Eric Paul Johnson is not only a friend of Kittysneezes, he’s also a talented writer, cartoonist and underground newspaper editor. His comic, Loon News: The Comic Strip! (a/k/a Mike and Eric) has recently been compiled into the large omnibus edition Eric Paul Johnson… Strips For Your Pleasure — available in both eBook and dead tree editions. Sure, Eric’s a friend, but I’m not just being nice when I say that his strips are well done in a way that reminds me of the works of Berke Breathed. Part of the fun of Strips is the way you can track Eric’s evolution as a cartoonist, from his rough beginnings to now where he’s pretty dang good. Strips has a lot of bonus material, too — commentary, essays, scripts, unpublished strips (including the KDBX run where the strip was briefly re-imagined as a look behind the scenes of a small radio station) and, well, lots of other stuff that makes the book about as big around as a magazine and almost an inch thick. Eric agreed to this interview, about his comics, the Loon News in general, radio and his late kitty.
Nick Abadzis is a writer and illustrator who wrote the 2007 instant classic Laika, the heartbreaking graphic novel about the USSR’s first space pup, profiled a few months ago on Kittysneezes. He also wrote for Marvel Comics in the 1990s, and has written for the children’s TV show Bob the Builder. His CV in the world of illustration and writing (particularly in the form of graphic novella) is extremely impressive.
I recently had the opportunity to interview Mr. Abadzis about his favorite things and various inspirations.
Jason Little is a great cartoonist and illustrator, who just finished his recent, long-form serialized graphic novel, Motel Art Improvement Service, a continuation of the Bee series, started with his similarly serialized book Shutterbug Follies. He’s also the creator of Jack’s Luck Runs Out, the first full-color comic to be awarded a grant from the Xeric Foundation. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, the novelist Myla Goldberg.
Having loved Jason’s comics since following Shutterbug Follies online, I was excited to talk to him about comics, cartoons and other things that start with the letter C.
Cover of The Cowboy Wally Show
Kyle Baker is probably most known for Why I Hate Saturn which… I haven’t read yet. But The Cowboy Wally Show was his debut graphic novel, and my second (or perhaps third) experience with his work; the first was the Residents‘ Freak Show companion comic to their album — the second may have been in one of the Amazing Adventures of the Escapist collections, which he contributed to (things you find doing research, huh?); I’ve only got one of those so far, and I don’t remember if he’s in that one or not. Anyway, though — I now know I’m going to have to go back and look, and Cowboy Wally is excellent.
I’ve grown to really enjoy the yearly “Best American” anthologies; Dave Eggers’ “Non-Required Reading” was my gateway into them (I typically think of them as alternate issues of McSweeney’s), and a few years ago, they started doing “Comics” as well. Being a comics geek, this series has probably eclipsed “Non-Required” as my favorite, but I still dig ’em. (I’ve also enjoyed the Science Writing ones, too.) Continue reading
Lulu & Mitzy: Best Laid Plans is not only the debut of a new series, but also the debut of the author, S. Eddy Bell. The fact that it’s a debut is particularly amazing, considering how absolutely outstanding this book is. The fact that this isn’t by a veteran makes it all the better. S. Eddy Bell is a strong talent, and the fact that he’s a new one makes it even sweeter.
I have to admit that this was a book that was written pretty much for me. I’m a comics geek AND a music geek, and it’s a comic book about discovering punk rock in Akron, OH circa 1980. Given the cameos in the book from all sorts of music heroes, perhaps it’s a little surprising that DEVO doesn’t show up outside of the recommended soundtrack available on iTunes — of course, DEVO’d made it out to LA by that point. Surprisingly, however — the first of the cameos (and someone who sadly doesn’t appear on that iMix due to his iTunes unavailability) is Klaus Nomi — so that’s almost as good!
These days, comic books are usually printed on higher-quality paper than they used to be and have a generally glossier look, which can help us appreciate their finer details or make all the more glaring their flaws. It can also have the effect of fooling the inattentive consumer into thinking they’ve picked up something other than what they actually walk away with. But anyone who mistakes “Tales To Suffice” with a serious graphic work would have to be legally blind. Continue reading