Let's be perfectly Queer Podcast

Talking Comics with Bijhan Agha

May 31, 2024 Let's be perfectly Queer podcast Season 2 Episode 7
Talking Comics with Bijhan Agha
Let's be perfectly Queer Podcast
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Let's be perfectly Queer Podcast
Talking Comics with Bijhan Agha
May 31, 2024 Season 2 Episode 7
Let's be perfectly Queer podcast

Send us a Text Message.

We have a very special guest joining me today, the incredibly talented comic creator all the way from Montevideo, Uruguay, Bijan Agha! 

Bijan kicks off the episode by introducing us to their captivating comic book, Kobra Olympus Time Wars. As we dive into the world of comics, we explore how they artfully combine literature and cinematic elements, giving us the perfect blend of reality and intimate details of a character's interior life.

Bijan shares their personal journey with comics, from their childhood experiences with golden and silver age editions to how Wonder Woman shaped their moral philosophy as a Queer artist. Did you know that the creator of Wonder Woman, Charles Moulton, was a psychiatrist and one of the inventors of the lie detector test? And get this, Moulton, his wife, and their girlfriend were in a polyamorous triad!

But it doesn't end there, my friends. Bijan takes us on a thrilling ride as we dive into the subversive world of comic book creation. They share their collaboration process with the talented artist swaptrap, found through the wonders of the internet. 

Throughout the episode, Bijan opens our eyes to the power of comics as a visual medium. They discuss the unique features like thought bubbles that give us invaluable insight into a character's thoughts. They also share their inspiration from comic creators like Harvey Picar and the impact of their Iranian and Danish background on their storytelling approach.

Don't wait, my fabulous friends. Grab your capes, put on your mask, and join us on this exhilarating journey through the world of Queer comic creation. The links and information about Bijan and their comics will be provided in the episode notes. And remember, supporting independent creators like Bijan is the future of comics, so keep an eye out for their Kickstarter campaign starting on June 1, 2024.



Topics Discussed:

1. Love for comics as a blend of literature and cinema.

2. Bijan's childhood experience with golden and silver age comics.

3. Influence of Wonder Woman and Charles Moulton.

4. Global collaboration in comic creation.

5. Collaboration with swaptrap and appreciation for classic comic art styles.

6. Visual storytelling and the importance of thought bubbles.

7. Moral questions raised in superhero stories.

8. Persian cultural influences in "Cobra Olympus Time."

9. Personal journey as a trans person and embracing what is given.

10. Excitement about reading "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles."

11. Embracing uniqueness and overcoming bigotry.

12. Importance of self-publishing and collaboration.

13. Spinoff announcement and upcoming campaigns.


Patreon.com/JamsheedStudios

Issue 1 on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CHPNM9M1

Swaptrap https://www.instagram.com/swaptrap?igsh=MTZocGEybnIwN2hoZw==

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jamsheedstudios/kobra-olympus-issue-2-robot-rumble



Entities Mentioned:

- Archie (host)

- Bijan (special guest, comic creator)

- Kobra Olympus Time (comic book)

- Wonder Woman (comic series)

- Charles Moulton (creator of Wonder Woman)

- Jack Kirby (comic artist)

- swaptrap (artist)

- IDW's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (comic series)

- Bill Everett (comic artist)

- Jamsheed Studios (studio)









Show Notes Transcript

Send us a Text Message.

We have a very special guest joining me today, the incredibly talented comic creator all the way from Montevideo, Uruguay, Bijan Agha! 

Bijan kicks off the episode by introducing us to their captivating comic book, Kobra Olympus Time Wars. As we dive into the world of comics, we explore how they artfully combine literature and cinematic elements, giving us the perfect blend of reality and intimate details of a character's interior life.

Bijan shares their personal journey with comics, from their childhood experiences with golden and silver age editions to how Wonder Woman shaped their moral philosophy as a Queer artist. Did you know that the creator of Wonder Woman, Charles Moulton, was a psychiatrist and one of the inventors of the lie detector test? And get this, Moulton, his wife, and their girlfriend were in a polyamorous triad!

But it doesn't end there, my friends. Bijan takes us on a thrilling ride as we dive into the subversive world of comic book creation. They share their collaboration process with the talented artist swaptrap, found through the wonders of the internet. 

Throughout the episode, Bijan opens our eyes to the power of comics as a visual medium. They discuss the unique features like thought bubbles that give us invaluable insight into a character's thoughts. They also share their inspiration from comic creators like Harvey Picar and the impact of their Iranian and Danish background on their storytelling approach.

Don't wait, my fabulous friends. Grab your capes, put on your mask, and join us on this exhilarating journey through the world of Queer comic creation. The links and information about Bijan and their comics will be provided in the episode notes. And remember, supporting independent creators like Bijan is the future of comics, so keep an eye out for their Kickstarter campaign starting on June 1, 2024.



Topics Discussed:

1. Love for comics as a blend of literature and cinema.

2. Bijan's childhood experience with golden and silver age comics.

3. Influence of Wonder Woman and Charles Moulton.

4. Global collaboration in comic creation.

5. Collaboration with swaptrap and appreciation for classic comic art styles.

6. Visual storytelling and the importance of thought bubbles.

7. Moral questions raised in superhero stories.

8. Persian cultural influences in "Cobra Olympus Time."

9. Personal journey as a trans person and embracing what is given.

10. Excitement about reading "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles."

11. Embracing uniqueness and overcoming bigotry.

12. Importance of self-publishing and collaboration.

13. Spinoff announcement and upcoming campaigns.


Patreon.com/JamsheedStudios

Issue 1 on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CHPNM9M1

Swaptrap https://www.instagram.com/swaptrap?igsh=MTZocGEybnIwN2hoZw==

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jamsheedstudios/kobra-olympus-issue-2-robot-rumble



Entities Mentioned:

- Archie (host)

- Bijan (special guest, comic creator)

- Kobra Olympus Time (comic book)

- Wonder Woman (comic series)

- Charles Moulton (creator of Wonder Woman)

- Jack Kirby (comic artist)

- swaptrap (artist)

- IDW's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (comic series)

- Bill Everett (comic artist)

- Jamsheed Studios (studio)









Podcast: Let's Be Perfectly Queer

Episode Title: Talking Comics With Bijhan Agha

Host(s): Archie

Guest(s): Bijhan Agha

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Archie (Host) | 00:00:02 to 00:00:15
Be perfectly queer. A queer podcast, creating space to talk about all things queer. My name is Archie, and I'm your host, and I have my special guest, Bijan. Hello. How you doing?

