Smash Pages Q&A: A. David Lewis on ‘Kismet, Man of Fate’

The writer and comics scholar shares more about his webcomic collaboration with Noel Tuazon that brings a 1940s character into the present.

A. David Lewis is a comics scholar who’s written books like American Comics, Literary Theory and Religion: The Superhero Afterlife and co-edited many books including Muslim Superheroes: Comics, Islam and Representation, and Graven Images: Religion in Comic Books and Graphic Novels. Lewis is also the founder of CYRIC, Comics for Youth Refugees Incorporated Collective, which makes and distributes comics for children.

Lewis has written comics, but it wasn’t until recently that he wrote a superhero. Kismet, Man of Fate was a character originally created in 1944 as part of the wartime comic boom. An Algerian operative fighting the Nazi occupation in the original stories, Lewis along with artist Noel Tuazon (Elk’s Run, Tumor) has brought the character into the present in a series of new stories. After making some standalone short comics, the two have been serializing a new longer story. Kismet wraps up today and will be collected later this summer. I reached out to Lewis to talk about his many comics and comics-related projects.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Julia Kaye on ‘Super Late Bloomer’

The cartoonist and animator discusses the first collection of her webcomic ‘Up and Out.’

Julia Kaye had been making comics for years – and making the webcomic Up and Out for years – before she transitioned. What had been a humor strip made in full color then became something else as Kaye used the strip to document her own life and trying to adjust to life as a woman. Her first book is Super Late Bloomer: My Early Days in Transition. The book collects six months of strips from 2016. They range from funny to absurd to heartbreaking as Kaye captures her changing life three panels at a time.

Kaye is currently working at Disney Animation and continues to draw Up and Out. With Super Late Bloomer out this week, we sat down to talk about the book, her work and how it’s changed over the years.

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Keren Katz, Michael DeForge win 2018 Cartoonist Studio Prize

Created in conjunction with the Center for Cartoon Studies, the program offers $1,000 to each winner.

Slate has announced the winners of their annual Cartoonist Studio Prize, which awards $1,000 to the year’s best print comic and webcomic.

This year’s winner in the print catgeory is Keren Katz for The Academic Hour, published by Secret Acres.

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‘A Star Wars Comic’ explores ‘small moments’ from the epic saga

Jim Mello, Alex Ray and Tony Ray bring their interpretations of various Star Wars characters to the web once a month in six finely crafted pages.

I came across the site “A Star Wars Comic” in my Tumblr feed recently, and at first thought that Lucasfilm or Marvel had started up some sort of webcomic project — but as it turns out, it’s actually a fan-made site featuring various comics that spotlight “the small moments, characters, and themes of a galaxy, far far away.” And it’s very impressive.

The comics — there are 19 of them right now, plus an annual — cut across the Star Wars mythos, featuring main characters like Luke and Rey, as well as lesser-explored characters like Mon Mothma, Plo Koon and even “Gonk” the power droid. All the comics are done by Jim Mello, Alex Ray and Tony Ray. Each story (except the annual) is six pages, so they’re very quick, in and out, looks at these characters, and they’re posted once a month on the 25th.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Victor Santos

The creator of Polar discusses ‘Rashomon: A Commissioner Heigo Kobayashi Case,’ which was recently released by Dark Horse, as well as his webcomic ‘Guts,’ Jack Kirby, the Spain comics scene and more.

Victor Santos’ work might be more familiar to American comics readers than his name, though that is quickly changing. The man has put out a wide and varied body of work. He’s drawn comics and graphic novels, masterfully going from Filthy Rich to Mice Templar, Furious to Black Market, Godzilla to Sleepy Hollow. He’s currently drawing Violent Love, which is published by Image Comics. Santos is also the man behind Polar, the webcomic that he wrote and drew, which was collected in three volumes by Dark Horse.

