Episode 659: Leela Corman

Prior to Beat the Champ, Leela Corman hadn’t drawn much wrestling. The 2015 record would be the first two Mountain Goats covers drawn by the cartoonist. Corman’s passion for bodies in motion would resurface in this April’s Victory Parade, as wrestling plays a key role in the World War II era graphic novel. The book tells the story of personal and societal trauma of the era. It’s an important reminder of lessons our world is doomed to relearn.

Leela Corman  0:12  
John asked me to do that album cover kind of out of the blue. And that was my first experience drawing wrestlers or doing research into wrestling at all. That was a very specific time period of wrestling that he wanted to depict early 80s, West Coast territory wrestling, pre Vince McMahon, pre WWE, whatever.

Brian Heater  0:34  
Validation. Yeah,

Leela Corman  0:37  
so and when it was a lot more gritty, just visually. So it was a lot of fun for me to research and play around with. But no, no, I had no background drawing wrestlers. I have a background in martial arts and dance. So I had a lot of physical movement experience to draw on in my work, but not wrestling specifically.

Brian Heater  0:57  
Is there a Connection at all? Did that like spur this on? Was that at the genesis of wrestling finally kind of making its way into this book? Yes,

Leela Corman  1:06  
I think because I realized how much I enjoyed drawing. Sweaty bodies in motion was so much fun drawing wrestling it. It's funny, when I try to think back, I've tried to remember when that came into the book, and that character came into my writing. And I don't remember, it must have been so organic, that maybe she was always there. It seemed like a really good way of depicting a trauma response, the coping mechanism.

Brian Heater  1:39  
What about her coping specifically? The the wrestling? You mean? Yeah, I went back and reread the PTSD strip that you did. And there's definitely there are aspects of physical movement. As you said, you're you're a dancer, but almost finding a way to use your body to, I guess to cope. Yeah, well,

Leela Corman  2:01  
I was a dancer, I should say, I quit in 2017. I'm in the early stages of working on this book, although that was not connected. Well, yeah. I mean, your body is the thing that's having the experience. Whatever experience it is, so So you have to you have to include it. You're not a brand ajar, you know,

Brian Heater  2:21  
I changed therapists recently. So this is something that I've been talking to my day one about a lot. You also read about EMDR. And I had a few conversations with her and my old therapist about somatic response. That that form of therapy, which, which deals with where trauma is carried in the body?

Leela Corman  2:43  
Yeah, I'm not so sure what I think of that. I'm also totally not an expert in any way. So no one should ever listen to my opinions. I know, I genuinely don't know, like, I don't know, whether there's scientific backing for that. And what people's experience of it is, I think I've heard that for so many years. And when I remember being in my 20s, in the 1990s, and having friends bring that up and thinking like, Okay, well, are we even saying very specific things like I carry my trauma and my right hip? Like, I kind of have an open question about that, you know, it sounds

Brian Heater  3:21  
like they're carrying it in like a pocket or a fanny pack. Right?

Leela Corman  3:25  
I mean, but I don't want to dismiss it at all, I never want to dismiss people's experiences of of themselves and of therapy. I am not a good candidate for therapy period.

Brian Heater  3:37  
Why is that?

Leela Corman  3:40  
Because my mother is a therapist. So my

Brian Heater  3:43  
mother is a Jewish psychotherapist. So I think that we probably spend a lot of time on that topic. Yeah. Only

Leela Corman  3:51  
because of that, it's also just it just I found talk therapy to be not the best modality for me, I see how it helps other people a lot. I think I'm already a very analytical person with a lot of people to talk to I, I like action, like, give me give me really structured action items, and train me in some specific communication techniques. And I can get a lot done. Yeah, I saw a lot of problems. And

Brian Heater  4:18  
I think this probably relates a lot to my mother, but but of being almost overly analytical to the point where it can actually be a problem and like a kind of paralysis in and of itself. Totally,

Leela Corman  4:32  
and like if you're already a cerebral person from a cerebral culture. You know, maybe there's other modalities in there out there for you. You know,

Brian Heater  4:42  
why did you end up moving back up north?

