quarta-feira, 5 de setembro de 2007

INTERVIEW - Ross Campbell


I love Ross Campbell's work. So I offered to do an interview with him for a brazilian comics portal (www.hqmaniacs.com.br )which was never published god knows why. They provided part of the questions. So here is the full interview with the author of "The Abandoned" and "Wet Moon". The interview was done in march and some info may not be up-to-date.

Hi, Ross. First of all, how’s your hand doing? I read somewhere you were considering to stop inking your work… (which he did, as far as wetmoon 3 is concerned)


actually my hand and arm have been feeling better as of late, thanks for asking! i started taking Aleve everyday and that seemed to help. but i'm still thinking that i'm going to do my next book, Wet Moon 3, in pencil. i haven't decided yet, i have to do a test page and see how it goes...

How comics became a part of your life and eventually your career choice? What and who inspired you?

the first comics i ever got were some of the old Eastman & Laird Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. i think i had like one issue of the Archie series, too, but i never got into that stuff. the Eastman & Laird comics, along with Bill Watterson's Calvin & Hobbes, set me on the comics road. i used to do crazy, comedic superhero comics and gag strips in middle school, but after that i wasn't really serious about comics again until late college. i didn't even draw my own comics in high school at all, instead i was busy with a stupid sci-fi fantasy novel i wrote and just pin-ups and stuff.


You write and draw, what’s your workflow? Do you enjoy any particular part of the process best?


i think i like the writing part the best. i love writing the dialogue and figuring out how the story's going to go and who the characters are and what they're thinking, but of course the drawing part is fun, too. usually the writing changes during the drawing/thumbnailing, too, like i'll cut parts out or add sequences on the fly, so it's typically all tied up together into an ongoing process until the whole book is finished.


Tell us a little about “Water Baby”, soon out by the controversial DC comics series “Minx”. What’s it about? Are there any other plans concerning you and DC comics?

i'm not sure how much i'm allowed to say about Water Baby, but basically it's about a surfer girl, Brody, who gets her leg bitten off by a shark, and then has to deal with her nomadic ex-boyfriend showing up and overstaying his welcome, and also shark-related hallucinations and nightmares. then she has to go on a road trip to get rid of the guy once and for all. i'm hoping to get to do more stuff with DC, i'm working on some more pitches for them, but there's nothing concrete as of now. stay tuned...


So, it seems that The Abandoned is not having a sequel after all, at least at Tokyopop. Is >that a fact? Why? What are you going to do about it?


things are still really up in the air with The Abandoned 2. i had pitched it to a different company with some alterations (since TP pretty much owns the property), but now it looks like it won't happen, so i may head back to Tokyopop and do it. i don't know yet. i still really want to do the story, i think it would be sweet, but it all depends on what other projects i get and whether Tokyopop is even still interested. i don't really think TP is the right home for my Abandoned/zombie stuff, but since they co-own it that's where it has to be. i thought about coming up with a new zombie premise altogether that i could do elsewhere, but i don't know. we'll see, i guess.


Wet Moon is maybe your most personal work, tell us about it. How’s it working for Oni Press?


Oni is great, they're all great people. yeah, they don't pay much and i could never live on what they offer, but i love that they pretty much let me do whatever i want and they leave me alone while i'm working on a book. i feel like even if i can't get any work elsewhere and i'm working some crappy day job, that i could always work on something on the side and Oni would be interested. i don't think Wet Moon could be at any other publisher, except maybe Slave Labor, but i think Oni is a perfect fit. they do a lot of that quasi-not-quite-mainstream-but-not-quite-typical-indie stuff, stuff that kinda straddles the line. Wet Moon is on one hand pretty "indie," but then on another it's not quite that indie because its core is a fairly mainstreamy serial teen drama type set-up, but that drama stuff is presented in a non-mainstream way, and i think that's a lot of what Oni is about. anyway, while it would be awesome to get to do Wet Moon full-time, i'm happy with it being at Oni and i don't see myself taking it anywhere else. for some reason i can't see any other publisher putting up with Wet Moon's meandering pace for very long, either, heh heh.
and yeah, Wet Moon is definitely my most personal thing, another reason why it's great with Oni because i keep all ownership and it would never be tampered with by editors or other company people. i'd get so frustrated otherwise, and i'd be crushed if stuff was edited or messed around with like things were on The Abandoned, say.

