Writer John Hogan interviewed me and Brooke separately about The Influencing Machine (whose on-sale date, by the way, is today) and they posted both interviews up on the Graphic Novel Reporter site. My favorite part about the whole thing is that the GNR folks actually put together a couple of promo images — one of me and one of Brooke — to advertise the interviews. I don’t think anyone’s ever created a custom graphic of me before; I like it! Check it out below…
The very brilliant animator Ben Arthur has created an amazing promotional video for The Influencing Machine (my new collaboration with radio journalist Brooke Gladstone). With Brooke narrating, and using my art as the jumping-off point, Arthur (with producer Steve Colca) has created a really outstanding cartoon. Music! Special effects! Austrian accents! Exploding heads! Check it out…
The book debuts May 23.
Booklist has just reviewed The Influencing Machine, and since there’s no link yet, I’m attaching the text here:
The Influencing Machine: Brooke Gladstone on the Media. Illustrated by Josh Neufeld
The cohost of NPR’s On the Media
says she has always wanted to write a comic book, and here, with the indispensable aid of nonfiction alt-cartoonist Neufeld (A Few Perfect Hours
, 2004; A.D.: New Orleans after the Deluge
, 2009), she merges that dream with her vocation to tell the story of news media and dissect the practice of reporting. First, however, she explains her chosen title by sketching the sad, historic cases of James Tilly Matthews and Natalija A., who believed machines were controlling their minds—which makes one wonder if the topic at hand might be, say, conspiracy theories, or Fox News. But no, it’s the real media, beginning with the Incas, Herodotus, and the Acta Diurna
of the Roman Senate. The history’s always interesting, though, of course, a matter of tidbits, but the discussion of reportorial ideas, especially objectivity, and what psychological research has revealed about how people receive news and opinion is enthralling. Placing a simply caricatured Gladstone on every illustrated page (occasionally, what she writes defies pictorialization), Neufeld assures a bright aura throughout. — Ray Olson
The first review has come in for The Influencing Machine, my forthcoming collaboration with Brooke Gladstone, and it’s a Starred Review from Kirkus!
Though the graphic format employed here is often playful and always reader friendly, this analysis of contemporary journalism is as incisive as it is entertaining, while offering a lesson on good citizenship through savvy media consumption.
As co-host of NPR’s "On the Media," radio veteran Gladstone must have gotten a change-of-pace kick out of a project so dependent on visuals in general and her own caricature in particular. She finds an ideal collaborator in artist Neufeld, whose A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge (2009) could be categorized as graphic journalism. While the current technological revolution has many claiming that journalism has reached a state of crisis, if not obsolescence, the author takes a longer view, emphasizing not only that “we’ve been here before,” but that “Everything we hate about media today was present at its creation.” Instead of wringing her hands over manipulation and distortion, as well as the pesky impossibility of objectivity, Gladstone focuses more of her attention on biases that are institutional rather than ideological. Among them: commercial bias toward “conflict and momentum” (the narrative momentum that attracts readership), the access bias that results in self-censorship, the fairness bias that makes it seem like two sides have equal weight (when there could be many sides). The author also shows how every president eventually considers the press an adversary, and why war reporting tends to be particularly problematic (“Every media bias shows up in war reporting, in spades.”) Ultimately, she urges a democracy that relies on media to share responsibility “by playing an active role in our media consumption.”
While some may see a sign of bias in the author’s own media affiliation, this historical analysis of how and why media and society shape each other should prove illuminating for general readers and media practitioners alike.
Mallary Jean Tenore of the Poynter Institute for Media Studies just posted a comprehensive look at "comics journalism" using two of my projects as models. Tenore’s piece, "Journalists, Artists Tell Stories with Nonfiction Graphic Novels," looks at the potential for using comics as a journalism tool, and she talked extensively to me and my Influencing Machine collaborator Brooke Gladstone in doing it. I discuss my process as a "reporter" and then artist in doing A.D., and then how that process will shift in working with Brooke. And Brooke has some very insightful things to say about writing as a journalist and then learning to write for comics.
The Poynter Institute is a school and journalism resource institue located in St. Petersburg, Florida, They’re the parent company of the St. Petersburg Times and Congressional Quarterly, and also publish Jim Romenesko’s media insider blog. Check out the piece if you’re interested in such things.
Christopher Irving just interviewed me for the very cool website NYC Graphic Novelists. We talked about my development as a cartoonist, A.D., The Influencing Machine, and my penchant for collaboration (not to mention using fancy French words).