Smash Pages Q&A: Dan Schkade on ‘Lavender Jack’

The creator of ‘San Hannibal: The City of Love and Fear’ discusses his latest comic, which is now available on Line Webtoon.

Dan Schkade has been working in comics for a few years now. Readers might remember his artwork from books like Will Eisner’s The Spirit, which Matt Wagner wrote; Battlestar Galactica: Gods and Monsters; or San Hannibal: The City of Love and Fear, which he wrote and drew, among other projects. His new project is Lavender Jack, a new weekly series on Line Webtoon. The titular character is a thief and vigilante exposing the misdeeds of his town’s corrupt and wealthy elite. Desperate the Mayor seeks out the world’s greatest detective, Theresa Ferrier.

Set in a vague time early in the 20th Century, the book is witty and erudite, and feels familiar in many ways even as it strikes its own path as a woman who was once the world’s greatest detective is now older and disillusioned comes face to face with a new kind of adversary in a new kind of century. It’s a book about crime and conventions with a love of design and verbal wordplay. Lavender Jack updates every Tuesday and I reached out to ask Schkade about how he works and the unique but familiar world he’s created.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Kristen Radtke on ‘The Believer’

The creator of ‘Imagine Wanting Only This’ discusses her role as art director and deputy publisher of ‘The Believer’ magazine.

When The Believer magazine returned last year with a new publisher and a mostly new masthead, one of the new hires was Kristen Radtke. Comics readers know her for graphic memoir Imagine Wanting Only This, which was published by Pantheon in 2017. As Art Director and Deputy Publisher, Radtke has been overseeing the cover, the magazine’s redesign, and the comics section. Originally edited by Alvin Buenaventura, under Radtke the comics section has gone in a different direction. It’s longer, focused on longer-form work, in a way that brings it much more in conversation with the rest of the magazine.

Over the course of a few issues, the magazine has published work by Jennifer Camper, Leela Corman, Danica Novgorodoff and Yvan Alagbe. The June/July issue features work by Ben Passmore, Andrea Tsurumi and Anders Nilsen. I had spoken with Radtke when her book came out last year and asked if we could talk about her job as editor, how she sees the comics section and overseeing the look of one of the few magazines still focused on illustration in this way.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Ben Passmore on ‘Daygloayhole’ and more

The creator of ‘Your Black Friend’ discusses his work for Fantagraphics’ ‘Now’ anthology, The Nib, his influences and much more.

Ben Passmore’s short comic Your Black Friend was a sensation when it was published in 2016. It was nominated for an Eisner Award, won an Ignatz Award, was on NPR’s 2017 list of 100 Favorite Comics and Graphic Novels, and was turned into an animated short film. Passmore has become a regular contributor to The Nib and many other outlets, but for people who have been reading Passmore for years, this recent political work has been something of a departure for him. He first came to notice with Daygloayhole, which is a very different kind of comic, but shares a lot of the same sensibilities and ideas that motivate his political and essayistic comics.

This year saw the publication of Your Black Friend and Other Strangers, which collects a number of short comics by Passmore. Silver Sprocket is publishing a print version of Daygloayhole, the second issue of which is out this summer. Passmore has a comic in the current issue of the Fantagraphics anthology Now and has a comic in the June/July issue of The Believer.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Peter Hoey + Maria Hoey on ‘Coin-Op Comics Anthology’

The sibling comics creators discuss their latest collection from Top Shelf Comix, their work on ‘Blab!’ and much more.

Peter and Maria Hoey are the siblings behind Coin-Op Studio. Their illustration and advertising work has appeared in the New York Times, Rolling Stone, Time and many other publications. They’re masterful creators of inforgraphics and maps, animation and portraits, and oh yes, they also make comics. For more than 20 years they’ve been making comics together, first for the anthology Blab and then for their own series Coin-Op Comics.

Top Shelf has just published Coin-Op Comics Anthology 1997-2017. The book collects the first six issues of their comics series along with the short comics for Blab! and they represent one of the most inventive and dynamic collections of comics published in recent years. Every story the Hoeys make they set out to find a new way to tell the story, think of a different way for the page to look, another way to present information and reveal character. This collection in addition to a new issue of Coin-Op, #7, are out now and I asked them a few questions about the book and how they work.

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Smash Pages Q&A: M.S. Harkness on ‘Tinderella’

Minnesota-based artist M.S. Harkness has been making comics and minicomics for a few years now, like Prizefighter, Normal Girl and A Savage Journey to the Heart of an Anime Convention. Kilgore Books just released her debut graphic novel, Tinderella.

