Scar, and The Art of War Interviews

Now at Broken Frontier are two recent interviews of mine.

I spoke to writer Edmund Shern on his work on the Scar webcomic, which is part of the new ShiftyLook site that re-imagines classic arcade games as webcomics.

I also interviewed the pair behind the thrilling OGN, The Art of War to be released in July that’s inspired by Sun Tzu’s ancient treatise of the same name.

Section Zero Webcomic

I don’t remember Section Zero when it first came out 11 years ago, but I am a fan of the creators so it’s good to see it return as a web comic.

3… 2… 1… ZERO!
Karl Kesel and Tom Grummett Re-launch SECTION ZERO as Web Comic

Lost civilizations! Alien beings! Strange creatures from beyond time and space! Tom Grummett and Karl Kesel’s creator-owned comic SECTION ZERO returns on January 2, 2012 at www.madgeniuscomics.com, once again Protecting Mankind From Everything That Doesn’t Exist!

SECTION ZERO was originally part of Image’s Gorilla Comics imprint back in 2000, alongside Kurt Busiek and Stuart Immonen’s Shockrockets, Mark Waid and Barry Kitson’s Empire, George Perez’s Crimson Plague, and Todd Dezago and Mike Wieringo’s Tellos. But personal problems— “My fault,” says Kesel, “I got divorced.”— forced SECTION ZERO to go on indefinite hiatus after only three issues.

“I never had more fun than when Tom and I were working on Section Zero,” Kesel states. Grummett agrees. “Section Zero had this energy and excitement, and a weird little garage-band kinda feel that just crackles off the page. I’d argue it’s the strongest stuff we ever did together.” Whenever either appeared at a con or store signing, they’d be asked “Are you ever going to finish Section Zero?” Both felt it was a matter of when, not if. “I always wanted to find some way to get back to Zero,” Kesel emphasizes, “but life kept getting in the way.”

And life often zigs when you think it will zag. “I remarried, and my wife and I decided to adopt a baby. Suddenly I became very aware of my legacy— of having something to leave behind for my kid— and for me that meant finding some way to do creator-owned comics again. The easiest way to do that nowadays is on the web.” Kesel launchedwww.madgeniuscomics.com on Halloween 2011 with “Johnny Zombie Christmas— a Heartwarming Tale of Yuletide Terror.” But he knew that story would end by Christmas. He wondered what to follow it up with, and instantly thought of Section Zero.

“There Is No Section Zero” was the comic’s original tag-line, and as far as Kesel is concerned “There is no Section Zero… without Karl and Tom.” Kesel contacted Grummett, who didn’t need to be asked twice. Kesel smiles, “We’ll be squeezing it in around our day jobs”— Kesel is currently inking Spider-Man Season One, and Grummett is penciling Avengers Academy— “but we will finally finish what we started.”

Kesel assures new readers “the web comic starts at the beginning. We launch with a 5-page Prologue on Monday, January 2nd, then we’ll post the first 3 issues of Section Zero, 3 pages every Thursday. Once that’s done, it’ll be all new material. And that gives us the time we need to make that new material!” Fans who have read the original comics will still want to check out the postings. “I’m tweaking the dialogue a bit here and there— partly to make it read better, partly because my idea of what the story’s about has changed slightly over the years. Plus, Richard Starkings at Comicraft— who is insane in the best possible way— insisted on ‘freshening” the lettering— so we’ve got a new font and new placements and the book has a slightly different look.”

Kesel points out: “if not for Richard, Tom and I may not be bringing back Section Zero right now. In my various moves I had lost track of the book’s original coloring and lettering files— which killed me, since Ben Dimagmaliw had done such an amazing job coloring it— but Saint Starkings dug through his archives and found copies of everything! Gotta say, Christmas came a little early for me when I heard that.”

