Posts Tagged ‘comics’

“Preacher” thoughts, Season One, Episode One: “Pilot”

Thursday, May 26th, 2016

Is it the Word of God that has come unto Jesse Custer, or is he merely possessed by the spirit of the ‘90s? Preacher, AMC’s new readymade blockbuster series — it’s got the nerd pedigree, the nonsensically titled Chris Hardwick postgame show Talking Preacher, a superstar co-creator in the form of Seth Rogen, the whole nine — is based on the comic book series of the same name by writer Garth Ennis and artist Steve Dillon (and, though he’s not credited, tone-setting cover artist Glenn Fabry), which ran for 75 issues or so during the pre-millennium tension of the last five years of the 20th century. This was perhaps the last era during which taboo-busting for taboo-busting’s sake could get a comic over with an audience; a quick visit to the Preacher wikipedia page reveals more inbreeding, cannibalism, anal rape, and Kurt Cobain references than you can shake a crucifix at.

And judging from the pilot episode, the TV show is just as indebted to the signature filmmaker of the era, Quentin Tarantino, as were the “cutting edge” mature-readers-only comic books of the day. There’s a redneck-laden setting, a madcap vampire, a soundtrack full of hipster-revered square singers, a series of self-aware title cards (OUTER SPACE / AFRICA / TEXAS / ETC.), and mutilation galore. If you mashed up Natural Born Killers, the “bring out the gimp” sequence from Pulp Fiction, and the “Stuck in the Middle With You” scene from Reservoir Dogs, then sprinkled in some post-9/11 elements like the Budd segment of Kill Bill Vol. 2, the Death Proof half of Grindhouse, and the cartoonish graphic design of Scott Pilgrim (itself a comic-book adaptation) and Zombieland (starring Natural Born Killers leading man Woody Harrelson in what I insist to this day is a reprisal of his role from that Tarantino-story-credited film), you’ve got pretty much the whole show nailed down. To paraphrase a conversation I had about the show with critic Eric Thurm, you’re a Bill Hicks monologue away from reliving the second half of the Clinton administration.

So is the bloody thing any goddamn good?

I’m reviewing Preacher for the New York Observer, how about that? I started with last weekend’s pilot, which was audacious and entertaining but at times worryingly glib.


Words and Guitars tonight

Thursday, May 19th, 2016

I’ll be reading Hottest Chick in the Game, me and Andrew White’s comic about Drake and friends, at the HiFi Bar in NYC at 8pm tonight as part of Zachary Lipez & Michael Tedder’s Words and Guitars reading series. A whole bunch of other luminaries will be reading too, so heed the words of the man himself and come thru!

The HiFi Bar is located at 169 Avenue A between East 10th & 11th in Manhattan. I hope to see you there!


In “Patience,” Daniel Clowes Looks for Answers to the Big Questions

Thursday, March 24th, 2016

“I wouldn’t be interested in the work of an artist if they didn’t suffer from debilitating anxiety,” Daniel Clowes says. “It’s part of the process.”

I interviewed Daniel Clowes about anxiety, religion, violence, the death of his best friend, and his new book Patience for the New York Observer.


Mirror Mirror 2

Friday, March 11th, 2016

Mirror Mirror 2
an anthology

featuring new comics and drawings by

Lala Albert / Clive Barker / Heather Benjamin / Sean Christensen / Nicole Claveloux / Sean T. Collins / Al Columbia / Dame Darcy / Noel Freibert / Renee French / Meaghan Garvey / Julia Gfrörer / Simon Hanselmann / Hellen Jo / Hadrianus Junius / Aidan Koch / Laura Lannes / Céline Loup / Uno Moralez / Mou / Chloe Piene / Josh Simmons / Carol Swain

horror / pornography / the Gothic / the abject

edited by Sean T. Collins & Julia Gfrörer
published by 2dcloud
Q1 2017 | advance copies Fall 2016

“For darkness restores what light cannot repair”

teaser image by Clive Barker

Mirror Mirror 1 | available now for preorder


“Puke Force” Is a Graphic Novel About Online Groupthink and Lone-Wolf Terrorism

Sunday, February 21st, 2016

VICE: If I didn’t know any better I’d read this book as a warning to kids about the dangers of online. Not that it’s preachy, but the constant connectedness goes hand-in-hand with surveillance, and with the spread of destructive ideas.

