Podcast: TSOYA Classic: Comics and Comix with Chris Elliott, Art Spiegelman and Matt Walsh


We continue our journey into The Sound of Young America's vast audio archive with this program from The Sound of Young America Clasics.

This week, Pulitzer-prize-winning comix artist Art Spiegelman (above) talks about his book "In the Shadow Of No Towers," a collection of large-format newspaper comics about September 11th and its fallout.

Then we talk with Chris Elliott, long-time foil to David Letterman, co-creator and star of the cult sitcom Get A Life, and now comic novelist. His first novel was "The Shroud of the Thwacker."

Finally, we talk with Matt Walsh. In addition to appearing in many movies, Walsh is a founding member of the Upright Citizens Brigade. He also starred in the semi-improvised semi-reality sitcom Dog Bites Man.

Please share your thoughts on the show in the comments section!

Download This Week's Show
Subscribe to TSOYA Classic: iTunes / Feed
Please Donate to Support the Show

Listen to This Week's Show

Interview: Emily Horne & Joey Comeau of “A Softer World” by Aaron Matthews


Emily Horne is a Victoria, B.C. based photographer and Joey Comeau is a Toronto, ON based writer. Together they create the critically acclaimed webcomic “A Softer World”. In 2007, the comic won the first Web Cartoonist's Choice Award for photographic webcomic and Loose Teeth Press published “It's Too Late to Say I'm Sorry”, a collection of Comeau’s short stories. “A Softer World” celebrated its 5th anniversary earlier this year. I talked to Emily and Joey via email about the process of creating a strip and the strange power of cover letters, among other things.

Where did the idea for "A Softer World" come from?

Emily: Joey started making photocopied comics in 2001 using his own captions and
photos cut out from magazines about the British royalty. When the possibilities of that had run out, he decided photos might work, and I, being inclined to photography, had a good stash of them ready to go. We would take an old manual Smith-Corona typewriter and a stack of photos to the all night Kinko's in Halifax and make comics for the local 'zine fairs. We made two print editions and then decided in 2003 to put them online so more of our friends could see them. These comics make up the first couple of dozen that are currently on the website.

What's the process for creating a comic? How do you and Joey work on the
comic together?

EH: The process for creating the comic is very now different than it used to be. I live in B.C. and Joey lives in Toronto, so the process isn't as immediately collaborative as it used to be. Usually I will put together the visual elements of several comics, cut and paste as necessary, and send them to Joey every few weeks. That way he has a backlog of comics to caption. Usually he runs the text by me before they go up, either by email or via MSN.

Why do you think ASW's format is effective?

Joey: The format's good on a few practical levels. Having the photos illustrate the text directly would have been a nightmare for us, I think. We could have people acting out the scenes but we'd be limited in the kinds of stories we could tell. Zombies? Exploding stars? All impossible. So we chose a format where Emily and I try and find the same tone for the words and images, or different tones that work well and compliment one another.
For the text, having it be so short means that I have to work to fit everything into that one sentence or two. It makes the impact stronger. It's a lot of information at once sometimes, and that's great. I like writing for constrained space. I have to work harder to make everything work, but I think it comes off with more of a punch.

Joey, explain the concept of Overqualified for the uninitiated. Why is the cover letter the perfect medium for this strange combination of despair and hope?

JC: I've written so many regular cover letters while applying for jobs.
They're frustrating and useless and they are just lies, beginning to end. You are saying what they want to hear. These letters don't have anything to do with you as a person or with your hopes for the future, your dreams. Nobody reads these anyway. You could write the craziest things and nobody would ever read them.

So I did. I started writing batshit crazy cover letters and sending them out. At first they were just jokes and frustrations, but hopes and dreams started sneaking into them.
In December I signed a book deal with a publisher here in Toronto to release a novel based on Overqualified. It's going to come out in [Spring] 2009, and it is told entirely through the cover letters. It's probably the craziest thing I've written, and I am super excited about it.

Are there any common thematic threads joining your writing, between A Softer World, Overqualified, and your fiction?
JC: I got an email a little while ago from someone who attended a book club where they were reading my short story book. He said they liked it, but they were all pretty sure that I was a paranoid weirdo. A lot of the stories are about obsessions and people who do things without really knowing why, just knowing that they have to do them. But I think that most of my writing is optimistic in a weird way, too. Anyway, I feel optimistic about it. There's a lot of sex in my writing, too. I don't know about themes. There are a lot of zombies and dead moms and lesbians. That's sort of a running joke between Emily and I, but it never stops being true. There are a lot of zombies and lesbians and dead moms. One day I'll write a story about a zombie lesbian mom.

