Interviews, Podcasts, and Reviews

Click below for reviews of Youth in Decline publications, interviews with Ryan, and other mentions of our publications in the great, wild world.

Youth in Decline Reviews:

Frontier #13: Richie Pope

  • Women Write About Comics: Ardo Omer gives a personal reading on Richie Pope's subtle and complex Fatherson tale.
  • Biblioklept: "Its immediate vibrancy and apparently simplicity slips into richer and richer territory each time."
  • The AV Club: Tegan O'Neil says of Fatherson, "a capable and unsettling story that lingers long after the last page is turned."
  • The Quietus: Pete Redrup says, "The repetition of shape, colour, panel size and deadpan narration combine to produce a unique, powerful work with a wry ending."
  • The Comics Alternative: The Two Guys discuss their multi-layered reading of Richie's dense parable on fatherhood.

Dream Tube by Rebekka Dunlap

  • POMEmag: Connor Shea describes the allure of Rebekka's collection, "Maybe it’s this paradox that keeps pulling me back into Dream Tube. The feeling that a nail has been hit on the head, but not being able to find it afterwards."
  • The AV Club: Tegan O’Neil dsicusses the book's dream logic saying, "Dunlap is a fiercely talented cartoonist whose talents are well suited to abstract narrative."
  • High-Low Comics: Rob Clough gives a detailed read of the book's three stories, "Dunlap is remarkably skilled as both illustrator and cartoonist."

Frontier #12: Kelly Kwang

  • Women Write About Comics: Megan Purdy discusses Kelly Kwang's non-narrative story, "The aesthetic is like the imagistic paragraph on the GIF set and the obscure slogan on the poster. It’s the great meaning we build in the space between."
  • Comics Beat: Phillippe LeBlanc discusses Kelly's world-building success in the context of David Chalmers term “the extended mind.”
  • Aeevee Bee: "It’s beautiful, it is the most true comic about the Internet."
  • High-Low Comics: Rob Clough says, "Kwang explores issues of identity in the guise of the "Space Youth Cadets", a heavily video game-influenced concept that allows for the idea of exploring a space or an object"

Frontier #11: Eleanor Davis

  • High-Low Comics: Rob Clough praises Eleanor's visual choices, "Davis' figurework is brilliant in the way it recapitulates the essence of the main characters."
  • The Quietus: Pete says, "This is a complex, rich but above all subtle comic, maintaining Youth In Decline’s unbroken run of excellence."
  • Women Write About Comics: Megan Purdy tackles "BDSM" saying, "Though spare and stripped down, it yet feels thick and lush with eroticism and complex feeling."
  • Cute Juice Comics: Kawaii writes a long thoughtful essay, wrestling with BDSM's theme and depcitions of Alex and Victoria.
  • Daniel Elkin: "The Frontier series from Youth in Decline has consistently been a venue for some of the most engaging and powerful comics being published today. By publishing Davis’ BDSM, they have raised the bar even higher."
  • Sequential State: Alex digs into the subtle complexity of this short comic, "Davis’ exemplary illustration takes the complexities of this comic and elevates them."

Frontier #10: Michael DeForge

  • High-Low Comics: Rob Clough calls out DeForge's sophisticated writing, "I've read a lot of stories by DeForge, but this is the first one that I'd classify as heartbreaking."
  • The Quietus: Pete Redrup says, "DeForge’s images here are beguiling in their simplicity, brilliantly effective in what they add to the written word."

Frontier #9: Becca Tobin

  • High-Low Comics: Rob Clough praises Becca's fable, "Tobin's squiggly, colorful and at times vibratory line pairs up an irresistible cuteness with a touch of the grotesque."
  • Sequential State: Alex reviews Becca's tale of Butter Road and her golem, saying "Tobin is examining the relationship an artist has with their art."
  • Daniel Elkin: Daniel digs into the rock band Golem tale of Becca's lush comic, "It’s a thing of beauty."
  • Try Harder: Carrie enjoys the vibrant colors and style of this vampire golem tale, "The pages seem to pulse with the energy of her lines."

Frontier #8: Anna Deflorian

  • High-Low Comics: Rob Clough digs into "Faith in Strangers" narrative, "The back half of the comic is a veritable fashion show in a variety of colors, patterns and anguished facial expressions."

