BY REPUTATION cartoonists are introverted, antisocial nerds who spend most of their lives in their basement studios.... This stereotype is not without truth, but it's belied by the fact that many cartoonists... are in fact quite good talkers."—Jeet Heer, from his introduction to Inkstuds, a just-released collection of interviews that Canadian radio host Robin McConnell conducted with contemporary cartoonists.
Heer's statement is the worst possible first sentence for a collection of this sort: defensively assuming that a reader needs to be convinced to take an interest in interviews with cartoonists like Seth, Kate Beaton, Jeff Lemire, and Gabrielle Bell.
Luckily, things improve: McConnell's thorough interviews are surprisingly readable for radio transcripts, and distinguished by an off-the-cuff quality. When web comics artist Kate Beaton is explaining that she drew a comic based on the guy on the Australian $100 bill, McConnell asks, "Who does research into Australian money?" Her response is an only-on-the-radio moment: "It's because I'm such an interesting person, I don't know what to do with my spare time. I'm so sorry I said that out loud."
It's one of many great moments. Jeff Lemire talks hockey; Marc Bell explains why he hates the term "doodle"; Joe Sacco gets in-depth about his taste in music. So just go ahead and ignore Heer's intro—it'll only make you question the value of reading what is actually a ranging and informative collection.