Episode 144 – Posy Simmonds

21665372213_b13416c33d_z

Virtual Memories Show #144:
Posy Simmonds

“I always get asked, ‘Could you draw properly if you want to?’ Also, ‘Who writes your jokes?’ Oh, and, ‘Have you ever thought of doing something serious?'”

UK cartooning legend Posy Simmonds, MBE, author of Gemma Bovery and Tamara Drewe, joins the show for a charming conversation about her career as a “literary” cartoonist, her childhood in postwar Britain, where she was raised on American comics and Americana, the allure of London, her top methods of procrastination, why her characters occasionally get trampled by livestock, what the French word is for comics with too many word balloons, and more! Give it a listen!

“The eternal thing in Madame Bovary is what the French call ‘bovarisme’, being very dissatisfied with your lot, and wanting to change it. We see it all the time: ‘If I get a new nose or new tits, I’ll be someone different!'”

We also talk about seeing her work turned into movies, her regret at not being able to attend San Diego Comic-Con the years she was an invited guest (!), the challenges of transporting Madame Bovary into modern-day France, working in serial format in The Guardian where she drew “giraffe comics”, and more, so go listen!

We talk about some books and comics in this episode. Here’s a list of them:

Enjoy the conversation! Then check out the archives for more great episodes! You might like:

Follow The Virtual Memories Show on iTunes, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and RSS!

About our Guest

Posy Simmonds was born in 1945 and brought up near Cookham in Berkshire, England. She studied French (briefly) at The Sorbonne and graphic design at Central St Martins, London. While trying to find work as a cartoonist, she was a dog-walker, a cleaner, a governess, and sold Pyrex in Harrods. Her first commission was in The Times in 1968 – 5 tiny illustrations about loft insulation.

22273564302_8e23d241e8_z

She is best known for the strip cartoons and serials that were published in The Guardian and the books that derive from them. These include Mrs Weber’s Diary, True Love, Literary Life and the graphic novels, Gemma Bovery and Tamara Drewe. Tamara Drewe was an Essentiel d’Angoulême in 2008, and won the Prix Des Critiques. Both novels have been made into feature films: Tamara Drewe, directed by Stephen Frears in 2010 and Gemma Bovery, directed by Anne Fontaine in 2014.

Posy has also written and drawn several books for children which include Baker Cat, and Fred, whose film version was nominated for an Oscar in 1996. Her work has been shown in exhibitions organised by the Arts Council and British Council, and in 2012 she had a retrospective exhibition at the Belgian Comic Strip Centre in Brussels. She is married and lives in London and is currently working on another novel.

Credits: This episode’s music is Nothing’s Gonna Bring Me Down by David Baerwald, used with permission of the artist. The conversation was recorded at Ms. Simmonds’ home on a pair of Blue enCORE 200 microphones feeding into a Zoom H5 digital recorder. I recorded the intro and outro on a Blue Yeti USB Microphone. Processing was done in Audacity and Logic Pro. Photos of Ms. Simmonds by me.

Episode 137 – Scott McCloud

Virtual Memories Show #137:
Scott McCloud – Tumblings

“I want to be working, making comics, and knowing that the thing I’m doing right now is the thing I should be doing and I shouldn’t feel guilty about doing it. I’ve been able to keep that going much of the time for the last 20 years, and it’s kinda great.”

Is Scott McCloud comics’ leading theorist or a deranged lunatic? Find out in this lengthy conversation we recorded during SPX 2015! Scott talks about applying (and forgetting) the lessons of Understanding Comics in his new book, The Sculptor (First Second), the massive implications of crowdfunding for cartoonists and other creators, the problems with ‘balance’ in comics pages, his rebellion against Facebook, the Laurie Anderson model of comics, how he defines success, how to keep a happy marriage inside the comics world, and more! Give it a listen!

“We’ve never seen the consumer dollar at full strength. In traditional print markets, somebody spends a dollar on my work, and I get 10 cents at the end of that chain, that massive army of middlemen. Now we’re seeing what kind of world happens when the consumer dollar stays closer to a dollar. That army of consumers really has an enormous power to put your boat afloat.”

