“As far as developing a style, it’s all experimental. It’s all just making mistakes and then seeing what are good mistakes.”
With her wonderful, hilarious & heartfelt new graphic novel, Brooklyn’s Last Secret (Drawn & Quarterly), cartoonist Leslie Stein brings us the story of Major Threat, a getting-over-the-hill indy band on tour. During SPX 2023, we talked about how she mined the raw material of her own rock & roll tour experiences (and those of her friends) to make a comedy about touring life, why she started it during COVID lockdown in 2020, and how serializing it on Instagram served as an antidote to doomscrolling. We got into the evolution of her cartooning style and how she finds new modes to work in, the expectations vs. the reality of artistic life, the experience of going viral with a comic about Nirvana T-shirts (and her time playing in a Nirvana cover band). We also discussed going back to cons & festivals, why it’s important to be an entertaining panelist, the role of music in art-making, why it’s best not to open up emotionally to your bandmates when on tour, and more. Give it a listen! And go read Brooklyn’s Last Secret!
“Sometimes I start a comic, don’t really know what I’m doing, and keep going out of stubbornness.”
“I love the idea of having a ritual around drawing.”
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About our Guest
Leslie Stein is the cartoonist of the LA Times Book Prize Award-winning Present, as well as I Know You Rider, Bright-Eyed at Midnight, and the Eye of the Majestic Creature series. Her diary comics have been featured on The New Yorker, Vice, and in the Best American Comics anthology. She lives in Brooklyn. She plays guitar, not bass. Her new book is Brooklyn’s Last Secret.
Credits: This episode’s music is Fella by Hal Mayforth, used with permission from the artist. The conversation was recorded at the Bethesda North Marriott on a pair of Blue enCORE 200 microphones feeding into a Zoom PodTrak P4 digital recorder & interface. I recorded the intro and outro on a Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Microphone feeding into a Zoom PodTrak P4. All processing and editing done in Adobe Audition CC.