Two New Comics

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Jake & Noah

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Theric’s Comix Survey, Revisited

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Last year this month I surveyed all I knew about Mormon Comix (defined quite broadly) (and using a spelling some took issue with). This month (and in subsequent Augusts) I will briefly review three of my favorite Mormon Comix read since 2008’s write-up.

Anyone aware of my reading will note some obvious names missing from this post’s lineup. Nothing on the Ric Estrada I’ve read (they’ll wait for the conclusion of my series of posts on the man) nothing on Jake Parker (I’m waiting for my ARC of his upcoming book, though you can check out his work online if you’re anxious), and nothing about some very worthy webcomics (I’m learning that I still prefer my comics on paper–I’m sure tech will catch up with my needs eventually, but 2008/2009 was not the year that happened). If you would like a bibliography of sorts, check out the original post and, equally importantly, the accompanying comments. (Note: Because WordPress is pretty much the worst thing ever invented, accompanying images will all be clumped at the end rather than placed appropriately.) Continue reading “Theric’s Comix Survey, Revisited”

Couple-Creators: Mike and Laura Allred

Sir:
I’m still trying to get an ftp address out of Sunstone (they must have one and someone must know what it is) and as soon as that gets figured out, I’ll let you know what images I need. (Hopefully by then I will have finished my article.)
In the meantime, I thought I should send you the questions about being a couple of Mormon artists, married to each other. Please distinguish between your comments and Laura’s so I can do the same for readers. (Feel free to forward the questions on to her if would be easier for her just to reply separately.) (Or forward her your answers and let her reply to them.) (Or whatever. I’m flexible.)
I’ve included more questions than I expect you to answer. Feel free to pick and choose. And feel free to plug any upcoming projects as well. And I’ll (obviously) need to include some sort of image with this article — probably one off your website’s gallery or a scan from one of the Madman books I own. But if you happen to have a couple-portrait lying around that you made together, that would be ideal methinks.
Q: Were you both creators before meeting each other? Did creation play a role in bringing you together? How does creating together impact your marriage?
We met at BYU-Idaho and were both in the art department. So, we’ve always had that connection.
We were originally worried about getting sick of each other working together full-time, but it’s only brought us closer together.
Q: Since Michael seems to get hit up for more interviews than Laura, the general impression online is that projects you work on together are purely his ideas. How accurate is this?
Very.
I’ll give him input, but he really does do pretty much everything except selecting the colors.
Q: The Golden Plates. Doing that project seems like a financial risk and, sadly, it wasn’t a big hit. How did you discuss this project ahead of time, and was that discussion different than previous deciding-to-do-a-project discussions? What sort of strain did its lackluster sales cause? How likely are you to return to either that project or the Joseph Smith bio?
First off, it actually was a huge hit. But not big enough to sustain us financially given the time needed to do it right. So, we simply have to find time to do it when we can. We’re confident once we manage an efficient schedule that it will pick up steam.
Q: Speaking of, what is the relationship between faith, art and spouse?
It just is. We don’t have the words to express that answer correctly.
Q: Of course, you both work on projects apart from each other as well as working together — why is it important to take those jobs?
It’s always good to stretch on outside projects. Thats’ where we’ll find new inspiration to progress with different techniques and approaches.
Q: Speaking of, artistically, what are the advantages of working on properties owned by other people?
New perspectives.
Q: How is it different, working together as opposed to working with other people?
Together we have a rhythm and a comfort zone that can’t be matched.
Q: I know you’ve worked with Mike’s brother Lee. Have you involved other family members in projects as well? How does that turn out?
Our children have created characters or done small coloring jobs and stuff. It’s just extra fun.
Q: How do you balance family and art? Do you think it is easier or harder to be parents, you both being professional creatives? How do your careers affect your children?
We would just say it allows us to involve our children more in what we do, and they’re all creative too in music and art. And working at home just brings us closer together.
Q: At the beginning of your careers, before you were The Famous Allreds, how did you balance art with more mundane needs like rent?
We just plugged away. It’s not much different now except…
How has success changed your approaches to art?
…we have more confidence and it’s a little easier to get things done.
Q: How has success changed your relationship with each other?
Simply more comfort, less stress.
Q: I hear Laura is, first and foremost, a painter. Which begs the question: in addition to comics, what else are you two up to in terms of Fab Art?
Not much lately. I have my hands full with our regular work and spend as much time with the kids as we can.
Q: Any advice for Mormon artist couples like yourselves?
Just don’t be afraid to spend more time together. We love it!
Don’t forget to plug your upcoming work (including but not limited to continuing Madman, the Neil Gaiman Metamorpho, and whatever zillion other things you’re busy with).

