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Photographer and comics creator Seth Kushner passed away Sunday following a year-long battle with leukemia.
Celebrated for his portraits of actors, musicians and artists, Kushner is widely known for his collaboration with writer Christopher Irving on Graphic NYC, a collection of profiles of comics creators that became the 2012 book Leaping Tall Buildings: The Origins of American Comics.
A comics creator in his own right, Kushner experimented with, and wrote about, photocomics, and collaborated with numerous artists on his semi-autobiographic Schmuck, originally serialized on Trip City, and with George Folz on The Roman Nose. He debuted the anthology Secret Sauce just last month.
This weekend, Benton, Haspiel, Kushner and Josh Neufeld, who joined HANG Dai last year, premiere new comics at MoCCA Fest 2015 [at Table 314]. To mark the occasion, I conducted a brief Q&A with each creator, in which they share what makes MoCCA such a great show.
No one is happier about it than Kushner, particularly as MoCCA 2014 was the last show he attended before his diagnosis with myeloid acute leukemia. So, much to everyone’s delight, MoCCA 2015 heralds Kushner’s return to comics.
As 2014 draws to a close ROBOT 6 is gearing up for its annual takeover of the Comic Book Resources home page on Jan. 1 to celebrate our anniversary. However, we’re getting a little bit of a head start with one of our annual features, “Looking Forward, Looking Back,” in which we ask creators and other comics industry figures what they liked in 2014, what they’re looking forward to in 2015 and what projects they have planned for the next 12 months.
In this installment you’ll hear from Corinna Bechko, Al Ewing, Matthew Petz, Alison Sampson, Christopher Golden, Ross Campbell, Jen Van Meter, Enrica Jang, Seth Kushner, Jane Irwin, Judith Stephens! Then come back later Thursday to see what even more creators have to share as part of our anniversary celebration.
Diagnosed in April with acute myeloid leukemia, photographer and writer Seth Kushner was able to return home in late September after a seemingly successful bone marrow transplant. But after just 16 days out of the hospital, it was discovered the leukemia had returned; Kushner’s prognosis was grim. However, the writer’s Facebook page was updated Sunday with some welcome good news: Following what they’re now just referring to as “alternative treatment,” and some uncertainty, “there is now no leukemia in my blood.”
“The doctors are saying this is remarkable,” Kushner writes. “I don’t know what the future holds, but for now I feel great and I’m planning on going home on Wednesday. Spending the holidays at home with my family, after spending the better part of the 8 months in a hospital bed, will be a gift. Thank you all for all your prayers, support and positive thoughts. I have a lot of people to thank, but for now I’ll thank my lovely wife, Terra, without whom I surely would not be here now. I’m still here because she wouldn’t let me go. I feel like the luckiest guy in the world.”
Visit Kushner’s Facebook page to read the full post. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help cover medical costs not paid by insurance and for his wife and son’s living expenses.
Late last month, I celebrated Seth Kushner returning home after a bone marrow transplant to combat his April-diagnosed acute myeloid leukemia. Soon after the article appeared, I corresponded briefly with the photographer and writer, and it was clear he was eager to regain his strength and begin working again.
Unfortunately, as his wife Terra noted last week in a Facebook post, within two weeks doctors informed Kushner that his leukemia had returned:
Since his Myeloid Acute Leukemia diagnosis in April, I have been following Seth Kushner’s arduous medical journey. The various rounds of chemotherapy did not seem to be the hardest part of the experience for the photographer/comics writer. For him, the biggest hardship (other than the fight for his life, of course) was the fact that his frequent bouts of hospitalization for treatments kept him away from his home with his wife, Terra, and their young son.
This is the Best of 7 for several weeks. Also I consider this making the best of a tough situation.
As previously reported, Seth Kushner is fighting leukemia and is going to need a bone marrow transplant. In the meantime, he has to be isolated and is away from his young son. To help ease the pain (for both father and son) of separation, Kushner is drawing daily superhero pinups for his son.
I received Kushner’s permission to run some of the sketches and promised him I would make folks aware of the National Bone Marrow Registry. In addition to needing matches, the registry will also take financial donations.
Photographer and comics writer Seth Kushner was recently, and quite suddenly, diagnosed with leukemia — as Hannah Means Shannon relates, he went from seemingly healthy to having the flu to hospitalization, all within two weeks — and now requires a bone marrow transplant.
A celebrated portrait photographer, Kushner is well known in comics circles for his collaboration with writer Christopher Irving on Graphic NYC and on the book Leaping Tall Bounds: The Origins of American Comics. A member of Brooklyn’s Hang Dai Studio, he’s also created numerous photocomix, and collaborated with numerous artists on the webcomic Schmuck, whose print collection was successfully funded last month on Kickstarter.
This week writer and photojournalist Seth Kushner launched the Kickstarter for Schmuck, his semi-autobio/anthology graphic novel about his quest to find love in New York City. While portions of the collection originally ran online at TripCity.net, even those aspects will be remastered and/or colored for the 168-page trade paperback.