Brian Chippendale: People are definitely reading a heavy warning about online activity in the book, and I think that’s one regret I have. I love the Internet. [Laughs] I’ve gotten so much practical use out of it: Selling prints, booking tours, saying hey to old friends—all that. But I do feel that even though I have an overt need for and warmth toward some social media, there is an undercurrent of energy on there that corrodes the soul.

What do you mean by “corrodes the soul”?

I think it’s the feeling that you’re not alone anymore. That should be a positive thing, right? But I think aloneness is important. It’s very important to get lost in your own head, not just get lost in the hive mind. As an artist, I need to venture inside to get at deeper meaning. Maybe new muscles for that are forming in younger people, new ways to go deep. I don’t necessarily think we are going to lose a generation to the internet. It’s an amazing tool. Pizza delivery drones, on the other hand? I’ll definitely be throwing rocks at them… and ordering pizzas.

I interviewed Brian Chippendale, Lightning Bolt drummer and one of the best cartoonists of his generation, about his new graphic novel Puke Force for Vice.


Interview: Heather Benjamin

Thursday, December 17th, 2015

Given the cover of Romantic Story this is a weird thing to say, but this seems less sexually explicit than your past books.

Heather: I don’t think that’s weird at all! I view this work as way less sexually explicit, too—which is funny, because there are still gaping vaginas everywhere. I guess I’m just desensitized to that. But there’s not really any penetration or actual sexual acts going on, which is unlike my older work. It has to do with what I was saying before, actually, how my work tends to mirror what’s going on in my personal life. Honestly, at the time when I was making work like Sad Sex, I was mirroring exactly what I was feeling, what I was going through in my life: dealing with different partners, different people, trust tissues, the different dynamics of being single and feeling very alone and isolated and messy regardless of whether I was getting some or not. It’s hard to put it into words; I guess that’s why I don’t too often, and why I was making work about it instead. It sounds dumb to me when I try to explain it, but when I was making work that included fucking, it’s because in my life I was dealing with emotions and complications as a result of fucking.

Now I’m making less explicit, less fully pornographic work, because it’s not the dynamics of fucking that I’m grappling with on a daily basis. I’m less interested in how other people made me feel as a result of being involved with them—unlike in Sad Sex, when I was using text in some pieces, like “you make me feel special” or “I masturbate thinking about your boyfriend,” making really blatant statements about how relations between myself and various people affected my self-perception and my experience. I’m now more interested in my own singular experiences with, and within, myself, not those that are explicitly being generated by other people in the present. It’s more introspective and nostalgic, and less about depicting something generating panic and emotion in the moment. This obviously still has a lot to do with sexuality and physicality, but less to do with sexual acts, unless they’re being performed on oneself, or are being looked back on in reflection and anxiety.

I interviewed the truly brilliant artist Heather Benjamin for Adult.


The Hellboy / BPRD / Mignolaverse Reading Order, updated

Thursday, December 10th, 2015

1. Hellboy: Seed of Destruction

2. Hellboy: Wake the Devil

3. Hellboy: The Chained Coffin and Others

4. Hellboy: The Right Hand of Doom

5. Hellboy: Conqueror Worm

6. BPRD: Hollow Earth & Other Stories

7. Hellboy: Weird Tales Vol. 1

8. BPRD: The Soul of Venice & Other Stories

9. Hellboy: Weird Tales Vol. 2

10. BPRD: Plague of Frogs

11. BPRD: The Dead

12. Hellboy: Strange Places

13. BPRD: The Black Flame

14. BPRD: The Universal Machine

15. Hellboy: The Troll Witch and Others

16. BPRD: Garden of Souls

17. BPRD: Killing Ground

18. Lobster Johnson: The Iron Prometheus

19. Hellboy: Darkness Calls

20. Abe Sapien: The Drowning

21. BPRD: 1946

22. BPRD: The Warning

23. BPRD: The Black Goddess

24. Hellboy: The Wild Hunt

25. Witchfinder: In the Service of Angels

26. BPRD: War on Frogs

27. Hellboy: The Crooked Man and Others

28. BPRD: 1947

29. BPRD: King of Fear

30. BPRD: Hell on Earth: New World

31. Hellboy: The Bride of Hell and Others

[31.5 Hellboy: House of the Living Dead]

