WARNING: Tangents ahead, next 500 yard. Because THIS. IS. COMICS SQUEE. Issue 12. Each podcast our panelists, defenders of the secrets of Castle Greyskull, discuss the comic books, graphic novels, and general sequential art geekery that excites them.
I’m your host, Chriss Cornish. Joining me are regular squeesters: John Oliver, a dark fantasy author online at JohnWOliver.com; and April Taie, leader of the Geek Girls Meetup in San Diego.
Taking the revolving 4th chair this issue is our guest, comics writer and cartoonist Leia Weathington. Her India-inspired fantasy adventure comic Bold Riley blends a Conan the Barbarian vibe with folk tales and princesses. One trade is out so far and features the work of multiple artists.
In this issue of Comics Squee we have: A choose your own adventure comic ; charming Silverage silliness with Superman’s imperfect duplicate ; ladies sharing their art online ; and a certain key-centric Lovecraftian romp.
April Taie: Meanwhile by Jason Shiga
This is a choose your own adventure comic. Each page has tabs and the panels have lines to follow. You’re a kid buying ice cream, and you’re presented with the choice between two flavors. One will send you safely home with a tasty dessert. The other will send you to a mad scientist’s lab where you’ll be offered gadgets to try. It seems cute and simple but it gets dark and complicated. It’s the sort of thing that you wrestle with for ten minutes, choosing the more aggressive/pro-active choices like knocking your past self out and throwing them in a time machine to stop yourself from choosing the time machine.
Chriss Cornish: Tales of the Bizarro World by Jerry Siegel (writer) and John Forte (art – some tales drawn by Wayne Boring or Curt Swan)
This is a Silverage collection of delightfully silly short comics about The Bizarro World, a planet entirely populated by copies of Bizarro Superman, Loise Lanes, etc. Their credo is to do everything opposite of the way Earth people do. They go in the exit. The cars have square wheels. Cowboys come from the Tame East and horses ride people. Diamonds are trash and trash is treasure. The stories are short and fun and wonderful.
The Squee had a hard time wrapping their brains around the premise, though. As April put it, everything on Bizarro World is like opposite of Opposite Day. We plunge into a hilarious over-thinging of how their economy works.
John Oliver: Locke and Key by Joe Hill (writer) and Gabriel Rodriguez (artist)
Everyone’s favorite key-centric Lovcraftian horror comic finally gets a squee of it’s own after we’ve mentioned the various volumes as things we’re looking forward to next.
Locke and Key is a fantastic series. A great example of writer and artist working with an amazing synergy to produce a captivating and satisfying whole story. The artwork at first put John off a bit, since the style’s a bit different, but it’s perfect to the setting and everything feels very grounded.
Our guest, Leia Weathington, nerdes out in Rodriguez’s praise. He’s a great draftsman who’s clearly laid out the whole house and seeds the varous keys at different parts of the house long before the characters discover them. The amount of details and parallels that he puts in from panel to panel, to move the reader through the story – it’s some of the best layout she’s seen in a comic.
Leia Weathington: The young ladies sharing their work online on Tumblr and such
The first thing that came to Leia’s mind after we asked to pick something to freak out over – after Locke and Key – is the derth of young women on Tumblr who can do professional work. Like DigitallyImpaired, who could work professionally if she wan’t 15 – Leia and others are camped out on her blog, counting years till they can hire her. * has a color sense and gestural style that’s better than many 30 year olds.
4a) Tangent 1: How To Get Good At Writing and Drawing
Same way you get to Carnegie Hall; practice, practice, practice. The panel re-iterates that sagest of all pro advice to young writers, artists, and creators. How do you write? Ass in chair, hands on key board. How do you become a great artist? You sit down and draw. You got to realize you suck so you get better.
Back on topic…
Where are women in comics? We’re right FV&*!4g here. We’re everywhere. And Tumblr is filled with young women with a command of form, composition, and layout at a level that hasn’t been reached yet by people with more experirence than they’ve got years. And a lot of pros and others are using Tumblr as their portfolio because you can curate it easily and tell people, “Oh, check out the comics tag.”
4b) Tangent 2: Creepy Baby & Copyright
Chriss sings about a creepy baby, prompting a discussion about how calling ‘dibs’ is NOT how copyright works…
4c) Tangent 3: She Hulk & Legal
Which leads into a discussion about the new She Hulk series from Marvel and how her enemy is Tony Stark’s lawyer, known only as Legal. He is not good nor evil. He is simply Legal…
4d) Tangent 4: Avengers & Kelly Sue DeConnick
Which leads into a tangent about the awesome Avengers universe and Kelly Sue DeConnick’s great work on Avengers Alliance. Everything she does is faboo.
4e) Tangent 5: Bold Riley Art
Our attempt to get back on topic brings us to a discussion of the artwork for Leia’s latest Kickstarter for her Bold Riley comic. One of the cover artists, who did sticker art, is one of the talented young ladies she discovered via Tumblr. Leia offered her more work on a future comic, and the young artist ‘returned the favor’ by saying Leia didn’t have to pay her for the the other work she’d done for her. *raised eyebrow from all old hands* Which leads us into…
4f) Tangent 6: GET PAID FOR YOUR WORK
Never work for free. Whether it’s website work, tech work, artwork, whatever. It’s tempting to young artists to undervalue their work or accept gigs ‘for the exposure’. News flash, the exposure isn’t a reward for you – it’s the side effect of having done the work. If they want it it has value and you should be paid. (listen to the show for full, impassioned rant from the panel) The spice must flow.
4g) Tangent 7: Worst Script to Give an Artist
Speaking of art, our next attempt to get back on topic prompts our guest to reveal what the worst script to give an artist is. Hint, it involves horses driving race cars. And we’d all read it. Leia calls dibs.
4h) Tangent 8: John’s Awesome Death Metal Voice
John stops to ask for water. We marvel at the amazingly manly, growley voice that the combo of headcold and talking for an hour have given him. We ask him to lean in close to the mic and say, “Come with me if you want to live.” It is fabulous.
We finally manage to wrap up our discussion about the fabulous young female artists showcasing their work on Tumblr.
Question Time: What’s Your Favorite Adventure Comic?
We discuss what’s “adventure”; travel, whimsy, questing.
The Arctic Marauder by Jauqes Tardi, Grandville
- Leia Weathington:
Bone by Jeff Smith, Nausica: Valley of the Wind, Battle Angel Alita, Saga, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Rice Boy webcomic
Cowboy Bebop, Sixth Gun
The Deep from Gestalt Press, Cucumber Quest
What We’re Looking Forward to Reading Next
The Box Trolls stopmotion animation. And we go off on a tangent about the timelessness of stop motion.
Next expansion of the Marvel Legendary boardgame.
Finally finishing the big omnibus of early Spider-Man stories from Amazing Fantasy. It’s larger then Chriss’ head and she could use it to slay dire wolves.
- Leia Weathington:
Speaking of dire wolves, Leia is looking forward to the return of the Game of Thrones TV show.