Leela Corman  4:44  
Um, well, a bunch of reasons. In 2019. I kind of opened my eyes and looked around me at Florida and Gainesville, and I realized I cannot raise my daughter there. I just started to notice the way that My friends with older daughters were talking about their kids experiences. Like I had one friend who said, Oh, you know how it is when girls start high school, they immediately get depressed and start getting sexually harassed all the time. And I was like, What? No, no, I don't know how that's not how it is. Is that how it is here? That's not how it was where I grew up. So you know, I kind of started to finally really notice how everything was still felt, to me anyway, like it was run by this white Baptist old boys network behind the scenes maybe, like maybe it's not the face of things. But it really felt like these sort of still the people in control. And then the pandemic happen. So I was already kind of my wheels were turning, I was thinking about how much I really wanted to be back in New England. I lived in Boston for 10 years. And I was thinking, you know, that's a really, that's a good place to raise a kid like, that's a place where education is highly valued. And very diverse. I was noticing how white the schools were how segregated the town still felt. And of course, the North is very segregated, too. But if I were to send my child to public school in Gainesville, it would be not diverse at all. Yeah, I know, you heard that. I thought you were selling girl scout cookies. Because it's cold. You want to be part of this interview, I don't mind that you heard that.

Brian Heater  6:28  
She's the only one in the immediate family that I haven't interviewed now at this.

Leela Corman  6:32  
Well, that'll come, the pandemic happened and everything kind of ground to a halt like it did for everybody. And you know, no one could think about the future. But it became obvious that how bad things were getting in Florida, the fascism was becoming very visible. So all of these things that I had sort of had an inkling about in 2019, that made me want to get us all out of there. And what I thought was going to be a relatively slow pace, suddenly became very glaringly visible. And then the breaking point was the first weekend of June. Tom took Molly rose to the kids Black Lives Matter, March. And while they were out, I was home. And I started seeing reports that there were trucks flying Confederate flags running people off the road, in Macon op, which is the next town over and apparently, allegedly, one was circling the kids March. I don't know if that's was accurate or not, I didn't ask. But it was like the epigenetic switch flipped, like, all of the lessons learned from my family about knowing when it's time to leave. Yeah. Which my family did not because who could have, right in the 1930s, in Poland? You know, nobody thought Germany was going to invade till they did, as far as I know, at least certainly not, you know, people living in a small town in southeastern Poland, like my family. So it was like an instantaneous, you know, put the house on the market, update the passports, pack the bags and get the fuck out. And we were we were at August 2020. I could never have predicted how bad things were gonna get. Yeah, it surprised. Wait.

Brian Heater  8:15  
The governor is certainly not helping things down.

Leela Corman  8:19  
Governor is the list and no one is talking about that in the national press. Before he was elected. That was something that people in Florida were talking about. And people are normalizing him. Now, as a serious politician, I mean, I don't you know, who knows what kind of legs his career has, at this point. Now that people have actually seen pleasant he was

Brian Heater  8:44  
very funny, like realizing on a national level, which is what a charisma black hole that man is.

Leela Corman  8:51  
I mean, that's the bitter laugh that I can have. Because, yes, completely destroyed, a place that I loved, and continues to wreak havoc on the lives of everyone there. especially the most vulnerable.

Brian Heater  9:03  
How quick was that timeline from from the March to you actually, like pulling up your steaks and leaving town? Two months? Two months? Yeah, that's a that's a quick turnaround to just completely uproot your life like that.

Leela Corman  9:18  
Yes, it is. When I want to do something. I'm very single minded about

Brian Heater  9:22  
it. Yeah. What what's the process? Like? I mean, especially, you know, you and you and Tom being tied to the school down there. Why suppose during the being during the pandemic, you could at least move a lot of the classes virtually at that point? Yeah. Well,

Leela Corman  9:38  
Tom was really smart. He had already you know, he didn't know he was being smart when he did this, but he had already started building a really robust online presence for the school. And so when the pandemic happened, they were already there. Ready to pivot to online completely. Now it's it's some mixed so there's a brick and mortar school and then there's there's The online courses

Brian Heater  10:01  
view ended up in Providence specifically because of RISD. No,

Leela Corman  10:05  
actually, I did not have a job at RISD when I moved here, I was still teaching at University of Florida. I was teaching remotely for fall 2020 No, I just we chose Providence because Boston has become unaffordable. If I, if I'd had my my ideal dream come true move, it would have been to Cambridge. I love living in Cambridge as a that's a great bunch of years. It's a nice place to be, but that's okay. You know, Providence is nice. It's, it's, it's a cool little town. And I love teaching at RISD. That was just a really nice thing that happened, really, because of Ariel Bordeaux. Who was a librarian at RISD for many years, and connected me with the Chair of the illustration department there.

