Wednesday, June 20, 2007

CCS/MoCCA Double-Header:
Bryan Stone on Sundays, CCS Graduate Andrew Arnold

As MoCCA approaches, there's still much ground to cover -- hence, I'll be running more than one interview at least a couple times this week, starting today!

Ladies and gents, meet Andrew Arnold
  • (here's Andrew's bio page from his website)
  • and Bryan Stone.

    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!

    Andrew Arnold:
    Wayman’s Corner

    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 with fellow CCS graduate Emily Wieja, Graduation Day, May 2007 (Photo: Joe Lambert)

    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.

    Bryan Stone:

    The Sundays cover, hot off the silkscreen!

    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 Stone, at rest (Photo: Joe Lambert)

    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!

    Here's the final cover -- what you'll be looking for at MoCCA, folks! Don't miss it!

  • Here's the Sundays blog, where you can find daily updates, pix, art, chat, mindless violence (see today's scandalous photos of -- Joe Lambert biting the big one!), and more!

  • Keep an eye on the Sundays blog after MoCCA, too, as the gang will hopefully be establishing an online venue for Sundays ASAP.

    More tomorrow! Stay tuned -- lots more cartoonists, comics, art and insights!

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    Morning Amid MoCCA Mania...

    Jon-Mikel Gates's cover art for the I Know Joe Kimpel catalogue, debuting at MoCCA on Saturday. BTW, that's a spot-on rendition of CCS's Colodny classroom, and all the Joe Kimpel crew!

    The MoCCA mania continues, with the first wave of CCSers heading south to NYC today while others scramble on their respective projects. It's a heady couple of days ahead, all cresting when MoCCA opens its doors on June 23.

    Among the drama is some unfortunate trauma: Sean Morgan, whose anthology Capsule debuts at MoCCA (featuring the story "Area Stoned" with uncanny alien art by Sean and yours truly), broke his left hand Monday night! Man, talk about crap timing!

    Still, Sean shoulders on -- fortunately, he's right-handed (actually, he says, ambidexterous), and he's wrapping up work on Capsule today and getting it to the printer in the nick of time. If all goes well, Sean will be at MoCCA with comic, cooler (his cast has an attachment to a cooler to circulate cold water through the cast to keep swelling down) and his usual cool, and be kind to him when you see him, folks. Oh, and buy a copy of Capsule, natch.

    The first Tyrant page in a decade, awaiting scanning last Friday night -- debuting in Sundays on, uh, Saturday. Don't miss it!

    OK, interview to follow later today -- just wanted to be sure to get this quick update online this AM as early as possible.

    En route to his pending veto of yet another stem-research bill, President Bush says it's "immoral" to use tax funding to "destroy human life..." What the fuck is the Iraq War??

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