The one where Fraction interviews Zdarsky about Kaptara. 
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I'm begging of you please don't take my man
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Please don't take him even though you can

- just two chums talkin' bout KAPTARA -

Matt Fraction:

    okay first question chum

    which one is kaptara 


Chip Zdarsky:

    who is this


Matt Fraction:

haha great answer chum. you described KAPTARA before the launch as “a gay HE-MAN” which is literally my favorite piece of writing of the last calendar year. where’d that come from? 


    not the phrase, but the impetus to MAKE a gay HE-MAN


    (it’s matt)


Chip Zdarsky:

Oh ok. The first time I went to a Pride parade a very strong man shot me with a water gun and he looked very much like a he-man. And I remember looking around and thinking "there are a lot of he-men here". Lots of fun outfits and very nice muscles. 


That was when I originally thought about He-Man and sexuality. And I haven't stopped since. 


    Can't stop. Won't stop. 


Matt Fraction:

you know how in the WATCHMENIVERSE there are no superheroes because superheroes murder pregnant women and rape each other in the Watchmeniverse so they read pirate comics? I like to imagine KAPTARA is the SAGA of the Watchmeniverse.


Chip Zdarsky:

    That is exactly what we were going for. That was in my pitch to image. 


Matt Fraction:

Kagan’s literally a national treasure - isn’t he like the king of canadian illustrators or something? -- and i look at things like the the spread in issue 5 with all the new characters and lose my mind. it has to be so much fun writing for him. do you have trouble keeping focused on the story for all the joy of just writing stuff for him to draw?


Chip Zdarsky:

    Have you ever experienced that kind of joy


Matt Fraction:

It’s one of the reasons I don’t look at SEX CRIMINALS until you’re done, if we were working piecemeal, if we were working in such a way that i could just, like, break off and dick around with you I would because nothing makes me laugh more than you, except kagan now, and all the other artists that are better and smarter and funnier and more handsome than you


    being an art-er yourself how do you write for kagan?


    do you write things you know he can’t draw to make you feel better about yourself

Chip Zdarsky:

I'm not a real writer so I'm not a monster. I try to write things I know he'll love to draw, but, and you know this, sometimes a writer's job is to just get out of the way of the artist. We could probably just do these Stan and Jack style and they'd be great. 


    He's so good. And handsome. And he's a hip hop karaoke champion. 


I once sat next to Kagan during a life drawing session and had to move halfway through because it was too intimidating. 


Matt Fraction:

How do you write for him? how much design work goes into the writing? do you draw stuff with him, just doodle around to come up with these characters?


Chip Zdarsky:

With issue one we got together and drew out characters, but it quickly morphed into just me laughing and guiding Kagan's drawings, like that scene in Ghost at the pottery wheel. Since then I'll be pretty broad with character descriptions cause I know he'll make it so much better. 


I think the most I've ever laughed was when I saw him sketch out Glomps for the first time. Just nailed it. 


Matt Fraction:

How road mapped is the story in your head? Can you follow Kagan places if the art surprises you? you do that with me all the time in SC; some page will come back and suddenly, well, “Sexual Gary” is a character or whatever.


Chip Zdarsky:

There's a larger story mapped out, but yeah, I've started focusing more on certain characters just because of Kagan's drawings. There's a scene in issue five featuring the Queen that I only put in cause I wanted him to draw Cyklowl again in the background. Also, I was going to have the Glomps murder their cat tanks, but Kagan's turned them into my favourite visual ever, so they LIVE. 


    Also I focus on Dartor more because of the Judith Light hair he's been given. 


    So beautiful. 


Matt Fraction:

You’re writing for jughead and howard and KAPTARA all at the same time. what can you tell me about what you get from each experience? even in the abstract. and has the writing informed how you attack SC? What’s its like NOT-writing after doing three scripts a month?


Chip Zdarsky:

Look, I'm not trying to butter your bread here, but writing these books has really opened my eyes to how great you are at writing. That's my big takeaway. 


Writing Howard is easier in a lot of ways because creating emotional connections and jokes is easier when there's already existing history with the characters. Writing Jughead is a lot more ... I feel like the characters were themselves in a lot of ways? Like, they're all their own archetypes, unchanging and isolated. When you compare writing for Marvel like being in a cover band, I think that's a better analogy for Jughead. Cause all the notes are there already. 


So Kaptara is the trickiest. Because creating new things that readers can invest in is hard. Especially when you want to devote most of your space to jokes. 


And working on Sex Criminals is like its own world. It's from me to you and you to me. Very little outside of it affects that. 


Matt Fraction:

I was thinking that KAPTARA is a lot like old MAD Magazine, only where every gag in in service of the one story -- Like MAD Magazine without jokes! But with jokes! -- but I don’t know if that makes sense. You’re never making fun of this crazy world, you’re just building and building and building it and making it richer and more funny.


Tell me what you’ve found about writing funny, not just ‘comic book funny’ but actual funny. It’s real hard, right? It sucks!


