This is was a take on Spawn #10. I’ve replaced the colors and removed them from the original version. At this point in time I still had no idea who Dave Sim was. Stick was a character created by my brother. His side kick may have been something like Mr. Monkey man or something like that. Can’t remember at all.
Oddly enough I was flipping through a magazine at Larissa’s work place break room when I stumbled across this really beautiful coat. If you see Straw Man’s reaction it kind of echoes mine at the time. I carefully tore the ad out of the magazine and took it home. I didn’t know what I was going to do with it but I just knew I’d like try putting Straw Man in that coat.
Let’s see… I was probably just finishing up issue 7 thinking more specifically about 9 and 10 and how I was going to hit certain marks and I thought, maybe I can do a smaller story and do something with the coat. Issue 10 is/was going to be kind of a filler issue. It’s going to tie up loose ends so I can get to the story I want to tell. I thought what a perfect time to do smaller stories that can be short little character pieces.
I had several reasons for breaking them up into smaller chunks
1. I wanted to see if I could get a comic out faster but focusing on a smaller story. I thought, one page a weekend and I’ll have this thing done in 4 months! That didn’t happen.
2. Cross-promotion potential. People always want material for anthologies so I thought, why not have some self contained stories that are ready to go.
3. by having one story in one place the potential new reader may look for the rest of the story in issue 10. Theoretically I’d have 4 sources of new readers.
4. An opportunity to try a different style. I think what happens on a larger issue is that I’m thinking, should I keep drawing like this? Because I’d really like to do it like (insert random artist name). I wanted to explore style because I know how important it is to feel comfortable with the work you’re doing.
I knew for a fact I wanted to try to do an Eric Powell wash style. In some ways this really worked for me. I used everything from brushes, pin nibs, markers, and ink washes to get that look. I even did some digital manipulation to achieve certain results. This multi-layer approach seemed to work to some extent.
With part 2 I did a 5 page Jeff Smith riff. I experimented with using a blue line pencil. I approached my solid blacks similar to what he does and gave the characters a little more bounce than I normally do. I learned a lot from doing this too. Even though it didn’t look like Jeff Smith– my pages still looked better because I spent more time drawing and less time guessing.
Part 3 — About half way through now, started off being a Craig Thompson tribute. I got Blankets from the library and carefully studied his travelogue book to see how I could get his ink style down. I dived into this page and 5 minutes in I knew I had made a terrible mistake. It just looked BAD. Like I had thrown out 10 years worth of learning, bad. (Incidentally this issue of Straw Man probably has more white out in it than the entire first issue!) Big lesson from this one? Just draw like yourself. You can’t make people like you. They can’t help but to be attracted to what you do. Don’t even try to be anyone else. So as a result this is part is going to be kind of a “lessons applied” section and not necessarily a tribute.
Even though I started off with the idea of doing 4 parts, I ended up with 3. You see while out promoting issue 9 of Straw Man I opened my big mouth to a Gary Scott Beatty. Stupid me. You see a couple of months go by and Gary’s like “Hey David, I’m REALLY going to put out this Indie Comics Magazine” and I need 400 some odd dollars and I need your work done in one month. See one thing I wasn’t betting on was how crazy life would get when Larissa got pregnant. I mean you have to be there every minute you’ve got and suddenly those hours after work… those are going to breathing classes.
(True story: I had my calendar out and I was working hard on Straw Man and loosing weight and I was writing stuff down. I was really determined to pick up speed and hold myself accountable. I was on the right track. Smooth sailing and then just as I was getting into the swing of things we found out Larissa was pregnant. And the house of cards fell…)
Gary’s story then needed to be 8 pages long instead of the planned 5. So this threw things off balance. But it was good thing because one of the stories ended up merging with what I wanted to do on issue 11.