32. BPRD: Being Human

33. Witchfinder: Lost and Gone Forever

34. BPRD: Hell on Earth: Gods and Monsters

35. Hellboy: The Storm and the Fury

36. Abe Sapien: The Devil Does Not Jest

37. BPRD: Hell on Earth: Russia

38. Lobster Johnson: The Burning Hand

39. BPRD: Hell on Earth: The Devil’s Engine & The Long Death

40. BPRD: Hell on Earth: The Pickens County Horror & Others

41. BPRD: Hell on Earth: The Return of the Master

42. BPRD: 1948

[42.5 Hellboy: The Midnight Circus]

43. BPRD: Vampire

44. BPRD: Hell on Earth: A Cold Day in Hell

45. Abe Sapien: Dark and Terrible & The New Race of Man

46. Lobster Johnson: Satan Smells a Rat

47. BPRD: Hell on Earth: Lake of Fire

48. Hellboy in Hell: The Descent

49. Sledgehammer 44

50. Abe Sapien: The Shape of Things to Come

51. BPRD: Hell on Earth: The Reign of the Black Flame

52. Lobster Johnson: Get the Lobster

53. Abe Sapien: Sacred Places

54. BPRD: Hell on Earth: The Devil’s Wings

55: Witchfinder: The Mysteries of Unland

56. Abe Sapien: A Darkness So Great

57. Hellboy and the BPRD: 1952

58. BPRD: Hell on Earth: Flesh and Stone

59. Frankenstein Underground

60. BPRD: Hell on Earth: Metamorphosis (due in January)

61. Hellboy in Mexico (due in April)

62. Abe Sapien: The Secret Fire (due in June)

63. Hellboy and the BPRD: 1953 (due in August)

As I’ve explained when I’ve done this in the past, I left out the humor collection Hellboy Junior and the superhero-crossover collection Hellboy: Masks and Monsters because they’re not in continuity; arguably neither are the two Hellboy: Weird Tales volumes but they’re at least in the spirit of the thing. I listed the original graphic novel hardcovers Hellboy: House of the Living Deadand Hellboy: The Midnight Circus as .5s rather than factoring them into the list proper primarily out of pique that they hadn’t been released in paperback yet, though that is now forthcoming with Hellboy in Mexico next April. I used the regular-edition trade paperbacks rather than the larger omnibus-style collections, though I refrained from noting the individual volume numbers within each series just for the sake of my sanity.

Enjoy, and many thanks to Mike Mignola, John Arcudi, Guy Davis et al for this marvelous story!


“Jessica Jones” thoughts, Season One, Episode One: “AKA Ladies Night”

Friday, November 20th, 2015

How high can highlights take you? How much strength does a show require for its strong points to overpower its weak spots? How does the whole become more than the sum of even its most important parts? Jessica Jones, the hotly anticipated second series in Marvel & Netflix’s partnership, tells the story of a private eye, so perhaps it’s appropriate that it’s got me searching for answers myself. Its pilot episode, “AKA Ladies Night,” contains some of the most powerful moments and challenging themes in the entire Marvel oeuvre. I’m just not sure that’s enough to declare the case for its quality closed.

I’m covering Jessica Jones for Decider! I’ll be posting a review a day every day till I get through the whole season. First up: My somewhat skeptical take on the pilot.


STC on Cut to the Chase!

Monday, October 26th, 2015

I’m the guest on this week’s episode of Chase Thomas’s Cut to the Chase podcast on writers and critics! Chase and I discuss my origin story as a writer, Game of Thrones, Lost, The Affair, Empire, True Detective, Gotham, Daredevil, cartoons, comics, and much more. I hope you enjoy!


