Well look what the cat dragged in. Shut the door behind you, it's hot out there.
Last week we put to bed my Kickstarter campaign (actually Nick Gonzo's/Madius Comic's Kickstarter but mine by proxy) which ended both well-funded and well-received. I'm told that our book Corsair will be off to the printers and showing prominently at the Madius table during Thought Bubble in Leeds next month.
The rumors that I have written a comic book titled FUCK KIRBY which happens to release on Jack Kirby's 100th birthday can now be validated.
Since March my collaboration partner Doktor Geraldo and I have being looking forward to the completion of this project. Simply getting anything like this published is a win for creative freedoms and a general good sign for the current state of Western affairs. When I found out that the digital indie hub ComixCentral was going to green-light the hosting of FUCK KIRBY on their platform I was stunned and overjoyed. I talked with ComixCentral exclusively about the story's inception and how I felt that they are leading the way in terms of anti-censorship issues not to even mention that they're putting far more percentages of sales into the pockets of creators than anyone else. Highly admire their absolute buggy craziness.
Can you imagine another publisher doing this? If promoting a comic by a first-time writer with the word "fuck" being 50% of the title and "Kirby" being the other which she also wanted to debut on the same day as the 100th birthday celebration for the all-time king of comics Jack Kirby... if that doesn't sound like the litmus test for an anti-censorship policy then you've got a fertile imagination. And jeepers, if it could only be left at that. Inside the 12 page mini-comic I have a merry riff on necrophilia, acid attack victims, outrage culture, the merits or lackthereof to raping Nazis... just a big swipe at modern confusion in general. The book is bonkers.
Being a first-time writer I got to experience the strange sensation of releasing my story out to the artist and stepping back, hands up, to allow them to take it from there. Being an illustrator I've gotten many scripts from writers and each process has been different but I'm known to obsess over the story and bug the writer constantly with deeper inquiries which always go afield of the scene in question. I'll demand to know more about the characters; I'll ask who their childhood heroes were. It isn't directly relevant to the story and will almost certainly never bare out in the dialogue but it informs me toward the construction of the character. So that when I draw them I can have in mind the subliminal way that they carry their weight as they walk into a room, the leg on which they rest when tired... I glean much of that from an amalgam of whoever their childhood influences would have been.
In Project Shadow Breed, the comedy-relief sidekick Leroy Walsh was always the most complicated character to draw. Sometimes he was there to make a laugh and other times he was there to pity. Leroy was an endless thought experiment circus for me. I consider it one of my imaginative failures that no matter how far I went down the rabbit hole, no matter how much time I placed myself inside his head, I never cornered the gulf between my own operating systems and those of this drunken elderly retired military sniper who had grown up being a black male college wrestler in 1960's Texas. I could never reach a resting neutral point to allow me access to his driver's seat and walk around seeing things from his perspective.
In Corsair, I had to wake up writer Nick Gonzo to settle a question about what exactly Blythe Corsair would do about his overcoat while enjoying a meal. Does he check it at the door, continue to wear it, set it in his lap, drape it across his chair; these things eat me up as I'm working out a scene.
So now with FUCK KIRBY it was my turn at congealing my amorphous synapses into instructions for another mad creator, Doktor Geraldo, to be responsible for rendering out onto a page. It was an interesting experience at turning the tables, watching the script leave my grasp like boarding a child onto a bus enroute to an extended stay with a flawed uncle. I'm cupable for the script, that is true. But the project's presentation is entirely the work of many late nights from Geraldo. He designed it, drew it, colored it, lettered it and placed it up for you all at his marketplace on ComixCentral. Aside from two drawings I supplied for our bio pages yesterday, it was fully hands-off from me. I wanted the experience of relinquishing artistic control for the first time. It was about me just stuffing the script with butt-loads of my visual ammunition, obsessing over that part of it, then setting it free for once. A bit like gavaging a foie gras goose then opening it's cage.
My reported distaste for Jack Kirby's art is for the most part factual. He's always spoken of as a god but almost everything that people like to hold up and show the world as an example falls flat with me. Nevertheless his output is impressive. It's volume. His selflessness. The stories of him giving away his pages (or trying, yet failing due to his wife) to kids slinking down to his basement to watch him draw. And because he was active for such a long time, there's sure to be something he did along the way for everyone.
What do I like of Kirby's art? Actually his old rough romance covers and I am absolutely floored by the complicated despondencies captured on men's faces from his war covers. I don't get that feeling when I see a splash page of The Thing throwing a haymaker. Sorry, Kirby nerds.
Don't take it personal, big guy.
I get to talk to the one-man wrecking crew Chris Shehan. This Texas Terminator has more projects rolling out than I can list in paragraph form. He admits "I don't go out much."
Enabled by a dodgy scientist with a perfect ass, Shehan is on a mission to conquer comics.
If you see this motherfucker walking, cross the street.
Fresh from the pages of Heavy Metal comes Finnish horror dynamo Hannu Kesola. He tells us what it takes to create comics which must make the audience squirm in whatever language they're published; English, French, Swedish or Finnish. His book The Last Hunt with artist Paul Moore and colorist Beth Varni is out now. His "IF" anthology contribution is coming soon from Alterna and beyond the horizon he has a Kickstarter project slated for the end of the year titled Blood, Skulls and Chrome.
Also next week, I'm long overdue to talk about Michigan wildman Justin Bartz's werewolf vigilante comic Project Shadow Breed.
Thanks for checking in on me. It's true I scaled a mountain in Tennessee this week in order to harness the powers of the passing solar eclipse into a special moonstone brought for the occassion. I've now fashioned the charged gem into a ring which I'm waiting to wield when the proper moment presents itself. Be wary. And join us for more on the Comix Voodoo Hayride.