Today Annie Mok returns with another interview. This time, she talks to Jane Mai, whose latest book is Sunday in the Park with Boys:
MOK: I talked to Corinne Mucha once when she was developing her book [Get Over It!], the one about the breakup, and she said that autobio comics are a weird thing, because you’re deciding what to keep hidden. It’s this illusion of revealing all.
MAI: It’s true. I also have this weird thing, where—there’s two Jane Mais, there’s the blond one—well, there’s three, there’s too many to keep track of. And even though they’re based on me, I don’t consider them representative of me. They’re like these side characters that do stupid things.
MOK: In the beginning you make a main character list, the main characters being you and your friends: you, Greasy, Paril, and your best friend Evelyn. There’s Jane Mai who’s blond, Jane Mai with dyed black hair, Jane Mai with an eyepatch, and “Nurse Janey, a fictional character.” Aside from Nurse Janey, who seems to be used in more fantastical situations—or maybe not. There’s the one where Nurse Janey’s working with the vet to take care of the guinea pig’s terrible poop sickness, and it feels in fantastical because you’re not a nurse in real life. But then in some way, it’s “Well, this doesn’t seem like a very outlandish problem. Maybe Jane dealt with this IRL.” Can you talk about these different characters, and how they maybe have an intuitive separation for you between the four of them?
MAI: Nurse Janey is supposed to be more fantastical, even though I did do the guinea pig thing, and it was horrible.
MOK: It seemed based on real life.
MAI: Yes… I had some mini comics that I had done that were more fantastical, monsters and weird stuff, about Nurse Janey and Dr. Paril. They were these stupid little things I was doing for fun, and no one liked them! [laughs] So I stopped doing them, even though I’d like to get back into it. She’s a really fringe character for more exploratory, monster stuff. I feel like nurses and doctors are respectable positions to have, and I’m not [laughs] a really respectable person, so I made her a nurse. She’s not idealized, but she’s supposed to be almost a regular person. Except that she lives in a fantasy world with monsters and stuff.
—Reviews & Commentary. As you've no doubt heard, Marvel has announced that the next writer of Black Panther will be Ta-Nehisi Coates. At The New Republic, Jeet Heer writes about how this relates to the superhero industry's various diversity problems.
Ace comics reviewer Sean Rogers writes about new books from Jessica Abel, Cole Closser, and Michael DeForge.
Inkstuds has posted a critics' roundtable episode, with guests Joe McCulloch, Zainab Akhtar, and Tom Spurgeon.
—News. Via the CRNI comes reports that Syrian cartoonist Akram Raslan likely died in government custody two years ago, possibly after being tortured.
—Interviews & Profiles. Laura Hudson interviewed Kate Beaton for Wired.
Davey Nieves talks to Glenn Head for The Beat.
—Misc. Entertainment Weekly has a preview excerpt from Bill Griffith's first comics memoir, Invisible Ink.
Forbes ran an SPX report(!), focusing primarily on diversity.
Michael Dooley at Print shares images and brief excerpts from the Comic Book Apocalypse Jacky Kirby catalog.