Hiders & The Deep Ones

Monday, September 28th, 2015

Hiders and The Deep Ones, my two most recent comics with Julia Gfrörer, are now available for purchase as minicomics at Julia’s Etsy store.


STC x SPX

Friday, September 18th, 2015

Come see me and Julia Gfrörer at SPX in Bethesda this weekend! We will be at table M1 selling copies of our new minicomics The Deep Ones and Hiders, never before available as such, and we look like this. Julia is also selling prints and her usual assortment of excellent comics, some of them also written by me. (Unfortunately my remaining run of Flash Forward by me and Jonny Negron didn’t make the trip, but they’re still around!)


Hiders

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

This is the cover for a minicomic edition of Hiders by me and Julia Gfrörer, previously available only in Study Group 3D, which we’ll be selling at SPX this weekend.


The Deep Ones in print, coming soon

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

This is the cover illustration for a print version of The Deep Ones by me and Julia Gfrörer, which we’ll be selling at SPX next week.


Phoebe Gloeckner on reopening “The Diary of a Teenage Girl”

Thursday, August 13th, 2015

It was funny: I haven’t talked to the real person that [Monroe] was based on in a long, long time, but then I saw he was on Facebook. I wrote to him and I asked him if he’d read the book, and he hadn’t, so I sent him a copy. He said he read five pages and couldn’t read any more because it was “too intense.” Then he kept saying he’s going to read it, but he can’t. But when he found out there was a movie, I sent him the trailer, and he was really excited. He showed the trailer to some friend at a bar—I don’t think he’d said that it was supposed to be based on him—and that person said, “Wow, that relationship is really screwed up. Why are you showing me this?” The guy said “What do you mean, ‘screwed up’? That’s a real man!” You know? “He’s a real man! He’s going for it!” You can see that that particular person, that character…I mean, if I treated him correctly, he’s not the type of person who’s able to reflect on any of that. Which contributes to Minnie’s loneliness. It takes her a while to realize that, because she’s thinking she’s in love with him. What do you do when you’re “raped,” in quotes, by someone who’s thoughtless and unaware? There’s no way to have a discussion about that with him because he’s not on the ball enough to even grasp the situation. I don’t know what people think. You could argue rape or not—I mean, I don’t fucking know. It’s a complicated situation.

For my A.V. Club debut, I interviewed Phoebe Gloeckner, my hero, about The Diary Of A Teenage Girl. I first interviewed Phoebe 12 years ago, and she’s been my hero ever since.


The Creator of Pepe the Frog Talks About Making Comics in the Post-Meme World

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

Have you ever thought about collecting all the Boy’s Club comics in a single book?
I’ve thought about it. I dunno. The problem with books is I usually end up getting not that great of a deal. If the right situation came along I’d do it, but it’s really not even… I mean, I guess it would be worth it, to have it be easier for fans. But I kind of like it not being easy for people to get. I dunno, it’s kind of funny to see it on eBay for $400 or something. My lady thinks that Pepe’s a self-portrait, in a way—she says I have Pepe’s eyes—so it’s kind of neat to see something that’s so personal to me on some level infiltrate this weird nether-region of the internet. I’ve made my mark on the internet, so I can relax. I’m retired now, living off all the shares and likes.

Feels good man: I interviewed Matt Furie about his new Boy’s Club comic and the viral success of his character Pepe the Frog for my Vice debut.


At Home at the End of the World: The Long Defeat of Mike Mignola’s Hellboy

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

…nearly all of the “Mignolaverse” titles are shot through with a sense of tremendous loss, of mind-warping waste. The world Hellboy and his friends inhabit is a brutal one, rendered unspeakably ugly by a combination of venal people whose minds are too small for empathy and the unstoppable forces they therefore unleash.

