Bryan Stone on Sundays, CCS Graduate Andrew Arnold
Ladies and gents, meet Andrew Arnold
Both are good men, great cartoonists, and men of few words.
These gents from the South are therefore the perfect double-feature, so read on!
SB: Andrew, you herald from Texas. What’s your background, and what got you into comics?
ANDREW ARNOLD: I grew up in Houston and spent most of childhood playing sports and collecting baseball cards. In the summer of ‘89 or so a new family moved in next door to my parent’s house. They had two boys, Colin and Jason, and we instantly became friends. We played baseball together all the time and then one day they showed me their 1990 Marvel Comic Cards and I was like, “Holy $h!T! These are the coolest things I’ve ever seen!” I told my mom and dad I wanted some and they took me to the local comic shop. My dad told me he was a big Thor fan as a kid so I figured I’d give his comic a shot. Before I knew it, I fell in love with the character and the rest is history.
Playing superhero: one of Andrew's thumbnail roughs (fall, 2006) from an early draft of Wayman's Corner
SB: What prompted you to create your own comics?
ANDREW: I guess my first attempt at making a comic was when I was in third grade. Colin, Jason, and I always played this game called “Superheroes” where we’d pretend to be our favorite heroes battling our favorite villains. I, of course, was Thor, Colin was Gambit, and Jason was Hulk. Anyways, I guess one day we decided it was time to create our own characters and stories so Jason and I decided to go for it. He was the writer and I -- fresh off my success at the Texas Live Stock Show and Rodeo -- was the artist. Don’t ask me what Colin did, I don’t remember. And you know what? I don’t think we finished one page of that comic…
SB: Well, you’ve made up for that since! What led you to CCS?
ANDREW: I graduated from Southwestern University in May 2004 and was a graphic designer for a plastic extrusion company in Houston. I liked it: I was close to home, my family, and friends. The people I worked with were great but I felt like I needed something else. I thought, “Why not grad school?” One of my old college professors, who knew I loved comics and animation, sent me an email with a list of comic and animation schools. I applied to four of them, got into three, and visited two: the Rochester Institute of Technology and CCS. It’s funny because I spent more time on my visit at RIT. I guess there was something about CCS that RIT didn’t have -- maybe it was James Sturm’s whacky personality, I dunno… My mom, who visited both schools with me, was like, “Are you sure this is what you want?” Three months later, I packed up my bags and moved to Vermont.
SB: And we’re glad you did! So, what’s the comic you’re debuting at MoCCA this weekend?
ANDREW: To keep things consistent, here’s what the didactic says about my comic, Wayman's Corner:
“The Super Hero Hotel lies in the middle of nowhere, a place where heroes go hang out and relax. In this comic you’ll meet Captain Destiny and the other members of his team, the Justice Force. You’ll also meet the hotel innkeepers, Fred and Charlie and Captain Destiny’s son Harvey, a young boy destined to one-day wield the Destiny Force. Welcome to a world of fun-filled action and adventure as you learn what really happens when superheroes aren’t fighting the bad guys. Welcome to Wayman’s Corner!”
I’ve had the idea of Wayman’s Corner for a while now, so it was great to finally flesh it out in a comic. I’ve always been fascinated with people — what makes them act a certain way or think a certain thing, why we always want more, expect more out of life. It’s funny because I know I think and do and these things all the time… So maybe this is me trying to make sense of them. I know it sounds incredibly corny, but it’s true.
SB: Thanks, Andrew! Let's talk more later, and dig a bit deeper when there's more time.
SB: OK, Bryan, this is an ambitious undertaking! Who are the mystery men behind Sundays?
BRYAN STONE: We're a group of soon to be seniors at the Center for Cartoon Studies. Our names are Sean Ford, Chuck Forsman, Alex Kim, Joseph Lambert, Jeff Lok and Bryan Stone. We come from a wide variety of backgrounds but we all have a strong love for and dedication to the medium of comics.
SB: Who -- or what -- brainstormed Sundays?
BRYAN: Sundays was the idea of Chuck Forsman. His original concept was based on the large scale of old Sunday strips. Rarely, if ever, are comics seen in such a format anymore. Even the Sunday pages that exist today are but a faint shadow of their former selves. Think Little Nemo versus Garfield.
SB: Nemo wins. How did Chuck galvanize the group?
BRYAN: I think "We should do an anthology" was said by everyone of us at some point. With all the great comics floating around at The Center for Cartoon Studies it's a pretty easy conclusion to come to.
SB: How it shaping up?
BRYAN: The book should weigh in at around a healthy fifty pages [note: 54 pages is the final count] and feature comics from a ton of great cartoonists such as Andrew Arnold, Steve Bissette, J.P. Coovert, Ken Dahl, Coleen Frakes, Penina Gal, Cat Garza, Sam Gaskin, Jon-Mikel Gates, Dane Martin, Morgan Pielli, Catlin Plovnik, Adam Staffaroni, Rich Tommaso, Denis St. John, and Emily Weija! The book will also feature new comics from all six editors. We were very fortunate to be able to round up so much amazing work. It's no exaggeration to say that the work that we're receiving has far exceeded our, already high, expectations.
SB: OK, finally, where can folks find Sundays on Saturday at MoCCA?
BRYAN: The book will debut at MoCCA at table A-45 in the Skylight Ballroom.
SB: Make a beeline there, folks, as quantities are limited. Thanks, Bryan!
Keep an eye on the Sundays blog after MoCCA, too, as the gang will hopefully be establishing an online venue for Sundays ASAP.