Hey Everyone, been a while since I’ve been able to post up one of my interviews. The intention of these interviews is to shed a bit of light to NON comics readers on the glory that is comics. Chances are if you’re reading this you already know that comics are the most creative, original and innovative form of entertainment available. So in these interviews I ask people who are unfamiliar with comics to give them a shot. I interview them about their interests and entertainment tastes and than try to match some great comics to their specific interests. We’ve had a pretty good ratio of past interviewee’s getting a better understanding of what today’s comics are and I hope to keep that going.
I quickly want to address the reason why these interviews have been delayed in coming out. #1 reason is that I transcribe them. Which takes forever. I want to get the exact tone of the conversations down and it takes time. What do you REALLY know about comics will be moving to a podcast format in the near future but just to deliver some content I’m putting up some of the interviews still in text format to let you guys know I’m still at it.
#2 is because I also I have my first book SCAM#1 from ComixTribe hitting stores TOMORROW. So if you like what I’m doing here and want to see what happens when I put this passion and energy into a comic, PLEASE go check it out at your local retailer. It’s about a crew of super powered conmen on the heist of their lives. So get in on the SCAM tomorrow!
Okay enough talk, let’s get on with the interview. Today’s guest is Gus. Gus is 34, lives in NYC and is a teacher. So let’s see exactly what Gus REALLY knows about comics.
JoeMulvey: Gus, first off thanks very much for doing this.
Gus: No problem.
JoeMulvey: Okay, so when I say-Comic Books- what’s the first thing you think of?
Gus: Superman. Is that how we do this? Is it like a rorschach test?
JoeMulvey: Ha, no. But that is a pretty funny idea. I just want to know what you think of when you hear the word comics.
Gus: Comics is different. Comics I think stand up comics or even newspaper comics. Blondie or the Lockhorns but comic BOOKS makes me think of Superman.
JoeMulvey: Ok and what do you think of comic books? Beyond Superman, what would you say you know about them?
Gus: They’re small little paper books with cartoons about superheroes.
JoeMulvey: Okay and where would you find them?
Gus: Uh, Corner stores. Check out lines. Maybe a pharmacy.
JoeMulvey: Book Stores?
Gus: There too.
JoeMulvey: Okay and what do you think of comics?
Gus: What do I think of them? Like, like them or not?
JoeMulvey: Anything. Just what you think of them?
Gus: They’re kids stories about superheroes.That’s pretty much it.
JoeMulvey: Okay and you don’t read them?
Gus: As a kid I think I read some. I remember watching the cartoons more though.
JoeMulvey: As an adult have you seen any of the movies based on comics?
Gus: Oh yeah, a ton. I just saw the Dark Knight Rises. So that’s Batman, right? And Avengers was good.
JoeMulvey: Would you consider those kids movies at all?
Gus: No. I’d say they are for everybody. Well maybe not Batman, that’s definitely like PG-13. But Avengers or Thor or IronMan, those are for everyone. Oh the old Christopher Reeves Superman, liked those.
JoeMulvey: Right, I get you. But can I ask what is it about the books that you feel are just for kids but when it’s a movie it’s for everyone?
Gus: I don’t know, it’s just a movie. Movies kind of make things for everybody. A wide appeal.
JoeMulvey: That’s an interesting concept. Let me ask this, did you see The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo?
JoeMulvey: Did that take a book and make it for everybody?
Gus: No. No way. That’s got more of a mature, already adult theme.
JoeMulvey: But it was a book before it was a movie.
Gus: But it was a book book. Like a novel.
JoeMulvey: Okay so to you, when a comic book gets made into a movie it makes it less kiddy so that adults can understand it. And a movie from a novel just translates an already adult theme?
Gus: I’m not sure exactly. But in a movie and maybe it’s just special effects or the spectacle but the story relates more than in a book where it’s about punching bad guys or something. Does that make sense?
JoeMulvey: Totally. And this is why you’re perfect for these interviews. You think that comics are a lesser form or storytelling to an extent.
Gus: I’m not trying to be insulting. But they’re kids stories. There’s a difference in the content.
