Art & Story was the show that dug deep into the craft of cartooning. Well, not anymore. After four years of podcasting, Mark, Kevin, and Jerzy have called it quits on the show, and last week posted their final episode. Oh, they’ll still be doing other stuff so they’re not totally out of educating people who want to get into comics. But their current plans have outgrown the show. Tonight we take a brief look at the series.
Since August 26, 2007, Mark Rudolph and Jerzy Drozd have entertained and informed comic creating hopefuls on improving their art, boosting their storytelling potential, and would later be joined by Kevin Cross (I tried to find his first episode as an official Art & Story contributor rather than his prior guest appearances, but I wasn’t able to. More on that in the wrap-up.) Together, the trio have dissected and re-dissected the process in coming up with the idea, putting it together, working with others, and getting your comic into the world.
And the show would keep expanding. First, to save time on the main show, all the personal work updates moved to Art & Story Extreme, although it would later morph into the guys and occasionally their friends just goofing around and having fun to decompress from a hard day’s work. Art & Story Alive! found Mark and Jerzy teaming with their friend and fellow creator Krishna Sadasivam (who created PC Weenies, a favorite among tech geeks, and the mostly biographical Uncubed) to host a live call-in show until scheduling got in the way. All these shows would feature the majority of the A&S guest co-hosts and guest stars. (For the record, my favorite guest was Sara Turner, Jerzy’s partner at Make Like A Tree Comics who received the odd nickname “Knifeman” during one Extreme episode.) There were also special series like Your Comics From The Ground Up, which looked into the process of creating a new comic from start to finish.
The biggest edition to the project to date, and an attempt to monetize so they would have time to focus on A&S without taking on other paying projects (a cartoonist has to eat) was Art & Story Supreme. This project added more information for cartoonists in the form of the titular show as well as other podcasts: Kevin’s High Adventure, Mark’s Mark of the Beast, and Jerzy’s Thunder Punch Daily each allowed the trio an opportunity to discuss their personal and individual styles and perspectives. They also have progress reports, videos of their processes (which differed from their other “freeside” video postings), and a special edition Extreme. There’s even a running commentary of the live-action G.I. Joe movie, if you’re so inclined. Sadly no longer available (at least I can’t access it) is the Storrior’s forum, where comic creators could gather and play off of each other. Putting it on the “payside” meant only people serious about creating comics would participate, and could be purchased separately from the other Supreme material. I hope this returns with the same restrictions for the same reason.
Since they’ve had bandwith problems in the past I’m not going to embed MY first A&S episode, but will link to it instead. This was an interview with Marty Isenberg, who at the time was working on Transformers Animated. Since I was still a participant in the alt.toys.transformers newsgroup at the time (something I now lack–time), this was how I heard about the podcast and started listening from there. You’ll see me in the comments section of the posting. I think our mutual love of Transformers (and other 80’s toons) led to the bond Jerzy and myself have. We’re not BFFs or anything, but he has referred to me a friend in the past, while I refer to him on this site many times as BW Virtual Mentor. His storytelling style is one of my influences as a would-be comic creator. Just type “Jerzy Drozd” or “Art & Story” into the on-site search and you’ll find them mentioned a lot here at the Spotlight.
“Eulogy” may actually be a strong term for this article’s title, however. Jerzy continues to work on his other show, Comics Are Great, where he plans to continue Thunder Punch. Mark & Kevin will have their own podcast, Illustration Underground, which will be done in a seasonal format. Kevin has also reunited with Joshua Kimble for Big Illustration Party Time, although the show is done less frequently than before. And the whole team has gathered with other artists to form Lean Into Art, which I really need to check out at some point.
So we’ll miss Art & Story, but the team will still be digging into the craft of cartooning. The site itself will remain standing as a testament to their work and as a resource for cartoonists. (Although they should probably redesign to make easier to find stuff. I couldn’t find Kevin’s first official episode as an A&S member. Maybe give each show its own page, as some of them already do.) The Supreme content is now available to everyone (which means even more catching up for me to do). This is a great, if not the best, resource available to cartoonists and you really should look into it. But for now, it’s sadly time to pull the RSS feed from my list and move it to the blogroll alongside Comic Coverage. BW Media Spotlight (meaning me) would like to personally thank Jerzy, Kevin, Mark, and all their guests for making a great podcast. Good luck on your future projects and know your fans love and support you.