J. BRODERICK, JR.
began cartooning at age five when he peddled drawings of Mighty Mouse,
Woody Woodpecker and Popeye from the back of his little red wagon to
the unsuspecting neighborhood moms for a nickel a sketch (which George
considers one of the highlights of his freelance career).
has worked as a professional in comics since 1982. Since then, he has
written stories for DC Comics, Marvel Comics and handled both scripting
on the LOST
IN SPACE and QUANTUM LEAP comic
books for InnovationPublishing and editing on LOST IN
SPACE: Voyage To The Bottom Of The Soul for Bubblehead
art credits include work on
BOZO THE CLOWN and SANTA CLAUS ADVENTURES
SPEED RACER for Now Comics and THE
MUNSTERS for TV
Comics. His most current work includes SUICIDE
BLONDE, EL MUCHO GRANDE, FAITH: WARRIOR PRINCESS, MEOW WOW!,
George Broderick, Jr.'s GIGGLE FACTORY and LUCHA POP! for Airwave
COURAGEOUS MAN ADVENTURES,
& THOR: Heroic Tails,
JILL CHILL AND THE BARON OF GLACIER
MOUNTAIN and THE TWERP AND
THE BLUE BABOON for Comic Library
International, CHRISTMAS EVE, HOLLY
JOLLY CHRISTMAS COMICS, CHRISTMAS EVE WINTER CARNIVAL, JILL CHILL and
the CHRISTMAS STAR and DILL
GHERKIN and the LEGEND OF THE CHRISTMAS PICKLE for Cool
Yule Comics, MOONSTONE MONSTERS: (Mummies, Ghosts, Demons) and KOLCHAK, THE
NIGHT STALKER and SUCKULINA,
VAMPIRE TEMP for
Moonstone Books, RADIOACTIVE MAN and LURE LASS / WEASEL WOMAN stories
in SIMPSON'S SUPER SPECTACULAR for Bongo Entertainment and POPEYE PICNIC for Premium Pop
biggest ambition in life is to become one of the
most beloved characters in American Folklore.
An Interview With
(From The Collected
Blonde -- 2004)
For just about two
decades now, George Broderick has worked
tirelessly in the trenches of the four color world of comics, turning
out an astonishing
array of stories, characters and literally a small library of material
encompassing just about every type of genre imaginable. And throughout
that time readers have known that, when George Broderick puts his name
book, whether it's a tale featuring one of his own creations or one
co-created with the likes of Chris Yambar, they can expect to be
entertained by a master of the craft.
Bill Baker: How'd you get involved
with this project, and what about it made you want to work on it?
Yambar and I had been working on another title together (El Mucho
Grande) and were happy with the collaborative energy we were generating
and wanted to do more together. So we were looking around
at his and my sketchbooks, trying to find something, but nothing leaped
at us as a "must do" joint project. Then, out of the blue--or, more
accurately, his visit that year to the San Diego Comic Con--Chris came
to me with this
idea for a science fiction project where chocolate was an outlawed
substance and the heroine of
the strip "would kill for chocolate", as the
old saying goes. I laughed...then, I started thinking about it. I liked
the idea of
the strong female lead and, too, I'd been looking to do something a bit
than my current "animated kids comics" style, and to flex my
muscles a bit, so I was on board!
BB: What were some of your major concerns
going in, as an artist and storyteller? And were there any particularly
troublesome aspects which you
had to deal with, either design- or storytelling-wise?
