BLOG

Kylie Minogue Fans Don’t

Today on the Journal we've got Dash Shaw (a pretty big deal) talking to Connor Willumsen (another pretty big deal) about Anti-Gone (which is as big a deal as it gets).

When you’re equating drugs with entertainment and movies, it made me think, “Is this comic entertainment?” Do you think that Anti-Gone is entertainment?

That’s a good question, because I spent a lot of time thinking about what that word means. I mean, it’s not entertainment to me.

It’s not entertaining to you?

No, but only because it’s hard for me to understand what it’s like to have the experience of reading the book properly. A lot of what it’s about is how your immediate relationship with art or entertainment changes your experience of it, like with a movie or book, or something like that. So, it’s hard for me, as someone who's had to scrutinize it so intensely, to get to a point where I’m recognizing it as entertainment. But I don't imagine anyone would bother to read through it unless it's amusing them. Really broadly, there isn't a lot of art I wouldn't call entertainment. Its depth really depends on your situation at the time.

ELSEWHERE

Leslie Stein delivered another comic to the New Yorker, and it's a really good one.

Interviews & Profiles. It's unusual to see Amazon employees in the wild doing interviews, but don't get super excited--this short primer on why reading comics on a phone broken up panel by panel is fun is pretty tame. Back when I was writing for comiXology, I did the Guided View editing process for a couple of issues of Zenescope pirate comics. It paid five dollars an hour.

Chuck Forsman is touring for his most recent Fantagraphics release, and he stopped by Comix Experience to talk with Brian Hibbs for the store's Graphic Novel Club. There's a whole bunch of these on Youtube, and some of them get pretty in depth.

 

At War with Time

Greg Hunter is here today to talk about Noel Freibert's Old Ground.

Noel Freibert’s Old Ground has a premise that puts it somewhere between a B-horror film and a Pixar release. Years of neglect have turned the Old Maple Grove cemetery into a home for a cast of odd characters: Otto, a frog; White Foot, a dog; and Silver Spoon and Cliffie, who converse from inside their graves while their bodies rot. The arrival of a wrecking crew threatens to disrupt the secret routines of the cemetery residents, and the residents’ response might alter the ratio of living to dead.

Old Ground sits closer to horror than to Toy Story, of course. Midway through the book, the wrecking crew’s boss smells a flower, then realizes it’s covered in worms. A couple pages later, skulls rise from roses in a scene that would suit a Mario Bava movie. But although Old Ground has its share of spooky genre beats, calling it a horror story isn’t exactly right either. It’s closer to a work of the eerie, in Mark Fisher’s understanding of the word. Readers find presences where they’d expect absences, along with questions about how much agency the things they’re seeing possess.


Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—Paste magazine has posted their best comics of the year list, and it seems completely incoherent to me. I know a lot of people like to argue with these things, but I think a list like this is nearly useless unless it is the product of a single person's viewpoint.

—For example, the novelist Jeff VanderMeer is not entirely my cup of tea (I have yet to read Annihilation or its sequels, which may connect with me as his earlier work didn't), but he has a well-developed set of aesthetic principles, and so when he discusses his favorite books of the year, and he includes comics by Nicole Claveloux and Jesse Jacobs on the list, it means much more, about the books, about VanderMeer, and about the list as a whole.

—Dominic Umile writes very briefly about a new Seymour Chwast book on war.

Chwast remembers Iraq’s “55,000 civilians killed” toward the end of his book’s timeline, and among his concerns is exactly the kind of thinking that motivates the censorship of war photojournalism. An editor’s choice to kill a photographer’s dispatch before it goes to print, or the Pentagon’s unconstitutional policy against media coverage of coffins coming home—Chwast looks at the consequences of war, but also at the steps taken by people in power to absolve a military power of its sins, to sanitize the theater of war.

—The most recent guests on Process Party are Joe Sacco and Sophie Yanow.

 

Illustrations of Violence

Today at the Journal, we've got a review of Charles Forsman's I Am Not Okay With This by Tessa Strain

Forsman’s ability to maintain the immediacy of Syd’s point of view without completely surrendering to it results in a complex piece of work and one of the most honest depictions of the emotional telescoping effect of both depression and adolescence.