What’s the usual reaction to the strips? Sometimes when I read ASW, I don't know whether to laugh or cry.
EH: Sometimes I feel like it's unfortunate that ASW is called a comic, because it means people go into the experience of reading it with the notion that it’s always going to be funny and end up disappointed. Even those that are overtly hilarious usually manage to make you feel a bit guilty about your laughter. It's a complicated world out there. Few things are black-and-white, funny-or-not-funny, and ASW reflects that. Reactions to the comic run the gamut from delight and recognition to (occasionally) vehement hatred, and while the angry reactions are hard to take, we do stand by what we've created.

Read a longer version of this interview at Aaron's blog here.

Podcast: TSOYA Classic: Revenge of the Nerds.


We continue our journey into The Sound of Young America's vast audio archive with this program from The Sound of Young America Classics.

On this week’s show Revenge of the Nerds, Jesse’s girlfriend (now fiancée) Theresa, has her TSOYA hosting debut. Hip-hop producer Prince Paul and cartoonist and humorist Maria Schneider are this week’s guests.

Hip-hop and comedy producer Prince Paul has produced for the likes of 3rd Bass, De La Soul and Chris Rock. Originally a member of Stetsasonic, Prince Paul has also shown his musical talents as a member of Gravediggaz and Handsome Boy Modeling School.

Cartoonist Maria Schneider (not to be confused with the actress of the same name) is best known for her work with The Onion. She is the creator of comic strip Pathetic Geek Stories illustrating, in a highly entertaining fashion, childhood stories of pain and humiliation sent in by her readers.

Please share your thoughts on the show in the comments section!

Download This Week's Show
Subscribe to TSOYA Classic in iTunes
Please Donate to Support the Show

Listen to This Week's Show

Interview: Meredith Gran, creator of "Octopus Pie" by Aaron Matthews


Meredith Gran is the Brooklyn-based comic artist and animator behind the webcomics “Skirting Danger” and most recently, “Octopus Pie.” The latter series tells the serio-comic story of Eve and Hanna, 2 young women living in Brooklyn, New York.

Meredith recently self-published a collection of the first four storylines of “Octopus Pie” and just began the sixth storyline of the comic.

AM: When did you first consider cartooning specifically as a career, as opposed to art? You started writing Skirting Danger when you were about 16, if I remember correctly.
Meredith: Yeah, I was a teenager. At the time I didn't really see it as anything more than a hobby. I only began thinking about comics as a career in the past year or so, after working out of school for a bit. Seeing how other professional cartoonists operate.
AM: What was it like writing a reasonably popular and well-regarded webcomic at that age?
Meredith: At the time I was very excited to have that storytelling outlet. Looking back, I'm actually shocked at how well-received it was. At the time, I figured a handful of people, a lot of my friends, enjoyed it. People ask me about it all the time and it seems so long ago. It's very strange.
AM: How much of Octopus Pie is autobiographical? It's definitely very Brooklyn-centric and much of it, particularly the more serious storylines, feels authentic and lived-in.
Meredith: None of the stories are true, per-se, but a lot of the themes are taken directly from experience. Eve has definitely gone through a few of my internal struggles. In a recent storyline she's faced with the prospect of forging her identity out of a lucrative career - or lack thereof. In my post-college years, I've asked myself many of the same questions Eve has to work through.
AM: Have you ever considering syndicating Octopus Pie? A few of your contemporaries, namely Diesel Sweeties and Dinosaur Comics have been syndicated in some smaller press papers.
Meredith: It hasn't crossed my mind. The comic isn't much of a daily strip; there's too much context to understand if you miss a day. If you can't press the "back" button with my stories, a lot of the effect is lost. Plus syndication just doesn't seem all that lucrative for a comic my size.
AM: In a lot of ways, the form fits the content really well, at least in terms of having the entire storyline up to that point as accessible.
Meredith: Webcomics are kind of similar to telenovelas in that way.
AM: One last question to wrap things up: describe Octopus Pie in one sentence.
Meredith: Haha, this one is hard.
AM: Don't rush it. This is crucial.
Meredith: It's a Brooklyn drama about a girl's comedic life.

