It’s on the Illabus: Jean-Christophe Cloutier and John Jennings

“Everything in the comic has to be thought about from front cover to end … How are you going to use all the secret resources of comics?”

John Jennings—Hugo Award winner, New York Times bestselling author, curator, scholar, and Artist—is keenly aware that in adapting novels for the graphic format, his decisions turn what has only been imagined into facts drawn on the page. In this conversation with critic, translator, and teacher of a creative course on the art of making comics, Jean-Christophe Cloutier, Jennings explores how he makes those decisions that range from the design of endpapers to selecting a character’s skin tone with the ultimate aim of championing Black culture and Black comics. Given that Jennings has just entered the Marvel Universe with the debut of Silver Surfer: Ghost Light, the timing is right to reflect on the pressures and pleasures of adapting beloved stories for a contemporary audience. Jennings is both teacher and student of comics’ powerful lessons, and lucky for listeners, his course comes with an illustrated syllabus, aka illabus. In the podcast’s first-ever episode about graphic novels, Jennings and Cloutier talk comic book history, the power of collaboration, and the importance of long showers.





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View a transcript of the episode here.


Mentioned by in this Episode

By John Jennings:

Also Mentioned:

To learn more about the comic artists Jennings discusses, including Will Eisner, Jack Kirby, Winsor McCay, Frank Miller, and Charles Schulz, see Jeremy Dauber’s American Comics: A History (2021) and Thierry Smolderen’s The Origins of Comics (2014). icon