Here’s the story.

Categories:  News

I saw some mention today of Act-I-vate’s sixth anniversary and Comics Beat’s second. This means we’re five. I’m not sure when it started, but at some point it just became easier to use other people’s anniversaries to mark the passage of time. Like clockwork, I received a note from the domain registrar, reminding me to renew, and as ever, I hesitated for a moment. There’s a certain sense of obligation in such a renewal, as though it symbolizes locking oneself in for another year. I keep coming back to my friend Alex’s decision to shutter the doors of his much beloved Brooklyn comic shop, when the idea of another five-year lease simply proved too much to bear.

This is the part where I explain what’s going on. I’m sure I’ve touch upon this briefly in the past – work tends to get in the way of life, and 13 hour days and worked weekends have the tendency to take their toll on interpersonal relationships and labors of love, and this site has always represented a bit of both. In a sense, I never wrote for anyone but myself, so it ought be regarded as some astronomical impossibility that so many other people I know and respect saw fit to put any stock in the words that came out the other side.

And then it slowed down and then it stopped. These things always end with a whimper. But there’s no use here for such finalities. There’s no end here. Let’s call it a hiatus. And certainly me and comics aren’t through. I’ve already got some irons in the fire – for the time being, however, my involvement with comics will likely involve work for others, like the Engadget Comics I’ve been curating for my day job and the Art Spiegelman interview for Publisher’s Weekly – there are a few others as well that I’m not quite ready to yank the curtain from.

But the Cross Hatch never made sense as a one man organization, and thankfully, through the years, I’ve been blessed with a handful of writers willing, like myself, to work for free (or, in my case, a negative sum) for the sheer honor of writing about our era’s most vibrant art form (and, of course, the promise of free comics), most notably Sarah Morean, who served as my partner for the vast majority of the site’s existence.

So this isn’t a goodbye – it’s really just a note to let you know that, despite what you might have read on a CBR message board, I’ve not been kidnapped by Turkish Pirates, so maybe send a jokey birthday card in lieu of flowers – or better yet some comics. The stack’s starting to get low.

–BH

Interview: Susie Cagle Talks Occupy Oakland

Categories:  Features, Interviews

Susie Cagle was teargassed yesterday, ducked on the sidewalk in an attempt to avoid rubber bullets from police weapons. The cartoonist has spent much of her past week camped out at Occupy Oakland, gathering fodder for an illustrated history of the movement (one you can help fund here, if so inclined), and by sheer presence, becoming a part of the event.

We managed to grab a few moments of her time ahead of this evening’s events to discuss the movement,  objectivity, and what it means to be a graphic journalist.

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Interview: Dave Roman Pt. 2

Categories:  Interviews

dave-roman-astronaut-academy-doug-hiro-space-walk

In this second part of our interview with the Teen Boat author, we talk age appropriateness, absurdity, and self-censorship.

[Part One]

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Interview: Anders Nilsen Pt. 3

Categories:  Interviews

Anders-Nilsen-Dogs-and-water-trek

We wrap up our interview with the Big Questions author by discussing printmaking, the importance of wandering, and figuring out the riddles of the universe.

[Part One][Part Two]

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Interview: Dave Roman Pt. 1

Categories:  Interviews

Dave-Roman-Teen-Boat-Ear

When Dave Roman had first announced the forthcoming release of the collected Teen Boat for Clarion Press, I was a bit dumbfounded to realize that we’d never set up an official interview. Sure we’d spoken countless times and even been on the odd panel together, but for some reason or other, we’d never sat down for a formal Cross Hatch Q&A, and while his new book is still more than half a year away, now seemed as good a time as any.

After all, Roman has been working virtually non-stop since losing a full-time editorial position after the untimely demise of Nickelodeon Magazine. He contributed to anthologies like Flight, collaborated with wife Raina Telgemeier on an X-Men manga series and celebrated the release of his first Astronaut Academy collection for First Second this summer.

Like that series, Teen Boat began life as a web and mini-comic. While maintaining the cartoonist’s long-standing focus on younger readers, the latter series skews a bit older, combining, as the tagline goes, “the angst of being a teen with the thrill of being a boat.” In this first part of our conversation, we discuss revisiting older work, Roman’s tendency toward long storylines, and why making comics for kids is important.

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Interview: Anders Nilsen Pt. 2

Categories:  Interviews

anders-nilsen-ground-swan

In this second part of our interview with the Dogs and Water artist, we discuss the importance of silence, the ways art school affects comics composition and how Big Questions is different than Spider-man fighting the Green Goblin.

[Part One]

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Interview: Anders Nilsen Pt. 1

Categories:  Interviews

anders-nilsen-big-questions-birds-question-marks

The new Big Questions collection from Drawn & Quarterly is a rather staggering thing. It’s a 658 page hardcover, 2.6-inch thick culmination 15 single issues drawn over the course of a decade. The series, which was born in the pages of Anders Nilsen’s art school sketchbook, centers around the journey of tiny talking birds, set against minimalist landscapes.

The series, along with the Ignatz-winning Dogs and Water, the Xeric-winning The Ballad of the Two-Headed Boy, and appearances in anthologies like Kramers Ergot and Mome, have helped earn Nilsen a place as one of the most respected names in cartooning circles. The new sweeping Big Questions collection is likely to land him a fair amount of notice outside our often claustrophobic world.

Whatever the case, Nilsen has already moved onto other things, beginning work on a new story, and getting ready to board a plane to France the day after we spoke.

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Interview: Drew Friedman Pt. 4

Categories:  Interviews

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We wrap up our interview with Drew Friedman by discussion the seriousness of comedy, his relationship with Crumb, and the role he played in Anthony Weiner’s resignation

[Part One][Part Two][Part Three]

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Interview: Tom Neely Pt. 4 [of 4]

Categories:  Interviews

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We finally wrap up our interview with The Wolf author by discussing self-publishing, going to the post office, and making enemies of Glenn Danzig.

[Part One][Part Two][Part Three]

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Guest Strip: Doug Latino & Gideon Kendall

Categories:  Guest Strip
Tags: ,

doug_tzDoug Latino’s earliest comic memories involve Mad Magazine, Mad paperbacks, and wondering if that Mr. Natural character he kept seeing on t-shirts really had all the answers. He also knew a couple of minutes in that the mom of his best friend at the time, Doug, made a big mistake taking Doug and Doug to the drive-in theater to see Fritz the Cat. He wouldn’t have gone if he had known about Crumb’s lousy film contract. He’s come back around to writing, giving it up shortly after college to pursue a rewarding career in newspaper publishing. You can follow him on Twitter at @douglatino.

Gideon Kendall always loved comics. As a youngster he copied Garfield and Doonesbury panels. He got really good at drawing the White House. Then he got into superheroes, and practiced inventing engorged fictitious muscle groups. Now he’s trying to get really good at drawing Doug Latino. He also paints garbage, works as an animation designer, and illustrates children’s books. He’ll do just about anything to earn a living, as long as it involves making pictures. Go to: gideonkendall.com

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