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AICN COMICS: Q&@ is our new semi-weekly interview column where some of your favorite @$$Holes interview comic bookdom’s biggest, brightest, newest, and oldest stars. Enjoy this latest in-depth interview filled with @$$y goodness and be sure to look for more AICN COMICS as we gaze into the future of comics every week with AICN COMICS: SPINNER RACK PREVIEWS every Monday and then join the rest of your favorite @$$Holes for their opinions on the weekly pull every Wednesday with AICN COMICS REVIEWS!
Q’s by superhero!
@’s by The gang from TITMOUSE!
Hello out there in comicland! Once again it is I, superhero , this time with an interview with the amazing talent behind the fantastic comic compilation called TITMOUSE. This MOOK (Magazine/Book), as the creators behind TITMOUSE like to call it, is a terrific showcase of powerhouse illustrators. If you want to check out my review for it click here. Trust me, it’s well worth grabbing, and you can buy your copy here.
BUT WAIT!!! The people behind TITMOUSE love AICN so much that they are offering free shipping on anyone who orders the book through AICN Comics. Basically, go to here., purchase a book and use the code AICN as your promo code when ordering. It’ll give you five bucks off which will cover the cost of shipping! Now that’s a deal! It’s a deal that only lasts until September 19th so get on it now!
But hold on a minute…one more thing…the gang behind TITMOUSE are doing a signing on September 10th at Golden Apple Comics in Hollywood, Cal-i-for-n-i-a! The signing starts at 6 p.m. and goes ‘til 9 p.m. So if free shipping isn’t enough for ya and you live in the L.A. area be sure to head over to the signing and get your book signed in person! Awesome!
Let’s get on to the interviews! Woo!
superhero: So what is Titmouse? An animation house? A publishing company? Why’s it called Titmouse?CHRIS PRYNOSKI (CP): A titmouse is either a very small bird or a word that sounds funny if you have a dirty mind. We use it as the name of our cartoon studio. You may know us from numerous animations including METALOCALYPSE, GUITAR HERO, GI JOE RESOLUTE, FREAKNIK, THE AMAZING SCREW ON HEAD, and other silly stuff. Be on the lookout for our upcoming season of SUPERJAIL!
Now I guess we are a publishing company of sorts. We like to draw pictures, so it works out well. Also, a book takes less time to make than a cartoon film.
We call it Titmouse because we are the sorts of people I mentioned in the first sentence (the dirty mind types.)
superhero: What was the impetus behind this project?CP: I wanted to read a book like this. And by "read" I mostly mean look at pictures. So we had to make it in order to read it. One day I will read it. I can't wait. It's going to be rad.
superhero: How did you go about selecting the artists for TITMOUSE VOL. 1?CP: They are all friends of Titmouse. People who we work with or have worked with. In the studio types and other types. Also, great and fancy high-quality artists. I didn't want any "filler" in the book. I want every page to be a quality item, worthy of hanging on your wall with or without a golden frame. And they are all my blood brothers and sisters - except without actually exchanging blood. We have exchanged other things. Mostly action figures.
superhero: Why did you go for publishing a book as opposed to publishing these as webcomics or starting a Titmouse comics website?CP: You can still hold a book. And I don't yet have a computer in my bathroom. I like to read comics while making a poop. And I like to hold them while reading them. The books, not the poop. If I get an iPad maybe I'll use that while crapping. Or maybe we'll skip the internet and go directly to shooting the comics into your brain with lasers.
superhero: What’s your history as far as your interest in comics goes? Can you remember the first comic you ever read? What are you reading these days, if anything?CP: I love comics, especially Lenny Bruce. I have been told that his son designed the 1972 addition to my house. Pretty neat. Who knew Lenny's Bruce's son was an interior designer? Weird.
The first comic I ever read was in the barber shop when I was a tiny lad. It was an INCREDIBLE HULK with no cover. The Hulk got really mad at a statue of Socrates or some Greek philosopher type that kept saying "know thyself" at him. I think he smashed the statue. The Hulk is strong.
