Smash Pages Q&A: Casey Gilly

The writer of ‘My Little Pony: Generations’ and ‘Buffy the Last Vampire Slayer’ talks about both projects, writing licensed comics, creating new ponies and more.

Casey Gilly has been busy in the past couple years, writing comics that ranged from a short in the anthology You Died (drawn by Raina Telgemeier) to Star Wars Adventures. This fall, she’s launching two big, high-profile and very different projects.

IDW’s long-running My Little Pony series just ended, and Gilly and Michela Cacciatore team up for the five-issue miniseries My Little Pony: Generations, the first of which is out this week. It brings together the Friendship is Magic ponies with the Generation 1 ponies, along with some new characters. Then in December, BOOM! Studios launches the four-issue miniseries Buffy the Last Vampire Slayer with artist Joe Jaro, which features Buffy Summers in her 50s in a near future that — well, Gilly will explain that and more.

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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: 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: 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: 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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Smash Pages Q&A: Fred Van Lente on ‘Everything’s Archie’

The writer of ‘Action Philosophers,’ ‘MODOK’s 11’ and more discusses his work on Archie’s 80th anniversary one-shot, which arrives in stores next week.

Fred Van Lente is well known as the writer behind Action Philosophers, The Comic Book History of Comics, Archer and Armstrong, MODOK’S 11 and many more. He’s written novels like The Con Artist and Ten Dead Comedians, and he co-wrote the play King Kirby, which premiered earlier this year as a podcast.

Van Lente is also the writer of the new comic Everything’s Archie. The one-shot from Van Lente and artist Dan Parent is a collection of linked short comics that center around Archie trying to make enough money to buy a new guitar. To do that, Archie signs up for an app and what follows is a satire of the gig economy with multiple jokes about late stage capitalism, and yet, it still feels like an Archie comic we’ve seen before.

Van Lente and Parent’s comic is paired with an Archie story from 1997 by the late George Gladir and Stan Goldberg, Betty in High School 2021 A.D. The story went viral because of remote learning and other not entirely inaccurate predictions about this rather unusual year. I spoke with Van Lente recently about the comic, which is out next week.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Marcus Kwame Anderson

The artist of ‘Snow Daze’ and ‘Cash and Carrie’ discusses his latest graphic novel, ‘The Black Panther Party: A Graphic Novel History.’

Marcus Kwame Anderson is the artist behind The Black Panther Party: A Graphic Novel History. Along with writer David F. Walker, Anderson tackles an immense complicated subject, a story that isn’t just a historical topic, but remains very contemporary.

The research required to even start such a project and the skill with which Anderson is able to play with page design and layout is striking. He has an incredible eye and a visual sense that is playful, even though he’s addressing topics that are difficult. Anderson is best known as the artist behind comics like Snow Daze and Cash and Carrie, but with this book his work has reached a new level.

We had the opportunity to speak recently about what the project required and what he took away from the experience.

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