This is an image that I stumbled across while doing research for All Star. It’s from a book on hitting that was written by Ted Williams. I was looking for good images of the body in motion during a swing. This image wasn’t too useful for that, but I think it looks absolutely awesome.
Just after I graduated college I lived in Chicago for a couple of years, and I had this notion of doing comics. I spent about a year working on this silly superhero comic that I thought was about all sorts of things (the rise of multinationalism and the corporatization of the media), but was really about nothing. I had a friend named Brad, who I talked comics with. I showed him this superhero comic, and over drinks at a bar, he said, “You shouldn’t do any more comics like that. It’s not very good.”
And as soon as he said it I knew he was right.
Which started me off on a whole new direction. I had this idea comics that worked more like poems or songs. No need for a narrative. No need for character names. The only goal was to get at an emotion as raw and pure and undiluted as possible. There were some successes, and some failures.
And it was these comics that lead to my first book with NBM, Flower and Fade. The title of which was taken from D.H. Lawrence:
“Life and love are life and love, a bunch of violets is a bunch of violets, and to drag in the idea of a point is to ruin everything. Live and let live, love and let love, flower and fade, and follow the natural curve, which flows on, pointless.”
I was very serious.
My very first comic ever was Asterix and the Great Crossing by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo. The early part of my life was spent in Saudi Arabia and I was exposed more to comics from Europe than from the U.S. This was the book that my parents read to me over and over again before going to bed.
Basically, I was an American kid growing up in a Muslim country looking at ridiculous Native American caricatures written and drawn by French men in a comic that featured no female characters whatsoever.
This Wednesday I’ll be talking along with Joel Gill at the Cambridge Public Library at 6:30. We’re going to be discussing our paths to comics as well as a bit about process like this little bit of strike out research I did for All Star. You should come join us.
Nobody struck out better than Reggie Jackson. Look at those feet! He’s got himself so twisted up, just imagine how far that ball would have gone if he had hit it.
So if you’re in the Boston area next Wednesday, you should come by the Cambridge Public Library and say hello to me and Joel Gill. We’re going to be talking about our books, our process, and our upcoming projects, which are both westerns.
Sometime, maybe ten years ago, I read or heard this quote from Woody Allen which went something like this: Steven Spielberg says he tries to make the films he loved as a kid. I try to make the films I love as an adult.
And at the time, I was in total agreement with Woody Allen, but now I think I’m coming around to Steven Spielberg’s way of thinking.
These are some pages from this fun little Formula 1 book I’m working. It’s very boyish.
(Also!)(I’ll be doing a talk with Joel Gill at the Cambridge Public Library on June 25th!)(We’ll be talking about my book, All Star, and his book, Strange Fruit!)(!)
All Star’s out and in the stores, so I’m getting cracking on some new projects.
A little bit of wild west revenge, and a little bit of high speed 60s Formula 1 racing.
And belatedly, here’s a podcast featuring an interview with me at TCAF:
And a podcast featuring the Sports in Comics panel I was on at TCAF:
I’m heading to New York this weekend to be signing some books at MoCCA. Stop on by the NBM table, say hello, and ask me to draw something for you!
I listen to music while I’m drawing, and I’d like to think that the music that I listen to has some sort of effect on the lines that I put on the page. With All Star being set in the 90s, it seemed natural to have a 90s playlist for the occasion. What I found was that the songs that took me back the most were not the songs that I liked the most at the time. The songs that really brought me back were the songs that didn’t make it out of the 90s. I loved Weezer’s blue album in high school, but it’s an album that I have listened to a great deal since then, and so it doesn’t necessarily pull me back. But Deep Blue Something’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s takes me back, because I only heard it in high school and never again.
Here are some others:
Here in Your Bedroom – Goldfinger
Pepper – The Butthole Surfers
Closing Time – Semisonic (be careful: this song gets stuck in your head super easy)
Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth with Money in My Hand – The Primitive Radio Gods
Lovefool – The Cardigans (my secret anthem)
Lump – The Presidents of the United States of America
The Freshman – The Verve Pipe (I hated this song and I can’t say I care for it much now, but it takes me back to talking with friends about how much I hated it)
In the Meantime – Spacehog
No Rain – Blind Melon
These songs are the songs that take me back. I don’t love them necessarily, but they lock me into a place and time. How much effect does this have on the lines that get put on the paper? I don’t know, but I’m not sure if that Alanis Morrisette joke would have gotten in there without them.
As a bit of research for my very very soon-to-be-released book, All Star, which is set in the late 1990s (my high school years), I revisited some of my yearbooks from high school. Sadly my senior yearbook has disappeared. I believe it was taken when someone broke into the storage facility where it was kept. I imagine they were somewhat disappointed with their haul.
Anyway, that’s me, sophomore year, 1995. Yes, it’s a denim shirt. With a tie. An Incredible Hulk tie.
And remember: If you love something, set it free. If it comes back, it’s yours. If it doesn’t, it was never meant to be. Also, Don’t ever change… YOUR UNDERWEAR! And hang on to sixteen as long as you can, changes come around real soon, make us women and men.