Monday, January 11, 2016

Comics Alternative Podcast: Tom Hart Interview

On this episode of The Comics Alternative, Derek Royal and I welcome cartoonist and educator Tom Hart. His graphic memoir Rosalie Lightning (St. Martin's Press) will be published tomorrow.

This wide-ranging discussion focuses primarily on Rosalie Lightning, an extraordinarily moving rumination on life, and death, and grieving, and memory, and celebration, and endurance, and art, and love. It chronicles how Tom and his wife, cartoonist Leela Corman, continued on after the sudden death of their daughter Rosalie Lightning just days before her second birthday. (You can read versions of the first two chapters here - and also, read Leela's hauntingly beautiful comics "Yahzeit" and "PTSD: The Wound that Never Heals.") Rosalie Lightning is a powerful and meaningful book. You'll be hearing a lot about it--and not just from comics-specific commentators, I'll wager.

We also talk a bit about some of Tom's earlier comics work, his hands-on process, and his general approach to art. And Tom tells us about The Sequential Artists Workshop which he and Leela established in Gainesville, FL, a training program a new generation of cartoonists. (SAW is currently holding a fundraiser which is worth your attention.)

On a personal note: I first "met" Tom over twenty years ago on an email list, and we met in person a few times at SPX in the late 1990s. I met Leela then, too. I grieved when I learned the news about Rosalie, though I had never met her. Just about two years ago, I got to see Leela and Tom again, along with their recently born daughter Molly Rose: Leela was one of the cartoonists featured in the "Graphic Jews" exhibit at Skidmore College's Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, and the family traveled up to Saratoga Springs so Leela could be a guest on a panel I co-moderated in conjunction with the exhibit. (Darling Molly Rose nibbled on my fingers a bit during the pre-panel dinner.) Tom and Leela are both wonderful people and amazing artists.

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