I’m really proud about the writing I did on the Indie Comics Magazine. Not necessarily the final product but how I got there. I usually don’t take the recommended steps to writing that everyone suggests. This time I spent more time in the planning stage than normal. The story was supposed to open with this kid throwing rocks at Straw Man and to escape he goes into the men’s clothing store. But that didn’t really seem to resonate with me. At first it was just supposed to be some random kid and I had another story where straw man bumps into the kid at a hot dog vendor. I thought maybe after all these years he ends up with this crummy job. I still kept thinking about, what’s the point of Straw Man getting the new coat anyway? I then thought, well I could COMBINE the two stories. Make the hot dog kid the stone throwing kid and move that to the end of the story. I then had to give the kid a motivation to remember Straw Man (this is a pay off from the alley way drug bust from issue 1) and to really hate Straw Man. So I killed his mom.
The theme of the issue is this heaviness that happens when people just start hating Straw Man for one reason or another. So giving Straw Man a double dose of hatred really makes you feel something for the character. The fact that he wants to return the coat makes him sympathetic and misunderstood. He really wants to do good and be helpful and you can feel that heaviness when nothing works out for him.
I went for the Spider-man homage because it paralleled what Straw Man was thinking. I liked the idea of this BIG SUPERHERO moment happening in a real quiet way.
Another cool and unexpected things to come out of issue 10 is all the cross promoting that’s going on. I’ve illustrated James Smith “Mr. Monkey Bags” story, Max Ink is contributing 3 Blink Pages, Steve Peters is going to send me some Sparky pages and loan out his character for a 1 page gag. Mike Kitchen is throwing in his 2 page independent comics strip and we’re even considering a 1 or 2 page collaboration.
I never read Chaykin’s Big Black Kiss. After reading “editing the graphic novel” in Following Cerebus I did check out Blankets, Louis Reil, and the Dropsie Avenue trilogy. All of which I enjoyed at different levels. Blankets was superb storytelling but I felt sorry for the main character. Dropsie Avenue was brilliant. I loved every minute of it. But I couldn’t really get into the Spirit! With Louis Reil I think you could feel the insanity creeping into it.
Didn’t the Bigger, Blacker Kiss come out in a Melmoth issue? Wasn’t that before the misogynist thing?
Now I’ll Ask You One:
So far our conversation has been very pleasant and even exciting at times. In some ways I think it’s the opposite of what people expect from Dave Sim. I say that because it seems as if maybe there is some kind of “fear” out there of you. People respect your work, people will acknowledge your contributions to self publishing but I think people are just afraid they’re going to get bit. I think you play on a very even field and abide by the Golden Rule. I think you expect people to play fair and honest, and if they don’t it’s not worth the time. In my mind what else could you or should you expect from another person?
If you look at things from an outside perspective– the no email, no internet, and virtually no phone — you look like an impenetrable fortress. I think people look at that and say it’s not worth it.
I know you don’t want “friends” and I can understand why. It’s hard enough doing a monthly book and putting people into the mix can slow you down. How would then you prefer to work with and interact with others? In an ideal situation how would you expect to be treated? What is your tolerance level for people who don’t understand that about you?
Here’s some other comments:
I made the comment about “anyone who thinks Dave Sim wants people to get divorced is hooey” because someone specifically said “Anyone who works with Dave Sim ends up divorced’.” Completely uncalled for.
I just got the new issue of Glamourpuss and I got to say I really enjoyed it. Read it from cover to cover (except for the Johnny Mcphanbot stuff) Do you really need letters that bad or is this just another part of Glamourpuss?
I noticed a few technical glitches (like 4-color blacks instead of 100 %K) The text was kinda fuzzy. My suggestion is to make sure those are all 100%K as well. I’m not sure how the book was printed but it’s such a low number that they may have not shot plates for it. They may have just run the interiors on a really good copying machine.
There were a few times that I was reading through the issue where I thought the design choices you’re making looked great. I liked the way you were playing with type on the quotes from the female writer. My favorite was “Nothing was asked of me. I had only to be exactly what I was and a man’s desire transformed me into a miracle of perfection” I read that a few times to really let it soak in. It’s like poetry.