Archie (Host) | 00:00:15 to 00:00:29
Would you like to tell us a little bit about yourself before we start? Yeah. So my name is Bijan Agar. I'm originally from Seattle, Washington, but for the past about ten years or so, I've been living in Montevideo, Uruguay. I am a comic creator, among other things.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:00:29 to 00:00:50
And so I'm really excited to talk about the latest project that I've been working on, which is a comic book called Cobra Olympus Time the Adventures of Cobra Olympus. We have the first issue out now, and we are now working on the second issue, which should be out very, very shortly. That's amazing. I am a massive comic book fan. I'm really into Marvel.

Archie (Host) | 00:00:50 to 00:01:16
So you definitely contacted the right podcast to come on and talk about comics. Yeah. So I've always really loved comics, in particular as an art form, because they are able to do this amazing blend of things that you can't quite do in cinema and you can't quite do in literature, because in literature, you're able to get inside these characters heads. You're able to get inside their hearts and see what they're feeling and how they're reacting, but you don't get to see them. You don't get to feel their world.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:01:17 to 00:01:52
And then in cinema, you have the hardness of reality. You have the light and the shadow, the physical aspects, but you can't really quite hear what the characters are thinking or get descriptions of what they're feeling. So I always felt like comics was this really beautiful middle ground where you could see the reality of what was happening while getting the intimate details of the interior lives of the characters. When I was a kid, I enjoyed comic books, though, because I used to get distracted by words. And so I felt sometimes when I had the visuals to go along with it, I didn't have to be in my head, if that makes sense, and get distracted by my own mind.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:01:53 to 00:02:10
Absolutely. You know, actually, as I. As I've gotten older, my mind has changed, you know, like, physically, like, my brain is different now, and so I have a harder time paying attention to things that don't have a visual component. So most of the literature I read these days is in the form of graphic novels and comic books. Nice.

Archie (Host) | 00:02:10 to 00:02:35
I love that. So what actually sparked your interest in exploring comics, comics, and particularly the contributions of queer creators during the golden age? Yeah. So. Well, to start at the very beginning is to start at my childhood because I didn't grow up wealthy enough to afford $5 comics every week from different titles and different things.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:02:35 to 00:03:08
But we did have a great local library, and the local library had these big jumbo editions of, like, 100 to 500 comics of the golden and Silver Age. And they were all printed only in black and white on yellow, pulpy paper, no colour. Very rough line work. But I was able to, for free, just spend hours and hours going into the classic works of Bill Everett Stanley and Jack Kirby. They had the Ditko era, just the beginning of the Silver Age.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:03:08 to 00:03:37
But the one that really resonated with me was always Wonder Woman. And I really loved Wonder Woman because her messages are so intrinsically political. She has so much morality to her stories and in different parts of, like, for example, Superman's run is very intellectual. For the Superman comics, it's always a sort of a science fiction element to it. And then with Batman, there's the crime and mystery component.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:03:38 to 00:04:02
You gotta solve the mystery, unravel the web. But with Wonder Woman, it was always this idea that what she was doing was based on what she believed was right and that people were doing what she believed was wrong. And there was a much stronger. Not to say that that was absent in the other titles, but just that it was a much more central component in Wonder Woman stories. And especially in those early stories, she's fighting literal Nazis.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:04:02 to 00:04:38
And, you know, there's even one story where part of the Nazis plan is to deprive american children of the nutrition they need to survive. And so she has to, like, get food back from the Nazis and distribute it amongst the american poor. And at the end of the comic, it calls for a welfare state that we need to take care of our most vulnerable citizens in order to prosper as a nation. So, you know, it was very much a comic of advocacy. And then I grew up, and I sort of, you know, I got more into the more badass.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:04:38 to 00:05:07
You know, Spider man was a big one. You know, I really loved the macho characters. But when I came out to myself and then to others as a queer person, I started to look back on the stories that had really shaped my moral philosophy. And Wonder Woman kept coming up again. And when I did some research into the history of the creators, this is what really inspired me to start making my own comics was the fact that the creator of Wonder Woman was.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:05:07 to 00:05:18
He was one man, Charles Moulton. And he was actually a psychiatrist. And he was an intrinsic part of inventing what we now call the lie detector test. Oh, wow. And he later denounced it.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:05:18 to 00:05:43
He said it was. He said it was actually just a stress detector. But he worked in. He worked really closely with first his wife and then their girlfriend on many scientific and academic papers, because the two women were bisexual, and they were in a polyamorous triad. And so the triad actually helped form the idea of who Wonder Woman was going to be.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:05:43 to 00:06:23
And Moulton, as a psychiatrist, was many, many years ago, before this, tasked with writing the first modern movie script. Because someone who was an expert on psychiatry was this person who was going to understand how words are going to be understood when typed out on a page, to be understood by actors and lighting technicians and everyone from the makeup to the wardrobe. So he was the one who invented the modern movie script. So it was only natural for him to then go, well, okay, now I have this sort of anarchist idea. I want to really push feminism, and I want to explode the idea of what it means to be a woman in the United States.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:06:24 to 00:06:48
So where do I go? And the answer is, it's a very hunk rock medium to do comic books, because all you need is an idea and time and a talented artist, and you can make anything happen on the page. You don't need to worry about special effects. You don't need to worry about CGI. Even CGI is as cheap as it is these days, is nothing compared to a really talented artist with a pen or a brush.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:06:48 to 00:07:27
So he was able to take these really wild political ideas and for very little money, start putting out these extremely subversive comics about extremely progressive ideals and totally change the landscape of superheroes and make sure that there was a woman anchored in the pantheon of superheroes who were most important to american culture. And so, you know, seeing that that ceiling had already been broken, because, you know, I'm queer. I'm polyamorous. So seeing that that glass ceiling had been shattered for me, indicated to me that this was a space where I could thrive. And so that's what really pushed me forward into going back into the classics.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:07:27 to 00:07:48
Rereading the classic molten Wonder Woman. Jack Kirby, I mean, Bill Everett, again, practically an anarchist by today's standards. And he was doing. He was doing Namor and the Human torch, the original. So I've been going diving back in those classics, and that's where I decided to take my inspiration from, to make these Cobra comics.

