Saturday, July 26, 2008

Kaz Interview Conducted by John Kelly Excerpted from TCJ (The Comics Journal)#186

KAZ To be fair, Glenn tried to get me excited about certain cartoonists that I couldn't see until much later. .Dan Clowes is one example. At first I thought he was too slick and surface-oriented. But I was wrong. Now he's one of my favorite cartoonists. And he's doing work with so much depth, it's astonishing. Now I see people on the streets and I automatically think, He's a Clowes character!" I wasn't looking below the surface. But for the most part, Glenn and I agreed. It's just that we don't seem to have any commercial instincts. I tend to gravitate to work that looks wrong. I can remember Alex Ross and myself trying to draw like someone who was insane or retarded. Instead of attempting, like everybody else, to be really sophisticated or smart, we got into this idea of American dumbness, like Philip Guston, whose work looks completely dumb on the surface -big eyeballed guys, big giant feet -but there's a sensitivity there. Basically, he was still doing Abstract Expressionist painting, but he was using these really simple symbols that looked wrong on the surface, like Mutt and Jeff. Philip Guston was called a stumblebum painter by a critic once. Captain Beefheart sounds like Guston paints. I think it's a way of being nostalgic for the things you liked as a kid, like Popeye, but also being sophisticated at the same time. That's sort of what I do with Underworld. Some of the gags are really dumb, but they make me laugh so I leave them in. If it wasn't a weekly strip, I'd be a little more thoughtful. But because I have to put it out every week, parts of my personality that would otherwise be guarded pop out. So you see me as the dumb vaudevillian guy, falling down for a laugh.

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St. Augustine, Florida, United States
I spill ink ,it collects here.