Smash Pages Q&A: Lynsey G.

The co-founder of Oneshi Press discusses the Kickstarter campaign for a second volume of ‘Tracy Queen.’

Lynsey G. has been working as a professional writer for years, but it’s only in the past few years that the writer and editor turned her eye to comics, writing work like Tracy Queen and Pack. In 2015 she and her partner Jayel Draco founded Oneshi Press, where Lynsey not only publishes her own work, but edits and publishes a semiannual anthology, which just released its ninth volume. 

On the heels of that, Oneshi is kickstarting the second collection of Tracy Queen by Lynsey and Draco, which launches today. The comic is hard to describe – as we get into in our conversation – but at its heart it’s about a woman who finds herself, but still struggles to change some of her behaviors. It’s a story about sex work and sex workers and in the second volume the book really hits its stride, managing to capture both the thoughtful and emotional journey that Tracy is on, while also telling a story that revels in its own craziness. Much of the book’s charms come from the ways that it balances those two elements and Lynsey and I spoke recently about comics, writing, her many projects and complicating the idea of helpfulness.

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Smash Pages Q&A: gg

The creator of ‘I’m Not Here’ discusses ‘Constantly,’ her latest book from Koyama Press.

Since discovering gg’s comics a few years ago, I keep revisiting them. More than simply her work itself, I find her attitude and approach toward her work something that I strive for in my own life. She continues to work in a way that seeks to find the best approach, the best way to tell a particular story, and using the work not to capture or express her own feelings, but the work allows her to find a calmness in her own life. And she maintains a detachment from how it gets received. The work must be what it needs to be.

The way she described her process sounds so much to me like how many poets have talked about their work. When reading her work, one is often reminded of poetry, perhaps because she is less interested in plot and narrative, and more concerned with other elements like tone and feeling — in her new book, especially.

Since I spoke with gg in 2017, she’s been posting work extensively on Patreon and Instagram and just came out with a new book from Koyama Press, Constantly. We emailed recently about the book, poetry and how her process changed for this project.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Robin Galante

The San Francisco-based artist discusses her work for the podcast ‘Nocturne,’ ‘The Bold Italic’ and more.

Robin Galante is a San Francisco-based artist whose work I first noticed as part of the great podcast Nocturne, where she drew the show’s logo and makes an illustration for each episode. Last year she published two visual essays in The Bold Italic, and continues to post work on Twitter and Instagram.

One of her biggest subjects is her neighborhood and more broadly, the city of San Francisco. Galante depicts the ways that the city is changing, and in documenting it is celebrating what is there and what we need to fight for to make urban life worth living. We spoke recently about her work

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Smash Pages Q&A: Ray Fawkes

The creator of ‘One Soul’ and ‘Possessions’ discusses the process of creating ‘In the Flood,’ his latest release from comiXology Originals.

Ray Fawkes is the writer of a long list of comics series including Constantine, Wolverines, Batman Eternal and Gotham by Midnight, but for many of us, no matter how many comics he writes, he will always be the cartoonist behind a long run of graphic novels and comics series including One Soul, Underwinter, Intersect, Possessions and The People Inside. He’s a creator who seems to effortlessly move between forms and approaches and genres

His new book is In the Flood. A digital comic that’s out now from comiXology Originals, Fawkes made the book with Lee Loughridge and Thomas Mauer, and though it’s hard to talk about the book involving a couple separated by a flood without giving some of the story away, it very much fits in with Fawkes’ other comics which he’s written and drawn. I spoke with Fawkes recently about how the book required a different way to work, how having a messy studio helps him to craft order on the page and his drawing practice.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Aude White

The illustrator and cartoonist discusses her latest comic for The Believer, her day job (which she loves) and more.

Aude White may spend much of her time working in communications for New York Magazine, but the illustrator and cartoonist has a long list of credits she’s accumulated over the past few years, in addition to the work she posts on her own Instagram. From The Believer to Outside, The HotPod newsletter to The New York Times Book Review to The Cut to Vox, she’s managed to establish her own voice and style.

Her comics are especially personal works that manage to gain their poignancy by the ways that she draws connections between people and objects and places. Not by how they define us or describe us, but by the ways that we invest them with meaning, often at a cost.