Some good news came in today on the petition sheet. Three new names signed up today. We’re getting close to 300.
I think it comes down to a few things:
1. Right time/right place.
2. Quality Storytelling
3. First impressions and first exposures
I think I could have just as well followed Sal Buscemea or Walt Simonson if the conditions were right. But to be fair I loved Todd McFarlane too. I don’t know if kids pick up on this stuff but there was something radically different between Todd’s run on the (adjectiveless) Spider-Man and Erik’s 7 issues. I still like Todd’s stuff but there’s something undeniably fascinating about what Erik brings to the table. He has an ability to take any situation and amp up the danger and intensity within the story. He’s able to paint his characters into a corner and then pull them out in a spectacular fashion. Essentially he’s inventive and he always moves the story forward. He makes decisions that are difficult and he doesn’t repeat himself. There’s a lot to admire about what he does. If you think about it, how many new “non-title” characters created by Marvel in the last 40 years have had any lasting value. You take almost any idea Jack Kirby had and even the “bad’ ideas are still around in some way or another. Erik’s imagination is so vivid that he can create and then destroy characters that are just as memorable as those characters from the 60’s.
I think also as a consumer you look for a brand that you can invest in and what you feel like has value to the creator. If the creator puts himself into the book, if he invests himself in his work, it’s always better and it’s always consistent. I don’t feel ripped off or feel like it’s some cheap ploy to increase sales if Erik, on a whim, decides to kill the Savage Dragon and then bring him back 10 issues later.
I don’t know if I intentionally sought out these “marathon’ guys but it’s undeniable the kind of character they bring to the table. On the opposite side of the spectrum you have a guy like Rob Liefeld who was the superstar and was part of that big push to form Image. His artwork has certainly dipped out of popularity but I’m beginning to see that he’s developing a real good work ethic. He was one of those guys who was notoriously late and I think he’s worked pretty hard to address that issue. The SIN WARRIOR was certainly a nod to the over blown Image characters of the 90’s. I did realize that even though he is often imitated his specific style is too random and too ROB to ever be copied perfectly. I’ve come to appreciate that he is what he is and admire him for the things he has accomplished. I know that’s not the popular opinion but it’s how I feel. I don’t think I would have come to that conclusion if I didn’t try to imitate Rob. There’s this video on youtube where a few guys give Rob a copy of “How to Draw Comics the Marvel way”, the implication being “learn how to draw, dummy”. I think they’re missing the point all together. If Rob didn’t draw like Rob he would have never broke in any other way.
Getting back to your Erik Larsen question. No doubt Erik has had a huge impact on how I think about comics and what matters about them. Erik created a very interesting character called “Cheeseburgerhead” that came out a few years ago. It was a 6 page gag in POPGUN. Erik just ran with this idea of, what would happen if you suddenly woke up with a real life Hamburger for a head. Not a mask, not “headgear”, but a real- juicy “I can eat this” Hamburger. This is the kind of thing he does when he just cuts loose. I think he loves the “Superhero” story so much that he can’t let go of it. He recently put out an oversized book called “Herculian” that blew me away. His cranky hand lettering and his faux 4-color process comics just really gel in a way that nobody else can do. It has this funkiness that’s visceral. I love that stuff.
Recently Erik revived a lot of Golden Age characters and found a way to work them into his book. He’s also doing a semi-annual book called “The Next Issue Project”. A what would happen “if” the book was still being published and drawn by great artists. This really struck me as a bold creative move. It immediately made me think of all the abandoned characters of my childhood. Even though they’re complete rip offs of these established characters they remind me of all the awe and wonder of what I liked about comics in the first place.
Comic books are supposed to be explosive fun. They’re supposed to be imaginative and they’re meant to exist just to the left of impossible.
All those childhood characters were honest attempts at doing something serious and unique. I honestly thought, this is the stuff I’m going to do when I’m older. Incidentally Erik did the same thing as kid. Instead of just drawing pin-ups and cover layouts, Erik produced somewhere around 50 comics when he was a teenager! Erik ended up working in the best material into his ongoing Savage Dragon comic. Now I think I could appoach those characters with a knowing nod and do something better than if I just played it straight.
