interview Archives - Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources

‘I’m not afraid of revising': Chatting with ‘Angie Bongiolatti’ author Mike Dawson

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Having detailed his love affair with Queen, delved into the secret lives of boy scouts and even produced the odd superhero comicMike Dawson has released his most ambitious book yet, the politically and socially charged Angie Bongiolatti.

tumblr_n5ziggSU5g1soutgdo4_1280Set only a few months after 9/11, the book centers around a group of twentysomethings, more or less fresh out of college, working at an aspiring dot-com in the Big Apple and trying to figure out what exactly they want to do with their lives. Like satellites, many of them seem to rotate to one degree or another around the titular character, an attractive young woman who is driven by her left-wing political beliefs and trying to ascertain how to adhere to them in the workaday world.

Far from being some sort of one-sided political screed however, Bongiolatti asks  questions about the effectiveness of any political movement, no matter how noble, and how best to affect change in the world while still being able to maneuver through it effectively.

I talked with Dawson over email the last few weeks about the book, its themes, politics and the joys of working with a large cast of characters.

Angie Bongiolatti is set within a very specific place and time, New York immediately after 9/11. What made you decide to set your story during this period rather than, say, during the Iraq War or during the Bush/Gore election. Or later?

The Bush/Gore election was the last time in my life when I was completely and blissfully unaware of current events and had no opinion on what was happening. I had no television set at the time, the Internet wasn’t yet an all-consuming focal point of my life, and plus I was 25 years old, and just didn’t care about the world outside of my own social life.

The period after 9/11 was that short window in time where the rest of the world was more or less on America’s “side” when it came to their response. To be against the invasion of Afghanistan was a minority position to take. The invasion seemed legitimate. I remember there were some voices of dissent at the time – David Rees’ Get Your War On being this great voice screaming into the roaring winds of war. I loved that comic. It might have been the first webcomic I experienced in real time.

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Kevin Scalzo talks candy, kids and ‘Sugar Booger’

Sugar Booger #1

Sugar Booger #1

There’s been a wealth of children comics available recently, but I feel pretty safe in saying there hasn’t been anything quite like Kevin Scalzo‘s Sugar Booger. At least, I haven’t seen any comics involving a large, boisterous, bright blue bear with the uncanny ability to make delicious candy spew forth from his nose.

Although he’s been a part of the alternative comics scene for several decades now, Scalzo is jumping into serialized waters with the release of the first issue of this ongoing series (two more issues are planned for 2014) from Alternative Comics.

Combining a DayGlo pop sensibility with some Margaret Keane-like eyeballs, a dash of (PG-rated) underground grotesquery, and a dollop of Casper the Friendly Ghost for good measure, Sugar Booger is a rather tart confection that, while perhaps not for all tastes, will be appreciated by those who like a salty edge to their confectioneries.

I talked to Scalzo over email about the new comic, writing for kids, and his plans for the series.

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Vito Delsante goes all in with ‘World War Mob,’ ‘Stray’

Stray Bio Panel HR

In 2011, Vito Delsante left the relative comfort of a full-time job at Jim Hanley’s Universe to pursue a career in writing comics. While he’s no stranger to that side of the medium, having written titles like the self-published FCHS and DC’s Batman Adventures, this year could prove his most ambitious, as he has two projects in the works — World War Mob from New Paradigm Studios, with artist Giancarlo Caracuzzo, and Stray, currently up on Kickstarter, with artist Sean Izaakse.

I spoke with Vito about both projects, as well as his comic-reading history, what he learned as a retailer and more.

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From ‘Billy Madison’ to Extraño: Six questions with Justin Aclin

robotroulette

Thirty-six questions. Six answers. One random number generator. Welcome to Robot Roulette, where creators roll the virtual dice and answer our questions about their lives, careers, interests and more.

Joining us today is Justin Aclin, writer of Hero House, S.H.O.O.T. First, Star Wars: The Clone Wars — Defenders of the Lost Temple and Akaneiro.

Now let’s get to it …

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‘A unique American success story': Celebrating ‘Love and Rockets’ with Marc Sobel

The Love and Rockets Companion

The Love and Rockets Companion

Hitting the 30th anniversary of your career in comics is always worth celebrating given the medium’s tendency to chew up and spit talented people out (speaking of which, did you see that Graham Chaffee has a new book out?) That’s doubly true in the case of the Hernandez brothers, as Gilbert and Jaime (and sometimes Mario) have not only been able to stay in the game despite the various radical shifts in the landscape, they’ve been able to produce challenging, thoughtful, emotionally powerful comic consistently over the course of those three decades with nary a drop in quality.