Archie (Host) | 00:07:48 to 00:08:08
I love that. And, yeah, no, I love that by you explaining that you took us on a journey, and you took me on a journey, and it was really cool because I could see each step and how you've come to create the comic that you have. So now I can see more about it and where your influences have come from, and it makes a lot more sense, and I really love that. So thanks for sharing that with me. Yeah, of course.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:08:08 to 00:08:18
It's a story I love to tell. I love to tell stories. You have such a great storytelling voice I could listen to. It's like an audio book. It's really lovely.

Archie (Host) | 00:08:18 to 00:08:30
Are you ready for the next question? Absolutely. So can you talk a bit about how you orchestrated the creation of a comic book over the span of continents? How did you do that? So, you know, it's a really amazing thing with the Internet these days.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:08:30 to 00:09:12
If you go back and watch documentaries about the invention of the Internet, they mentioned that cities will stop being as necessary because people can connect to each other wherever they are. Because comics, almost all comics at the time, for many, many decades, were produced in New York City, because that's where you could find enough talented artists and writers and put them in one room together so they could talk to each other and they could make a comic. But now I can type up a word document and send it to literally anywhere in the world, and they can whip up a Png and they can send it to me no matter where I am in the world. So I went to, I found that Reddit was a great place. There's a Reddit r art commissions.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:09:12 to 00:09:31
I think art commission is a different one, and I don't think that one's as good. I think it's art commissions. You can post anything you want up there. You say what your budget is and what you're looking to do. And I was able to find truly one of the most inspired hip hop artists in hip hop, illustration artists in the hip hop art style in India.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:09:31 to 00:09:59
And his name is swaptrap. And he is phenomenal. He had been, he had most of this, most of his career, he had been spent making album pictures, album covers for different hip hop artists. And he'd also done some, like, industrial design, like an illustration of a bike going down a road so that you could see how the bike would work, things like that. So when I reached out to him, I started talking about what my inspirations were, and he was the first one to bring up the name Jack Kirby.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:09:59 to 00:10:46
And I was like, okay, this is a guy who knows the kind of art style I'm looking for. Because something happened right in the late seventies, early eighties, where printing became so sophisticated that they could start printing the equivalent of paintings onto pulp paper. And so, and especially now in the contemporary printing age, we have really, really sophisticated, really high detail printing practises. But those classic golden age comics were made understanding the limits that they were using literal cutouts on wood or metal, depending on what they were using. And they were having to physically manipulate these chunks of material to press ink onto a page to make a comic.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:10:46 to 00:11:11
So there was a level of detail that was simply unavailable. If they started drawing too final lines and drawing them too close together, it would just come out one big black blob. So there was this very bold art style that was very common at the time, where there's a lot of empty space and you use very subtle line work to depict more complex. It's almost. It's almost impressionism.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:11:11 to 00:11:47
One of my favourite things is the way Jack Kirby and Bill Everett both draw eyes. It's usually a curved line with a dot in the middle and everything else is implied. So it's a really beautiful way to draw things that I feel like while now we have the opportunity to draw other things and paint other things, that's also good, but there's no reason to lose this really beautiful art style that people worked on for, you know, literal decades. And so as soon as I realised that he was on that same level. So swap trap is like, he's talking to me about the beauty of the way that they draw knuckles.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:11:47 to 00:12:20
You know, for example, like Jack Kirby, he always drew knuckles in a really particular way. And you can see that in our comics, we really wanted to evoke that same feeling of action and toughness, you know, and we really got to talking about things. Like, in a lot of comics, they show muscles as being hard, but we wanted to show flesh as being soft and delicate, so that the action, when it does take place, feels dangerous, feels like someone could really get hurt. So we were able to send messages back and forth. And it's the middle of the day for him, when it's middle of the night for me.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:12:20 to 00:12:35
So we would sometimes write out along. It was almost like an old timey letter writing. We'd write out something long, we'd send it to the other person, and we have to wait for response back, but it was just a day instead of a month. But once we got started, we just couldn't stop. And so we worked out this whole design guide.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:12:35 to 00:12:53
And I use photos from my comic book collection, and we write out descriptions of, like, this is the part that's important, you know? And then remember, look at the way that the waves are drawn so that we can see that that's how we do water you know, things like that. So we call it the master style guide, and we're going to use that for every single comic that we do. Nice. And so love that.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:12:53 to 00:13:08
Yeah. So we able to have a word document with all these different examples. We're able to have conversations through email, and, you know, we still just are able to chit chat about whatever we want through instant messaging and things like that. So it's just like having a friend. It's just like having a friend.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:13:08 to 00:13:20
I know. It's like having any friend in the pandemic, right? You just message them whenever you can. There's no face to face. It's amazing what technology and the Internet has allowed us to do now.

Archie (Host) | 00:13:20 to 00:13:43
You are not limited by your, the place you live anymore. You're not limited by boundaries and countries, which is really cool because now you can reach out and you can work with and collaborate with people all around the world. And time difference doesn't really mean a thing anymore, which is great. Like, you've explained all of that. I thought it was really interesting about what you were saying with the way that you can draw eyes and knuckles.

