Review: Interviews With ADD, by Alan David Doane

Conversations With ADD: The Comics Interviews of Alan David Doane
collected by Alan David Doane
free download at

I love a good interview. Good art works as it works and doesn’t require me to understand what’s going on the life and mind of its creators, but I like to know the rest of the story. Good interviews help me understand the work better, may point me at things worth knowing I was unfamiliar with or needed to give a second try, and just plain entertain. The interviewer’s art is a subtle one, because if it’s too much about the interviewer rather than the subject, then it could have been an essay in the first place, but human beings being what we are, it helps to have a gentle hand guiding a conversation to fill it with the really interesting parts and let the rest drain off.

Alan David Doane is one of those reliably good interviewers, and here’s an e-book filled with some of his good interviews.

Conversations With ADD is 290 pages long and contains five dozen entries, ranging from very short five-questions-and-we’re-done pieces for comics journalism sites to very extended thoughtful exchanges. They cover the sweep of North American comics: publishers (Joe Quesada), editors (Mark Waid), writers (Brian Michael Bendis), and artists (Barry Windsor-Smith) the superhero scene, editorial cartoonists (Ted Rall), independent writer/artists (Charles Burns, Dave Sim), retailers (Jim Crocker), journalists (Dirk Deppey), and a bunch of others. It’s a mostly male collection of subjects, but women interviewed include Collen Coover, L. Nichols, and Barbara Kesel, among others; the diversity of female work, interests, and voices is clear.

These interviews took place from 2000 to 2006 and some of them are of distinct historical interest to those following North American comics, like the one with Bendis just as he was working on his very first assignment for Marvel, before anyone (including him) dreamed that he’d be one of the central pillars of Marvel’s event and crossover planning. Here are Mark Waid and Ron Marz excited about CrossGen, then very promising, now history. The whole comics field is in deep turmoil at the moment, and it’s handy to have this kind of collection of landmarks to establish “This is what talented people saw going on at these moments.” They are not in complete agreement, to put it mildly, but the nature of their disagreements is itself illuminating.

This would be worth buying, if it were for sale. As a free download, there’s no question: if you’re interested in comics, interviews with artists, or both, get it.

[Picture from Flickr user Raymond Zoller, used under Creative Commons license.]

Bruce Baugh hasn’t interviewed anyone lately apart from asking the cat what he’s fussing about now, but is feeling like it’s time for more gaming interviews thanks to Alan’s good example.


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