§ USA Today interviews Alicia Torres, whose AMERICAN WIDOW, with artist Sungyoon Choi, has just come out. The book recounts her struggles after the death of her husband in the 9/11 attacks:
Over lunch in midtown Manhattan, Torres, 43, remains composed, saying it’s “weird. The book is all about my personal heartbreak,” but “I think of it as an achievement, a kind of benchmark to how I’m doing seven years later.” The book — sometimes addressed directly to her husband — re-creates her early thoughts on 9/11 as she struggled to get downtown that day: “So many people alive and well — maybe you’re OK too. It only makes sense.”
I had a table over in Q. Guys like Moebius, Frank Brunner, Dave Sim, and Mark Bode had their own tables. DC’s table was in M, where they had buttons, Kevin Maguire, Ray Bradbury, and Denny O’Neil.
Ed Brubaker was schlepping his slacker comics, and hadn’t twigged onto this “crime” thing yet. Although it’s rumored that at this con, Frank Miller gave Ed the keys to his cabin. True story.
But still: I haven’t read much about Cowa!, but it’s probably the manga I’ve most enjoyed reading this year. A few caveats: I still haven’t read Good-Bye, Red Colored Elegy or Cat Eyed Boy. I also haven’t read any of the Takehiko Inoue material released this year. And Dororo is certainly better than Cowa! in most ways. I just enjoyed Cowa! more. It’s actually very similar to Joann Sfar’s Little Vampire series, both in tone and premise. Like Little Vampire, I found Cowa! to be uproariously funny. Actually, as much as I like Dr. Slump, I probably laughed far more frequently at Cowa!, which has far fewer poop-related jokes (not that I mind the occasional bit of scatological humor, especially if someone as consistently funny as Toriyama is doing it, but there are probably about seven poop jokes in every volume of Dr. Slump).
Well, I just wrote a song for a kids record. But I’m too old—I already had a career. Shel Silverstein wrote kids books.
Did you do any artwork for these books?
I actually drew the musical notes in the beginning of the book, when Otto sings. And I did the lettering on the note that Aunt Sally wrote him, but that’s only because Frank was out of town, and they couldn’t reach him [laughs]. I did roughs of the whole book. That’s how I submitted the book. But I don’t draw as cute as Frank, so my cats come out looking more like Fritz. So I just did that for facial expressions and positions and stuff. That was just the first draft. Frank added a more dynamic movement to it.
§ Martha Thomases interviews Harry N. Abrams’ Charles Kochman, on topics including the WIMPY KID phenomenon:
I think the success of that series is perhaps the single most important thing I have accomplished in my career. We get letters from parents whose kids never read before, and now, thanks to Jeff, their children have become readers. I have also heard from old friends and former co-workers who saw my name in the book that their child was reading, and reached out to share that with me. It doesn’t get better than that. I love children’s books, but aside from Wimpy Kid and the occasional kids comic or graphic novel, my time is going to be spent focused primarily on Abrams ComicArts. You don’t get an imprint and then divide your attention. To make this work, I’m going to have to keep giving it my all. I work long hours as it is, and I just got engaged, so the bar is set pretty high—but I’m confident in what can be accomplished.
And are you starting to get what this is all about? Comic books – why people like them, or do you still not get it? I think I get it. I think there’s probably a lot of reasons people like them. I think the art contributes a lot to people’s overall pleasure of a comic book. You’re gonna laugh, but I still think that whole thing of when you’re a little kid, and you’re reading a book with pictures, that there is a simple joy to that. You have the joy of the pictures with it, and the bright, bright colors! It’s larger than life characters, and I think it all hearkens back to your childhood, and capturing it, and being able to have it. It’s a way to sink into something and relax with it.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.