Brian Heater  10:57  
Are you teaching comics there?

Leela Corman  10:58  
Yeah, I'm teaching when, when there's space for it in the schedule. I'm teaching comics and graphic novels. There's always a comics component to whatever class I'm teaching. I teach some of the concepts classes for sophomores, and I'm also teaching in a MFA program. So that's more freeform kind of advising students one on one on their projects. Right now. I'll be expanding my MFA classes next year. And I do a lot of one on one independent studies in comics as well.

Brian Heater  11:33  
I was thinking about this earlier, reading an interview that you were doing where you know that it's a very familiar story for anybody who's over the age of I don't know, probably like 40 that went to art school, didn't teach comics had to study something else. But I wonder if there's obviously, studying painting, like really deeply informed the work you do? And it seems like it it afforded you the ability to almost approach the medium from a different angle?

Leela Corman  12:04  
Yeah, yeah, I trained as a painter. There's a lot of stuff in my background, through study and interest, both that did not come into my work for a long time, and sort of sort of siloed it off for 20 years and pretended it never happened. And then it all sort of came rushing back in in my 40s. So I become much more of a multidisciplinary artist, and a person much more interested in the multidisciplinary as well, like as a, as an audience member.

Brian Heater  12:38  
Why did you sell it off?

Leela Corman  12:41  
I had a painting teacher who succeeded in she hated me, and she did not want me to keep painting. And she succeeded in in making me stop painting for 20 years. That was sort of an inciting incident when I was very young and vulnerable, took me a long time to recover from it. And the only way that I sort of climbed back out of what that experience caused for me was by just deciding to be an illustration, Major, a few years later, I remember thinking, you know, I quit school, and I was taking some time off, I was waiting tables and doing other jobs. And I thought, you know, I can't do this indefinitely. I was also drawing comics that whole time. I remember thinking, I can't do this indefinitely, I need to figure out how to get paid to draw pictures. That's how I became an illustrator. And I did that for a really long time. And I was just very focused on on that hustle, because it's a real hustle. And for most people, it's kind of a short lived career. Because your style is only really relevant for a certain amount. For me, it was also no longer interesting after a certain point to do that kind of work. But luckily, I was already I had already long ago, mostly become a person who makes comics. So when I came back to it when I started bringing my painting training into my comics that completely changed my artistic practice and, and made me a very different artist. Now I'm starting to go more in the direction of painting. Just solely painting, which has been really

Brian Heater  14:24  
nice, getting tired or not wanting to I guess, getting bored with with illustration, was that a product of all the work being for hire?

Leela Corman  14:33  
No, I never did work for hire. No one ever wanted to pay me enough to do work for hire, like protip if somebody is going to ask you to do a work for hire job, it has to be at least five figures for that kind of work and that kind of headache. No, it was that. Just like I was a totally different person. I mean, doing doing illustration work started to feel shallow too. Me doing editorial illustration. And you know, that's lucky for me because I had someplace else to go artistically, I felt like I was never going deep enough and never really fulfilling what I actually wanted to do as an artist. I really enjoyed it for a long time. And I will still do things that kind of resemble illustration for people who really want my work. But it's usually like, a friend wants me to do a tour poster for their band, or someone wants me to design it for them or something. Like that's different. We'll leave the editorial illustration for the young, you know, that's probably more fun for them. Whatever illustration just left, you know. It just didn't feel it didn't feel like me anymore.

Brian Heater  15:49  
I assume that's how the two mountain goats albums came about.

Leela Corman  15:54  
Yeah, that was just purely John asking me to illustrate them. And that was a blast. Like, that was like an artistic collaboration. You know, that was really fun.

Brian Heater  16:03  
What's your sense of why you've gotten even more fully into painting? What is that afford you that you're not getting in comics?

Leela Corman  16:10  
It's just different. There's no better you know, I'm doing both at the same time. Painting is just a different art form. It's like the difference between I don't know, you know, punk and classical music or something. They're just different. They serve different moods, different different spectrums of experience.

Brian Heater  16:32  
How would you describe the mood and experience of painting versus comics?

Leela Corman  16:39  
Well, I'm not. It's not free from narrative, but I'm not trying to depict a recognizable narrative. And it's not sequential. So I can work out a lot of ideas that I might be carrying around for a graphic novel, in a single image that that may convey them in a different way. A lot of it is also the process experience of painting, the physical experience of painting, which is something I get a lot out of in comics as well. But when I'm painting, I'm working really big. So I'm standing. It's physically very good friend. I'm zooming in and out between very far away and very close. And I'm not sure what direction it's gonna go. At this point. We'll see.

