“A Book About Endings”: John Dermot Woods on the Making of “Mortals”

Mortals

When we’ve spoken with John Dermot Woods in the past, it’s been about his work in prose. This spring, another aspect of his work as a writer is coming to the forefront: a graphic novel called Mortals, created in collaboration with artist Matt L. Mortals follows the story of an aging stage actor named Francis, who’s found respect in his field but a general lack of commercial success. A supporting role in a film and the end of his marriage both force him to consider his legacy and his mortality, and the result is thoroughly moving. I spoke with Woods about the genesis of the project, his interest in comics, and what appealed to him about the form for this project.

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An Excerpt From Otava Heikkilä’s “Letters for Lucardo: The Silent Lord”

Letters for Lucardo cover

Today, we’re pleased to present an excerpt from Otava Heikkilä’s forthcoming graphic novel Letters for Lucardo: The Silent Lord, currently available to pre-order via Iron Circus Comics. Writing about the first volume in the series at the AV Club, Caitlin Rosberg noted, “Writer and artist Otava Heikkilä created a story that’s full of unexpectedly emotional and sympathetic characters, building a world and a cast that’s evocative and fascinating.”

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Ronald Wimberly on the Art and Influences Behind “GratNin”

GratNin

There’s a longstanding tradition of experimenting with form in the world of printed comics. Chris Wae’s Building Stories might be the most high-profile example of this, but it’s far from the only one. Now, a new Kickstarter campaign is working to make a groundbreaking print edition of Ronald Wimberly‘s webcomic GratNin a reality. This edition makes use of accordion-folded pages to showcase the full breadth of the storytelling on display.

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Small Towns, Strange Mysteries: Ed Brubaker and Marcos Martin on Their New Comic “Friday”

"Friday" cover

Nearly every creative medium is going through an unsettling period right now, as COVID-19 disrupts literary events, prompts the canceling of concerts, and shutters movie theaters. It’s arguable that the comics world may the most affected by the pandemic, however — the current distribution model for physical comics is facing an existential threat. And while there are some impressive digital-first spaces for comics producing memorable work, including The Nib and Quarantine Comix, digital-first comics might not yet have its Saga or The Walking Dead — i.e. a heavily buzzed-about comic that also grabs readers on an issue-by-issue basis.

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“Conscientious Objector” by Edna St. Vincent Millay: An Excerpt From “Poems to See By”

Poems to See By cover

Both poetry and comics make fascinating and bold uses of structure, pace, and language. What would happen if you brought the two together? That’s the premise of Poems to See By: A Comic Artist Interprets Great Poetry by Julian Peters. Peters’s book offers interpretations of works by the likes of Seamus Heaney, Maya Angelou, and Tess Gallagher. In this excerpt, Peters offers a distinctive take on Edna St. Vincent Millay’s “Conscientious Objector.”

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Strange Obsessions and Uncanny Architecture: Lucas Harari on “Swimming In Darkness”

"Swimming in Darkness" cover

What happens when architecture, folklore, and horror converge? You get something like Lucas Harari’s graphic novel Sleeping in Darkness, about a young man whose visit to a remote complex built around thermal baths sends him on an uncanny journey abounding with obsession, secrets, and the presence of the uncanny. Harari’s characters are memorable, his pacing is fantastic, and his use of color is subtle and precise, making this book particularly haunting. I interviewed Harari about the graphic novel’s creation and the techniques used to create it.

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The Star War Against Cliché: On Malcolm Mc Neill’s “Tetra”

Science fiction abounds with stories of chosen ones, space messiahs, and figures whose stories and histories are inexorably linked to destiny. It’s made for some of the genre’s most well-known works, but it’s also served as an excuse for lazy writing and tropes that, after several decades, can feel utterly exhausting. It’s gotten to the point where the subversion of this can feel revolutionary: numerous reviews of last year’s Blade Runner 2049 singled out its handling of this trope for […]

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Dreams, Transformations, and Verdure: A Review of “The Green Hand and Other Stories”

In his introduction to Nicole Claveloux’s The Green Hand and Other Stories, Daniel Clowes makes a seemingly paradoxical statement: though he’s admired Claveloux’s work for decades, he “had never actually read one of her stories.” There’s actually a completely reasonable explanation for this, involving the poor quality of previous English editions of her work, but the contradictions in Clowes’s statement makes a weird form of sense in light of the works to come. The stories in this book abound with […]

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