Wade Von Grawbadger
Hello and welcome to another edition of What Are You Reading?, where each week we talk about comics and other stuff we’ve been checking out lately. Today we welcome special guest Joshua Williamson, writer of Masks and Mobsters, Captain Midnight (which has been running in Dark Horse Presents), Uncharted, Voodoo and much more.
To see what Joshua and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …
The very first trip my dad ever made to a comic book store–and, in fact, it may have even been the only time he ever took us to a comic shop as kids, as that duty usually fell to my mom–was one Saturday afternoon when John Byrne was appearing at Lone Star Comics in Dallas. The store was fairly crowded, as Byrne was a big draw at the time, and I remember there was a long line snaking through the store. Anyway, we stood in line behind two guys discussing comics–or as my dad put it, “Two grown men arguing over whether the Hulk could ever get mad enough to break through Dr. Doom’s force field.”
We ended up leaving without ever having met Byrne, as my dad grew impatient and didn’t like the answer given to him by the clerk. “He’s too busy drawing sketches to sign comics,” he said as we left the store. In reality, we were probably only in the store and the line for a very short time, and I’m sure my dad’s interpretation of my brother’s request to get some of his Fantastic Four issues signed by the creator was that it would be quick 10-minute trip, with us running in to get an autograph and then running back out and getting on with the day.
This weekend marks Toronto Comics Art Festival 2011 (TCAF), where among the many great storytellers appearing, Stuart Immonen celebrates his “return to his eclectic collection of work” with the premiere of Centifolia II (and the return of the out-of-print Centifolia I). To mark the debut/return of Centifolia, I contacted Immonen for this hellaciously enjoyable interview. This exchange was a blast for me, particularly given that Immonen indulged numerous follow-up questions in our email exchanges. A great many storytellers are immensely funny people, but I genuinely think Immonen possesses a rare wit and wealth of knowledge that reveals itself not only in this interview, but more importantly, it informs his work. I wish I was attending TCAF, for numerous reasons, but the fact that “there will even be a limited (100) slipcase edition [available at TCAF] that includes a special S&N print and custom slipcase design” is the ultimate “damn I wish I was going” talking point for me. Need more convincing how great these books are? AdHouse’s Chris Pitzer (the publisher of Immonen’s Centifolia) offers consumers nine-page previews of Volume I and Volume II for everyone’s enjoyment.
Tim O’Shea: When one hears that the book is culled from your sketchbooks, it might seem a bit misleading. Not every sketchbook sports pages with fully designed logos (“9 Nuts and Why I Hate Them” for example).
Stuart Immonen: Well, I think that’s probably due to the term “sketchbook” being more often used to describe a collection of finished pinup drawings and not so much actual sketching– i.e. ideas in development, visual note-taking, idle doodling and so on. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the former– I love being able to enjoy and study the completed work of my favourite artists, but I’m also interested in process; the journey of how an artist gets to the final piece, and that’s what Centifolia tries to be.
Some of my most well-thumbed artist’s books fall into this category: Tardi’s Chiures De Gomme, Chris Ware’s Acme Novelty Datebooks, Ashley Wood’s Sencilla Fanta… even Dupuy and Berberian’s Maybe Later qualifies.So… I’m interested in pulling back the curtain and showing readers a little of how I work.