Tuesday, April 16, 2019

That darn Dilbert

The Post talks to Jerry Craft

Jerry Craft shares school experience and love of drawing with main character in 'New Kid'

Graphic novel is about a boy who transfers to an elite school and has trouble fitting in.[in print as Novel shows how it feels to be the 'New Kid' at school].

Jerry Craft's new middle-grade graphic novel "New Kid" is about an African American boy who transfers to an elite middle school in New York that his parents favor. He would rather go to art school. (HarperCollins)

Friday, April 12, 2019

Tonight: Roz Chast and Patricia Marx -— in conversation with Melissa Block

Roz Chast and Patricia Marx - Why Don't You Write My Eulogy Now So I Can Correct It?: A Mother's Suggestions — in conversation with Melissa Block

Friday, April 12, 2019 - 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Finding she couldn't get her mother's words of wisdom out of her mind, Marx, a long-time writer for The New Yorker, decided to put them in a book. Not just any book—one illustrated by her colleague, the legendary Roz Chast. No stranger to parental idiosyncrasies, Chast—author of the best-selling graphic memoir, Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant?—has come up with just the right images for declarations such as, "If you run out of food at your dinner party, the world will end." Given free rein of the "rules, guidelines, principles, precepts, decrees, no-nos, yes-yes's, and arbitrary judgments of Patty's mother," Chast unleashes the full range of her witty, full-color art. Marx and Chast will be conversation with Melissa Block, special correspondent for NPR and former co-host of All Things Considered.


This event is free to attend with no reservation required. Seating is available on a first come, first served basis.
Click here for more information.

5015 Connecticut Ave NW   Washington   DC    20008

April 26: Animezing!: Napping Princess

Enjoy a FREE Japanese ANIME film at the JICC!
Enjoy a FREE Japanese ANIME film at the JICC!
Animezing!: Napping Princess
Animezing!: Napping Princess
Featuring a story set in Kurashiki City -- co-presenter of the JICC's current exhibit: Indigo Threads / 藍・つむぐ: Weaving Japanese Craftsmanship & American Heritage.
From the director of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex and Eden of the East
The year is 2020, three days before the opening of the Tokyo Olympics. While she should be studying for her exams, Kokone Morikawa often dozes off, entering a dream-world called Heartland full of fantastic motorized contraptions. But when her father, a talented but mysterious mechanic, is kidnapped for stealing technology from a powerful corporation, it's up to Kokone and her childhood friend Morio to save him. Together they realize that Kokone's dream-world holds the answers to the mystery behind the stolen tech, uncovering a trail of clues to her father's disappearance and ultimately a surprising revelation about Kokone's family.

In Japanese with English subtitles | Not Rated | 2017 | 111 min | Directed by Kenji Kamiyama
Registration required
Image: © 2017 "Ancien and the Magic Tablet" Film Partners
You are invited to
Friday, April 26th, 2019
from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM (EDT)
Japan Information & Culture Center, Embassy of Japan
1150 18th Street Northwest
Suite 100
Washington DC 20036 US
This event is free and open to the public, but registration is required.
In the event of a cancellation, please contact us at jicc@ws.mofa.go.jp.

Program begins at 6:30PM.
Doors open 30 minutes before the program. No admittance after 7:00PM or once seating is full.

Registered guests will be seated on a first come, first served basis. Please note that seating is limited and registration does not guarantee a seat.

The JICC reserves the right to use any photograph/video taken at any event sponsored by JICC without the expressed written permission of those included within the photograph/video.
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1150 18th Street NW, Suite 100 | Washington, D.C. 20036-3838
TEL: 202-238-6900 | FAX: 202-822-6524 |
© 1981-2019 Japan Information & Culture Center, Embassy of Japan

powered by emma

The Post on Disney's new streaming service.

Disney's new $6.99 a month streaming service, Disney+, will include Star Wars and Marvel movies [in print as Disney unveils streaming service, but questions linger about its success].