Archie (Host) | 00:13:43 to 00:14:07
And our brains are really good at filling in the pieces, so sometimes putting too much detail is too much for us. And when you put on those little bits and getting us to finish the pieces, it kind of brings us into a bit of the story as well. That's what I feel. I absolutely agree. And I think that there's something that we're trying to get away from in our comics, which is, I think, to bend to comics detriment, which is the cinemafication of comics.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:14:08 to 00:15:08
And I feel like there's been at least one, maybe two generations of comic book authors and artists who feel like what they're doing is a lesser form of cinema and have been trying to make their comics more cinematic with a lot of details that people aren't going to realise even on the 10th read. And a lot of, I mean, like, for example, there's this technique that I keep seeing in comics that makes me feel like they don't understand comics where it's multiple panels in a row, but they're zooming in on a figure, which I feel like is extremely unnecessary in comics, because if you want to see the figure closer, you just bring the comic book closer to your head. Don't do that with a big screen. The screen needs to zoom in because it's something that's a set distance away from you. So I feel like there's a whole era of comics where we have been trying to make them more like movies, when really what I try to do when I write my comics is I try to let them be as much like comics as they can be.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:15:08 to 00:15:46
And I really try to delve into, what do comics do that no other medium can do? And I think that the best answer to that is, again, something we've lost in most contemporary comics is the thought bubble. How many other mediums of storytelling do we have where we can see a character's face and hear their thoughts at the same time? In cinema, it's considered cheesy. They intentionally cut out all the voiceover in Blade Runner, and everyone thinks it's way better because you get to just feel the moment.

Archie (Host) | 00:15:46 to 00:15:51
Yes. It's that inner dialogue that's not necessary. Yeah. Yeah. And in literature, that's all you do.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:15:51 to 00:16:09
You only hear how they feel. And even when you get descriptions of their appearance or how they're emoting, it's usually in a very editorialised way to try and evoke an emotion. So, you know, I really wanted to bring back, you know, what comics do that no other medium did. And that's what I really wanted to focus on. I love that.

Archie (Host) | 00:16:09 to 00:16:23
And it's so unique. Comics are so unique, and they've been around for years, and they keep developing and evolving. And I find sometimes when you have those comics that are almost too picturesque, I don't like it. I like the, the scratch and the scribble. And, like, I do love Marvel, and I do love that kind of stuff as well.

Archie (Host) | 00:16:23 to 00:16:36
But I also love these smaller artists where it's very simple. It's black and white. It doesn't have to be picturesque looking like photos, which some comics are doing these days. And I'm not enjoying that at all. Yeah.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:16:36 to 00:17:20
You know, and one of the big influences on me is unusual, because anyone who knows my work knows that I mostly work in fantasy and science fiction with a little bit of crime. But one of the biggest influences on me as a comic creator was Harvey Picar, who wrote really down to earth, really, like, everyday kind of comics. But he did it with such a love of the comic format. It was really inspiring to see someone use panels and pictures, dialogue and thought balloons to really tell a story that was so sincere and so meaningful. And again, that's the same thing that resonated with me about Wonder Woman is that Batman's trying to give you a jigsaw puzzle.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:17:20 to 00:17:45
Superman's trying to give you an intellectual challenge. But Wonder Woman was speaking to your heart about things that you could really feel. And so that's something that I might be the first person to put Harvey Picard and Charles Moulton in the same sentence, but I feel like they were both telling stories that were really compelling to just the human soul. And, you know, that's what inspired me. I love that.

Archie (Host) | 00:17:45 to 00:18:10
Can you share some insight into your cultural background and how it influences your approach to creating comics? Yeah. So my father is from Iran, and my mother's family is from Denmark. So when I was born in the United States, I was one of the first people in my family. My mother was born in the United States, but she and her generation was the first, and then we were the second on my mom's side and the first on my dad's side, me and my sister.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:18:10 to 00:18:44
So one thing that was very different for us, even from other Iranian Americans or Danish Americans, was the language we spoke at home was a homemade sign language because our grandmother was deaf. Oh, wow. And she was from Iran, and there was no national sign language, so she invented a home sign language with her and her deaf sister to talk to the family. And so my mom was at work a lot, my dad was going to school to be a nurse, and I was at home a lot with my grandmother. And so that was the first language I learned was a sign language.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:18:44 to 00:19:12
And so my hearing is pretty good. I probably need hearing aids at this point in my life, but, you know, I was never deaf as a child, so I just learned the sign language simply as a way to communicate with the person who was with me most of the time. And then my father, because he'd been raised by his mother, my grandmother, he also knew the sign language, so that's how I talked to him. And my mother understood it well enough that I could talk to her in the sign language, and she would respond in English. Wow.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:19:12 to 00:19:53
So that's how I learned English. That's so cool. So having a visual, native language, a native language that's visual is a huge part of how I understand comics, and I think why I gravitate towards them and things like cinema and television, things with a visual component, because I don't think natively in my head in language. I think in gestures and emotions and expressions. So to read a story and understand what the character is feeling, I still need to make the effort of making my brain have a little puppet face that moves around of that character and make those emotions so I can register what they're feeling.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:19:53 to 00:20:42
And so with a comic, you're able to pair these very vibrant human expressions with words that give you deeper context and understanding. So I feel like the fact that I grew up speaking a persian home sign language really changed the way that I approach the act of storytelling. And then the next major component in that is that I see in each creator that has made a serious impact in the comics industry, that they have a sort of core moral problem. They have a sort of one core idea that is the most troublesome problem for them morally. And I think a great example of that is with Bill Finger and Batman.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:20:42 to 00:21:14
The question is how much violence is too much violence, even with it, when it feels justified? The classic question with Superman is, if you can't be everywhere at once, then who do you pick? Who to save and who to let perish? With Spider man, there was always the core problem of, I want to be normal, but because I have these powers, I'm compelled to do things I would never otherwise do. And I wanted cobras to be distinct.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:21:14 to 00:22:05
And so from that, I pulled from the fact that I'm Middle Eastern and that there's a long history of trying to understand God's will as immutable and that we do not try to manifest anything out of what God gives us. We simply accept it and move on. And so the metaphor for that in Cobra Olympus is she has been asked by people from the future to wage a war on truly evil beings in the present monsters. And so now that she's been asked of that, she just like Spider man, she has a responsibility, a power that's now given her responsibility, that's changed her life. But unlike Spider man, she does not see this as an obstacle to overcome or even a burden to carry.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:22:05 to 00:22:19
She sees it as just the natural progression of her life. This was always going to happen. I just didn't know it yet. This was always set in my future. The powers that guide my life had always put that in front of me.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:22:19 to 00:22:43
The fact that I didn't know it yet doesn't change that fact. And so she accepts it, and she tries to live the best life she can, given the limitations of her responsibility. And I wanted that to be a message that carried over from my culture into my comics. I love that. And I haven't really found many comics where people allow their culture to seep through onto the pages.