I look at Savage Dragon and Cerebus as two different mediums. Yes, they’re both comics but I think there’s a big difference between their literary merit. Cerebus is literature, with comic book dressings. Savage Dragon is a big action packed soap opera. Two different things, but still enjoyable for what they are.
I think Cerebus takes it’s time to explore ideas and push cultural boundaries. It’s almost like a prolonged scientific experiment– carefully building intensity. Erik works from a gut reaction and invents new ideas and drops them without a second thought.
I’ve thought a lot about how these two influences– Dave Sim and Erik Larsen– have impacted me. I want that energy and excitement that Erik gets across, but I want that breathtaking beauty that you and Ger were able to achieve. Maybe an ideal mix would be when Cerebus went on that bloody rampage at the beginning of Mothers and Daughters. It seems like those two styles run in opposite directions of each other.
Undoubtably Erik had an influence on my early creations too. One of my favorite books was called “Odds & Ends”. My number 1 hero, Sharkstooth, had just lost an epic battle. He was critically wounded and it looked like the bad guy was going to win. In the crowd were several on-lookers who were terrified that the bad guy was going to kill the President! Crowd logic states that if something bad is happening nobody steps up to do anything about it. So in my story all these weird and possibly useless heroes come out of the woodwork to stop the bad guy. One of my favorite and goofy creations is this guy who has ten arms and no legs. Now that’s really hard to draw and completely bizarre! Erik would do things like “doubleheader” who, as you guessed it, had a head stacked on top of another to form one face.
I like what Erik’s doing now a lot more than his early 90’s stuff. He was really trying to be Frank Miller more in those early issues. I think he’s run through all his influences and I think a more consistent Erik is showing up. Every now and then he throws a curve ball but for the most part that ‘old’ vibe of the 60’s comics mixed with his cartooning instincts are the norm. I really relish these side projects he does because he’s not constrained by any pre-established style or narrative procedure.
Erik has probably had the most influence on my layouts, character poses, and dialogue between characters.
I find it interesting that both Mike Kitchen and I are both big fans of you and Erik Larsen and the band Smashing Pumpkins. All three are known for their massive creative output. Maybe just the fact that we can appreciate the work — maybe that effects our tastes?
Now I’ll Ask You One:
I mentioned Erik’s 24-Hour comic “Herculian” earlier. That’s how I became aware of Scott McCloud and the 24 hour comic concept. Can you talk about your 24 hour comic, “Bigger, Blacker Kiss?” Did anything positive come out of that experience? What were some of the reactions at the time? I liked the layouts of the pages. They didn’t really seem rushed and the character seemed pretty believable. Did this effect Cerebus at all or your approach to storytelling?
If that’s not enough question, how did the “world tour jam” come about?
Here’s a link to the 24 comic Bigger, Blacker, Kiss http://www.jazzbastards.org/artofdavesim/artofdavesim_Bigger%20Blacker%20Kiss.htm
Well first thing’s first Larissa really enjoyed her birthday present. I promised her I’d get a weekend job to help out. To anyone who thinks Dave Sim wants people to get divorced that’s a load of hooey.
Second I want to say the stuff about Gene was good. I actually was looking for stuff more like that. It made a lot of sense and it’s good cautionary tale about how to balance work and life. I’ll admit the first time I’d heard of the “Day Prize” I had no idea what it meant. I simply thought it was the prize of the day and not a tribute to Gene. What made me feel worse about this was I was holding a copy of Black Zeppelin when I found out what it meant!
(For those of you who don’t get this reference, Black Zeppelin is the posthumous anthology magazine that Gene was working one before he died. And if you don’t know how he died you really should Google it. It says a thing or two about where Marvel’s priorities lie)
Third, I really like your question because I think a lot of us tend to romanticize the 60’s and what was going on at that time. I mean some really important stuff came out of that time period and a lot of us take our own youth for granted. I was really sandwiched perfectly between two worlds. The traditional print age and the Internet age. My generation had to figure out how to respond to that change (by stealing everything we could get our hands on!)
