The creator of ‘Black Heroes of the Wild West’ discusses the book, which is out now from Toon Books.
James Otis Smith made a splash in 2019 with two books. Gang of Fools, which came out from Lion Forge, was a webcomic about a dystopian future, gentrification, the mob and more. The other book was Showtime at the Apollo: The Epic Tale of Harlem’s Legendary Theater, a nonfiction book from Abrams. The two were radically different books but showed an artist who was able to work in different styles and approaches, as skillful at tackling fiction as nonfiction, conveying lots of information in dynamic ways.
His new book, which is out now from Toon Books, is Black Heroes of the Wild West. The book looks at three real life figures from the Old West, each of whom was unique and stood out – then and now. But more than simply being fascinating, interesting people, they complicate our understanding of the Old West and how the West was settled. Black people were ignored when the history was written, erased when fiction and myths were crafted, and sometimes redlined and banned from towns and even entire states. Black Heroes of the Wild West is an important glimpse of what’s been lost and ignored.
Smith was kind enough to answer a few questions about the book, which is an artistically masterful work, and what he wants to do next.
Continue reading “Smash Pages Q&A: James Otis Smith”
The creator of ‘Sonder’ and ‘Heretics!’ discusses his newest project, ‘The White Snake’ from Toon Books.
Ben Nadler‘s first book was a collaboration with his father, the noted philosopher Steven Nadler. In addition to Heretics!: The Wondrous (and Dangerous) Beginnings of Modern Philosophy, Nadler also makes the comic series Sonder, both of which are very different from his new book.
The White Snake, just out from Toon Books, is an adaptation of a Grimm’s Fairy Tale, and it’s not just Nadler’s first book for children, but also his first adaptation. We spoke recently about the book, how he works and underplaying the violence in the original story.
Continue reading “Smash Pages Q&A: Ben Nadler”
The creator of ‘Uptight’ and ‘The Last Lonely Saturday’ discusses his latest from TOON Books, cartooning and design, the forthcoming ‘Keeping Two’ and more.
Jordan Crane is the Ignatz Award-winning cartoonist and designer behind comics like The Last Lonely Saturday and The Clouds Above. He was the editor and publisher of the anthology NON. In recent years he’s been making the series Uptight.
His new book is something of a departure for him. We Are All Me was just released by Toon Books, and it’s a picture book, but it’s also a design project. It’s an abstract visual poem that tries to express this idea of the interdependence and interconnectedness of all things. It is beautifully designed, thoughtful, and moving. I was thrilled to talk with Crane about the book and his other comics projects.
Continue reading “Smash Pages Q&A: Jordan Crane on ‘We Are All Me’”
The cartoonist and illustrator discusses his latest project for Toon Books.
Ivan Brunetti has had a unique career in comics. He’s the cartoonist behind comics like Schizo, Hee! and Haw! He’s a noted New Yorker cover artist and illustrator in addition to being the author of the books Cartooning: Philosophy and Practice and Aesthetics: A Memoir. In 2017 Toon Books published Brunetti’s first book for children, Wordplay, and this fall they’re publishing his second.
3×4 is about numbers and math, but also about art. It focuses on the children that readers might remember from his first book and gives them a new homework assignment. I asked him about how he worked on the new book, the relationship between art and numbers, and what he’s thinking about next.
Continue reading “Smash Pages Q&A: Ivan Brunetti’s ‘3×4’”
The legendary cartoonist discusses his latest work for Toon Books, ‘Love & Rockets’ and more.
Jaime Hernandez has long been one of the great cartoonists. Love and Rockets has been acclaimed for decades and remains beloved by generations of readers. The series continues to come out regularly, and late last year Fantagraphics published the collection Angels and Magpies in addition to a Studio Edition, which reproduces nearly 200 pages of Hernandez’s original artwork.
Toon Books is debuting a new book by Hernandez, The Dragon Slayer: Folktales from Latin America. The book is his first for younger readers and adapts stories from F. Isabel Campoy and Alma Flor Ada, and features an introduction by Campoy about imagination and tradition.
Hernandez will be appearing at the MoCCA Arts Festival this weekend in New York City, where he’ll be in conversation with Marc Sobel on Sunday. He will also appear at the Toronto Comics Arts Festival in May as part of Toon Books’ 1oth anniversary celebration.
Continue reading “Smash Pages Q&A: Jaime Hernandez on ‘The Dragon Slayer’ and more”
The creator of ‘Macanudo’ discusses his latest project from TOON Books, humor and how his daughters influence him
Since 2002, Liniers has been entertaining Argentina with the daily comic strip Macanudo and for English language readers, the fourth collection of translated strips will be published in the spring. He’s also been drawing album covers and New Yorker magazine covers, and even had a recent comic in the pages of The New York Times. Since 2013 he’s made three children’s books, all of which have been published by Toon Books.
His most recent book is Good Night, Planet, which has also been released in a Spanish language edition, Buenas Noches, Planeta. It is funny and sweet with a sense of strangeness and a feeling of adventure. It also feels like autumn in New England. Liniers and his family have been living in Vermont for the past year where Liniers was a fellow at the Center for Cartoon Studies and we spoke recently by phone about the book, the strip, humor, how his daughters influence him, and not being Woody Allen.
Continue reading “Smash Pages Q&A: Liniers on ‘Good Night, Planet’”
Brigid Alverson shares a previously unpublished interview with the creator, who passed away last weekend.
Geoffrey Hayes, the creator of TOON Books’ Benny and Penny series, died last weekend at the age of 69. I met him just once, at the American Library Association midsummer meeting in 2010.
I was actually a longtime fan of his work, because my children loved his Otto and Uncle Tooth picture books. Geoffrey came to comics fairly late, after an artistic dry spell—Francoise Mouly somehow knew to call him and have him create the Benny and Penny comics for TOON Books. But he had always lived a creative life; while I was doing research to write an appreciation, I ran across this essay in which he talks about how he and his brother, Rory Hayes (who was known as an underground cartoonist) spent their childhood creating stories together.
When I heard about Geoffrey’s death, I went through my files looking for a photo of him, and I was surprised to find an interview that I had done in 2010 but never published anywhere. So here it is, seven years later. As delightful as it was to relive that moment, I was also saddened when I got to the end, where he talks about the graphic novel he was working on. That book, Lovo and the Firewolf, was to be his magnum opus, and Fantagraphics was going to publish it next year. His death leaves it incomplete.
Continue reading “Smash Pages Q&A: ‘Benny and Penny’ creator Geoffrey Hayes”
Plus news and updates on Noah Van Sciver, Ivan Brunetti, Thom Zahler, Hannah Berry and more.
Tom Spurgeon unveils the logo and guest list for this year’s Cartoon Crossroads Columbus festival, of which he is the executive director. Here’s the roster:
That’s Derf Backderf, Peter Bagge, Kyle Baker, Darrin Bell, Howard Cruse, Lilli Carré and Alexander Stewart, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Kat Fajardo, Emil Ferris, Ann Marie Fleming, Matt Fraction, Jennifer Holm, Kevin Huizenga, Nilah Magruder, Ann Nocenti, Laura Park, Dav Pilkey, Mimi Pond, Dana Simpson, Chris Sprouse, Leslie Stein, Tillie Walden, Connor Willumsen and Judd Winick.
Continue reading “Comics Lowdown: CxC guest list unveiled”