ELSEWHERE

News. The Slate Studio prize announced its judges and submission policies--it's one of the few comics prizes that comes with some money attached, and it consistently puts out a good shortlist.

Reviews & Sundry. Bill Gates--yes, that Bill Gates--wrote a review of The Best We Could Do, by Thi Bui. He also put the book on his top five of the year in an article he wrote for Linkedin. The most interesting part of that is the matter of fact way with which Gates treats his reading of a graphic novel--he got interested in learning more about the Vietnamese perspective of the Vietnam War due to the limitations he saw in his own understanding of that particular conflict, and sought out more books with a Vietnamese perspective. At no point in either review does he couch his selection of a graphic novel as being special, inherently interesting, or worthy of comment. He wants the stories--and comics are just another delivery device.

This gorgeous graphic novel is a deeply personal memoir that explores what it means to be a parent and a refugee. The author’s family fled Vietnam in 1978. After giving birth to her own child, she decides to learn more about her parents’ experiences growing up in a country torn apart by foreign occupiers.

Over at The AV Club, Caitlin Rosberg, Oliver Sava and Shea Hennum came up with their best of the year. I've tended to dismiss The AV Club's take on comics in the past, but it would be moving the goalposts to a pretty absurd degree not to acknowledge the changing nature of their coverage over the last few years, and the willingness Sava and company have taken to examine comics outside of what their comment section remains obsessed with. Their 2017 list is a cheatlist--there's nothing more despicable than people refusing to argue it out and come up with a begrudging consensus that pleases no one--but it's still got some solid, passionate choices.

NPR, on the other hand...well, look. There's some great titles on this one, but the whole enterprise is so horribly tasteful.

The video below discovered by Michel Fiffe is on an excellent issue of the JLI. The Comics Journal should have daily Fiffe content, if you ask me. I mean--i don't need you to ask me, because i'm in charge, but that's how that saying works.

 

 

Other Things

Today on the site, TCJ regular Tegan O'Neil returns after a long hiatus (not just from this site but from comics) with a new column, wondering why Saga of the Sub-Mariner broke the fast...

The series has been reprinted in a volume entitled Sub Mariner & The Original Human Torch, spat out by Marvel in 2014 as part of their commitment to republishing everything they have in the most haphazard and piecemeal way possible. Ask any retailer how good a job Marvel does keeping books like Born Again and The Dark Phoenix Saga in print: the answer, not very good at all! And yet Sub Mariner & The Original Human Torch, reprinting The Saga of the Sub-Mariner alongside its sequel, The Saga of the Original Human Torch, is a book that exists, a book that you too can purchase if you should be so lucky as to stumble upon it for sale at a used bookstore. That’s exactly what I did, having purchased the book for $7 in Santa Clarita, CA. The actual list price is $39.99; however, should you feel the need to read these books in their original form you will pay significantly less.

In June I boxed up every book I owned and deposited them all in a storage unit in Dixon, CA. It was time for a change, time to be a person who moved about the world freely – as opposed to the person I had been for the previous decade, that is, a person tied down to a large private library, a student and teacher and writer who needed to own so many books. Life without a library has been a significant and pleasant change. But I needed a few books to carry around with me, still certain as I was in my heart that a person without a bookshelf is a person without a home. So I stuffed a small longbox with books I had been waiting for a quiet evening to enjoy and drove off, leaving all my Carl Barks, Charles Schulz, and Jack Kirby but taking the Thomases’ retelling of Namor’s origin. Priorities.


Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—Reviews & Commentary. Chris Mautner takes to the Smart Set to decide whether or not the latest incarnation of Mister Miracle really deserves all the hype.

The release of the first issue of DC’s Mister Miracle, a 12-issue limited series written by Tom King and illustrated by Mitch Gerads, was heralded with the sort of hosannas that are normally reserved for church. The A.V. Club called it “dazzling” and “emotionally wrenching.” Entertainment Weekly declared it “by far the best comic on stands right now.” io9 dubbed it “one of the best comics of the year” and, in another article, said there was “no better way to honor [Jack] Kirby’s contribution to the comics world.” And Comic Book Resources went as far to breathlessly declare that “King & Gerads Have Redefined Mister Miracle, and Possibly Comics.”

You see where I’m going with this, right?

