1. Ren or Stimpy?
Ren. He’s the extreme tempered one and that’s always funny.
2. Do you ever drink and draw? If not, are there any other vices you partake in while making art??
I used to but now I can’t pull it off. I like to have a cup of coffee with me when I draw now. That’s seems more helpful.
3. I’ve been enjoying your web comics, like Fante Bukowski, and your Diary Comics on your tumblr site. Have you ever gotten yourself in trouble over something you put into your Diary Comics; like something about a friend, co-worker, family, etc.?
Thank you. No, not really. I’m pretty conscious of not posting anything that will make someone I know mad at me.
4. What was the last good movie you’ve seen? Also, do you watch any T.V. shows, regularly?
I just saw FURY and liked that. I don’t watch TV anymore but I rented Boardwalk Empire from my library and I think it’s really, really great!
5. I see that your brother, Ethan, wrote the foreword to your new collection of comics, Youth is Wasted. You’re both successful comics artists, but in very different realms of the comics market; his being mainstream super-heroes, yours being the small press. I think that’s incredibly rare, and special. What’s your relationship like with your brother? Do you two talk about comics often?
Yeah, he’s a good guy. I don’t hear from him too often, but when we talk I guess comics will come up sometimes. Mostly I think our conversations are about our family. Stuff like that.
6. What other comics do you enjoy reading? Any good suggestions?
The Walt And Skeezix books are the greatest comics ever.
7. Describe your worst dating experience.
I know it sounds boring but I don’t have any cringe-inducing dating experiences. Just a lot of getting involved with women who I shouldn’t have. Just not enough in common. That kind of thing.
8. I read somewhere that you were working on a graphic novel about Joseph Smith that will be a similarly researched project like your Lincoln book, The Hypo. When should we expect to see this, and what was it that interested you in the founder of Mormonism? Are you a very religious person?
I was working on it. But I haven’t done anything for that book in awhile now. I just got too caught up in other projects. I do plan on coming back to it. I’d love to draw that book still. I was raised Mormon and that’s where my interest in Joseph Smith comes from. But, no I’m not currently in the church any longer and I’m not religious in the least bit.
9. You were nominated for another Ignatz at SPX this year for Blammo #8. I read in your diary comics that you were considering not going, because you felt like you have no chance at winning. Are you happy that you decided to go, or do you wish you stayed at home? Any memorable moments from the convention floor, or after-parties?
I’m happy I went. I had a lot of fun at SPX! I was just acting like a dumb baby about it. What’s so great about SPX is that everyone stays in the same hotel so it’s just cartoonists going from hotel room to hotel room all night long drinking and laughing. And you get to see all of these people who you haven’t seen in a year or maybe more. It’s a highlight of my year.
10. In March 2015, Fantagraphics is publishing your next graphic novel, Saint Cole, a character study of a twenty-something guy struggling to support his family, while dealing with his inner demons. In what way, if any, do you relate to this character? What other works do you have coming out soon?
I only relate to the main character in the way that his employment options are limited to just the bottom rung jobs. I didn’t go to college, and I don’t have any skills so my options are pretty limited. I wanted to put that on paper. My goal was to portray the life of the late 20s guy supporting a family on what would be a teenager’s job, and leaning on alcohol to numb what he knows is a dead end life.
I also have a new comic book coming out from Hic and Hoc called Cheer Up next month. It’s a collection of funny comics, and then later on in 2015 I have the Fante Bukowski book coming from Fantagraphics as well. That was a web comic I did on my Tumblr page about a wannabe writer.
Thank you, Noah!
Interview date: Oct. 2014 – A. Yates