What can readers expect in Section Zero? “Oh, prehistoric creatures that won’t stay extinct, albino alligators in the New York City sewers, the usual,” Kesel says. “I just wrote a pretty intense scene with a troll, and we’ve got something coming up set in the most chaotic, out-of-control place on earth— a kid’s daycare center! But the thing I’m most excited about is— well, when we started Section Zero I made a big deal that it took place in real time, that the characters aged. And I’m sticking to that. So after we post those first three issues there’ll be a solid black splash page with just the words ’12 Years Later…’ And I know it sounds strange, but that gap has only made our comic stronger and better. It made very clear to me what the story is really about.”

“Section Zero is about to step out into the unknown once again,” Grummett adds, “this time as a web comic. I’m expecting the same kind of steep learning curve I faced our first time out, but I’m looking forward to it. I’m also looking forward to playing with these characters again, and trying to field the curve-balls Karl will be pitching at me. We’ve thrown out the old maps… and we’re making new ones as we go.”

Makeshift Miracle Chapter 2 Review

The second chapter of Jim Zubkavich’s (Image’s great Skullkickers) Makeshift Miracle has now concluded, and just like the first one, which I reviewed here, is also available for free download in order to spread the word about how good this webcomic is. Thankfully, it is actually good.

Our spiky haired, loner protagonist Colby began his adventure at the end of the debut chapter, after discovering a beautiful, naked girl falling at his feet like a comet. Here he talks to himself and does what he can to keep her alive.

Zubkavich is building the pieces at a glacial pace, which those weened on hectic superheroics may find annoying, but I find charming. It helps that the narration, like the story (at least so far) is simple and very understandable. It’s an all-ages comic really.

We learn nothing new in this second chapter, as the overwhelmed teenager quickly jumps into action realising no other help is at hand, bundles his new friend up to keep her warm and soon discovers that she has a handy ability.

I’d imagine in the following chapter, we’ll get to the bottom of who this girl is, which will drive the story to some unexpected places. At this point, it needs it. However, it seems to me that Zubkavich has a grand plan in mind and is obviously playing coy for now, making deliberate pacing choices and ending each chapter on a cliffhanger. What this story needs now though is more understanding of our two main characters, the introduction of some key supporting players and the inevitable threat that comes calling for the girl from the sky. The rather intriguing foundation has been laid. Now it’s time for the solid gripping narrative to take centre stage.

Shun Hong Chan’s art is simply delicious. It’s crystal clear, dynamic with a manga flair that makes even these pages, in which not a lot actually happens, seem alive and bristling with a restrained energy. The deft colouring builds a great environment and snow covered claustrophobia and uses black and white when needed to great effect, not as flashbacks as seen in the previous chapter, but with more subtlety when the characters’ isolation needs to come to the fore.

It appears luscious on the computer screen and will look even more so when Makeshift Miracle comes to print as a collection from Udon next year.

Follow Makeshift Miracle right here and download Chapter 2 as a PDF or CBR file here.

Makeshift Miracle Review

This is another one of those comics that I’ve been impressed by and have been meaning to give it its due. Makeshift Miracle began as a webcomic in 2003 and is now back, thanks to MM writer Jim Zubkavich (of the equally entertaining, though different entirely, Skullkickers from Image) has been promoting it by asking, well…anyone to read and distribute it as a PDF or CBZ. It seems to be working, as new readers are doing just that, me included. I don’t read any webcomics regularly, so having the entire chapter in one place is, like the art here, very attractive. This revisitation has seen Zubkavich enrich the story, with the addition of new art by Shun Hong Chan.

Zubkavich touts this as a publishing experiment, hoping to build an audience online before it hits print from UDON (publisher of Zubkavich’s great Street Fighter comics) mid next year. Webcomics such as Axe Cop and Dr McNinja have found a paper home at Dark Horse and with the impressive work on display here, this deserves just as much success as those two series.

