Episode 2 – A Dialogue w/ Caitlin Kittredge

We’re back with our second episode, as we talk to Caitlin Kittredge, author of the Nocturne City novels and co-author of the superhero novel, Black and White. Since Caitlin’s a successful published author (and hardcore comics fan), we talk about dialogue and writing in comics, as Caitlin and Chris talk about their favorite lines of dialogue in comics, their writing processes for novels and comics, and the many reasons why Caitlin is NOT Alan Moore. (Artwork by Rusty Shackles – Click for full size)

The Rundown:

  • For more information on Caitlin and all her works, check out her website here. You can check out her vlog entry here.
  • Buy Caitlin’s books on Amazon here!
  • Check out Chris Onstad’s Achewood. Start here if you want to read the storyline Chris and I were talking about.
  • Also, go get Achewood: The Great Outdoor Fight by ordering here.ย  I ordered it after our discussion.
  • Purchase Chris Yost’s Killer of Demons trade paperback, with Chris’s introduction, here.
  • Tonight I gotta cut.
  • Big Ups to All My Haters: Caitlin didn’t name names, but still, go to her livejournal. Maybe you can find her hater there (as of this posting, she is STILL not Alan Moore).
  • No, but seriously, Alan Moore, Ed Brubaker, Warren Ellis, if you guys are listening feel free to leave a comment.
  • Follow Chris , Euge and Rusty on twitter, and livetweet questions to us for all future guests!

CHECK OUT the BBC 5 Live show, Pods and Blogs, hosted by Jamillah Knowles (link)! Sorry we couldn’t get the scheduling right, Jamillah, hopefully you can have Chris and I on a future show!

16 thoughts on “Episode 2 – A Dialogue w/ Caitlin Kittredge”

  1. Despite how the rest of this comment will sound, I DO love the podcast so far guys and I can’t wait to hear where you take it next.

    That said, there was so much in this episode that was absolutely grating to hear. Everything from Eugene asking if photorealism will overtake traditional cartooning after talking about the quality of Achewood not 20 minutes earlier, which is about as far from photoreal as these things get.

    Then there was the cast of the ‘cast admitting that somehow the STYLE of the art (ie photoreal) is more distracting to them then the QUALITY of the art. Perhaps it is because the ‘cast was writing focused and no one on the show is an artist, but there seemed to be a genuine lack of appreciation for the full spectrum of comic art.

    Also, during the segment about books where the art brought down the writing, I can’t believe that Batman RIP wasn’t mentioned. Though Moore/Liefeld was a good runner up, Moore specifically wrote TOWARD Liefeld’s “strengths”, not asking much more of him than he could actually deliver.

    And considering that the ‘cast was dialouge focused there wasn’t much talk about the actual craft and technique of it. More or less all that happened was that everyone listed their favorite examples of cool dialouge. And that was it. That was extent it. I wish there’d’ve been a little more effort at achieving some depth there.

    Sorry for all the downers guys. Like I said I do like the cast and can’t wait to hear who you’ve got on next week!

  2. Hey Terrence. Thanks for the constructive criticism.

    The themes for the show are loose themes, and I think we’re more interested in having just a generally good conversation with our guests than really delving hardcore into something.

    A lot of my questions will sometimes be fairly broad, b/c it helps to get the conversation ball rolling. After we start talking broad, we can focus in on singular things people say. That was the purpose of the photorealism question. I’ll probably be doing a lot of that, as Chris then will pick up the ball and go more specific and focused.

    We do plan on having a show focused on the art, so stick around and hopefully we can address some of your concerns. Thanks for listening, and keep the comments coming. We definitely appreciate it.

  3. Oh snap, is this a new regular thing with Rusty providing art for each show? Because I am very much ok with that. My favorite part of this week’s art is that if you read the light parts of Chris’ shirt as suspenders he looks like a Hulked-out Captain Jack Harkness, which is how I will imagine him from now on.

  4. Hey thanks for the kind words Steven! That’s the gameplan!

    And note – I basically drew Chris as I imagine him looking whenever the arbitrary deadline he makes up in his head and doesn’t tell me about is approaching. Usually it’s about .03 seconds after he emails me requesting something and then begins screaming.

