Andrew MacLean earns himself “Comics Brewmaster” honors for making one of my favorite new comics being published, today! Head Lopper is the story of Norgal, a sword swinging, adventure seeking, “barbarian” who has a penchant for, well, lopping off heads! Reluctantly, he travels the lands with his “sidekick”(of sorts), the decapitated head of Agatha Blue Witch. I love the chemistry(or lack thereof) between these two!
In addition to Head Lopper, MacLean also wrote & drew the critically acclaimed graphic novel, Apocalyptigirl: An Aria for the End Times(Dark Horse, 2015).
Andrew MacLean is a true double-threat, a composer of beautifully rendered sequential art and a thoughtful, witty author, to boot!
Join me in scraping deeper into the surface of this great talent with some “10 Questions with…”, and grab a flagon of mead, while you’re at it!
1. George R.R. Martin or Robert E. Howard?
Haha Oh god don’t make me choose! I love Howard because I love the character Conan and how in each story he is in a new place with new characters. But I love the tone and speech of Martin. Head Lopper is a bit of both and for those two reasons. But since the Conan stories are sometimes uncomfortably dated, I’ll go with Martin.
2. Do you ever drink and draw or partake in any other vices while making comics??
I sometimes drink while I draw. It’s the afternoon/evening reward that helps you justify staying at the desk for the rest of the night.
3. I’ve become a big fan of Head Lopper since reading the first Image issue. What was the inspiration behind the story?
It started out as wanting to do something that was really metal but had nothing to do with music. And I wanted to do something that was just always fun to draw. I drew the first image of Norgal for another purpose and I knew it was something I’d enjoy drawing over and over again.
4. What was the last good movie you’ve seen?
Lady Snowblood. Saw it for the first time about a week ago. It’s a classic but I had never seen it. It held up to the hype and it was immediately clear just how much Tarantino digs that film, even one of the song choices for Kill Bill is directly from Lady Snowblood.
5. I really like the sound of “Quarterly Adventure Comic” and the oversized format of Head Lopper is perfect for giving your dynamic action sequences the space they deserve! So, will issue #4 be the end of Head Lopper or is it just the end of volume 1?
Thanks. Issue 4 is just the end of volume 1. It actually JUST got renewed and this is the first time I’ve told “the public.” But yeah, not unlike Conan, I’d like to take Norgal and Agatha to new lands and meet new people for a while. The book is really fun to make and it’s kind of hard to imagine giving up on it voluntarily.
A Comics Tavern EXCLUSIVE!! woo-hoo! Great news, that we’re going to get more Head Lopper!! – AY
6. How did you get started in comics? And besides Apocalyptigirl: An Aria for the End Times(Dark Horse, 2015) and Head Lopper, are there any older Andrew MacLean gems for newer fans to hunt down??
Even as a kid I wanted to make comics when I grew up, but I didn’t start making any until the end of college. At first I drew comics for other writers. I drew Meatspace, Department O, Colonial Souls, and a handful of other shorts for anthologies, some I wrote, some I didn’t.
I had self published a little bit of Head Lopper in 2013 and 2014 then wrote/drew Apocalyptigirl in 2014. So yeah, there are a couple of older comics floating around out there.
7. Describe your worst dating experience.
I haven’t dated in forever now – but there was one awkward scenario that was all on me. I was on a blind date, sort of a favor to a friend. I was 19 and took this girl I didn’t know to her junior prom. She was cool but in a friend way. But then at dinner there was this girl who REALLY caught my eye, like REALLY. So for the rest of the night, at the prom, I was trying to get to know this other girl and get her number WITHOUT being extremely rude to my date, which is nearly impossible… On the plus side the OTHER girl is now my wife.
8. So, what comics do you like to read?
I just got the Kickstarter edition of Blades and Lazers by Ben Marra. Pretty excited for that. I’m in the middle of Two Brothers by Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon. Fantastic art! I really dig Rich Tomasso’s Dark Corridor. Space Riders by Alexis Ziritt and Fabian Rangel Jr. Sabertooth Swordsman by Aaron Conley and Damon Gentry. Akira, Tekkonkinkreet, Sunny, Lone Wolf and Cub. Jim Rugg, Toby Cypress, Prison Pit, etc. etc.
Sorry, I just started throwing out names and titles randomly back there.
Not at all. Your taste in comics does not suck! – AY
9. Do you have any funny or embarrassing comic convention stories you could share with us?
I remember visiting a smaller convention in NJ a couple years back but they had some pretty cool talent including Jim Steranko. If you’ve ever seen Jim Steranko you know he’s not only a slick artist but he’s a real slick dude in general. It’s like he’s from another time. Like he looks more inclined to hang out with the Rat Pack drinking brown liquor then tooling around a comic convention with the rest of us nose-blowers.
So, it’s the end of the day in the hotel lobby, I’m with my rep and our arms are loaded up with all our shit to go drop off in our hotel rooms and we’re waiting for the elevator like a couple of schlubs. The elevator door opens and it is somehow PACKED front-to-back with some really fine looking middle-aged ladies who are dressed to the NINES… and right there, standing in the middle of them all, each arm around a lady, in his rose colored glasses and freshly pressed linen suit is none other than Jim Steranko and he just looks at us and says, “Sorry, fellas. I guess we’re full.” All the ladies give a little titter, the doors close, and they’re gone.
Jim Steranko is a real slick dude.
10. What else do you have going on in 2016 and beyond?
More HEAD LOPPER! Convention season is gearing up. Little odds and ends. Some new merchandise. Whatever else pops up.
Thank you, Andrew!
*Pictures of Andrew MaClean and his work were provided by the internet. Thx!