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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