Now I read mostly trades. I can't seem to get it together enough to read monthlies. I always miss the most important issue and then I'm screwed right up the old greasy butthole. THE WALKING DEAD still holds up. It's probably my fave rave. And I can't wait to see the TV show. The guy that made the SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION!
superhero: Are there any plans for a TITMOUSE VOL. 2?CP: Nope, but there are plans for volumes 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12. And one between volume 1 and 3 that we're going to call volume "two."
superhero: So that’s what the head cheese has to say, but what about the actual talent? What about the people that made this book so special in the first place? Well, look no further! I submitted five questions to each of the artists involved in the making of TITMOUSE and the answers are presented below. Not everyone who contributed to TITMOUSE is present and accounted for but I tried my best. Listed is the artist along with the title of their piece. Here you go:
superhero: Tell us a bit about yourself. Your past work, where you’re from, hobbies, favorite color, movies, etc.PAUL HARNMON (PH): I work in animation as a storyboard artist. That takes up most of the time but in my spare time I'm usually working on various creator-owned comics and shorts. I'm really into food, Japanese and various other ethnic cuisines, but eating and cooking great food having some nice sake, shochu and or a nice bourbon or cocktail is fairly important. I collect some vintage Japanese toys, just getting into collecting a select few pieces of original art from artists that are important to me.
superhero: Tell us about your particular entry in TITMOUSE. What inspired it?PH: It started as a sketch of the main character and the sort of old man vampire thing, and just the simple concept of a knight that protects his village from a monster, then I tweaked some of the details to get to what it became.
superhero: Can you talk a bit about your artistic process? Meaning what medium you work in, how your piece came together artistically?PH: I usually approach every story I do with hopefully somewhat of a unique look for what I'm trying to achieve with the story. Usually I like to do a lot of inking with quills, nibs and brushes. Since the color had a somewhat painterly technique and was going to dominate the look of this story, I did the art in pencil with simple line drawings knowing I would "paint" in any shadows and use color to really affect some atmosphere and mood.
superhero: What are your main artistic influences? Do you currently read comics? If so, what are you currently reading?PH: Haven't read any comics in a while, but I'm always looking to find undiscovered works from artists I love. Right now I'm really into old illustrators and master draftsmen like Robert Fawcett and Noel Sickles. In terms of comic artists, I'm obsessed with Jorge Zaffino and Alex Toth, Sergio Toppi. I've recently come across Dino Battaglia's mind-blowing body of work and his influence on Toppi is immediately recognizable. I've always liked the all-in-one artists.
superhero: What other projects are you currently working on? Do you have any more comic work coming out we should know about? Or any other projects in general we should know about?PH: I recently finished a rather large short story for FLIGHT VOL. 7, "King of Beasts." I'd like to do a series of graphic novels with that, I've got a lot of different stories I'd like to see in graphic novel form as soon as I can get a little bit of time. I'm really excited to go back to my first published work, which came out through Image a few years back, "MORA."
superhero: Tell us a bit about yourself. Your past work, where you’re from, hobbies, favorite color, movies, etc.ISRAEL SANCHEZ (IS): I'm a freelance illustrator living in La Habra, California. I studied art at Cal Sate Fullerton and along with MOOK, my comics have appeared in the FLIGHT anthology series and Nickelodeon Magazine. When I can I show paintings in a few LA area galleries too.
superhero: Tell us about your particular entry in TITMOUSE. What inspired it?IS: Lots of times my stories are about characters that live in a place where they don't belong. They either work to fit in or try to destroy where they are. Bee Beard wants to live a peaceful life in the city but his mischievous and impulsive bee friends are always keeping him from doing that. On the other hand, the bees bring out qualities in him that he wouldn't otherwise know he had, so they aren't all bad.
superhero: Can you talk a bit about your artistic process? Meaning what medium you work in, how your piece came together artistically?IS: I think my process for making comics is similar to most people's. I work out the story, pacing, and page layouts with loose "thumbnail" sketches. Although I'm still open to changing things later on, I try and nail everything down in this stage. After the thumbnails, I draw a more finished version of the artwork, then I scan that and color everything in Photoshop. I used to paint my comics in gouache but had to give that up because of the very long time it takes.
