In addition to being faculty members of the BFA Illustration and Cartooning Department, Jessica Abel and Matt Madden are also the editors of The Best American Comics series. Comic Book Resources recently caught up with the real life couple to discuss what kind of work grabs their attention, trends in the world of comics, students at SVA, and much more. Here’s an excerpt from the interview:
CBR News: How did you both first become involved in the Best American Comics series and what exactly is your role as series editors?
Jessica Abel: I was approached by the then-house editor from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt who asked me to take over the series editor job. I said I would do it if I could get help from Matt. What that means is that we are responsible for collecting and reviewing as many comics published by North Americans as possible and choosing the short list, basically, to send to a guest editor. And then we do a lot of administrative work and other stuff that’s not worth getting into, but that’s the main gist of the job.
CBR News: Having done this for a few years, is there anything that stands out as far as larger trends you’ve seen in recent years?
Matt Madden: Michael DeForge. He’s a new trend. We’d never heard of them two years ago. He’s in his early twenties and is one of these rare talents who I’m sure has been working at it since he was very young, but he seemed to spring fully formed two years ago. It seems like every week there’s an amazing innovative new comic from him appearing in some anthology or website, on his blog. It’s bewildering to keep up with. That’s the big new trend in comics.
Abel: We’ve done it for a while and there was definitely a major trend a few years ago for everything to be cute. Even things you wouldn’t really expect to be cute were done nice and cute. That’s fading a little bit. There’s not as much cute for cute’s sake stuff. And now there’s definitely a lot of people who were very influenced by the successors of the Fort Thunder movement. There’s a lot of that stuff coming down now. You see these told very straight kind of space stories—
Madden: —With Dungeons and Dragons elements thrown in. Video games, role playing, stoner humor thrown in with some hip hop references. That [description] would be a parody of it—
Abel: —And a really simple drawing style. Almost childish—
Madden: —Which is clearly directly influenced by Brian Chippendale and Mat Brinkman and CF, Christopher Forgues.
To read the full interview, visit Comic Book Resources.