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Neck of the Woods: New York, New York... By way of Canada Personal Stuff:Married, no kids, no pets, but a lot of comic books Day Job: Writer Years in the Comic Biz: 1
I don’t have a lot of personal rules about what I’ll allow myself to write. One of them is that I don’t review indie comics. I just don’t have the stomach for making a public exhibition of a critique of such a highly personal art form. Indie comics are made with so much love that it would be like rating my friend’s babies in a beauty contest. (I don’t review mainstream comics as a rule either, but that has more to do with the fact that I’m too cheap to buy them any place but Half Price books and all of my reviews would be out of date and based only on the issues I could find.)
I broke that rule last year when I reviewed the first issue of Brad Abraham’s comic mini-series Mixtape for Rocker Magazine. I couldn’t help myself. I’ve been preaching about the commonalities between comics and pop music for two years now and here was a guy who not only understood what I was raving about, but had also gone the step of making a comic book spotlighting the connection. Rules be damned, I had to support a kindred spirit!
While an avid comic fan and prolific writer, Brad’s education started on a different tack: Film student at the Image Arts Program at Ryerson University in Toronto. Upon graduation, however, he was faced with the conundrum that I think all film school grads are faced with: How many directorial jobs are out there? The answer is a self evident “very few,” so Brad took stock of his skill set and his own aspirations, opting to go forward with writing as his post collegiate bread ‘n butter. Good choice! Over the past 13 years he’s built up an impressive resume as a screenwriter, including work for the SyFy (nee Sci-Fi) Channel, such as the Robocop Prime Directives mini-series and the recent film Stonehenge Apocalypse.
Recently made the jump to comic books with Mixtape, a semi-autobiographical exploration of the 80s and 90s alternative music explosion as paralleled by the lives of a group of young friends transitioning from kid to adult. I say semi-autobiographical in that Brad draws heavily on his experiences as a kid who had to move around quite a bit thanks to his father’s gig in the oil business. Before college, Brad moved around frequently, often having to leave behind hard won friendships and relationships. He was constantly being bumped back to the awkward social status of ‘The New Kid.” Often the only way the new kid can build new relationships is through shared music experience. A Nine Inch Nails or Smiths tee-shirt the only guide to who might share common bonds. Like a semaphore signal saying “It’s OK. talk to me.”
While Brad hasn’t quite wrapped his head around being thought of as a comic creator (He tells me that he thinks of himself as a fan who got lucky), music continues to be a strong influence on Brad artistically. While many writers prefer to compose in a state of relative sensory deprivation, when Brad is writing he chooses a soundtrack based on the mood he wishes to strike with the piece. A specific artist, album or playlist that helps him visualize the motif he’s working towards. This goes beyond mere ambience setting, its a tool. When is exceptionally busy, he uses this muse to help him jump from project to project and genre to genre.
(Happy to hear about another writer who works this way... I was beginning to think I was... odd.)
The first run of MixTape by Brad and Argentenian Artist Jok has sold out. Issues #2 and #3 are coming to a shop near you soon!
While he didn’t ask for a profile, I can’t think of anyone in the field I consider more honorable than Jamie Gambell of Monkey Pipe studios. This guy is trying to do things, and to do them teh right way!
I may not grant you a spotlight, but I’ll take the time to let you know that I appreciate that you’ve created something and are hustling to get the word out about it. Frankly, the inability of the majority of modern “comic press” to take this step is mystifyingly bush league and rude.
Additionally, whether I spotlight you or not, I will probably post your name, comic book title and a website link in an “Honorable Mention” section of every subsequent Indie on Indie Spotlight.