“How do you resolve a play that doesn’t have an ending?”
With his new graphic novel/memoir, UNENDED (Uncivilized Books), cartoonist Josh Bayer explores family trauma, memory, art, and more. We get into how Josh spent five years trying to adapt his late father’s unfinished play into a comic, the ways it did & didn’t help him come to terms with his father’s life and his mother’s death, and why he blurs out his character’s face on the page. We talk about the punk rock inspiration in his writing and art, the systems he uses to pull him out of storytelling morasses and how he learned to teach them to his students, learning to cope with his ADD (and wondering whether I have it too), studying at SVA in his 30s, and why he pursued comics over fine art. We also discuss mental health and treatment and how we deal with our father-issues, Josh’s recent stint working at Carol Tyler‘s Ink Farm, the impact of the Masters of 20th Century Comics exhibition on his career, why it’s tough to be Rollins, the question of whether he’s forgiven his dad, and a lot more. Give it a listen! And go read UNENDED!
“Punk rock taught me you could be embarrassing without being cringe.”
“My brother told me, ‘The way you put it down is the way it is.'”
“I’m happy when people respond to my work, when it hits a chord in them, but I don’t know what I’m doing. It’s ironic, because when I teach I show my students a system.”
About our Guest
Josh Bayer is a graphic novelist and educator living in New York. He is the author of Theth: Tomorrow Forever, Abysmalation, and Raw Power. He describes his work as a mix of biographical fiction & punk anti-narrative. He teaches comics at schools all over New York City and in private classes.
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. Photo of Josh by someone else. It’s on my instagram.