This isn’t a comedy however. Zubkavich has proven he knows how to do that with the aforementioned fantasy Skullkickers, so with Makeshift Miracle he focuses on drama and mystery. Titled Impact (a term which will surely have more than one meaning in future instalments) this debut focuses on high schooler Colby Reynolds. He’s sick of the selfishness of those around him and has started a private blog to let his frustration out. It’s this diary which acts as the narrative device for the loner and gives us a glimpse in to who Colby is. Before things become too introspective, Colby follows something guiding him from within to a valley-set town, which he declares to be, “calm and beautiful,” and that is an apt description for Shun Hong Chan’s art.

Zubkavich wisely pares down the text on each page, giving the visuals the focus. Chan’s art is as light and delicate as a soufflé, and the fact that it’s not realistic or flamboyant makes it even more dazzling. The delicate, watercolour-like approach and restrained manga flair make this fit snugly into the fantasy/drama feel it’s striving for. If you like Dustin Nguyen’s art, you’ll love this.

Not much happens, story-wise in the first 18 pages of this debut chapter. Essentially Colby travels, thinks about his family (with nice black and white flashbacks) about his family, goes to a quaint town in the middle of nowhere, and sees a beautiful naked woman fall like an asteroid at his feet. Zubkavich so far wisely puts the spotlight on Colby and the girl and it’s more than enough to be captivating.

The second chapter of Makeshift Miracle began in early November and is updated twice a week. You can download chapter 1 right here.

Makeshift Miracle

Fanboys love a good teaser, and most of the publishers love sending them out and watching speculation rise. Writer Jim Zubkavich, the man behind some of Udon’s Street Fighter mini-series, and Image’s fantasy romp Skullkickers has sent a teaser image out.

My first thought, since it has a date stamped on it was, “I don’t recall seeing this in any of July’s solicitations.” Thankfully Zubkavich is more forthcoming on the related website. It turns out that…

The Makeshift Miracle was a graphic novel serialized online from September 2001 through to March 2003. This month is the 10th anniversary of the first chapter and we’ve got big plans for celebrating that milestone. Keep your eyes on our site for more teasers and add our RSS feed to your favourite reader.

Get ready… because on September 26th, the Miracle is back.

I will do that indeed.

Extra Sequential Podcast #38-Body Image

67 mins. This week we talk about body image in superhero comics, plus the Spice Girls, the Royal Wedding and sagging shelves.

DOWNLOAD IT HERE, LISTEN TO IT BELOW OR ON ITUNES

2:45 NEWS

Dark Horse Comics’ Digital Store

Shannon Wheeler ‘s I Thought You Would Be Funnier can now be read for free online

Captain America and The Avengers film info

Free Comic Book Day on May 7

8: 28 WHAT WE’VE BEEN READING

Portal 2

Brightest Day #24 – John Constantine and Swamp Thing travel from Vertigo to the DC Universe

Avengers #12.1 – Spider-Woman gets captured by the evil smarty pants team, The Intelligencia. The Avengers rescue her and meet Ultron, who then vanishes. Not for newbies but great art by Bryan Hitch.

Action Comics #900 – The controversial landmark issue in which Superman renounces his American citizenship, plus some other cool tales.

The Complete Peanuts Vol. 1 1950-52 – Charles Schulz’s classic and funny work with Charlie Brown and co.

A Lesson Is Learned But The Damage Is Irreversible – an experimental webcomic

34:15 FEATURE TOPIC – BODY IMAGE

We look at the sexy spandex brigade and how male and female characters are treated differently.

Extra Sequential Podcast #25-1986

69 mins. It’s our 25th podcast and we celebrate the occasion by looking at the 25th anniversary of the year 1986, and what a year it was. We talk about the comics of the time plus power ballads, being born, multiple Sheens, the popularity of the high-five, and the shock of seeing Transformers dying.

LISTEN TO IT BELOW, DOWNLOAD IT HERE, ON ITUNES OR MIXCLOUD

1:32 NEWS

Death of the Comics Code and the upcoming doco about it, death of the powerful comics magazine Wizard and Shaun Tan’s Oscar nomination.

