The August Mailbag is Here!

It’s that time: the monthly Mailbag Q&A is here, and boy is it a heck of a list. There are likely questions I missed, so if I missed yours, send them my way again. But until then, to a laundry list of questions, starting with the basics!

How are you doing, David? – Keigen Rea

I thought this was a good starting point, as it’s a broader question and why not. I’m doing pretty well, for the most part! Still have a job, ideas are flowing for the site and podcast, my family is healthy, my wife and cats are good, I’m sleeping well, I’m getting better at running again, I finished Nier Automata and it’s unbelievable. Generally speaking, I can’t really complain, even if the world is sort of falling apart around me. I guess my main complaint would be “I wish the world would stop falling apart!” but that one is pretty obvious.

Are there any examples of comics that portray music well? I’m pretty sure the answer is no – so why do writers insist on trying to insert audio into a visual medium? – Ryan Alcock

I do think there are examples, even if not all of them are inherently musical. Some are! Dave Chisholm’s upcoming Chasin’ the Bird is about jazz giant Charlie Parker, and it’s a fantastic example of music in comics but also as an exploration of the emotions we all have tied into music. It’s a genuinely fantastic work. There are some examples like that, but then there are less specific ones. For example, I look at artists like Mike Allred – particularly in FF and Madman – and Javier Rodriguez as having a natural musicality to their art, even if that isn’t what you’re speaking to. Faith Erin Hicks is also capable in that regard, and it helps that she’s such a fantastic artist at character acting, which I think comes with the territory.

Weirdly, I think comics could in theory portray music well, if only because comics and music have a lot of overlap when it comes to timing and sequencing. They just depict them differently, but I do believe comics should be capable of delivering on it to a degree. It’s just sometimes they try to oversell it and it goes awry, while other times comics seemingly prefer to avoid it because it isn’t contextually relevant to the subject matter most comics approach. So, I think there are examples, but not that many, mostly because of the types of stories comics tell more than a lack of capability.

Related to Ryan Alcock’s question, are there are there any comics you know of that portray sign language well? How do you do speech bubbles for gestures? – Mark Tweedale

The only answer I know is Hawkeye #19, the sign language issue. Matt Fraction and Dave Aja doing Matt Fraction and Dave Aja stuff. I’d say they’re the only people I know who could pull something like this off – and Aja is uniquely well suited to that – but I also think they’re the only ones who would think of it. I’m just glad they did it.

Most surprising read you’re enjoying? – JP Jordan

Beyond DCeased, which I have expressed my surprise about several times, I’d say the most surprising hit for me lately was Hedra, Jesse Lonergan’s recent Image Comics one-shot. That went from a comic I had no idea even existed to a comic I might buy to a comic I did buy to a comic I loved extremely quickly. That one came out of nowhere for me, and boy did I love it.

What’s your favorite monthly DC comic right now? Marvel? Image? Boom!? Anything else? – Keigen Rea

Well, my favorite DC title is Wonder Woman: Dead Earth, but if I had to go monthly, let’s go with DCeased: Dead Planet. Marvel, probably Immortal Hulk, but X-Men is close. Image, that’s a tough one because nothing is really monthly. Enjoyability so far, maybe Fire Power to be honest, but Farmhand, Sea of Stars, and Gideon Falls are up there. I have to say: the amount of Image titles I love right now is probably at a ten year low.

As I type this, two of my favorite BOOM! titles haven’t even launched yet, but both Seven Secrets and We Only Find Them When They’re Dead are incredible and nearly get the spot, but they can’t because Lottie Grote exists and will always be number one. Thus, John Allison and Max Sarin’s Wicked Things gets my spot.

What are you most optimistic about when thinking about the future of comics as an industry? Whether it be a title, a relaunch or something else entirely? What are you most looking forward to? – Paul Hernandez

The thing I’m most optimistic about is that there are more ways for people to make money off of comics than ever before. They may not be as narrowly focused as before, but that’s a good thing. Webtoon, Kickstarter, Patreon, self-publishing, book market deals, webcomics, YouTube, Twitch, Shopify, Etsy, etc. etc. all present opportunities for people to make money off of their comics or their craft, while also quite often expanding the potential reach of their work.

That’s great! That opens doors and helps people make real careers out of comics in a way that might not have been an option before. Beyond that, it makes creators less reliant on specific structures within comics, helping them take back some of the power back in the relationships within comics. That helps people live healthy lives but also empowers them to make the comics they want to make. That’s a good thing, and something I support wholeheartedly.

But also more Kaijumax, because I love Kaijumax.

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