Smash Pages Q&A: Nilah Magruder on ‘M.F.K.’

The animator, illustrator and storyboard artist discusses the collection of her popular webcomic.

Nilah Magruder’s webcomic M.F.K. has been on hiatus recently but it remains a beloved by its fans (including me). The animator, illustrator and storyboard artist received the inaugural Dwayne McDuffie Award for the webcomic, an epic fantasy adventure about a hero on a quest – but not the kind of hero, epic or quest that most fantasy fans think about when they hear those words. Although it is very epic in a sense – journeys are hard for social recluses.

Last year saw the release of Magruder’s debut picture book, How To Find a Fox, and she’s currently working on a new book project, Creaky Acres. A print version of the the first three chapters of M.F.K. are out now from Insight Comics and Magruder answered a few questions about the book, promises she’s working on the comic, and more.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Roger Langridge on ‘The Iron Duchess’

The cartoonist discusses his latest book from Fantagraphics, as well as ‘Zoot!’, the status of ‘Criminy’ and more.

Roger Langridge has had a long career in comics, crafting a unique body of work that ranges from Fred the Clown to Abigail and the Snowman, The Fez to The Baker Street Peculiars, Art d’Ecco to Snarked. Langridge however is likely best known for a lot of the licensed projects he’s worked on which include Jim Henson’s The Musical Monsters of Turkey Hollow, The Muppet Show, and Popeye. It’s a shame, and not just because people who love The Muppet Show could pick up Fred the Clown and some of his other work and find that same love of wacky characters, vaudeville, silent comedy, music and hijinx.

Fred the Clown: The Iron Duchess shows Langridge’s love for old silent films, in particular those of the late great Buster Keaton. Langridge likes to use Fred as a character the way old silent comedians played the same “character” in one film after another. The book manages to combine a mad scientist, a wealthy man and his daughter, the making of a film, a horse, a pig, a train chase, and much more. It manages to be a madcap adventure, but also a beautifully structured story with multiple threads moving along and leading to some strange and hilarious surprises by the end. The Iron Duchess is out now from Fantagraphics Books, and Langridge has also released Zoot! #1, a new one-man anthology that is a available from his website.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Lee Francis on The Indigenous Comic-Con and more

The publisher, retailer and convention organizer talks about Albuquerque’s upcoming convention, Native Realities Publishing and much more.

Dr. Lee Francis IV is the CEO and publisher of Native Realities Publishing, which has made a mark with comics like Tribal Force, Hero Twins and The Wool of Jonesy, and graphic novels like Tales of the Mighty Code Talkers and the upcoming Deer Woman: An Anthology.

Francis also runs Red Planet, a bookstore in Albuquerque, NM, and The Indigenous Comic-Con. The show takes place next weekend, November 10-12, in Albuquerque with additional events on Nov. 9. We spoke about publishing, the convention, and being an indigenerd.

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Halloween Q&A: Gareth Hinds on ‘Poe’

The creator discusses how he’s adapted a number of Edgar Allan Poe’s stories and poems into comics form.

Gareth Hinds has made a career of adapting great works of literature into comics. From The Odyssey to MacBeth, Beowulf to King Lear.

His new book Poe adapts a number of Edgar Allan Poe’s stories and poems into comics form and is out now from Candlewick Press. Adapting the work of Poe has a number of technical challenges and Hinds found some inventive and striking ways to think through them. From the way he adapts the poems into comics to the complicated ways he draws and colors The Pit and the Pendulum, Hinds finds visual inventive ways to make these familiar stories new.

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Halloween Q&A: Molly Ostertag on ‘The Witch Boy’

The creator of ‘Strong Female Protagonist’ discusses her new book, which is being published this week by Scholastic’s Graphix imprint.

In a very short time Molly Ostertag has become an incredibly busy artist. She’s one half of the team behind the webcomic Strong Female Protagonist, she works on the TV show Star vs. the Forces of Evil, she illustrated the graphic novel Shattered Warrior which was released earlier this year, and this week Scholastic’s Graphix imprint is releasing The Witch Boy.

