Interview: Jordan Crane Pt. 3 [of 3]

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jordancranecloudsabovetardy

In this third and final part of our discussion with The Clouds Above artist, we discuss Crane’s first venture in kids lit and how having children of his own has affected his art.

[Part One][Part Two]

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Interview: Jordan Crane Pt. 2

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This second part of our interview delves deeply into the artist’s process–mapping out stories, sketchbooks, ten-issue arcs, and the importance of drawing noses and eyelids.

[Part One]

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Interview: Jordan Crane Pt. 1

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When all was said and done, it seemed that Jordan Crane had a good Comic-Con. He’d had his share of complaints about the show, of course—we all did. “[N]ow that it’s selling out,” he told me, as we spoke inside his booth on the final day of the show, “it’s people who have no interest in my work or they already know it. There doesn’t seem to be anything in between. There’s no new faces. It kind of takes an element of the fun out of it.”

Be that as it may, there’s no denying that the artist did brisk business, our interview interrupted several times as showgoers forked over cash. From the vantage point of the passerby, Crane’s artwork is unquestionably his strongest draw, with giant screen-printed posters of art pulled from Uptight hanging above him, alongside works by co-booth renters Johnny Ryan and Steven Weissman.

Speaking with the artist, however, it soon became clear that, in spite of possessing an unquestionable flair for graphic design, to Crane, all aspects of sequential art are secondary to his passion for the written word, a fact reflected in his recent decision to focus far more time and energy into comics making than his life as a work-for-hire cartoonist.

His passion is Uptight, one of the last few remaining serialized books in the indie comics scene.  Fantagraphics released the third issue of the book earlier this year, just in time for Comic-Con. Until now, the production schedule has been sporadic at best, but Crane has promised that, with his new-found focus, we’ll be seeing a lot more of the book in the years to come.
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Interview: Seth Pt. 3 [of 3]

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Some things just can’t be helped. Sitting out in front of the San Diego Convention Center, surrounded by throngs of showgoers decked out in their finest spandex, the conversation almost inevitably returns to the state of the superhero in contemporary comics, even with an artist whose life and work and are seemingly inseparable from sequential art of the past.

A line of questioning about Seth’s work on the gorgeous Complete Peanuts soon takes a turn for the superheroic when the artist mentions a childhood fascination with Marvel Comics, and a conversation about Jack Kirby progressing into philosophies regarding the negative pop cultural impact of Alan Moore’s Watchmen.

[Part One][Part Two]

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Interview: Seth Pt. 2 [of 3]

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From his book design to his brand of cigarettes, let there be no debate that Seth is a man of complete and largely uncompromised style, a fact that has made his art some of the most instantly recognizable cartooning work of this decade. The artist practically recoils at the mention of editorial oversight when it comes to his comics, by anyone from The New York Times on down.

In this second of our three part interview, we touch on that exact topic, as it pertains to his most recent book, George Sprott, and his work on the design of Fantagraphics’ Complete Peanuts.

[Part One]
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A Mess of Everything by Miss Lasko-Gross

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A Mess of Everything
By Miss Lasko-Gross
Fantagraphics

misslaskogrossamesscoverAs the comics medium has flourished over the past decades, autobiographical (and semi-autobiographical) comics seem overdone—or are at least well on their way to being so. How many first-person stories about growing up do we really need? How different can they all really be? It’s hard to ignore such questions when picking up Miss Lasko-Gross’s second graphic novel, A Mess of Everything. The book, which is also number two in her semi-autobiographical trilogy, tells the tale of  Melissa, as she goes through high school. Admittedly, I wasn’t hugely excited by this prospect. I’ve read plenty of these types of books.

But A Mess of Everything surprised me. It turned out to be quite worthy: funny, insightful, and at times, moving. It’s not a revolutionary book—it doesn’t stretch or redefine the bounds of its genre—but Lasko-Gross reminded me that the beauty of her chosen genre is that everyone’s story is, in fact, different and unique. If the author is a skilled storyteller, it’s as good as a reason as any to read yet another graphic novel about growing up, even if you’ve already read many.

Let’s start with the title: It is perfect. When you’re a teenager, you pretty much always feel like you’ve made a mess of everything—or, even if it’s not your doing, like everything is a complete mess. Lasko-Gross hits the nail on the head with her title, which captures perfectly the angst that fills Melissa’s journey.

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Interview: Craig Yoe Pt. 2 [of 2]

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joeshustersmpole

In part two of our interview with cartoon art historian Craig Yoe. We discuss the roles that Fredrick Wertham, a Brooklyn-based gang of Jewish Nazis, and the Supreme Court judge who helped found the ACLU played in Joe Shuster’s post-Superman SM drawings.

[Part One]

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Interview: Jason Pt. 2 [of 2]

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In this second part of our interview with the visionary—if not especially verbose—author of Low Moon, we discuss the case for autobiography comics, Jason’s pre-comics work in a Norwegian furniture factory, and the influence of American underground cartooning on its European counterparts.

[Part One]
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Interview: Craig Yoe Pt. 1 [of 2]

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Given the breadth and diversity of Craig Yoe’s career, from My Little Pony employee to creative director of the Muppets to self-made comics historian, it might be easier to define him by those seemingly few things he hasn’t done in the entertainment industry. Or better yet, we’ll simply focus on those aspects of Yoe’s career that are particularly important to us, at the moment, beginning with the 2005 publication of Modern Arf.

The first in the Fantagraphic series—which now includes Art Museum and Arf Forum—the anthology helped established Yoe a first-class documenter of sequential art’s secret history, a position echoed in the near simultaneous publication of Boody, the Fantagraphics-published love letter largely forgotten master, Boody Rogers and Abrams’ Secret Identity.

We sat down with Yoe at the recent MoCCA Festival in midtown Manhattan for a conversation that largely revolved around the latter, a book devoted to the long lost SM drawings of Superman artist, Joe Shuster, which Yoe happened to stumble upon at a rare art sale.

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Nine Ways to Disappear By Lilli Carre

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Nine Ways to Disappear
By Lilli Carre
Little Otsu

lillicarreninewayscoverGiven a little more time, one suspects that Lilli Carre could conjure up a lot more than nine. There are plenty of ways to disappear, and perhaps even more justifications for wanting to do so. It’s a good number though—certainly enough to fill up this beefy little teal volume. And besides, a nice, neat, round number like 10 wouldn’t suit an author so prone to open-ended tales as Carre.

Nine Ways to Disappear is a quiet book of single paneled pages based largely around narration, pieces mostly spun with fairy tale omniscience, a storytelling method well-suited to the magical realism that unfolds in nearly every piece. Mermaids populate these pages as do perpetually shrinking men and living skeletons. But Carre doesn’t embrace the fantastic for its own sake.

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