#679 Mark Russell

Billionaire IslandMark Russell has been one of the standout comics writers of the past five years, in part because he’s possibly the only mainstream comics writer doing satire (or, he would argue, fables). Since he burst on the scene with Prez and The Flintstones, he’s written a number of comics for several publishers that aren’t just comedy or action, they express his views and have deeper meanings.

This time, Tim’s interview with Mark. How did he get into comics, and start out in a Big Two book? Why did he use ’60s Hanna-Barbera character Snagglepuss to tell a story of gays in the 1950s? How do you “punch someone in the beef”? What inspired his latest, Billionaire Island? And how does he feel about being the only writer of his kind in mainstream comics?

#676 “Ballyskillen”: An augmented reality comic

Ballyskillen

Over the years there have been some attempts at augmented reality comics — where a smartphone app pointed at a comics page will reveal a bit of animation. One issue with these projects is that they’re labor-intensive, and require several different skill sets to produce. Sam Noir and Andrew Dorland are Kickstarting an augmented reality comic called Ballyskillen, and Andrew has multiple necessary skill sets for the endeavor, which he’ll apply to the project in proportion to the amount of money raised. In this mini-episode, Tim talks with Sam and Andrew about the project, and also about Sam’s series of comics anthologies called Cauldron.

 

#674 Introducing Zoe Thorogood!

The Impending Blindness of Billie Scott

Zoe Thorogood is a young British woman whose first graphic novel, The Impending Blindness Of Billie Scott, will be released in October. It’s the story of a young woman who’s just gotten her big break, being asked to paint ten works for a gallery show, when an injury causes her to gradually lose her eyesight. Along the way, she meets a number of interesting characters.

In this episode, Tim talks to Zoe about the ins and outs of making the book, and then discusses the book itself with Emmet.

#673 Kismet, Man of Fate

Kismet

He first appeared in 1944, the Algerian super-hero who fought for the World War II Allies: Kismet, Man of Fate! The first known Muslim superhero, he appeared in all four issues of a series called Bomber Comics. Then the series was cancelled and Kismet was forgotten, until 2014 when the character, freshly out of copyright, was revived in stories by writer A. David Lewis and artist Noel Tuazon. In this episode, Lewis talks with Tim about the history of the character and the revival, and then Will Weaver joins Tim to review the revival book, Kismet, Man of Fate, vol 1: Boston Strong.

#672 “Pulp” and Publishing Your Book

Pulp and comics publishing

The words “Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips” have essentially become the name of a genre, a certain kind of noir-ish crime story. The latest entry in this “genre”, an original graphic novel called Pulp, is in this vein but also features elements of the western. b joins Tim to review the latest by this renowned team.

Jason’s Kickstarter for Ghost Band

Then Tim talks to attorney and writer Gamal Hennessy about his Kickstarter-funded book The Business of Independent Comic Book Publishing, avoiding the three mistakes many comics creators make when publishing their first book, and the general state of the American comic book industry.

Another interview with Gamal at Practicesource.com

Critiquing Comics #177: “Genius Animals?”

Back in the early days of the podcast, artist Jun-Pierre Shiozawa was one of our first interviewees. He recently resurfaced as artist on a comic written by sitcom writer and producer Vali Chandrasekaran called Genius Animals?, a comedy story about conspiracy theories. In this episode, Tim talks to the two of them about how they met and the origins of the script, and then Tim and Mulele critique the comic.

#671 Derf’s “Kent State”

Kent State

Fifty years ago, four students died when national guardsman inexplicably opened fire during an anti-war protest at Kent State University. The craziness of 2020 has hindered planned observances of the craziness of 1970, but we do get this: Derf Backderf’s Kent State: Four Dead in Ohio, a moving account of May 1-4, 1970, through the eyes of those who lost their lives.

In this episode, Tim and Kumar review the book, to be released September 8, and then Tim chats with Derf himself, answering our questions about the tragedy and the book.

#669 Chad, Live from Amsterdam!

Chad in Amsterdam

Chad Bilyeu’s Chad in Amsterdam series has been a favorite of ours on our Critiquing Comics spinoff show. In this episode, Chad talks to Tim about what it’s like living in Amsterdam, how he puts together his comic, and what’s coming up next from him!

#668 Baron and McNamara: Writing and Crowdfunding Comics in the “Corona” Era

"Florida Man" and "Nocturnal Commissions"

A couple of past guests return to the show with new material! Mike Baron, best known as writer of the Nexus series, talks about his comedy graphic novel (with artist Todd Mulrooney) Florida Man, and Jason McNamara has reunited with artist Greg Hinkle for a slightly creepy comedy series, Nocturnal Commissions. Both writers share with Tim their thoughts about crowdfunding (which was the publishing mechanism for both comics), story writing, and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on fiction writing.

#667 Freelancer problems

Many of us have dreamed of getting paid to make comics. Except in rare cases, working in American comics means being a freelancer. While a creative career can be rewarding, there are plenty of downsides, too.

First, there are the day-to-day problems. Tim talks to Howard Simpson, a freelancer in Los Angeles, about time management, letting friends and family know you’re not ALWAYS free, dealing with lack of health insurance, and more.

Then, Asher Elbein talks about his recent article in The Daily Beast about how the recent allegations of top freelancers abusing their power to seduce young women, or certain publisher staff members outright abusing freelancers and others, are of a piece with the well-documented problems of freelancers like Alan Moore or Siegel and Schuster, who were vastly undercompensated for making wildly successful comics like Watchmen and Superman!