In addition to Violent Love, Santos has two projects, one new and one old, that are out this fall. He’s launched a new webcomic, Guts, that’s available on polarcomic.com which he’s making monthly as a complete short story. The second story was released in early November. Dark Horse has just published Rashomon: A Commissioner Heigo Kobayashi Case, which collects two books that Santos made for the Spanish market. There are two more graphic novels that Santos is drawing and coloring coming out next year, as well as a film adaptation of Polar in production. Despite this busy schedule, he was kind enough to talk about his work.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Melanie Gillman

The creator discusses ‘As the Crow Flies,’ now available from Iron Circus Comics, as well as the upcoming ‘Stage Dreams,’ Colorado, colored pencils and more.

Since it launched in 2012, As the Crow Flies has been a webcomic beloved by many people. Drawn in colored pencil by Melanie Gillman, the comic tells the story of Charlie, a black queer 13 year old on an all-white Christian youth backpacking trip. It is not just a striking beautiful comic that looks like nothing else, but it tells an important story in a thoughtful, nuanced way. It is a story of identity and religion, community and discrimination with a cast of real, relatable and beautifully drawn characters.

Gillman just finished writing a run of Steven Universe comics for BOOM! Studios and has already announced their next project, Stage Dreams, a graphic novel that Gillman described as a “queer western romance adventure story.” The first half of As the Crow Flies was just published in a print edition by Iron Circus Comics and Gillman was kind enough to talk about writing, life, Colorado and colored pencils.

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Oeming + Soma launch ‘The After Realm’ webcomic

Elves, rangers, Ragnarok and secret doors inhabit a new story from the co-creator of ‘Powers.’

Just in time for the holidays, Michael Avon Oeming and Taki Soma have kicked off a new webcomic about elves — okay, maybe not of the “ho ho ho” variety, but more of the Lord of the Rings/Norse mythology kind.

The After Realm is an all-ages comic about an elf named Oona Lightfoot, who wants to become a ranger so she can reunite with her best friend, who was trapped in the apocalyptic landscape of Ragnarok. So far three pages have been added, with more coming on a weekly basis. You cna help support it by bakcing Oeming on Patreon. Check out some pin-ups of the various characters below.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Nilah Magruder on ‘M.F.K.’

The animator, illustrator and storyboard artist discusses the collection of her popular webcomic.

Nilah Magruder’s webcomic M.F.K. has been on hiatus recently but it remains a beloved by its fans (including me). The animator, illustrator and storyboard artist received the inaugural Dwayne McDuffie Award for the webcomic, an epic fantasy adventure about a hero on a quest – but not the kind of hero, epic or quest that most fantasy fans think about when they hear those words. Although it is very epic in a sense – journeys are hard for social recluses.

Last year saw the release of Magruder’s debut picture book, How To Find a Fox, and she’s currently working on a new book project, Creaky Acres. A print version of the the first three chapters of M.F.K. are out now from Insight Comics and Magruder answered a few questions about the book, promises she’s working on the comic, and more.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Olivia Dinnall on ‘Bi-Assed’

‘The Purple Alien’ discusses her work on the popular Line Webtoon comic, which explores what it means to be biracial and bisexual.

Olivia Dinnall aka “The Purple Alien” is a cartoonist and illustrator whose webcomic Bi-Assed runs on Line Webtoon. The comic explores what it means to be biracial and bisexual. As Dinnall describes the book:

“You would think that ones race and sexual orientation wouldn’t have anything in common, and for the most part, that’s true. But when you’re a biracial and bisexual person growing up, you come to realize that the two have more things in common then you would think…..those things being the ridiculous stuff people say to you based on the two.”

The result is a comic that will make you cringe in sympathy – or cringe because you’ve encountered those comments in your own life. It’s a great comic, and following Dinnall on social media one can see that she’s always drawing, often in different styles and approaches. She’s working as hard as ever on the webcomic and planning future projects, but is also collaborating with a friend and making some changes to Bi-Assed, and we talked recently about how she works.

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