Frontier #7: Jillian Tamaki

  • High-Low Comics: Rob Clough calls SexCoven, "A clever, compelling story."
  • The AV Club: Tegan O'Neil praises the newest Frontier: "By turns spooky and heartbreaking, “SexCoven” is an exceptionally imaginative tale delivered with skill by a creator whose moment has arrived."
  • The Comics Reporter: Tom Spurgeon talks at length about why you should read the new Frontier, in a post titled "Everyone Should Buy This Comic Book"
  • The Comics Journal: Greg Hunter connects Jillian's issue of Frontier to Emily Carroll's urban legends tale in the last issue, delving into depictions of online virality and culture in his essay
  • Big Planet Comics podcast: The Big Planet crew gives a very positive review to Jillian's solo-authored short story (and props to the "SexCoven" t-shirt), starts at 21:10" mark
  • Mental Floss: Rich Barrett praises the issue's "wonderfully complicated" layouts, and called Frontier "One of the best kept secrets in comics."
  • Comics & Cola: Zainab Akhtar gives a glowing review to Jillian's "SexCoven" - "another very, very good work from Tamaki in a period in which she's ensured the mention of her name as a signifier of excellence in comics."
  • Comics Girl: Eden Miller says, "SexCoven is an early contender for best single issue comic of 2015."
  • Publishers Weekly: In their MoCCA coverage, PW says Frontier #7: Jillian Tamaki was "The buzz book of the show."
  • Sequential State: Alex Hoffman digs into the nostalgia and complexity of the comic, "Tamaki has weaved an uneasy tale of sex, relationships, love gained, and lost. Recommended."

RAV 1ST COLLECTION by Mickey Zacchill

  • The AV Club's Top Comics of 2014 list: "No book released in 2014 carried the same gut-punch mixture of adrenaline-fueled action and surreal comedy as Mickey Zacchilli’s RAV."
  • The Comics Reporter: In his SPX 2014 wrap-up, Tom Spurgeon calls RAV 1ST COLLECTION "the book of the show."
  • The Fanzine: Jeff Jackson reviews Mickey's debut collection, "It’s striking without breaking a sweat."
  • The Factual Opinion: Joe McCulloch names Mickey Zacchilli's RAV to his best of 2014 list.
  • The AV Club: Tegan O'Neil gushes about Mickey's hilarious and kinetic series, "It’s got explicit sex and just as explicit pancake-eating."
  • The Comics Journal: Joe McCulloch give a glowing, thoughtful review to Mickey's collection: "I loved this book. READ IT."
  • Dirty Fractals: Terrence Moreau digs deep into RAV, "Funny, raw, and absolutely nuts take on gender relations."

Snackies by Nick Sumida

  • Women Write About Comics: "I came so damn close to wetting myself while reading this fucking comic. All of Snackies works on a principle of weird, weirder, weirdest. Start weird, start mean, and then escalate."
  • Broken Frontier: Andy Oliver featured "Snackies" as their small press pick: "Dangerously unpredictable and gleefully cynical, Snackies is the product of a creative mind whose work deserves your rapt and immediate attention."
  • Lambda Literary: Cathy Camper digs Snackies and calls Nick's style, "realistic, giddy, and goofy."
  • The Comics Journal: Robert Kirby says, "Snackies made me laugh out loud: Sumida channels the angst and uncertainty of his generation and deftly spins it into comic gold."
  • Ellen Wong: Budding cartoonist and actress Ellen Wong (Knives Chau) enjoys "loads of laughs" from Snackies in the morning.

Frontier #6: Emily Carroll

  • : Rob Clough praises Emily's deeply unsettling tale, "Carroll transforms an ordinary ghostly urban legend into something legitimately frightening."
  • Faction Comics: Kelly Sheehan and Daniel Elkin say that "Carroll it seems has finally unlocked the door to making comics genuinely …creepy.".
  • The Los Angeles Times: Book Critic David L. Ulin calls Emily's comic, "a powerhouse — a gothic horror story in which a child’s what-if scenario becomes a portal to a terror that is all too real." .
  • The AV Club: Oliver Sava praises our Frontier series as "an exceptional spotlight of idiosyncratic creators," and singles out Frontier #6: Emily Carroll in this lovely review.
  • Broken Frontier: Andy Oliver calls this issue, ""undoubtedly Carroll's creepiest comic to date" in this thoughtful review.
  • Dominic Umile: Dominic ponders the tale of Ann Herron, calling Emily's comic "chilling, and crafted masterfully."
  • Mental Floss: Rich Barrett calls out the book as one of the most interesting of the week, noting that Emily "is a modern day Edward Gorey in tone and subject matter and is one of the most technically proficient young cartoonists working today."
  • Comic Books Are Burning in Hell podcast: Emily's comic receives high praise from Chris Mautner as his favorite horror tale of recent years (begins around the 55" mark)
  • Biblioklept: Photo preview of the book, and remonstrations over reading it right before bed!
  • Comics Alliance: Zainab Akhtar previews "Ann by the Bed" and ponders a connection to an actual muder in the UK.
  • VKNID: John Seven says Emily is "on fire with her art, which switches around from muddy and foreboding black and whites to eerie color washes and multi-hued bursts that bring the whole tale to complete life."
  • Molly Ostertag: A reader admits to ACTUAL NIGHTMARES from this creepy tale.

