My current project is a series called In A Rut Comics. I have collaborated with illustrators in the past and while we have come up with bits and pieces of shorts and the like, this series has been planned out and meticulously worked out through side-by-side work with my illustrator. We intended to bring real, hard-hitting stories through normal, damaged, real characters. No superpowers, no exaggerations, no nonsense, just the weight of the world condensed into a comic book. My heart is in it.
2) Whom in your field do you admire most and why?
This is a loaded question. As a straggler in the enormous indie comic field, I admire anyone else that's hustling and pushing their work, trying arduously to get their friends and acquaintances to read and share their stories. I think some of my absolute favorite pros' are Adrian
Tomine, Jeff Lemire, and Grant Morrison, all for different reasons and I guess if I were to buckle down and choose one, it would be Grant Morrison. As a writer, he has taken the superheroes I have grown up with and reveled in their facets in both godlike standpoints and simultaneously very human realms. It is such a blessing to read a good Superman comic by the same man who wrote greats like Kill Your Boyfriend, Flex
Mentallo, and We3. If anything, it's clear that Grant understands comics and superheroes and that trait has a special place in my heart.
Jeff Lemire comes from a film school background and there is just something about his very human characters and minimalistic style that has a way of tugging at my heart. Essex County will always bring me to tears.
Lastly, Adrian Tomine really understands people. One of my biggest pet peeves within the industry is when I flip through pages and I read this very insincere dialog and I can tell it stems from lack of genuine experience. I never want to read a book and think "Hey, nobody would ever say that." It goes for both mainstream and indie titles, we need experienced and empathetic creators and surely, Adrian Tomine fits that bill. I think reading Shortcomings by him was an eye-opener for me, it helped me realize that these normal, ordinary stories have a place, and I could cite him as one of my biggest influences.
3) How did you get into the comic book field?
Like presumably many others in the field, I have been reading all sorts of comics from a young age. I doodled quite a bit and tried to create scenes but I lacked the talent to become a full-blown cartoonist. In around fifth grade I began to write short chapter books and stories like crazy, usually thinly veiled rips of the sort of cartoons I was watching at the time. I stuck with it and with a brief crazy intermission during my early teen years and after a long winded end of a relationship and existential crisis in a diner booth, I realized that I wanted to work with comics more than anything. Perhaps it was subconscious but I surrounded myself with like minded individuals, artists, writers, filmmakers, musicians, and truly, anyone with a goal. We began to work out collaborations. I cut out a lot of my interests that lacked artistic merit and I put myself in a writing boot camp, I began to write each and every single day, I set limits for myself and I refused to miss a day. I found myself on the bathroom floor vomiting but still clutching my phone in hopes to continue on my daily quota. I never missed a day and by the end of the year, I had a full fledged novel that will probably never see the light of day. I am grateful for that work, I was able to view my improvement on a daily basis and I continue with said work in my other projects.
I write each day and whether I am continuing scripts that artists are catching up on or just personal pieces, I make sure to have something to show by the end of the night. With my habits, and general circle I surrounded myself, I found myself in a relationship with one of my favorite freelance illustrators in the field, Maria Sweeney. While we dreamt of collaborating, we were both busy with other work and school but at Locust Moon Comics Fest 2014, we solidified our desire to attend the convention the following year with our own work and so, we did just that. We buckled down and began to gather our ideas and while this past year was a bit scattered, it lead us to In A Rut Comics and as our comic endeavor, it has been a wonderful experience. We began to share our work with some of our favorite creators in the industry, both writers and artists working in the mainstream and indie fields. The short answer is, I love comics and art and I love the people who make It. I surrounded myself with like-minded individuals and I worked damn hard to bring it to fruition.
4) On which title would you most like to work and why?
Doom Patrol, hands down. It may be clichéd in 2015 but I have a soft spot for the media designated for the freaks and outcasts. So much of it can be so, so bad but I do adore it when it is done well. Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol was able to instill hope in a lot of freaks, losers, rejects, and the like. There are a lot of superhero stories out there that can provide hope for people and I appreciate that, but having the superheroes exist in this obscure, self-loathing realm and equating them with the readers indirectly was truly inspiring. I believe that was the goal of the X-Men and there was something about the large team that made it feel sloppy, harder to connect to. (Don't hate me!) The Doom Patrol always felt more concise and their obscurity made for a bit less tame stories. I mean, Flex Mentallo flexed the Pentagon into a circle! I have dreams of a 12-issue Doom Patrol series in which I can bring that wonderful team of outcasts to new places, bring them on new, wonderfully stylized adventures. I hope to bring that story to fruition at some point in my career.
5) On what project will you be working next?
In A Rut Comics is my main focus currently. My wonderful illustrator, Maria Sweeney and I have been planning and have a lot of exciting things coming up for the project! Simultaneously, I have a collection of paged short stories with my good friend and artist, Ian Parsons that we hope to have released some time next year. (Currently untitled)