There was a lot of upheaval in the 90’s. A lot of stuff was changing. I was a big fan of Erik Larsen’s run on the Amazing Spider-man. I don’t know if it was his art or the character, but I did feel like something special was gone when he was no longer working on the book. I followed his transition from the Adjectiveless Spider-Man to the first issue of Savage Dragon. Between issue 350 of ASM and issue 19 of Spider-man and Savage Dragon #1 a huge shift in tone had occurred. Suddenly on the first page was a gallon of blood and curse words like pot holes on a highway. It was scary and edgy for a 13 year old. I remember my parents were still under the illusion that #1’s were still worth something. My copy of Savage Dragon #1 still has a distinct musky smell from being kept in the cedar chest.
Wizard magazine, now that I think about it, was the hub for the entire comic book hive. It was definitely a propaganda tool to promote the newest and biggest number 1 from the newest and greatest publisher. We would frequently check the price guide in the back to see how much our new comics were worth. We’d look at the top ten artists to see if our favorites were on top. The book really helped define what the Image movement was all about it. It was exciting, different, and edgy. You know you could read a comic once and put it away, but Wizard was something that you shared with your friends. It was the kind of thing you would hold on to for a while and when you were done reading about everything you liked you’d move on to reading about the “boring” stuff. The fan art, the tutorials, the interviews with creators, it was all a fan could ask for.
It was weird watching Wizard slowly become an entertainment magazine. It’s offshoots became books of their own (Toy Fair) and it was all good and entertaining. I’m not sure if anyone will remember something called “Cinescape” but it was a really cool magazine that came out at the time. It was perfect for the internet because the magazine’s entire substance was based on a few factual tidbits and a lot of speculation. I remember it being pretty thin and not coming out too regularly. But because all we had was dial up AOL that took 5 minutes to download one image, Cinescape was perfect for us. They would cast comic book based movies without any hopes that such a movie would exist. It is ironic that they pegged Patrick Stewart for the role of professor x, YEARS before any X-Men movie would be made.
Years later I found the magazine online at www.cinescape.com which eventually mutated into www.mania.com. Now it’s a standard news website that dishes out the newest comic book movie and sci-fi news. Who would have thought that Superhero Movies would be so en vogue 20 years later? Sometimes I wish good epic movies would be released that have nothing to do with the coming of Galactus. I enjoy a good “film” every now and then but it seems our generation is primed and ready for an “Event” movie every two weeks. I think it started with Star Wars. I think after waiting 20 years for something new we all wanted to be there first. People would wait in line days before the actual release of the movie just to say they could be there first. What we’re getting now is this resurgence and capitalization on all these childhood memories. Then they turn them into collectors items that have no value and they end up being 10 cents at yard sale. I’m thinking specifically of the onslaught of Star Wars merchandize that came out of the new movies., None of which seemed authentic or as aesthetically pleasing as the toys I had as a child. But speculators bought this stuff in bulk, and now it’s everywhere you look.
I’ll admit that I really got hooked into Superman when the killed him in the 90’s. But I think they offered a pretty entertaining story to go with it. The mystery of “who” is the real Superman was fun. I feel a lot sour grapes for a few things that went on back then. The straw that broke the camels back had to have been the 14 part Maximum Carnage story line that was rushed out in 2 months. I liked the Venom character, I loved Spider-man, so it seemed like a no-brainer. Problem was I had a two comic book a month allowance. That was it. So somehow I had to convince my Dad to let me get this thing. So I used every trick in the book, I got my brother to help too. I missed a few issues but I got a LOT more than I should have. It was crazy. And it was utter garbage. Let me summarize for you, Carnage comes back to life, lots of guest stars, Spider-man doesn’t think he can beat him, he won’t resort to killing him even though he’s killing lots of other people, finally Spidey gets ticked off enough to try to kill him, and Venom helps. The end. Do you REALLY need 14 issues to do that? I really just hated what had happened to me. I had to work hard for that overpriced, over fluffed, stupid story.
