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Tall Tale Radio interviews Donna Lewis

Tall Tale Radio podcaster Tom Racine interviews Donna Lewis who recently launched her feature Reply All through Washington Post Writers Group.

Recently syndicated writer and artist Donna Lewis joins me to talk about her strip that launched this past February 28th, “Reply All.” We talk about her background as a lawyer, her journey to syndication via rather non-traditional ways, her life as a stand up comedian, the storm about her art style that arose on the various cartoonist boards, and the unwavering support of her editor, Amy Lago. There’s also talk of lesbians, movies, and psychology, so we are ALL over that map. Enjoy!

Community Comments

#1 Tom Racine
May/3/2011
@ 10:09 am

Donna was a blast to talk to. We get into the whole world of internet commentary, some of it about right here at the DC…interesting stuff! I hope people take a listen. Thanks for the shout out, Alan!

#2 Daniel Boris
May/3/2011
@ 11:14 am

Donna is awesome. Nice interview.

#3 Tony Piro
May/3/2011
@ 11:23 am

Great interview. I was already a fan of her work, but after hearing the interview I’m a fan of Donna too!

#4 Mike Krahulik
May/3/2011
@ 11:35 am

She has some funny stuff but really needs to find an artist to help her.

#5 Tom Racine
May/3/2011
@ 11:56 am

Mike…we cover that in the interview, and talk about the support she’s gotten from her syndicate editor, Amy Lago…I think the bottom line is that it comes down to taste. She gets a ton of support from people who like her art…so it’s probably one of those “love/hate” things. Hopefully people will listen in and realize what it took to get syndicated for her and the ups and downs of that.

#6 Mark_Tatulli
May/3/2011
@ 1:26 pm

I sort of like her art style. There’s something unapologetically offputting about it. The important thing is it fits her humor. And I like the collagey/cut newspaper/baroque style. It works for me.

#7 Mike Krahulik
May/3/2011
@ 2:16 pm

she doesn’t have an “art style”. She can not draw. That’s like telling a one legged man that you like his “swagger”.

#8 Mark_Tatulli
May/3/2011
@ 2:17 pm

Yeah, I disagree. You don’t know so much, Mike.

#9 Mike Krahulik
May/3/2011
@ 2:25 pm

I double disagree.

#10 Mark_Tatulli
May/3/2011
@ 2:29 pm

I guess that makes you disagreeable. I agree.

#11 Mike Krahulik
May/3/2011
@ 2:36 pm

then I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree.

#12 Tom Racine
May/3/2011
@ 2:45 pm

Do we HAVE to dig out the “all creative endeavors are art” cliches here, boys? :) I’m not a fan of “primitive art,” nor do I like a lot of abstract. Some Impressionism is stunning, some looks like smears of paint. As much as I respect the man’s place in comic history, I never like Steve Ditko’s art at all. Even Kirby took some getting used to. I think the point here mostly is that a place like the Washington Post Writers Group gets a truckload of submissions every year, and they know their business. Amy Lago was Berkeley Breathed’s editor…I suspect she knows a thing or two. The strength of any comic is in its writing, and besides, as someone who tried for years with his mediocre cartoons to get syndicated, I tip my hat to anyone who makes it. She’s in papers…I’m not. Pretty simple. :) But hey, her stuff isn’t for everyone…NO one’s is.

#13 Mike Krahulik
May/3/2011
@ 3:03 pm

okay fair enough…

but she can’t draw.

#14 Not Matt Bors
May/3/2011
@ 3:07 pm

Mike, remind us again which magazine it was that named you one of its influential people? The name escapes me.

#15 Tom Racine
May/3/2011
@ 3:08 pm

She’s not going to be the next “Thor” artist, no. But she can draw. :)

#16 Lucas Turnbloom
May/3/2011
@ 4:30 pm

Amy also worked with Sparky.

#17 Mike Krahulik
May/3/2011
@ 4:40 pm

I honestly can’t remember the name of the magazine at this TIME. It’s not really that important.

She Can’t draw.

#18 Lucas Turnbloom
May/3/2011
@ 4:59 pm

Well, she can’t draw like you, Mike. But it seems to be working for her. Hopefully she can make a career out of it.

Who knows? After 5 or 10 years, maybe she will develop a “style.” Strip’s still young.

#19 Mike Krahulik
May/3/2011
@ 5:14 pm

Do you ever watch American Idol? Sometimes during the auditions the judges will tell a person, “singing isn’t for you” because they can tell that the person has no ability to sing. They can listen to them and hear that they are tone def. It’s not the performer’s fault. Some people just can’t sing.

I am not making a value judgment or saying she is a bad person. I am just saying drawing isn’t for her. I think her comic would be much improved by the addition of a talented artist.

#20 Lucas Turnbloom
May/3/2011
@ 5:23 pm

I don’t think you’re making a value judgement, Mike. I get it.

And I don’t think your a bad person for having said what you said. I just disagree.

#21 Bill Kellogg
May/3/2011
@ 7:29 pm

Great interview. By the way, I can’t sing, draw, or write for that matter.

#22 Stephen Beals
May/4/2011
@ 8:19 am

There’s a difference between good drawing and good design. A lot of people can draw, and their designs are so cluttered that it turns me off from the writing (assuming there is decent writing to go with the drawings).

Any art that draws the eye to the tiny panels on a comics page is effective. It’s up to the writing after that.

Let’s see, Al Capp said Charles Schulz couldn’t draw, a lot of people (at the time) said Gary Larson couldn’t draw. She’s in good company.

#23 b.j. Dewey
May/4/2011
@ 8:25 am

In any comic, the verbal and visual can’t be separated. You can’t talk about one without the other. Do the artwork and drawing work together? Does one bring out the other? Sometimes one will have to carry the day over the other, i.e., the verbal may be weak, but the visual makes it and vice versa (and, yes, some days they’re both out to lunch). In “Reply All,” in many ways the visual and verbal work together, though the writing does seem to carry the load most days – at least so far. I think it’s a strong enough strip that it will evolve and develop and improve, as all strips must.

#24 Alex Hallatt
May/5/2011
@ 12:19 am

The perfect comic strip is one that combines great drawing with great writing and great timing. Cul de Sac would have to be one of the few contemporary strips that has all three qualities, but there aren’t that many more and there never have been (at any one time).

There is always room for great writing in the comics and Donna has that in spades – I hope she continues to have fun in this business.

#25 Gerry Mooney
May/6/2011
@ 11:46 am

Nope, she can’t draw, but since when is that a requirement for a career in cartooning? ACK!

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