PR: Awesome Con Announces Full Schedule of Events

Awesome Con Announces Full Schedule of Events

Three Days Packed with Special Guest Appearances, Industry Expert Panels, Exclusive Screenings, and More Fill the Walter E. Washington Convention Center April 26-28


Washington, DC (April 12, 2019)Awesome Con, Washington DC's Comic Con powered by Third Eye Comics, is proud to announce three days of programming complete with panels, workshops, celebrity appearances, and more, taking over the Walter E. Washington Convention Center from April 26-28. Family-friendly pavilion Awesome Con Jr presented by the Toy Association returns with even more events planned to educate and entertain kids of all ages and parents alike. Smithsonian is partnering with Awesome Con once again to present Future Con, a science pavilion showcasing the intersection between science and science fiction with live demonstrations and experts discussing everything from space exploration to spy technology, and more. Back for the third year is Pride Alley presented in partnership with Geeks OUT and Washington Blade, shining a spotlight on LGBTQ creators and fans in an even more robust section of Artist Alley and presenting special programs addressing diversity in pop culture. Attendees can start planning their Awesome Con experience and view the full schedule online at: www.awesomecon.com/programming.


Highlights from Awesome Con 2019 include:


Celebrity & Comic Guests

Hear from some of the biggest influencers from the world of pop culture and comic books at panels, screenings, Q&As, and more. For a full lineup of confirmed guests visit www.awesomecon.com/guests. Main Stage events include:

  • Weird Al Q&A (2:30PM – April 26 – Main Stage)
  • Karate Kid Q&A (4:15PM – April 26—Main Stage)
  • The Office Q&A (6:00PM – April 26 – Main Stage)
  • Riverdale Q&A (11:45AM – April 27 – Main Stage)
  • Princess Bride Q&A (2:00PM – April 27 – Main Stage)
  • Star Trek: Next Generation Q&A (3:45PM – April 27 – Main Stage)
  • Matt Smith Q&A (11:45AM – April 28 – Main Stage) 
  • Weird Science Q&A (2:00PM – April 28 – Main Stage)


Future Con

  • Exploring the Future of Crime (11:00AM – April 27 – Room 150) – Technological advances have benefited our world in immeasurable ways—but there is an ominous flip side. Criminals are often the earliest, and most innovative, adopters of technology, and modern times have led to modern crimes. From big data to artificial intelligence and genetics to robotics, today's criminals are at the forefront of the tsunami of technological threats coming our way. In this session, Marc Goodman, author of the New York Times best-selling book Future Crimes, rips opens his database of hundreds of real cases to give the audience front-row access to these impending perils. While many of the stories Goodman will tell sound like science fiction, they are indeed fully rooted in startling scientific facts. This discussion will raise raises tough questions about the expanding role of technology in our lives and propose a path forward to ensure we all benefit from humanity's technological advances rather than become imperiled by them.
  • The Science of Voltron: Legendary Defender (5:00PM – April 26 – Room 144) – Come along, Paladins! The Voltron: Legendary Defender series has come to a close, so it's time to explore some of the best science in the series. We'll learn about wormholes, crystals, gluon fields, and much more while we discuss how much the series got right (and a few things they got wrong). Kids of all ages are welcome!
  • Science of Aquaman (7:00PM – April 26 – Room 144) – This panel will discuss the actual science behind Aquaman's powers. He can communicate with marine life, is adapted to live and thrive in harsh underwater environments and has superhuman strength. All these abilities, including being able to "talk to fish," as Batman would say, are rooted in science. Come learn about the incredible adaptations that allow life to thrive in the extremes of the deep ocean, the methods scientists use to study the undersea landscape, and the bio-inspired technologies being developed that could allow a human to effectively take on the abilities of Aquaman.
  • Germ Warfare: A Very Graphic History (12:00PM – April 27 – Room 146) – Join world-renowned author Max Brooks (World War Z) for a conversation about his newly-released graphic novel on the dangers posed by biological agents. Members of the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense will also be present to discuss the novel and its message about the threat of biological attacks and naturally occurring outbreaks in the 21st century.
  • Astronomy 101 Through Science Fiction (5:00pm – April 27 – Room 144) – Welcome to Astronomy 101! Always wanted to learn astronomy? Science Fiction fan? Dr Erin Macdonald will take us through the first semester of astronomy with hardly any math and a whole lot of science fiction references. We'll blaze through the science of planets, the solar system, and stars at warp speed; come ready to learn!
  • Intelligence Super Models: 3D Modeling in the Intelligence Community (8:00pm – April 27 – Room 144) – Join U.S. Intelligence Community experts on digital and physical 3D modeling who will demonstrate and discuss their experiences impacting national security missions. 3D modelers will exhibit a variety of capabilities utilized by NGA and CIA across the 3D disciplines, including leveraging imagery and geospatial information to visualize human activities that occur on the Earth.
  • The Story and Science of Gravitational Waves (2:00pm – April 28 – Room 144) – In 2015 our quest to study and explore the universe took a giant leap forward with the discovery of gravitational waves. The LIGO Scientific Collaboration has detected ripples in spacetime from the collision of black holes as well as a neutron star merger that showed up in every spectrum possible. Dr Erin Macdonald (a former member of LIGO) will discuss the history behind the detection, share some fun stories, and what these discoveries mean for astrophysics going forward.