Chip Zdarsky:

Well, it's like most things creatively: you want to create the illusion of impulse, like each bit of humor just burst forth fully formed. My writing schedule is equally split in three. The first chunk is story and page breakdown. The second part is scripting. The third part is going over and over that script to make jokes tighter, find new jokes, and just clean it up. So, each of those is a day, maybe two. 


I like it because it feels leisurely compared to the newspaper schedule I used to have, where sometimes I'd need to fill half a page with jokes about senate reform in two hours 


    So, it's hard, but for me it's all about refining. That's where the jokes usually reside. 


Oh by the way, I think writing for Marvel is like being in a cover band but you have to use whatever instruments are hot that year, and the drummer can suddenly change the tempo. 


Matt Fraction:

You also called KAPTARA the ‘gay SAGA” but you said it with your adorable canadian pronunciation that mad it SAGuh. I think that’s been a barrier. People don’t know what SAGuh is. Try SAH-guh. Sales will skyrocket. 


like SAGA this is a book with a big world and a big cast and actually Emotional Stuff happening.


Chip Zdarsky:

    Ha ha yeah I totally fucked up there


I just thought it was funny to compare our book to the biggest success on the market. DUMB MOVE DUMMY CHIP


Matt Fraction:

I don’t think it’s a terrible comparison. “A straight HANNIBAL” is a terrible comparison. “A bi-curious GHOST RIDER” is a terrible comparison. “JUGHEAD but with He-Mans” is... actually I’d read that.


    like, teenage eternia, i’d read that book.



Do you... sometimes in SC i have trouble keeping the stuff out of the jokes and the jokes out of the stuff. Does that resonate with you?


and where does the stuff of it all come from, do you think? Like if you had to boil the ‘what’s it about’ down, what is it about KAPTARA that’s impossible to refuse for you?


Chip Zdarsky:

My Canadian Wife gets upset with me because I'm always joking. So I've actually had to make a conscious effort in my life to keep the jokes out of the stuff, y'know? I think that's helped with writing? Maybe? The newest issue of Howard has almost no jokes and Howard is in one panel, so, we'll see. 


The... The thing about Kaptara I can't resist is the idea of a planet where your freak flag can fly and the societal constructs we know here aren't a factor. It's about figuring out who you are without the pressures of what people have pinned on you. And it's about jokes. 


    Oh man, I'm totally doing a He-Man Jughead story now. 


Matt Fraction:

this book is like METABARONS but also HE-MAN. Tell me about the science PHANTASSSYY stuff, where it comes from and all that. Is it just because it’s more fun to draw?


also i love how you’ve taken the roles out of your credits and it’s just you two. 


Chip Zdarsky:

Yeah, I know Kagan well enough that I wouldn't want to make him draw cars and buildings too often. So, in my description of castles and abodes I try to keep things relatively organic, just cause his style is so well suited to it. Like, I'd love to see him do Dr. Strange one day. Kagan was made for Ditko dimensions. 


I love the blending of ancient cultures with nature and futuristic technology. I think He-Man was kind of brilliant that way. Nude beast men riding tech-tanks shooting lasers at guys with swords. It's such a fantastic amalgamation of fantasy and sci-if. 


Matt Fraction:



Chip Zdarsky:

To be fair you and I do the same thing on Sex Crimz with the credits. It just makes sense. It's hard to label people on stuff like this! We actually generate a lot of confusion with the colours since we credit Becka Kinzie with "colour assist". She flats the book, but she also has a good colour sense so a lot of times Kagan goes with the basic choices she's made. Seemed wrong to just credit her as a "flatter."


Matt Fraction:

I love how insane the color is. KAPTARA doesn’t look like anything ever anywhere. It really is like the kind of comic they use in a movie where they couldn’t license, like BATMAN or something. It’s like it fell out of the sky.


So, okay, so there’s a ten dollar collection of the first five issues out now. I think people should buy it. Do you?

Chip Zdarsky:

    Oh man the colours. Originally we were going to outsource that, but Kagan is too good. 


Also, you'll like this: you know that fluorescent red colour WIRED always uses on their cover? We sprang for THAT. 


    Very bright. 


It's $9.98! Which makes it technically the cheapest Image trade on the stands! That's some classic Chip Marketing. 


    And it's out December 23, just in time for frantic Christmas!


Matt Fraction:

So you upped your production cost AND lowered your cover price? Now you’re making comics the Matt Fraction way, chum.


    But you’re dodging the question.




Chip Zdarsky:

Look I think everyone should read this. And if you're not really feeling it, buy a ticket for this and sneak into Star Wars instead. 


Matt Fraction:

    you’re saying READ this. That’s not saying BUY this.


    I just want that on the record. You rate your own book a “Read but don’t buy”


    Which is what they call the old Canadian 5-Stars


Chip Zdarsky:

    Look there's always the library that's all I'm saying


Matt Fraction:

    Also if you could write BATMAN what story would you tell about Batman


Chip Zdarsky:

Wouldn't mind really getting into his origin. What makes him tick? What do his parents think about what he's doing with his life?


