Three Count | Anders Nilsen, Johnnie Christmas, Maia Kobabe

Here are three things to buy, to watch and to listen to today.

Three Count spotlights, as the title suggests, three things from comics today. It’ll be three things with links, no more, no less. This is the fourth one in the series, collect them all.

1. To buy: Tongue #5, the yearly series by Anders Nilsen

Anders Nilsen, the award-winning creator of Big Questions and Rage of Poseidon, has released the fifth issue of Tongues, his self-published comic that features Prometheus, Teddy Roosevelt and a whole lot more. It’s … kind of hard to describe, actually, but it’s a labor of love for the creator, with emphasis on the labor.

In a post on his blog, Nilsen details how much work and time went into this fifth issue — and into every issue — and he reveals that he has about five more issues left to complete. For the process junkies, he also goes deep in how the sausage gets made…

When I first started making actual comics, back when I was working on the beginnings of Big Questions, at the Chicago Art Institute in the dark ages of the early aughts, I didn’t script anything at all. I just got out paper and started drawing a page. Comics are, of course a mash-up of writing and drawing. A frequent question I get is which of these comes first, which I never know quite how to answer. But I think it’s fair to say that most cartoonists arrive at the medium from the drawing side. Certainly that was true for me and so the idea of writing things down first just never occurred to me at the start. Part of what attracts me to the medium is the very fact that images work on the brain differently than text does. Indeed they are even processed in opposite hemispheres. So they are not interchangeable. In those early days I probably would have said something about how comics, being a visual medium, would be compromised in some way by being expressed first as text. I wanted images and the non-rational, non-textual way they are experienced to be privileged in my work. That was part of the point.

2. To watch: Johnnie Christmas talks about his new graphic novel Swim Team

Gayle Guyardo recently interviewed Johnnie Christmas about his new graphic novel Swim Team, which is about a Black girl who learns to swim from an older neighbor and goes on to join the swim team. It’s a great segment; watch it below:

or visit the local Tampa Bay news site WFLA.

3. To listen: Maia Kobabe on Gender Queer: A Memoir and why it’s been targeted by conservatives

KBIA, an NPR affiliated station out of Missouri, has a brief, two-question interview with Gender Queer creator Maia Kobabe about the controversy around the graphic novel and why it isn’t really about the author:

In many ways, I don’t think the challenges against my book are really about me or about my story. I really think that they are about a wave of viral bans that is seeking to control information about our identities and trans identities specifically and limit the access of young people to this information, and my book is just getting caught up in this wave.

I’ve linked to other interviews with Kobabe about the controversy, but it’s something to hear the voice of the author behind the book that has so many people up in arms.

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