Awesome Con Jr

  • Monster Battle Time KO! (3:45PM – April 28 – Awesome Con Jr Stage) - Three teams of artists go head-to-head in the biggest Monster Battle Time of the season! This year there are three teams of stellar cartoonists to design your monsters and battle for ultimate artistic glory! Free comics to all attendees.
  • Dreamworks Screening (4:00PM – April 26 – Awesome Con Jr. Stage) – Dreamworks will surprise guests with a special feature screening.
  • Kids Costume Parade (12:00PM – April 27 | 12:00PM – April 28 – Awesome Con Jr Stage) – Awesome Con is excited to announce the Kids Costume Parade! Registration is limited to the first 30 kids (and their parents).
  • National Wildlife Federation Animal Show with Naturalist David Mizejewski (1:30PM – April 27 – Awesome Con Jr Stage) – An educational presentation of exotic animals from all over the world with a message about conservation.


Pride Alley

  • Fabulous Fictional Females (1:30PM – April 26 – Room 152) –  featuring a diverse panel of female writers, artists, and editors discussing the 'Strong Female Character' trope, breaking down what goes into telling a great story and sharing our professional experiences in the realms of comics, literature, and theater.
  • Gender in SFF Fiction: Women & Nonbinary Authors (2:30PM – April 26 – Room 152) – From the elusive Strong Female Protagonist to LGBTQ representation, and what an individual author's responsibility is, this panel will explore what it means to be a female or nonbinary author in the male-dominated genre of sci-fi and fantasy fiction.
  • Diversity Amongst the Stars (4:30PM – April 26 – Room 144) –A celebration of the diverse characters we love and a discussion about how the galaxy has changed over the last few years and where we still hope it may go.
  • Strengthening Geek Culture (4:30PM – April 26 – Room 152) --A spotlight on queer creators and fans, Strengthening Geek Culture will unite the LGBTQ and allied creators attending Awesome Con through a panel celebrating the diversity and creativity of queer geekdom and LGBTQ contributions to pop culture. 
  • Exploring Gay & Lesbian Comic Creators (5:30PM – April 26 – Room 144) – This panel will explore some of the creators and their contributions to producing gay and lesbian comics and how they have influenced the mainstream comic industry to this day. Some of the creators that will be explored are Howard Cruse (Stuck Rubber Baby), Trina Robbins (Wimmen's Comix), Alison Bechdel (Fun House), and Joe Phils (Joe Boys) to name a few. 
  • Resistance, Feminism, & Fandom (6:30PM – April 26 – Room 144) – Science fiction is often a form of social commentary, and engaging with sci-fi fandom means voicing that commentary via social media. As women, people of color, and other LGBT+ participants who are quite visible in fandom during this charged era in American politics, we want to discuss our experiences speaking out on various social platforms even when it may not be the popular thing to do.
  • We ARE Gaymers! Be Proud! (11:30 AM – April 27 – Room 152) A discussion surrounding the collective identity of gamers, outside negative feedback, and how the community can response
  • Pro Wrestling Connection for Marginalized Fans (1:30PM -- April 27 – Room 152) Centering women, non-binary, & LGBTQ+ voices in wrestling fandom-these fans have crucial perspectives to share. If you've never felt comfortable at a wrestling panel before, this one's for you.
  • Crossplay 101 (2:30PM – April 27 – Room 152) – An introductory lecture about what crossplay is and educating how to crossplay safely.
  • Representation Matters, So Make It Good (4:30PM – April 27 – Room 152) Stories matter. More diverse media representation is incredibly important, but not all representation is created equal. The result of years of narrative research, this panel lays out a comprehensive and easy to follow guide to creating healthy and compelling queer characters and stories, with examples and suggestions across media and genres. 
  • The BLERD Panel (5:30PM – April 27 – Room 152) Picking up where we left off last year, the BLERD Panel will give the black nerd state of the union with comedy, connection, and community!
  • Cositivity (12:30PM – April 28 – Room 152) – This panel is designed to be a safe space for cosplayers to discuss their experiences with cosplay. Mediated by the panelists, we will be sharing our experiences as well as opening the floor for others to discuss theirs.