What's your batman story chum


Matt Fraction:

It would be about Batman trying to track down each and every one of the pearls from his mother’s necklace as they’ve gone out into the world to be turned into street art or homemade jewelry or back-alley bling and he beats the shit out of like eighty people one at a time to get these pearls back then he reconstructs the pearl necklace and puts it on -- cowl on, no shirt -- and cries softly saying “I finally gave myself a pearl necklace” until alfred tucks an afghan over him and turns out the light. Alfred would wink at the reader just before that, of course.


- retailer roundup -

Feast your eyes on some sweet assets for
PRETTY DEADLY #7 (on sale 12/23) and BITCH PLANET #6 (on sale 1/6)
by clicking...right...

- the cox box -
- by kit cox- 
- get it?- 


  • Oh, OH. I cowrote my first (soon-to-be) published comic!! Kelly Sue asked me to join her on a short piece, so of course I was all "oh, sure, that sounds cool" while my internal speakers blasted "Ode to Joy" and I tried not to spike my laptop into the ground and do a victory dance. It was challenging and nerve-wracking and I LOVED IT. Thinking I'll talk about the cowriting process in here at some point, if that's something you guys would like to see. I don't know how much we're allowed to talk about it before it's announced so I'll leave it at that for now but: AAAH!!! COMICS.
  • STAR WARS THIS WEEK. If you're wondering "did Kit and Snake put little gold lightsaber tatts on their pinkies and then fence with them" well buddy I have an answer for you:
  •  The Milkfed office is getting DESERTED on Friday afternoon for a couple hours while we all go see it together. (Everyone saw that Jimmy Fallon, the Roots and the The Force Awakens cast did THE MOST CHARMING THING EVER, right?)
  • My roommate and I have been trying to introduce her two actual cats to my very soft monster and it turns out Natalia (the monster) has no cat game at all. So far she has tried: 1) sniffing the other cats' butts (close, monster, but that's "dog" you're speaking); 2) trying to take the other cats' toys while they are in use; 3) launching out from under the couch with claws extended; 4) standing in a window and doing what I can only assume is an impression of Janis Joplin. Does anyone have advice for this monster on how she can better imitate a cat to blend in as one of their own??
- MILKfed INtern! *awkward dancing* -


Yes hello, I am also an intern. There are two of us! You met Inturner last newsletter, a gentleman and a scholar if ever there was one, but on Tuesdays and Thursdays the keys to the intern car (there is no car, it’s a metaphor) are all mine. I don’t have a name that portmanteaus particularly well, so you can just call me Sophie.

Our time at Milkfed is rapidly coming to an end, (so sad, I have already begun collecting buckets to catch my tears) but while I’ve still got your ear / access to the Milkfed platform, I’d just like to take a moment to go mad with power say a few words about this experience. Really, I can’t speak highly enough about my time here. What an amazing opportunity to peek inside Matt and Kelly Sue’s creative process! I learned, I grew, I had a great time. Listen, I knew when we spent about ten minutes on our first day showing one another pictures of our cats that this was going to be a good place. Everyone in the Milkfed office is the genuine salt of the earth, and if you’re looking for an internship, you really couldn’t do much better than this one. 

Speaking of which, we’ve had some Qs in search of As trickling in, the most common of which seems to be, “How did you get your amazing internship?"

Well I’m so glad you asked!

The way it worked for me was, the director of my program (PSU Masters in Book Publishing y’alllllllllllllll) sent out an email last spring saying that Milkfed was looking for interns to apply for the fall term and I wrote back saying, essentially, YES PLEASE. A couple of weeks later, I had a skype interview, and then I got a email welcoming me into the fold. No muss, no fuss, although it is important to note that potential interns must be eligible to receive academic credit.

Next time you hear from the interns, it may be a whole new crop of us, so I’ll officially say goodbye here. Thanks for reading / having excellent taste in comics! (How wonderful that we have that in common.) 

xoxo, Sophie

- we hardly knew ye -

Farewell Sophie & (In)Turner!

(So much ugly crying up in this house.)
  • NPR's Best Books of 2015: Comics and Graphic Novels (Bitch Planet vol. 1 is on there, as are some other fantastic ones! Two Brothers is a Milkfed favorite.)
  • Made Vox's Best of List, too! 
  • From 99u: Are Confident People More Productive?
  • We had plans for Banoffi Pie this year at Milkfed Thanksgiving but there was an Incident (the pie pan maybe exploded in the oven a little bit).
  • Submissions are open for papers/proposals for CPAC, Dragon Con in 2016.
  • Speaking of Star Wars AND domesticated house monsters: the good people at Vanity Fair did some important research with a remote-controlled BB-8 droid and some puppies.
  • Kelly Sue has an unhealthy addiction to planner stickers and may have just ordered some NSFW options from Anxiety Aids
  • Dec 20 - Kit's Birthday
  • Dec 23 - Pretty Deadly #7 on sale
  • Jan 6 - Bitch Planet #6 on sale
  • Jan 20 - ODY-C #9 on sale
  • Jan 27 - Pretty Deadly #8 on sale
  • Feb 21-28 - JoCo Cruise
  • Feb 24 - Pretty Deadly #9 on sale
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