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Fly Away!

Hi there, today we’re republishing Gary Groth’s 1994 interview with the political cartoonist Tom Tomorrow. Here’s a sample of their conversation:

GROTH: I was unsure how much you actually draw the strip and how much of it is photo-referenced.
TOMORROW: It varies from strip to strip. Most of the time I’ll draw in people’s bodies and their hands if they’re holding things, that sort of thing. The main thing that is photo-referenced at this point are the faces because it’s a certain look and it’s a hard thing to mimic this photocopied look, which is a deliberate thing that I’m trying to put in. The penguin and the space alien are always drawn freehand.
GROTH: This isn’t meant as an insult, but I was wondering how well you drew.
TOMORROW: Oh, it’s atrophied a lot, so I don’t really know how anymore. I’m certainly no Paul Mavrides, I’ll put it that way. But I can do what I need to do to make the strip work.
GROTH: One of the many sources of depression, as far as I’m concerned, is even though I love the work you do, and the work Tom Toles or Bill Griffith does, it doesn’t seem to me that it actually changes anything. Do you actually write and draw this with that in mind? Trying to affect the world, trying to affect the people who read it? Or are you giving solace to the people who agree with you?
TOMORROW: I have always only viewed it as something that is comforting the afflicted. Because as I say, when the debate ends at the middle of the road, to even get a more progressive perspective in print, I think, gives people a certain amount of comfort. There’s just a constant battle of ideology in this country: “You can’t print that! You can’t print that!” The religious right are especially bad about that. I think the left tends to be more, “OK, you print your thing, but for Chrissakes, let us get a word in edgewise occasionally.” Of course the right just cannot tolerate dissent. “You simply cannot print that,” and most of the time they get their way, whether they realize it or not. It’s continually amusing to me that conservatives go on about the liberal media bias. I mean it bloody well hasn’t kept the conservatives from running the country for 12 years, has it? So occasionally I get a letter from somebody who says, “I’ve always voted Republican but you really made a good point here,” and that’s nice, but it’s nothing I expect at all.

And Rob Clough reviews Jason Shiga’s Demon:

Jason Shiga is known for, among other things, having a degree in pure mathematics from Berkeley. That background informs his comics; they frequently play out as problems waiting to be solved. That’s obvious in both Meanwhile and his epic Hello World, which are demented choose-your-own-adventure books that mostly result in characters getting killed off in brutal & hilarious ways. However, it’s true of his other work as well. Bookhunter was notable for its 1970s detective-show setting and the novelty of a “library police” existing in the real world, using the best technology of the day to solve book-related crimes. At its heart, however, the book is devoted to solving interlocking locked-room mysteries. Double Happiness is about negotiating and solving life-or-death matters related to race. Fleep is about a trapped man trying to solve the mystery of his missing memories while finding a way to escape from a rubble-pinned phone booth. Even Empire State, a quasi-autobiographical story about unrequited love, features a character trying to use logic as a method for finding love.

Elsewhere:

Did you know it’s Comic-Con time? Here’s a photoset to remind you of what’s happening right now.

Here’s an unusual article on how college/university life is portrayed in comics.

I like this post on comics strips in newspapers the day of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

TCJ contributor Matt Seneca previews some of his own upcoming comics work.

And finally, I liked this essay by Michael A. Johnson on possible implications/meanings of Rutu Modan’s clear line renderings.

I’m taking a little vacation from today until Thursday. Tim’s in charge!


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