11:22 WHAT WE’VE BEEN READING

Arrested Development, and the whacky shenanigans of Axe Cop Vol. 1 TPB.

21:30 1986-THE YEAR THAT WAS

We kick off with the year’s Top Ten grossing films, talk about dying Transformers, Steve Guttenberg, and then get to comics of the time.

John Byrne’s Superman: Man of Steel that revamped and streamlined Clark and co.

Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, that showed an aged Bruce Wayne putting on the cowl once more in a mad future that put Batman back into the darkness, where he belongs.

Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons.

The British Invasion that saw English creators (such as Grant Morrison and Neil Gaiman) getting huge success in America, particularly DC Comics.

The rise of the independent publisher such as Dark Horse Comics and Slave Labor Graphics.

Art Spiegelman’s Pulitzer Prize winning Maus.

The formation of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

A few long running characters debuted including Booster Gold, Kilowog, Sodam Yat, Apocalypse and Eddie Brock (Venom).

For non-superheroes, 1986 saw the debut of Dylan Dog, Tintin and Alph-Art, Golgo 13, Area 88, Lone Wolf and Cub, Crying Freeman and Spirit of Wonder.

Man-Machine

OK, I’ll be honest, I haven’t read much of this new webcomic from Martin Hekker and Mike Angstadt, entitled Man-Machine. The first chapter, Praepisitio and the second, The Name of the Father plays with themes of capitalism, God and technology. It deserves a more in-depth read and a wider audience, and comes with a great soundtrack and visuals that lay somewhere in the Phil Noto spectrum, but not quite. The reading interface is seamless too. Instead of flipping pages, there’s the pulling of arrows. It works so well. The two books have such distinct and separate colour palettes that the pics from Book 1 below really don’t do them justice. Go here to see what I mean. It’s always a nice surprise to discover the work of talented individuals willing to create something new and daring.

Selling Webcomic Merchandise

God Is Cute!How does it work exactly, and what’s the best way to go about it? Using James (American Elf) Kochalka’s God Is Cute! t-shirt (and He is) as the example, Joey Manley from the Comic Space blog is conducting  a month long experiment on how to produce revenue from merchandise.

It’s a pretty insightful read and worth your time if you’re currently a web comic-er or would like to be, with its comparisons between Google AdSense, Facebook and Project Wonderful. Go here for the first post, and follow the rest here.

Ctrl+Alt+Del Vol. 1 Review

Ctrl+Alt+Del Vol. 1As explained in Tim Buckley’s introduction, he’s been creating this webcomic since 2002 as something he was experimenting with for his portfolio. For the last few years, he’s been making his living from it. That’s mainly because his daily strips are full of geek in-jokes and we love them more than  girls at the comic shop.

This first volume from Blind Ferret Publishing (titled This Is A Great Idea) collects about 130 strips from October 2002 to May 2003. Most are funny, but seeing as I’m a casual gamer at best I wasn’t crying with laughter. I know plenty of people who would however. This is for gamers what Comic Critics is to comic fans. The beauty is that there is some x-over, and we all laugh laughing at ourselevs, and our knowledge of pop culture. That’s also why Family Guy is so popular.

The bulk of these strips are four panels to a page and a lot show their age, especially with references to new games like Hitman 2, Star Wars Galexies, etc. For those that were passionate gamers during those years, there will be many chuckles I’m sure. It follows young gamers Ethan, his more level-headed friend Ethan, female gamer Lilah, Ethan’s ex Sara, Ted the penguin and a few random arrows. There are some unusual interludes to this pace, such as a 4 page noir-esque tale about a Detective’s search for his left hand and Chef Brian’s mostly nonsensical ramblings (usually involving carrots). These don’t really work compared to the rest of the work contained within these pages.