Additional Programming Highlights:

  • Voice-a-Palooza (6:30Pm – April 26 – Room 146) - VIDEO GAME VOICE ACTORS BEHAVING BADLY. Join professional voice actors as they reinterpret movie scripts, poetry, songs and more in their character voices, read the craziest phrases that YOU provide in their character voices, and create an entirely new video game from YOUR suggestions. A Classic and a MUST NOT MISS.
  • Awesome Con Short Film Fest -- Grabbing some popcorn, all your friends, and a seat, as Joe Carabeo (Award winning Director, Astray Productions President, Project Resolution Producer) brings the Awesome Con Short Film Festival to you! There will also be an exclusive filmmakers Q&A after the screenings afterwards moderated by TV host Molly Nevola.
    • Sci Fi / Action / Horror (2:00PM – April 26 – Room 101)
    • Awesome Con Short Film Fest – Comedy & Drama (12:00PM – April 27 – Room 101)
    • Awesome Con Short Film Fest – Documentaries & More (12:00PM – April 28 – Room 101
  • Helping Kids Understand the World Through Nonfiction, Fact-Based Fiction, and Real Science (1:00PM – April 28 – Room 150) - National Geographic Kids Editors talk about writing exciting non-fiction for kids, how to infuse your story with a good dose of real science, and how to keep 'em coming back for more of the good stuff: facts.
  • Very Secret, Very Cool, But Not Aliens: The U-2, the A-12, and Area 51 (5:00PM – April 26 – Room 140) - CIA historians will present the development, deployment, and capabilities of the CIA's most famous spy planes, as well as the testing site the helped make famous.  Come learn about the U-2, the A-12 (and the vastly inferior SR-71), and Area 51.  Also, join a discussion of studies conducted by Gerald Haines about UFO sightings and the correlation with the operations conducted by these aircraft.
  • DC Celebrates 80 Years of Batman Comics (5:00pm – April 27 – Room 150) – Eighty years after his debut, Batman continues to be one of the most popular and iconic Super Heroes of all time. Meet some of the key players in the Dark Knight's world who create and bring you the best Batman comics stories ever. Buckle up for an incredible ride in the Batmobile and hear what these creators have to say about one of your all-time favorite DC Super Heroes!
  • Some Heroes Wear Cardigans: Librarians at CIA (1:00PM – April 27 – Room 140) - Madam Pince in Harry Potter. Giles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Dr. Barbara Gordon in Batman. Librarians and libraries have been depicted in pop culture a variety of ways throughout the years, but are often portrayed as sidekicks. The librarians at CIA think differently. Come hear them talk about what it's like to be a librarian working in espionage and discuss why they think some heroes wear cardigans.


WEBSITE: www.awesomecon.com is updated regularly with new guests, exciting exhibitors, and special programming.





