Earlier this week we brought you the first part of our exclusive interview with award-winning comic creator Kevin Colden. With his in inclusion in the all-new Strange Adventures anthology hitting stores soon we continue to chat with Kevin about his past experinces on the Con circit and his involment in the Xeric Foundation. For part one of the interview scroll down. For part two simply read on:
comiXology: So, how did winning the Xeric Grant help your career? And do you have any advice for creators out there looking to apply for it?
Kevin: The Xeric helped me in an odd way – because I turned down the grant money, Fishtown got a bunch of press and by extension really launched my career. But that happened because a number of my colleagues looked at the refusal of the money as a shot across the bow of print comics – which, for the record it wasn’t. I just had more experience in web and figured I would be more successful promoting it online. But the Xeric Foundation changed its guidelines a few years ago to accommodate webcomics. The Xeric people were wonderful throughout the entire process, and they’ve done great things for so many people – it just happens that I had a unique experience with the grant.
comiXology: Your Eisner nominated Graphic Novel Fishtown dealt was based on true events. What first drew you to turn the true story of a group of Philadelphia teenagers into a groundbreaking Graphic Novel?
Kevin: I was trying to process the actual event. I wanted to write a book set in Philadelphia, and in the course of my research for another idea, I found the story. There’s a pretty common misconception that the book was supposed to be factual. It wasn’t, which – I thought – was made very explicit in the book itself. The idea was to try and process a real-life horror through fictional means, and in the process question the nature of truth. But it’s entirely subjective, and intentionally avoids moralizing, which is something we see in European storytelling far more than in America, which is why I seem to have a lot of fans in England.
comiXology: Much of your work has been anthologized both online and in print. Can you describe the process involved in working with other creators to deliver a collaborative anthology of stories versus working on your own on a long form comic project?
Kevin: Working with other creators is like herding cats. That’s why comic artists have never unionized like we should have half a century ago. I learned that early on, and tend to be a contributor more than a a leader of men, as it were. But I’m the first guy to the party because I love talking to other creative people. So I can really only speak for myself when I say that a deadline and a paycheck are the easiest ways to get anything done, period.
comiXology: Many independent comic creators have made it a point to get to as many conventions as they can, as someone who has done his time on the convention scene, do you think it’s worth it overall?
Kevin: I certainly have done (and still do) my time on the circuit, and it works for me. For years I spent a lot of time on the con floor and avoided the afterhours scene, though of late I’ve become something of a fixture there. But I’m a fairly social and (dare I say) entertaining guy, and if you’re asocial or an asshole it may actually hurt you.
comiXology: Any chance you could share with us some of your influences? What comics are you currently reading and what in your opinion are the comics that everyone should read?
Kevin: I absorb everything. But if I had to list influences – all of the E.C. guys, particularly Bernie Krigstein, Larry Hama’s G.I. Joe run from the 80′s, the original TMNT comics, the majority of Tundra’s output – especially Dave McKean’s fantastic Cages; everything Rick Veitch has done. I take a lot of inspiration from film, mostly anything in the Criterion collection that’s not in English.
comiXology: Now you’re also in Band? Is that something that goes hand and hand with your career as a cartoonist or is that a different type of artistic expression you practice?
Kevin: It’s all tied in, I suppose. I’ve been doing both comics and music for so long that they’re both automatic. The music is a hell of a lot less lonely, but more collaborative which has its ups and downs. But it’s all part of the entertainment world, and you meet the same types of great and awful people in both sectors. It’s just fun to be onstage and make records.
comiXology: In conclusion what are your thoughts on digital comics as a whole?
Kevin: As much as I love a good pamphlet comic, they’re vinyl records and digital comics are MP3′s. They both have a place, but more people are buying eBooks than print books now, and the same will happen with comics – but not with the existing comic shop audience. The tablet computer is the modern-day equivalent of a 7-eleven spinner rack; regular readers can stumble in and buy an issue on impulse. “Batman? I like Batman. Wait – Batman is a comic book, too?!” That type of thing. It’s what I’ve been saying forever – you make it readily available at reasonable price point and people will buy it. Why do you think I was so keen to publish on the web four years ago?
Tagged: I Rule the Night · Interview · kevin colden
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