Much in the way Marc Maron’s WTF podcast provides a more personal, and sometimes profound, look at comedians as they’re interviewed by a fellow comedian, comic artist and Savannah College of Art and Design professor Shawn Crystal has turned the spotlight on comic-book creators.
Earlier this year Crystal launched the podcast InkPulp Audio (available on iTunes here), and it’s already generating buzz among his fellow creators. The artist who introduced me to it said, tongue in cheek, that he’s “hoping Crystal will soon be the Oprah of comics.” While that remains to be seen (keep checking under your chairs for that new car), the podcast finds him talking shop with such artists as Sean Murphy, Eric Canete, Ryan Stegman and Rick Remender.
The idea for the podcast came to Crystal as he found himself at a crossroads.
Last week Chris Arrant covered former Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) Professor Bob Pendarvis’ Kickstarter effort to fund A Girl Called Ana Teaches Kittens How To Draw. In today’s email interview, Pendarvis discusses his aim with the book, as well as Sugar Ninjas, the all-female sequential art anthology series aimed at drawing a spotlight on female creators. My thanks to Pendarvis for his time, and Tom Feister for putting me in contact with Pendarvis. His Kickstarter site gives more background on Pendarvis, including that he “created and taught the first comic book illustration classes at the Savannah College of Art & Design, going on to co-found their comics-based BFA and MFA degree programs (along with writer Mark Kneece and artist Bo Hampton).” If you are interested in helping Pendarvis with his Kickstarter effort, please act now–as there are less than 20 days left to meet the $15,000 goal.
Tim O’Shea: How soon after leaving SCAD did you realize you wanted to develop Sugar Ninjas?
Bob Pendarvis: Sugar Ninjas was originally a project I came up with to showcase the amazing variety of female artists in my classes. In the summer of 2009, as my official association with SCAD was coming to an end (on mutually acceptable terms), I decided to expand the concept of the Sugar Ninjas to include not only SCAD students, but also female artists and storytellers from around the world. All material in the book is copyrighted exclusively to the creators and the books are printed at lulu.com, each one priced at printing costs only—I don’t make a penny from any copy sold (although I encourage the ninjas to add sketches and charge a few dollars more). Volumes 1 and 2 are available right now, and a revised edition of Volume 1 will be back in early 2012.
For the last few years, when not busy with his day job teaching sequential art at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), Brian Ralph has been busy working on his latest graphic novel, Daybreak. The book is a slight departure of sorts for Ralph — best known for his early work as part of the highly influential Fort Thunder collective and for books like Cave-In — in that it delves into the horror genre. Yes, it’s another zombie book, but it’s a zombie book with a unique twist, with everything viewed from the perspective of an unnamed survivor (i.e. the reader), as he explores a foreboding landscape and finds a potential friend amidst all the devastation.
Daybreak makes it debut at Comic-Con this year, and Ralph will be on a panel at 5 p.m. (Pacific time) 14today with Anders Nilsen and Jeff Smith on the subject of “Epic Literary Adventures” (in Room 9).
I talked with Ralph over email about the panel, the new book, and the adventures of teaching comics to college students.
Daybreak is a horror story told from a unique, first-person perspective. Which came first for you, the desire to do a horror tale or the unique way of telling it?
I don’t play video games, but I felt there was something exciting about how a person could be immersed in the world of a video game. With comics the reader isn’t an active participant in the storytelling. I wanted to make a comic that, in it’s own way, achieve some feeling of participation and immersion. I was looking for interactivity of some kind.
I had not seen a “first-person shooter” style of comic before. It turned out to be very exciting approach to storytelling. I was constantly trying to figure out new ways for the reader to feel like they were interacting with the characters and become characters in the story as well. I made some decisions along the way; to never show the reader’s “character” such as in a mirror. I didn’t want the reader to talk with a word balloon. I felt those things would break the illusion. It was tricky to work with those constraints, but such a fun challenge.
With the Black Panther set to become American Panther during the Fear Itself event, the students at the Savannah School of Art and Design decided to “patriotize” other “colorful” heroes, like Green Lantern and the White Queen. Head over to their blog to see American Widow, Omega American, siblings American Witch and Quickamerican, and many more.
SLG Publishing‘s booth at SDCC [Booth #1815, right next to DC Comics] is going to be extremely busy this year with a number of SLG creators making appearances. Three first-time graphic novelists, Joe Pimienta, Lindsay Hornsby, and Lauren Affe, will be debuting their book, A Friendly Game, at SDCC–and will be at the SLG booth as well. The book (which SLG gave a 10-page preview here) is described as follows: “Friends play many kinds of games with each other: cops and robbers, checkers, tag. The best of friends will make up their own games. Todd and Kevin’s friendship is built on such a game. However, the rules and premise are far from the typical childhood games. A dispute amongst the two splits them into very different directions: one sees the game for the cruel act that it is, while the other decides it must move to the next level. Imagine No Country for Old Men crossed with Lord of the Flies, or even imagine if Johnny the Homicidal Maniac were once a little kid. There you have a Friendly Game.” Thanks to assistance from SLG’s Dan Vado and Jennifer de Guzman, I was able to email interview all three characters. If you’re at SDCC, be sure to check this book out while you’re there–and even if you’re not, once you read the preview–SLG’s made it quite convenient for you to order the book. It was a pleasure to interview the three creators and I hope this is the first of many times we’ll be seeing their names in years to come.
Tim O’Shea: Did the idea for this story find its start at Savannah College of Art and Design ([SCAD] where all three of you attended)?
Joe Pimienta: Yes. It originally started as an 8-page story I did for scripting class. But part of the assignment was to have drawn pages and character designs, so, I asked Lindsay to do that. Once I finished the assignment, I put it away and didn’t think about it until 6 months later when Lindsay took advanced scripting and asked me if we could develop the story more. I was surprised, since the subject matter was so different from what she normally does. We talked about a bigger story arc, making my short story only the first pages for the final story arc. It wasn’t until senior project, 2 years later, that we actually started drawing pages for it.
While the actual recognition ceremony for the first recipient of “The Ringo”: The Mike Wieringo Scholarship Award was on Saturday night (prior to the HeroesCon Annual Art Auction), Matt Wieringo posted the full scoop on his personal blog on Tuesday. The recipient of the $1,100 award is Katelyn Rae Rochelle, a Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) student who hopes to pursue a career in comic books after graduation. To quote Matt from his announcement: “Remember that name. I think you’ll be hearing it a lot in a couple years.”
Rochelle attended HeroesCon on Saturday and spent some time with one of her instructors, Tom Lyle, at the SCAD booth. She also hung out with Matt and his wife Suzanne. When asked about her genre preference, Rochelle expressed an interest in working in horror–potentially something with werewolves. According to Matt: “We took her around to meet a few of Mike’s friends who offered her some free, friendly advice. Todd Dezago, being Todd Dezago, teased her at every opportunity.”
When reached for comment, Dezago denied Matt’s vicious allegations. In all seriousness, Dezago said of Rochelle: “She was a good sport and is a very talented young artist. I loved the work that she sent in as samples and think that, as Matt says, we’ll be seeing more of her in the future.”