GB: There's this
rumor circulating about me that, given enough time, I can draw
anything, so guys like Chris feel no remorse by throwing
in every visual thing--including the futuristic kitchen sink. So not
I have to contend myself with creating an advertisement-driven
dystopian future from whole cloth, I had to deal with giant space
armadas, floating brains and huge robots that resembled Tony The Tiger
and The Pillsbury
Dough Boy--all without crossing the parody/copyright infringement
BB: So how did you go about creating
that future’s landscape, making it believable while maintaining that
sense of the fantastic and the strangely
GB: I've always
idea of a future like in The Jetsons or The Legion of Super Heroes,
where we've used up all the horizontal space available so humanity had
to ascend vertically, creating very tall
buildings which are sort of organic and rounded off to avoid wind
shear--almost phallic looking, if you will. But I also realized that
there would almost certainly have to be an underbelly to such a massive
construct, where the poor and downtrodden would most certainly have to
go. This would be the future version of the inner city, but it would be
lower city. In fact, although it's never shown in the art and not in
the script, in my mind The
Adverczars have erected impenetrable Plexiglas barriers on the 110th
of every building to prevent the dregs from ascending too far into
"polite society", creating a literal glass ceiling! Plus, the lucky
the lower depths who could even get their hands on hover cars--yes, my
future will have hover cars, unlike the bogus real 21st century we live
have altitude dampers installed so they couldn't fly too high. It's
depressing, really, and that stuff isn't shown in the story. It's just
mental nuts and bolts that make the story work for me.
BB: Is the designing of the
characters a largely conscious process for you? Or do you have a real
and conscious sense of feeling your way into
the look, the physical attitude, of these imaginary folks?
GB: When I started
design Suicide Blonde, my uppermost thought was
"I don't want to create Legion of Super Hero-looking costumes". I was
looking for some ensemble that would be functional, kinda rough and
in keeping with the underlying "character spokesmodel" aspect of
the characters, something flashy, readily identifiable, chic...and
something that made her look like a bad @$$. So I started with the
bicycling outfit with the circular chest cutout--something for the
padded bomber jacket and the moon boots, and Voila!
Platinum and Temple's outfits are just variations on Su's. Looking back
it, these outfits are something that Hollywood could translate exactly
is to the big screen with no alterations. They're solid designs...go
figure! This project, and Chris will back me up on this, seemed to be
"creating" itself from the get-go, so I'm still not sure if I created
Blonde's look or if she already existed somewhere and just "allowed" me
to draw her.
BB: Are there any general or
governing principles you tend to follow when conjuring up comic
characters? How might those have asserted themselves in
the case of Suicide Blonde?
GB: Several years
when my daughter, Megan, was five or six, I made the conscious decision
to never do comics that I couldn't show to a five
or six year old. That credo extended to Suicide Blonde in that, even
though this was considered a "mature readers" title due to its use of
sophisticated themes and graphic violence, all of which is mostly
implied and off panel,
I wouldn't design her as the typical girl-with-guns, big-breasted,
thong-wearing bimbo which is so prevalent in comics today--an arena
where titillation, it seems, is the overriding motivation. I wanted a
strong female lead that was drop dead gorgeous but not "slutty" about
it, someone that girls could identify with in an uplifting, empowering
BB: Above you note that the relative
ease with which you designed of these characters was unusual for you.
What’s that design phase like for
you typically, then? I ask, because all of your various character
so … effortless … to me.
GB: Ha! If by
you mean lots of crumpled up paper or scratched out drawings and
personal name calling then, yeah, "it's
Generally, I try to decide three things when I design a character.
First, what's the overriding motivation of the character? Second, how
can I break
that motivation down to simple-to-understand iconic images, and, third,
will it be fun and easy for me to draw over and over again. I'm really
lazy with my designs. I don't want an elaborate design to bog me down
hinder my storytelling. This is something that I stress to my kids in
cartooning classes, as well. They all want to draw these wildly
cluttered figures in
a Spawn motif and I tell them, "Yeah, it's cool looking, all right.
But, you know you'll have to draw those stupid chains and spikes and
claws and whatever every time." I'd much rather whip out 20 or 30
drawings of something that looks like Snoopy than one "cool" Spawn
BB: How important is serendipity to
this whole process? Does it play a arge part, or do you prefer to have
it all down and well planned to eliminate any chance of mistakes?
GB: On Suicide
serendipity was our watchword! Over half of the main elements just sort
of "created" themselves, and it all
seemed to work out just fine. I had this cute, little robot character
just lying around
in my files for a few years, doing nothing. So, when the time came, he
BKT. When the characters of Platinum Blonde and Temple Grey came at me
of nowhere, I made Temple black because there was no good, compelling
reason for him not to be. That wasn't conscious on either of our
parts-- in fact,
Chris never saw his design until the first pages with Temple in were
already drawn--and I've gotten several positive comments on the
matter-of-fact aspects of the inter-racial relationships being natural
and not there only
for shock value.
