Episode 496 – Noah Van Sciver

Virtual Memories Show 496:
Noah Van Sciver

“The only faith I had was that I grew up in this church, but how much did I even know about this church? If I reinvestigated that, would I be able to reclaim that faith?”

Cartoonist Noah Van Sciver joins the show to celebrate the release of two fantastic new books, Joseph Smith And The Mormons (Abrams ComicArts) and As A Cartoonist (Fantagraphics). We get into his history with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the challenges he had in making a graphic biography of the church’s founder (incl. the realization he’d need 200 more pages than he was planning to use), the visual modes he used to separate fact from myth and the influence of Chester Brown’s Louis Riel biography, and how the book affected Noah’s relationship to the church and faith. We also talk about the cartoonist life and the strips he chose for his new collection, his comics-origin story, the influence of Tom Spurgeon on his art & life, becoming a father in the past year, the advice Dan Clowes gave him about balancing parenthood and comics, and what it means to be present for his son’s life. Plus, we discuss his own comics-podcast, the stories he started making during the pandemic, his stance on paper vs. digital drawing, and what it’s like to live on the other side of his dreams. Give it a listen! And go read Joseph Smith And The Mormons and As A Cartoonist!

“I want the work to look as immediate as it was thought of.”

“I’m very fortunate. I’m somebody who’s living on the other side of his dreams. Everything that I dreamed about when I was a young man, I’ve already done it. Now I’m taking it easy and trying to figure out what my next dream should be.”

Enjoy the conversation! Then check out the archives for more great episodes!

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About our Guest

Noah Van Sciver is widely considered one of the most notable cartoonists of his generation, and first came to national attention in 2006 with his critically acclaimed anthology comic book series Blammo, which earned him three Ignatz Award nominations. His work has appeared in MAD magazine, the Comics Journal, Best American Comics, and The Stranger, as well as numerous anthologies. Noah is the author of multiple critically acclaimed graphic novels, including The Hypo: The Melancholic Young Lincoln, Youth Is Wasted, Saint Cole, One Dirty Tree, and Fante Bukowski. He lives in Columbia, SC. His two new books are As A Cartoonist and Joseph Smith And The Mormons.

Follow Noah on Instagram and YouTube, and contribute to his Patreon.

Credits: This episode’s music is Fella by Hal Mayforth, used with permission from the artist. The conversation was recorded remotely via Zencastr. I used a Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Microphone feeding into a Cloudlifter CL-1 and a Mackie Onyx Blackjack 2×2 USB Recording Interface. All processing and editing done in Adobe Audition CC. Photo of Noah by John Lowry Photography. It’s on my instagram.

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