About Awesome Con

Awesome Con is the biggest annual comic and pop culture convention in Washington, D.C., having welcomed over 71,000 attendees in 2018. Awesome Con celebrates all aspects of geekdom and pop culture, with a wide assortment of engaging events, comic books, collectibles, toys, games, original art, cosplay and more. Awesome Con is presented in partnership with LeftField Media, an event organization company developed by the founder of New York Comic Con. Learn more at www.awesomecon.com.


About LeftField Media

LeftField Media, LLC is an events company focused on developing face-to-face events in a range of communities rooted in contemporary culture and shared passion. LeftField was formed in 2014 by Greg Topalian (President, LeftField Media) and is now owned by Topalian and Clarion Events Ltd. With a keen sense of the evolving needs of businesses and their consumers, as well as new opportunities created by change, LeftField takes a clean slate approach to its work. LeftField's portfolio includes Play Fair (playfairny.com), a family-focused celebration of toys and play built with the Toy Industry Association; Awesome Con (awesomecon.com), Washington D.C.'s Comic Con; Rose City Comic Con (rosecitycomiccon.com), in Portland, O.R.; Anime NYC (animenyc.com), a Japanese pop culture festival presented by Crunchyroll; and the Classic Auto Show (theclassicautoshow.com), a vintage auto show launched in Los Angeles. LeftField Media is headquartered in historic Trumbull, C.T. (leftfieldmedia.com).

The Post reviews Missing Link animation

'Missing Link' is a visually stunning story about a lonely Bigfoot, but it's missing something [in print as If 'Smallfoot' got its PhD].

Washington Post April 12 2019 p. Weekend 28

Local Hellboy movie reviews

The New Hellboy Reboot Is Bad as Hell [in print as What the Hell?]

Neil Marshall's reboot loses all the witty charm and imaginativeness of Guillermo del Toro's 2004 film.

Washington City Paper April 12, 2019 p. 24

The 'Hellboy' reboot has more gore and profanity than the original. That doesn't make it better. [in print as A four-letter word for this demon: Flat].

Washington Post April 12 2019 p. weekend 27

and the NY Times:

'Hellboy' Review: What's Big and Horned and Red All Over?

A version of this article appears in print on April 12, 2019, on Page C6 of the New York edition with the headline: Witches, Excalibur And Nazis

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Michael Cowgill in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine

Local writer and comics creator Michael Cowgill's short story "Call Me Chuckles" appears in the March-April 2019 issue of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine https://elleryqueenmysterymagazine.com   (available at Barnes & Noble, on newsstands, and in e-book format). In the story, a boy named Charley goes on a strange trip into the worlds of noir, heist, and Southern gothic fiction. Cowgill earned an MFA in creative writing from George Mason University. His fiction has also appeared in the journals Phoebe and Hedgeapple. His comics regularly appear in the DC Conspiracy's free comics newspaper Magic Bullet and have also appeared in the anthologies District Comics, Wild Ocean, and ReDistricted. You can see more of his work at www.michaelcowgill.com

Rafer Roberts interview online

Spotlight Interview with the Creators of Grumble: Mike Norton and Rafer Roberts
April 8, 2019

NPR on new Marx Bros comic

John Kelly on some local PSA scooter animation

Dockless scooters are keeping ER doctors busy. They want to change that. [in print as ER doctors want electric scooter riders to stay safe].

An image from a PSA for the American College of Emergency Physicians urging dockless scooter riders to "Scoot Safe." (American College of Emergency Physicians)

Meet a Local Comics Writer: A Chat with Emily Whitten

by Mike Rhode

Emily Whitten is a long-time comics journalist who's just made the jump to writing comics herself. Her new book, The Underfoot, co-written with Ben Fisher and drawn by Michelle Nguyen came out yesterday in comic book stores and will be for sale more widely in two weeks. Emily answered our usual questions, with a few additional ones specific to her new book.

What type of comic work or cartooning do you do?

