10 Questions with Jim Rugg

1. Nicholas Cage or Keanu Reeves? 

Nicholas Cage, based on quantity, Raising Arizona, Con Air, Bad Lt., Face/Off…Keanu can’t compete with the volume or the best of Cage.

10 Questions with Jim Rugg

 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??

Not really. I’m pretty boring. I listen to podcasts while I ink and color my work. Sometimes, if it’s nearing the end of a long day (i.e. after 9), I’ll have a drink as I’m wrapping things up. I’m getting old, if I drink anything now, I usually just want to take a nap afterwards.

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

I recently saw Under the Skin and Jodorowsky’s Dune. They were both a lot of fun. Under the Skin looked nice and the sound was good. It reminded me of Charles Burns’ work and I enjoyed its pace. Jodorowsky’s Dune was a great story about making art and collaboration, and featured an incredible team of talent like Moebius, Giger, Foss. I would recommend both of those.

Streey Angel #1(Slave Labor) & Prophet #38 covers by Jim Rugg

4. Your much anticipated issue of Adventure Time comes out this month. Are there any other mainstream IP’s(intellectual properties) you’d love to work on, and why?(comics/movies/TV/literature/etc.)

I like the Punisher and Hulk, mostly for nostalgic reasons I suppose. I don’t think there are any IP’s I’m dying to work on. I like Jason from Friday the 13th, Walter from The Big Lebowski, Josie and the Pussycats, and some pro-wrestlers. I made an unauthorized Rambo comic (Rambo 3.5) a few years ago, so if I decide there’s something I really want to do, I’ll probably just do it.

Afrodisiac by Jim Rugg

5. F, Marry, or Kill. They used to play this game a lot on Howard Stern, so since I have no original ideas we’re going to play The Comics Tavern version. You must assign one of those actions to the 3 choices given, and I would like to hear your reasons. 

Baroness(GI Joe…)

Kitty Pryde

Tank Girl

I’m going to refrain from answering this question. Sexism, gender inequality, sexual harassment, and misogyny are major problems in the comics industry and I don’t want to contribute to it. I’m sure you don’t mean any harm with this question, but I don’t want to alienate anyone when it comes to comics.

How about – draw, read, ignore? I would read Tank Girl, draw Baroness, and ignore Kitty Pryde. When I started reading comics, I LOVED X-Men, but it was after Kitty Pryde had left the team. She might have been on Excalibur then. I’m not sure. But I never really connected with her character.

*Here’s a link to the CBR article about this controversial question and how Mr. Rugg handled it. – A.Yates

Drive ballpoint pen drawing & Dragonkiller black light screen print by Jim Rugg

6. Describe an encounter with a fan, or fellow comics professional that really pissed you off.

I’m your most boring interview ever…but I just can’t think of an incident. Like 10 years ago, I was at an outdoor festival and some guy put his bag of take-out food on a comic on my table while he looked at a table next to mine. As if that weren’t appalling enough, when he walked away, it had dripped sauce onto one of my comics. But it happened near the end of what had been my best show ever, so I wasn’t too mad since I was having a great weekend!

I just thought of one. I was at a show a few years ago, and a guy was pitching a comic to a publisher near me. The conversation turned to how the guy found artists to work with and he boastfully talked about how easy it was to take advantage of comic book artists. That’s probably the closest I’ve come to violence at a show.

G.I. Joe Special Missions(IDW) #1 & #3 variant covers by Jim Rugg

7. Do you have a favorite weird comic in your collection, something most collectors would never have even seen before?

This I can do. I’ll just list some stuff:

Jason Karnes’ Fukitor comics – these are x-rated horror comics that are completely produced, written, drawn, printed, and distributed by one guy. They are beautiful. They were originally printed on newsprint and just felt like some underground grandchild of EC.

Drippy Bones Books (publisher) – Galactic Breakdown by Keenan Marshall Keller is about this steroid abuser that gets abducted by aliens to be an intergalactic fighter. It’s printed by a company that prints restaurant menus and it looks like it could be printed with plastic inks. The coloring is great. Cartoonshow by Derek M. Ballard. He draws really well, like a cross between Jack Kirby, cartoons, and pornography. Bald Eagles’ latest comic, Bittersweet Romance is also a Drippy Bones Book. Bald Eagles draws a lot, like a million little marks everywhere. And Bittersweet Romance reprints his comic book pages with the margins visible so all of his doodles and drawings are visible.

Iron Man #39 – drawn by Herb Trimpe, allegedly in 24 hours.