Brian Heater  17:30  
Do you mean there's a sense of physicality in it?

Leela Corman  17:33  
Oh, yeah, absolutely. I mean, it's not just a sense, like, it's a physical act. Now, it's a completely engaging physical act.

Brian Heater  17:42  
You know, having just stopped dancing. Whether this is filling some of that void for you?

Leela Corman  17:50  
No, I don't think so. Painting was one of the first things I ever did as a person it's a very very old thing for me probably older than physical movement. No, I stopping dancing was a totally fine thing. I lift weights now. I mean, I always lifted weights but now that's like a thing I'm a little more focused on.

Brian Heater  18:14  
It is that thing of like, of needing to build fill, that was something I have degenerative disc disease, and I've not been able to exercise for last few months. And the the, you don't really realize like how how much it impacts your mood until you stop doing it.

Leela Corman  18:33  
Yeah, I'm sorry to hear that. That sucks. I hope you can get some help for that.

Brian Heater  18:37  
I got a Yeah, got an epidural. I'm actually like back up and walking around. But the good, good, it's, I think, I think it's just because like when you're younger, and you can move more, you, you take it for granted, really.

Leela Corman  18:52  
I beat the crap out of myself until until my body was not capable of taking it anymore. So in the last couple of years, I developed a lot of pretty extreme chronic pain that I'm managing all the time. I have a lot of injuries. A lot of arthritis. A lot of stuff. I look very able bodied, but I don't feel very able bodied. I don't move well anymore.

Brian Heater  19:20  
Is some of that a direct result of dancing? Oh, yeah,

Leela Corman  19:24  
no one tells you when you start dancing in restaurants that it's bad for your body. I mean, you know, I was dancing on hard floors and ballroom shoes all the time. And training constantly. I think some of it is also in my 20s teens and 20s. I was a martial arts student I got hurt a lot there. And you know some other unfortunate things in 2018 I was hit by a car. It wasn't that bad. I was knocked off my bike. If I had been walking she would have hit me in my side. very vulnerable place and I probably would have been in the hospital. But she hit me in the hip and the knee and I kind of landed on my hands and knees with my bike, pretzel around my knees. I think I twisted my knees pretty badly. And I didn't really notice it. I've already injured my knees a bunch of times. So sort of like, okay, you know, just get up and limp to where I was going. But then I had a really bad fall in the woods, the next year in the snow, and I really injured my knee in a way that was kind of catastrophic. And I've never recovered from a, you know, like, a lot of physical activity. A couple of accidents. A couple of pregnancies like these things will add up over time. Do you miss dancing? Not at all?

Brian Heater  20:43  
Not at all? Nope. It always. Whenever I asked that question, somebody has an answer like that. It always just amazes me of, you know, having like, devoted so much of your life to this thing, and then stopping it and just totally cool with it. But

Leela Corman  20:59  
the thing that happened when I quit dancing was that a friend had asked me to start a band with them. And I immediately started doing that. So So going from dancing to singing, which is another thing that I had not done in a very long time. felt like a really natural transition. And that was great. So it was really, I was ready to quit. I mean, there's so many so many reasons why that was a good thing. Yeah, I just I was just done. Sometimes you're just done with something.

Brian Heater  21:34  
Depending on the kind of music singing can also be very physical. Yes.

Leela Corman  21:38  
Yeah. I'm a belter. So it was good.

Brian Heater  21:41  
I didn't know you were to tell me about the bands. I didn't know you were in one. Um, it

Leela Corman  21:47  
was noisy art rock band. They were great. I think we, in our short time, we accomplished a

Brian Heater  21:54  
lot. It sounds like a very RISD experience.

Leela Corman  21:57  
It was not at RISD. It was in Gainesville, which was a sort of a magical place in that it was possible to be a parent, with a young child, and studio practice and teaching part time and also be in a band. I don't think I could sustain that. I couldn't sustain that here. Teaching at RISD is much more involved than teaching at University of Florida was. And, you know, my kid is older. And, and my, my career is a lot more absorbing, although it was pretty intense back then, too. But it was really fun. We had a great time we made an EP, we played a lot of shows. Everybody in that band was terrific.

Brian Heater  22:40  
When did you start work on this book?

