Smash Pages Q&A: Kim Newman on ‘Anno Dracula 1895: Seven Days in Mayhem’

The prose author discusses his comic book sequel to Anno Dracula, his own comics reading history and much more.

Kim Newman is a beloved and acclaimed cult writer. Comics fans may only know him for his 2015 miniseries Witchfinder: The Mysteries of Unland, but prose fans know him for his dozens of books which include Professor Moriarty – The Hound of the D’Urbervilles, The Night Mayor, and the Diogenes Club series. Perhaps his best known works are the series Anno Dracula. The 1992 novel is something of a what if – what if Dracula defeated Van Helsing. The resulting novel – and the sequels – mixed real life figures and literary characters in a way that is much more common today than it was when the novel first came out.

The new miniseries from Titan Comics, Anno Dracula 1895: Seven Days in Mayhem, is written by Newman and illustrated by Paul McCaffrey. The comic, which wraps up this week, is a direct sequel to the novel Anno Dracula – and a prequel to the second book in the series Bloody Red Baron, which takes place in World War I. Like the novels this one mixes real and fictional worlds. Newman was kind enough to talk about the miniseries, his novels, and everything from Philip Jose Farmer to possible comics crossovers he’s eager to write.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Bernie Mireault on ‘XVI’

The creator of ‘The Jam’ talks about his career, current projects and new short story collection from About Comics.

The new book XVI from About Comics collects short comics from the acclaimed creator Bernie Mireault. He has never been the most well-known or best-selling comics creator, but over the past few decades he’s been a key figure in comics.

His miniseries Mackenzie Queen wears its influences on its sleeves, and those influences are Steve Ditko and Doctor Strange and Harvey Kurtzman, European comics and manga, back in the early 1980’s when that range of influences was not as common – or as easy to find – as it is today. Mireault went onto draw Grendel: The Devil Inside and colored many other stories in Matt Wagner’s Grendel series. Mireault then created The Jam, a different kind of superhero comic, which appeared before many other reinventions of the genre appeared.

Mireault spoke about the new collection of his black and white comics, what he’s working on now and more.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Maggie Umber on ‘Sound of Snow Falling’

The co-founder of 2d Cloud discusses her latest graphic novel, her essay ‘Getting Divorced in Comics’ and more.

Maggie Umber’s most recent graphic novel Sound of Snow Falling is a wordless painted graphic novel. A beautiful and meditative look at a pair of great horned owls, it may her most recent comic, but in many respects it’s her earliest comics work and is a project that she has been thinking about and working on for many years. It is available now from 2d Cloud.

This book is Umber’s second graphic novel after 2015’s Time Capsule. She is also the co-founder of 2d Cloud and she recently stepped down as Associate Publisher – one of the many hats she wore at the publisher, events that she discusses (among other topics) in her much-discussed essay “Getting Divorced in Comics.” Umber spoke about her book, the essay, her short comic in the upcoming anthology Warmer, which comes out next month.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Cory Thomas on ‘Watch Your Head’ and more

Thomas talks about his long-running comic strip turned webcomic, his post-election editorial cartoon that went viral and his work with James Patterson on ‘Public School Hero.’

Cory Thomas remains best known for his comic Watch Your Head. First launched as a comic strip in 2006, Thomas relaunched it in 2014 as a webcomic, tweaking the story and characters, though it has remained the story of a diverse cast of characters attending Douglass University, a historically black university. He continues to update the comic occasionally, though a lot of his attention has been focused on other projects like the James Patterson book Public School Superhero.

Late last year Thomas got a lot of attention for a comic he made for Fusion titled “The Weirdness of being Black in White Spaces After the Election,” which struck a nerve with a lot of people from different backgrounds. Thomas sat down to talk about the response to that comics, the status of Watch Your Head, and what he’s working on now.

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Stephan Franck puts a stake in a third volume of his vampire heist series ‘Silver’

The animator returns to Kickstarter to fund a third volume of his graphic novel series that pits conmen versus vampires.

When he’s not helping to make animated hits like The Iron Giant and Despicable Me, Stephan Franck turns to his first love, comics. The son of two comic retailers, Franck started his own company, Dark Planet Comics, to publish Silver, a pulp-inspired heist story involving vampires.