That’s about it right now. Some things in the works, but nothing I can announce.

yet.

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I imagine the first thing that comes to the average mind when one mentions Mike or Laura Allred, together or separately, is Madman, Mike’s mid-Nineties comics creation that has lived long and is one of the most brilliant comics on shelves even today.

In Mormon circles, they are probably better known for The Golden Plates, their Book of Mormon adaptation.

For both these works, the writing and drawing is done by Mike, with colors by Laura. But their careers stretch far beyond these two titles, deep into the world of popular comics. Mike’s retro-pop stylings are in high demand (look for a collaboration with Neil Gaiman, coming soon) and Laura’s zowie colors for numerous popular titles have won her fan awards time and again. Check out these resumes: (Mike), (Laura).

Continue reading “Couple-Creators: Mike and Laura Allred”

Ric Estrada: The beginnings of MORMON comics

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    Recently I wrote a short monograph about Mormons who work in comics.
    Yes.

    And you’re probably the best known of them.

    Yes, I am.

    And I just wanted — there is — I’m working on — for instance I’m thinking about putting together an anthology of Mormon artists and I was curious what you think Mormon comics should look like in the future

    Oph! Is that a question? What Mormon comics should look like in the future? Well, I tell you: because I worked for commercial publishers, DC comics mostly, for DC Comics for sixteen, seventeen, eighteen years, and for other New York publishers because I lived in New York at the time.

    Right.

    But the comics I did usually followed the stories they gave me to illustrate, which were superheroes, war stories, romance stories, detective stories. I used, you know, in the late, oh, 1940s, early 1950s, western stories, cowboys and Indians.

    Yeah.

    So as far as MORMON comics, I don’t know that there’s anything like MORMON comics.

    I don’t think there is.

    No, I think it’s a, you know, it’s a nice thought, but it’s a misnomer.

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Ric Estrada’s mentor when he first arrived in New York was a, “what do you call him, a Jack Mormon . . . he came from a Mormon background and he told me a thing or two about the Church, but he was disconnected with it.” Needless to say, this man was was not making “Mormon” comics. And outside of Church publications (mainly The Friend), there has been very little done in that respect. A thing here, a thing there. Gags in Sunstone, Mike Allred’s Golden Plates — but not much. So I asked the man with the experience why he thought that was. He offered two reasons.
Continue reading “Ric Estrada: The beginnings of MORMON comics”

The Hero’s Journey of the Mormon Arts

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As Motley Vision‘s newest Official Contributor, I feel an obligation to have my first post explain something of my experience within and attitude towards the Mormon arts.

Several months ago, I plotted out a post called “Hero’s Journey of the Mormon Artist” which I had intended to submit to William. I’m glad I never finished it however as further reflection has suggested to me that I was implying that that my proposed version of the hero’s journey was a necessary part of being a good Mormon artist. As if being an Orson Scott Card or a Dean Hughes is more admirable than being a Heather Moore or an Anita Stansfield (no sexism intended). And so I continued refining the idea and now I feel that it is not Mormon artists who are on a hero’s journey, but the Mormon arts entire. I will not be going into all seventeen stages of the monomyth, but I will deal with the three major groupings and hit on the secondary levels when they seem helpful.

* Continue reading “The Hero’s Journey of the Mormon Arts”

A Survey of Mormon Comix by Theric Jepson

When I asked Theric Jepson to write a bit about Mormon graphic novels, I didn’t expect that he would launch a full on bibliographic project. But he did — and even though the results make for a very long post, it’s very much worth a read. Indeed, it’s quite the amazing project and must have taken quite some time to put together. Thanks, Theric. ~Wm Morris

I’m also going to make you click through for the full post because the “more” tag seems to be causing some problems with the special formatting for the post.

Continue reading “A Survey of Mormon Comix by Theric Jepson”