10 Questions With Comics Brewmaster Evan Dorkin
Ah, yes, another willing victim for our “10 Questions” series. This time it’s Evan Dorkin, and boy does he like to talk! So, settle in with your hot cocoa, or highball of choice, and enjoy!
1. Milk or Cheese? Explain.
There is no either/or. It’s Milk and Cheese. No explanation is necessary.
2. Do you ever drink and draw?(..this is Comics Tavern) If not, are there any other vices(food/drink/drugs/sex/
other) you partake in while making art?? Explain.
I’ve worked with hangovers, but never worked while drinking. I have enough trouble drawing sober. When I was in my twenties I tried to write a script while under the influence of an illegal substance and it was a disaster. I woke up and couldn’t understand half of what I typed out. .
3. What was the last good movie you’ve seen? Explain.
Scarlet Street, directed by Fritz Lang, starring Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett and Dan Duryea. It’s a 40’s black and white noir filled with typical Lang touches, pretty much as miserable and downbeat as the 1940’s Hollywood system would allow at the time. Well acted, well-directed, nicely shot. It’s on Netflix.
4. Which comics creator impressed you the most when you met them in person, and which was the biggest disappointment?(loaded question…I know…hehe..)
The people who made the biggest impression on me in person would include Archie Goodwin, Walt Simonson, Jaime Hernandez, Gilbert Hernandez and Sergio Aragones, among others.
As far as disappointments go — this isn’t exactly what you’re looking for but when I was about thirteen I went to a Creation Con here in New York and was in the audience for a talk given by John Buscema. He was one of my favorite artists and I couldn’t wait to see him in person. Early on in the talk, while taking questions, he made it clear that he didn’t like superheroes, he enjoyed working on Conan and comics like that. There was this dead silence in the room after he said he didn’t like superheros, it was like he sucked all the air out of the room and was choking out all us fanboys. You could tell the crowd was freaked out, I know I was. Buscema wasn’t being nasty or a jerk about it, he was just being honest and was hoping people would ask him questions about stuff other than The Avengers (they didn’t). I wasn’t disappointed with Buscema as a person, he just killed me with the idea that a comic artist might not love the hell out of what they were drawing. It was a bucket of cold water in the face of a naive fan and aspiring comics artist.
Many years later I met Buscema at a con we were both appearing at and I got to speak with him for quite a while. He was all fake-gruff at first but once he relaxed it was great talking with him. My wife and I also met his granddaughter, Stephanie Buscema, at that con, she’s now a fantastic artist doing tons of comic covers and paintings.
5. Which mainstream IP(intellectual property) would you most like to work on, and why?(comics/movies/TV/
My usual answer to this question is Howard the Duck and Popeye, I guess the reasons are because I like the characters and think it’s possible I could do a halfway decent job writing them. But to be honest I don’t think about that sort of thing, work-for-hire can be fun and rewarding but I’d rather work on my creator-owned stuff as much as possible, especially as I get older. Evan Dorkin on Howard the Duck..? Axel Alonso, please make this happen!
6 . What was the most embarrassing moment you’ve ever had out in public? It can be a convention story or anything that was really embarrassing.
This is a boring story but it’s the only one that comes to mind — I was studying film animation at NYU and taking a course with John Canemaker, who is a well-known animator, animation historian and instructor. I was learning cel animation and for a final we had to put together a short reel of sound footage with matching dialogue and effects. I made a really stupid mistake on my reel — I flipped the film while editing it last minute in a panic and punched sprocket holes into the entire soundtrack. I didn’t know this until the footage was screened. The soundtrack was completely ruined, it was garbled and sounded like a machine gun going off. I was mortified sitting through it, and when the lights went on, the room was really quiet, and Canemaker looked at me sternly and said, “Mr. Dorkin, are you serious about being here?”. Ugh. I know that isn’t an exciting story but I was devastated. The only saving grace was that while the soundtrack was a ruin, it did match up to the animation. I think I got a C in that class.
7. What comics(if any) do you enjoy reading?
I’m a fan of pretty much everything by Jaime Hernandez, Gilbert Hernandez, Mike Mignola, Dan Clowes, Jim Woodring, Chris Ware, Mike Kupperman and a lot of other people. I like old newspaper strip collections like Walt and Skeezix, Captain Easy, Prince Valiant, King Aroo, Barnaby and Popeye. I love Cul de Sac, as far as modern strips go. I like Silver Age Marvel and DC stuff, Carl Barks Disney comics, John Stanley comics, EC comics. Anything by Jack Kirby and most things by Steve Ditko. I read a decent amount of manga, mostly borrowed from the library, but anything that comes out by Osamu Tezuka or Shigeru Mizuki I try to own. The whole family reads Yotsuba!. I could list a lot more comics, and I know I’m blanking on names of younger cartoonists, but I have to get this interview done so I can get back to work. I like a lot of cartoonists.
8. Describe your worst dating experience.
I was on a blind date, double-dating with the couple who had set us up. I was nineteen or twenty, miserable after a recent break-up and I’d never been on a blind date before. So I was already anxious, and the girl had the same name as my ex, which was a bummer. I was also nervous because it was a real grown-up, actual “date”, we went to a comedy club where they served dinner and had name performers and I had to wear decent clothes and it was not my kind of thing at all. I didn’t know how to talk to my date, who was pretty and seemed very nice, so I drank too much to try and be more sociable and of course, I just got wasted and sloppy instead. When we left the club I embarrassed myself and everyone by going off into an alley beside the club to relieve myself. I guess this counts as another embarrassing public moment. I hope you’re happy.
9. I see that The Beasts of Burden film is currently in development. How involved are you in the film, and can you share how close the film adaptation will be, or not be to the comics?
Jill and I aren’t involved at all, and I’m not paying close attention to what’s going. I try to ignore the whole thing as much as possible, because it’s too crazy to think about, and being a pessimist, I don’t think there’s a chance in hell this thing will actually go into production.
10. What does the rest of 2014 look like for “The House of Fun”? Are there any exciting, new projects that you can tell us about?
A new Beasts of Burden one-shot (Hunters and Gatherers) came out last month, and it looks like we’ll have another one out later this year. Jill’s finished a good chunk of it, so, fingers crossed that will be scheduled soon. The Eltingville Club #1 ships on April 23rd, after that we’ll have the second (and final) Eltingville comic out, and then we’ll collect all the Eltingville material into a book later this year. I also have 8 pages of gag comics done for Dark Horse Presents, but DHP is being relaunched so I have no idea when those will run. That’s pretty much everything right now.
Thanks, Evan! You’re a good sport!