Episode 179 – Andrea Tsurumi

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Virtual Memories Show #179:
Andrea Tsurumi

“I’m not a foodie, but I love other people’s obsessions about food. I love watching Kings of Pastry and seeing two men carefully bisecting a pastry and sharing it. They’ve got the most serious looks own their faces.”

Rising comics star — don’t blame me, that’s what Publishers Weekly just called her — Andrea Tsurumi joins the show to talk about her new collection, Why Would You Do That? (Hic & Hoc Publications). We get into her off-kilter sense of humor and why I love it, why she chose that title, the most sadistic children’s book ever written and why she adapted it, the comics industry’s saving grace (it’s too small to fail), staged photos during the Civil War, the challenge of teaching comics, her attempt at a work/art/life balance, the comics, cartoons and picture books that influenced/warped her, why she left New York, the truth about cakes vs. pies, and more! Give it a listen! And buy Why Would You Do That?!

“The problem with freelance illustration and comics is just that there’s not enough money, especially if you’re living in New York City. If you don’t have enough money, you don’t have enough time. And if you don’t have enough money or time, you have to make hard choices, and you’ll never have enough wiggle room to have a healthy balance.”

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This episode was recorded at the School of Visual Arts, where Andrea studied and where she does some teaching nowadays (that’s her standing next to a print by Jim Rugg). Past guest Nathan Fox, chair of the MFA Visual Narrative Department at SVA, offered us a space to record. SVA’s low-residency MFA Visual Narrative Program includes two years online and three summers in NYC. The program focuses on the growing need for original content creators in advertising, video games, picture books, graphic novels, film, comic arts, illustration and animation, and it prepares artists and authors to become innovators in the ever-evolving art of visual storytelling. Now go listen to the show!

“You know when you’re growing up and you have these moments of dramatic realization of the obvious? That’s what the growing up is.”

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

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About our Guest

TsurumiStudio_670Andrea Tsurumi is an illustrator and cartoonist who likes history, absurdity, dogs and monsters (in no particular order). Her first book, Why Would You Do That? is out now from Hic & Hoc. A lifelong book nerd, she received an English BA from Harvard and an MFA in illustration from the School of Visual Arts. She now lives in Philadelphia and likes her ice cream angry.

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 the School of Visual Arts on a pair of Blue enCORE 200 Microphones feeding into a Zoom H5 digital recorder. I recorded the intro and outro on a Blue enCORE 200 Microphone feeding into a Mackie Onyx Blackjack 2×2 USB Recording Interface. Processing was done in Audacity and Logic Pro. Photo of Ms. Tsurumi by me, portrait of her drawing by … someone else.

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.

Podcast: Mike and Ivan’s Comics Cabaret

Virtual Memories – season 3 episode 13 – Mike and Ivan’s Comics Cabaret

This time around on the Virtual Memories Show, we talk to a couple of great cartoonists! First up, 2013 Eisner Award-winner Michael Kupperman, the cartoonist behind Tales Designed to Thrizzle, Snake & Bacon’s Cartoon Cabaret, and Mark Twain’s Autobiography: 1910-2010, talks about absurdism, cartooning as stress relief, how the UCB taught him to stop worrying and start performing his comics on stage, how he got the idea to mash up Quincy and Inception, and where the whole Mark Twain thing comes from. Conan O’Brien says he has “one of the best comedy brains on the planet.”

“A lot of artists dismiss what they’re working on because it’s not what they want to be working on, or because it could be better. Whatever you’ve been doing, THAT’S your work. It’s not the stuff you’ve been thinking about doing, or wanting to do, it’s what you actually produced.” — Ivan Brunetti

Then Ivan Brunetti joins us to talk about his new book, Aesthetics: A Memoir, as well as how he began teaching cartooning, what he learned from trying to win the art job on Nancy, how he wound up becoming a cover artist for the New Yorker, and how he managed to drag himself out of the self-loathing misanthropy captured in his early Schizo comics!

Enjoy the conversations! Then check out the archives for more great talk!

