10 Questions With Comics Brewmaster Jeremy Bastian

Sure, I was blown away by the intricately inked artwork, when I first stumbled upon Cursed Pirate Girl #1 at my local comics shop back in 2009, but this was no empty, ornate funny book vessel, oh no! This was the beginning of a modern classic by a master storyteller!

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Jeremy Bastian struggled to find his audience early on with comics like Phantom Corp and others, but after creating Cursed Pirate Girl for the comics anthology Ye Old Lore of Yore(Comixpress, 2005), he knew he had something special! He had more CPG tales to tell and it didn’t hurt that she appealed to a wider audience. Cursed Pirate Girl is on a quest to find her lost father, a Pirate Captain of the mythical Omerta Seas. The story is full of whimsical and strange creatures that Bastian renders on each page in mind-boggling detail.

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Cursed Pirate Girl takes a long time to draw, so after a decade we have 3 issues(originally published by Olympian Publishing & collected by Archaia) and the recently published Cursed Pirate Girl 2015 Annual(52 pages, Archaia/BOOM). The wait is well worth it, though. You can tell that Bastian is continuing to challenge himself as an artist and step up his game with each new page he draws!

Mr. Bastian was kind enough to take the 10 Questions challenge and he gave some very interesting and entertaining answers. So, grab a mug of something, a spork, and dig on in!

1. Jack Sparrow or Kurt Wagner?

Kurt, definitely the swashbuckling Kurt Wagner, not the priestly one. One of my favorite comics growing up was Excalibur, and I think he really flourished in those stories. He didn’t have to worry so much about what he looked like and he could just kick butt during the whole Cross Time Caper arc.

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2. Do you ever drink and draw or partake in any other vices while making comics??

I don’t really drink that much that isn’t caffeinated while I draw. Beer just slows me down, and I’m already slow enough while I draw. However, I have decided that Rochefort Trappistes 10 is the best beer to drink while appreciating or celebrating art. Other vices that my wife wouldn’t agree with that I partake in while at the drawing table would include Stephen King audio-books and techno music.

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3. The Cursed Pirate Girl Special Annual 2015, that was just published by Archaia/BOOM, is actually the 4th chapter out of a planned 6 chapter story. We pick up the story with Cursed Pirate Girl and the young Apollonia still searching for the pirate girl’s father, a pirate captain of the dreaded Omerta Seas. This looks like an instant sellout. Are there future printings planned to meet demand? Also, have you changed your approach to the character & story for Volume 2 or was everything pretty much decided early on in the creative process?

Well, one thing they got wrong in the story blurb they’ve been advertising is that Apollonia is in this story. I’m afraid to say she is not in the rest of this story arc. Maybe in the vol.2 epilogue. The printing of other runs is one of the things I’m trying to work out with Archaia/BOOM!. Seeing as this is a floppy issue it doesn’t really rest on a shelf well and comic shop owners don’t let such books stay on the rack for months/years on end. This is all part of the learning process as I’m concerned. Since the next chapter won’t be done for a couple of years, it would be nice to have this book in print at least until that time.

Ideally it would be best if it was in print until the collected vol. 2 comes out. I’m not quite sure what will happen yet. I wrote the entire story out first, all 6 chapters. I do get to play around a bit with scenes and dialog but for the most part all the characters were laid out from day 1. There were distinctive scenes/scenarios that I pictured. The harder part was to link those together that made sense but didn’t feel rushed.

Thanks for the correction on Apollonia, Jeremy. I’m just going to go ahead and blame all those other lazy internet copywriters out there for my mistake. 😉

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

The last movie that lived up to my expectations was Crimson Peak. I am a big Guillermo fan and this was exactly what I hoped it would be. A gorgeous, densely ornate ghost story with just the right amount of gore. He has a way of moving the camera like it’s a ballet. One of the things I appreciate in movies is uniqueness, the red clay under the house and oozing from the walls was really unique. The ghosts were undeniably creepy, the way they moved and, like in Devil’s Backbone, the way their wounds smoked but didn’t smoke was just really breathtaking.

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5. You’ve done a story for your friend David Petersen’s Mouse Guard. What other famous comics book character(s) do you think you’d have fun working on, given the chance?

The books I grew up with were Batman, Swamp Thing, X-Men and the New Mutants. Of those there is only one I think I would be any good at bringing something to. I would love to do something with Swamp Thing. First off I’m rubbish at trying to draw buildings, rooms, anything really man made. Unless I can give it more of a non reality feel to it. But, I think I really excel at natural things. Give me an organic landscape any day and I’ll give you something that will haunt you. Layers of moss on decaying broken trees with bugs feeding on other bugs, twisted roots strangling boulders, things lying in wait under the soft grey silt of a pond’s floor. That would be a fun place to frolic.

