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.
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.
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!
This time, we diverge from the normal format and discuss a variety of topics:
1:17 Writer Craig Hurd-McKenny sent us three of his LGBTQ+-friendly comics, and we discuss them all: The Magic If (art by Gervasio, Melisa Jones, and Tyler Smith-Owings), The Brontes: Infernal Angria (art by Rick Geary), and Some Strange Disturbances (art by Gervasio, Carlos Aon, and Tyler Smith-Owings).
32:16 In Deconstructing Comics last week, Tim talked to some comics retailers in Chicago about the state of the industry. Tim and Mulele react to the retailers’ comments.
55:17 Tim talks about the movies he saw during his visit to the U.S.: Captain Marvel, Dumbo, and Shazam!
1:26:53 We read mail from creators whose comics we’ve discussed in past episodes.
When someone you know, someone who had an impact on your life, leaves us too soon, it can be tough to process. Struggling to accept the 2017 death of comics creator and all-around renaissance man Ed Siemienkowicz (who appeared in DCP episodes 227 and 393) at age 43, Tim spent part of his recent visit to Chicago meeting some of Ed’s friends and family, to commiserate and share memories — and check the progress of Ed’s comic that his friends are finishing for him.
Also, Tim talks to Hamster Rage creator Brian Crowley about his ongoing Kickstarter and the state of the U.S. comics industry, and visits three Chicago comics retailers to see how healthy the comics market seems from their perspective, and how it could be better.
Stan Lee, Marvel Comics writer, art director, publisher, promoter, and icon, died November 12 at age 95. While he is loved by many, and undoubtedly had a hand in some of the greatest stories of Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, and more, he was also known to aggravate disputes over story credit and art ownership with the likes of Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko. In this episode, Tim, Kumar, and Tom Spurgeon wrestle with the legacy of Stan the Man.
Matt Kindt (creator of Super Spy, Revolver, and more) recently ran a Kickstarter for an audio comic — on a vinyl record! — set in the MIND MGMT universe. He talks to Tim in this episode about how it went, why he wanted to do this project, and what’s coming next from him.
Then, Jason McNamara joins Tim to discuss Love Letters to ‘Jane’s World’, a 20th-anniversary collection of Paige Braddock‘s Eisner-nominated strip.
In town for the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, comics power couple Eddie Campbell and Audrey Niffenegger talk to Koom in this episode about their new collaboration, called Bizarre Romance. We also get some tidbits about Audrey’s work on the sequel to her novel The Time Traveler’s Wife, and Eddie talks about coloring From Hell and his recent book The Goat-Getters.
A comic strip gag can be a deceptively simple thing. Once you take it about — “deconstruct” it, one might say — you find that it actually has many moving parts.
Paul Karasik and Mark Newgarden‘s How to Read “Nancy” takes a close look at each of those parts — as well as arguing persuasively for Bushmiller’s underrated artistic chops, and giving us some comic-strip history as well. Tim and Patrick review.
PLUS: Roland Mann, Dean Zachary, and Kevin Gallegly join Tim to talk about the return of Cat and Mouse!