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!
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.
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.
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.
Starting in 1999, Dave Cooper (accompanied at first by Patrick McEown) had a collection of work published by Fantagraphics as a magazine called Weasel. The magazine featured Cooper’s story “Ripple”, later published in one volume. “Ripple” is a disturbing story, masterfully told; we hope Cooper is not lying that it’s “not autobiographical,” but for fiction it’s remarkably detailed and heartfelt. In this episode, Tim and Mulele explore the first five issues of Weasel.
WARNING — ADULT CONTENT
Matt Baker, one of the earliest African-American comics artists, worked in the 1940s and ’50s mainly on what’s known as “good girl” art. Good girl art went away with the comics code, and unfortunately Baker passed away young in 1959 and never got a chance to shine in the Marvel age. English prof Chris Gavaler joins Tim to talk about Baker’s crazy page layouts, what we do and don’t know about him, the what-ifs of Baker in the ’60s, and more.
It’s been some time since Moon Knight came anywhere close to being considered a top-tier Marvel character in terms of popularity. But in the early ’80s, he was riding high in a popular series by Doug Moench and Bill Sienkiewicz. In this episode, Tim and Paul look at the runup to that series, when the character appeared in solo stories and teamups in various titles, as chronicled in the Marvel Epic Collection line’s Moon Knight: Bad Moon Rising.
All comedy comics about God are not created equal! Teo and Corey’s Adventures of God is funny at times, but does it measure up to the hilarious, irreverent Holy F*ck? Comparisons aside, does it live up to its potential? Tim and Mulele discuss.
Also: Is Deconstructing Comics doing enough to promote diversity in comics?
Warren Ellis’ Black Summer, No Hero, and Supergod are three separate stories, but if you put them together you’ve kinda got all the elements of Alan Moore’s Watchmen. But was Ellis really writing these books in response to Marvel’s Civil War? Kumar and newcomer Jordan evaluate all three books.