Archie (Host) | 00:22:43 to 00:23:13
And I've not read a comic like the one that you've shared with us. And it's refreshing to have a new take and a new story. And when you did talk about things like Spider man, it's all about almost like the inner turmoil of why me? Why have I been burdened with this gift or this special ability, and then with the way you're saying it, it's just beautiful. Like, this is how it is, and this is my calling and what's been given to me, and I just have to, you know, do the best with what's being handed on my plate.

Archie (Host) | 00:23:13 to 00:23:33
And I think that's such a nice way to look at a comic and a nice way to look at a story that hasn't been told yet. Yeah. It also comes a little bit from the ancient persian saying, which is that God doesn't give us wine, he gives us grapes. Right. And that the idea being that we are supposed to partake in the creation process.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:23:33 to 00:23:59
And so, you know, for example, I thought, found out I was trans, and I would have loved to. I would love to not be trans. That would be so much easier. But that's not what's on my plate. So I just have to make myself the person, the best person I can be given what's been handed to me, and I have to move forward and try and make the brightest future with the possibilities that are open to me.

Archie (Host) | 00:23:59 to 00:24:22
Yeah. So what specific comics are you currently reading, and what draws you to them? How do they inform or inspire your creative process? So the one that I have been focusing on now is they just announced the end, and they just completed the end of IDWs, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles run. And so I have a physical copy of volume one.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:24:23 to 00:24:54
I never got past volume one, so I'm really looking forward to it. I'm going to dive deep into it now that it's over and I know what to expect and that there are high points and low points and where they are, I feel, like, much more secure in diving in and getting to know this version of the characters because the originals were so important to me. The originals, and I think they'd be happy to hear this. I pirated the originals back when piracy was actually kind of hard, and I had to actually go digging for it. And it's because they were physically unavailable to me.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:24:54 to 00:25:23
Where I was located at the time, it was the mid nineties. They were old and out of print, or they were brand new and limited edition, depending on which, which issue. So the fact that I could get scanned versions was literally the only way that I was ever going to encounter these stories, and, and I got absolutely hooked because it is a, it is a series about letting your freak, fat freak. I almost said freak flag fly. Well, kind of that other thing, too.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:25:23 to 00:25:40
But, yeah, I was an accidental tongue twister, but, but no, the idea was that these characters are as big of freaks as you can possibly imagine. They're not just gay. They're not just black. They are literal goddamn turtles.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:25:43 to 00:26:17
And in every comic where they encounter people, they have to overcome some level of bigotry. It's a perfect metaphor, and I think right up until the end, when I think it's Michelangelo gets within an alien princess. For the vast majority of the comics, they basically don't have sexuality. Their gender as male never matters to anyone for any reason because they're not regarded as human. I mean, they don't even have, like, they don't even have, like, human, like, they do have souls.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:26:17 to 00:26:51
They definitely have souls and minds, but they are not human souls and minds. They're different things that matter to them. And, you know, they, they're much more, especially in the original comics, they're much more logical and yet at the same time, more fun loving. They look for really logical ways to have fun, like, and they have really strong personalities and, but in the original comics, it wasn't really about them bickering. I think that's something that we, we get in a lot of the adaptions, adaptations, but there, in the original comics, there wasn't a lot of bickering.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:26:51 to 00:27:26
It was a lot of feeding off of each other's energy and sort of playing along with each other. So there was this really beautiful thing in the comics where you basically have this little enclave of absolute weirdos who just love the hell out of each other and because each other is all they have. And that's basically been such a great metaphor for the found family I've encountered in my life and the people I've built into my life. And so the Ninja Turtles and the fact that Kevin Eastman, one of the original creators, is a huge part of the IDW series. And, I mean, that's, that's the secret sauce right there.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:27:26 to 00:27:37
That's, you know, you got to get the, the original guy back in. And I have read volume one. I love it. So I'm rereading volume one, and I'm going to continue on with the rest of the series right up till the very end. Nice.

