Monday, May 18, 2015

PS: Seth Kushner

When Seth and I launched Graphic NYC back around 2008, we had no idea it would grow to the size it has, or for as long as it did. Each essay took something like 20 hours on my end (and who knows how many for his photographs) and they never felt real until Seth added the images to my text and hit PUBLISH every Wednesday morning.

The news of Seth's passing yesterday feels like a GNYC essay in its early stages, unformed and embryonic--not real until it's published on this site for the world to see. I type this on the first morning the world has woken up without him in it. When this is done and I hit the fated PUBLISH button, maybe it'll feel more real then.

I'm not writing an eulogy about him. That's a Post Mortem. I prefer Post Scripts (P.S.) for two reasons: it denotes there will be a correspondence back, and it provides an additional bit of information. So, rather than discuss my feelings over losing my best friend and brother--feelings I know countless others share in our own right--let me give you some extra things to know about our much-missed Mr. Kushner.
  • I was the guilt-ridden Catholic, he was the neurotic Jew. That was our crimefighting moniker.
  • When we went to Chicago to interview Alex Ross, Chris Ware, Jeffrey Brown, Jill Thompson, and Brian Azzarello, Seth convinced me to take the rental dealership up on a bigger car--which I found out I had trouble maneuvering. To top it off, the GPS he brought was so old it was practically dial-up, and we had to rely on his iPhone. It's pretty damn funny to picture him juggling that and the ancient GPS.
  • At Chris Ware's house, my head knocked a small chandelier in Chris's library, and we fumbled to get it back on while Chris stepped out to the bathroom. We thought we got it righted before Chris came back in, looked at us, and went "You hit that chandelier, huh? Happens all the time." The recorder was still running, and the audio is classic.
  • We wrapped the trip up with catching a movie right before the flight back. Rango was the only thing playing, and Seth was jazzed to be able to finally get out to see a movie (something that rarely happens with parents of young kids). I thought it was great: then I heard snoring in the seat next to me and knew I'd have to fill Seth in later.
  • I was interviewing Brian Michael Bendis, one of Seth's biggest heroes, and Seth couldn't help but fanboy out. It was kind of awesome.
  • After Seth was diagnosed with Leukemia and in the hospital, we'd talk every few days. On one of those talks, I was having a meltdown over an ex-girlfriend. Seth's words: "She's not worth it. Take it from a guy spending his days in a hospital bed."
We both changed while working on this site, and the companion book: Seth went from being a newbie to the comics industry into becoming a very well-loved figure. Comics' all-around nice guy. And he had to go on and make more comics while living with cancer for one year than I have in a decade.


It was all well played, my brother. I miss you terribly now. When this all finishes sinking in, I know I'll somehow continue to miss you even more than I thought possible. It still seems impossible to me that we won't go see Star Wars: Episode VII together, or have that shipping party for Schmuck, read the upcoming book New York Comics for our French publisher together (okay, we wouldn't read it: neither of us could handle French. Proof in my mangling of bonjour as witnessed above) or be neighbors again when I finally get my ass back up to Brooklyn.

It's funny, but Seth's immortalizing all of these creators in photo form helped immortalize him in our hearts, minds, and the greater scope of comics history. We always planned on keeping GNYC up as a resource for comics historians and lovers around. I never thought it would become a way of keeping him alive through his work.

And that makes me more proud of this work than ever before.

But that's for down the road. Right now, please pitch in to help his amazing wife, Terra, and their son, Jackson, cope with staggering medical expenses by contributing to their Go Fund Me.

And, Seth, I look forward to hearing back from you one day. Right now, I'm going to hit PUBLISH for you, and see if it makes all of this real. Hopefully, it won't.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Bryan Lee O'Malley on Genre-Blending and Indie Comics



Words: Christopher Irving . Pictures: Seth Kushner

“I didn’t expect to get any readership,” Bryan Lee O’Malley laughs. His romantic fighting epic, Scott Pilgrim, is one of those cross-genre wonders that was the perfect storm for new readers when it debuted in 2004.

 “I got more female readers than I expected, but I think I was targeting that more than the male gamer audience. My previous book, Lost at Sea, tapped more into the girl zeitgeist than the nerdboy thing. I did set out when I started Scott Pilgrim to broaden my appeal, to make something that people would find entertaining and funny…

“No one was doing anything like that at the time, so I really didn’t think it would find its audience and would just be a really strange niche book. Gradually it did find an audience and I was able to keep doing it.”

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Robert Kirkman and the Creative Life of Walking Dead



Words: Christopher Irving . Pictures: Seth Kushner

Writer Robert Kirkman has no illusions about The Walking Dead, his creator-owned zombie apocalypse comic that has more than shambled through over 100 issues and into its third season as a successful cable TV show.

“I am certain that I will never be able to top it, and I’m coming to grips with that,” Kirkman admits. “It’s somewhat disconcerting that something I created when I was 23 will be something I’m remembered for when I die, when I’m 35 (or whenever it is).”