Leela Corman  22:42  
I started working on this book, in November of 2016, right after the presidential election, actually, not because of it just coincidentally, started

Brian Heater  22:51  
I say that, I don't know, maybe subconsciously

Leela Corman  22:57  
pitched it in June of 2016. Okay, and then, you know, November was just the right time to start working on it. I

Brian Heater  23:03  
can't imagine that it didn't have some kind of impact on the book.

Leela Corman  23:08  
Oh, well, I remember thinking early on, this is the kind of Anti Fascist activism I can do. Because I'm no longer a person who can physically go to marches. That's not a way that I can contribute. I don't have a lot of money to donate, although I do when I can. But this is my Anti Fascist work. This is the way that it. I mean, it was already from 2015 on, I was thinking a lot about rising fascism, and the language around refugees that we use, that's being deployed all over the world that became very visible in 2015. So that that was not the genesis of this book. But it was definitely in the mix. When I started. The initial idea, look, came a lot earlier what way before I ever worked on it, in 2013, but by 2015, I was really, but I wasn't ready to work on anything big between 2012 and 2015 16.

Brian Heater  24:20  
Was that just a result of having a young child or?

Leela Corman  24:22  
No, I mean, it's just, you know, the result of doing one big book, like takes time to build up to another one. So, you know, my style always changes in between books, too. So, you know, well also like, I released, you know, I delivered onto sockin to the publisher, and then two weeks later, my first child died. So, in 2012, I wasn't drawing anything. It was completely the the idea of drawing something was utterly meaningless. In 2013, I started making short nonfiction comics, and that really picked up speed and actually the person that I owe a lot to there has been So Davis, the cartoonist, who was the person who I was complaining to her one night that I didn't have any good ideas for short nonfiction work. And that seemed like a really good thing to pitch to people, but I didn't have anything to pitch. And she was like, Lila, you just told me like five stories, that would be great pitches. I thought, Oh, you're right, actually. And I went home, and I wrote them out as pitches, and I pitched them, like three of them got picked up immediately. So thank you, Vanessa. Do something that nice for Vanessa, one of these days

Brian Heater  25:34  
is change of style between books, how conscious of a decision is that,

Leela Corman  25:39  
um, it's a pretty organic thing that happens, the only place that I would point to that it is conscious about it is that I usually know when an idea needs a different style. Like with untersuchen, I had the idea initially in 2003, but I knew that I wasn't really a mature enough cartoonist yet. As an artist, I wasn't a good enough artists yet to do that book. So oh, I had to kind of spend a few years working up to it with victory parade. That style had already been established in my nonfiction work. The pivotal piece is the PTSD comic that you mentioned. That's the first time I ever made a comic in watercolor. And that really changed everything. So by the time I was working on victory parade, it was already a very organic thing. Like, this is my style now. And that, I'm guessing will be more true of the next book as well,

Brian Heater  26:36  
that it'll be another departure. Know that

Leela Corman  26:41  
it'll probably be less of a departure, it'll probably look more like the style of victory parade, but I don't know for sure. I won't know totally do it.

Brian Heater  26:50  
Is it? Is a process more time consuming? To paint? Well, yeah,

Leela Corman  26:55  
I would say it is. But I also, in the process of making comics is time consuming. And because no one gets enough money to focus exclusively on it, nor do most people want to focus exclusively on it. At least, you know, not me, I have a I have a life that I enjoy outside of comics as well. I love teaching. And I have a family. And you know, I'd like to like leave the house occasionally. Take a walk, maybe

Brian Heater  27:23  
go to a cartoonist Have you Yeah. Well, I mean,

Leela Corman  27:27  
the thing is, that's an old stereotype that I think we can let go of, at this point, like, there's a generation of mostly men in comics, who were very invested in that idea of cartoonists is socially awkward and incapable of anything else. And that's bullshit. I love all the cartoonists that I think of is advancing that stereotype. I think they're all amazing. But I just think that that's just not how most people are living in this field. Like, we're actually a bunch of pretty nice, well adjusted people. With a lot of friends.

Brian Heater  27:58  
Yeah, I mean, I will say that some of the best parties I went to were either built cartel offices lofts in Brooklyn or at like SPX.