Franck has used Kickstarter to crowd fund two volumes of the series already, and now a new campaign has launched for the third volume. I spoke with Franck about the project, the campaign and the appeal of working on comics.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Vito Delsante on ‘The Purple Heart’

The ‘Stray’ writer discusses his contribution to the New Brooklyn Universe.

Vito Delsante has been writing comics for years, and he’s had success with stories in comics that range from Batman Adventures to Savage Tales to Scooby Doo to Superman. But recently though Delsante has been putting out his best work in a pair of projects. One of them is Stray, the story of a retired sidekick who returns to the hero game whose new solo series from Action Labs kicks off in September.

Perhaps his biggest project, though, is The Purple Heart, which is part of the New Brooklyn Universe spearheaded by Dean Haspiel, a shared universe that also includes The Red Hook and The Brooklynite and the upcoming War Cry, which launches in the fall. The weekly webcomic that Delsante is making with Ricardo Venancio wraps up this week, and Delsante spoke about working in a shared universe, and crafting a story very different from The Red Hook about Brooklyn’s Silver Surfer-like hero.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Eleanor Davis on ‘You & A Bike & A Road’

The creator of ‘How To Be Happy’ discusses her latest book from Koyama Press, which details her cycling trip from Arizona to Georgia.

In 2014, Fantagraphics published How To Be Happy, a collection of short comics by Eleanor Davis, which immediately established the cartoonist as one of the major figures of her generation. In the book, Davis jumped between styles and approaches, telling different kinds of stories ranging from the fantastic to realistic. Since then she made a children’s book with Drew Weing, Flop To The Top, for Toon Books. She also made the comics novella Libby’s Dad, which came out last fall from Retrofit Comics, and was recently awarded the Slate Book Review 2017 Cartoonist Studio Prize for Best Print Comic.

Davis’ new book, out now from Koyama Press, is You & A Bike & A Road. The book is a series of comics about a bike trip that Davis undertook from Tucson, Arizona, where she grew up, to her home in Athens, Georgia. We spoke recently about the book, the journey, agitprop and more.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Vanessa Davis on ‘Spaniel Rage,’ Then and Now

When Spaniel Rage was first published in 2005, the collection of diary comics made a splash. Vanessa Davis didn’t come from a comics background, and she had a unique way of laying out and designing pages and her own sensibility. A few years later when Drawn & Quarterly collected many of her short comics in the book Make Me a Woman, it established Davis’ reputation as one of the great cartoonists of her generation.

Since then Davis has been making short comics and illustrations for many publications, including The New York Times, Tablet, Lucky Peach, and elsewhere. Her work has appeared in Fairy Tale Comics, Nursery Rhyme Comics, Kramer’s Ergot, and Best American Comics. D&Q has just reissued Spaniel Rage with a new introduction by Davis. The book remains a striking and vivid book about life in one’s 20s, about New York City, about the life of the young artist. Davis spoke about revisiting her work, what she’s working on now, and The Terry Southern, which she was just awarded for her work for The Paris Review.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Mark Fertig on ‘Take That, Adolf!’

Alex Dueben talks to Mark Fertig about his latest book from Fantagraphics, World War II, graphic design and more.

In his recent book Take That, Adolf!, Mark Fertig looks at Golden Age comics and how World War II transformed the industry and the content. While for many people, the appeal of the book may be the hundreds of comic book covers that feature Adolf Hitler being punched and Nazis thwarted, the highlight is Fertig’s long essay.

In that piece Fertig examines race and gender; he looks at how the comics industry was changed, the ways that it’s impossible to think about the business and many characters without the influence of the war, and many more issues. Fertig is an Associate Professor at Susquehanna University in Pennsylvania, where he teaches graphic design, and we spoke about the book, World War II, graphic design and comics in the classroom.

I enjoyed the book – who doesn’t like seeing Hitler get punched repeatedly? When you conceived the book, I’m sure you never imagined that the media would be discussing when it’s acceptable to punch nazis.

Yeah, I did a Twitter search the other day, and the book showed up. I don’t think the book has really worked its way into the public consciousness on any level, and yet it showed up in a political tweet where somebody had linked to the book and said, “This is our book.” I thought that was pretty fascinating. When I wrote it I thought I was writing it for comic book people and World War II people, but if it’s interesting to other people, that’s fine by me.

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