 I am co-creator and co-writer of The Underfoot, a new original graphic novel series about intelligent hamsters surviving in a post-apocalyptic world full of danger and mysteries, but also friendships and fun. The series is published by Lion Forge Comics, and Book 1, The Underfoot: The Mighty Deep, is out April 10 in comics shops, and comes out from Amazon and all other sellers on April 23. The Underfoot: The Mighty Deep focuses on the Hamster Aquatic Mercenaries (H.A.M.) and their quest to aid their badger allies in saving their homes. (More on that below!)

I've also written several parody/commentary webcomics for the likes of MTV.com and Reelz.com – "Deadpool Presents the Oscars" was particularly fun to write. (Fun facts: I wrote an entire column advocating for Ryan Reynolds to play Deadpool over on Reelz way back in 2010, and had Deadpool taking out Green Lantern with a headshot in a webcomic in 2011. You're welcome, Deadpool 1 & 2 movies.)

In addition, I'm a genre entertainment journalist, and regularly cover comics and genre-related news and convention panels, as well as interviewing other creators and moderating convention panels, which I really enjoy. My journalistic work is featured on ComicMix.com, Movers & Shakers Unlimited, The Fantastic Forum radio show, The CCC Podcast, The Great Geek Refuge, and the Made of Fail podcast.

How do you do it? As you're a writer, do you do a full script? Longhand, computer, or some combination?

Primarily on the computer and phone. I adore track changes in Word,particularly for collaborating; and the phone is great both for drafting script bits during my commutes, and for the many, many
messages that my Underfoot co-creators and I send back and forth. For both The Underfoot and my webcomics, the format is a full script. For The Underfoot, we tend to get very specific in some descriptions, as that comic is grounded in real-world science, nature, and location references, and those details matter. But even with detailed scripts, I do love seeing what new twists artists bring to the process, and the artists I've worked with consistently surprise and delight me with their creativity and talent. They make anything I can imagine look even better.

How did the three of you begin working together?

The short version is that I had a Twitter account where I was tweeting as my hamster Izzy, and at that time I reviewed a miniseries comic of  Ben Fisher's called Splitsville, which I really enjoyed. Ben found my hamster account and started writing back to Izzy as another hamster. Eventually we had some actual human being conversations as well (haha) and realized we should really write a book about all the ideas we were having about hamsters, adventures, and weird science. At the time when we needed to find an artist, Ben suggested Michelle Nguyen, who he'd worked with on the Grumpy Cat and Pokey comics. Her art works really well with our book, and thus, the creative team solidified.

Shout-outs also to Thom Zahler, who's an established comics creator in his own right and also is our letterer for the book. Michelle's partner Adrian Ricker assisted with the color flatting process, and illustrator Eric Orchard created our world and burrow maps. It's a great team, and made better as well by the editors and team at Lion Forge.

When you were writing it with Ben Fisher, how did the process work?

Ben and I bounce a lot of ideas off of each other. We then do rough story and character arcs, tighter detailed outlines, and full scripts. There are several stages of editing after that to get the scripts just right. There's a lot of text, call, and email traffic involved.

And then what did you give Michelle Nguyen to work from? A full script?

Michelle gets a full script, and we try also provide resource and photo references for anything very specific we are asking of her. Of course, some of the things we ask for have no known references, so I know that's part of Michelle's adventure in illustrating The Underfoot.

How did you decide to move from writing about comics to making them?

I like to write, period, and I like writing about creators and creative properties I enjoy or admire. I like that so much that I'm still trying to make time for it amidst the launch of The Underfoot.
But I've also written creatively for much of my life, in poetry, short fiction, and webcomics, so that creative process isn't new to me. Regarding a long-form larger comics work, I hadn't quite hit on an
idea that drove me to complete it at a particular point before The Underfoot. It can also be daunting to create such a vast world and set of works as we are crafting with The Underfoot, especially on your own. But working with Ben makes it super fun, and that's honestly what caused the jump – having a creative partner who feeds on my excitement about the ideas and gives me that excitement right back. Adding Michelle to the mix just made it even better. I am very fortunate to have found these collaborative teammates to work with.