We also talk about his next book (on visual communication and education), his strengths and weaknesses as a cartoonist, making a 500-page comic book that readers could tackle in one sitting, why Reinventing Comics was like “trying to eat 10 lbs. of potato salad”, how every success story in cartooning is unique, the differences in working in print vs. working for the screen, and trying to be a scholar for the first time. Now go listen!

“Craig Thompson’s Blankets is probably off the hook now, because I finally did a comic even more sentimental. So now I made Craig look like Gary Panter.”

We mention a few books in this episode. Here they are:

Enjoy the conversation! Then check out the archives for more great episodes! You might like:

Follow The Virtual Memories Show on iTunes, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and RSS!

About our Guest

Scott McCloud is the award-winning author of Understanding Comics, Making Comics, Zot!, The Sculptor, and many other fiction and non-fiction comics spanning 30 years. An internationally-recognized authority on comics and visual communication, technology, and the power of storytelling, McCloud has lectured at Google, Pixar, Sony, and the Smithsonian Institution. There’s a more extensive and funny bio at his site.

Credits: This episode’s music is Nothing’s Gonna Bring Me Down by David Baerwald, used with permission of the artist. The conversation was recorded during the Small Press Expo at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel on a Zoom H2n Handy Recorder and a pair of Blue enCORE 200 microphones feeding into a Zoom H5 digital recorder. I recorded the intro and outro on a Blue Yeti USB Microphone. Processing was done in Audacity and Logic Pro. Photo of Mr. McCloud by me.

Unrequired Reading: Jewel Eye

It’s time for another month’s worth of my tweets from twitter! First the retweets (the ones that begin with RT) and then the marginally more original ones! Remember, you can get these regularly by following groth18!

In honor of July 4th, we’ll start off with a bang!

RT @felixsalmon (Felix Salmon):

 

* * *

RT @radleybalko (Radley Balko) – Letter from Cory Maye

* * *

RT @sharilynj – Read about @marcmaron‘s powerful keynote address, opening up this year’s #JustForLaughs #jfl

* * *

RT @kylevanblerk (Kyle van Blerk) – A bear. Made out of 20,000 zip ties. As you do.

* * *

RT @susanorlean (Susan Orlean) – Wonderful!! “@NewYorkTheaterNiagara Falls lit with colors of rainbow on 1st day of N.Y.’s Marriage Equality

* * *

RT @LettersOfNote – There’s so much to love about this photo of Jimi Hendrix

* * *

RT FishbowlDC – Find out how the bridge of someone’s nose figures into The Atlantic‘s Megan McArdle’s (@asymmetricinfo) interviews.

* * *

I don’t have kids, and that’s why I side with #GayTalese on dropping serious cash on clothes: #notthatIspendTHATmuch

* * *

Because I don’t like kids, that’s why.

* * *

Heartbreaking article about treating vs. screening #DownSyndrome

* * *

Chinese govt. tries to disprove adage that there’s no such thing as bad publicity: #weallcrashedthetrain

* * *

The art of #RickyGervais.

* * *

The #JewishAutonomousRegion sounds like the Off-World Colonies in Bladerunner: #Jewsinspace

* * *

A Bentley SUV? But what if the NBA lockout doesn’t end soon?

* * *

I’m disappointed the Hercules machine isn’t on this list: #pinball (Hercules is over here)

* * *

Beetlejuice in NJ, via @nycscout

* * *

I thought #PillowTie was the best Skymall product ever, but it’s no match for #DribbleBib

* * *

Oh, look! It’s the scariest goddamned thing ever! #dummyland #ventmyrage

* * *

Oliver’s Army is here to stay: #andiwouldratherbeanywhereelsethanheretoday #cromwell

* * *

Timmy, have you even been in a Norwegian prison?

* * *

The Midgard Serpent sleeps below Park Ave.

* * *

Just #FranLebowitz and her awesome car

* * *

@SimonDoonan on getting married to Jonathan Adler.

* * *

A “thoroughly generic bookstore” (as per my 40th bday post) is closing: #bookberries

* * *

Euroleague’s greatest hoopster is from West Memphis. #MarcusBrown

* * *

Freelove: sister of Increase, mother of Wealthy: #nydutch

* * *

“I’m looking for something hipster-y“: http://nyr.kr/p5opGB

* * *

Can you tell us more often in 1 article that there was no internet in 1981, please? #shittywriting #tigerwoods

* * *

Set taser to #KTFO: #zotz

* * *

The #StopMakingSense fashion collection: #thisisnotmybeautifulcoat (does @davidbyrne know about this?)