Octopus Pie is published three times a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Watch video of Meredith drawing here. The unedited version of this interview is available here on Aaron's blog.

Podcast: Austin Grossman


Austin Grossman is the author of the new novel "Soon I Will Be Invincible," a literary look at a team of superheroes and their nemesis. Before he became a novelist and academic (he is currently a PhD candidate at UC Berkeley), he was a writer for video games.

Video of this interview is viewable above, or downloadable via bittorrent at Myspleen. MySpleen is invite-only; if you need an invite, email me and mention your favorite TSOYA moment (to keep out the riff-raff).

Please share your thoughts on this program on our forum!
Download This Show (MP3)
Subscribe in iTunes
Review the show in iTunes
Please Donate to Support the Show

Listen to This Week's Show Online

Please allow our low-bandwidth server a little time after you click "play"

Embeddable Audio Player Code (Copy and Paste)

Embaddable Video Player Code

Our intersititial music is provided by Dan Wally

You might also enjoy these past interview programs:
Comics & Comix with Art Spiegelman (MP3)
Comics & Comix Pt. 2 with Harvey Pekar (MP3)
Moustaches, Etc with Andy Daly and Richard Montoya of Culture Clash

Podcast: TSOYA Classic: Old Men

| 1 comment
Watch Mr. Wizard

 Shelley Berman We continue our journey into The Sound of Young America's vast audio archive with this program from The Sound of Young America Classics.

This episode features a couple of old fogies. You probably know him best as Larry David's dad on Curb Your Enthusiasm - but Shelley Berman has been a legend in the comedy world since the 1950's. He was a co-founder of Second City and his debut album Inside Shelley Berman won the first non-music Grammy Award...ever.

We also talk with Don Herbert AKA Mr. Wizard AKA Donny Hizza. He was the host and creator of the 1950's children's program Watch Mr. Wizard and its 1990's Nickelodeon revival Mr. Wizard's World. He eats the whole time he's being interviewed.

Podcast: TSOYA Classic: Rock Snobs

The Rock Snob's Dictionary: An Essential Lexicon of Rockological Knowledge
Steven Daly
Ira Kaplan
Greg Proops

We continue our journey into The Sound of Young America's vast audio archive with this program from The Sound of Young America Classics.

Our Guests: Steven Daly is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and the co-author of The Rock Snob's Dictionary: An Essential Lexicon of Rockological Knowledge.

Ira Kaplan is a co-founder, vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter of the veteran indie rock band Yo La Tengo. We talk with Ira about their 2004 best-of compilation - Prisoners of Love, playing cover songs, and fund raising for WFMU.

In 2006, Yo La Tengo released their 14th LP, I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass to critical acclaim.

Greg Proops is a stand-up and improv comedian, best known for his appearances on both the U.K. and American versions of Whose Line is it Anyway.

My Naked Dad


My Naked Dad (click to enlarge)

Our pal Neil Campbell, (who is half of the brilliant comic duo of Neil & Paul with our other pal, Paul Rust), has just re-launched his long-dormant web comic My Naked Dad. The new site is gorgeous, especially Neil's carefully crafted line drawings of dad penis. Oh, and the comic is hilarious.

And hey, while you're checking out Neil & Paul effluvia, check out Paul's rarely-updated but always-hilarious blog, Watch Paul Rust Age Behind Glass.

Podcast: Storytellers with Colin Meloy and Harvey Pekar


The Sound of Young America: The Legacy Collection is an effort to highlight some of the older shows in our vast audio archive. We were pretty much podcasting before anyone actually listened to podcasts, so I'm guessing you haven't heard these shows.

Our first guest on this show, which bears the theme "Storytellers," is Colin Meloy of The Decemberists. Jordan tells me they've got a major deal now, we interviewed Colin not long after their first record was released. We knew him when! And he didn't seem to like us too much!

Also: Harvey Pekar is the creator of the amazing comic "American Splendor." The comic tackles stories from Pekar's life as an ordinary guy in Cleveland, Ohio. It's one of my favorite things ever.

Please share your thoughts on the show in the comments section!

Download This Week's Show
Subscribe in iTunes
Donate to the Show

Listen to This Week's Show

Syndicate content