Lunch Break :: April 22, 2011

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Lunch Break is a short round-up of favorite webcomics appearing here each weekday at noon. Here’s something for you to enjoy over your lunch break or whenever. The premise is simple: It’s another day on the internet. Here’s a new or forgotten comic that seems interesting.

We’d love to have you guest edit Lunch Break! Check out the Contribute page for more information.

  1. Freelancer Challenge by Debbie Ohi // 2011
  2. Checking out Chicks at Charlie’s from “Failure” by Karl Stevens // April 5, 2011
  3. “The Power of Nicknames” from English Majeure by Keith Pille // April 17, 2011
  4. Negative Dad by Wavves // April 2011
  5. Dark Horse Presents #1 preview by various // April 2011

Sarah Morean

Interview: Bryan Talbot Pt. 1 [of 3]

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For the past three decades, Bryan Talbot has established himself as a force in the underground comics scene in a manner almost unfathomable in the US. Such a contrast is particularly jarring given the way that I’m first introduced to the legend, surrounded on all sides by costumed show-goers all shuffling about on their merry way to the next flashy bit of flashy Hollywood eye candy on the showroom floor.

For most of his allotted signing window at the Dark Horse booth, there’s a fairly steady stream of fans queuing up to see him, copies of Alice in Sunderland or The Tale of One Bad Rat or any number of the artist’s seemingly infinite works in hand, each one with a kind word or two about the ways in which his work has affected them over the years. But it’s hardly the manner of rock star welcome one might hope to see for an artist of Talbot’s stature.

But expecting impatient hordes is a bit of a fool’s errand. It’s precisely Tablot’s staunch independence that has established him as such a cult figure in this scene, the manner of visionary whose prophetic work is only embraced by the mainstream decades later in a rather watered-down form.

We sit down in the press portion of the Dark Horse booth and begin the conversation by talking about superheroes. It can’t be helped—we’re surrounded by them, and really, weaned on American comics of the 50s and 60s, they’re every bit a part of Talbot’s vocabulary as that of those caped fan boys roaming the hall of the San Diego Convention Center.

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Interview: Nicholas Gurewitch Pt. 2 [of 2]

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Nicholas Gurewitch gets extremely excited when he discusses his upcoming projects—few if any of which have anything to do with the strip that made him one of the most beloved names of the early 21st century Webcomics renaissance. He talks painting and screenplays and a pilot that he worked on for the BBC, a while at times the artist’s mind seemingly couldn’t be further from the comic, Gurewitch clearly has plenty of love for the strip. And he insists that, while its seemingly been placed on the back burner in favor of new creative ventures, it’s certainly not going anywhere.

In this second and final part of our interview with the Perry Bible Fellowship creator, we discuss the artist’s many creative pursuits, the importance of feedback, and why being funny isn’t necessarily the most important function of great comedy.

[Part One]

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Interview: Nicholas Gurewitch Pt. 1 [of 2]

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Earlier this month, Dark Horse released The Perry Bible Fellowship Almanack. A gorgeous hard-covered volume, the book trumps its predecessor, The Trial of Colonel Sweeto in sheer breadth of content, collecting the entire span of the Webcomic’s run, with a supplemental interview (conducted by Wondermark’s David Malki), a foreword by Juno’s Diablo Cody, a number abandoned strips, and some additional illustration work.

There’s also sense of finality to the volume. Perhaps it’s the fact that it covers the entire series this far, or maybe it’s the Dark Horse press material, which refers to the book as, “the second (and likely final) collection of strips from the award-winning comic series.”

It’s no doubt a downer of a sentiment for the series’ numerous fans, but for the strip’s creator, Nicholas Gurewitch, the book’s release hardly marks the end of either PBF or his career as a cartoonist. The artist has, however, scaled production on the strip back from its weekly publishing schedule. But with more time to pursue new creative avenues, Gurewitch assures us that we’ve only seen a small piece of his creative potential.

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Interview: Rob Reger Pt 2. [of 2]

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Rob Reger’s Emily has appeared on skateboard desks, t-shirts, in comic books, and novels. The next step for the black and white little girl couldn’t be more clear–Emily’s going to get her on movie. In this second part of our interview with the graphic designer turned mini-mogul, we squeeze what little information about the upcoming film project he’s willing to spill.

[Part One]

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Interview: Eric Powell Pt. 2 [of 2]

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At a comics convention, an early stages movie deal is something of a 300-pound gorilla—something everyone wants to discuss, but still tries hard not to jinx. In this industry we’ve seen countless optioning deals come and go, so when a creator announces that they’ve got the ball rolling on a project, it can be difficult to broach the subject.