This collection, which features the work of 22 artists, also marks the inaugural release of HANG DAI Editions. The HANG DAI imprint, which was founded in New York City by Gregory Benton, Dean Haspiel, Josh Neufeld and Kushner, focuses on “limited edition comix, graphic novels, and art books, with an emphasis on personal interaction at events, conventions, and signings”.
Manga | Hayao Miyazaki’s samurai manga will be serialized in the Japanese magazine Model Graphix, but progress is reportedly slow: Miyazaki, the director of classic animated films including My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away, has completed just three pages. [Anime News Network]
Creators | Veteran Archie artist Stan Goldberg, who most recently has been drawing Nancy Drew graphic novels for Papercutz, was in a serious car accident recently, along with his wife Pauline. Tom Spurgeon suggests you send them a car. [The Comics Reporter]
Conventions | Cleveland’s small-press comics convention Genghis Con is this weekend, with a guest list that includes Derf Backderf (My Friend Dahmer) and Mike Sangiacomo (Tales of the Starlight Drive-In). [The Plain Dealer]
Manga | Yen Press announced a number of new manga licenses over the weekend at SakuraCon, including the manga series based on the Square Enix game Kingdom Hearts. The company will re-release some of the manga originally published by Tokyopop and publish some of the newer series as well. [Anime News Network]
Creators | Christopher Irving interviews, and Seth Kusher photographs, The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman: “I am certain that I will never be able to top it, and I’m coming to grips with that. It’s somewhat disconcerting that something I created when I was 23 will be something I’m remembered for when I die, when I’m 35 (or whenever it is). …I’ll be 34 in a little bit, so I wasn’t being too optimistic for myself.” [Graphic NYC]
Back in July when I interviewed Seth Kushner, he told us about a project he was doing with American Photo magazine explaining how he makes photo comics. After its debut in the magazine’s July/August issue, Kushner is now sharing the eight-page strip with everyone, online. The piece, which Kushner says is both a “discussion of a form” but also a personal highlight reel, showcases some of the varied subjects he’s documented, from Harvey Pekar to Moby.
“I decided to title the piece Understanding Photocomix and I used my own words and photos to tell the story of how I first discovered photography, first started working freelance for magazines, how I produced my book The Brooklynites (with Anthony LaSala), how Leaping Tall Buildings (with Christopher Irving) came about, and how I learned to combine my loves of comic books and photography into a wholly unique form,” Kushner says in a post. ” I had only a week to pull it all together, and it was amazingly challenging, but I am proud of the results …”
You can see those results at TripCity.net.
Passings | Artist and writer Harry Harrison, who worked with Wally Wood on many EC Comics — and persuaded them to start their sci-fi line — has died at the age of 87. Harrison is best known in science fiction circles as the author of the Stainless Steel Rat stories, and the movie Soylent Green was based on his 1966 novel Make Room! Make Room! [The Comics Reporter]
Publishing | Marvel is ending its Premiere Classics line of hardcovers collections with Vol. 106. [Blog@Newsarama]
Conventions | ComiCONN is this weekend, and although it is the largest comics and sci-fi show in Connecticut, you won’t need your jet pack to navigate it, says Life With Archie writer Paul Kupperberg. Kupperberg and Peter David will be among the guests. [Connecticut Post]
Some use pen and paper to make a comic, while others employ a stylus and a computer screen. But photographer Seth Kushner moves beyond the idea of utilizing a camera to document life to instead capture images to tell a story in a sequential narrative. Y’know, comics. In the past few years, Kushner has come to be a significant force in comics, both for his photocomix like CulturePOP at Trip City and for his more traditional photography work profiling comic creators. For the latter, he’s best known in comic circles for his partnership with writer Chris Irving, which produced the website Graphic NYC and recently the printed book Leaping Tall Buildings: The Origins of American Comics.
As both a chronicler of comic creators and a comic creator himself, Kushner is an interesting subject to talk about the current landscape of comics. From the American reception to photocomix (as compared to the European adoration for them as fumetti) to his personal and iconic photography of comic creators that’s far beyond the grainy bygone magazine photographs we’re used to. In his work, he allows the comic creators themselves to live up to the lofty nature of the comics they produce. And his comics work, both in the photocomic CulturePOP and his more traditionally drawn series Schmuck, Kushner keeps his personal aesthetic for being “up close and personal” with his writing and treatment of his subjects.
Last month, Tim Marchman let loose with a scathing article in The Wall Street Journal criticizing the superhero-comics industry that was the talk of the internet for a couple of days and kicked up a few Twitterstorms, most notably with writer J. Michael Straczynski. But then people pretty much moved on.
The thing is, Marchman was supposed to be writing a review of Christopher Irving and Seth Kushner’s book Leaping Tall Buildings, a collection of interviews with, and photographs of, famous comics creators. You can get a taste of their work on their Graphic NYC blog, and as one who has been following them for a while, I can tell you, it’s awesome.
Although Marchman’s article appeared in the Bookshelf section of the Journal, he mentioned the book only in passing — and while his comments were positive, he billed Irving as the editor, not the writer, and skipped Kushner altogether. Now Kushner has posted a response to the piece, titled Who Reviews the Reviewer? at the Trip City site. Actually, Kushner says straight out that he isn’t reviewing the reviewer, but he does have some things to say about the article: