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Brooklyn-based artisan Josh Neufeld talks about his aboriginal Web banana series, A-D: Account Orleans Afterwards The Deluge, which chronicles the lives of six real-life survivors of Blow Katrina. Two characters whose lives are depicted in the series, “Denise” and “Leo,” allocution about their portrayals.
FARAI CHIDEYA, host:
If you go online, you’ll acquisition account reports, blogs, and a banana alternation about Blow Katrina aloof for the Web.
It’s alleged “A.D.: Account Orleans Afterwards The Deluge”, and it illustrates the attempt to survive in the Big Easy during and afterwards the flood. Brooklyn-based artisan Josh Neufeld created “A.D.” It appears on the Web site, smithmag.net. And he’s created his own banana and additionally works with Harvey Pekar, the allegorical banana architect who aggressive the blur “American Splendor.”
In his new project, he tells the adventure of six absolute bodies in New Orleans, and two of the characters – if you can alarm them that – are Denise and Leo. Denise is a blow beat organizer for a aged women’s affairs in Baton Rouge, and Leo is editor and administrator of antigravitymagazine.com, a Web annual about New Orleans’ music and culture. We’ve got Denise, Leo and Josh. Welcome.
DENISE (Hurricane Beat Organizer, Baton Rouge): Hi.
Mr. JOSH NEUFELD (Creator, “A-D: Account Orleans Afterwards The Deluge”): Hi, there.
LEO (Editor and Publisher, AntigravityMagazine.com): Hey.
CHIDEYA: So, Josh, let me alpha with you. What aggressive you to actualize this series?
Mr. NEUFELD: Well, it was aback I – it all started aback I was a advance for the Red Cross and I went bottomward to Biloxi, Mississippi anon afterwards the hurricane. I blogged about my adventures bottomward there and concluded up accumulation those blogs into a book – not a banana book, but aloof a almanac of my blogs and the comments that I received. And because I’ve had a history of accomplishing comics on album topics, I got a lot of advance from bodies to do a banana about my experiences.
However, I was afraid to do a banana about myself because I aloof didn’t feel like that was adapted for the accountable matter, actuality that I was aloof a advance and not really, you know, addition who’s anon afflicted by the hurricane. So…
CHIDEYA: So let me ask you how you begin Leo, Denise and the added association that you profiled.
Mr. NEUFELD: Well, aback I assuredly did hit on the abstraction – acknowledgment to Barry Smith, the editor of SMITH, area the banana is active – of accomplishing the banana about absolute bodies who lived in New Orleans, we basically went on a three or four-month accelerated chase to acquisition bodies that we anticipation would be abundant characters, capacity for the comic. And that’s how we came beyond Leo and Denise.
CHIDEYA: So Leo, you are one of these real-life characters. What do you anticipate about actuality portrayed and conceivably apparent in this way?
LEO: Oh, I adulation it, you know? I’ve fabricated no abstruse aback Josh approached me about actuality a appearance in the band that it was my constant dream to be a banana book character. I’ve, you know, grew up account comics. That’s how I abstruse to read, and I’ve calm them very, actual avidly aback I was about 12 years old. So you know, that – my affection for that could absolutely be, you know, affectionate of brought to activity in that way. It was, you know, article actual ambrosial to me.
CHIDEYA: Denise, what about you? Do you feel like this is absolutely your life? And if so, if not, why?
DENISE: Oh, I accept it’s a aggregate of things. It’s my activity and Josh’s estimation of it.
CHIDEYA: And how do you feel about it?
DENISE: Well, it has allure. It has (unintelligible). At first, I didn’t appetite to be a banana book character. But I anticipation it was an befalling to get some accuracy out about Katrina because there were so abounding lies.
CHIDEYA: And aback you anticipate about what’s gotten out, do you anytime – do you guys anytime altercate and say, well, you apperceive what, this is not the way that I would like this portrayed? And how do you accommodate with Josh about what appears?
DENISE: Well, Josh and I talked on the advanced end, and I was affectionate of analytical about the way my appearance could possibly be perceived. It seemed to me that my appearance will abatement calmly into average and I was agitated about it. But what I admired was that Josh didn’t accept a knee-jerk acknowledgment to my criticism. And instead of acceptable defensive, he listened to my apropos and he accustomed me greater captivation in the process. So appropriate now, I’m absolutely admiring with how things are going.
CHIDEYA: Josh, how do you accord with bodies who, obviously, you accept to accept a accord to them, saying, you apperceive what, that’s aloof not right, abnormally if you’ve already gone to press? I’m activity to use that word, virtually, because it is the Internet. Do you say, oh, gosh, I fabricated a booboo?
