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Sean Patrick Murphy

Five Questions with...
Creator Mark Wm Teel

1) On what project are you currently working?

Iíve been writing and illustrating a neo-noir comic book called "The Pack Rat," as well as a companion series called "The Pawn Shop Detective." At first, the two stories donít appear to have any sort of connection until the reader gets further along and begins to realize that they share a larger universe. At some point, they will temporarily merge. Itís like a couple of Phillip Marlow stories that take place within the geek subculture. Iíd like to release them together as sort of a two-volume set titled "Red Herring No. 23." In the meantime, each issue so far can be viewed at my website

I also have a comic workshop that Iíve slowly been developing. I call it Kidonia INK. It was originally a working title but it just kind of stuck. I have the rare opportunity to foster young people in their love of creating comics at the peak of their creativity. Iíve been selecting students to participate for the summer session, and actually have a duo that is in the process of developing a role playing game. 

2) Whom in your field do you admire most and why?

I wish Iíd been the one to create "Adventure Time." Pendleton Ward is pure genius. As for actual print comics, I find inspiration in the works of Yoshihiro Tatsumi, Kim Deitch, Sam Kieth, Crumb, Chris Ware, etc. Their storytelling is every bit as fascinating as their artwork. Illustrators like Jack Davis, Oliver Jeffers, Sergio Aragones, and Ralph Steadman will always be a huge influence on me. 

3) How did you get into the comic book field?

I was obsessed with comics at an early age and eventually spent my high school days drawing one-page gag strips about my friends and teachers. After high school, I half-heartedly pursued this but really only for lack-of-ambition in doing anything else. Eventually I enrolled in graphic design school, where my world opened up. Here, I was exposed to all different types of art and philosophies. I got back into comics when I realized that I had so many stories to tell, but lacked the time, patience and finances to turn them into written stories or films. Graphic design didnít quite work out for me and I went back to earn my teaching certificate and this led me to my current position in Kansas City, KS. Around this same time I started drawing an autobiographical comic book called "The Colorblind Art Teacher" because, well, thatís what I am. Iíd been reading a lot of the Beat writers and decided to try a stream of consciousness thing. I looked at guys like John Porcellino, James Kochalka, and Jeff Brown and appreciated the way they just poured their experiences out into sketchbooks and then published them. Aside from the print books, I set a goal to have a weekly web comic for at least a year. Iím glad I did it but it was hard, coming up with something fresh every week. And being a teacher is every bit as time consuming and stressful as they say, so I get much more accomplished during the summer. 

4) On which title would you most like to work and why?

I donít really like to draw licensed characters unless itís a one-time thing or as a favor or homage. However, I would never pass up the opportunity to draw variant covers. Like Scotty Young or Sam Kieth. Draw other peopleís characters as a single work of art and then leave the inside to somebody else. I use my time at Comic Con to draw characters that I wouldnít normally draw, but only as a challenge to myself to see how I can spin them. I love drawing Ben Grimm and the Hulk, but I wouldnít want to do a whole book about them. Also, Iím a decent writer but would prefer not to do that so I always welcome written stories by others, so long as it allows me to do my thing.

5) On what project will you be working next?

Last year, I developed a comic book called "Middle Child Syndrome." So far, Iíve only produced ďissue #1Ēóbut thereís ďvariantsĒ of it that are designed specifically for age groups (K-1, 2-3 and 4-5) and both genders. I write and draw the ďblueĒ version and my niece writes the ďpinkĒ version while I illustrate it. So overall there are six versions of each issue. Has that kind of thing been done before? Anyway, my goal is to have a new batch of issues finished every year by spring, so Iíll be getting started on ďissue #2Ē this summer. 

I also need to finish up the most recent "The Colorblind Art Teacher" (#4) because itís been sitting there for the better part of six years and is about ĺ finished. Iím also collaborating with a writer friend of mine who Iíve known since high school and has literally been my partner in crime on a few occasions. The details are not ready to be discussed but there is going to be a Kickstarter campaign that I have no doubt will exceed its goal. Thatís the thing Iím most excited about right now. 

For more of Mark Wm Teel's work, go here, here, and here.

(posted May 18, 2015)