superhero:What are your main artistic influences? Do you currently read comics? If so, what are you currently reading?IS: When it comes to story my main influences are movies. I'm a big fan of Pixar movies, westerns, and 80's movies like BIG, THE GOONIES, and E.T. It's been a while since I've read comics but when I did I was into stuff like Dan Clowes's EIGHTBALL and Peter Bagge's HATE. People like Calef Brown, Mary Blair, and Tim Biskup are a big influence on my art style, too.
superhero: What other projects are you currently working on? Do you have any more comic work coming out we should know about? Or any other projects in general we should know about?IS: Right now I'm working on some paintings for a "Day of The Dead" show in October at the Subtext Gallery in San Diego. It's being curated by Jorge Gutierrez and Sandra Equhua of "El Tigre" fame and will include work by lots of talented people. I'm very excited about this show because we are all trying to do a new take on traditional "Day of the Dead" artwork. I can't wait to see what everyone comes up with.
superhero: Tell us a bit about yourself. Your past work, where you’re from, hobbies, favorite color, movies, etc.OTTO LOK TO TANG (OT): My name is Otto Lok To Tang. I am Chinese. I love yellow. I like drawing cats. I don't really like trees.
superhero: Tell us about your particular entry in TITMOUSE. What inspired it?OT: Once in a while my wife will ask me for a bedtime story, and Jill Tree was one of them. Those stories usually consist of one or two sentences and a character that dies at the end. It was titled Tree-hole-princess when I first told it years ago. Somehow it stayed with me and became Jill Tree.
I always wanted to write a picture book. But I was told that my style and subject matters are too dark for kids. Titmouse lets me do whatever I want, so I wrote Jill for them. It is also a good excuse to write bad Engrish.
superhero: Can you talk a bit about your artistic process? Meaning what medium you work in, how your piece came together artistically?OT: I usually make a new brush for every project for no good reason. Everything is done digitally (Photoshop), except for the watercolor. I can't draw on paper anymore. My left hand keeps wanting to hit the undo short cut. It makes me sad.
superhero: What are your main artistic influences? Do you currently read comics? If so, what are you currently reading?OT: I don't have the concentration to read a good book. And when I read, I read children's books with big pictures and little words, like Sasek and Silverstein. I also like Charles Burns and Adrian Tomine. I am currently reading The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick… Seems like it is going to take me years and years to read through.
superhero: What other projects are you currently working on? Do you have any more comic work coming out we should know about? Or any other projects in general we should know about?OT: I am in the process of expanding Jill. There will be another chapter in the upcoming MOOK VOL.2. Hopefully there will be more to come. Also, I just wrapped up an animated short (also with Titmouse Inc.).
The famous Austin psychedelic punk ‘zine "Buttlikker Comix" was a collaboration between a mysterious partner and myself. This was my first foray into this sort of thing and it involved trashy and smart-kid-on-acid comics. It was different from all the hippy crap going around.
Later on I moved to NYC to make those cartoons in between the music videos on MTV. On the way I worked on DARIA and DOWNTOWN. SAW BOY BUCK and MAGICAL REALM soon followed as my creations. Now I am working on that SUPERJAIL show and I am the voice of the Twins.
As far as colors go I like bluish black. I like black and white movies like WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE?, HUD, FASTER PUSSYCAT KILL KILL and THE LOST WEEKEND. I have been known to get in to some 70s movies, too. I have a few 60s British motorbikes, a foxy girlfriend (that I love) and some old cars, trucks and junk. Lately I like to oil paint.
superhero: Tell us about your particular entry in TITMOUSE. What inspired it?RM: My cartoon ZUDINTUK is a vehicle for me to use this detailed ink and watercolor technique. I plan on letting it slowly evolve through time. The story will take many parts to play out and I am really getting into the writing.
superhero: What are your main artistic influences? Do you currently read comics? If so, what are you currently reading?RM: I am influenced by a lot of my peers’ work in the different studios I've worked for, too many talented people to mention. Right now I have been getting into Russian propaganda posters from the 30s and 40s. When I was a kid I liked Roger Dean, Ralph Steadman, M.C. Esher and Saul Stienberg. I still do.
superhero: Tell us about your particular entry in TITMOUSE. What inspired it?DJ: While working for Titmouse I came across some shows on Adult Swim that, to be honest were completely AWFUL! So I said to myself, "Hell, I can create something just as dumb and without merit" and Flatulene was born.
