Anthropomorphic comics characters have enjoyed a wide appeal almost since the invention of the comic. Who doesn’t love Snoopy? Characters like Garfield have inspired an entire generation of professional cartoonists. Even the critically-acclaimed Maus featured talking animal characters.
So what is it about “animals doing people things” that’s so compelling? Why are we so willing to invest in a character whose design is so defiantly absurd and unrealistic?
I’m joined by John Green , co-creator of the Teen Boat! graphic novels and creator of the upcoming Hippopotamister, published by First Second Books. Together we unlock the secret powers held within “funny animal characters.”
We’re also joined by Anne Drozd of the Ann Arbor District Library for another round of book recommendations! Links mentioned in this episode (thanks to Eric Klooster for collecting the links!):
It’s time to unbox the age-old question of Talent vs. Effort on Comics Are Great!
How does your comics work change when you shift your focus from “expressing yourself” to “putting in the effort?” Are these terms mutually exclusive, or does the focus oscillate between those poles throughout the project? If so, how do you know when it’s time to change your focus?
I’m joined by Zack Giallongo, cartoonist behind Broxo, Star Wars: Ewoks: Shadows of Endor, and the Stratford Zoo Midnight Review series. Together we explore how a career in cartooning is equal parts creative expression and herculean effort, and how one finds balance between the two. Links mentioned in this episode (thanks to Eric Klooster for collecting the links!):
There are more ways than ever to share our work with our intended audience. Some solutions are as simple as pushing a button, while others may require a little bit of technical know-how.
But how do you find the hosting/publishing/social media solution that connects you to the right readers? Do you use them all? Or is there a value in investing in the culture of a smaller set?
How do the cultures of sites like DeviantArt, Tumblr, Reddit, or Smack Jeeves affect the way the audience interacts with our work, and how might that help us find the right solution and find the right audience?
And why have so many visual artists turned to Tumblr, anyway?
I’m joined by a group of young artists who will help me unravel these questions on Comics Are Great! 90.
Martin talks to playwright, essayist, and critic James Harvey about his new book Watching Them Be: Star Presence on the Screen from Garbo to Balthazar. With great perception and insight, Harvey explores how charisma is created in the movies, writing about Greta Garbo, Robert De Niro, Charles Laughton, John Wayne and many other stars, concluding with a strikingly moving passage about director Robert Bresson’s masterpiece Au Hasard Balthazar, whose star is a donkey! Hopwood Award winner James Harvey, who graduated from the University of Michigan with a Master’s Degree in English, has written a deeply personal and extraordinarily compelling account of the films that have changed his life and will also change yours. The interview was recorded on September 24, 2014.
Whatever your stance on cosplay, one can’t deny that it’s an active arena in fan participation with media. Is it simply a distracting branch that interferes with the “pure” transactions between fans and creators? Or is it a means for fans to enrich their participation with the creations themselves? When fandoms form around a creation, how should a creator respond?
This time I’m joined by Rachel Ashley-Lovelace for a discussion on the culture of fandoms and cosplay and how they might coexist with the creative forces that inform them.
AADL Production Librarian Anne Drozd also drops by for another round of book recommendations!
Links mentioned in this episode (thanks to Eric Klooster for collecting the links!):
We grown-up cartoonists think we know what kids are and aren’t picking up on in our work. After all, we were kids once! But memory can be fickle testimony, so in the next Comics Are Great! I’ll be joined by 12-year-old cartoonist Connor to talk about what he perceives to be the anatomy of a good story for kids.
If you haven’t seen Gregg and Connor in action, they led some events at the 2014 Kids Read Comics festival in Ann Arbor, MI. You can see their banter during the Kids Comics Award show held that weekend here. Links mentioned in this episode (thanks to Eric Klooster for collecting the links!):
This time I’m joined by Jamie Gambell, writer of The Hero Code, for a discussion on the various channels available to us when publishing our comics independently. With so many options like Kickstarter, Comixology, IndyPlanet, Patreon, and publishing on the web, how do you find the right option for your comic?