I see you set the book in DC. Why did you use DC? Are you the only DC-area person on the team?

I'm the only D.C. local, and a lot of the local details come from what interests me about this city. D.C. is perfect for the origin story we are telling about the hamsters, and my experience living in this government town for sixteen years provides me with some strange local references to draw on. There were discussions early on about where to set the book – but after we had a few ideas that would only  work in this area, it just evolved into the setting it has now. That's not to say we may not explore other locations in the future, of course.

This is book 1 - how many books are planned?

We are working with Lion Forge on a trilogy, and Book 2 is already in the works. We have enough story ideas for several more books after that, though, so we hope people support and enjoy the first books of The Underfoot series enough that we can keep on making them!

Ok, back to your biography, when (within a decade is fine) and where were you born?

I'm a child of the '80s, born right here in Washington, D.C.

Why are you in the Washington area now?

I went to law school at The George Washington University, and have been working as an attorney in the area ever since.

What is your training and/or education in cartooning?

I have no formal training in cartooning, but a heck of a lot of training and practice in writing. I've been writing (and reading, voraciously) ever since I can remember. I believe that all education, training, and life experience, even if it's in other areas, can add to a creator's work. Experiences like being Co-Editor-in-Chief of the high school literary magazine, in which my poetry and short fiction as also published; completing a degree in journalism but also taking a creative writing class simply because I had the opportunity to (thank you, broad and flexible curriculum of Indiana University Bloomington); and being trained as a legal writer and taking a few of the odder and more fun class offerings in my third year (Law and Literature was well worth it) gave me a flexibility with and understanding of different styles of writing that I really value. Over the years my blogging, parody Deadpool writing, journalistic work, legal writing, and other types of creative work have all been training.

When it came to writing scripts, I started doing it, as I start doing much of the work I most value, for the fun of it. It's a joy to me that others then wanted to publish what I wrote or collaborated on. I continue to learn and get my training on the job – which is another common thread in my life's work. I'm very much a person who values education but loves learning by trying, experimenting, and doing.

Who are your influences?

In the comics realm, early influences include Superman, the X-Men, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Batman. In law school I got seriously deep into Deadpool, and overall these days I'm a big Marvel fan, but will never give up my Superman love, and also have a big squishy soft spot for Harley Quinn. V for Vendetta is an excellent book, Maus is heartbreaking, Spy vs. Spy makes me inexplicably happy, and Calvin & Hobbes makes me happy in ways I wholly understand. Hark! A Vagrant makes me smile and learn, Heart & Brain is so very me, Sarah's Scribbles I'm guessing we can all identify with now and again, Catana Comics is adorable, and I've just recently discovered the endearing Strange Planet. Wait – I think I have digressed into simply, "What comics do you like to read?" Sorry!

Actually, I can never tell what's going to influence me, so let's just keep rolling on things I like to read. In prose literature, I treasure classics. Favorites include A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, As I Lay Dying, The Great Gatsby, Hamlet and Macbeth, Heart of Darkness, Catch-22, To Kill a Mockingbird, Candide, Things Fall Apart, The Little Prince, Cold Sassy Tree, The Color Purple, and the Austins and the Brontes. I'm a big sci-fi and fantasy fan – Terry Pratchett is notoriously one of my diehard favorites, and also Ray Bradbury, Neil Gaiman, Philip K. Dick, Diana Wynn Jones, Isaac Asimov, Margaret Atwood, Richard Adams, Anne McCaffrey, Ursula K. Le Guin, Stephen R. Lawhead, Mary Stewart, Peter S. Beagle, Jim Butcher, Elizabeth Moon, C.S. Lewis, Douglas Adams, and Kurt Vonnegut. I'm a big Sherlockian nerd and a reader of Arthurian and Welsh legends; and the People series of books by W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O'Neal Gear are fascinating re-imaginings of Native American life. Favorite poets include T.S. Eliot, Maya Angelou, Henrik Ibsen, Emily Dickinson, Dylan Thomas, e e cummings, John Donne, Lewis Carroll, and William Carlos Williams; and in political science we should all read Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America and marvel at his predictive abilities.