  5. Thanks for another great podcast, guys! Really fun and I very much enjoyed the discussions about writing processes. I’m really looking forward to tracking down Caitlin’s books after this interview.

    Also, thank you for including my very, very important question. While she seems pretty darn awesome, I can safely say I will not be among the fans proposing marriage to her, due to her choosing B.A. over Howling Mad Murdock. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. Oh wow. I have never read that Cartilage Head story (I’ve been avoiding going back further than 2006 because I don’t know what’s in the second Dark Horse collection) but jeezum crow is that creepy. That might actually make the current storyline EVEN SCARIER.

  7. Caitlin forgot to mention that she isn’t engaged in an ongoing struggle with her fingers to fit more and more ridiculous rings onto them.

  8. Out of curiosity, do you guys sort of have a checklist of things to discuss/mention regarding the actual topic? I hate to sound fussy, and I gots nothin’ against just wingin’ it so the podcast sounds open and natural, but I do actually tend to like podcasts more when the hosts at least have a skeleton of discussion points for the topic at hand.

    And of course, maybe you guys do have one, and I’ve ended up sounding like an ass. Sorry ๐Ÿ˜€

    Here’s my main sticking point about dialogue. I totally agree with Chris and Caitlin about some of the great lines in comics. But something that I personally think sets great dialogue apart from good dialogue is…well, the “di” part. Great dialogue is when characters really feel like they’re talking to each other. I love Quentin Tarantino and Frank Miller to death, and I’ll agree they come up with great lines and great monologues, but great dialogue is something that they rarely actually give. That’s part of the style of their writing, having characters so independent and badass that it’s great to just hear them “think aloud”.

    But that’s why I always give Alan Moore, Warren Ellis, and my personal master example, Garth Ennis, the edge when it comes to this. When Tommy Monaghan sits in a bar moaning about his internal conflicts in Hitman, you actually get the sense that he’s unburdening himself, and that he really wants to hear what his pals have to say, and it is indeed always great to hear them respond. For all that Ennis is known for writing smug arseholes, he writes characters who really share their insights and feelings when they talk to each other, learning from each other to the point that it feels like payoff when they get to agreeing. Few things for me top the “Laurel and Hardy” exchange between Jesse and Cassidy in Preacher’s second volume.

    Minor thesis there, but I still loved the podcast and hearing all the thoughts on dialogue, guys. Rocket on! (/bad dialogue)

  9. Thanks Vinny. Admittedly, tackling “Dialogue” as a broad topic for the second ep may have been a bit lofty. We tried to keep it focused on dialogue and general writing structure, but it’s such a huge topic. Stick with us, and the structure will only get tighter.

    Great points on the “di” art of dialogue, and I totally agree, and it is sometimes easier to single out great monologues as general “dialogue” mistakenly. We did mention Ellis, but skipped over it since we threw in kind of a blanket statement about how great he can be, and Moore is a given.

    I should also add MY favorite dialogue (I blanked on the question, and cut out a rambly answer) comes a lot from the Hellboy comics, which admittedly might fall more into the monologue-ish category you were talking about. I’m also a big fan of Craig Thompson’s writing in Blankets, with the ending line:

    “How satisfying it is to leve a mark on a blank surface, to make a map of my movement, no matter how temporary”

    Which again, is narration, not dialogue. But still moves me deeply whenever I read it.

    So there you go, a minor thesis for a minor thesis. Thanks for the constructive comments, and hope you stay tuned. Like I said, the topics and structure will only get tighter (hopefully).

  10. Any chance of the cut out GI Joe conversation with Caitlin that Chris mentioned on ISB seeing the light of day as a “special feature”?

  11. I know I’m getting in late here, but I’m a new listener and just heard this particular installment yesterday.

    For my money, the master of dialogue is David Mamet. I had an English teacher in high school who assigned “American Buffalo” and I was amazed by Mamet’s writing. He writes ultra-naturalistic dialogue that frequently consists of the sort of sentence fragments, incomplete thoughts, and one or two word answers that people actually employ in daily conversation. It can be maddening when reading a script because real conversation relies so much on non-verbal elements to communicate meaning, but it lends itself perfectly to performance because of the visual element.

    Mamet’s style would work wonderfully for comics and aspiring creators could learn a thing or two from it.

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