Previous comics- and cartooning-related episodes:

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

About our Guests

Michael Kupperman writes, “I’m a comic artist, illustrator, and writer who lives in New York City. I’m the author of three books of comics: Snake’N’Bacon’s Cartoon Cabaret, Tales Designed to Thrizzle Volume 1, and Tales Designed to Thrizzle Volume 2. I also wrote and illustrated the humorous book Mark Twain’s Autobiography 1910-2010. Some of my work has been translated into animation, and I sometimes perform, occasionally dressed as Mark Twain. I also enjoy reading my work in front of audiences. I also collect old books and magazines, and visit flea markets whenever possible.” So there’s that.

Ivan Brunetti is the critically acclaimed author of several volumes of comics and cartoons, as well as the highly praised Cartooning: Philosophy and Practice, which won a 2012 Eisner Award and was hailed by Publishers Weekly as an “enormously empowering” guide. He is a cover artist for the New Yorker, and his drawings have also appeared in the New York Times Magazine, McSweeney’s, and other publications. He has taught courses on editorial illustration and comics at the University of Chicago and Columbia College Chicago, and served as editor for Yale’s bestselling Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons, and True Stories.

Credits: This episode’s music is Good Advices by R.E.M. The conversation with Michael Kupperman was recorded in a Toronto hotel room on a pair of  AT2020 mics feeding into a Zoom H4n recorder. The conversation with Ivan Brunetti was recorded in a Chicago hotel room with the same equipment. I recorded the intro and outro on a Samson Meteor into a MacBook Air using Audacity, in a room on the 42nd floor of the Royal Meridien in Shanghai. All editing and processing was done in Garage Band. Photo of Ivan Brunetti by me.

More Bookbuys

Waiting for Amy’s train this afternoon (long weekend: woo!), I stopped at the Barnes & Noble on Rt. 17 South in Paramus. That store has a used books section, which also includes reviewers’ copies that are usually marked down half-price from list. There was a 50-75% sale on, so I, um, pillaged.

Used & Reviewers

Here’s what I got, for a grand total of $43:

That last one’s a gag gift for a pal of mine. No, really.

I make no excuses about Born To Be Brad, except to say that it makes my Simon Doonan collection look butch.

Borders Raid

I finally made a foray to the local Borders store. I checked it out during the first week of bankruptcy, when prices were an amazing 20% off list. I felt bad that they were charging more in liquidation than Amazon was charging in regular operations.

But I was next door, picking up some measuring spoons at Bed, Bath & Beyond, so I walked in. “ONLY 7 DAYS LEFT!” the posters warned. Inside, prices were 80% off, with an additional 15% if you bought 20 or more books. Of course, there was scarcely more than 20 books in the joint.

I looked through the remaining comics — sorry, Graphic Novels — but that had been pretty well pillaged. I considered picking up Sophie Crumb’s book, but eh.

The fiction section was pretty sparse; the offerings were mainly contemporary fiction, which I have no use for. I meandered over to the biographies, and it was there that I made my score. There were at least 8 copies of Jules Feiffer’s memoir, Backing Into Forward, on a shelf, so I grabbed a copy of that. I remember wanting to buy it for the Kindle when it was first released, but it was listing (and still is) at $15.99, and there’s no way on earth I’d pay that much for an e-book, unless it had the answers in the back.

Then I noticed a copy of Pierre Assouline’s Herge: The Man Who Created Tintin. It was a hardcover, as was the Feiffer book. I know nothing about it, but at this price (80% off $24.95), I couldn’t go wrong.

I also came across paperbacks of two of Mary Karr’s memoirs, Liar’s Club and Cherry. I’ve never read her, but I enjoyed her recent Paris Review interview, so I thought I’d give her a chance.

On the way to the register, I noticed a “new books” shelf with a copy of Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s The Bed of Procrustes. I gave up on The Black Swan pretty early, on account of authorial arrogance, but one of my magazine’s readers recommended I pick up this book of aphorisms. I bought it for my Kindle this summer, but found that the aphoristic style didn’t work for an e-book; I found myself reading too quickly. I thought it would be better in printed format, so I could scribble notes in the margins and otherwise just look at a line on a page. So I grabbed that, too.

I have far too many books

The damage for all five books, including three hardcovers? Twenty-two dollars. Poor, doomed bookstores.

I did have a laugh on the way out, when I noticed that one of the employees set up the shelf by the entry so that customers would see the following:

Do the No Future