10 Questions With Comics Brewmaster Michel Fiffe

Michel Fiffe has been a student of comics his whole life, and he’s written extensively about them, but now it’s time for him to take a bow as one of today’s most exciting new talents. Today, we raise our mugs to Michel Fiffe the Comics Brewmaster!

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A good friend of mine turned me on to Michel Fiffe’s magnum opus COPRA not too long ago. Actually, I’m kind of pissed at him, because it’s impossible to complete a run of original COPRA’s without taking out a second mortgage on your house! That’s OK, though, because the kind folks at Bergen Street Press are printing up collections of COPRA as fast as they can! Round Two was just released, and that brings us tardy readers up to issue 12. You can order the collections directly from Bergen Street’s website here, or ask your local comics shop to order you one.

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COPRA is Fiffe’s love letter to Ostrander & Yale’s Suicide Squad run, but stands on it’s own merits with striking visuals, rendered in multi-medium, and introduces readers to a whole new, unique world of super-hero action! Previously, Michel Fiffe self-published his personal comics anthology Zegas, and contributed comics to various indy publications(including a collaboration with Dean Haspiel in Negative Burn #3 – 2006). He also recently wrapped up his run as writer on All-New Ultimates for Marvel Comics. Fiffe is committed to putting out COPRA on a monthly schedule, and that’s no small task since he produces each page by hand(with some digital cleanup/tone-work). New issues and all that remain in print are available at Fiffe’s ETSY shop here.

Now, I have the pleasure of serving up another round of “10 Questions” for you all with the incomparable, undeniable Michel Fiffe! Cheers!

1. Count Vertigo or Deadshot?

Amanda Waller.

2. Do you ever drink and draw? If not, are there any other vices you partake in while making art??

I did a speedball once and tried to draw but all I ended up doing was staring at the page, I was so paralyzed.

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3. COPRA Round 2 is coming out this month(March) from Bergen Street Press. This will get readers caught up through issue 12. Currently, the series is up to issue 19, and you seem to keep issues 13 on up in print on your ETSY shop. So, does that mean once Round 3 is released, the next 6 issues(13-18) will be “retired”?

They’ll naturally be retired. By the time Round 3 comes around, the single issues will be out of print at the rate they’re going (issues 17 and 18 are already gone). It’s too bad because I really like the issues as individual units.

4. Suicide Squad ran 66 issues, plus 2 annuals/specials. Is that the game plan for COPRA, or are you thinking more Cerebus-like numbers? Will you ever expand the COPRA universe with another title, or bring on other creators to work on your characters?

All that and more. To me, fifty issues register as “Cerebus numbers”. I have a complete mega arc to tell, and I’ll navigate how long it’ll take to tell it as I’m making it. It could be 27 or 48 or 87 issues. I’ll try to round up.

5. What was the last good movie you’ve seen?

Dead Man’s Shoes. Because revenge.

My Netflix queue just got longer…thx. – AY

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6. Will you be working on more Marvel projects in the future, now that New Ultimates has ended? I think you’d be perfect writing(drawing?) some of the Secret Wars books!

Thanks, Andrew! There are a couple of things in the works that I’m really excited about. I will beat that drum when the time comes. Really, anything I can fit within my COPRA schedule I will be happy to do.

7. Describe your worst dating experience.

I drive my wife Jackie to work in the morning and, because I锟絤 a swell husband, I let her select the radio station. Occasionally, she锟絣l throw me a bone and put on one of 锟絤y stations锟?锟?he can sometimes find something she likes on Boston锟絪 WERS or 92.5 The River 锟?but most often, we锟絩e in Top 40 territory, and I find myself gripping the wheel like a man being tortured.

I wanted to get more details about this terrifying story, but the trauma of recalling such an ordeal seemed to overcome Mr. Fiffe, so I decided to let him off the hook…. – AY

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8. Just as you’ve had interactions with some of the greats like Steve Ditko, Walt Simonson, and John Ostrander, do you find yourself now in the position of providing wisdom, and guidance to young aspiring artists? I would think that your unique style, and DIY approach to self publishing would inspire many young comics creators looking to break into the industry.

Nah, I’m not in that position, or at least I’m not comfortable in that position. I try to be as helpful as I can to whoever asks, but that’s on a case-by-case basis. “Breaking into the industry” is such a fractured, chaotic term. Everyone finds their own way in. Self-publishing itself is almost another world, in that you’re basically creating the industry you want to be a part of.

Speaking of creating your own industry, how did you get the word out about COPRA in the early days? Was there any one moment where things blew up, or was it more of a gradual process?

It was gradual as far as I can tell. Most folks heard about COPRA from out of nowhere, so it must’ve felt like it blew up overnight, but for me it was little by little. It was really great to see word-of-mouth at work on that level. It was just me selling a few hundred copies and word gradually spread. No real hype, no marketing or “name” to push this book. It’s just basically a dude putting out a book on a regular basis. That’s been the plan and I’m sticking to it.

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9. Do you enjoy what Hollywood has done with the comic book characters you grew up with? Do you have any favorite super-hero movies, or least favorite ones? Any thoughts on the upcoming Suicide Squad movie?

The only thing I personally hope this Suicide Squad movie does is raise enough interest in the John Ostrander/Kim Yale series to the point where DC puts it back into print, hopefully benefiting Ostrander. That run deserves to be on the shelves, high amongst the classics and making everything else pale in comparison.

10. Other than cranking away at COPRA, what else do you have planned for 2015? Any chance at a Zegas revival?

What is a Zegas, what is a 2015 even? COPRA is all I know.

Thanks, Michel!

The recent Comics Journal interview with Michel Fiffe is worth checking out, if you’d like to learn more about the man behind the COPRA!

*Pictures of Michel Fiffe, and his artwork borrowed from the intranets. Thx!

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