Written by: Alejandro Rodriguez, Special to CC2K
I was lucky enough to get an interview with indie comic book king Jeffrey Brown at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con. He has written over a dozen graphic novels and even became the subject of a documentary, Drawing Between the Lines, not to mention that he is now a father. Even with his busy schedule he was nice enough to give me the time to interview him. You can check out our review of Brown's graphic novel Unlikely here .
CC2K: What do you have coming out later this year?
Jeffrey Brown: The next issue of Sulk is coming out. It’s a collection of short, 20 page stories, dealing mostly with Science Fiction – including a giant monster story and a story about a boy and his robot best friend.
CC2K: What are you planning to do in the upcoming year?
JB: I’m working to the sequel to Cat Getting Out of the Bag and an upcoming follow up to The Incredible Change -Bots dealing with Shootertron on Earth after the end of the first book, and the rest of the Change-Bots who left for space, but end up returning to Earth.
CC2K: What/Who inspired you to write and draw?
JB: My dad was my first inspiration, just waiting with him at restaurants, drawing on placemats until the food came. The second being Marvel Comics, especially X-Men, and later on the French cartoonist Moebius.
CC2K: Do you find writing/drawing to come naturally or do you still have trouble coming up with ideas?
JB: At this point it comes pretty naturally. The real hassle is starting new books, it takes a while to get the momentum running, but drawing is an everyday habit for me, so generally it comes naturally.
CC2K: You’ve been creating alternative comics for a while now, do you still read any mainstream comic books?
JB: Yes, I’ve been reading a lot of Grant Morrison’s work, like All Star Superman. I’ve also been reading Old Man Logan and Fables, and 100 Bullets until it just ended.
CC2K: What was it like having your life recorded for Drawing Between the Lines?
JB: It was weird. I mean, it’s weird enough reading about myself, but watching myself talk about myself drawing stories about myself is even weirder.
CC2K: I’ve always felt that your stories were a way of personal therapy-especially the girl friend trilogy. Am I right, or do you think those are stories that just needed to be told?
JB: The therapy happened before the writing. The writing was a way to record the therapy, and it’s always been a way to help others in the same situations. I think I try to write stories that I feel would've helped me when I was going through those situations.
CC2K: What’s it like to be a father?
JB: I really enjoy it. It’s definitely changed my perspective on life. It’s also been a learning experience to spend time working and being with my son, to balance out being a father with being an artist.
CC2K: How did you establish your relationship with Top Shelf?
JB: I sent them Clumsy and they rejected it, but they offered to help me with distribution. When Clumsy was solicited through Diamond, the orders were for more copies than I had left. So we started a relationship when I was self-publishing and it grew from there.
CC2K: Are there any alternative comic creators who you enjoy reading?
JB: Dan Clowes, Chris Ware… I enjoyed David Mazzuchelli's new book. My friends Paul Hornschemeier and Anders Nilsen are still among my favorites. Most creators from Top Shelf, Fantagraphics and Drawn and Quarterly are ones I enjoy. I read most of the books put out by those publishers.
CC2K: Will you being doing any other parody books of classic 80’s cartoons? I know you like cats-so maybe a Thundercats book?
JB: No, probably not. The only other one I’d want to do is maybe G.I. Joe. (It was at this moment that a fan right next to me said, “You know they’re having a parody G.I. Joe coming out soon.”) I might also want to do a Star Wars spoof.
CC2K: Your work with Death Cab for Cutie was great. Will we be seeing you work with them or another band anytime soon?
JB: I don’t know if I’ll be doing any work with them any time soon, but I’ve done album art for the bands Plugs and Mewgatz. It's fun to work with bands I enjoy, but drawing comics is always what I enjoy doing most.
CC2K: Since the Brit has gone legit, who will Bighead’s next arch-enemy be?
JB: I do have some Bighead stories planned, but I don’t have any villains planned… I'll have to work on that. The next Bighead project is going to have stories based on my experiences working at bookstores, so I'll have to see who those villains are.