I know as soon as this interview is published I will remember a million more creative works I have loved. I send my gratitude out to all of them for making me who I am today. I hope to meet many new creative works as I continue my life. They will undoubtedly all influence me somehow.

If you could, what in your career would you do-over or change?

I wouldn't change anything big – but I might go back in time every now and again and remind myself that sometimes even I, a person who always likes to have several projects going at once, can spread my time and energy too thin! …But honestly, I am who I am and past me probably wouldn't listen to future me, anyway.

What work are you best-known for?

Hopefully, The Underfoot soon! I'm currently most known for my genre journalism work.

What work are you most proud of?

I'm definitely most proud of The Underfoot. With Ben Fisher, Michelle Nguyen, and others, we have created a complex world, seven years in the making, of which the 160-page The Mighty Deep is only the beginning. We are constantly developing our larger story, adding new things for readers to discover, and finding out more about our characters. It's a ton of fun and The Mighty Deep came together beautifully with Michelle's expressive art.

What would you like to do or work on in the future?

I have a Superman story in my head that I think would be challenging but amazing to write. I've had a lot of practice unofficially writing Deadpool purely for my own fun and would get a big kick out of trying it for Marvel sometime. I've got another couple of original comic book story ideas waiting in the wings for when time allows. And I've got a couple or so prose novel ideas and short story ideas I'd love to find the time to finish. We'll see what happens next!

What do you do when you're in a rut or have writer's block?

I find that creating with my hands gives me a good break from creating with my words, so crafting is nice, and I also like building those Metal Earth models. Also, research. I love learning weird new facts through research.

What do you think will be the future of your field?

Assuming that means comics, people keep trying to predict it and I'm not sure we've quite got it yet. It isn't fully digital, because some of us just like holding books. It isn't just books, because hey, digital is handy. It isn't just motion comics, or webcomic apps… I like to think the future holds a lot of what the past has – experimentation, storytelling in different ways, and stretching the medium when needed to express what you need to.

What local cons do you attend? The Small Press Expo, Awesome Con or others? Any comments about attending them?

I've attended Awesome Con since the beginning, as press, con staff, panelist, and con moderator. It's a great con that grows every year. I like their balance of comics, celebrities, and pop culture, and their emphasis on science content. I've only gotten to go to SPX once, but enjoyed wandering its offerings. And Baltimore Comic Con is the nearest con that remains primarily focused on comics themselves. It's a favorite of mine.

What's your favorite thing about DC?

I just visited the Tidal Basin during peak cherry blossom time, and despite the crowds, it really is beautiful. I love the free museums, the European style of the city, the history, and the great opportunities for enjoying the arts and various types of cuisine and culture.

Least favorite?

The traffic? Probably the traffic.

What monument or museum do you like to take visitors to?

Air and Space, Natural History, and American History are my favorite classic Smithsonian museums – but the American Indian and African American museums are two somewhat more recent additions that I think are also really great. I love Teddy Roosevelt Island and the FDR Memorial; but also just the Mall in general, the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials, the WWII Memorial…I mean, there are so many to see. It's hard not to include them all.

How about a favorite local restaurant?

Shout-outs to Ragtime, Ireland's Four Courts, and Bayou Bakery, in all of which I have written parts of The Underfoot and other things. Wilson Hardware is another favorite. I could probably keep going… There are also a ton of places in D.C., Shirlington, Alexandria, etc. that are great, and always new places to try.

Do you have a website or blog?

I've had several sites and blogs over the years. It's a work in progress, but currently I'm building https://www.theemilyesse.com/, and intend to archive or link all of my work on various other sites
there. You can find a fair amount of my journalism at ComicMix here: https://www.comicmix.com//author/emily-whitten/. Lion Forge has a page for The Underfoot:

Here also are other selected pre-launch Underfoot interviews:

SYFY Wire Live Stage (video):

Westfield Comics Blog (interview):

Great Geek Refuge (podcast):

The Comics Culture Cosplay Podcast:

Pop Culture Squad (interview):