I try to keep up on the what’s-what in Mormon comics, but I didn’t even hear about Brittany Long Olsen until she was getting interviewed by Andrew Hall, followed by her book getting serious attention from the AML.
Which book, by the way, deserves that attention. Dendo is the erstwhile Sister Long’s day-by-day comics record of her mission in Japan. By its gradual accumulation of small moments, both highs and lows—by relentlessly capturing the mundanity of mission life, she accomplishes the truly epic event that is a proselyting mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I’m not a huge reader of the missionary-memoir genre, but for my money, Dendo is the best out there.
(And, I should note, for your money as well.)
This is an interview I conducted with Brittany on March 2, 2016 (with slight edits to make us both look better).
Hello, this is Brittany.
Hey Brittany, this is Theric Jepson.
How are you?
Good, I’m good. How are you?
I’m great. Shall we start?
Okay, so the first question I wanna ask you is: Dendo seems to capture missionary experience a lot more universally than you seemed to expect. Is that—
Oh yeah? Continue reading “There and back again—then onward ever onward
a chat with Dendo‘s Brittany Long Olsen“
Two interesting (and short) Mormon comics out in the last little while (or midsized while, if you consider their original appearances online). Scott’s book just dropped. Noah’s arrived last July. Noah’s is about a Mormon kid whose connection to that aspect of his identity has largely lost its definition. Scott’s is the ultimate in insider humor.
MY HOT DATE by Noah Van Sciver
I was pretty much the perfect Mormon teen, I suppose. I didn’t swear, I showed up on time to Church, I went to seminary. Because I was a teenager, I imagined that was because I did these things myself. Of course, that’s nonsense. What if I had been thrust into young Noah’s circumstances? Continue reading “Newish stuff from Van Sciver and Hales”
I don’t know how you’re most likely to know of Adam Koford’s work. Maybe his Friend illustrations?
His ubiquitous twitterfied famous people? Continue reading “The Lowell Cats by Adam Koford”
Remember a couple years ago when I reviewed the first volume of iPlates? Of course you don’t. So here’s a link.Â But to sum up, it was mostly very good and you should read it. Now, after a successful Kickstarter, Volume II is out and available for your ingestion. And ingest you should.
Although I would recommend [re]reading volume one before reading two. (It took me three quarters of the book toÂ fully remember everyone and get back in the emotional swing of things. But that’s on me. I’ll have to reread them. They’re worth it. And I’ll need to reread them again before three, in order to stay on top of the still-open plot points.)
What’s great about theseÂ adaptations is how they veer away from the story-as-in-the-scriptures in order to develop characters and situations, then suddenly they plop you right back into a verse you know. Volume two is, after all, 150 pages covering two chapters in Mosiah, resulting in a pace bothÂ freneticÂ and steady as the characters run to and fro creating new story, while arriving at each next verse right on time.
This volume lacks interstitial art, which I miss, but a higher quantity of pop-culture references (ranging from Princess Bride to Sound of Music), some nice parallelism (the good sister does bad; the bad sister does good—each while trying to do right as they understand it), and the first time I’ve ever leapt for joy at the phrase “AÂ POLITICIAN!”
In short, the book lives up to its claims of providing “witty dialogue” and “dramatic plot turns” within the framework of the story as we know it.
My only regret is that the Kickstarter didn’t quite get high enough to result in color printing. Although I like the black-and-white, the preponderance of night scenes in this volume makes it sometimes hard to tell who is who. And I know my kids would prefer color, them being young that way. But regardless, this volume, like the last, is a success. Let’s wish for many more to come.
Those of you with long memories (or who followed my advice and bought the thing) will recall Brandon Dayton’s comic Green Monk. Well!Â When I was in Salt LakeÂ I had a chat with Brandon and he showed me pencils for a new Green Monk story. (It looked good.) And the great news for all of us? He’s starting to put the inked art online:
Start the story from the beginning.
Follow Brandon’s Tumblr.
Follow Brandon on Twitter.
Support The Green Monk on Patreon.
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Jake ParkerÂ is having a banner year. Skull Chaser‘s been getting attention.Â He’s been tapped to take over art duties (at least temporarily) at Marvel’s breakout hit Rocket Raccoon. He’s working on a new Missile Mouse book. And his brainchild Inktober has gone massively viral this year, at times hitting thousands of hits an hour: Pinterest! Tumblr! Twitter! Facebook! Instagram!
Inktober is, simply, drawing in ink each day of October (or as many days as your endurance will allow) and posting it online. The first year, Jake’s rule was no pencils, but he’s relaxed that now as you can see with the story he’s telling this Inktober.
(Note: Inktober not Jake’s only brainchild.)
Follow Jake on Twitter.
Follow Jake’s Tumblr.
Follow Jake on Pinterest.
Support Skull Chaser on Patreon.
In honor of Enid’s recent (and rapid) rise to popularity, I give you the following: Continue reading “And Earth will appear as <i>The Garden of Enid</i>”
Last weekend I had the chance to attend this yearâ€™s regional Sunstone Symposium in Kirtland. I initially had not planned to attend, but after I published three cartoons in the recent issue of Sunstone, the director of the symposium invited me to give a presentation on The Garden of Enid. I gladly accepted.
Kirtland is four hours northeast of my home. Travelling with limited funds, I left at 4:30 in the morning and drove non-stop to the Stannard Stone Quarry in Chapin Forest Reservation, where the early Saints quarried stone for the temple, just two miles south of Kirtland. I had an hour to wait before the symposium, so I grabbed my camera and took a mile-long trail throughÂ the forest, hoping to see something neatâ€”like a rock formation. The trail was all trees and moss, however, until I found the quarry itself in a creek a few muddy steps off the beaten path. A few years back, the Church and the local government had put up signage and built a wooden walkway over the creekâ€”perhaps to prevent visitors from climbing down into the creek itself, as I was doing, to get a better view of the chisel marks in the algae-covered stone.
After snapping more pictures than Iâ€™ll ever need of the quarry, I hiked back to my car and drove to the Community of Christâ€™s Kirtland Temple Visitorâ€™s Center, the conference venue, where I picked up my name tag and pocketed a few free copies of Sunstone and an old collection of Mormon cartoons by Calvin Grondahl. From there I headed to the main classroom to wait for the conference keynote address to begin and feel guilty about not making better small talk with strangers.
Continue reading “Sunstone Kirtland and The Garden of Enid“
I’ll be in Salt lake City this weekend for Fan Experience. I’ll be giving an updated version of my Mormons and comics discussion from the first SLC Comic ConÂ which will, among other changes, mention Nathan Shumate’sÂ Cheap Caffeine, incorporate information from a couple AML presentations (James Goldberg onÂ The Garden of Enid, Stephen Carter on Book of Mormon comics), and the Kickstarter campaigns for iPlates and From the Dust. Mike Homer will give his presentation on representations of Mormons and Utah in comics over time. (240 seats)
Fifteen minutes before that rerun, a panel ofÂ Monsters & Mormons participants will be publicly talking about their work and what’s become of it. I’m a bit confused over the final makeup of the panel (this story is personally embarrassing, but that’s a story for another day), but expect at least seven people you definitely want to hear from. (220 seats)
Then fifteen minutesÂ after the comics rerun, I’ll be on a Sherlock Holmes panel which I really really hope has no Mormon tie-ins. (400 seats)
Based on the numbers here, I think I should be able to take 10.75 days off teaching and still reach the same number of people. Sweet.