Smash Pages Q&A: Matthew Dow Smith

The veteran creator of ‘The October Girl’ and more discusses his early career, posting new comics on social media during the pandemic and more.

I’ve been reading Matthew Dow Smith’s comics for decades. As I joked to him, he worked on some of my favorite comics of the ’90s – which also happened to be some of his favorites, before he got the chance to draw them. But before he worked on Starman and The Shade and Sandman Mystery Theatre – and went on to draw Day of Judgement, Batman ’66 Meets Steed and Mrs. Peel, The Keep, Bad Luck Chuck and many more – he got his start at Caliber Comics. While there, he was writing and drawing his own work, and writing both short comics and series for others to draw. In the years since, he’s been busy with a wide range of projects, but slowly over the past few years, he got back into writing comics. 

When the pandemic hit and the comics industry hit pause, Smith started writing and drawing again. He started by posting weekly installments of an autobiographical series My Life as Riley. Then he launched the serial Johnny Chaos, which wraps up this week, on social media and his Patreon. Next week he’s launching a brand new serial, Arch Nemesis, followed by another, Amelia Shadows: Daughter of Darkness, in August. He also has The October Girl, the first of a graphic novel series launching next year.

The final chapter of Johnny Chaos is out tomorrow, and I spoke with Smith recently about his career, how Doctor Who has influenced his writing and thinking about the future of comics.

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Cartoonists confront the pandemic for a good cause in ‘Pandemix’

Dean Haspiel and Whitney Matheson spearhead an anthology benefiting the Hero Initiative.

Dean Haspiel and a group of cartoonists have used their downtime during the pandemic to create an anthology for a good cause.

Pandemix: Quarantine Comics in the Age of ‘Rona is a benefit anthology that’s raising money for the Hero Initiative. Haspiel is editing the book along with Whitney Matheson (USA Today’s Pop Candy blog), as well as contributing a story that features his character The Red Hook.

“When COVID-19 sparked a global pandemic and national quarantines, I worried about my creative colleagues,” Haspiel said. “Many of us lost freelance work, and the comic book industry shuttered for a while. But I felt compelled to rally cartoonists to confront the pandemic and make art out of it. Art that can help comic creators in need.”

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