Archie (Host) | 00:27:38 to 00:28:21
I find sometimes, you know, when you lose your way, it's always good to go back to the start and back to the original creators, because with comics these days, you can have, like, 10, 20, 30, up to a hundred different creators and writers, but sometimes too many chefs ruin the broth, and it kind of ruins the original story because I haven't read the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and I didn't know that they weren't always bickering and fighting and like brothers or family. So I think they've tried to give a human element to the turtles in the film and the cartoon adaptations to make them more relatable. But I kind of like what you're saying with the way that, you know, there is no gender, there's no sexuality. They just are. And I think that for some people, that scares some people because there's no sense to the character, if that makes sense.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:28:22 to 00:28:43
What I think there's also an element of sexism involved, because in the original comics, April O'Neill was our viewpoint character. No way. She was the one who we got to know the turtles through because she's the one with the human lens and the human perspective. So she's the one asking all the questions that we would then learn. But starting with the 87 cartoon, which I love.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:28:43 to 00:28:50
I love the 87 cartoon. I'm not here to hate on the 87 cartoon. Please don't come for me in the comments. I love the show. It's great.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:28:50 to 00:29:22
But there was a heavier emphasis on having the turtles as the viewpoint characters because they were the boys. That makes sense. And so April O'Neill was more of a secondary character, whereas in the original comics, aside from issue one, she's not in issue one. But aside from issue one, when there is narration boxes, it's almost exclusively April writing, writing letters to other people in her life about what's going on in her life and meeting the turtles and having to flee the city because of Shredder or not shredder. It's Karai at that point.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:29:22 to 00:29:42
Anyways. Sad when they changed the lens of it, and they say, and because it changed the whole meaning, it is very reflective of the society at the time that it was created of, you know, it's a man's world. So why are we having a whole series from a female perspective? Right. Yeah, it was very much, we were, we were, you know, sitting shotgun on April's.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:29:42 to 00:29:54
She was the one driving the car, and we were in sort of a safari with the turtles. The turtles were doing all these wild things, and we were just like, why? Why would you do that? All because I'm a turtle. Why wouldn't I do it?

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:29:54 to 00:30:20
And so the idea is that, is that they were the ultimate freaks, right? They were so, so removed from humanity, and yet we still empathise with them. They still have personhood. They still have agency and rights. And so the idea that we could, that, that a being can be totally inhuman and still be a person is just a really powerful metaphor for the diversity within the human species, I definitely.

Archie (Host) | 00:30:20 to 00:30:41
Think in the adaptions that's been lost because kind of just like a cartoon about weird turtle things, you know? And so it's a shame because if someone would love to do a remake and actually do it properly, that would be incredible. Or maybe I just need to go back and read the comics. I think that's what I have to do. They are now available on comixology.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:30:41 to 00:31:03
If you go to the comixology app, you can get them the classic comics. And they've done a beautiful job updating them because the scans I read were literal xerox scans. They were someone impressing a piece of paper up against a glass. These, they've gone back digitally and they've smoothed out all the lines. Even the original prints won't be as beautiful as the new digital edition.

Archie (Host) | 00:31:03 to 00:31:19
That's crazy. Some people fix up the little bits that have, you know, creased or faded during the time. Exactly. So how do you navigate the balance between honouring the legacy of classic comics? Because we've talked a lot about classic comics with also bringing new perspectives and inclusivity into your own work.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:31:19 to 00:31:55
So I feel like it's almost like I'm building Frankenstein's monster, but I'm trying to make it beautiful because there's so many elements from so many creators over so much time. You know, there's a saying in music and it applies to everything as well. Everything is remix culture. All culture is remix culture, every single thing. Like, even, you know, even comics themselves were inspired by reliefs on ancient egyptian, babylonian, persian walls, and even those themselves were inspired by cave art.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:31:55 to 00:32:22
And even cave art is literally just mimicking what you saw outside. So there's just. There's no end to the point at which we are remixing our own experiences and our experiences with art and the other. What other people tell us their experience with art is. So I feel like I wanted to honour the art and the philosophy of older comics more than I wanted to honour the specific storytelling.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:32:22 to 00:32:44
So what was really important to me was imitating that classic clean look. It was really important to me that it would be that really just beautiful, bold black lines with solid colours in the middle. I really wanted to have that, really. I just always found it. So it's like having a juice versus a mixed cocktail.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:32:45 to 00:33:10
Mixed cocktail can be very good, can be very delicious, can get you buzzed. But just having freshly squeezed apple juice is so refreshing and crisp and clear. You know, I'm not trying to take anything away from anybody. There's mountains of beautiful, you know, digital painting comics out there. I just wanted to provide an alternative, just an option for someone else who'd like something just clean and refreshing.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:33:10 to 00:33:52
And I really wanted the colours to speak for themselves when it came to the way that the mood was conveyed. You'll notice that, like, unlike classic comics, which were limited by the pigments of their time, we are able to take those solid colours and tweak the hue and saturation here and there to fit the lighting or the mood. So Cobra's costume is purple, but it's a little more vibrant in the alleyway when she transforms, and it's a little duskier when she's actually in the battle and things are looking a little grim for her. So we were able to use the technological advances of the day to sort of flesh out. And the other thing is the lines, we can get much more thin.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:33:52 to 00:34:46
So even though we're trying to avoid doing, you know, cross hatching or little bits of shading here and there, we're still able to get really beautiful, crisp little details that simply, again, were not available with printing techniques in the 1940s and fifties. So we're trying to take the fundamentals, the root of what they're doing, and just add technological flourish on top of them. And then the other thing I wanted to do is I wanted to keep it to 20 pages because I feel like something that's been, that's really hurt the comics industry as a whole, is that there's a sort of half in, half out approach. You're writing your comics for the omnibus, right? So you want to tell the whole story through the omnibus, but that means that when you're writing individual issues, they fundamentally are not useful to the person who knows that the omnibus is coming.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:34:46 to 00:35:13
Why am I going to read issue three in a twelve part story if I haven't read the issues before and I haven't read the one issues coming, and if I know that they're going to come out anonymous later, then that physical one issue means nothing to me. So what I wanted to do is I wanted to create a single issue that felt like an event. It tells a whole story from top to bottom. You get to learn who Cobra is through her interactions with her date. You get to see her transform.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:35:13 to 00:35:46
You get to see her detective skills, her acrobatic skills. You get to see her use her different technology and powers. And she has two big action scenes, one with a bunch of goons in his martial arts, and then another one that's more of a set piece with a big old monster. And so I wanted to make sure that within 20 pages, we had set all of these things up and we were able to have just enough space at the end for a nice, satisfying finish that gives you just a perfect little notch at the end. Just wrap everything up emotionally and make sure that you feel like you've had a whole meal.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:35:46 to 00:36:06
You know, you don't want it. I used this on the, one of the spider, I think was the Spider man subreddit the other day. I said, the main problem is that when you have a graphic novel, you can take all the time you want. You can go back and forth. You can have big, long scenes of just dialogue, because you know that when you hit the end, that's the end of the story.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:36:06 to 00:36:47
You've read the whole thing. But when you have these single issues that come out once a month and one issue is nothing but dialogue, that's like having nothing but chocolate one day, even if it was really good chocolate, you want something other than chocolate that day. So I tried to give a whole meal in 20 pages, and that's something that I think really comes from the golden age because they were short little comics, but you got a whole, each one acted as their own standalone adventure, and then you could see development between the two. You could see the connective tissues when they came out with new issues, but you weren't beholden to that. You were allowed to enjoy the story on its own terms.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:36:47 to 00:37:26
And that's what I really wanted to bring back with my comics, is the idea that each issue is an event, and that when you put them all together, when you stack them all up to side, it's really, really cool to see the character develop, to see the relationships develop, to see the dynamics grow, their powers grow, but that if you just sit down and read one issue, it'll be everything you need. Yeah. When you have a comic that gives you the whole event, the whole story in one, it's much more enjoyable. And I feel like it's much more palatable, especially for our brains, because otherwise you're getting really frustrated because you don't have the next thing. And we love that completeness these days.