The Reverend David "Cornelius" Johnson Potentate of the 33rd Degree Here’s my Deviant Art page.
In my spare time I paint vinyl-plexi paintings, geetar, cook, hang out with my wife and kids and watch TOP CHEF, ADVENTURE TIME, PARKS & REC and TRUE BLOOD. Sookie! (but not with the kids on that last one, oh no way.)
I recently enjoyed YOUTH IN REVOLT. My favorite color is purple.
superhero: Tell us about your particular entry in TITMOUSE. What inspired it?DF: “Chester Yak's 99 Cent Shack” started out as a comic called BALDY SQWERL. He was this squirrel who was bald. Then I fused it with another idea, an animation pitch. Then Chris Prynoski told me about the MOOK idea and I thought Chester Yak might work swell for that. I like having a cavalcade of ridiculous, random characters. I grew up on Sid and Marty Kroft, Bugs Bunny, Monty Python, Jay Ward—so what better place to showcase my peeps than a 99 cent store in the forest featuring snails and wizard poodles and such? Thanks Titmouse!
superhero: Tell us about your particular entry in TITMOUSE. What inspired it?AS: DICK DICKMAN P.I. was an idea I've had forever. It's a hard boiled, sci-fi detective story--with an added twist that hopefully distinguishes itself within that very played out, tired genre. I've started and stopped it over the years due to time, resources, whatnot. Limiting it to an 8 page mini story helped me finally realize it to print. Plus, having just had a baby boy recently, the time was right for the story (read it and you'll understand).
superhero: Tell us about your particular entry in TITMOUSE. What inspired it?KM: My entry in TITMOUSE was inspired by an idea from Chris Prynoski. He had the idea to create a batch of characters (not unlike the Looney Tunes bunch), where artists could take the characters and do something in their own style and sensibilities. Like a Bugs Bunny cartoon. A Chuck Jones short can be vastly different from one directed by Tex Avery. I really liked the concept, so I went with a character that jumped out to me. Which was the caveman tech geek, Clem. I knew right away what I wanted to do with him. I decided to keep the idea to single page for a couple reasons, the first being that the idea I had was more of a one-off joke. Sort of a Saturday Night Live skit that is meant to be short. Any longer and the idea drags on and loses its steam. So I wanted to keep it short for that reason. The second reason is I had very little time and I'm extremely lazy. Actually, that's the only reason. The other thing was just BS to sound intelligent.
superhero: Tell us about your particular entry in TITMOUSE. What inspired it?JS: For my series SUPERJERKS!, I wanted to write about the internet and how easy it is to be distracted while being on it. My characters are obsessed with their own tiny niche .com worlds, and then are forcibly unified by the chaos that the tiny purple monster, KRAGORR, inflicts upon them.
My favorite movies are FANTASTIC PLANET and THE SCIENCE OF SLEEP. My favorite color is green, blue and orange. Hobbies are growing veggies, making yummy stuff and travelling.
superhero: Tell us about your particular entry in TITMOUSE. What inspired it?KH: When Chris P asked me to be in the MOOK, I had a couple of days to come up with the pitches. One of them was "Yetty Yetty" which was inspired by all the silly manga I used to read as a kid in Japan. I especially like the character Doo Doo. He's got a positive attitude to life.
I have been painting and drawing on wood for more than a decade and it's my most favorite surface to work on.
Its organic patterns trigger my imagination and I just follow the images I see. I love the spontaneous feeling I get from putting the lines and paint as I go.
At the same time I am aware of my consciousness--thinking about communicating with others from the image.
For comics, books and animations, I like to make them kooky and trippy. I use Flash for animation and pen and ink for comics.