§ Berkeley Breathed talks about the end of Opus:
While fans won’t know the penguin’s fate for two weeks, Breathed did say the character won’t be killed off, but is “becoming part of the ages.” He also told fans that next week’s strip, which appears in The Press Democrat’s Sunday comics section, will feature virtually all the old “Bloom County” characters for one last brief comeback.
Breathed, who won the Pulitzer Prize in 1987, has said he is ending the strip and instead concentrating on children’s books and related animated films “as a refuge from the nastiness” of the current political and social climate. In a brief interview before his talk, he suggested that it was proving too difficult to keep the strip and its main character from sounding bitter.
§ Tom Spurgeon interviews Lucy Knisley, whose travel diary, FRENCH MILK, has just been published:
Certainly, I’ve had my miserable times of doubt about the book. I look to meaningful works by beloved artists and I cringe, that my own book seems so shallow and self indulgent by comparison. But I’ve learned that it’s better to judge a thing on it’s own merits, rather than holding it up to the standards of other works, and that there is a great deal of value to be had in something that might be considered a little shallow or frivolous. In the book, I visit Oscar Wilde’s grave, where a bird craps on my head. Oscar Wilde upheld the belief in art for art’s sake, and beauty for beauty’s sake, which is a strong motivator for my own work. The bird crap might have just been a coincidence, but then again, it might have been one of those real-life messages not to take everything in my art so seriously. It’s a travel journal, which allows for the inclusion of what I ate and saw and bought, but I think that there’s a slow and subtle current beneath the surface, which is absorbed along with the sights and descriptions, the way you might come to your own unconscious realizations while traveling.
§ Pop Culture Zoo chats with Colleen Doran:
I’ve produced nearly 1000 pages of this book for a relatively modest yearly income. If I need to take a break and go and pay down some debt and shore up my savings account, people either understand that or they don’t. There’s only so much you can do to get people to buy your book. Comics aren’t a charitable institution. No one is obligated to buy your comic because you want to draw and write it. If people are not willing to wait for the next installment, they don’t have to. But then, I don’t have to work for less than minimum wage on other people’s schedule, either. I’ve done that already. I even posted my social security statements from the 1980’s so people could see what I have actually made for an entire decade as an artist on this book. I think I’ve sacrificed enough.
Heatley, who will be at Bookshop Santa Cruz this Tuesday, says the ideal reader for his book is a teenager or adult who needs an injection of hope.
“My message is: Stick around; life’s worth living.”
Now 34, Heatley made it through his own turbulent teenage years with the help of music and art. He discovered the power of comics in college.
“At Oberlin in the early ’90s, the zeitgeist was full of Dan Clowes, Chris Ware and RAW comics,” he said.
§ Deb Aoki has a long interview with Wendy Pini:
It took Overstreet (the price guide for collectible comics) three years to recognize and list Elfquest. It was black and white, it was magazine-sized, and it was drawn by a woman. It was high fantasy, which was not a big subject matter for comics at the time, and it was influenced by manga, which hardly anyone had ever heard of.
‘What kind of drawing style is this?’ ‘Why do your characters look the way they do? Your guys are so effeminate! That’s creepy!’ Oh, the criticism in certain circles was great. They were angered by it.
Meanwhile, other people embraced it immediately. I got some support from The Comics Journal because it was so different. They asked me, ‘This is not drawn in any known style… why are you putting it out in this way?’
§ Final non-comics bonus interview: The Galaxy Express chats with blogger, SF reviewer, and former Beat cubicle neighbor Rose Fox about things to keep in mind when inventing a fictional language:
I think I mostly remember the really terrible ones, like Eric Van Lustbader’s Pearl Saga, where characters have names like Rekkk and Thigpen. I defy anyone to correctly pronounce that triple k, and really, what unkind parents would name their child Thigpen? Or there’s Susan Kearney’s The Ultimatum, where made-up words are relentlessly italicized and often refer to things that have clear Earth analogues. Why say “marbellite” when you could say “marble”? Why call a flower a “rolilly” when you could call it a rose or a lily? So that’s more about what not to do. Other beginner mistakes include creating words that have no obvious similarity to other words, or putting in weird punctuation at random. We know why there are apostrophes in “don’t” and “y’all” and “prob’ly”: they note the omission of a sound and mark the word as in some way informal or nonstandard. If you have something called a glafin’gla, what has been omitted from it? How did the term develop? Why is the apostrophe necessary?