—Interviews & Profiles. Hogan's Alley interviews Paul Karasik and Mark Newgarden about How to Read Nancy.

Mark: I very much doubt that any honest 20th century newspaper cartoonist saw their work as “enduring art.” It certainly wasn’t intended as such, given the medium’s unambiguous 24-hour shelf life. (And for anybody who views anything as “enduring art,” I refer you to the beloved works of mid-century critical theorist/art crank Theodore L. Shaw, post-haste.)

While he may not have “intellectualized” Nancy (and I’m not sure we do that ourselves, exactly) in researching this book we came to learn that Ernie Bushmiller was highly self-conscious and downright strategic about how his work functioned and was read—down to a subliminal level. Conceptually, he wanted a strip that literally anybody on planet earth could read at a glance. “If a kid slips on a banana peel in Norway, he still falls down.” Visually, he wanted his strip read first on a crowded battlefield of competing funnies. “If I have to point an arrow to the gag, I’ll point an arrow to the gag…I want the stupidest guy in the world to get the gag.”

Henry Cherry talks to Gabe Soria about his new Murder Ballads book.

It came to me in Texas, a half-formed “What if?” My idea was to write a story inspired by Alan Lomax, the musicologist who first recorded Lead Belly, Son House, and Muddy Waters. The “What if?” was, “What if I grafted that onto a crime story, a noir tale?” That idea bugged me for years. I started writing a film script. I started writing notes: copious notes; notes, notes, notes. Over the years, I would open up the file on my computer and not look at it, like, “Nah, man.” It sat there and I didn’t really know what to do with it, and like 10 years after I first had the idea, I said, “Hey the ideal thing to do with this would be to have music with it.” That’s where Dan [Auerbach] came in. I texted him while I was walking down the street, “Hey, you know, I have this idea for this comic. Would you want to do a soundtrack for it if I ever got it off the ground?” And his one-word response to me was, “Duh.”

The latest guest on RiYL is Simon Hanselmann.

—Misc. For Print, Michael Dooley allows book designer John Lind to take readers through the process behind the new deluxe reissue of Frank Miller's Sin City.

The basic format is essentially the original artwork scanned at high resolution and reproduced in four-color at 1:1 size. This result is books that don’t fit on standard shelves but are amazing to behold. I’ve been a fan and collector of all the various “artist edition” books since editor Scott Dunbier pioneered the format at IDW with Dave Stevens’s The Rocketeer back in 2010. Scott really did a tremendous service to comics—and to the history of this art form in general—by championing this type of book. Since then, some really terrific projects have come out from a number of different publishers. And this format really needs to be experienced to appreciate the value of the work that goes into its assembly. Bob Chapman, in particular, is doing these incredible vellum inserts in some of his Graphitti Designs editions.It’s deceptively simple-looking, but getting vellum to work is an art in itself.

 

Plump With Desire

Today at The Comics Journal, we've got Matthias Wivel's latest column, Common Currency. This time around, he's taking a look at The Green Hand & Other Stories, a collection of Nicole Claveloux's comics published by New York Review Comics. 

For a few brief years, Claveloux also contributed short comics to the legendary magazine Métal Hurlant – several of which were also published in English in its counterpart Heavy Metal – as well as its offshoot Ah! Nana (1976–'78), which featured women creators exclusively. For the longer of these stories, she collaborated with the writer Edith Zha. The Green Hand collects most of this meager output between nifty hard covers, sensitively translated by Donald Nicholson-Smith and hand-lettered in imitation of the original by Dustin Harbin.

ELSEWHERE!

News. Over at Publishers Weekly, Heidi Macdonald, Calvin Reid and Kate Fitzsimons got together and recorded an episode about the hiring of CB Cebulski, where they open by referring to him as a beloved figure. After that I presume the episode continues. No promises though!

Reviews & Sundry. Dominic Umile grapples with the sexism of Spain Rodriguez for Hyperallergic in his review of Street Fighting Man. 

