#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.

#670 Moore and Burrow’s “Providence”

Seemingly every time a horror comic comes up on our show, it seems to have some kind of connection to H.P. Lovecraft. In this case, it’s Alan Moore and Jacen BurrowsProvidence, part of the Lovecraftian “Cthulhu Mythos.” Kumar, Emmet, and Dana discuss whether you need to have read Moore’s other Lovecraft-inspired comics (or any Lovecraft at all) before reading Providence, how Lovecraft’s work contrasts with Dracula stories, Lovecraft’s problematic personal views, and more.

#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!

Critiquing Comics #176: “Miskatonic High”

Miskatonic High

This time our comic is Miskatonic High, by Mike Shea and Ryan Mendoza. The comic features high school students who have creepy adventures. If you’re into H.P. Lovecraft, you’ve probably recognized that this comic is referencing his work. Does the comic do enough to bring the non-Lovecraft-fan onboard?

#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.

Critiquing Comics #175: More from David Dye

Cut Down

This time we look at some of the latest work by one of our favorites, David Dye: The forthcoming Bush Fire, and two stories written by Roger Stitson, Tales of the Blue Sage and Cut Down.

#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!

#666 “Animal Man”: Grant Morrison Plays God

Animal Man

Grant Morrison‘s DC Comics debut in 1988 was a run on Animal Man. Originally meant to be a four-issue mini, the series became an ongoing, prompting Morrison to turn it into a discussion of spirituality and the nature of reality — which, if you’re a comics character, means that you live your life enclosed in panels while watched by thousands of people.

Tim is joined by Matthew Brake, series editor of the Theology and Pop Culture book series, to examine the philosophy of this classic late-’80s run.

#665 Remembering Denny O’Neil

Green Arrow and Green Lantern

This week we take a look back at the career of Denny O’Neil, the longtime comics writer and editor who passed away June 11. Emmet discusses O’Neil’s legacy with Professor Jonathan W. Gray, author of such books as Civil Rights in the White Literary Imagination, and the founding editor of the Journal of Comics and Culture.

O’Neil was a force in the move to turn DC’s iconic but silly characters in a more serious direction — having substance, not only violence. What shaped his worldview? How much of his personal story was in evidence on the page? Was his editing a crucial component of Frank Miller’s best work? And more.

Critiquing Comics #174: “Caged Birds”

Caged Birds

A couple of years back, we critiqued Caravaggio: A Light Before the Darkness, written by Ken Mora. This time, Ken is here on the show, talking to Tim about his latest (with artist Gianluca Testaverde), Caged Birds. Then, Tim and Mulele critique the first two issues.