Earlier today, SCAD Atlanta Professor and Crogan Adventures creator Chris Schweizer announced the 2012-2013 academic year will be his final one teaching at Savannah College of Art and Design Atlanta. As the scholar/writer/artist noted at his own blog, “I love being a teacher, and I love being a cartoonist, and in many ways each helps me be better at the other. But I’ve come to find that I can do neither to the best of my ability without infringing on the time necessary to see the other done to the degree of quality I’d expect of myself.”
The move is not just a decision to stop teaching: Schweizer has also agreed to form a new studio with Chad Thomas (Mega Man) and Jason Horn (Ninjasaur). In conjunction with announcing the decision, Schweizer fielded a few questions from me. As a fellow resident of Atlanta, I have to add, as pleased as I am to know Schweizer will have more time to devote to his craft, I am equally sad to know he will be leaving Atlanta to do it.
Tim O’Shea: Knowing how much you love teaching, how many times did you talk yourself into staying at SCAD?
Chris Schweizer: I know it sounds cavalier, but never. Once I realized that there was a real problem with the regularity of my output, a problem that was only growing as I moved the Crogan projects to color, I had to look for a solution. I often have trouble finding my way through a problem that I’m in, both in writing and in real life, and I find that the best way puzzle out a solution is to not think of it from the standpoint of what to do next, but to decide on the ideal outcome. Once that outcome is in place, it’s much easier for me to determine the path by which to arrive at it. I was surprised that my ideal outcome didn’t leave time for teaching, or have us staying in Atlanta. Once I realized that, there was no real debating, there was only trying to figure out how best to undertake the change. Originally we thought I’d teach for an additional year after this one, to give us plenty of time to sell the house.
Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a splurge item.
If I had $15 this week, I’d pick up the third issues of what may be becoming my two favorite new series: Saga (Image, $2.99) and Saucer Country (DC/Vertigo, $2.99). The former is easily one of the most enjoyable, most packed books out there right now for me, with Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples firing on all cylinders with the two issues to date, whereas the latter has an enjoyably retro feel that reminds me of the earliest days of the Vertigo imprint in ways that I can’t quite put my finger on but love nonetheless.
If I had $30, I’d grab the new edition of Leviathan (Rebellion, $16.99), a collection of a 2000AD horror story by Ian Edginton and D’Israeli that the creators apparently described as “Agatha Christie meets Silent Hill” about a Titanic-esque cruise ship that disappears in the middle of the ocean, and ends up somewhere else … with no land in sight for more than two decades. Really looking forward to reading this one.
Should I suddenly find enough money down the back of my couch to splurge this week, then I’d hope to find the $29.99 I’d need for the Deadenders trade paperback (DC/Vertigo). I entirely missed the Ed Brubaker/Warren Pleece mod romance comic the first time around, so this collection of the entire series will be a welcome chance to make up for past mistakes.
Three creators of hotly anticipated comics have given exciting updates about their projects in the last few weeks.
Jordan Mechner (Prince of Persia) says the second volume of Solomon’s Thieves, his historical-adventure trilogy, is in the can, and artists LeUyen Pham and Alex Puvilland are hard at work on Vol. 3. No release date for either book has been announced, but there’s a Facebook page for fans who want the latest info on the series, including sneak peeks at artwork like this:
Chris Schweizer announced on his blog that he’s begun inking Crogan’s Loyalty, the third volume in his history-spanning, multi-generational Crogan Adventures series. In addition to sharing a few pages of art, he also says that he’s finished writing the fourth volume, Crogan’s Escape, hoping to start pencils on it as soon as he finishes inks on Loyalty.
Cartoonist Chris Schweizer (the Crogan Adventures series) is also a professor at the Atlanta branch of the Savannah College of Art and Design and that combination can result in some cool things. Like this Crogan maquette he sculpted as an example for a character-design class.
Schweizer talks about the benefits of this kind of exercise when creating characters for a comic, but is also mindful of the dangers:
I spend a LOT of time on preproduction, but it’s a means to an end. Never, ever, ever let it be the end. It’s self-indulgent, and benefits you nothing. ALWAYS make sure your concept work is leading to stories. Otherwise you’re just playing with yourself.
Since starting Talking Comics with Tim in 2009, I have made a frequent effort to not interview creators more than once. But as I am well into my second year, I’ve decided to ease that self-imposed restriction. Thus why I tapped Chris Schweizer again (after last year’s discussion) to do an email interview regarding his second installment in the Crogan Adventures chronicle, Crogan’s March (Oni Press). In addition to discussing the adventures of French Legionnaire Peter Crogan (circa 1912), the SCAD Atlanta professor pulls back the curtain on his creative process as well as his plans to participate in Free Comic Book Day in Atlanta (he has a 10-page Crogan Adventures story in the Oni Press Free-for-All). For my money, Schweizer is one of the good guys in the Atlanta comics scene and I appreciated the chance to interview him about his latest book. Once you read the interview, be sure to check out the 26-page preview that Oni has posted.