Leela Corman  28:07  
Yeah, see, I think comics is great. I mean, it's, this is something I try to really emphasize with my students. Comments happens in community. And you're gonna get your entire life from your community of artists like, you know, romantic relationships, friendships, jobs, these things happen within within your community. And there's so much support in comics, like it's such a uncompetitive field, which is nice for me, I don't like I really hate competition, it shuts me down. I never liked going to Illustrator. It's like Illustrator events where you're sort of like, meet and greet in a meet and greet situation with art directors or something that's like crabs in a barrel. Complex is not like that. But in any case, I mean, you know, if somebody gave me a large enough advance, maybe I would take some time off and really just only work on my comics, but even then, you know, I don't want to lose my teaching job. I really like it. It's time consuming in the watercolor takes a while it's slow. It takes time to dry between layers. And I like using a lot of layers and viscosity. But I can't really work in black and white ink right now, since I started working in watercolor. When I work in ink. It's like, there's so much resistance in it. It feels so empty of expression to me like I can't, I can't get to where I want to go with it. So I think it would take a lot longer if I tried to go back to working in black and white, because I wouldn't be enjoying it.

Brian Heater  29:46  
That makes sense. It also makes sense mentioning that you're getting more into just straight painting because there are there are a number of I wouldn't even call them panels. But there are a number of moments in this book. that feel like a painting in terms of like a, like a, like a standard, like a shot that that sort of stands on its own? Yeah. Well, there's

Leela Corman  30:10  
some splash pages specifically during those.

Brian Heater  30:14  
Yeah. Yeah, yeah. I read it as a PDF. So it might have. Oh. But even with that, like it was still clear that that there were these sort of like, almost static moments in time. Yeah, yeah.

Leela Corman  30:30  
But I mean, I think that's common in politics, as well, it is,

Brian Heater  30:34  
it is. But it also, you know, I can certainly point to a number of cartoonists who do this well, Nate Powell does it really well, as far as, but I think there's an extra layer that that you're afforded. And this was striking to me reading your book, when it comes to those. Those Those dream moments or those fantasy moments, there's something about the fluidity of paints, that really lends itself well into blurring the line between reality and dreams?

Leela Corman  31:08  
Yeah, very much. So they're really

Brian Heater  31:11  
threads, it seems like the dreams are, are a central aspect of, of the processing of trauma in this book.

Leela Corman  31:19  
Certainly, a lot of my goal in this book was to depict the kind of in between states of consciousness and dreams and death. I was thinking a lot about how people process collective trauma on an individual level. That's kind of the thematic underpinning of the whole book.

Brian Heater  31:38  
You describe it to me a moment ago as being an antifascist action that you could participate in was that is that part of the book pitch? Is that something that you actually talk to you when you Okay, no, I suspected actually

Leela Corman  31:52  
clearly remember the pitch. I think I was pretty straightforward about it. But I might have said something like, you know, I'm I want to talk about what the inevitable result of dehumanizing people. Yeah. People were very reluctant to hear the word fascism in 2016. And they still are something

Brian Heater  32:18  
you said to Meg Lemke with the Publishers Weekly interview, it really jumped out at me, but that there was no, there was no intention for this to be a holocaust book. But it was it was going to be adjacent, no matter what, just because of the time period it took place it right. Well,

Leela Corman  32:36  
that's how it became a holocaust book, because I knew I couldn't avoid it. If I was going to make a book set during Second World War. Your pet rabbit is very cute, by the way. Oh, she. Yeah, she's jumping around behind you. Very cute. Yeah, and you know, the thing that happened also started making short comics was that I started working in the Holocaust space anyway. So I was I was kind of back in there anyhow.

Brian Heater  33:02  
Thinking about the book in context of the and I noticed that you mentioned this on social media, but the speech of Jonathan Glazer gave at the Oscars in the lead up to that movie coming out, I you know, I this is clearly from people who didn't read the book that his face on but I heard some pushback or read some pushback online, you know, like putting out a holocaust, like why put out a holocaust movie at this point, you know, given everything that's happening in Gaza, but obviously, it doesn't even require a close reading of that movie to see the parallels to what's going on with the Palestinian people.

