What happens when a centuries-old golem finds himself in contemporary southern California, in a world of skateboarders, tattoo artists, and rival factions with conflicting agendas? That’s the story at the heart of a new book, The Golem of Venice Beach. The forthcoming graphic novel, from writer Chanan Beizer and artist Vanessa Cardinali, features contributions from a host of comics legends. There’s currently a Kickstarter campaign up and running to fund the project. I spoke with Beizer and Cardinali about the graphic novel’s origins and the expansive approach the book takes to a host of artistic styles.
“I can observe my own body cut open, without suffering!… I see myself all the way down to my entrails; a new mirror stage… I can see to the heart of my lover; his splendid design has nothing to do with sickly sentimentalities… Darling, I love your spleen; I love your liver; I adore your pancreas, and the line of your femur excites me.”
–(from Orlan’s Carnal Art manifesto)
Fresh off the heels of selling his own kidney stones in a 24-hour auction, David Cronenberg teased fans with a tantalising soundbite regarding his upcoming film, Crimes of the Future:
“I cannot say much, obviously, but if people thought Crash was divisive back in 1996, this is going to create way more chaos and controversy for sure.”
Science fiction as political critique has a long history in comic books. The latest evidence of that comes from collaborators Matt Bors and Ben Clarkson, whose new series Justice Warriors debuts from Ahoy Comics this month. I spoke with Bors and Clarkson about the development of the series, the history of police in comics, and whether or not their satirical series is predicting the shape of things to come.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.”