BB: Which then begs the question of
how you made their relationship seem so natural, so effortless and easy
in the visual sense? Did you have to consciously work on that aspect of
the “acting”, or did it just seem to happen naturally?
GB: I dunno...it
made complete sense that they all had some sort of cool "weapon". But,
from an advertising standpoint, I thought
they should be similar, yet different. Like Snap, Crackle and Pop; all
pixies and all three are hawking cereal, but you can tell them apart.
Since Su already had BKT, I gave Temple the jet pack and neat looking
staff, and Platinum, who I always saw as the "bad ass" of the trio,
had a blaster and her fists. She could fly on her own power. Their
uniforms were just variations on a theme.
As for staging, the name of the book is Suicide Blonde, so in any scene
with two or three of them, she generally was the "featured" player.
Platinum always has the "super hero" pose -- a "ready for action"
stance -- while Temple, as the
schemer...although, I never knew how scheming until I actually had the
"Pitch Black" script pages in my hand ready to draw
them...always stood kind of aloof and back from the women.
BB: I was curious how important the
physical bearing of the characters, what I just referred to as “acting”
is to you, in general and during specific scenes, as a storyteller?
Again, is this something that occupies
a lot of thought and energy for you, or does it just seem to flow
naturally from your pencil and pen onto the page with little or no
GB: Some thought
into it, probably as much as I think about anything I draw. I'm quite
instinctual about my art; if it looks good, keep it. But
it's really just a way to help me, in my mind, to stage a scene. For
instance, when they're battling the alien pirate hordes, Su was
generally shown fighting fairly and with some compassion; she only
killed when there
was no other option or the alien was much bigger than her--and armed
with huge teeth! Temple and Platinum were usually drawn much more
savagely, tearing into anything that moved. Temple was always kind of
smirking--he really enjoyed the blood bath--while Platinum was mostly
focused on the
task at hand. She was like a force of nature, like a tornado sweeping
small town. It doesn't care whether it levels the orphanage or the town
brothel; its function is to get from point "A" to point
"B" as quickly as possible, causing as much damage to the surroundings
as it can. That's our
Platinum. These were all just visual nuances, though, and any other
"subtleties" in their characters were Chris' responsibility.
BB: How about the page design
As an artist who's primary job isn't necessarily so much creating
pretty pictures filled with pretty people, but rather visually telling
a story, how important is the overall look and "movement" of the
pages--be it panel to panel, or from
page to page--to you?
GB: I've never been
of the basic "four to six" panel grid
that Jack Kirby used to such great effect. I got much more of a kick
out of some of the angular "cascading down the page" layouts that Nick
was using on the Silver Age Aquaman series. I want my pages to move the
in such a way that they not only feel compelled to turn the page, but
already done it by the time they become aware of it! Plus, Chris'
background as a pop artist allows him to craft stories that defer to
the art in big ways. You'll rarely read a Yambar-written story that has
more than five panels per page--he actually prefers three or four
panels per, as opposed
to DC and Marvel, which routinely uses six to eight panels per page. Go
ahead, count 'em. I'll wait...
See? More room for the artist--in this case, me--to flex in a Yambar
BB: Now does all that mean that
you've approached the page like a drill sergeant, very regimented and
precise, or has chance discover and even surprise played a part in
creating the pages of Suicide Blonde?
GB: It's somewhat
mixture. Sometimes the story demands a straight grid and others, I sit
there staring at a blank board and saying to myself
"Hmm...think I'll do these ones leaning to the left..."
Ultimately, it's all about what looks best in the end and tells the
story most clearly!
BB: Well, how do you go about
creating a comic page usually, and how might that have differed from
your work on Suicide Blonde, if at all?
GB: My layout sense
pretty ingrained into my psyche, so my
"serious" Suicide Blonde work follows pretty much the same layout specs
"big foot" cartoony stuff; only the drawing style itself tends to shift
from project to project.
I'm a force of nature, Bill! A force of nature, I say!
BB: Well, does this particular force
of nature start doing the visual work while it’s reading the script the
first time, perhaps making notes or
even thumbnails in the margins or on another sheet of paper, or do you
fully absorb a script before you begin to set down the visuals? Also, I
was wondering if your approach to the page change much when you’re the
one creating everything, from the script to the finished artwork?