JoeMulvey: Not at all, dude. I see your point and I am SURE you aren’t alone in it. I just can’t wait to get some good comics into your hands and for you to see what the medium is actually doing.
Gus: Okay well what are you giving me.
JoeMulvey: First, let me just give you an analogy I use with almost everyone who I interview. Think of comics like TV for a minute. Now if you turned on a TV and saw The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, would you just shut the TV off and say that’s all it is? TV is for kid’s shows? No, you’d change the channel and look for programming that suits you. Well that’s what comics are, so when you’re a kid you watch cartoons and when your a kid you read comics that are at your age and level. But as you grow up you change the channel and look for different channels and shows that interest you.
Gus: Okay so some comics are more adult?
JoeMulvey: They are meant to be everything. They’re just as diverse a form of entertainment as anything. So let me get you some books. Let’s do a quick run down of things you like. Tell me some of your favorite shows, movies, hobbies, whatever.
Gus: Favorite movies are probably Scorsese flicks. Or action movies. A few comedies.
JoeMulvey: Okay and what’s filling up your DVR?
Gus: Too much shit, actually, HA! Way too much reality show crap.
JoeMulvey: The Polyamory show?
Gus: What’s that?
JoeMulvey: Look it up. Wild stuff. Sorry, continue.
Gus: Uhm, Person of Interest, Fringe, Modern Family, Suits. I’m sure there’s more I’ve got a ton of movies on there too. In Time, The Debt, a few others.
JoeMulvey: Okay and any types of movies or shows you hate.
Gus: Besides Sex and the City or Twilight? No, i’m pretty okay with a lot of stuff.
JoeMulvey: Okay, cool. So what I’m going to do is give you some books, you check them out and call me when you’re done and we’ll talk about them and what you think of comics at that point.
Gus: It’s the summer so this’ll be the only time I have to read. I’m ready.
At this point I gave Gus his reading assignment. His list includes- Scalped Vol 1. By Vertigo. Mind The Gap #1 from Image. The Cape TPB by IDW. Punk Rock Jesus #1 from Vertigo. Fatale #1 from Image. Dancer #1 from Image. Echoes from TopCow. Superior #1-4 from Icon.
Let’s see what he thought.
JoeMulvey: It’s been 7 days. So let’s have it, what did you think?
Gus: I don’t want to say I felt stupid after reading these. As a teacher I say there is no stupid, just uninformed. So I’ll say that I was uniformed.
JoeMulvey: So you liked them?
Gus: Yeah. I had to think about what I was going to say to you for this. When you first gave me the books I felt a little silly. But than I kind thought about what you said about the TV and after reading the first book, it was Dancer, I defintely got the whole different programming point.
JoeMulvey: That’s awesome. Okay so you’re saying a bunch of things let me just ask you some questions. Why did you feel silly? And what made you pick Dancer first?
Gus: Dancer was because of the cover. I saw a guy with a gun and a dancer. Interesting. So I looked at that. I felt silly because I was laying down reading a comic. I’d never done that. Originally felt like I was laying down with a bed time story.
JoeMulvey:How far into your reading did you start to stop thinking like that?
Gus: Pretty quickly. Again, I put some thought into why I was a bit quick to dismiss comics. I teach grade school and I never see my kids with them, so I think in my head it was a younger kids thing. Pre-K or under kind of young. So maybe I had that in my head. But by the time I got through with Dancer I was definitely seeing a whole lot differently. Than I went to Echoes because it looked like a bigger book. And I got through that in the next two days and that was pretty much the end of any of my original thoughts on comics. The old comics. I mean my old thoughts on how I thought comics were. You get my point right?
JoeMulvey: I do. So you wanted a bigger book, just realize comics are, mostly, periodicals. They come out monthly or whatever. So Dancer #2, #3 and # 4 are all out and available for you to get.
Gus: Okay well getting comics is something I do want to talk about too. I got a bit confused with it on Amazon but let me just finish with the books.
JoeMulvey: Go ahead, By the way I just want to say this reaction is the best thing possible with these interviews.
Gus: Yeah I think, and we can talk about this later, that comics need to be shown better. Or seen better, differently. These aren’t comics I know or would have ever found if not for you asking me to do this. And now I want to read the rest of them and even more. So whoever runs comics isn’t getting the info out there.