In Street Fighting Men’s Road Vultures comix, we don’t get the rape fantasies that populate Crumb’s work, for instance, but each female’s exaggerated anatomy is shoehorned into ill-fitting attire and wholly objectified. Big, bear-like men clad in dark black leather jackets brawl and pound beers in these strips, while women are relegated to peddling intercourse or handjobs. A passerby in porn comic “Vulturette” (Horny Biker Slut Comics, 1992) sleeps with a house full of bikers in succession when told it’s the gang initiation she covets (it isn’t), and a Kiss one-pager’s man punches a woman in the face when she interrupts him having sex with someone else. That Street Fighting Men’s jacket copy brands Rodriguez a “feminist” is befuddling — when, exactly, did the women’s liberation arguments espoused by counterculture newspapers grow stale for these “giants” of comix?

Publishers Weekly gave The Case of the Missing Men a starred review, and the CBC featured the book on the radio at the same time. Synergy!

Over at The AV Club, Oliver Sava takes a look at the beautiful and perfect Zegas

Comics are a two-dimensional medium, but within a page’s vertical and horizontal confines is a three-dimensional space that can be manipulated by visual storytellers. Not the depth within individual images, but the space surrounding the panels, which can have multiple planes depending on how those panels are arranged. Michel Fiffe is a cartoonist committed to exploring this aspect of the page, constantly finding innovative ways to depict visual information. The new Fantagraphics graphic novel, Zegas, collects comics originally self-published by Fiffe from 2009-2012, and these short stories about siblings Boston and Emily Zegas show Fiffe discovering new narrative possibilities telling grounded, character-driven stories with a boundary-pushing point of view.

I remember the time when Fiffe was making those Zegas comics, and I also remember how much bad advice he got from bad cartoonists at the time, just a never ending stream of unasked for horseshit from a choir of goons. He was never in danger of taking any of it, but it's still nice to sit here now, less than ten years later, and be able to see how right he was to do things exactly the way he did.

Over at The Guardian, there's a new best of list, built mostly for the kind of graphic novel reader who can only tolerate shopping at a traditional bookstore. It's not a bad list at all, but it is a relatively tame, tasteful one. Great to see the Guardian holding it down for Grandville though.

 

Binoculars

Cartoonist and comics educator Frank Santoro is back today with a column in which he reviews the new book by Watchmen artist Dave Gibbons and Tim Pilcher, How Comics Work.

Don't get me wrong, I love the work of Dave Gibbons, and hold it in the highest esteem. It's just that I wish the cover wasn't a giant Green Lantern advertisement and a pitch to the elusive market of young persons who know Green Lantern from some character on a popular TV show wearing a Green Lantern shirt. I know, I know, Gibbons did a definitive Green Lantern star turn. But the cover looks like a bad Gil Kane imitation and it has the poorest design in an otherwise flawlessly designed how to draw comics compendium. The cover is my biggest gripe with this book, so I thought I would get it out of the way first. I blame the publisher for that one slip, not Mr. Gibbons. Instead of being sold as a Dave Gibbons comic book artist masterclass, it is billed as "Green Lantern will show you how comics work with his magic ring."

I guess it could have been worse. While deciding on whether I should take my own photo of the book's cover or if I should find one on the internet, I came across the alternate cover below, which isn't much better. For a book that has pages and pages of "How To Make A Comic Book Cover" chapters, this isn't promising, is it? Why are "comics people" so often befuddled on how to make a good cover for the book trade? This is worse than that "so bad, it's good" Rich Buckler "Secrets of Drawing Comics" comic book from the '80s. How about just a classy photo of the distinguished auteur at his desk surrounded by his stuff? Why does it always have to be middle-of-the-road comics crap?

And RJ Casey is back, too, with a review of Richard Short's Klaus Magazine 3.

That’s not to say anything really happens in Klaus. One widowed bird attempts to woo the cat who devoured her husband. Another cat becomes an agent of chaos and knocks down all the structures the meticulous moles have built. Horses prance in distant fields and in a duck’s vivid fantasies. But most of all, these wistful beasts just sit around and pine away the day. They simply exist, showcasing one of Short’s greatest strengths: creating comics that are gentle without ever being cloying. Klaus can be like poetry in that way.

I’m not throwing around the term “poetry” like it’s often used in art comics lingo, as a stand-in for geometric squiggles on a page. Short is obviously concerning himself with line breaks and rhythm. The latter is aided by the layout. The majority of all Klaus comics are in a stacked four-panel grid with two strips to a page. Focusing on various themes and going back and forth between different characters in Short’s strong array, reading Klaus never feels like a chore like some strip collections. Short doesn’t produce these daily and you can tell. Situations never go stale and the punchline well is never wrung dry. Each strip feels like its very own distinct vignette.