Chris Pitzer recently gifted me a copy of Magazineland, USA – this was a free comic book that a printer released to try to attract more business. It’s drawn by Joe Kubert and his first or second year of Kubert school students. It features comic book characters from a number of large publishers (Marvel, DC, Harvey) working on the presses and explaining how comics are made.

Real Deal – this is a self-published series from the 90s. The line work is reminiscent of Gary Panter but the stories are straight out of gangsta rap from the late 80s/early 90s. The first issue is a tabloid sized, newsprint edition and the subsequent issues are magazine sized. It’s a cool series. I started looking for it at San Diego Comic-Con a few years ago and it took me almost a year to assemble the whole series.

My tastes tend towards the weird, so my collection is full of work that most collectors have never seen (and probably have no interest in seeing).

Supermag Exclusive AdHouse HC edition art by Jim Rugg

8. Describe your worst dating experience.

In college, I worked for a white-water rafting company. I would take dates rafting sometimes and flipped a raft over once. The poor girl survived, but it was not a good experience.

9. Where do you see the comics industry in 10 years, and what changes (if any) would you like to see?

Ten years? In ten years, assuming we’re not dead and assuming there is still an “industry”, I would expect everything to be completely different than it is now. I mean, if you look back on the previous decade of rapid, radical change, and assume the rate of change will continue to accelerate in an exponential, rather than linear progression, it’s hard to imagine the state of anything in ten years. The iPhone was only introduced seven years ago. So we should see a few more changes of that scale in the next ten years, and it makes predicting anything hard to do.

If people are still producing print objects, I think it will be mostly artisan-al, along the lines of the current state of book arts and zines.

The disposable and wasteful nature of print will soon render it politically and commercially nonviable. Amazon’s war on book retailers will likely decimate that segment of the market, which will significantly change distribution. Distribution has a profound effect on content so that will be interesting.

Of the big two, I think Disney is much better suited to exploit their superhero license than Warner Bros. So that gulf may grow. Who knows, maybe Warner Bros. even sells or licenses their character to Disney within the next ten years.

Plus, artificial intelligence is ominously close, right? Hopefully that new life-form will create a comic book or two before it decides humans are harmful and eradicates us.

Art by Jim Rugg

Changes I would like to see include:

– Better understanding of the business side of publishing. It’s possible to make a good living in comics without compromising the work. I know people who do this. I hope to know many, many more in ten years.

– Better academic support for comics. This change is underway; I would like to see it continue to develop. This includes everything from critical writing to institutional support like residencies, museums and gallery shows, library and school events, historical writing, and archives. Like I said, all of this stuff is happening, which is awesome. I would like to see it continue.

– I would like to see alternative distribution models continue to flourish, for these new models to integrate easily and directly between creator and reader, and to monetize these new models efficiently. Distribution is vital to an art form. I would like to see it continue to develop forever.

– Comics have grown a lot in terms of diversity of content, readers, and creators. I would like to see that continue.

10. Greedy two part final question here! Any plans for future Street Angel/Afrodisiac comics, and/or T.V./movie adaptations? Besides your Adventure Time issue, and the new Street Angel Hardcover coming out next month from AdHouse, what else should fans expect to see from you the rest of 2014, and beyond?

The Adventure Time story will conclude soon (possibly by the time I finish this interview). I think that will be collected later this year in one volume.

Street Angel Hardcover is out this summer, so I’m doing shows to promote that, including:

June 20-22 – Charlotte, NC – Heroes Con

July 24-27 – San Diego, CA – Comic-Con

September 13-14 – Bethesda, MD – SPX

October 4-5 – San Francisco, CA – APE

I have a couple other shows I’m finalizing and will also be doing a few store appearances to promote the book.

After that, I’m not sure what my next project will be. I may begin working on my next art show or I may begin producing my next graphic novel or doing some zines, mini-comics, etc.

I continue to produce BoingBoing’s Tell Me Something I Don’t Know podcast, where Jasen Lex and I talk to artists, writers, cartoonists, musicians, filmmakers, etc. about their work and the business/reality behind what they do.

The best thing to do to keep up with my work is to follow me Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook…I’m “jimrugg” at all of those things. You can also keep up with me at jimrugg.com.

Street Angel 2 page splash art by Jim Rugg

Links:  Jim’s Patreon Page  :: Cartoonist Kayfabe!

Thank you, Jim!

Interview date: June 2014 – A. Yates

*special thank you to Jon Vinson for coming up with Q#7