Episode 131: Raina Telgemeier
It had been eight or so years since I last interviewed Raina Telgemeier. After a few years spent adapting the beloved young adult series The Babysitter’s Club into a handful of graphic novels for Scholastic, the cartoonist was getting ready to branch out on her own. Telgemeier was understandably nervous ahead of the book’s debut, unsure whether or not she would even be able to find a publisher. As of this week, Smile has spent an astonishing 173 weeks on The New York Times’ Graphic Novel Best Seller List, since joined by three more Telgemeier titles, to monopolize four of the list’s top ten spots at last count. The word “phenomenon” doesn’t quite cut it. No other single YA cartoonist comes close — an really, one would be hard-pressed to find any one cartoonist who has experience so much success in such a brief period. Naturally, Telgemeier can be a bit tough to pin down, but after months of trying to meet up, we finally managed to carve out some time to sit down over some Greek food in our mutual neighborhood of Astoria, Queens to discuss her meteoric rise on of comics’ most beloved artists.