The autobiographical tale is about dating, as the title makes clear, and it’s funny, living up to the title’s promise. It’s also a sharp and thoughtful look at life in one’s 20s — or a nightmarish and horrifying reminder of life in one’s 20s, depending on the reader. The book was excerpted in The Comics Journal before it was published, and I reached out to M.S. to ask about the book and how she works.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Veronica Fish

The artist of ‘Archie,’ ‘Silk,’ ‘Slam!’ and more discusses her latest project ‘Blackwood,’ collaborating with Andy Fish and Evan Dorkin, and more.

Veronica Fish has made a name for herself with her work for Archie (Archie) and Marvel (Spider-Woman, Silk), as well as with books Slam!, the roller derby comic that she created with writer Pamela Ribon, and The Wendy Project, written by Melissa Jane Osborne. The latter overlaid the story of Peter Pan with a girl’s real trauma and was a visually stunning work by Fish that really showed off a masterful sense of design and color.

Fish’s new comic is Blackwood. Written by Evan Dorkin (Beasts of Burden, Dork) and published by Dark Horse Comics, the miniseries follows a group of students who arrive at a small college to learn magic. The Dean kills himself in the opening scene, and the students find the only thing stranger than the locals are the teachers. The setup may sound familiar, but the characters and the creatures in the book really stand out. And the art is as accomplished as it is different from Fish’s other comics. The second issue of Blackwood came out this week, and I asked Fish a few questions about the book.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Emma Beeby on ‘Mata Hari’

The UK-based writer discusses her work on the Dark Horse/Berger Books title about the famous femme fatale.

Emma Beeby will perhaps always be known as the first woman to write Judge Dredd in the pages of 2000 A.D. She’s written other comics including Robbie Burns: Witch Hunter, Judge Anderson, Doctor Who, and created series for 2000 A.D., in addition to writing audio plays and games and films. She’s a contributor to the amazing (and all female) lineup of creators responsible for the 2000 A.D. Sci-fi Special, which was just released in the UK.

This year Berger Books has been publishing Mata Hari, a comics miniseries written by Beeby that explores the life of the titular spy and femme fatale. People might know the name Mata Hari, but much of what is known about her is myth and lies and misinformation. In the miniseries, Beeby tries to explore all of these things. Mata Hari is a hard character to love, a complicated antihero who dealt with a lot of things in her life that sound very contemporary and relevant.

Mata Hari #4 is out this week from Berger Books/Dark Horse Comics, and Emma was kind enough to answer a few questions about the book and how she worked.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Gabrielle Lyon on ‘No Small Plans’

The Vice President of Education and Experiences at the Chicago Architecture Foundation discusses her organization’s mission and why they chose to create a graphic novel to help celebrate its 50th anniversary.

One of the most striking and interesting graphic novels of 2017 was No Small Plans, and the book came from an unexpected source – The Chicago Architecture Foundation. In three stories set in three different periods of time, teenagers explore the city of Chicago, confront segregation, development and reconsider not just they think about their city – but how. The story of cities and how they are built and function is very much the story of how we relate to one another, both as individual human beings and through institutions. No Small Plans is a call for teenagers to engage with the city and with government. More than just a call to engagement and action, the book wants people to ask questions, and understand the history of these issues.

Gabrielle Lyon is the Vice President of Education and Experiences at the Chicago Architecture Foundation and the writer and editor of No Small Plans, which she made with Devin Mawdsley, Kayce Bayer, Chris Lin and Deon Reed, members of the Eyes of the Cat Illustration Studio. Lyon is an activist, a comics fan, and she talked about the unlikely origins of the book and their ambitions for it.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Tatiana Gill

The creator of ‘Blackoutings: How I Quit Drinking’ discusses her early influences, her anthology work, teaching comics, drawing body-positive women and more.

Tatiana Gill is a cartoonist and illustrator. She’s the author of the graphic memoir Blackoutings: How I Quit Drinking. Her comics have been collected in books like Wombgenda, Living in the Now and Omnibusted. She’s also the person behind the adult coloring book Down to Clown.

Gill works as a teacher and illustrator in Seattle. In the past few years she’s had comics in a number of anthologies like Comics for Choice, she was in Resist!, and has contributed comics articles and book reviews to The Stranger and The Seattle Review of Books. After seeing her comics and illustrations keep coming up in my social media feeds and in different publications, I reached out to Gill to talk about her work.

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