All this week at Robot 6 we’re interviewing some of the many contributors to First Second’s new anthology, Nursery Rhyme Comics. In today’s final installment, Chris Mautner talks to cartoonist Scott C.
If anyone in this new anthology seemed like a “must-get,” it surely was the cartoonist known as Scott C., a.k.a. Scott Campbell. His charming, anthropomorphic — and frequently sardonic — work, whether found in video games made by Double Fine Studios, in comics like Hickee and the Flight anthologies, or in his new book, Amazing Everything: The Art of Scott C. seems perfectly suited to the off-kilter, frequently surreal world that nursery rhymes frequently seem to inhabit. The fact that he chose one of the most manic rhymes of the bunch — “Pop Goes the Weasel” — seems equally fitting.
How did you get involved in this particular project and what led to you selecting this particular nursery rhyme?
I’ve known Chris Duffy for awhile through Nickelodeon magazine. When he asked me to take part in the project, there were not many rhymes left. I chose Pop! Goes The Weasel because it is the most nonsensical of any of the rhymes and I thought it would be fun to pick apart.
All this week at Robot 6 we’re interviewing some of the many contributors to First Second’s new anthology, Nursery Rhyme Comics. Today Brigid Alverson talks to the editor, Chris Duffy.
Chris Duffy is the former editor of Nickelodeon Magazine‘s comics section and the current editor of SpongeBob Comics. I was interested in hearing the inside story of Nursery Rhyme Comics—how he rounded up this diverse array of talent and what sort of marching orders he gave them—and Chris obliged with some interesting insights into the making of Nursery Rhyme Comics.
Brigid Alverson: You have some really big names contributing to this book. Were you the one who recruited them, and if so, how did you get them to participate?
Chris Duffy: Almost everyone we asked wanted to be a part of the book. That’s the good news with a collection with a great, clear concept like this book has. Everyone wants in! The challenge was paring down our list to 50 cartoonists (harder than you might think) and just making all those phone calls and emails. I did most of the contacting, though Mark Siegel and Calista Brill broke the ice with a lot of creators who they knew well. I should mention that the idea began with former First Second publisher Lauren Wohl.
All this week at Robot 6 we’re interviewing some of the many contributors to First Second’s new anthology, Nursery Rhyme Comics. Today, Michael May talks to cartoonist Aaron Renier.
Aaron Renier first came to comics fans’ attention with his childlike, but suspenseful Spiral-Bound, a Top Shelf graphic novel that earned him the Eisner for Talent Deserving Wider Recognition in 2006. Last year, he gained some of that recognition with his adventurous and spooky The Unsinkable Walker Bean from First Second. This year finds him still with First Second illustrating one of the more obscure (to me, anyway; Lewis Carroll fans will undoubtedly recognize it) nursery rhymes in their collection.
Michael May: For those who aren’t familiar with “The Lion and Unicorn,” can you explain the history behind it?
Aaron Renier: Sure. The history behind it is that in the early 17th Century, England and Scotland became unified and they needed a new coat of arms. So they took one of the two lions from the English coat of arms and one of the two unicorns from the Scottish coat of arms. One lion and one unicorn to symbolize the unity for the new British coat of arms. But when I read the poem I saw it as something much stranger, and colorful. So I tried to ignore that knowledge.
All this week at Robot 6 we’re interviewing some of the many contributors to First Second’s new anthology, Nursery Rhyme Comics. Today, J. Caleb Mozzocco talks to cartoonist Richard Sala.
Richard Sala is a prolific comics artist and illustrator often compared to Charles Addams and Edward Gorey, given his interest in visually compelling, somewhat spooky subject matter and deadpan gothic humor. He’s responsible for creating several plucky heroines who confront various mysteries and horrors, like foul-mouthed girl detective Judy Drood from Mad Night and The Grave Robber’s Daughter, monster magnet Peculia from Sala’s signature series Evil Eye and K. Westree of Cat Burglar Black.
The artist’s most recent work is last month’s original graphic novel The Hidden from Fantagraphics, about a group of people stuck in a diner during what may be the end of the world. Well, that and “Three Blind Mice” for First Second’s Nursery Rhyme Comics.
J. Caleb Mozzocco: Do you think nursery rhymes played any particularly powerful role in your childhood or development as a storyteller?
Richard Sala: My mom had old books of illustrated nursery rhymes and fairy tales from her childhood (which were old even when she was young) when I was very little and they certainly had an impact on me. Years later I found copies of some of those books and was amazed to find the roots of some of my weird fears and obsessions!