Smash Pages Q&A: Sophie Labelle

The creator of ‘Assigned Male’ discusses the long-running webcomic, her upcoming tour and more.

Sophie Labelle has been making the webcomic Assigned Male for years online and in collections like Nice Gender! Did your mom pick it out for you? and Dating Tips for Trans and Queer Weirdos. Labelle described the comic as “a bunch of very sarcastic and sassy trans and queer teenagers.” Which is true.

The adventures of Ciel, Stephie, Frank, Eirikur and others are funny and relatable, but they’re also thoughtful and poignant. Labelle has been making three and four panel comics for so long that she clearly understands the rhythm and style of them, but doesn’t necessarily deliver a punchline at the end of every strip. Sometimes she wants to make a dramatic point, other times she wants she to shock us. There are strips that have punched me in the gut and there are strips that have made me laugh out loud in public.

Labelle is touring the United States this fall and she has a novel coming out next year, and we spoke recently over e-mail about the strip, how she works and community.

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Oni Press launches a webcomics hub

Webcomics by Colleen Coover, Sarah Graley, Megan Rose Gedris and more can be found on the site.

Oni Press has launched a webcomics portal that highlights some of the publisher’s recent projects, including Sarah Graley’s Kim Reaper, Megan Rose Gedris‘s Spectacle, Colleen Coover’s Banana Sunday and Oni’s Draw Out the Vote site, which encourages voter registration.

“Expanding the volume of Oni Press comics available on the web has been a long-held goal of mine,” commented publisher James Lucas Jones. “We see this as just the opening salvo in a campaign to bring the work of our astounding creators to more readers with as few barriers to entry as possible. We can’t wait to add both new titles and new functionality to this evolving platform.”

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Top Shelf to collect ‘Belzebubs’ in February

The black-metal, family-oriented webcomic by JP Ahonen finds its way to English audiences next year.

Top Shelf Comix will collect popular webcomic/Facebook phenomenon Belzebubs into book form early next year.

Created by JP Ahonen, Belzebubs is a “trve kvlt mockumentary” that features the average, ordinary life of a black-metal band with kids named Lilith and Leviathan. You can see samples on their website.

It’s been published in Finnish, French, Spanish and (soon) Greek, with Top Shelf bringing it to English audiences in February. Becky Cloonan, a noted metalologist, will provide the intro. Check out the cover and some sample strips below.

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‘Finality’ by Ellis, Doran debuts on Line Webtoon

“It’s like Muppets re-enacting Cormac McCarthy out here at night now.”

The megapopular webcomics site Line Webtoon launched a new series earlier today that reunites the Orbiter and Super Idol team of Colleen Doran and Warren Ellis. You can read the first three chapters of Finality now, with more to come.

“Warren Ellis and I started working on Finality way back in 2016, but I got too sick to continue for awhile, and it had to go on the back burner,” Doran wrote on Tumblr last month. “As I’m doing the color here, I realized the lead character in Finality is a dead ringer for Elisabeth Moss, lead actress in The Handmaid’s Tale! She’d be perfect in the role, too!”

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SPX, TCJ, OMG: A Hot Take

Brigid Alverson responds to a recent opinion piece on TCJ.com and shares her thoughts on comiXology/Amazon’s presence at this weekend’s Small Press Expo.

I know that contentious commentary is part of the The Comics Journal brand, but maybe it’s time to drop it. Especially because the latest article isn’t just mean-spirited, it’s straight-up wrong.

I am referring, of course, to RJ Casey’s recent post, ominously titled “A Plague Comes to SPX,” in which he warns that Amazon is poised to ruin comics.

I’m at SPX, and I went to the exhibitors’ reception last night, where, like everyone else, I got a copy of Hit Reblog, the book he disparages:

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Smash Pages Q&A: Mike Norton on ‘Lil’ Donnie’

The wonderfully multitalented artist discusses his work on his political satire webcomic, the first collection of which was just released by Image Comics.

Mike Norton has been working in comics for years. He’s drawn books in a wide range of genres including The Waiting Place, Jason and the Argobots, Gravity, It Girl! and the Atomics, and Revival. He drew a fill in on Astro City, in addition to Queen and Country, The Adventures of Archer and Armstrong, and many other comics. Norton has also been writing and drawing various projects like the webcomic Battlepug, and comics like The Answer and The Curse. He’s drawing the new miniseries Grumble, which starts this November.

Norton is currently working on a couple comics series, but he’s also been making a comic strip, Lil’ Donnie. A mocking satire of the Trump administration, Norton admitted that he’s an unlikely political cartoonist. The strip was initially a webcomic and is also available on gocomics. Now Image Comics has just released a collection of the strip, Lil’ Donnie: Executive Privilege and I asked Norton about the strip and how he works.

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Bryan Fuller’s canceled shows find new life in ‘Mind Palace’

Dave Dwonch and Santi Guillen bring back Hannibal, Ned the piemaker and more in a new webcomic.

If you were a fan of Pushing Daisies, Hannibal or Dead Like Me, there’s a new webcomic that’s just for you. Dave Dwonch and Santi Guillen have created a “love letter” to Bryan Fuller‘s canceled TV creations in Mind Palace.

“It’s clear that Bryan poured his heart into every single project he’s worked on, and his genius is obviously there on the screen. I can only imagine how much it must have hurt losing any of these shows. You go through the grieving process and tuck the memories into your mind. That’s the real premise of Mind Palace,” Dwonch said in a press release.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Dan Schkade on ‘Lavender Jack’

The creator of ‘San Hannibal: The City of Love and Fear’ discusses his latest comic, which is now available on Line Webtoon.

Dan Schkade has been working in comics for a few years now. Readers might remember his artwork from books like Will Eisner’s The Spirit, which Matt Wagner wrote; Battlestar Galactica: Gods and Monsters; or San Hannibal: The City of Love and Fear, which he wrote and drew, among other projects. His new project is Lavender Jack, a new weekly series on Line Webtoon. The titular character is a thief and vigilante exposing the misdeeds of his town’s corrupt and wealthy elite. Desperate the Mayor seeks out the world’s greatest detective, Theresa Ferrier.

Set in a vague time early in the 20th Century, the book is witty and erudite, and feels familiar in many ways even as it strikes its own path as a woman who was once the world’s greatest detective is now older and disillusioned comes face to face with a new kind of adversary in a new kind of century. It’s a book about crime and conventions with a love of design and verbal wordplay. Lavender Jack updates every Tuesday and I reached out to ask Schkade about how he works and the unique but familiar world he’s created.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Beth Evans on “I Really Didn’t Think This Through”

The webcomics creator discusses the release of her first book, her influences and process, Eurovision and more.

Beth Evans has been posting comics online for a few years now. In the comics, which range in length, she uses a fairly simple style to tackle anxiety and depression in ways that range from the strange to the funny to the disturbingly true.

Evans’ first book, I Really Didn’t Think This Through: Tales From My So-Called Adult Life came out this month. The book is part memoir and part self help guide, part comics and part prose, Evans talks in depth about her own life and details her struggles with mental illness and ways to cope and find stability.

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