White said that she fancied herself a poet in college, and though she laughed at that ambition today, the turns of phrase in her comics, the ways that she draws connections between people and places and objects, reframing and recontextualizing those relationships in different ways, show that poetic sensibility at work. In her new comic The Toothbrush Dilemma, which is in the December 2019/January 2020 issue of The Believer, on stands now, White tells the story of a relationship and a toothbrush. We spoke recently about that comic and her work.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Steven Scott

The co-author of ‘They Called Us Enemy’ discusses the project, working with George Takei, his future plans and more.

When They Called Us Enemy was released this summer, it was quickly named one of the best graphic novels of the year by those who read it. George Takei, the actor and activist, has received much of the attention, and for good reason. This is his story, about how he and his family – and more than 100,000 other Japanese-Americans were interned by the American government. In recent years the actor, known best as Star Trek’s Sulu, has become best known as an activist for LGBTQ rights, but recently he has spent a great deal of time and energy to educating people about what happened in those years, both to help American citizens more fully understand our own history, but also to ensure that it never happens again.

Takei made the book with Justin Eisinger, Steven Scott and Harmony Becker. Scott may not be known to comics readers, but he’s been working in the comics industry for years and it’s how I first got to know him years ago. They Called Us Enemy is his first graphic novel, and I reached out to Scott to talk about how he ended up here, working with Takei and what he wants to do next.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Fieldmouse Press

The four men behind the nonprofit publisher and comics criticism site discuss the initiative.

Ryan Carey, Rob Clough, Daniel Elkin and Alex Hoffman are four of the major comics critics in the U.S. right now. In Enemies of the State, Four Color Apocalypse, High-Low, Sequential State and Your Chicken Enemy, along with their writing in various other outlets, each has established a reputation as a thoughtful, insightful critic.

In comics, criticism tends to be maligned, or seen as a stepping stone to becoming a comics professional, but anyone who spends time with serious criticism – and the work of all four definitely are – can see the love for the medium, the passion for creators, the obsession with ideas and formalism. Good critics offer new ways to think about art, can introduce us to new work and inspire not just readers but creators.

It was announced recently that the four have teamed up to establish Fieldmouse Press, and in January 2020 they’re launching SOLRAD, which is just the very first aspect of the nonprofit organization. I reached out and was thrilled that they were willing to talk about criticism, their ambitions, and what people can look forward to next year.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Lawrence Lindell

The cartoonist and educator discusses the Kickstarter campaign for his latest project, ‘From Truth with Truth: Kinda a Graphic Memoir.’

Lawrence Lindell is the cartoonist, educator and artist behind comics like Couldn’t Afford Therapy, So I Made This and From Black Boy with Love. In these and other projects, Lindell has found ways to make deeply personal work that manages to be both informative for other people, but also therapeutic for himself. Reading a lot of his comics shows that Lindell has an inventive visual style and has repeatedly found many really striking ways to capture so many mental and emotional states, and convey these feelings to readers.

Right now he’s kickstarting From Truth with Truth: Kinda a Graphic Memoir. Lindell was kind enough to answer a few questions about graduate school, his interest in teaching and his new book, which is being crowdfunded until the end of the month

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Smash Pages Q&A: James Romberger

James Romberger has had a long career as a comics artist, writer and fine artist. His books like 7 Miles a Second and The Late Child have been published by Fantagraphics and Vertigo, his comics have appeared in the anthologies World War 3 Illustrated and MOME, his paintings are in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Brooklyn Museum. Last year he wrote the book Steranko: The Self-Created Man, the definitive book about the cartoonist and his work, which he published through Ground Zero Books.

Romberger has two new comics on the stands. Now #7, the newest volume of the Fantagraphics anthology, features a four page comic written and drawn by Romberger. In addition, Uncivilized has just published For Real #1 by Romberger, which consists of “The Oven,” a 20 page comic, and “The Real Thing,” a 10 page essay. Both are about the life and work of Jack Kirby, his time as a soldier in World War II, his cancer diagnosis and treatment later in life, the ways he thoughts about and depicted violence. It’s some of Romberger’s very best work and he was kind enough to answer a few questions about his many projects.

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