GB: I usually find
quiet place and read the script through, mentally "visualizing" what I
think the scene will look like first, just
like most people do with a good book, but it plays out cinematically in
Then I sit down and start to pace it out statically for the comic page.
Sometimes I'll change the angles, or use close-ups where scenes were
panoramic in my
head, but, generally speaking, it pretty much looks on paper like I've
visualized it in my head. I do only the rare, occasional thumbnail.
way lies madness! Too many thumbnails would have me redrawing pages
four, five times--which, as an artist, never looks quite right to me,
so I could
redo stuff all day. And then nothing would ever get done! I have to
hard line with the art; just do it and move on. Noodling and fussing
my arch foes! I tend to take that stance whether I'm writing the
script, or Chris or someone else is writing it.
BB: Do you tend to pencil the entire
story and then hit the inks, or do you basically finish the work on one
page before going on to the next?
GB: Lots of times,
just penciling and someone like Ken Wheaton is doing the inks, so I
don't really care. But, when I'm doing it all,
pencils and inks, I like to finish a page completely before moving on
to the next--except when I don't! Yipes! How very John Kerry of me!
Basically, it's whatever catches my fancy on any given day, and what'll
move the project forward.
BB: What kind of tools – pencils,
pens, brushes, inks, etc. -- are you using these days, and how might
they differ from what you’ve used in the past? Also, what about each of
these make them your preferred tools of
GB: I do all my
with a technical pencil filled with non-photo blue leads. My inking is
a mixture of a Windsor Newton #3 sable Scepter
Gold brush, a Pentel Stradia plastic nib refillable pen, and the good
Sanford Sharpie. For the gray tones--since you can't find Zip-A-Tone
these days except in Japan--I do it all in Photoshop. That's my comfort
and I feel like I have the most control with these tools. Unlike the
late TV painter, Bob Ross, I detest "happy little accidents". That
however, I'd use a Sherwin Williams house paint roller if it'd do the
job I need done on a particular page. I'm...uh...a conservative rebel!
BB: How about paper? Do you have a
certain weight and tooth [i.e. surface texture] of paper you prefer, or
do you just use what’s on hand? And,
again, have your preferences changed over the years, and what is it
about those particular weights and surfaces that make it work for you?
GB: Bristol board,
pound, vellum finish. I can get pads of fifteen sheets for about seven
bucks at a local craft store. They're 14 X 17
inches instead of the industry standard 11 X 17 inches, so I just cut
extra three inches and save those scraps for sketching! I may be a
conservative rebel, but I'm a frugal little conservative rebel! Plus,
the unlined stuff
lets me draw my own panel and page borders and play with the layouts
more that those pre-lined boards. I don't like other people thinking
offense Blue-Line Pro! The big change between this paper and what I
as a kid is that, back in the day, I used whatever 8 1/2 X 11 bond
paper my grandmother brought me home from her cleaning lady job in a
office building. Generally the Bristol works much better, although I do
miss the law office letterheads on the back of each page...
BB: What advice might you have for
anyone who's trying to become a good, or better, artist?
GB: Like I'm always
telling my kids in my cartooning classes, draw draw draw! And don't
just copy that manga crap! Take figure drawing classes, learn to draw
clothing and folds, always remember that everything is affected by
gravity...and that anyone can make The Hulk thumpin' on The Thing look
exciting, but what about a businessman sitting on a couch
talking on the phone? Sometimes you have to draw boring stuff--attack
it, and become its master! Also, I always tell them the "unwritten
rules" of comics: "Robots and dinosaurs are cool. Penguins and monkeys
BB: What do you get, be it
personally or professionally, from creating comics and art? How about
Suicide Blonde? What did this particular project
do for you?
GB: I, like many of
peers, have this insidious, recessive mutant gene that kicks in around
nine years of age which forces me to draw comics.
It's all I can do, it's all I WANT to do. Intellectually, I know I
way more money--way, way more--doing something else, but this is who I
Birds must fly, fish must swim, George must draw. That's what I get
personally. Professionally, I usually get stuck with the check...
