Planet Saturday by Monty Kane bills itself as "adventures in childhood and parenthood" and it is a charming collection of tales of Emory (who is basically a stand-in for Monty), roughly half with him as a child and half with him as an adult, father of a daughter. It in some ways suggests that the comic is really about Monty himself but it doesn't feel biographical as the stories seem to be more universal than uniquely revealing of one person. There's a touch of nostaglia at times, but particularly in the stories with the Emory as father and the daughter Dot it's also very much about two well-drawn characters and their father-daughter relationship. Maybe it's simply because I'm a dad with daughters myself, but I do enjoy these stories.
I got a chance to interview both Monty and his wife Kelli Stevens Kane by email this month about the comic and its first collection in print.
Leroy Brown is the creator of Ice Cubes about a motley crew of characters living within the Artic Circle in Alaska. I had not been previously familiar with Brown's work, but he submitted a design for the February cover art to ComixTALK that I liked and wound up using. It's got a similar set up to Tyler Martin's Wally & Osborne, but beyond updating more regularly the last year (hey now! rim crash... I"ll be here all week folks!), it's just a different animal entirely. The comic is very new (unfortunately the website doesn't currently have a very navigation-friendly set-up but you can get through the archives by clicking on the "strips" category) so it's easy to check out the archives to date.
Read on for my interview with Brown about his comic Ice Cubes.
Waltz With Bashir (subtitled "A Lebanon War Story") by Ari Folman and David Polonsky is a graphic novel adaptation of the animated film of the same name. I have not seen the film yet (although I fully intend to - the trailer looks quite intense). Ari Folman, wrote, produced, and directed the animated documentary and wrote this graphic novel version as well. David Polonsky was the art director and chief illustrator for the movie from which the art in the comic comes from (it's not entirely clear whether the images in the book are altered in any way from their appearance in the movie). It is Folman's own story and it appears it is a pretty faithful attempt to chronicle his attempts to fill in his memories of his own military service in the Israel-Lebanan war.
Tales from Outer Suburbia is the latest book from uber-talented artist Shaun Tan, following his wordless graphic novel, The Arrival. Tan is not really an experimental cartoonist - these are highly satisfying books that don't really feel like they're pushing formalist boundaries and yet his two books each refuse to stay within the expectations of the "graphic novel" format. I'm not sure Scott McCloud would concede that either one is actually a comic!
Erfworld is a hilarious adventure comic set in a world that seems to operate according to the laws of a role playing game like Dungeons and Dragons. The main character Parson is from our world and he is suddenly thrust into the world of Erfworld in the midst of a titantic battle between various factions. It's funny on a lot of levels. Yes you will probably laugh more and longer if you've ever played a role playing game but even if you haven't Rob Balder's wordplay and Jamie Noguchi's artwork will still entertain you.
Rob Balder is well known to many webcomic creators and readers for his work on Partially Clips, a satirical comic that uses clip art. He's also a musician and an associate editor of the fiction and fandom 'zine Nth Degree. We interviewed Rob for ComixTALK once before back in 2004. Jamie Noguchi currently has a day job as a self-described "multimedia monkey" for NASA and used to work as a colorist with UDON Entertainment. He also illustrates various things including Erfworld and hopes to someday move into doing full time illustration.
I've known Rob and Jamie for years now - I met Rob initially at SPX and have hung out with both at local Washington Webcomics meetings. They both strike me as passionate about comics and story-telling and I was not at all surprised at the success of Erfworld. I got a chance to interview them by email about the state of Erfworld and plans for 2009.
Bryant Paul Johnson is the creator of the long-running "semi-historical micro fiction" webcomic title, Teaching Baby Paranoia. I met Johnson at an SPX several years ago and I've always enjoyed reading his wonderfully smart, intellectually wacky comic. It's a bit like reading the history of a much more interesting world than our own. He also created a limited comic series for ComixTalk titled The Antecedent that might be described as semi-historical micro nonfiction and often illuminated many interesting parallels between American history and our recent era under that Texas yankee who used to be President.
I was really happy he was able to do a cover for us last month and than an interview now. Especially interesting is an update on the graphic novel titled The Lower Kingdom that Johnson is working on along with a preview of its first chapter.
Grant Thomas is the creator of several comics including the more personal My Life in Records and the more adventuresome Graphic Poems. I think Grant has been creating some of the more interesting and challenging comics I've seen in webcomics and his stuff is well worth checking out.
Grant's also been a contributor to ComixTALK, creating the cover art for ComixTALK for December of 2008 and writing several features for the magazine, including a three part series on creating mini-comics. I got a chance to chat with Grant recently about his plans for 2009, including the next chapter of My Life in Records and the inclusion of his work in an upcoming book from Fantagraphics.
Donna Barr was born in the mill town of Everett, WA. She is a prolific cartoonist and writer who embraced the web relatively early on as a means to further expose the public to her creative work. She is probably best known for her comic series, The Desert Peach, about Pfirsich Rommel, the fictional homosexual younger brother of Erwin "The Desert Fox" Rommel -- it has been in publication since 1988. Another comic series from Barr is titled Stinz -- it is about Steinheld Löwhard, a centaur in an imaginary land called Gieselthal where humans and centaurs live.
I got a chance to interview her via email over the last couple of months and really enjoyed our exchange.
Sara Varon is becoming hopefully a bit more well known at this point having several published comic books released now. Although she has a nice website she has not really published anything in an online format. Given her interest in telling tales most interesting to young children I'm not sure whether the lack of a web presence is a bad idea or not.
Eric MONSTER Millikin has a new website headquarters at ericmonster.com. I caught up with him via email to talk about the new website, painting zombie portraits and other comics projects, and of course, Monkey Day.