Fantagraphics is celebrating the anniversary with a trio of books the focus squarely on the brothers’ signature title: The Love & Rockets Reader and Love and Rockets: The Covers – both due out later this year –  and The Love and Rockets Companion: 30 Years (and Counting) the latter of which, co-edited by Marc Sobel and Kristy Valenti, just came out this past week. It’s an impressively thick tribute to L&R, featuring three lengthy interviews with the cartoonists, a complete list of characters in both Jaime’s Locas series and Gilbert’s Palomar saga, a timeline of the stories, an issue checklist and even a selection of highlights from the letter columns. In short, it’s the perfect scrapbook to some of the best comics ever made.

Sobel is the perfect person to be help shepherd this book: He’s written at length about Love & Rockets for Sequart (and the bulk of those essays will appear in the L&R Reader), and always with insight and intelligence. I talked with Marc over email about the book, how it came together and why it’s important to celebrate and discuss the Hernandez brothers’ work to such a degree. I could have kept the discussion going for days.

How were you initially introduced to Love & Rockets?

As a lifelong comics fan, I was aware of Love & Rockets for years, but I was too young when the series started and then I was just always reading new comics, so I never went back and checked it out. But around 2006, after a few years of writing reviews online, I decided I wanted to school myself in the classics of the medium so I would be a better, more informed writer, and I could enjoy higher quality comics, instead of just always following the latest fads. I decided to start with Love and Rockets because I found someone selling the entire 50 issues of volume 1 on eBay for cheap.

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The ‘Supermag’ story: An interview with Jim Rugg

Supermag_tease

Jim Rugg is an interesting and fun guy to talk to. The Pittsburgh-based cartoonists, whose resume includes such diverse genre work as Street Angel, Adventure Time and the Plain Jane series for DC’s late Minx imprint, is someone who has clearly studied comics -– and certain comic artists specifically -– very closely, and has a genuine fascination and curiosity for what makes the medium work and what doesn’t. If you want to talk comics, he’s the guy to corner at the bar after the convention (be polite and introduce yourself first though, please).

Rugg has a new comic out, a magazine-formatted, one-man anthology of sorts from AdHouse titled Supermag, which features a number of short stories done over the past few years as well some illustrations and other new material. It’s a pretty nifty package.

I chatted with Rugg over email about Supermag, his frequent collaborations with writer Brian Maruca and the podcast he hosts over at Boing Boing, Tell Me Something I Don’t Know. I look forward to the opportunity when I get to talk to him about comics some more.

How did the idea for Supermag come about and how did the initial concept change (if at all) as you started to put it together? 

Supermag began as an early- to mid-90s period comic. My plan was to create an Afrodisiac comic using the processes, materials, storytelling vernacular, and style of that era – a comparison would be something like 1963. As we worked on that idea, I struggled to make all the elements work the way I wanted. As I continued to work on it, it morphed into a magazine/comic/art project.

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From ‘Eerie Magazine’ to Batman: Six questions with Steve Niles

robotroulette

Thirty-six questions. Six answers. One random number generator. Welcome to Robot Roulette, where creators roll the virtual dice and answer our questions about their lives, careers, interests and more.

Joining us today is writer Steve Niles, who you know from 30 Days of Night, Criminal Macabre, Mystery Society, Chin Music, Edge of Doom and the just-released-this-week Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem.

Now let’s get to it …

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From Dick Giordano to ‘New Teen Titans': Six questions with Gabriel Hardman

robotroulette

Thirty-six questions. Six answers. One random number generator. Welcome to Robot Roulette, where creators roll the virtual dice and answer our questions about their lives, careers, interests and more.

Joining us today is Gabriel Hardman, who is co-writing and drawing Star Wars: Legacy and co-writing Planet of the Apes: Cataclysm. He’s also the creator of Kinski, a new digital miniseries from Monkeybrain available now through Comixology.

Now let’s get to it …

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From Elvis mugs to Woolworth: Six questions with Mike Norton

robotroulette

Thirty-six questions. Six answers. One random number generator. Welcome to Robot Roulette, where creators roll the virtual dice and answer our questions about their lives, careers, interests and more.

Joining us today is artist Mike Norton, who you might know from Battlepug, Gravity, Revival, It-Girl and the Atomics, The Answer!, All-New Atom and many more comics.

Now let’s get to it …

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Goellner, Moody and Hill power up for ‘Task Force Rad Squad’

Task Force Rad Squad

Task Force Rad Squad

Task Force Rad Squad is a comic about friendship. And alien monsters. And friends coming together to fight alien monsters inside a giant robot.

