Comic Interviews

Fear Itself

Interview with Writer Matt Fraction

Interview by: Bill Jones, Matt Peters, Archie Easter

Introduction and Transcription by: Bill Jones

There is nothing comics publishers and fans seem to love quite as much as a big summer event. And this year, Marvel’s camp has tapped Matt Fraction to take the lead writing duties on Fear Itself. Issue #1 of the mini-series hits shelves today, Wednesday, April 6, promising plenty of Marvel favorites, an epic storyline and plenty of spin-offs. We caught up with Fraction Sunday, March 20, at the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo in Chicago, and figured there’s no point in us telling readers all about the series when we can have the writer himself do it. Fraction also discusses the Iron Man films, his involvement with the second video game, what it’s like to be chosen for a comics event, going from the comic shop to the con floor and a Spider-Man “thing” he’s had in mind. (more…)

Pads & Panels’ Bill Jones and Matt Peters caught up with World Wrestling Entertainment’s Monday Night RAW announcer Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler on the verge of his first match at WrestleMania. As The King prepares to take on fellow announcer Michael Cole, he talks about going into his first WrestleMania, getting a couple title shots, his favorite announcer to work with, and his passion for comic book art. The interview took place Saturday, March 19, at Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2) at McCormick Place in Chicago. A special thanks to The King for taking time to do the interview after a long day of signing and illustrating.

The Walking Dead

Interview with Robert Kirkman

Interview by: Bill Jones

Robert Kirkman may be one of the greatest ambassadors to the comics medium alive. As a writer, he has created the best ongoing zombie series comics have seen in The Walking Dead, carved his own space in the realm of superheroes with the popular Invincible, and has tackled the horror-meets-superhero genre with The Astounding Wolf-Man. All of this while keeping control of his properties through the creator-owned publishing model of Image Comics. That is all, of course, in addition to his work at Marvel, where he became known for his run on Ultimate X-Men and launched the Marvel Zombies series. He also earns cred for starting his career with a concept as awesome as Battle Pope.

In addition to juggling a number of comics franchises, Robert Kirkman has been hard at work in the position of executive producer of AMC’s television series adaptation of The Walking Dead, set to debut this October, directed by Frank Darabont (Shawshank Redemption, Green Mile). Kirkman took some time earlier this month to answer some questions about his long-running zombie series and delve into the gory details of the upcoming show. Kirkman talks about seeing his comic come to life as a show, his philosophy on adaptations of his work, AMC, working with Frank Darabont, how fatherhood influences his work and what fans can expect from both the show and comic. (more…)

Cool People # 6 – Joe Carr

Joe Carr is a pen and ink artist that grabbed Pads & Panels attention with his Threadless Select Tee, Full Throttle. The fact that he got printed enough times on Threadless to have the honor of designing his own Select Tee wasn’t the only reason Joe caught our eye. The fact he decided to take his love for Jack Kirby and the Silver Age of comics to design the Full Throttle tee, and then take that idea to continue the story told on the tee to make a mini-comic to accompany it – that’s what really caught our attention. Joe’s love for comics and love for a simpler time mixed with a sci-fi fascination has inspired him to make numerous prints. It has also seen him work on cool projects for the staff of this year’s remake of Clash of the Titans. Pads & Panels caught up with Carr via email to discuss Full Throttle and his other fantastic work in edition #6 of Cool People.

Name: Joe Carr

Age: 32

Location: Matanuska Susitna Valley, Alaska


Interview by: Tom Braaksma (more…)

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Yes, you read that right. Today, we bring to you a very special interview with 5-time Pro-Bowl Chicago Bears linebacker Lance Briggs. But the Chicago Bears? Linebacker? Pro-Bowl? “That’s football stuff!” you proclaim. True, it is football. But Mr. Briggs also happens to be a huge comics fan. We’re not talking about “got caught on camera once looking at a Spider-Man comic” kind of a fan. We’re talking about real deal comics enthusiast. So much so that during our hometown comic convention, the inaugural Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (better known as C2E2), Briggs hosted his own “dream panel,” talking to fans as well as some of his favorite comics creators. He’s a proclaimed Top Cow fan, and the publisher actually printed a variant cover of The Darkness featuring Briggs this month. That’s the kind of comics fan we’re talking. So it was our honor to catch up with Briggs following his panel to talk about his love for the medium, as well as his newly launched , the . Bill interviewed, and Tom filmed. Go Bears!