However, what impressed  me most was Buckley’s subtle weaving of a narrative throughout the pages. Ethan breaks up with his girlfriend, gets a new room-mate and job, falls into gaming addiction,etc. It means you can read the book all the way through and most of the time you’ll get some witty sit-com type gags, but also a loose larger story at play.

Ethan is clearly the star of the show and though the jokes aren’t exactly cutting edge compared to today’s ‘smarter’ strips such as Sinfest or The Perry Bible Fellowship, these strips are from 7 years ago, when webcomics were not the plague they are today.

As Buckley acknowledges in his intro, his style has improved since these early days, but it’s pleasantly cartoony enough. Every page is loosely littered with profanity, violence and Ethan’s general hatred towards those who don’t understand him, which is pretty much everyone, so don’t be fooled by the cover. This isn’t a safe Saturday morning ‘toon. It takes great skill to produce one of these every day for almost a decade though. It’s all about timing and using as few words and expressions as possible to get the biggest smile. Of course, pop culture is simply ammo to Buckley, so he won’t be running out anytime soon.

Strangely, nowhere in the book is the website mentioned, so here it is for your daily gamer laugh.

Apple Hick

Blasphemer

Joe Chiappetta Interview

He could’ve quite easily been a wrestler or chess champion if he followed his high school gifts, but ultimately Chicago resident Joe Chiappetta chose to become a cartoonist. And he’s been doing it for a remarkable two decades. After becoming a father Joe launched his Silly Daddy comic in 1991, starting in print and then working his way to the web in 2004. Along the way, he’s gathered Harvey and Ignatz nominations, as well as a Xeric Award in 1998. His deceptively simple, usually one panel gags seem to be inspired by both reality and fantasy. They are sometimes groan inducing, sometimes thought provoking and more often than not, just simply funny.

Was this always going to be your dream job, rather than part-time wrestler/part-time chess champion, or were you always going to be some sort of artist?

Not exactly. At the age of four I wanted to be a police car when I grew up. I’m serious. The black and white blocky cop cars from the ’70s were so impressive to me. And they had such important duties –carrying guns and bad guys. However, by my early teen years, the idea of being an artist became more of a drive for me. Yet in retrospect, I do acknowledge that both the career paths of an artist and a police car were equally obnoxious. It still baffles me today that many of my key teachers in high school and college encouraged me to get further into fine arts as a career. And that’s what I did, completely oblivious to the fact that the demand for new fine artists was microscopic compared to high growth industries like the healthcare field. Yet I was willing and eager to drink the Kool Aid that the fine arts field was serving. I came out of Northern Illinois University thinking that becoming the next Andy Warhol was only a few paintings away. Being dangerously prolific and self-centered coming out of college, I had time to not just make great paintings, but also make comics while the oil paint was drying. I never dreamed that the mini-comics I was printing would get more praise and money than the paintings… but that is exactly what happened. And that is why today my social networking profiles say, “Cartoonist” in the occupation category rather than “Artist.”

What were the challenges and blessings of moving from print to the web as your medium of choice?

The biggest challenge of moving focus to webcomics over print comics for me is the eye strain of looking at the light emitting from the computer screen. In fact that’s why I was very slow to expand my web presence as the internet became more commonplace. Before I knew what to call this condition, I would get intense burning and aching in my eyes that I couldn’t explain. It turns out that I have something called “photophobia.” Literally it means “fear of light,” but practically, it means my eyes are more sensitive to light than the majority of other people. At first I thought it was some sort of made-up wimpy gen-x health disease, but after going to a few doctors in real pain, and struggling for years to get work done using a computer the way most people do, I finally accepted the truth of it; my eyes were not invincible. Once I accepted this, then I was able to make a number of adaptations to how I use the computer so it isn’t a pain to look at.

What are some of the adaptations you’ve made to still be able to use the computer?