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—News. Angoulême has released its slate of nominees for this year's festival prizes.

—Interviews & Profiles. Hillary Brown at Paste talks to Leslie Stein.

I think it’s a great skill to cultivate, being in the moment, looking at what’s around you, appreciating the tiny things that we often ignore. On the cover, there are three images of the main character… [in] one she is just looking at a bumblebee and how it flies around. It’s cheesy, but I derive great pleasure from these things, especially if other things in life aren’t going as we wished they would. The world is a scary place, but it can also be a beautiful place. Just put down your rectangle and go outside.

At the Atlantic, Corby Kummer talks to Vanity Fair editor Cullen Murphy (son and collaborator of Prince Valiant artist John Cullen Murphy) about his recent memoir, Cartoon County.

Kummer: You make the cartoonists of Fairfield County—Cartoon County—sound like an enclave, almost a cult.

Murphy: It definitely was not a cult; it was nothing like that. But there were lots and lots of cartoonists around. And my parents would entertain a lot, and they would go out a lot. And the people that they would entertain would largely be other cartoonists, and their spouses. It was very much a subculture that was aware of itself at the time. You know, there were probably a hundred people who were cartoonists that we knew one way or another in that group. And they were all essentially within 30 miles of each other. People like Mort Walker, who did Beetle Bailey, and Dik Browne, who did Hägar the Horrible, and Stan Drake, who did The Heart of Juliet Jones, and Jerry Dumas, who did Sam and Silo, and Tony DiPreta, who did Joe Palooka, and Ted Shearer, who did Quincy, and Crockett Johnson, who did Barnaby and also the children’s classic Harold and the Purple Crayon. Not to mention Chuck Saxon, the great New Yorker cartoonist.

At Strange Horizons, Gautam Bhatia talks cities and science fiction with the Indian cartoonist Krish Raghav.

I have lived my life entirely in giant megacities, and the old Moscow joke about the sixth ring road being the “end of civilization” cruelly applies to the ways my thinking has been influenced. In a way, I see cities as the only grounds for imagining futures, because they necessitate change and adjustment, and particularly in Asia, are populated by those seeking change or rupture from their upbringing.

Cities overwhelm and infiltrate the senses, and create imaginations where you hadn’t thought to look. In Tokyo, the names of the city’s subway lines can accurately describe the sound of a young underground band. A “Setagaya Line” band tends towards synth-pop and catchier hooks, while a “Chuo Line” band plays dark and heavy and loose.

—Reviews & Commentary. At the New York Times, Leopoldine Core reviews the new collection of Nicole Claveloux comics from NYRC.

Claveloux’s comics encapsulate the desire to change or reinvent oneself — but also to undermine society and the absurd sense of order it imposes. Her characters are often staring out a window or into the distance off the page, beaming out of the panels that contain them. Their facial features change dramatically from one drawing to the next but never disorientingly so — through Claveloux’s inconsistencies, each story is imbued with the fluidity of perception. It’s not like the fantasies of Disney, where the brand is always front and center. Claveloux takes pleasure in violating the familiar and many of these stories sneer at the stunted, insulting rituals of capitalism. With a wry sort of joy, Claveloux conveys the spectrum contained in polarities: real and unreal, male and female, animal and human, young and old.

For the same publication, Douglas Wolk reviews a slate of new comics and related books, including How to Read Nancy, Tillie Walden's Spinning, and Ulli Lust's Voices in the Dark.

A nearly-400-page graphic memoir by a 21-year-old seems like a dicey proposition — not least because most cartoonists take years or decades to develop their voice — but Tillie Walden’s SPINNING (First Second, paper, $17.99) is an engrossing, gorgeously quiet look back at the 12 years she devoted to figure and synchronized skating. It’s also her fourth book, remarkably. Walden touches on the physical control the sport requires and on the rivalries and camaraderie of young skaters, but she’s more concerned with evoking the feeling of being a skater: the chill of early-morning wake-ups (she recalls sleeping on top of her blankets so that she’d be cold already by the time she arrived at practice), the openness above the ice in an empty rink, the long stretches of waiting punctuated by brief flashes of performance.