“I’ll be 34 in a little bit, so I wasn’t being too optimistic for myself,” he adds with a laugh.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Evan Dorkin: On Defying Genre

 Words: Christopher Irving  Pictures: Seth Kushner

“I don’t know how to go to an office. I don’t know how to tie a tie. I don’t know what to do,” Evan Dorkin half jokes, half admits. “I’m a comic book jerk! My parents didn’t teach me to do anything—I’m one of the broken kids who makes comics.”

Dorkin’s trademark style, his in-your-face/smack-you-over-the-head with run on sentences and angry characters could only come from him—a Brooklyn cartoonist prone to rants and frenetic cartooning crammed to the panel borders. His indie comics have starred angry dairy products with pupil-less eyes, aliens in suits, and raving fanboys.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

GNYC featured in Creator Owned Heroes


Graphic NYC makes its way into Image Comics' landmark indie anthology series Creator Owned Heroes with the Leaping Tall Buildings: Independent Spirit profiles! Starting with COH #7, Christopher and Seth continue documenting the best people comics has to offer in their inimitable photo-essay profiles. 

The first one is Evan Dorkin (Milk and Cheese, Beasts of Burden), who will be followed up with Los Bros. Hernandez, Bryan Lee O'Malley, Robert Kirkman, and a few other independent spirits.

Creator Owned Heroes #7 also features a who's who of industry talent--comics by Darwyn Cooke, Scott Morse, Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray, Steve Niles, Dean Haspiel and Jeffrey Burandt are joined a new photocomic by Seth and writing partners Haspiel and Chris Miskiewicz.

Print out the below form, fill it out, and get it to your local comic shop before it's too late to snag a copy. We'll see you then.

Monday, October 1, 2012

LEAPING TALL BUILDINGS @ NY COMIC-CON


powerHouse Books is pleased to announce
THE ORIGINS OFLEAPING TALL BUILDINGS
FINDING NEW WAYS TO DOCUMENT THE CREATORS BEHIND THE COMICS
FEATURING CHRISTOPHER IRVING, SETH KUSHNER, & ERIC SKILLMAN
Hosted at this year's
2012 NEW YORK COMIC CON
Thursday, October 11, 4:00PM - 5:00PM
Javitz Center, NYCC Comics Studies Conference 6, Location: 1A07

Hannah Means-Shannon (Georgian Court University) leads a discussion with the creators of Leaping Tall Buildings: The Origins of American Comics writer Christopher Irving, photographer Seth Kushner, and designer Eric Skillman on the strategies they developed to create this unique and significant book on American comics for everyone, from casual reader to scholar. For more infomation visit the New York Comic Con website here.

Leaping Tall Buildings: The Origins of American Comics outlines the history of comic books through the creators, documented in Irving's interview-based essays and Kushner's photography. The Wall Street Journal calls Leaping Tall Buildings "a living history," while The New York Times considers it "a great survey of many of the talented men and women behind the characters." Publisher's Weekly calls it "nearly as epic as the field's history itself," while Huffington Post refers to Kushner's photography as "remarkable."

Christopher Irving is a pop culture historian with a concentration in the American comic book. A veteran of comics history and journalism magazines like Comics Buyers Guide and multiple Eisner Award-winning Comic Book Artist (where he served as Associate Editor), Irving combines new journalism with comics history to create personality essays on comic book creators. Leaping Tall Buildings is Irving's fifth book on comic books. Irving currently edits digital comics magazine The Drawn Word. www.thedrawnword.com

Seth Kushner's portrait photography has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Time, Newsweek, L'Uomo Vogue, The New Yorker and others. He is a three-time winner in Photo District News magazine's Photo Annual Competition. Seth's first book, The Brooklynites, (with Anthony LaSala) was published by powerHouse Books in 2007. Currently, Seth is profiling real-life characters in his series CulturePOP Photocomix and writing Schmuck, his semi-autobio "comix neurotica", both at TripCity.net, a Brooklyn-filtered literary arts salon, which he co-founded and co-curates. www.SethKushner.com
 
Eric Skillman is a graphic designer and art director best known for his work with The Criterion Collection and the (infrequently updated) design process blog, Cozy Lummox (ericskillman.blogspot.com). He also writes comics: his debut graphic novel, LIAR'S KISS, with artist Jhomar Soriano, was published by Top Shelf in 2011. Upcoming projects include the digital anthology series EGG: HARD BOILED STORIES, and SUCKERS, with artist Jorge Coelho, which will be launching soon at Trip City. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and newborn daughter.
For more information about Leaping Tall Buildings: The Origins of American Comics please click here. Or visit the Graphic NYC page here.

For more information, please contact Nina Ventura, Publicist
powerHouse Books, 37 Main Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Tel: 212-604-9074 x118, Fax: 212-366-5247, email: nina@powerHouseBooks.com

© Copyright 2012 powerHouse Books