Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Dave and Raina and The Times

My friends* Dave Roman and Raina Telgemeier were recently profiled in a New York Times feature on what it's like to live and work as a couple of married cartoonists. It's a nice piece, aside from the writer's gratuitous swipe at fat comics nerds who go to conventions dressed like superheroes, which--although surely accurate--is a pretty tired observation that has nothing to do with the type of work Dave and Raina create.

As I've recounted once or twice, I first met Dave and Raina at the Eisner Awards in 2006, when I won for Mom's Cancer and Raina was edged out for Best New Talent. She's since gone on to adapt the very popular Baby-Sitters Club series and publish the autobiographical best-seller Smile, which finally got her the Eisner Award she deserved before. Dave was the long-time comics editor of Nickelodeon Magazine until Nickelodeon stupidly decided it didn't need a magazine. His books include Agnes Quill, Astronaut Academy, and Teen Boat (about a teenager who has the power to transform into a yacht, and yeah it's about that strange). They do nice work that doesn't pander or condescend to kids, which is a rare and admirable thing.

It makes me happy to see two kind, creative people succeeding together at a very difficult thing. I don't know how they do it. The anchor that's let me have a freelance writing and cartooning career over the past 12 or 13 years is my wife Karen's steady paycheck (and loving patient support!). Otherwise, forget it. I joke that my entire health care and retirement plan consists of not pissing off my wife. So kudos to Raina and Dave, two brave people shouting into the stormy abyss together. What an adventure.

And now, just because I have the excuse, here are two Two-Minute Interviews I did with Dave and Raina at the 2010 Comic-Con International in San Diego. As I apologized when I first posted them last year, my questioning of Raina was kind of deliberately dumb but I think got to an interesting discussion about process. Dave's interview was more straightforward. Doing these things in a loud and crowded hall is hard.

* "Friends" in this context means people I've talked to a few times, think highly of, and who would probably recognize me in the street or return my e-mail. Also, I can spell "Telgemeier" without looking it up.

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