Animation scholar Jerry Beck also has recently published a series of reviews of new comics and related books, including the same How to Read Nancy, as well as new Mickey Mouse and SpongeBob SquarePants collections.

Our David Gerstein ‘book of the month’ this time around is the eleventh volume of the Fantagraphics’ Floyd Gottfredson Mickey Mouse comic strip library. Just when you thought that every last scrap of rare Gottfredson art and every last thing to be told about the man and his work is said – Gerstein and crew provide even more from an apparently bottomless well. This edition covers the strip during its deepest post-war suburban-set era, with an emphasis in story lines containing fantasy/sci-fi elements of the type in vogue during the early 1950s (1951-1953 to be exact).

Finally, Sam Ombiri writes about the inimitable Carlos Gonzalez's Test Tube.

This comic feels like it’s mutating me and my reality. I wasn’t aware that a comic can wrap around my brain. It did this by using very familiar images, with unfamiliar modes of presentation that somehow mysteriously register. Carlos is bringing to attention how unfamiliar these familiar drawings are. He’s somehow simultaneously doing so much and so little to convey what objects, characters, and settings are, yet it all somehow renders so clearly. Which I guess is cartooning, but there seems to something in this system Carlos has introduced. He’s really mastered manipulating our mind at the bare minimum, but with the effort in design turned up to the maximum, to indicate at every turn of the story that something’s afoot. It also could just be satisfying at an aesthetic level. On my end it’s great to look at, but it simultaneously conveys the nature of the story.

 

All Dead In Kyoto Village

Today at The Journal, we covered the biggest recent hire in comics--and no, it's not the guy who still hasn't learned how to use the buttons on his shirt. It's the story of Zainab Akhtar, the influential comics critic and Shortbox publisher, who has recently taken a role with Swedish comics publisher Peow.

Zainab, were you actively looking to take on some kind of editorial role outside of your work with Shortbox? 

Zainab Akhtar: No. But that was more from giving up on being approached by someone. I know what I can do and my abilities and limitations, but no-one has ever reached out to me to edit comics or for any kind of role within the making of comics side.

And you were looking for that kind of role.

Zainab Akhtar: I guess I had maybe harboured an idea that someone (within comics) would hire me to work as an editor. I don't want to say hoped, because that's too strong a word; i never really believed it would happen, when you look at the viable companies out there in terms of who'd be in a position to pay, and who would fit in terms the 'eye' I have, I don't think there's anybody with whom I match up, and I'm not very compromising. Working for Peow genuinely feels like one of those 'if you wait it will come' situations, though. Specifically in terms of fit. I feel we're all familiar with what we each to do, our tastes, and that we're on the same page as to what we we're trying to achieve.

ELSEWHERE

News. The Mary Sue collects the most recent developments in the ongoing oddness surrounding the cancellation of one of IDW's GI Joe related mini-series, which seems to have been the result of right-wing harassment campaign. It's not the easiest story to parse, in part because it involves IDW bizarrely responding via email to a fan with way more information and venom than is remotely necessary. 

The terribleness of the American healthcare system isn't news, but that's still where I'm choosing to spotlight this piece that recently appeared on Bleeding Cool, titled "When A Monthly Batman Artist Can't Afford Healthcare". It's a Facebook post by DC freelancer David Hahn that gets specific about the financial difficulties inherent in being a mid-tier artist at the Big Two.

I don’t write all this for sympathy or “woe is me.” I know that I am a white, male, American, and that affords me advantages, yes, so I’d like to curtail anyone pointing that out to me. I know there will always be someone, somewhere, worse off, no matter who you are. My point of all this is because I am realizing that I am the vanishing middle class. I never really thought much about what that meant until the past few years.

This Cebulski thing is a bottomless pit. Here's the part where they were able to find one good solider to come on board and defend the guy, which they accomplished by bringing up the awe-inspiring cultural sensitivity of another white guy who worked at Marvel. 

Reviews & Sundry. Being out of touch with which cartoons are actually worth watching also means you're screwed at figuring out which cartoon comic book spin-offs are worth reading, which is what makes reviews like this one of Over the Garden Wall, by Melissa Brinks, so worthwhile. Detailed, insightful and informative. 