As for Suicide Blonde, it gave me a chance to stretch not only my range
an artist, but people's pigeonhole perception of me as "just a funny
cartoon artist". There's some meat, some darkness to Suicide Blonde
usually don't see in my work, but it still maintains my upbeat
sensibility and philosophy of life in many ways, I think.
BB: What do you hope readers get
from your work on Suicide Blonde, specifically, and from your work,
GB: If, twenty
the line, some thirty-something comes up to me in my dotage at a con
and says "Wow! That such and such book you did
when I was ten really affected me," or, "It changed my life," or
better still, "I was going through a bad time and it made me smile!"
then, young Jedi,
my work here will have been done. Just think how cool will that would
Minutes with George
Broderick, JR. on COMIC LIBRARY INTERNATIONAL, Working with Chris
Yambar, and Just
About Everything Else...
Wizard World -- 2001)
answered that question -- which had been posed by his frequent
Chris Yambar -- with a hearty "We're a Cartoon Machine!" he could
hardly have realized what that simple reaffirmation of their
goals would have upon their lives. Since that moment, these two
cartooning juggernauts -- who had previously produced a literal
cartoon strips and series, both individually and together -- have
literal explosion of creativity. And what's even more amazing is
simple fact that, while their production has dramatically increased
individually and collectively, the quality of that work has only gotten
better. And, when one sits back to consider the sheer excellence
previous output, this is a thing that is very, very
In this second half
our feature on this dynamic duo the spotlight falls on the life and
George Broderick. A well established comic book artist
with two decades of professional work to his credit, Broderick is
someone who lives and breathes comics. This fact is not only
his own strips, which range from the whacky nostalgia of Courageous Man
to the silent hilarity of Stardust
& Thor, but is also
apparent in the high quality production and contents of his ongoing Comic
Library International series
of anthologies and collections. Whether
he's presenting his own creations, or that of his peers, it's obvious
Broderick is doing his level best to offer readers exceptional comic
Let's start by talking about your work with that Chris Yambar
the two of you meet, when did you start working together, and what,
about his brand of demented humor and approach to cartooning appeals to
George Broderick: I first met Chris in 1995 at the
Pittsburgh leg of Dave Sim's infamous
"Spirits of Independence" tour. I also met Scott "Patty
Cake" Roberts there, but that's
a story for a different time.
Anyway, Chris was cruising the room as he does, checking out what
doing and spreading encouragement in his wake ... kinda like a big,
iceberg ... but my wife, Denise, was the one who actually started
him first, I was busy sketching something for someone. There was
connection there on a spiritual level -- we were all "Jesus guys", as
Chris puts it -- anyway, we started a dialogue and Chris sent us some Mr.
Beat comics. Denise loved
Platt and I was floored by a little
feature in the first issue about "popsickle stick puppet ministry"
[and] it was all downhill from there.
I like Chris's writing because it
challenges me and makes me think ... and, I only get about 80% of the
jokes. I'll probably keep working with him till I'm up to a
97-98%! [General laughter]
BB: Well, how do you two
typically work together? Let's start by examining the creation of
series or character; does one of you bring the new concept to the
other, or do
you two sit down and co-create in a brainstorming session, or is it all
and weirder than that?
GB: Usually, one or the other of us
will say something along the lines of,
"I'm thinking about a big, sweaty wrestler..." or, "wouldn't it
be cool if Courageous Man met the Fire-Breathing Pope"
or, "I had this idea in the shower..." (But it should be
mentioned that the first statement and the last are never, never
at the same time!) Then the other guy generally says something
smarmy and we're off to the races! The ideas and brainstorming
water, and we're not afraid to tell the other guy, "That's stupid"
or, "You're on drugs!" All this most frequently takes place in
the serving line at fine Oriental buffets across the tri-state
Pittsburgh/Youngstown area. Chris will then draw a sketch of the
... then, I'll draw it correctly [General laughter]. If some
concept cracks both of us up, we have a winner.
