Smash Pages Q&A: Blue Delliquanti

The creator of ‘O Human Star’ discusses entomophagy, working with food writer Soleil Ho and much more.

Blue Delliquanti is best known for the webcomic O Human Star, which has been running since 2012. Delliquanti has also made shorter comics which have appeared in The Nib, Mine!, Beyond and the just-released Smut Peddler: Sex Machine, but Delliquanti’s new book is something of a departure. Meal was co-written with food writer and journalist Soleil Ho and centers around Yarrow, who moves to Minneapolis to work at a restaurant that serves insects.

The book is an enthusiastic and thoughtful primer for those who are unaccustomed to entomophagy (that’s eating bugs), but it’s more than that. It’s a story about food and our connections to it. It’s about the communities that have eaten and have a relationship to these foods for generations, and what it means for others to “discover” that. It’s a love story that captures some of that feeling from moving to a new place and working at a job that’s much more than a job. The tagline for the book is “Dreams. Love. Entomophagy.” I recently talked about those things and more with Delliquanti, who will be appearing this coming weekend at the Queers and Comics Conference in New York.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Darryl Ayo

The cartoonist and comics critic discusses his work, the differences in comic strips vs. comic books, and much more.

Darryl Ayo has been making comics for years and remains known today for not just his comics, including the series Little Garden, but for his criticism. He has been published in The Comics Journal, Comixcube, Comics MNT, The Hooded Utilitarian and elsewhere. Little Garden features mythological creatures and humans in a world that is clearly not ours, but the focus of the series is centered around more mundane events and interactions. It also possesses Darryl’s sense of humor and a great sense of design and composition.

Ayo and I have met at shows for years and we’ve interacted on Twitter, but we’ve never before sat down to talk in a formal interview. So we took the opportunity to chat about his work and process.

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Smash Pages Q&A: J.P. Ahonen

The creator of ‘Sing No Evil’ discusses the first collection of his webcomic ‘Belzebubs.’

Belzebubs is a “trve kvlt mockumentary,” a family comedy, a heavy metal family tale that involves demons, Lovecraft, child-rearing, teenage love and the problems of keeping a band together. The parents are Sloth and Lucyfer, their kids are named Lilith and Leviathan – and Lilith’s best friend is Blasphe My (who in no way resembles the beloved Moomin character Little My). Even for those who are not heavy metal fans, the strip is simply funny, with beautifully rendered artwork. The strip has become an internet sensation, with print editions in multiple countries and in multiple languages. More than a comic, Belzebubs is now an actual band with an album, Pantheon of the Nightside Gods, coming out later this month.

J.P. Ahonen made a splash when Sing No Evil was released in the United States in 2014 after being published in his native Finland, where he’s been making comics for many years. I’ve been a reader and fan of his for many years and we had a chance to speak recently in between his busy schedule to talk about Belzebubs, the collection of which is out now from Top Shelf.

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Comics Lowdown: C2E2 thief thwarted; Dawson on Somalia airstrikes

Plus: People moves, promotions, podcasts and more!

Crime Does NOT Pay! Stephen Bowles of Remington, Indiana, learned that the hard way: He was nabbed for allegedly stealing $9,000 worth of comics at C2E2 this past weekend, after a vendor caught him on video. The vendor had set up a camera at his booth to keep an eye on sales, and when he noticed Bowles acting sketchy he reviewed the footage and observed the 51-year-old man apparently taking comics from several booths. The vendor called the cops and they arrested Bowles, who had some of the comics on him. Three vendors reported that comics had been stolen from them.

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Nominees announced for this year’s NCS divisional, Reuben awards

Daniel Acuna, John Allison, Greg Smallwood, Rick Geary, Brenna Thummler and more receive nominations.

Nominees have been announced for the National Cartoonists Society’s annual awards program, which includes their divisional awards and the “Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year” award, a.k.a. The Reuben.

Four of the five Reuben nominees mirror last year’s line-up, as Lynda Barry, Stephan Pastis, Hilary Price and Mark Tatulli have all been nominated again. Joining them is Brain Basset, creator of the comic strips Red and Rover and Adam @ Home. Glen Keane won the award last year.

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Smash Pages Q&A: W.T. Frick

The creator of “Ipsum Lorum” discusses her issue of “Ley Lines,” which focuses on the writing of Ursula Le Guin.

W.T. Frick has made comics for Ink Brick and other publications, but she’s likely best known for her webcomic Ipsum Lorum, a remarkable work about the experience of creating and experiencing art, about doppelgängers and what that means for people. In so much of her work, Frick is less interested in narrative than she is with studying characters and exploring ideas. At one point she described her process as intuitive and her work could be described in those terms, but it also feels much too solid, too involved to ever be dreamlike, or seem unreal.

Frick is also the cartoonist behind the new issue of Ley Lines. The quarterly series is focused on crafting a dialogue between comics and the world of fine art. In the 18th issue, which was just released, Frick interrogates the writing of the late Ursula K. Le Guin along with the work of a number of visual artists. It’s arguably her best work to date and a striking introduction for those who have never encountered her work before.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Julie Sondra Decker

The writer of ‘The Invisible Orientation’ discusses her two webcomics, her process, world building and more.

Julie Sondra Decker is a writer and artist who is best known for her nonfiction book The Invisible Orientation, but she’s also a webcartoonist. Negative One has been coming out weekly since 2005 and So You Write has been updated occasionally since 2012, though usually monthly. The two comics are very different from how they look, the stories they tell and how Decker makes them.

So You Write is painfully familiar for any writer or creative person, full of insane questions from other people and the excuses we tell ourselves. Negative One is a comic that Decker described as “text heavy,” but it’s also an immersive and strange tale with a large cast that doesn’t look and feel like most comics. It’s an impressive piece of world building, and I reached out to Decker to ask about her two projects and how she thinks about the differences between prose and comics.

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Hannah Templer’s ‘Cosmoknights’ lead the rebellion at Top Shelf

Templer’s first solo graphic novel will debut as a webcomic in March.

Hannah Templer of Jem and the Holograms fame is creating her first graphic novel, Cosmoknights, which will be released first as a webcomic and then as a graphic novel by Top Shelf.

Top Shelf decribes it as “a thrilling galactic adventure set in a world where mech-suited warriors duel over the daughters of the aristocracy, and a fledgling resistance of lady knights aim to bring down the system from within.”

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Smash Pages Q&A: Amanda Lafrenais on ‘FTL, Y’ALL’ and more

The creator of ‘Love Me Nice’ discusses her newest anthology project for Iron Circus, her own webcomics and more.

Amanda Lafrenais is the creator behind the webcomics Love Me Nice and Titty Time. She’s one of the co-hosts and editor of the Dirty Old Ladies podcast. She’s also an editor who worked on the Iron Circus anthology Tim’rous Beastie and the new anthology FTL, Y’ALL: Tales from the Age of the $200 Warp Drive. The anthology has an incredible premise that attracted creators who readers will know, along with plenty of newcomers.

Lafrenais’ webcomics show a range of artistic and storytelling influences. She clearly understands comics and it’s been fascinating to see her guide two very different anthologies, overseeing very different artists than herself. Lafrenais is a great talent and I took the opportunity to ask her about the new anthology, the graphic novel she’s drawing and her own comics.

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