It’s a lot of little things that make a big difference. Used in tandem, I can pretty much use the computer just as long as the next person. But take away just one of these and it’s like kryptonite:
1) Lower the screen contrast and screen brightness on every device you use. I even do this on my Pocket PC Phone.
2) Increase the screen font size on every device you use.
3) Lower your screen resolution. This makes everything bigger.
4) Keep desktop monitors about two arm’s lengths away from your eyes.
5) Take a lot of breaks.
6) Wear sunglasses as needed on screen.

7) Make your website background black. That is the only reason that my SillyDaddy.net site is colored the way it is. It has nothing to do with how some people say art looks good on a black background. I could care less about that. For me it’s a health issue. I can look at my own site longer without pain in the eyes because the dark background blocks a lot of the screen from blasting my eyes. So that’s the biggest challenge for me. Back to your question about what are the blessings of moving from print to webcomics, there are so many. The biggest one is ease of distribution. I scan an image, press upload and publish, and bam. It is available to the entire online population. That’s a big contrast to the laboring I drudged through: prepping the work for the printer, getting printer quotes, dealing with packaging books, paying for shipping, dealing with distributors, etc. There’s no comparison. Click — I’m done.

How has becoming a Christian changed how you view your work?

When I started in the art field, I couldn’t say this but now I can; being a cartoonist is not my main purpose for living and comics are not my god anymore. Let me explain that, because it’s not like I was bowing down three times a day to a statue of the comic god. One of the definitions of “god” is this: “one that is worshipped, idealized or followed.” And that is exactly what I was doing with my cartooning. I was devoted to it — so much so that there was little left to give to other relationships. Can you get some impressive art and comics out of such a setup –where the artist is fully committed, and in essence, worshipping his craft of making art? Absolutely. But then when you go and look at the relationships in that artist’s life, they are usually a mess. That was me. That’s where my heart was: worshipping, idealizing and following the business of comics. It should come as no surprise that this is one of the definitions of “god.” I was a practicing idolater. It should also come as no surprise that such a life may be filled with incredible activity, but that life is also terribly empty. Having other high-profile cartoonist like Jeff Smith of “Bone” plug my work is certainly an honor. But it doesn’t keep me warm at night. Again, that was me. Creative people are so susceptible to the pull of idolizing their career that many of them are simply unprepared to recognize and oppose the pull of idolatry. They think idolatry is just some sort of ancient practice that the uh… the people in that one third world country still do with statues and stuff. But it’s much more than that. Idolatry is alive and well in the entertainment industry. So becoming a Christian has exposed all these truths to me about what I was doing with my life: how unloving I had been compared to the love of Jesus Christ. That’s the kind of love that I want. And that’s the kind of love that all people really hope for, whether they acknowledge it or not. There’s a proverb that says, “What a man desires is unfailing love,” and that is so true. Who doesn’t want that? But only one person gives that sort of love — Jesus. He proved that on the cross. Everyone else, as hard as they try, will eventually fail you. But Jesus doesn’t fail. He conquers death. That’s where the real action is. So I must get in line with his plan. What that understanding does to me as a cartoonist is it puts things in perspective. Now cartooning is just another thing that I do, like riding a bicycle. But it’s not who I am. It’s like Number 6 would always say defiantly to the bad guys in the Prisoner TV series, “I am not a number. I am a free man.” In my case, I have become free in Christ. I am his disciple. That’s who I am. I also happen to make comics.

What has the response been like from your readers? Are there many other parents out there who can identify with your lessons and adventures?

The response continues to amaze me. Of course parents have a special appreciation for my work since they live this stuff every day. But most surprising is that I also gather deep interest and readership loyalty from people nowhere near having kids. They just appreciate the laughs and insight in a safe family place. Who doesn’t want that?

In a 3 year period, you received nominations for Harvey and Ignatz Awards, and then won the Xeric Award in 1998. Was that level of recognition a sigh of relief for you, knowing that people appreciated your work?

