Saturday, July 26, 2008

cont. Interview with comic artist Kaz


KAZ: With that work, I was moving away from comics as pure design and I was trying to tell a tale. I found that people remembered characters and stories more than they remembered style. Very few people come up to me to compliment me on my layout or style. They remember something a character said or did. So I taught myself how to tell a story. After dropping out of art school, I moved back into Hoboken and wasn't doing much of anything except taking two months to draw a page of comics. I would draw and re-draw panels like a lunatic. Peter Bagge was living in Hoboken at this time, and we would visit each other occasionally. We'd met before when I submitted a comic strip to a publication he was editing at the time called Comical Funnies. At this time, he was working on STOP! with John Holmstrom, JD King, and Ken Weiner. I got to know the whole gang and they would tease me for being in RAW. Apparently, they all tried to get into RAW, but were rejected or something, so they all hated Spiegelman. They literally saw themselves as the antithesis of RAW. Funny, disposable, lightweight. I liked the idea of a purely funny comic book so I submitted some comics. But I always felt they were suspicious of me. You know, I was one of theRAW guys. Peter and his wife Joanne would often throw these drunken dinner parties back then. Everybody was drawing for SCREW. They were a fun bunch of characters. After I did Buzzbomb I. had decided I didn't want to draw comics anymore. I was just getting nowhere with it. Underground/alternative; publications pay $50 a page, and I just wasn't making any money. So I started doing illustration work, and that started taking up a lot of my time. But still there was this nagging feeling that I had to express myself with comics, so I started working on a comic strip in secret. I didn't talk about it to anybody. I didn't think I was ever going to finish it, and I didn't ever know what the story was going to be. I just started it and it wound up being Sidetrack City. It pushed me right back into comics. I was going through a real tumultuous time in my life. I had broken up a relationship of seven years, I moved into an apartment with a friend of mine--Alex Ross, who's a painter--and getting into psychedelic drugs, and reading books on philosophy, just living this complete bohemian, intellectual art life. And all that spirit and energy went intoSidetrack City. At the same time I was doing a lot of illustration work, I was doing Pee-Wee Hennan designs with Gary Panter, comics for National Lampoon, which got me to exercise my funny bone. I remember Drew Friedman giving me that job saying, "Just do a page. The only thing is, it has to be funny."
KELLY: It seems like that period had a big effect on your current style.
KAZ: Because I was cranking out more comics, I had to reach deeper into my skull for ideas. Anything that seeped out, I used. In the past I would usually approach a strip as if I was doing something important. I wanted the work to be arty. Pretentious was not a dirty word to me. But now I had more deadlines and funnier stuff slipped out. I was staying up, working later and later. All those old gag comics began to look tragic to me. One morning I woke up and everything in my room and apartment had a black outline around it, with crosshatching and color separation. I had gotten cartoonal knowledge! I learned to relax and allow my drawings to get cruder so that my comics could get more organic. Closer to the way my brain worked. Glenn Head was starting up the old Bad News comic book, which became Snake Eyes. And I was excited to get involved with that, because there were a lot of talented cartoonists living in New York that did not have a regular outlet. I envisioned a book that showcased the New York style of cartooning that had come out of SVA and RAW.

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About Me

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