Did you feel any substantial difference between working for DC and smaller publishers?


DC was really great to work with on Water Baby, there wasn't much difference at all, except i talk to my DC editor a lot, whereas with Oni i only really talk to my editor there maybe twice a year. but so far i've had a great experience with DC. i guess the main difference is the perceived pressure and attention, like i let the cover image for Water Baby slip for a day or two and suddenly it's up on comics news sites and message boards, and everybody is talking about the Minx stuff, too. but with my indie stuff, i could post pages and talk about the plot and all sorts of stuff and it seemed like nobody beyond deviantart cared. i've never experienced the industry/reader attention that Water Baby is getting, it's kinda scary. i think i liked it better when nobody was paying attention, heh.


Adolescence and sexual identity are frequent subjects in your work. These are controversial themes. Is that an intentional choice? If so, why? What are your sources of inspiration? How do publishers react?


i'm definitely not trying to be controversial on purpose, i just write about what i like to write about. and if it's controversial or if it's not, then that's cool, so be it. but all three of my publishers have reacted differently: i thought i got away with murder with The Abandoned, although Tokyopop did edit one part of dialogue they didn't like. but i was really surprised with what they let me do. DC's been really good, too, although i initially had wanted Water Baby to be much, much raunchier, but DC suggested otherwise and i definitely think the book turned out for the better the way it ended up being. and Oni, well, they're cool with whatever, heh heh. my main inspirations are just real life and real people, and i'm always interested in youth and that sort of weird phase of adolescence and how strange people tend to be during that time of their lives (not that adults are any less weird [or even weirder?], of course, just in a different sort of way). i also like the vigor and energy that typically comes with adolescence, when people are really excited about themselves and their interests. i think at some point i'll start writing more about older characters, but right now it feels right working with teens and early 20-somethings. i'm also a very nostalgic person, i guess, and although i wouldn't want to relive anything in the past, it's fun thinking about it and remembering funny events and how weird things were in high school and college. so i like to draw on that a lot, too, and have my characters go through those sort of experiences that lend themselves to the "remember that time..." variety later in life.


Your drawing style strikes as quite an unique mixture of “honest” anatomy and some very cartoony features. You really seem to make girls look real and enticing no matter how far they are from beauty standards. [now, maybe that’s just my opinion] What are your influences?


just like my influences for writing and themes are real people and real life, it's the same thing for the visuals, too. my girls are obviously cartoony, and all cartoons still have their basis in real life, but there's definitely a sort of "cartoony realism" or something going on, heh heh. i don't know what to call it. i think when you look at people in real life, there are so many of them that have very cartoonish features, especially when you start to scrutinize people's features. you start thinking "wow, that guy has a HUGE head" or "her nose is gigantic!!" and i think that's part of it. i take that stuff and try to push it even further. so sometimes i'll see a person with unusual features or something, and that really influences me and gets my mind going. then i try to push my characters' features even more to make them more distinct from one another. and i find so many different sorts of girls attractive, there's never any beauty standards in there except my own which i guess encompass everyone.