I think that’s a good way to put it. But awards and nominations are tricky, especially back then when my security was in my work and not in God. So once I started getting nominated for awards, the relief gave way to anxiety. I was looking for joy through the status that comes from awards and reviews. And so it became a point of frustration when I didn’t win or didn’t get nominated now and then. Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with awards. In fact, if you’re giving one I’ll gladly take it. But I developed a bad attitude about them. I was the problem. I sought the praise that comes from men rather than the praise of God. And again, that is a dead end trip.

I hope you don’t mind me telling the world you are 40 years old this year, which effectively means you’ve been a cartoonist for half of your life. Is it still as scary/frustrating/rewarding today as it was when you first began?

Oh, not at all. Back when I started doing comics, all my hope, joy and faith rested on the success or failure of my comics. Anyone in the industry for more than a minute knows that this was a recipe for disaster. So now when I do comics, my hope, joy and faith is not in them. My hope joy and faith is in God. So if the Internet gets destroyed and no one can access Silly Daddy webcomics anymore, my faith doesn’t go down with the ship. What I am trying to say is that back when I started, my emotional investment was in cartooning. Think about that. I was beholden to the whims of a industry being overrun with video games, decreasing readership patterns, decreasing retail outlets and increasing corporate dominance. It’s crazy to be emotionally vested in such a situation. But that’s what I did. I can’t really say that I have a better attitude about approaching the comics industry because I am older, wiser, and have spent half my life in it. But I can say that I have a better perspective on navigation through the comics industry securely because of the clarity that comes from following Jesus Christ.

You’ve covered some pretty broad subjects over the course of Silly Daddy. Do you find there are certain themes that you continue to revisit?

Humor is huge in the series, but I don’t guarantee humor every time. Instead I go for profound or preposterous, and humor is often part of the mix. Most of the recurring themes in Silly Daddy revolve around family situations, particularly parenting, marriage and relationships. Then there is a much smaller percentage of my work that has a surreal, sci-fi, technology or Christian theme.

Those last four themes seem like an odd mix.

I think that’s why it works so well. I would boot up the Christian Robot strips as an example.

There must be times when you simply don’t feel like creating three new strips a week, and you just want to spend the day in front of the TV watching day time soap operas. How do you keep the momentum going?

Hah! My days of watching daytime soap operas (General Hospital) are long gone. But I know what you mean. Thinking in pictures really helps to keep the momentum going. You might say that is how I’m wired. I say that’s how God makes certain people. I think we all have been given some ability to think in pictures, but for most artists, thinking in pictures is a gift from God. The problem comes when you don’t acknowledge the giver. That’s when you turn the gift into a curse. Back to the question, on days when the ideas aren’t flowing like a river, I use to panic and think I was all washed up. But now I understand that there is a time for everything. On such days I might just do sketches or focus on other aspects of the business.

How do you see the future of your work, (besides perhaps Silly Grand Daddy?) Do you think you’ll ever go back to print on a regular basis?

Just to set the record straight, it’s not that I have abandoned print comics. Rather, in between big collections of my work, instead of releasing singe comic book issues of my work, which is so labor intensive, I will just release them on the web. Then when I have enough material for a solid collection of new Silly Daddy comics, a new book will come out. My next big graphic novel will most likely be called, “Silly Daddy Short Stuff” and it will be full color. In fact I am also toying with the idea of releasing the graphic novel at the same time I release a science fiction novel (all text) that I wrote. The working title on that is “Star Chosen.” But I might just call it Silly Daddy in Space. Yeah, I’m real creative — it’s about a father… in the future.

Finally, are you still a Silly Daddy after fifteen years of parenting, or have you now become Serious Daddy?

I think my wife and kids would agree that I still range between the two extremes: silly and serious. The difference now, and I do hope readers continue to pick up on it, is that reading Silly Daddy, you see the silly, the serious, plus the big deal: the everlasting joy.

New Silly Daddy comics can be seen every Monday, Wednesday and Friday here.

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