Yi Soon Shin: Warrior and Defender

Interview with: Onrie Kompan

Interview by: Chris Park

West Coast correspondent Chris Park found himself interested in the subject matter of Yi Soon Shin: Warrior and Defender, with Issue #1 of Onrie Kompan’s new comic series, which tells the tale of the Korean admiral in his first bombastic naval battle. He was a little hesitant, though, about the introduction of the character, and had questions about what directions the historical fiction series would take. So Park exchanged emails with Kompan last week to discuss his new series. (more…)

[Ed note: I've wanted to start a series for awhile now featuring unique independent shops doing great things in the comics and games industries, but swamped with work and the feasibility of finding great places outside of the Chicago area, it has been put off until now. But the tenacity of the site's newest writer, C.R. Stemple, prompted us to get it going. So without further adieu, I present readers with the debut of Stemple for Pads & Panels, as well as the first in hopefully a great series we call "Awesome Places." And if readers know of an awesome shop near their hometown, please don't hesitate to let us know. Thanks! Enjoy! --Bill Jones]

Awesome Places #1 – Challengers Comics + Conversation

Owners: Patrick Brower and W. Dal Bush


Location: 1845 N. Western Ave. 2R, Chicago, IL 60647


Interview with W. Dal Bush

Interview by: C. R. Stemple

The city of Chicago is not without an abundance of comic book shops – not by a long shot. In fact, the Second City is home to the largest chain of retail comic book stores in the US, Graham Crackers Comics, a direct-market dynamo whose website serves as a 24-hour national sales hub for everything readers would normally find during an in-store visit, essentially eliminating all of the necessities of comic shop culture and interaction.

One new local shop, however, calls foul. Opened in April 2008 by co-owners Patrick Brower and W. Dal Bush, Challengers Comics + Conversation has not only gone out of its way to create a thriving, lively community of both casual and hardcore fans, but also sustains it through a wonderfully interactive and intuitive website that’s driven by (and only truly accessible through) in-store visits. Considering all this, plus a strikingly modern, easily navigable layout with surprises literally around every corner of the store, it is no surprise that Challengers was recently awarded The Best New Comic Book Store in Chicago Magazine’s August 2009 issue.

Pads & Panels visited Challengers and talked with co-owner and sharp dresser W. Dal Bush about the shop, the comic book community at large and what readers can look forward to in the near future. (more…)

chrisheadshotX-Men Forever

Interview with Chris Claremont

Interview by: Bill Jones, John Gustafson

At this point, it would be hard to find many mainstream comic fans who have not heard of Chris Claremont. A 16-year stint on Marvel’s most coveted franchise, Uncanny X-Men, has a tendency to earn a writer some attention, especially when that 16-year stint arguably produced a majority of the series’ best storylines – material that inspired countless episodes of the 1990s hit animated X-Men show on Fox, as well as arcs in the film adaptations of the comics.

Claremont has by no means been away from comics since ending that run in 1991 – having worked on a number of other X-Men titles, as well as a few notable books for the enemy camp, DC – but he’s returning where he left off this month with a new series titled X-Men Forever. Getting a free pass to ignore the continuity of the main series, Claremont is throwing everything out the window that happened after he quit his run, and taking things in his own direction with a “no holds barred” approach that will see the X-Men dealing with mortality in modern times.

X-Men Forever #1 is set to hit stands June 10, with the Alpha issue (a republishing of Claremont’s last three issues with a preview) already available. Claremont got on the phone with Pads & Panels last week to discuss the new series. (more…)

shawnsmithShawnimals Earth Day Interview

Interview by: Bill Jones

Shawn Smith, aka Shawnimal, is the Chicago artist behind the designer toy line Shawnimals and last year’s critical Nintendo DS hit Ninjatown. Smith launched a new limited-edition toy series this year based around the anthropologist Professor Fliggins, and today heralds the release of a special eco-friendly plush in honor of Earth Day, the Forest Spirit Wee Ninja. Pads & Panels caught up with Smith last week at New Wave Coffee in Chicago during the Bits + Pieces collaborative art show with fellow Chicago artist Blutt. Smith chatted about everything from Earth Day, to Professor Fliggins to Ninjatown. (more…)