Archie (Host) | 00:37:26 to 00:37:48
We love having things when we can get it. You know, it's that very culture now that we want it, and we want it now. So to have that when Marvel do, here's a little sneak peek so that you go out and get the next episode or the next comic book series, I think it actually ruins the experience. I agree. I feel like the, like, for example, my favourite example of this with Marvel is the movie the Marvels.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:37:48 to 00:38:14
If you've seen all of the source material, it's a wonderful movie, but if you haven't, it's basically gibberish. So I feel like they need to be able to be comprehensible and fun on their own terms before you start writing in the connective tissue with the other parts. I mean, for a great example, is going back to Wonder Woman. I read those all out of order because I didn't know there was an order. I was just a little kid.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:38:14 to 00:38:27
I was just picking up. It's got a pretty picture on the front. I read it. So I read some from the fifties before I read anyone, sort of forties. So in the fifties, they encountered doctor poison, and they all are like, oh, it's doctor poison.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:38:27 to 00:38:42
And I'm like, oh, I guess doctor poison is someone important. And then later I go back and I read the forties one, and they're like, you're doctor poison? I've never heard of you before. I'm like, oh, this is where she came from, you know, and like, that connective tissue is fun. I'm not trying to take again, I'm trying to take anything away from anybody.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:38:42 to 00:39:00
I just feel like the story should be able to stand on its own before you consider the connective tissue. Yeah, I agree. And it shows that it's great storytelling when a story can stand alone without, by itself, out of the, you know, the series, and it's still a great story. I think some of the storytelling element is getting lost these days. Yeah, for sure.

Archie (Host) | 00:39:00 to 00:39:49
Yeah. So what advice would you give to aspiring comic creators who are interested in exploring diverse themes and characters in their world? Well, I would say the number one thing that has allowed me to be successful is being open to working not with big companies, but with other creators who are at your same level and maybe in countries that you didn't think to consider, because now that people have access to computers with high speed Internet, we're finding creators on every single continent. I'm working with artists in Asia, in Africa, in Europe, who are all able to do different things. I'm mostly here to talk about the comic book, but I also do things like video games, and I make apparel and things like that.

Archie (Host) | 00:39:49 to 00:40:10
That's so cool. We, you know, I need to work with artists every day, and almost none of them are in North America, Australia, or Western Europe. Wow. They're all in eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, South America. And not only do they bring a fresh perspective, like, for example, you know, hip hop culture exists in India.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:40:10 to 00:40:22
And swap trap is a part of that culture. And it's very different than hip hop culture would be in the United States or even hip hop culture in Japan or hip hop culture in. In Kenya. Like, it's. It has its own unique flair.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:40:22 to 00:41:03
It has its own unique take on things. It has its own unique inspiration. And so, you know, when people ask him to do the albums, the covers for their albums, he has a way of doing it that no one else would because he has his own fresh perspective from somewhere, that he's having influences as far and diverse as, like I said, he knew who Jack Kirby was before I even mentioned it. So he has all kinds of inspirations. The other major piece of advice is it's really unhelpful to wait around for a big company to come and scoop you up and help you work with someone of their beloved properties.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:41:04 to 00:41:41
That does happen, but you're playing the lotto. And the best thing, if you do want to be picked up by that and be taken seriously is to have something under your belt already. So I would say that self publishing, we've been doing it through Kickstarter, but there are other self publishing options. We do our first edition run through Kickstarter, and we use a printing company to print those. Then they get uploaded to Amazon, and the second edition is through Amazon and just going punk rock with it and just saying DIY has allowed me to move forward at a pace that I would not have been able to move forward at otherwise.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:41:42 to 00:42:16
Even though I will be honest, it's not cheap. And in order to get it done, you don't necessarily need the capital to do it in the first place, but you do need a successful Kickstarter to fund what you need. The other thing is that I run a small studio, Jamshid Studios. We can put a link in the description or whatever, but we do creator owned and patron supported media. And so the only way we were able to get the art funded was through the patrons on Jam Sheet studios who get behind the scene looks.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:42:16 to 00:42:38
They get all kinds of newsletters, and they get to see the art before everyone else. In just a couple of days, they'll be putting out a new newsletter with the. And Jamsheet Studios supporters will be the first people to see the first pages of the next issue of Cobra Olympus. And so, yeah, so I had to put together a Patreon. I had to get some people to believe in me.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:42:38 to 00:43:03
I had to put in some work. It took a few years before I was able to gather up the money that I needed to get the artist paid. And then once the art was made, I then had to make a Kickstarter. And then we gathered the money for printing the first hundred issues and it kept going from there. And it's not the most profitable thing yet, but we're only on our second issue, and so far it has been a little profitable.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:43:03 to 00:43:40
We've made more money than we spent. So that's the number one thing to take away from it, is that it's not necessarily an instant career, but there is space, there is room for people to actually make some money in this space. And in order to capitalise on that, we're also coming out with new comics as well. This will be the first time I'm announcing that, but we are actually going to do a spinoff of Cobra Olympus about her ancestors, Ash Grey and Saturn Olympus in the Wild west. Whoa.