 

Oops

It's a double dose of Mark Newgarden this week, as he returns with an interview with his longtime friend, Drew Friedman. Friedman has a new collection of caricatures out, Chosen People, and is doing a signing in Los Angeles this Friday.

I have absolutely no memory of having said that [I planned to become a producer] but I probably did over multiple beers and Chinese food in Chinatown. I suppose I envisioned myself as the next George Jessel or Max Bialystock? Back then we bounced a lot of interesting future plans back and forth. Didn’t we discuss starting an agency to book comedians for funerals?

I know there was a time before we met at SVA that I resisted becoming a cartoonist or illustrator, and considered a career in stand-up comedy. But like Pacino in The Godfather Part III, it was inevitable, I was sucked back in. I have no regrets about not entering show business. I was witness to what my dad went through over the years in Hollywood and although he’s had great success in his career, things could also get very demoralizing for him. But he had a knack for bouncing back which is what you need to survive, I don’t know if I could have.

I’m a contented misanthrope; I like the life of a solitary artist, emerging from my undisclosed underground bunker from time to time to promote a new book. And I’ve gotten enough of a show biz fix by having greats like Abe Vigoda, Joe Franklin, or Larry Storch on hand to help celebrate my latest releases.

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—News. Incoming Marvel editor-in-chief C.B. Cebulski kicked off the most ridiculous first week on the job imaginable by confessing to Bleeding Cool that over a decade ago, while working as an associate editor at the company, he also sold comic scripts to the company under the false identity of Japanese mangaka "Akira Yoshida." (Cebulski is a white American who lived for a time in Japan.) Cebulski had developed a complicated backstory for Yoshida, and even once gave an interview in character to Comic Book Resources. The statement Cebulski gave to Bleeding Cool is, in the grand Marvel tradition, empty and upbeat.

I stopped writing under the pseudonym Akira Yoshida after about a year. It wasn’t transparent, but it taught me a lot about writing, communication and pressure. I was young and naïve and had a lot to learn back then. But this is all old news that has been dealt with, and now as Marvel’s new Editor-in-Chief, I’m turning a new page and am excited to start sharing all my Marvel experiences with up and coming talent around the globe.

The response online has been predictably and understandably harsh, and the story has migrated from fannish comics sites to mainstream media outlets such as Vulture, The Guardian, and The Hollywood Reporter (in a piece written by Graeme "Fanboy Rampage" McMillan, no less).

—Interviews & Profiles. Meg Lemke talks to Gene Luen Yang about diversity in books and his work as a reading ambassador.

So, I would never tell a writer that they cannot write outside of their experience. I almost think that it’s the defining job of a writer to be able to go outside of their own experience.

But I would say: don’t let that fear that you feel allow you to stop writing the story you want to write. You should let that fear drive you to do homework. You should let that fear drive you to humility. Approaching experiences that aren’t your own with a certain humility.

Alex Dueben spoke to GG:

I spend a lot of time laying in bed thinking about and playing out scenarios in my mind and then I go to my computer and start trying to put some of those scenes on the page. I work all digital now because it gives me much more flexibility to move stuff around. Like I mentioned above, the writing and drawing happens together and it’s just a process of redrawing things that don’t work. It’s not very efficient. Sometimes I’ll get to the middle of a story and have to throw everything out and start over again because I went down bad path. Again, it’s very intuitive – sort of an “I’ll recognize it when I see it” kind of approach.

And he spoke to Sophie Goldstein:

When I was at the Center for Cartoon Studies we had Paul Pope come as a visiting artist and one of the things he said really stuck with me—that he writes stories to give himself stuff that he wants to draw. Which may seem super-obvious, but that just blew my mind. I was like, I am never writing another script with a car again. [laughs] Which I haven’t actually stuck to, but I definitely think that fed into House of Women. I love science fiction, but I like drawing natural environments, not machines, and so House of Women takes place on a planet that’s essentially a jungle.

There were a lot of choices made in House of Women that were about giving me things that I wanted to draw.

The latest guest on Process Party is Sarah Glidden, and the most recent on Comics Alternative is Tim Lane.