Written, illustrated and colored by Ostertag the book is a middle grade fantasy story that’s also a thoughtful, funny, and sometimes creepy tale of magic, gender expectations, friendship and family.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Eroyn Franklin

The co-founder of Seattle’s Short Run Festival discusses this year’s show, her comics and more.

Eroyn Franklin won a Xeric grant in 2008 for her comic Another Glorious Day at the Nothing Factory. Since then she’s gone on to make a number of comics like A New Home and Detained and Just Noise. Her work has appeared on The Nib and her work has made the Notables list in two volumes of Best American Comics. Franklin is interested in playing with style and form, in experimenting with the physicality of the object in really interesting ways and the final product is often defined as much by the shape and design as it is by the subject matter.

Franklin is also one of the co-founders and organizers of the Short Run Festival in Seattle. The seventh annual festival will take place Nov. 4 and this year has teamed up with ICAF, the International Comic Art Forum, to provide programming for the event. We spoke with her over e-mail about her work and the show.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Olivia Dinnall on ‘Bi-Assed’

‘The Purple Alien’ discusses her work on the popular Line Webtoon comic, which explores what it means to be biracial and bisexual.

Olivia Dinnall aka “The Purple Alien” is a cartoonist and illustrator whose webcomic Bi-Assed runs on Line Webtoon. The comic explores what it means to be biracial and bisexual. As Dinnall describes the book:

“You would think that ones race and sexual orientation wouldn’t have anything in common, and for the most part, that’s true. But when you’re a biracial and bisexual person growing up, you come to realize that the two have more things in common then you would think…..those things being the ridiculous stuff people say to you based on the two.”

The result is a comic that will make you cringe in sympathy – or cringe because you’ve encountered those comments in your own life. It’s a great comic, and following Dinnall on social media one can see that she’s always drawing, often in different styles and approaches. She’s working as hard as ever on the webcomic and planning future projects, but is also collaborating with a friend and making some changes to Bi-Assed, and we talked recently about how she works.

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Smash Pages Q&A: The Nib’s Eleri Harris on ‘Reported Missing’

The deputy editor of The Nib discusses her new project for the site, a long-form comic about Tasmania’s most controversial murder conviction.

Eleri Harris is the deputy editor of The Nib. The publication has emerged as one of the best and most important comics publishers in recent years — not just for its political cartoons but for long-form comics. Harris has a unique background, having worked as an editor and journalist before she went back to school and earned an MFA at the Center for Cartoon Studies.

Harris’ new project launches today on The Nib, which according to the site is about:

What’s it like to have your Mum charged with murder? In 2010, a yacht was found sinking on its moorings, Sarah’s step-father was missing and her Mum was charged with his murder. There was no body, no murder weapon, no witnesses and no motive. In The Nib’s first serialized work of comics journalism, Eleri Harris explores the emotional nightmare behind Tasmania’s most controversial murder conviction — releasing just one week before the Supreme Court appeal that could change everything.

I spoke with Harris about politics, editing, Australia, The Nib and this project.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Elizabeth LaPensée on ‘Deer Woman: An Anthology’

The professor, writer and game designer discusses her latest anthology, a collection of stories about resistance, healing, empowerment and hope.

Elizabeth LaPensée seems to lead many lives. She’s an assistant professor at Michigan State University, a visual artist and also designs games like Thunder Strike and Honour Water. She’s also a comics writer and artist and editor. Her work has appeared in both volumes of the MOONSHOT anthology, and she’s also made a number of webcomics including The Nature of Snakes, Fala, and The West was Lost. LaPensée is also writing and drawing short comics and editing or co-editing a number of upcoming anthologies including Sovereign Traces: Not Just Another and Relational Constellation.

Her comic Deer Woman was a success and struck a chord with many readers and creators and this fall Native Realities Press is publishing Deer Woman: An Anthology, which LaPensée co-edited, featuring the work of a number of creators who use the story of the deer woman to tell stories of resistance, healing, empowerment and hope. After a successful Kickstarter, the anthology is out this fall and LaPensée spoke about the project and her work.

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