Smash Pages Q&A: Mike Federali on ‘Felix the Cat’

The comics writer discusses his work on the upcoming series featuring the beloved character and his bag of tricks.

Mike Federali has worked as a convention organizer, art director, comic writer and executive producer, with a resume that includes Mystery Science Theater 3000, the upcoming Owl Girl with Craig Rousseau and Incredible Conventions, which puts on pop culture shows on the East Coast.

He’s also the co-writer of the upcoming Felix the Cat comic from Source Point Press. The publisher announced the new comic to great fan reaction in August; Federali will be joined by co-writer Bob Frantz, artist Tracy Yardley, colorist Matt Herms and letterer Dave Lentz.

I caught up with Federali on the new comic and what fans can expect from his interpretation of the wonderful, wonderful cat.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Brian Michael Bendis on ‘Joy Operations’

The Jinxworld creator discusses his newest comic, ‘Joy Operations’ with Stephen Byrne; the move to Dark Horse; and more.

Brian Michael Bendis has made so many comics over the years. For some people, he will always be the writer of Ultimate Spider-Man, one of the great Daredevil writers, the co-creator of Jessica Jones and Miles Morales, and one of a handful of creators who helped shape the Marvel Universe in innumerable ways. Others know him for his more recent work at DC Comics as the writer of the Superman titles, Justice League and other books, co-creating and co-writing Naomi in addition to curating the Wonder Comics imprint at the company. For others, he’s the writer behind Powers, Takio, Pearl and Cover. And for some of us, he will always be the man behind Jinx and AKA Goldfish

It was announced this summer that Bendis’s Jinxworld imprint is moving to Dark Horse Comics, which will include new editions of older comics, continuations of series, and brand new projects. The first to launch is Joy Operations, a five-issue miniseries drawn by Stephen Byrne (Wonder Twins) that launches in November. I spoke with Bendis recently about the science fiction saga, and how (and why) he’s returning to the drawing board with a new series.

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Smash Pages Q&A: NireLeet

The illustrator and teacher discusses the story “Not Alone,” which was part of Decoded’s Pride Month anthology.

NireLeet is a teacher and illustrator, and this year for Decoded, the annual story-a-day anthology for Pride Month, she made the short comic “Not Alone.” A quiet and perfectly told story, it’s a story about a witch that’s about loneliness in a way that will resonate with people more than the story would have previously.

This year’s collection of Decoded has been released as a full color PDF, and NireLeet just launched Malic’s Deep, a new webcomic on Tapas. We spoke recently about art, fantasy and the joys of teaching art in elementary school.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Kim Dwinell on ‘The Science of Surfing’

The creator of ‘The Surfside Girls’ graphic novels focuses on the science of the ocean in her new nonfiction graphic novel from Top Shelf.

Kim Dwinell made a splash with her comics debut, The Surfside Girls, and its sequel. The two fictional mystery books were about a pair of friends, Sam and Jade, who explored the natural world and the historical past of their fictional seaside town.

Dwinell’s new book is The Science of Surfing: A Surfside Girls Guide to the Ocean, which is a nonfiction book, but it feels very much like her other books. Some of this is simply because the book is narrated by the two main characters of the series, but it goes beyond the style of the book. Dwinell has from the beginning been interested in building a fictional world that is a character in its own right, but in finding ways to present a very tactile world to readers.

This new book is a nonfiction book that is just as masterfully told as her comics debut was. The book is out this month, and we spoke recently about how science is more than math, finding joy in nature and crafting a field guide to the Southern California coast for surfers.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Kasia Babis on ‘Re: Constitutions’

The political cartoonist discusses her work with Beka Feathers on the latest title from First Second’s World Citizen Comics imprint.

Kasia Babis has been making comics for many years, but she gained a new international audience when she began contributing to The Nib about a wide range of topics. In particular, her comics about Polish politics offer an outsider’s take on events within the United States.

Babis has drawn the new book, Re: Constitutions, part of the World Citizen Comics imprint. Written by Beka Feathers, an expert in political development and post-conflict institution building who has worked in more than a dozen countries to help draft constitutions and design political transition, the book is about constitutions, but it’s also about what it means to be a citizen, our political landscape, the rights of individuals and what binds us together. It is a complex topic, and Babis’ art and designs help to masterfully juggle many ideas and complex topics in striking ways.

We spoke recently about her work and making the book while being an engaged citizen in a period of protest, as many basic rights are being eroded by an increasingly authoritarian government.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Kiara Brinkman and Sean Chiki

The husband and wife creative team of ‘Lucy in the Sky’ discuss how they collaborated, The Beatles and much more.

Lucy in the Sky is a new graphic novel from Kiara Brinkman and Sean Chiki, and as one might guess form the title and the cover, the book involves The Beatles – a little known British rock band – but not necessarily in the way one might think.

Centered around Lucy Sutcliffe, the book explores middle school and what it means to grow up and grow apart from people, as she deals with her divorced parents and her sick grandmother. And in the background of all this is music and the way our relationship to it changes over time in different ways. All of which is told with lovely ligne claire artwork. It’s charming and heartfelt, and doesn’t shy away from exploring the loneliness and pathos in a way that’s striking. 

This is Brinkman’s first graphic novel, but she is the author of the acclaimed book Up High in the Trees, and it’s her first collaboration with her husband, Chiki, who is best known for his own series Wunderkammer. I had the chance to speak with them about collaboration, music and working together while married with children.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Lynsey G. and Jayel Draco

The founders of Oneshi Press discuss their latest crowdfunding project for the comic ‘Pack.’