Moreover, there’s a specific sense throughout the saga that the violence wielded by its protagonists is futile, even counterproductive. The most gung-ho member of the B.P.R.D., heavily scarred ex-Marine Captain Ben Daimio, secretly harbored an evil spirit that eventually took over and rampaged through the team’s headquarters. An attempt by the artificial man Roger the Homunculus to ape Daimio’s hard-charging attitude led directly to his own death. The depiction of violence as causing more problems than it solves is a self-critique that few superhero stories attempt, and even the ones that attempt it usually ultimately reject it.

Yet Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. soldier on, fighting a menace they are too weak, and too late, to stop. Their goal, to the extent that they have one, is simply to survive, and to preserve what little light and life they can — to write an epilogue for a story that has already ended.

Apocalypse now and forever: I wrote about Hellboy, the BPRD, and pop-cultural armageddons for Grantland.


Alison Bechdel on “Fun Home”‘s Tony-Award Triumph

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

What is it like for you to walk into that theater? It’s like being in your living room.

It’s overwhelming. I haven’t found a way to express the super bizarre surrealness of seeing my life on the stage and watching it play out multiple times. It’s a very strange ontological position to occupy. It both is and isn’t my life. I don’t really understand my relationship to the play. I’m still trying to figure that out.

The book received a lot of attention and acclaim as well, but with the musical, there are warm bodies on stage and in the audience. Does that make the enthusiastic reception of the show feel different?

That’s definitely part of it. The amazing risk involved in live theater? I could not bear that. You just count on so many people to get things right. You’re working with this giant team, from the prop manager to the actors, and they all go out on that tightrope every night together. That’s a very intense experience for the audience.

But also, a musical is something designed to have broad appeal. There’s a lot of money invested in this thing. It’s very difficult to get a show produced. What’s amazing to me is that this very weird, very particular, very risky story that’s not conventional Broadway fodder by any means has made it on Broadway! I feel like there’s always a trade-off between the size of your message and the size of your audience — they’re in inverse proportion. But in this case, there’s no skimping on the message. It’s not airbrushed in any way. It’s kind of just gritty and real. And it’s reaching these big Broadway audiences.

Did the sheer size of the collaborative effort involved seem a world away from sitting at your drawing table?

I was struck with that all along. Lisa [Kron, the writer/lyricist] and Jeanine [Tesori, the composer] had to be open to so many people’s input. That would have driven me absolutely nuts, but that’s part of what they love about it. Comics is about as far on the other end of the continuum as you can go. I do all my own set design and costumes. I do all the acting. That’s all me, and that’s the way I like it.

I interviewed the great Alison Bechdel about the success of Fun Home, the Tony Award–winning musical based on her graphic memoir of the same name, for Rolling Stone.


Art, empathy, and Hal’s Emerald Attack Team

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

mramgine asks: Are you familiar with the controversy surrounding what happened with Green Lantern back in the 90s, where Hal Jordan was turned into a supervillain and fans got so pissed that some sent death threats to DC? Why do you think certain creative decisions in media cause such reactions? Are some of these people mentally disturbed or is there some other reason for such behavior?

I have a grand unifying theory here that I’m keeping my powder dry on unless and until I have the time and inclination and monetary offer to flesh it out, but briefly: For a lot of people, experiencing art is less about seeking empathy with others than seeking reinforcement and comfort for oneself. That sounds harshly pejorative, and I suppose it is pejorative, but it’s certainly understandable given the nightmare hellscape we all live in that people look to fiction for amelioration. As such characters are less important in and of themselves – as potential vectors for information and transformation forged in the space between the artist, the artist’s ideas, the communication of those ideas in the art, the art’s reception by the audience, and the audience’s ideas in turn – and more important as reflections of audience desire. Toys, to be blunt. People don’t like when other people break their toys. Factor in geek culture’s chip-on-its-shoulder sense of entitlement and it’s a recipe for trouble.

You Are a Bad Person!

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

“You Are A Bad Person!”
by Sean T. Collins & Colin Panetta (after Jack T. Chick)
originally published in Mutant #6 by Atomic Books


DQ25

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015

I interviewed the great editor and publisher Tom Devlin in this beautiful book about Drawn and Quarterly, one of the best and most important comics publishers of all time. It’s out today, and it’s filled with comics by wonderful cartoonists. Check it out!