That was the end for me. I bought a few more comics but I had checked out. I started spending my money on music.
I want to mention also how big of an influence Image was on me. First it showed me the importance of what a good creator can offer a book. I think when they all left Marvel there was nothing that looked good. It all seemed uninspired by comparison. It might have to do with the new coloring techniques they were using, or the density of the paper, or how nothing looked familiar, but it left a huge hole over at Marvel. Second, it really taught me a lot about being an entrepreneur. I think a lot kids in the 70’s and 80’s must have fantasized about one day working for Marvel or DC. When I was a kid I fantasized about starting my OWN company and having my OWN creations. My company was called “Sight” comics. This was an homage to “Marvel” and “Image”. I could see how Images books were just dressed up Marvel books and so I just stole from both of them and made my own stories up using similar ideas. My brother created a guy called “The Bat” who was a big rip off of Spawn and Batman, with the plot of the Terminator.
That was another deal about creating Straw Man. I wanted to steer clear of all that “old stuff” that I had come up with as a kid. I think I recognized that it was all regurgitated stories and designs.
This is what Marvel and DC had in their favor. Ubiquitous characters. Batman and Superman movies, an established line of comics, action figures, and cartoon shows. They seemed big. But man it was sure fun watching Image take a swipe at them.
NOW I’ll ASK YOU ONE… or TWO!
One of the things you’ve been consistently praised about in Cerebus is your lettering and sound effects. How would you go about reproducing music as a visual element? How has music played a part in Cerebus? I think you and Ger were playing music at some point too. I’m curious about how that transpired and if it was “fun”. How would you rate your ability to play, what instrument did you play? Have you listened to Mike Allred’s “The Gear” and how could it be conceivable to make a living doing both comics and music? Would it be wise to focus on one only?
I didn’t really have an opinion of Steve Ditko before asking that question. I had just recently watched a documentary about him and I could really see some parallels between the two of you. One of my favorite episodes of Cerebus TV was the introduction of the C- kid and all that he represents. He’s essentially what the Roach is to To Captain America, a perfect parody of Mr. A. Knowing this I wanted to see what your reaction to the “out there” perception was. Yeah, and it’s amazing how long he’s been doing his thing. That takes character. That’s probably one of the biggest parallels between you and Mr. Ditko. In this case you can look at his situation with a little bit more of an outsider point of view. This is another situation which you had an opportunity to call the “kettle black” and you didn’t. I think that shows how fair minded you are in a pretty objective way. I hope that comes across as a compliment.
I think if you watch any of the new superhero movies coming out you’ll find a pretty familiar theme going on. Two sets of characters both have something incredible happen to them at the same time. One becomes evil and the other good, usually brought out by the same story device that alters the hero. The good guy has fun exploring his powers and learns how to deal with them. In the epic finale , the villain draws comparisons to the hero saying something like “You and I aren’t so different”. The two fight for 10 to 15 minutes and something that was introduced from the beginning of the film is the one thing that is able to stop the bad guy. The end.
And there is a lot of fist pounding going on. Part of the reason I created Straw Man in the first place was to create a hero that didn’t follow the traditional superhero path. I didn’t want an alien from another planet, I didn’t want a vigilante, and I didn’t want him to be bitten by a radioactive straw. Those stories have been told. Granted they’re a lot of fun to draw and I can see why people want to keep them going.
I had at least 50 comic book characters created as a kid. I could probably trace them back in one form or another to Marvel and DC creations. When I became pretty serious about doing a comic book I really wanted to something completely unique. I wanted something that would draw people in ( or suck people in as it were). So I decided to take the hard road and create a character that almost no one would relate to. I thought if I work on getting the non-flashy elements right then once I decided to do a big superhero comic then things would really kick into high gear. I purposely sabotaged myself to make the journey more worth it. I was under the delusion that I was going to be SO good that Marvel and D.C. would come begging for me. HA!
