The Strange Road from Painter to Graphic Novelist to Radio Show Host
“...The [Big Belch] characters and illustrations are quirky and delightful. Really fun to read!” — Judy Morgan, former Public Participation Coordinator for the NJ DEP Division of Water Resources
The illustrations are not the standard fare for graphic novels. They are uniquely the work of this artist, and go far beyond the call of duty in terms of expressiveness and the complex details of interior spaces and landscapes, I spent a lot of time just looking at the pictures. I loved this book. —
Elissa Gold, Artist, Retired Art History, and Painting Professor
For more about Kay's graphic novels got to:
And for more about Planet Philadelphia go to:
Planet Philadelphia airs 4:00-5:00 PM the 1st & 3rd Fridays/month on WGGT-LP 92.9 FM in Philadelphia & at gtownradio.com. It’s also on Villanova University's radio station, 89.1FM WXVU, Thursday mornings at 9:00 a.m. All shows are podcasts shortly after live broadcast on the planetphiladelphia.com show archives page. Podcasts are also on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Anchor, Google, PocketCasts, Breaker, and RadioPublic.
My background is as a visual artist, and more recently a graphic novelist. I’ve a long history of creating and showing paintings and mixed media installations in galleries and museums in the US and abroad. In 2010 I was moved by the Deep Water Horizon oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico to make a major change. I had to find a more accessible way to communicate as an artist my horror at the disaster and at the callous short sighted way our world goes after fossil fuel profits at the expense of all other considerations.
Despite never having attempted anything like it before, in my sixties I launched into doing my first graphic novel, The Big Belch, about an oil firm’s PR stunt nearly blowing up the world with methane. People of all view points love graphic novels. As I’d hoped, I was able to reach through the fog of partisanship and apathy to share ideas with readers across the political spectrum. I had good sales and a successful Kickstarter campaign. While readers laughed at what seemed whimsical fluff, their visceral reactions to the artwork and humor helped them think in new ways about the folly of basing our society on drilling deep in the earth to rip out rotted dinosaur carcasses.
"Kay Wood's graphic novella pits a gang of haplessly humorous activists against an environmental Armageddon in the making. In the "Big Belch," the stakes are high but so are the spirits of characters bumbling their way to a better world."
— Singe Wilkinson, Pulitzer Prize winning political cartoonist
My talks about The Big Belch led to the surprising offer of doing a radio show. My entire career to that point had been working alone in my studio, so it was a very daunting prospect. Once I came up with the idea for Planet Philadelphia, however, I had to get over my fear because the climate crisis calls for the best efforts we can give, and so I learned how to produce and host a radio show.
Planet Philadelphia explores how environmental issues intersect in complex ways with every aspect of society. We present interviews on important under reported topics. The show’s unique format combines a high level of community participation with interviews from national/global experts. Since when the radio show first broadcast in 2015, we have interviewed hundreds of guests including the former first female president of Ireland, a Nobel Laureate, security experts, scientists, filmmakers, politicians, community members, and more.
On another note, I’m just now finishing up my second graphic novel, The Big Frack, about fracking. It’s a 130 page full color fun romp through a gas fueled swamp of greed, corruption, and human foibles.
Here’s what one beta reader said:
“I loved your book. I found the characters quirky, lovable and informative. Very creative the way you weave information into a fun plot. The characters make your book. Your short summary of fracking is excellent…you should be proud of your book….”
I wish you all the best for sanity and survival in our strange world,