If you grew up watching Power Rangers, or are at least familiar with them, you’ll probably dig this comic. Creators Caleb Goellner, Buster Moody and Ryan Hill have taken the concept and spun it on its head, creating something that shows their love for the Power Rangers while also being unique unto itself. The trio is selling it online, both digitally and in print, and took the time to answer my questions about the series, its inspiration and their approach to selling it.

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‘I wore those furry underwear with pride': Six questions with Dennis Hopeless

robotroulette

Thirty-six questions. Six answers. One random number generator. Welcome to Robot Roulette, where creators roll the virtual dice and answer our questions about their lives, careers, interests and more.

Joining us today is Dennis Hopeless, writer of Avengers Arena, Cable & X-Force, Lovestruck, Gearhead and more.

Now let’s get to it …

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Amy Reeder, Brandon Montclare ignite ‘Rocket Girl’ Kickstarter

rocketgirl-tease

After teasing fans for a few months, Amy Reeder and Brand Montclare’s Rocket Girl is go for launch.

According to the Kickstarter page, which went live this morning, Rocket Girl is a “teenage cop from a high-tech future” who’s sent back to 1986: “She’s investigating the Quintum Mechanics megacorporation for crimes against time. As she pieces together the clues, she discovers that the ‘future’ — an alternate reality version of 2013 and the place she calls home — shouldn’t exist at all.”

Montclare and Reeder have been on similar flight paths since breaking into comics. They both did their time at Tokyopop before Montclare recruited Reeder to work on Madame Xanadu after he took an editorial position at Vertigo. Last year they re-teamed for a creator-owned one-shot, Halloween Eve, which they used Kickstarter to fund. And now they’ve returned to crowdfunding to finance the production of Rocket Girl, an ongoing series they plan to launch this fall.

I spoke with Montclare and Reeder about Rocket Girl, using Kickstarter to finance their creator-owned works and much more.

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Nathan Bulmer talks Eat More Bikes

If I am grateful for nothing else, it’s that 2012 was the year I was introduced to the work of Nathan Bulmer, creator of the daily and often uproariously funny webcomic Eat More Bikes. That introduction is in large part due to Tucker Stone, who has been regularly featuring Bulmer’s comics in his weekly column, “Comics of the Weak.”

Bulmer celebrated the end of the year with the release of his new comic, naturally titled Eat More Bikes, from Koyama Press. I had the chance to chat with Bulmer about the new series, how he got into comics and the challenges of producing a daily comic.

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Robot Roulette | Ales Kot

Thirty-six questions. Six answers. One random number generator. Welcome to Robot Roulette, where creators roll the virtual dice and answer our questions about their lives, careers, interests and more.

Today Ales Kot steps up to the wheel. You know him from such works as Wild Children, Change, Zero and The Surface. Check out his website for more information.

Now let’s get to it …

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Publisher Q&A | Bill Kartalopoulos

Barrel of Monkeys

If Bill Kartalopoulos doesn’t have one of the most impressive resumes in the comics world, he certainly has one of the lengthiest. He’s one of the co-organizers of the Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival and the programming co-ordinator for the Small Press Expo. He was a publishing associate for Toon Books, a contributing editor for Print magazine, he’s been an assistant to Art Spiegelman on various projects including the book MetaMaus, and has curated a number of comics exhibits in New York City. Oh, and he teaches college classes about comics in his spare time.

Now Kartalopoulos is adding the title of full-fledged publisher to the list. His new venture, Rebus Books was announced a few weeks ago and the company’s debut book, Barrel of Monkeys by Florent Ruppert and Jerome Mulot, made its debut at the recent BCGF.

Despite his incredibly busy schedule, Kartalopoulos was gracious enough to take time to talk over email about Monkeys, why he decided to take a chance on publishing it, and how publishing itself is a form of criticism. He’s an insightful, intensely smart guy, and I wish him the best of luck in this new venture.

OK, let’s start with the basics: How long have you been planning Rebus Books? What made you decide to want to become a publisher? And what made you finally decide to take the plunge?

I’ve been thinking of taking on some kind of publishing project on and off for a long time, but I’ve been planning Rebus Books in a more focused way over the past year. It’s hard to boil it down to a single motivation. In part, I think that because I’ve had the experience of working on other publishing projects, including the TOON Books and MetaMaus, I had a strong desire to turn my skills and experience towards a self-generated project that I was fully responsible for and that directly expressed my interests and point of view. I’m involved with comics in a lot of different ways, as a curator, critic, educator, festival organizer, and so forth, and this seemed like a very proactive way to extend that involvement in a way that enlarges the comics scene rather than simply reacts to it.

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