawings of Donald Trump.

Warren Craghead has been drawing Donald Trump and his cronies every day for more than two years, and he’s promised to continue “until this nightmare ends.”

When Craghead began this project, he expected it to last a few months, but he’s an artist who has worked on a number of long-term projects. Comics readers might know him for Speedy, which received the Xeric Grant, as well as How To Be Everywhere and Ley Lines. Online he’s spent years on projects like La Grande Guerre, a daily project detailing World War I, and Medz Yeghern, which documents the Armenian Genocide.

Retrofit Press has just released TrumpTrump: Modern Day Presidential, the second collection of Craghead’s daily drawings. We spoke recently about daily practice and the importance of paying attention.

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