Leela Corman  33:40  
Yes, I agree. And I really hope that people will give my book that same read. Because what I'm not trying to do is you know, there, I think there are two sort of broad sets of of houses, I guess of reaction in Holocaust descendants, and maybe more broadly, in Jewish communities to it. And obviously, there's more than two but specifically here, I think there are those of us who treat the Holocaust as something that belongs only to us and get very insular about it. And then there are those of us who see it as in the continuum of atrocities that humans commit on one another, which are all different from one another. They're not people get so competitive about it, which is so weird to me, like, we can talk about the Holocaust, and the ways in which it was unique, or exceptional, but we can also do that with other genocides and we can connect all the all of these genocides are connected. The darkness that's in our species is the darkness in our species. It's not limited to one or two groups of people and no one is exempt from it, including Jews. We are not exempt from From mistreating people, were just like every other goddamn human being. So yeah, I hope people will give it that read, I do feel a little awkward about it. Because I'm worried, I'll get that same reaction. But smart people will know that I may have said this to make two in this interview. So forgive me if this is redundant. But one of the other reasons why it was important to me to use the Holocaust as a way of talking about now, what's happening right now is that I really felt like I needed to stay in my own lane. Culturally, it's not my place to tell the story of other cultures experience. You know, if I were to do a book about the Cambodian genocide, it would be very appropriative and wrongheaded of me. Right, or, or any other experience that's not my own. And I'm not saying that people need to only make work that's about their own personal or cultural experiences. But this is kind of a big one, like I'm carrying my corner of humanity's coffin with this book. And it

Brian Heater  36:09  
really comes out in a in a in a major way, toward the end of the book when the husband comes home. I'm curious, you know, again, saying that you didn't set out to, to write a book about that subject, but also, when we were speaking of the rubies, her name, the wrestler, that she kind of entered the picture at some point in the process. Do you write chronologically?

Leela Corman  36:33  
I wish I really wish I did. I'd love to talk to people about that. Like, I want to get a sense of who writes chronologically, and who doesn't. I have a have my suspicions about who does and who doesn't? Maybe I'll, I'll text some friends and ask them. But no, at some point, while working on victory parade, I realized that I make comics the way I was trained to paint, which is all over the canvas all at the same time. You don't hyper focus on one area for too long, you kind of bring the whole thing up as you go. Which

Brian Heater  37:04  
it helps if there's a lot of intersecting stories,

Leela Corman  37:07  
I guess. I mean, you know, when I think about writers who handle really complex structures in their stories, like the writer, Kate Atkinson, have you ever met her work? I know. Yeah. He's a British writer who writes, sometimes things that are classified as mysteries, but they're really something else. She's so good at what I guess it's something that street writers do, too, which is just creating this very complicated intersecting set of narratives. It's like a, you know, one of those palaces made of toothpicks. If you pull one, the whole thing falls, right. But it's perfection. When she does it. It all works. Or, like, I'm watching the adaptation of three body problem right now, which admittedly, I haven't read the books. I bet they're great. I will, I will read them. But that's a really also a complex, multi layered story that takes place in a couple of timeframes. And multiple characters and consciousness isn't, it's not all that successfully done, but when it is, it's really, really well done. And it really comes together really well. I don't think I'm doing a good thing. We were more chaotic and kind of lowercase than that.

Brian Heater  38:31  
I should ask Alex agora about this, because he's exclusively writes mystery books. Now. There's that cliche of riding, riding backwards, like riding from the end riding from the mystery.

Leela Corman  38:43  
Maybe that's a good trick to try next time, you know, my next book. Well, in the next book I'm making I am sort of doing that kind of, yes and no, I've

Brian Heater  38:54  
heard this from a lot of different artists and writers. But Jeff Smith famously had the last panel of bone figured out and then he had to, he had to work his way to it. And that's always struck me as a really a really fascinating way to do things. The

Leela Corman  39:11  
last panel ever of the like, yeah, total end of bone down. That's really ambitious. He

Brian Heater  39:19  
created it. He created the characters when he was I really hope I'm remembering this correctly, but I think I am one that the truth get in the way of a good story. Yeah, of them kind of like riding off into the sunset, on the cart. Like, that's great.

Leela Corman  39:32  
I love that. I mean, I think that could be a really formally powerful choice to make. That might be a good thing to try as an assignment. Honestly, for students, you know, something shorter than that. Brick, you just show

Brian Heater  39:49  
up a very long semester if that was, you know, you're gonna have to keep me up to date on this. I'm really curious. You know, I know you're about To Do In April, you're going to do some dates with the book. I'm curious what the conversations will be like pertaining to like what we were just talking about, you know, with it being a book about the Holocaust written by a Jewish woman in this moment.

Leela Corman  40:16  
I mean, same, you know, I started it in a very different time than the one we're living in now. I mean, I guess I have Jonathan Glaser's example to draw on