* * *

To quote #Nirvana, I think I’m dumb.

* * *

(Hilarious) summer fashion trends, courtesy of @simondoonan.

* * *

Leopard goes ape: #donotconfrontangryleopard

* * *

5 major factors in the #Borders collapse: #bookswithoutborders

* * *

Speaking of: Proving that people surrounded by books can still be total retards: #bookswithoutborders

* * *

Bob Colacello, whose #Warhol memoir Holy Terror I enjoyed the heck out of, auctioned off his portrait by AW.

* * *

On escaping and not escaping #Auschwitz

* * *

Interview Your Own Damn Self!” the #Nabokov way: http://bit.ly/nrtMZQ

* * *

Boy, #SeanBean sure does get killed a lot.

* * *

Transocean: the “I didn’t do it” kid of the gulf oil disaster

* * *

#WoodyAllen on Rilke, selling out Hannah & Her Sisters, and that new movie of his

* * *

Lovely photos of writers & their dogs by #JillKrementz (no greyhounds, I notice)

* * *

“Using .NET is like Fred Flintstone building a database”: Why #Myspace went boom

* * *

Why is weed wacky? #potluck

* * *

M(ormon)BA: Mormons are the new Jews? #wedressbetter

* * *

Does the mind rule the body, or does the body rule the Ren? #renandstimpy

* * *

Holocaust theory: #saturdaynightreading

* * *

Busch-basching: http://buswk.co/pJrg9k

* * *

Peter O’Toole on being awesome. #doublephallicname

* * *

Nothing harder than getting laughs from a room full of comedy writers: http://bit.ly/poW20I

* * *

I miss Karen Allen, but I’m still glad I skipped that last #IndianaJones flick.

* * *

A stoic and a zen buddhist walk into a bar…

* * *

Neat profile of @MaerRoshan that i missed till now: #offmyradar #harhar

* * *

#Hitchens, on the Gandhi myth

* * *

Mob scene: #mafiaTV

* * *

Psst! It’s a secret bookstore! #brazenhead

* * *

Pad See Yew Later, Addiction! #ThaiRehab

* * *

Writer procrastination: (I bought a super-cheap PC laptop and deleted everything but @ommwriter) #mustdisablewifi

* * *

Final meal . . . Cajun-style! (via @wadecortez) http://bit.ly/rukM1M

* * *

Signal-to-noise and old-cooterism, by @binarybits: onforb.es/nRWJTq

* * *

Crisis in Swedish Ballet Training: #WhyILoveMonocle

* * *

The next generation of painkillers will come in small nuggets that you heat up in a pipe and inhale. #drugdelivery

* * *

I still think that #CCTV building’s gonna tip over

* * *

I guess it’s a good thing Brooding Persian isn’t on Twitter. #associationsanddisassociations

* * *

Hegemony from column B: http://bit.ly/ott95H #SinoTheTimes

* * *

Chimpanzee that! He’s a photographer! #GoApe #monkeynews

* * *

@SimonDoonan on the Cute & the Savage: #notanewsoapopera

* * *

Sometimes the gorilla gets the banana, and sometimes the banana gets the gorilla. #GoApe

* * *

Nowhere, special: #NoUtopiaWithoutToddRundgren

* * *

Orwell vs. God

* * *

Building the perfect #KingLear: #Shakespeare

* * *

#WinstonGroom on #TrumanCapote: #getyourmindouttathegutter

* * *

I just want to stay ahead of my illiterate dad: http://bit.ly/kuJPUt (okay, here are all the books I’ve read)

* * *

Chess computers are using PEDs?

* * *

High school time capsule, courtesy of #BourgeoisSurrdender

* * *

In this particular instance, I’ll chose NOT to #belikeMike, thank you: http://bit.ly/iYSriE

* * *

The accordion market gets squeezed: #bwahhaha

* * *

John Lindsay: one suave mofo: #mayorofcool

* * *

To end this month’s installment, I offer 1 Lap of Manhattan in 26 minutes (soundtrack set to Underworld, of course):