Interview: Jay Lynch Pt. 3 [of 3]

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[Art by Frank Cammuso]

Before his reinventing himself as a children’s book author through Toon Book properties like Otto’s Orange Day with Frank Cammuso and the Dean Haspiel collaboration, Mo and Jo Fighting Together Forever, Jay Lynch was a driving force in the Chicago’s underground comics movement of the early-70s, publishing Bijou Funnies, which brought the comics world pioneering works by the likes of Gilbert Shelton, Art Spiegelman, and, of course, Lynch himself.

In the interim years, Lynch has worked on a wide range of projects, both comics and not, including the Spiegelman-created Wacky Packages series for Topps, and its successor, The Garbage Pail Kids. The artist also contributed to Mad, shortly after the return of counter-culture cartooning legend, Harvey Kurtzman.

In this final part of out interview with Lynch, we discuss working on Mad, whether today’s children’s books are a bit too safe these days, and the battle to stay afloat financially.

[Part One] [Part Two]
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Interview: Jay Lynch Pt. 2 [of 3]

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His latest work, a collaboration with Act-I-Vater, Dean Haspiel, is hardly Jay Lynch’s first foray into the world of children’s entertainment. The book, Mo & Jo Fighting Together Forever, is Lynch’s second for Francoise Mouly’s Toon Books imprint. It’s also the latest in a long line of output aimed at children, including Garbage Pail Kids packs, My Little Pony sticker books, and lyrics for kids songs—a far cry from the latter day output of many of his late-60s underground comics contemporaries.

In this second part of our interview with the artist, we discuss the state of children’s books, X-men’s sales figures, and why his days drawing Duckman comics will also make him think of OJ.

[Part One]

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Interview: Jay Lynch Pt. 1

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Jay Lynch was there at the beginning. As the head of Bijou Funnies, he published some of the most significant underground pioneers of the late-60s, including folks like Robert Crumb, Skip Williamson, Art Spiegelman, and Justin Green, while gaining notoriety in his own right as an artist in his own right, thanks to titles like Nard ‘n’ Pat.

With that in mind, the context for our conversation feels a touch strange. When I call him at his home in upstate New York, the artist is eager to speak about his latest work, Mo and Jo Fighting Together Forever, a collaboration with Act-I-Vate artist, Dean Haspiel. It’s Lynch’s second book for young children under the Toon Books umbrella.

The connection between Lynch’s early career and his current children’s work is rather rather easily unpacked, however. Toon Books head (and New Yorker art director) Francoise Mouly approached Lynch to join the fold of her soon-to-be launched publishing house three years ago. The collaboration eventually resulted in Otto’s Orange Day, release by the company, earlier this year.

But Otto was hardly Lynch’s first work for children, the artist having spent a significant portion of his career working on contract for Topps—works like Wacky Packs and The Garbage Pail Kids—alongside fellow underground legend (and Mouly’s husband), Art Spiegelman.

We spoke to Lynch about Spiegelman, superheroes, and his days spent slaving away at in the My Little Pony mines.

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