In his 20s, John Pham used to have a Fantagraphics promotional poster on his wall featuring artwork from classic cartoonists like Robert Crumb. He’d stare at it every day.
When Pham originally started creating his one-man anthology comic series Epoxy in 1999, he didn’t have the confidence to submit it to publishers, but worked on it anyway, helped a great deal by a grant he received from the Xeric Foundation. He dreamed of Fantagraphics publishing his work.
Earlier this year, Fantagraphics published an anthology of his current flagship comic strip J&K, one of the ongoing comics featured in Epoxy.
“It was definitely a full-circle moment for me,” Pham said.
Though he works a full-time animation gig while raising two young children with his wife in Los Angeles, Pham still finds time to continue his comics work through Epoxy.
Noah Van Sciver has seen a lot of progression in his artwork over time, just as many artists do.
“You’re going to start with one specific art style that you’re trying to achieve but you’re not really there, and over the years it just kind of refines itself,” he said. “And then other influences come in and comingle and eventually, you have your own style. I started off as a complete Robert Crumb wannabee, and then over time, other influences come in. You see European artwork that’s looser, things like that.”
Van Sciver has become a notable creator in the alternative comics scene – at the moment, he’s fresh off doing the art for Grateful Dead Origins, three years deep in a book about Mormonism-founder Joseph Smith and has a few comic collections releasing soon.
Simon Hanselmann’s beloved Megg, Mogg and Owl comic series usually comes in the form of zines and graphic novels, but once the pandemic hit, he figured he’d post new chapters almost once a day for free on his Instagram. Five months later, he’s still posting new chapters.
“It was supposed to just be for like 30 days,” Hanselmann said. “‘Oh, COVID will clear up in a month, everything will go back to normal.’ And, yeah, nothing did, and [the comic] just kept on going. And I enjoy it. I enjoy this model of creating. Just throwing it out for free.”
This new serialized storyline, dubbed “Crisis Zone,” follows Megg, Mogg and Owl’s crude, gross, hysterical and miserable misadventures navigating current events, and Hanselmann doesn’t plan on stopping until the United States election.