Lynsey G and Jayel Draco are the team behind Oneshi Press, which has published books like Tracy Queen, Mr. Guy and The Oneshi Press Comics Anthology. They’re currently crowdfunding the third issue of their series Pack.

It’s been nearly two years since the last issue of the comic, and during those two years a lot has changed and has forced them to reconsider some of the issues around the book, namely gentrification, the police, vigilantism and what that means. I spoke with the two to talk about how they’ve spent the past two years reaching out to people, rethinking the book and moving forward.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Dave Roman on ‘Astronaut Academy: Splashdown’ and more

Creator and editor Dave Roman discusses the long-awaited third volume of his kids’ graphic novel series ‘Astronaut Academy,’ as well as his work editing First Second’s line of science and history comics.

Dave Roman’s Astronaut Academy has had a long history, but after the second book was published in 2013 by First Second Books, he thought he was done with the series. Neither went out of print, though, and the book kept selling and Roman kept doing school appearances where kids would ask, “When is the third book coming out?”

Well kids, the long wait is over, and the first two books have been re-released in full-color editions alongside a third volume titled Astronaut Academy: Splashdown

Besides his work as a cartoonist, Roman has also long been an editor, working at Nickelodeon Magazine for many years and currently working at First Second Books, where he oversees the History Comics and Science Comics series. We spoke recently about comics, editing, life and more.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Ira Marcks on ‘Shark Summer’

The cartoonist and teacher discusses his latest graphic novel, which combines his love of ‘Goonies,’ ‘Jaws’ and more.

In the new graphic novel Shark Summer, three friends on Martha’s Vineyard, inspired by a film about a shark being filmed on the island, spend their summer trying to make a film and solve a local mystery. It’s a familiar story, but the middle grade adventure is a fun and dangerous kinetic adventure of three kids coming together for an unforgettable summer that will shape each of them in different ways.

Ira Marcks has been working as a cartoonist, illustrator and teacher for years. He’s made projects that range from The Exploit and Aquarium Drift to the project Creative Everyday to to the webcomic Witch Knot, to Harvey Pelican & Co., a catalogue of esoteric things that ran in Weird Tales. Shark Summer is a departure for him, but it’s also the work of a talented and dynamic storyteller and hopefully this powerful book will find him a new audience. We spoke recently about the book, our shared love of Jaws and color.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Leah Moore on ‘The Doors: Morrison Hotel’

The versatile writer discusses her latest project: an anthology for Z2 Comics based on the 1970s album by The Doors.

Leah Moore has written and co-written a long list of comics including Conspiracy of Ravens, Sway and Swords of Sorrow; characters like Doctor Who, Sherlock Holmes and Dracula; and publications including 2000 AD and Heavy Metal.

Moore’s newest project is The Doors: Morrison Hotel, which looks at the 1970 album by The Doors. It’s more than simply comics adaptations of the album’s tracks; the book attempts to capture a sense of the band  at this moment and the state of the country and the culture unfolding around them as they worked.

The book also manages to show what Moore does so well and makes look so easy. Each chapter of the book is drawn by a different artist – which includes Colleen Doran, Ryan Kelly, Michael Avon Oeming, Marguerite Sauvage, John K. Snyder III and Jill Thompson – which shows not just Moore’s skill at collaborating with and writing for artists, but her masterful touch at balancing tones and approaches and styles, so that the book never feels like an anthology of disparate stories, but a book seeking to capture the music, its creation and the world around it in a striking way.

Moore was kind enough to answer a few questions about the book and how she works.

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Smash Pages Q&A: François Vigneault on ‘Orcs in Space’

The creator of ‘Titan’ discusses his newest collaboration with Abed and Rashad Gheith, Justin Roiland and Michael Tanner, which arrives in stores from Oni Press this week.

Orcs in Space is a new ongoing comics series from Oni Press, starring three orcs who happen upon an advanced space craft, and chaos and hilarity ensues.

The comic is drawn by François Vigneault, who is best know for his comics like Titan, and he said working on a book with a different tone and approach from his own work was part of the appeal. We spoke recently about playing with the idea of orcs, expectations and color.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Marc Bernardin on ‘Adora and The Distance’

The writer, filmmaker and journalist discusses his latest graphic novel, which comes out next week from comiXology Originals.

Marc Bernardin has had long, varied career, from his years as a writer and editor at Entertainment Weekly, the Los Angeles Times and The Hollywood Reporter, to co-hosting FatMan Beyond with Kevin Smith and the Battlestar Galacticast with Tricia Helfer. In recent years he’s established a reputation as a television writer on series including Alphas, Castle Rock, Treadstone and the upcoming Masters of the Universe: Revelation, which launches in July on Netflix. Some of us, though, know him as a comics writer, co-writing Monster Attack Network, The Highwaymen, Genius and other works for more than a decade.

Bernardin’s new project, which comes out next week from comiXology Originals, is the young-adult graphic novel Adora and The Distance, which he created with artist Ariela Kristantina. A fantasy adventure that has its own twists and surprises, it’s a book that is familiar and unexpected in startlingly beautiful ways. Next week Bernardin’s Kickstarter campaign for his short film Splinter ends, and he was kind enough to answer a few questions about his work.

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