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Today on the website, RJ Casey interviews Jason Murphy about violence, abstract art, narrative incoherence, kids' comics and his recent story, "The Character".


Is The Character a child?

No, but I feel like I was connecting with the design because of some of those childhood cartoon emblems like the Odie ears, the Mickey feet, and the Dopey butt. His design is a symbol of my childhood, but much of his story is based on my present reality. Does that make sense?

Sure. Was it easy for your kids to connect with it then? Do they read your work?

They do enjoy it, and they are very supportive. They’re both seven, so they are at a great age for making art. I probably get more inspiration from them than they do from me. I feel like they connected with my work more when they were three or four though. Much of my narrative work is silent, so I would flip through the pages with them and we would make up sound effects together.

You feel like they’ve aged out of it somehow?

[Laughter] Yes, they are much too sophisticated for it now. Three to four is my wheelhouse. I don’t know, they like it. They just don’t connect with it the way they did at a younger age. They’re making their own work now.


Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—Interviews & Profiles. Sam Thielman profiles Gary Panter on the occasion of Songy of Paradise.

Panter, who spent a year-long fellowship at the New York Public Library studying Milton in preparation, has put a lot of himself into it as well. He describes himself as “Christian-damaged” but admits that religion does obsess him.

In fact, Panter says that he experienced his own formative vision, in a manner of speaking. Back in 1972, he “took a shitload of bad acid”, an experience that disturbed him so badly he had to leave school for a year. The memory of it still haunts him: “There’d be composite creatures made of vacuum cleaners, all kinds of devices,” he says of his trip. “And then they’d be covered with thousands of roach clips each holding a butterfly wing or a playing card, and they’d all be stop-motion animated, and going, ‘Come with us!’” This was not the organic and spiritual experience he’d hoped for.

Alexandra Alter talks to Junot Diáz about his new picture book, which should be very interesting. Diáz is one of the most comics-fluent novelists around.

A year and a half ago, Mr. Díaz was driving in Miami with a friend and her young daughter, when the little girl became restless and demanded a story. Mr. Díaz obliged and began telling her a tale he made up on the spot.

As the story grew more elaborate and detailed, Mr. Díaz’s partner, the author Marjorie Liu, who was also in the car, recorded a video on her cellphone. She later wrote out a transcript of the story and urged him to publish it, but Mr. Díaz didn’t think it was good enough. “I was my typical curmudgeonly self,” he said.

It might have ended there. But Ms. Liu sent the video to his agent, Nicole Aragi, who encouraged him to revise it and develop it into a children’s book.

The most recent guest on Comics Alternative is Gabrielle Bell.

The New York Times has published its obituary for Sam Glanzman.


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