Mr. NEUFELD: Well, I don’t apperceive if it’s accomplished that point. I anticipate Denise, afterwards she saw her representation in the aboriginal chapter, area I array of alien the character, she, you know, actual appropriately had affair about actuality portrayed in array of the academic way of an African-American woman. And, you know, it was absolutely a aggregate of me alert to her apropos and cerebration about that. And again additionally we agreed that for approaching episodes, it aloof works bigger all around, I would appearance her the calligraphy afore I – you know, I would appearance her any calligraphy that had her scenes in it, and she could array of (unintelligible) it and advice me, you know, actual capacity and advice with accent and all sorts of things that can alone accomplish the band better. So I was absolutely blessed to accept that affectionate of exchange.
CHIDEYA: Leo, you’re addition who’s a big fan of comics. You said that this was your dream.
CHIDEYA: Why do you anticipate a anatomy like this can acquaint a adventure as austere as Katrina, aback a lot of bodies say, you know, comics are for kids or comics are for entertainment?
LEO: Well, I anticipate allotment of the acumen why Josh chose me to be one of the characters is because of my affiliation with banana books in accepted and aloof my abiding adulation for the medium. You know, absolutely simply, aback you see my apartment, my old accommodation in the banana strip, it’s so abounding of comics and so abounding of, you know, altered accouterments and altered accouterments that I had that, you know, you aloof see that as, like, such a adulation for me that it absolutely tosses the clairvoyant into it because, you know, like, well, if this actuality loves these things so abundant and I’m account a banana band about them, you know, why not booty it seriously? It’s acutely article that bodies do in absolute life. So you see those things very, actual vividly.
Mr. NEUFELD: If I can aloof jump in on there too. I mean, there is a continued attitude in clear novels and banana books of tackling, you know, actual austere capacity from Art Spiegelman’s “Maus” to Marjan Satrapi’s “Persepolis” to Joe Sacco accomplishing comics about the war in Yugoslavia and conflicts in Israel and Palestine.
So you know, for me, it’s aloof the – it’s aloof continuing that attitude and allowance to hopefully brainwash Americans that comics are as accurate a average for cogent these sorts of belief as any added one.
CHIDEYA: Denise, I’m abiding that not your accomplished activity will get to be told because this is activity to go on for a few added episodes. But what are you accomplishing now in agreement of your able life? And additionally how are you feeling, personally?
DENISE: I’m still disturbing with a lot of Katrina-related issues and post-traumatic affection and all-overs and stuff. But I formed with aged women who are additionally survivors of Katrina. So they’ve gotten a bifold whammy. And it helps to get alfresco of your own astigmatic appearance of your problems. And I absolutely like the assignment that I’m accomplishing now. We’re educating women about calm abandon and alike on the impacts of Katrina and aggravating to facilitate them, accepting their needs met while creating aborigine activists who will advice anniversary other, decidedly in the abandoned areas like the bivouac parks.
CHIDEYA: And, you know, Leo, do you feel like this is allowance you action in any way, you know, actuality able to attending at what’s happened to you on the page? Does it advice you emotionally?
LEO: Yeah. In a lot of ways, it does. I apperceive – aback the banana band aboriginal started, and particularly, I anticipate it’s affiliate three, which portrays my again adherent and I abrogation the house, you know, appropriate afore Katrina, you know, it absolutely brought a lot of things aback for me. Like, I absolutely remembered, like, those aftermost moments afore we larboard and affectionate of how close they were. And in some ways, I got to apperceive if it helps me get over it, but it does advice me bethink it, and that puts things now into perspective. You know, aloof as far as accurate abiding that I do acknowledge aggregate that I accept in my activity now and how calmly that can all be taken away.
CHIDEYA: Josh, aloof finally, what are you up to abutting with the series?
Mr. NEUFELD: Well, we’re – I’m aloof finishing affiliate six now, which is activity to be debuting on Sunday on smithmag.net, and that’s activity to be center through the accomplished thing. And we’ve got six added capacity to go afterwards that, area we’re activity to apprentice about what happened to the characters afterwards the hurricane, and array of booty you up to the present day.
CHIDEYA: All right. Well, it sounds like you got a lot on your plate. And Josh, Denise and Leo, acknowledge you so abundant for advancing on.
DENISE: Acknowledge you.
Mr. NEUFELD: Acknowledge you, Farai.
CHIDEYA: Josh Neufeld is the biographer and illustrator of “A.D.: Account Orleans Afterwards The Deluge.” The Web banana can be beheld at smithmag.net. And Denise and Leo are both absolute bodies accepting their Katrina adventures scripted into the comic. Leo batten with us from WWNO in New Orleans, Louisiana.
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