How do you feel about how women are usually depicted in mainstream comics? Do you have a position about it or you’re just concerned with relatable characters and good storytelling?


i was asked this same question in another interview last year or something, and i wish i gave a better answer then. i've been reading a lot of feminist comics blog stuff as of late, and much of it is really blowhardy and often people just looking for something to complain about and be outraged about, but some of it is really great and has great points and everything. so i guess basically i don't mind the way females are portrayed, but i notice a lot more things that bug me about the subject these days. but i'm still really passive about the whole thing, too, so even if there was something i really disagreed with, like say the current Supergirl series/character, who am i to tell the creators how or what to do, you know? i don't know. it's a tough call. i don't have a problem with cheesecake, i think my own work has a frequently cheesecakey quality, it's more the the way female characters are written that i have problems with. and even though i think the current Supergirl is drawn really badly and the series is kinda creepy in a way, there's still a place for it and there are people who are into it, it's just not for me. i mean, it would be awesome if more women in mainstream comics were kicking ass and stuff instead of playing second tier to all the guys, and it would be cool if the men and women were equally as sexualized, too, but again, while i can make my opinions known about it i don't think it's my place to push these people to do what i want them to do. just don't buy the book and read what you like. and i love a good ridiculous Emma Frost costume as much as the next guy, i guess. i think there's a line of variable thickness, too, between that sort of "creepy" sexualization and good a-okay fun, at least for me. i can make the distinction between classy skimpy like the Quitely Emma Frost designs, and the weird "oh come on" gratuitous sort of thing going on with Supergirl or Masamune Shirow's more recent work or something. but like, at the same time, with Shirow and similar artists, the dude just loves tits and asses, is that so wrong? haha. sometimes i get concerned that my work is crossing over into this gratuitous area, like maybe it's getting creepy in its [over]sexualization of teenage girls. like i said, tough call.


What would bring you the most professional satisfaction? [besides making giant monsters out of welded metal]


haha, making giant metal monsters would definitely be awesome. i'll get to do it someday. i also want to get into computer music, like making little instrumental songs in one of those music-making programs. but right now i'm good with doing the best comics i can do, they take enough time as it is.


Where do you think the comic industry is heading? How do you think you will fit in it in the next decades, with the rise of smaller publishers and all the attention alternative comics have been getting?


i don't know where comics are headed, i can't tell if they're on the decline or the ascent. sometimes i get really depressed about it, i feel like the medium is just dying or something, like nobody is reading comics anymore and i think about how all these comic readers are aging and getting old but no new generation is replacing them. but then i go to conventions and i see a lot of young kids and teens picking up Oni and Marvel books and stuff and it makes me feel a little better. and i guess even if comics as an industry does tank in the future, there will always be people making mini-comics and self-publishing stuff, and i don't buy into something needing a huge reader/viewership to be important. i would be content with doing a comic and printing just 500 copies. but i don't know a lot about the numbers and sales of what comics are doing, so maybe things are going well. i think at some point i'd like to see the serial issue abolished and comics make a full switch to the "graphic novel" format, as it were. issues are fun, but i don't think they really lend themselves well to reaching out to new readers, especially since most of them are sold primarily in comic stores, which also don't reach out very well to new readers, heh heh. i'd like to see the money and energy put into making book-format comics instead, stuff that would be sold at bookstores. which is happening, too, since lots of bookstores now have a comics section which is getting bigger.
i don't know where i'll fit in, i guess i just hope that i'll still be doing comics for years to come.


Do you have any future projects that you would like to share with us?


i'm doing a short comic for the next Meathaus anthology, and also probably a new Mountain Girl mini-comic for SDCC. i'm also doing an issue of Tales of the TMNT later this year, but i don't know much about that yet. besides Wet Moon 3, i don't have any other big books slated after that, unless i get some more work from DC, in which case i'll probably see if Tokyopop is still interested in another zombie book or i'll pitch them a Godzilla-style giant monster book i've been thinking about for a couple years. i also might be pitching to Dark Horse, but we'll see.


If given the chance to whisper inside the mind of every struggling kid dreaming of making comics, what would you say?


there is no crying in comics!

Um comentário:

CEREAL KILLER disse...

I bouth wetmoon a few days ago and that´s the way i knew him
I love his work and i have visitied his whole gallery at deviant.....
AWESOME!
but there is something written on the book about he is a monk or something......is that true?????


( º_º)