Frontier #5: Sam Alden

  • High-Low Comics: Rob Clough details Sam's balancing of dread and coming-of-age, "Alden absolutely nails how dread-inducing the hole is, as it's literally the abyss, an absence of anything that threatens to swallow its protagonists whole."
  • Cute Juice Comics: Kawai Shen digs into the "psychological dread" of Sam's issue, complimenting its nuanced and "threatening tone."
  • Warrior27: Chris Beckett calls Sam's issue a "haunting tale revolving around older siblings looking back at their life and working to exorcise the demon that haunted, and still haunts, them."

Frontier #4: Ping Zhu

  • The Comics Reporter: Tom Spurgeon reviews Sascha Hommer's first English collection. "If you see it, buy it."

Frontier #3: Sascha Hommer

  • High-Low Comics: Rob Clough discusses Hommer's work saying, "The latter two stories are all about transformation, while the first story is about the illusion of change."
  • The Comics Reporter: Tom Spurgeon reviews Sascha Hommer's first English collection. "If you see it, buy it."
Frontier #2: Hellen Jo

  • High-Low Comics: Rob Clough astutely describes the girls of Bad City, "Every illustration shares that weird tension between adulthood and childhood, one that Jo is careful not to sexualize in an exploitative manner."
  • Just Indie Comics: JustIndieComics reviews our first two issues of Frontier, praising Hellen Jo's developing style.
  • Filth & Fabulations' Best of 2013: Frontier #2: Hellen Jo reviewed and called one of the best of 2013.
  • The Comics Reporter: Tom Spurgeon reviews Hellen Jo's collected work in Frontier #2.
  • Grimes ♥s Hellen: musician and artist Grimes praises Hellen Jo's girl gang paintings on her Tumblr (!!).

Frontier #1: Uno Moralez

Previous Interviews:

  • Video: An Interview with Bryan Lee O'Malley (July 30, 2014)
    I interviewed cartoonist and buddy Bryan Lee O’Malley onstage at Google as part of his "Seconds" tour. 40 minutes of chat about nostalgia, follow-ups and short stories, and making video games.
  • Podcast: Hellen Jo on Inkstuds (November 27, 2013)
    Hellen Jo was featured on Robin McConnell's comics podcast Inkstuds, discussing her influences, stories about teenage misfit friendships, her work on Steven Universe, and her paintings in Frontier #2: Hellen Jo!
  • Chemical Box: Youth in Decline interview (May 9, 2012)
    Shawn Starr interviews Ryan about about Uno Moralez and the Frontier series. Also discussed: The Strange Tale of Panorama Island by Suehiro Maruo, and the economics of compensating creators.
  • Chemical Box: Thickness interview (Dec 10, 2012)
    An interview with Ryan about Thickness by Shawn Starr. A lengthly written interview looking at Ryan and Michael DeForge's Thickness series. Shawn also reviewed Thickness #1, Thickness #2, and Thickness #3 for the site.
  • Inkstuds: Ryan Sands interview (Jun 13, 2010)
    An hour-long interview with Ryan for the Inkstuds podcast, conducted by Robin McConnell. Topics range from Same Hat and translated manga to early zine projects like Electric Ant, as well as a lengthy discussion of the contributors and comics of Thickness #3.
  • Podcast: Mangastuds (February 24, 2010)
    An hour-long discussion of alternative manga. Hosted by Deb Aoki of, Ryan joined Chris Butcher and David P. Welsh to discuss their favorite indie manga past and present.

Previous Features:

  • Robot 6: Youth in Decline’s Ryan Sands talks ‘Frontier’ and the future
    August 4, 2014
    Chris Mautner interviews Ryan about the future of Youth in Decline, focusing on how he discovered Sascha Hommer and Ping Zhu, and the forthcoming Sam Alden issue of Frontier!
  • Audio: Michael DeForge & Friends panel
    May 10, 2014
    At Toronto Comic Arts Festival, I hosted a spotlight panel on featured guest, Michael DeForge! The panel was a 60min group discussion and Q&A featuring Patrick Kyle, Jillian Tamaki, Anne Koyama, and Michael DeForge.
  • NOWNESS: Luck Peach x Thickness
    September 1, 2013
    The editors of Lucky Peach, a food journal published by McSweeney's, asked Ryan and Michael DeForge to curate a Food and Sex feature showcasing new art by the Thickness crew.
  • The Pop Manifesto: Risograph Road
    August 12, 2013
    Righteous culture magazine The Pop Manifesto interview Ryan about Youth in Decline and indie publishing for their 10th issue. Alongside babes like Charli XCX, Anamanaguchi, and TRUST!
  • Suehiro Maruo: The Perverse Decadence of Panorama Island
    August 12, 2013
    A lovely essay on Edogawa Rampo, and the Ryan edited and translated for Last Gasp.
  • The Erotic Antagonism of Gengoroh Tagame
    May 13, 2013
    A Hazlitt essay by Chris Randle about the work of Gengoroh Tagame. Includes interview excerpts with Anne Ishii, Graham Kolbeins, Tagame, as well as Ryan discussing Thickness #3.