BB: As far as creating the
individual strips themselves it seems, at least lately, that he's doing
scripting and you're drawing; is that typical, and does it really break
that simply, or is there more to the process than would meet the eye by
glancing at the credits?
varies from strip to strip. We both have written and
hundreds of pages in our careers, so ego is a very small part of the
equation. [There's] none of this "I'm the writer" or "I'm
the artist" crapola, we get beyond that and into the "what's best for this
strip?" If I write it, fine. If I'm
just the penciller, fine.
Chris created it whole cloth, including the look of El Mucho,
came in and designed the look for El Chupacabra. When I
drew the two characters last May at Motor City, the art had Levi (Levi's
World) Krause and Mike (Burgerbomb) Churchill doubled
fits of laughter. Chris and I just looked at one another and
"Bingo!" On the other hand, Chris came to me with the concept
of Suicide Blonde in his head and I created the whole visual
that strip and threw in some plot ideas and suggestions for the
direction. Plus, this seems to be one of those strips where the
characters write themselves and we're just caretakers of the legacy, if
know what I mean.
BB: What are some of the highlights of
the projects you guys have coming out?
and foremost, I'm excited about Comic Library International.
This project was my baby from the get-go. I think we've done some
work with the first year's worth of the self-titled anthology and it
point that the market is ready for a more upscale read ... a change
from the 32
page pamphlet. It's been very successful for us and helped launch
new careers and/or jump-started some flagging ones.
anthology" concept is very exciting to me creatively and lets
explore some sadly overlooked genre choices -- like kid's comics,
fantasy and romance comics. The "Solovisions" are the gold,
though! I've got a Stardust & Thor book out [now,]
and a Courageous Man trade coming out in time for San
Diego. Chris has a
Fire-Breathing Pope [collection] out and will have three
Beat [collections] by year's end ... very cool!
The El Santo strip is
fun, as well. And we're doing some Atomic Mouse for
Fantasy Arts ... it's all about the icons, man!
BB: You're quite a prolific
your own right; when will we be seeing some comprehensive trade
all of your strips?
as I just mentioned, I've done a Stardust & Thor trade,
complete Courageous Man trade will be out in early July ...
foreword by my pal, Bill "Will Robinson" Mumy! Also, Shanda
Fantasy Arts is
releasing a 48 page Courageous Man book of all-new material
June/July. My online strip, Chase Villens, Boy Hero (for
Famous Comics at www.wfcomics.com/chase)
has just hit it's 100th weekly episode, and my first, full length Chase
Villens comic book story will finally see print this
October in CLI's "Monsters On Parade" [theme issue].
I've done a story for Brian
Clopper's second Brainbomb project. It's called "The
Joules" and is my whacked-out "Courageous Man Universe"
take on teams like the Fantastic Four and the Challengers of the
More Atomic Mouse, three issues of El Santo, some
developing my "Fearless Frog" strip (from CLI #6, Giant Size Itsy
Bitsy Comics) into a newspaper strip, a Courageous Man
story with Wes Alexander's "Stormfield" kids, and a new romance strip
called "The Torrid Loves of Taffy Poole" for CLI's Red Hot
Romance book due out February 2002
I need a nap!
Chris is right! I am a machine!
BB: So what's your own
creating comics, for yourself and others? Could you take us from
idea to finished concept of a character or strip, and from the blank
finished strip, with details on your scripting, layout and finishing
I write for myself, it stays in my head then just goes straight to
(usually in non-photo blue pencil) and I ink from my layouts.
envision situations and, as I'm drawing, little snippets of dialogue
to me and I'll write them in the margins. When the art is done,
script and dialogue ... sort of an internalized "Marvel style".
When I write for others it's
either full script or thumbnail layouts. Art for other inkers is
full pencils. I was taught early on (and I forget by whom),
your inker is a total idiot and try to "idiot-proof" your
pencils. This works for me and most of my inkers have been really
consummate professionals, but it's a peace of mind thing with
As far as the idea stage, my
strips tend to be throwbacks to the Fifties and early Sixties, when I
growing up, and the kind of comics I read and loved. [For
I'm in a Stanley and his Monster mood, I might create "Timmy
the Homunculus" or Mighty Mouse becomes "Fearless Frog" in my
world or some such like that. Most of my Courageous Man
scripts come when I sit down and re-read my old collection of Batman
Page Giants. Sometimes, I'll do stuff just for the
created Stardust & Thor (a pantomime strip) in direct
response to Courageous
Man (which is caption and dialogue intensive). Sometimes
strips based on road signs or street names I see while in the car
when I do that on road trips to various cons) ... or, as was the case
"Family Joules", you just can't underestimate the value of a really
atrocious pun for getting the old creative juices flowing!