OK, DC, you heard it here first. You should have Jeremy Bastian do a Swamp Thing special or fill in issue. No excuses. It would be amazing! -AY

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6. You’ve talked about your love of classic children’s storybook art, like Alan Aldridge’s The Ship’s Cat(1977), and your love of the old engraving art masters, like Gustave Doré and Albrecht Dürer. What else has influenced your style and is there anything new, since you first created Cursed Pirate Girl, that has influenced your work?

Besides the two you mentioned, I am heavily influenced by Arthur Rackham, Walter Crane, Harry Clarke, William Hogarth and a bunch of other old world illustrators. Besides that group of masters my more recent influence flows from Instagram. Through Instagram I’ve discovered many contemporary artists that have really opened my eyes to a level of realism that I’m now trying to implement. I feel I still have much room for improving and I love finding people who can challenge me artistically.

In February my wife and I are going to London for a comic convention and I’m hoping to meet one of my contemporary heroes, an illustrator named Niroot Puttapipat. Niroot is one of my favorite follows on both Instagram and Twitter as well as one of the best illustrators I’ve stumbled upon.

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7. Describe your worst dating experience.

Hah, well being the lonely art kid in school didn’t give me a lot of self confidence so I pretty much was everybody else’s worst experience I’m sure. Okay! I just thought of something. So I was in art school (the Art Institute of Pittsburgh) and I really liked this girl, I think her name was Yana or something like that. She was in Photography. So Yana and I were hanging out at this other guy’s room (this was in an apartment complex for art school students, not a dorm kind of thing) he was another friend of her’s. At this time I think we had gone out on a date… maybe two…?

Anyway, the whole night was how this guy had been in a terrible car accident and how he had been in a coma and had some sort of out of body realization of his place in the universe blah blah blah… This was the story he was telling us, and Yana was REALLY in to it. I felt like an unwanted third wheel loser the whole night. I had debates in my head about how “I should just leave them here together, they would probably thank me later” and “no! screw that, I’m with her, I’m not just going to scamper off because this new age cult leader wannabe is soooo much cooler than me”. I stayed and then never went out with Yana again. She might’ve gone back later for a Kool-Aid night cap.

HAHAHA !! I suggest you do a future graphic novel about all this…call it “Chasing Yana”, perhaps? -AY

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8. Did you read a lot of comics growing up? Do you have a collection and if you do, can you tell us what your most prized possession is??

Oh yes, I read a ton of books. I have a pretty good sized collection. I lost a lot of books, all my favorites, to another girl, that’s a different story that I’m not going to go into. The gems that stand out that I might or might not still have are the Lobo: Paramilitary Christmas Special, Batman issue 400 the Anniversary issue, Jae Lee’s Wildcats Trilogy, the Alan Moore/John Totleben Swamp Thing books (my favorite was the 2 issue arc of underwater vampires -Still Waters) all the Arthur Adams X-Babies books like Mojo Mayhem and the Arthur Adams X-Men/New Mutants Asgardian Wars, the Bill Sienkiewicz New Mutants Demon Bear saga and the Magik: Storm and Illyana 4 issue limited series. Those are my all time favorite comics.

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9. Can you share any funny or embarrassing comic convention moments with us? Speaking of conventions, what does your schedule look like coming up, and will you be hitting the west coast anytime soon?

The one embarrassing story involves me fanboying out on Gary Gianni at a SDCC several years ago. Really it was a bunch of rambling on how great he is and how he made me look at comics in a different light. I’ve put together my list of shows I’m doing and want to do for next year, there are like 12 shows. I’m on the waiting list for Wondercon, if everything goes right I should be at SDCC this next year. Hopefully it will work out, I really enjoy that show. I am excited to see that Spectrum has moved to San Francisco, I am planning on going to that show next year. Shows you will definitely see me at are New Orleans, London Super Comic Con, C2E2, Heroes, Baltimore and New York. More to be announced when I can confirm them.

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10. Besides working on the next chapter of Cursed Pirate Girl, what else do you have planned for the future? Will we get to see more of Cursed Pirate Girl and/or her world after you complete the 6th/final chapter??

I do have other story arcs in mind and jotted down here and there. In which Apollonia does come back to play an important role. I want to take a break from comics after I finish this arc, I’d like to do a gallery show, maybe a couple of group shows. Play around a bit with larger singular pieces, maybe do a couple of covers. But I’ll never get tired of CPG, I have so many Things I’ve come up with for the world of Cursed Pirate Girl. So many interesting Things… heh heh heh

Thank you, Jeremy!

*Pictures of Jeremy Bastian and his work were provided by the internet. Thx!

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