The Goon creator, Eric Powell, while slightly apprehensive, seems fairly confident in a recent deal struck for his most famous creation. And really, the artist has every right to be. After all, he’s got David Fincher in his corner. A self-proclaimed fan of the Dark Horse  series, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button director has signed onto the project as a producer. Powell has begun working on treatments for the film, and, by all accounts, the early animation looks extremely promising.

In this second and final part of our interview with Powell, we discuss working for the Hollywood machine and what it’s like letting his creation go, ever-so-slightly, in order to explore mediums outside the insular comics world.

[Part One]

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Interview: Eric Powell Pt. 1 [of 2]

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A skilled craftsman by any measure, Eric Powell has put in his time all over the industry, from more independent works to superhero franchises like Batman and Superman. The Lebanon, Tennessee-based artist is, however, most content to do things on his own terms, reveling in the rare manner of freedom afforded to him by his own Dark Horse series, The Goon, the ever-evolving tale of a classically-styled pipe wrench-wielding ruffian doing battle with whatever manner of strange and fantastic villianry the artist’s mind can concoct.

After nearly a decade, the series has become Powell’s major creative outlet, and the hard work has paid off in spades. The book has become one of Dark Horse’s most popular creator-owned works and has garnered Powell numerous awards, including a handful of Eisners. It’s also recently been optioned by David Fincher in hopes of being transformed into an animated feature.

We sat down with Powell at this year’s New York Comic Con to talk about his work in the industry and why all roads lead back to The Goon.
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Interview: Bob Fingerman Pt. 3 [of 3]

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Of course Bob Fingerman is kidding when he suggests that the title of this article ought be “Bob Fingerman: Portrait in Self-Defeat.” Well, mostly.

Fingerman doesn’t go out of his way to please all the people all the time—after all, that’s what syndicated Sunday funnies are for. In the most simplistic terms, his work often reads like an adult What If? comic. What if zombies took over an elementary school? What if a black man’s brain was transplanted into the body of a white teenage girl? What if vampires had a conscious about the whole killing people thing?

The results are strange, warped, hilarious, occasionally disturbing, and, above all, aggressively unique, which is no doubt one of the main reasons why the artist’s short-lived stint on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles book wasn’t exactly a match made in heaven.

But, while Fingerman has seemingly been less than eager to compromise his work for the sake of wide-scale acceptance, over the years, the industry has largely come around to his unique vision.

In this third and final part of our interview with Fingerman, we discuss the artist’s brushes with the mainstream.

[Part One][Part Two]

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Interview: Bob Fingerman Pt. 1 [of 3]

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In 2003, Fantagraphics released Beg the Question. The 240 page hardcover book collected the entire run of Bob Fingerman’s mid-90s series, Minimum Wage—which, to this day, remains the author’s best known work. The mini-series follows the story of cartoonist and part-time pornography enabler, Rob, and his girlfriend Sylvia. While the book’s thinly-veiled autobiographical aspects shed a good deal of light on both the artist’s early career and, perhaps, a healthy dose of neurosis, Minimum Wage is hardly typical Fingerman fare.

From his first graphic novel, the science fiction satire White Like She to the recent short Dark Horse book, Recess Pieces, an elementary school-based zombie splatter fest, Fingerman’s work is largely concerned with the social and comedic implications of juxtaposing the fantastic with the mundane, a formula that has played out in both his first prose novel, Bottomfeeder, centering around a neurotic vampire, and his year-long run on The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the early 90s.

Published in late 2006, Bottomfeeder was Fingerman’s last major release. The artist is gearing up for another big year in 2009, however, with releases from both Fantagraphics and IDW. We caught up with the Fingerman just before the Christmas holiday.

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Interview: Sarah Oleksyk

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A woman working at an all-night copy shop becomes emotionally involved with one of her customers and discovers he’s a heroin addict. Graveyard is Sarah Oleksyk’s comics narrative that made it into the hands of Lynda Barry. “It was very difficult for me to write,” she says. Sarah Oleksyk draws her stories into highly-structured pages that she meticulously renders with brush and ink. “And I wasn’t proud of the artwork,” Oleksyk confides. “But it’s the story that has gone the farthest, so I just have to learn to love it.”

Lynda Barry is a fan of the hard-to-love misfits, and Oleksyk loves her work. “She writes about the emotional realm.” Oleksyk agrees that her own work also centers on a character’s reaction to situations. “The books I get attached to are always character driven. I have to care about the character.”

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