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Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a splurge item.
If I had $15, I’d grab the latest Lio collection, Zombies Need Love Too. Cartoonist Mark Tatulli has one of the better newspaper comic strips going these days.
If I had $30, I’d nab what is clearly the book of the week, NonNonBa, the latest book from Shigeru Mizuki, author of Onward Toward Our Noble Deaths. NonNonBa aims more toward Mizuki’s traditional milieu of Japanese folklore and yokai monsters, though this book is more autobiographical in nature in that it deals with his relationship with his grandmother and how she instilled in him an interest in the spirit world. I’ve been anxiously awaiting this release.
My splurge for the week would likely be one of two books from First Second: Either Baby’s in Black, Arne Bellstorf’s fictionalized tale of the sadly doomed Beatle, Stuart Sutcliffe, or Mastering Comics, Jessica Abel and Matt Madden’s follow-up to their previous how-to textbook, Drawing Words, Writing Pictures.
Regular readers of Talking Comics with Tim, before you ask yourself “Chris Roberson, didn’t you just interview him last month?” Yes and no. This interview focuses solely on Roberson’s plans for the new BOOM! Studios series, Elric: The Balance Lost, which will be previewed for readers this Saturday, May 7, via the company’s Free Comic Book Day offering. As noted by BOOM! Studios: “For 40 years, the exploits of Elric have thrilled comic book fandom, beginning with his introduction to the world of comics in Marvel’s Conan The Barbarian #15 in 1972. Now, Michael Moorcock, the godfather of the Multiverse concept, brings one of the most critically acclaimed and recognizable figures in the history of fantasy fiction back to sequential art! This Free Comic Book Day (FCBD) edition heralds the new ongoing Elric series featuring a crisis across multiple worlds that will involve Moorcock’s other famous fantasy franchise characters: Corum of the Scarlet Robe and Dorian Hawkmoon. Meet the Pale Prince in an epic that could only be called The Balance Lost! And make sure you don’t miss the new ongoing series this summer!” Thanks to BOOM! Studios’ Chip Mosher and Ivan Salazar for helping arrange this email interview, and (of course) thanks to Roberson for indulging another round of questions. Once you’ve read the interview, please be sure to check out CBR’s preview of the FCBD offering. If you find yourself in the Austin area this Saturday, be sure to catch Roberson at Austin Books from 10AM to 5PM.
Tim O’Shea: Ian Brill recently wrote of the Free Comic Book Day Elric issue, “Whether you’re new to the Elric mythos or a longtime fan you will dig it.” A) very brave of Mr. Brill to use a 1970s term like “dig” (I kid) and B) What is the key to writing a story that can equally appeal to new readers and longtime readers?
Chris Roberson: Well, to be fair, he could have used “grok” in the place of “dig,” which might have been a LITTLE braver.
But really, the trick is to give just enough information about the characters and the concepts to get new readers up to speed, without boring all of the longtime readers with stuff they already know. Based on my own experiences coming into long-running comic, TV, and novel series when I was younger, I don’t think new readers need to know EVERYTHING. They just need to know the basics, enough to understand who the characters are in general terms and what the basic conflict is. Reading to find out more is one of the things that keeps it interesting!