BB: What lead you to create
Library International series,
and what do you hope to accomplish with it
... aside from becoming even richer than that Matt Groening guy
GB: CLI was started
as my attempt to think "outside the box" in
to format. European comics and, most especially, Manga come in
volumes or albums and the comic market in Europe and Japan is really
,,, they're accepted into everyday society ... and I thought, "Y'no,
I was in college, I used to feel ashamed of reading a comic on the bus,
no problems cracking open one of those Warren magazine format
Spirit or Creepy or The Rook comics."
perception that a 32 page disposable comic is somehow worth less than
with a spine. People will look at you funny if you're reading a
copy of Superman,
but won't give you a second glance if you're reading a Barbara Cartland
trashy romance novel.
So, I latched on to this idea [of]
"comics as literature" and how they deserved a spine and an ISBN
number and a $10-15 price point ... but a price that reflected content
you a good value for your dollar. [The simple fact is that,] in
comic market, ten bucks will get you three comics and a Snickers bar...
that same $10 can get you a CLI, with about five to seven
of content... such a deal! I had to talk Chris into the idea, but
layed out the math (the effort to sell 2 comics at a show is the same
effort to sell 2 CLI's ... but you're talking the difference
$6 and $20!), he latched onto the concept like a remora on a shark's
BB: So, how
new artist or
writer-artist team get their stuff into CLI -- aside from those hefty
bribes, that is?
into CLI, but it's mostly by invitation. [The
invites typically go to] people whose work we (Chris and I) like or
pros who have been doing it for awhile and have fallen on hard times in
market. [But it must be noted that] we are not anyone's
"golden parachute" or [a] "ticket to the Bigs". CLI is
not a way for some hot, young turk to circumvent paying
his dues. Jeez, I've been in this industry for twenty years and I'm still
[The thing is that,] every once in
a great while, we get to do something cool. We recently had the
opportunity to run an episode of Bill Morrison's Roswell, Little
[which was] pencilled by Dan DeCarlo! Dan Freakin' DeCarlo!
this was at a time where Archie had just unceremoniously fired the
their success. Dan got a lot of verbal support from the industry,
only Bongo (and us) would publish him! Now, that's a statement of
solidarity! Since then, other publishers have (wonderfully)
jumped on the
DeCarlo bandwagon ... this is so cool! That man's a giant!
Anyway, CLI is available
through your comic shop, Diamond and FM (some volumes are even
through Diamond's Star system), from Chris and I at shows (usually
or direct from the publisher through single orders or subscriptions...
in all CLI's, or you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
details [on how to get these books].
BB: Is there a method to your
cartooning madness? Is there an agenda behind your work, aside
trying to entertain your readers, or is it all about fluffy fun and
belly laughs... and discounts at many fine restaurants
nationwide. [All that,] and, of course, my ongoing crusade to
of the most beloved characters of American folklore.
BB: What do you and your
various projects offer readers that they aren't necessarily going to
ages fun that doesn't insult your intelligence, lock you into one genre
the other and [that] parents don't have to be afraid to show the
young'uns. And sophistication ... lots of sophistication.
swing a dead cat over your head around our books without smacking it up
alongside a sophisticated bit of humor or a sparkling bon mot of
Hmm, maybe I should start
including those discount restaurant coupons ... y'think?
Baker is a veteran comics journalist whose work has been seen
regularly in the pages of Cinefantastique, Comic Book Marketplace,
International Studio and other magazines, as well as on numerous
websites. Bill also hosts the "Baker's Dozen" column, which features
interviews with creators of comic books other Pop Culture, for
www.WorldFamousComics.com. You can learn more about Bill's work by
visiting his blog, http://specfric.blogspot.com or
www.BloodintheGutters.com, his professional
Baker currently lives and works in wilds of the Upper Peninsula of
Michigan, USA, for reasons unknown.