Dirty Frank was the closest thing I’ve done to just “letting go” and writing a really menacing character. Believe it or not the “Frank” in Dirty Frank is not a reference to Frank Miller but to the obscure Pearl Jam song “Dirty Frank” (It’s about a crazy bus driver who the band thinks is eating their groupies) For moral reasons I just can’t have my characters swear, even though it violates the core of the character. I feel like this leaves some of my characters being a little vanilla, even though I have the ability to write them as being more colorful. (and in case you’re wondering why I tried to ape Frank Miller, it was a combination of seeing the newly released Sin City movie and having to draw a write a comic in two weeks. I needed believable black backgrounds!)
I know Glamourpuss herself is ultra feminist, but have you thought about doing a new book under a different name with a more feminist slant just to see if your name and ideas are the problem with sales?
Now to address your question. It kinda goes back to what I was saying earlier about not following the traditional superhero path. For some reason in the book there must be conflict. You come up with a design for a character and a joke or two and then you have to figure out why everything comes together. The joke that got the idea rolling was this hyper deodorant commercial where these dodgeballs are being used to represent the deodorants ability to seek out and destroy odor. It was so over the top and “Extreme” that I just couldn’t help but think it would make a silly idea for a new villain. I started with that premise and kept peeling it back like an onion. So why is he obsessed enough with deodorant to wear a costume all the time? In my world Super Heroes don’t exist so I have to have a reason why people dress up like that. I had to do the same thing with “Captain Omnipotent” in issue 3. The joke I really wanted to tell was the “Captain Obvious” joke. I wanted a character who thought he was smart but he kept doing the predictable. I may have not perfected that idea, but that’s how it came about.
So I had to come up with this realistic situation… “What if he works as a spokesman for a company and he’s so devoted that he never takes his clothes off.” Ok, but what’s the conflict? Well what if Straw Man took his job? Part of the plot up this point had one purpose, how do you turn an average ordinary guy (who’s crazy) into a guy everybody knows. It’s kinda like Spider-man. Everyone in the Marvel universe knows who Spider-Man is, even if they don’t live in New York. So for the Super Hero with no Super Powers idea to work I needed him to be famous. I needed him to attack a bigger than life villain so he could have a real battle. And if you notice you can really see the seeds of how a little fight with Captain Omnipotent turned into being hired by the Priest, to fighting the Sin Warrior, to taking down Dirty Frank, to become a hero overnight.
I really like your observations about issue 9 but I don’t think it was that intentional. Issue 10 is called “Has Been” and that’s where the character development gets really interesting to me. He famous and he’s been turned into to someone who’s infamous. He’s alienated his friends and just about everyone in his life throughout that process. At this point the character of Straw Man is really dealing with a lot. He’s never intended to hurt his friends or cause pain, but just by being him and being true to himself he’s naturally eroded those friendships that are around him.
To answer the last part of your question, I think that the whole point of Straw Man has been to expose the silliness of the Hero vs. The Villain cliche. It seems like the harder Spider-Man fights to save the day and keep the streets of New York safe a hundred different villains come out of the woodwork to make his life more miserable. I mean being overwhelmed like that makes for great drama, but it’s nothing like real life. Most people just want to be normal and happy and get by and if they want lots of stuff they find a way of getting it. Very few people are just hellbent on being evil. Even if you did have superpowers it would take a lot dedication to have any effect like that on a global scale. I mean most people are just indifferent.
Now I’ll Ask You One: Can you wish Larissa a Happy Birthday? he he
Who are some of your heroes and what are some of the best things you’ve learned from them? Any great advice you can pass down from the masters? I’m thinking specifically about Will Eisner and Gene Day. What are some good things to come out of Cerebus? (other than the ability to mention your name and the phrase “6000 page graphic novel” in any conversation)