Archie (Host) | 00:43:40 to 00:43:51
Wow. And so that's so cool. So the idea is that they're both, they're both working. Both groups of people are working for people in the future, but in different eras. That's so cool.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:43:51 to 00:44:16
And so Saturn Olympus and Ash Grey are her ancestors, and they are going to be fighting vampires in the old west. I love that I'm a little inspired by the original series of Wild, Wild west, not the nineties movie, although I admit I do like the nineties movie. That's a little bit different. Well, again, I say I was born nostalgic. You know, like, I read old comics at the library and we didn't get cable.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:44:16 to 00:44:38
So a lot of what I watched was, like, old reruns of sixties shows on my grandma's black and white tv. Like, I didn't even have a colour tv growing up. So, so, so I was very inspired by the idea of the old west laden with Sci-Fi tropes. So that's what I'm going for with the new comic. Very cool.

Archie (Host) | 00:44:38 to 00:45:09
And I'll get you to send me all those links so that we can have them in the episode notes, so that people know where to find you, contact you, find all your comic book information. So the last question, because we are running out of time and I know that this thing will kick me off in like ten minutes. So we'll see how we go. What do you see as the future of comics, both in terms of storytelling techniques and representation of diverse voices and experiences? I feel like the future is self publishing because the, the big studios are not doing a great job of keeping up with the supply and demand.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:45:10 to 00:46:16
People want either single issues that feel like a whole meal or graphic novels that tell a whole story from top to bottom. And I think we saw that most with the most recent issue of Amazing Spider or not amazing Ultimate Spider man, where it was a great issue that was all dialogue and no action. And it didn't matter that it was a great issue because people wanted a fight scene after waiting a month for the next fight scene. So it's, it's, it's one of those things where Ultimate Spider man is probably gonna be an amazing omnibus that is very frustrating to read in single issues. So I feel like the future is with smaller creators either committing to a graphic novel and just sticking to that and publishing a graphic novel like Persepolis, like Mouse, you know, they showed that they, those were perfectly reasonable financial decisions, or smaller people like us doing single issues and allowing people to collect as they like, as long as it's totally, you know, each story is individual, they're in a sequence, but if you read them out of sequence, you're not going to get your anything spoiled.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:46:16 to 00:46:34
So, um. So yeah, I feel like those are the two ways forward that independent creators can make a difference. Yeah. Do you think that, I know this is going off script. Do you think that your queer identity plays a part in the way that you write comics?

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:46:34 to 00:47:18
Absolutely. Because one thing is that when we were talking about the master guide, the master style guide for the comic, I definitely tried to put the queer gaze into it. I wanted to see men's and women's bodies in a way that queer, bisexual, gay, trans people see them. So I wanted to move away from life eldian proportions where women are dainty little princesses and men are these hulking, massive beasts. And I wanted to portray men's bodies as powerful but fragile and women's bodies as fragile but powerful.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:47:18 to 00:47:34
So I wanted to sort of meet in the middle. And I feel like a great person who was really good at doing that classically. Was Bill Everett just an absolute stellar creator. He did the original human torch, Namor, and then he worked later with Stan Leon Daredevil. And he was always so good at that.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:47:34 to 00:47:49
And so that's what we were trying to channel. And, you know, I don't want to say anything about Bill Everett, but Bill Everett was very. I don't know if he was queer. I have no way of knowing, but if he was, it wouldn't surprise me. Maybe it's a Dolly Parton thing where you don't have to be queer to make queer media.

Archie (Host) | 00:47:50 to 00:48:16
Yeah, that makes sense, where we can have the queer gaze and from knowing people who are queer or having family members and that kind of thing and being able to relate to it in a different way. Or maybe just people not being so pedantic about fitting themselves into a box or fitting society into a box where they can see the biggest scope of life. Yeah, absolutely. I just want to say thank you so much for taking the time because it's probably late there and I've got up early to come and talk to you. And I appreciate that we could do this.

Archie (Host) | 00:48:16 to 00:48:39
You know, you are in Uruguay, I'm in Perth, Western Australia, and we're able to have a conversation like this, which is insane. It's just crazy that the world has allowed us to do this. And I really appreciate your time, effort, sharing all of your knowledge on comic creations and your comic as well. Thank you so much. And before you go, did you want to cheque share to our listeners how they can get in contact with you a bit about your Kickstarter and.

Archie (Host) | 00:48:39 to 00:48:54
Yeah, just where they can reach out and find out what you do. Absolutely. So our studio is patreon.com Jamshid Studios. And that's spelled J A M s h e e d. Jamsheed.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:48:54 to 00:49:14
It's the mythological founder of the persian empire. And so that's where you can become a patron and get behind the scenes looks. And then if you search on Kickstarter, it'll be Cobra Olympus. We'll have the old one there where you can see what we've already accomplished. And then we'll have a new one starting June 1, 2024.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:49:14 to 00:49:32
And it will be for the second issue. We're going to be doing things. You're going to have a nice preview. You're going to be able to see most of the pages, but not the, the climax. And we'll have lots of different beautiful tiers with, we'll have lots of new options this time, not just the comics themselves, but merchandise with the art on it as well.

Bijhan Agha (Guest) | 00:49:32 to 00:49:43
So we're just trying to get the first issue. The first issue is already printed, and now we're trying to get the second issue with the first edition. So that's what we're doing. Amazing. And of course, I'll get those links from you as well that I'll share in the show notes.

Archie (Host) | 00:49:44 to 00:49:55
Thank you so much for listening to this episode. Thank you so much, Bijan, for getting in contact, sharing all of your amazing knowledge about comics. Until next time, I hope that we have been perfectly queer.