JoeMulvey: No one person runs comics, like TV there are networks and in comics, publishers, but don’t make me get my soapbox out to preach about comics and adversing better. So go ahead, on with your books.
Gus: Okay well just to make the point about…I guess scratching an itch for me. Like I like Reality TV, too much even, and now I get that’s why you asked what I was wacthing at the time. That Punk Rock Jesus book was like a behind the scenes look at a reality show and with a great sense of satire. Just not what I thought comics would ever be. And I’m not into soap opera’s-You aren’t going to try to get me into watching those are you?
JoeMulvey: Hah. Not currently no.
Gus: Good. But than I read Mind the Gap and even though that had a heavy soap opera feel, I was interested. I wanted to read more.
JoeMulvey: And reading the books or processing the art or storytelling wasn’t an issue ever?
Gus: I guess maybe a little at times. But then I’d go back over something or look over a block-
JoeMulvey: A block?
Gus: The picture blocks? It’s not blocks? A box?
JoeMulvey: Panels? Yeah you mean panels, The panels on the pages. Panels.
GUS: See, uninformed again. I need to learn the lingo.
JoeMulvey: Not a problem. I just know some people have complained or raised issues with the issues of reading a comic.
Gus: That wasn’t a problem really. Sometimes the PANELS would get a little too busy or crowded-is there a term for that?
JoeMulvey: Nope, you’re good.
Gus: Sometimes that would happen and that would confuse me a little at times but than I also just got lost in a lot of the work the artist put in. Really impressive art. That made me wonder why the art isn’t a bigger thing. This is like museum stuff. You can just stare at page or panel for a while. I think I stared at the two pages when the guy threw the chainsaw into a plane-
JoeMulvey: From the Cape. Yeah that was jaw dropping artwork.
Gus: I just kept looking at all the details over and over.
JoeMulvey: The artwork in comics is insane and definitely under appreciated. All of comics really are in my opinion.
Gus: I can see. Well I’ll be appreciating them more. I went onto Amazon and ordered more of the Scalped books. There were a lot.
JoeMulvey: That’s great to hear. Did you buy anything else?
Gus: Yeah that was a very confusing part of comics. I don’t think I know the ins or outs yet. I wanted most of almost all of them. Like the book Superior. That was the kind of story I was kind of talking about with what I thought comics were. But even that story was so much better than anything I thought. I wanted to see what happened next and I just wasn’t sure how to get the right book.
JoeMulvey: I can take up the next 5 hours of your time discussing distribution problems with comics but I’ll give you the quick run down. Floppies, individual comics, are the periodical stories. When a story line or series gets wrapped up they collect it in a trade paperback. So when the individual issues are originally coming out those are your only way of getting the book. So in Superior’s case, it was a 4 issue series. When all 4 issues come out, they THAN collect it into a trade. So Superior is just one complete story and you read the 4 issues, beyond the trade paper back there’s nothing else to buy now. But books like Scalped, have a lot of trades because they had a lot of back issues.
Gus: Okay so kind of like how a TV series goes to DVD after the season’s done.
JoeMulvey: Pretty much. Okay man well I don’t want to keep you forever. I just want to say thanks for doing this and it’s been great to see you so open and enthusiastic about comics. Now you need to pass it on.
Gus: I will. I’m gonna bring this up in class to some of my kids as well. Getting them to read anything that isn’t a text or tweet or Facebook update is hard enough. I think this stuff would be great for them.
JoeMulvey: Please do. That would be tremendous. If you need help just say the word.
Gus: I will. Thanks.
There it is, another one in the books. Now after the interview Gus asked me for a few more recommendations and I thought it would be really fun and interesting to see what you guys thought. So please post a comment and help Gus start his new interest in comics right. And he’s a teacher so we have the possibility to reach a lot of kids and get them into comics as well. Throw out some books, creators or characters that can get Gus or his students into some more of the good stuff that is comics.
As always I encourage everyone to check out the books that were listed in Gus’s reading list. An I sincerely want to thanks you guys for taking the time to read this. Support myself and ComixTribe and hopefully SCAM #1 hitting stores TOMORROW.
See you next time,