Smash Pages Q&A: Diana Chu

The award-winning cartoonist discusses her work on the latest Patti Smith-influenced issue of “Ley Lines.”

Diana Chu is a cartoonist and illustrator based in Milwaukee, who in recent years has made an impressive body of comics and zines including Where Everything is Music, Woolies, No Mames Guey, Cloud Houseand Sudden Death. She was awarded a Gold Medal by the Society of Illustrators at last year’s MoCCA Festival.

Her new project, which comes out next month, is the new issue of Ley Lines. The issue is about Patti Smith and music, but it’s also about Jimi Hendrix, Dante Alighieri and Henri Rousseau. Chu is an artist who is not especially interested in narrative, but she’s fascinated in mood and design in interesting ways. She was kind enough to open up and talk about her work in process.

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‘Farmhand’ gets a soundtrack from Skies Speak

Experimental album from Skies Speak will drop March 20.

Rob Guillory’s excellent new Image series Farmhand is getting a soundtrack, thanks to Guillory’s friend Skies Speak.

“The FarmhandOriginal Music Score started out as just a crazy idea between two buddies,” Guillory said in a press release. “Jordan (Skies Speak) and I have been friends for many years, and I’m beyond thrilled he was game to craft this special album for fans of the book. The initial idea was very simple: use my art to inspire his art. He devoured the first arc of the book, and from that he created a unique, immersive experience that adds a little something extra to the world of Farmhand.”

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‘Tales of the Music Makers’ to include two Harvey Pekar stories

New graphic novel from Z2 Comics will benefit the Music Maker Relief Foundation.

Z2 Comics, which has published a number of graphic novels with musical themes, has a new one queued up for February: Tales of the Music Makers, by Gary Dumm.

The graphic novel is a benefit project for the Music Maker Relief Foundation, which is a bit like a music version of the Hero Initiative: It “provides resources to elderly, southern musicians living in poverty and keeps southern, musical culture alive by recording albums, arranging concerts and museum exhibitions, and publishing books.”

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James Kochalka helps Santa ‘Pack the Sack’

The creator of ‘American Elf’ returns with a new holiday tune.

In addition to creating comics like Mechaboys, American Elf and Johnny Boo, James Kochalka is also a singer, regularly sharing songs on his YouTube channel. For the past few years, he’s released various singles for the holiday, adn this year he returns with a new tune, “Pack the Sack.”

Check it out below:

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Comics Lowdown: Alex Ross’ ‘DayGlo’ Fantastic Four pitch

Plus: Bill Jemas, Liza Donnelly and an IKEA comic!

Artist Alex Ross pitched Marvel on taking over the Fantastic Four last year, and you can find his pitch inside Marvelocity, a coffee-table book that highlights the artist’s Marvel work. The 13th Dimension reviews the book and shares several pages from the 2017 pitch. “It just goes to show you that even the biggest talents in comics don’t always get what they want – and what Ross wanted was an eye-popping comic that echoed the DayGlo ’60s while offering something fresh,” reviewer Dan Greenfield writes.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Carol Tyler’s ‘Fab4Mania’

The creator of ‘Soldier’s Heart’ discusses her latest graphic novel from Fantagraphics, which looks back at her own experiences with Beatlemania.

Carol Tyler has for many years been one of our great cartoonists. Her book Soldier’s Heart is quite simply one of the great comics of the 21st Century. After spending a decade tracing her family history and examining postwar culture, mental illness and many other issues, Tyler wanted to make something lighter.

Her new book Fab4Mania began more than 50 years ago, when Tyler became a Beatles fan. She was a fanatic, attended their 1965 concert at Comisky Park in Chicago, and in the months leading up to the anniversary of the concert, she crafted a blog about her life as a 13-year-old and life leading up to the concert. In what should be no surprise, she managed to capture that young voice in a truly striking way. We spoke recently about the book, about how she began to make sculpture and thinking like an engineer.

This weekend Tyler is a special guest at the Small Press Expo in Bethesda, and on Friday afternoon she will give a talk about her work at the Library of Congress.

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IDW to publish graphic novel biography of James Brown

Xavier Fauthoux to write and draw a graphic novel about the Godfather of Soul.

IDW Publishing has announced plans for a graphic novel based on the life of the Godfather of Soul. Written and illustrated by Xavier Fauthoux, James Brown: Black and Proud will be available in stores in October.

“Tracing the life of this cultural juggernaut, Black and Proud, paints a rich portrait of a true larger-than-life American personality,” said Justin Eisinger, Editorial Director of Graphic Novels and Collections at IDW, in a press release. “Even readers more than casually familiar with Mr. Brown’s career and achievements will find plenty of new revelations and details that add a deep complexity to a celebrated cultural icon. And that’s something so powerful about the contemporary non-fiction movement in graphic storytelling.”

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Archie & friends rock out in ‘The Archies’ #1 [Preview]

Archie, Jughead and the rest of the band hit the road to rock your socks off — and meet other bands.

After a series of successful music-oriented one-shots, Alex Segura and Matt Rosenberg have teamed up with Joe Eisma and Matt Herms for The Archies, an ongoing series featuring Archie Andrews and friends as musicians.

The series will show what happens when Archie, Jughead, Betty & Veronica, and Reggie leave Riverdale as they begin their first tour across the country, where they’ll meet other bands along the way — like CHVRCHES, who will appear in the second issue.

Solicitation text, a preview and cover art for the first issue can be found below.

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Comics Lowdown: RIP Alfonso Azpiri

Also: Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Gabe Soria, comics for Costa Rican kids, Shigeru Mizuki, ComiXology, Rocket and Groot prints

Passings: Spanish artist Alfonso Azpiri, a frequent contributor to Heavy Metal magazine, died on August 18 at the age of 70. (The headline of the linked article gives an incorrect birth year.) From the obit:

Azpiri’s most famous creation was Lorna, a sexually insatiable space adventurer (often compared to Barbarella), accompanied on her travels around the galaxy by a pair of artoo-threepio-ish robots named ADL and Arnold. Azpiri will also be remembered for Mot, a more family-friendly series about a boy who has adventures with his huge monster companion.

His work was first published in Heavy Metal in 1984, and three issues of the magazine were devoted almost entirely to Lorna stories.

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