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SPACE 2013: Brian Canini & Derek Baxter

Written by J.M. Hunter on Friday, April 12 2013 and posted in Features

SPACE 2013: Brian Canini & Derek Baxter

From Drunken Cats and their Drunken Creators to French only comics...there's even a mention of Angry Birds somewhere in this interview with SPACE Exhibitors Brian and Derek of Drunken Cat Comics!

Of Cats and Booze...


Last year we introduced Drunken Cat Comics to the OH! Entertainment audience. You guys were exhibiting your work at SPACE. How was the experience?

Derek: Enthralling! SPACE is my 3rd favorite time of the year, behind Thanksgiving and Fall Sweeps week.

Brian: Fantastic! SPACE is always a fun time.

You’ve both been to the show numerous times, what’s the most memorable moment you can recall from those shows?

Derek: We were interviewed by a woman wearing a squid hat. Also I missed seeing a fellow artist dance naked around his hotel room by about 5 minutes.

Brian: There have been a lot. Jeff Smith (of Bone fame) bought one of my first comics way back in 2001, that was a pretty awesome moment for me. I got to meet Dave Sim (of Cerebus fame) while dressed up as The Drunken Cat (I believe there’s a photo somewhere). In general though, it’s always fun making friends with the people in the booths around you… and then getting drunk with them after the show.


This Time, This Year, One MORE BEER!


This year you’re at it again. What can people expect to see from Drunken Cat Comics?

Derek: I bought an Angry Birds table cloth, so that will be new.

Brian: Comics… lots of them... like a table full… and bar napkins. 

Derek, last year was your first attempt at both writing and drawing a comic. How was the experience? Is it something you’ve kept up with or will try again?

Derek: I am glad you remembered and thanks for asking. It was fun and I learned from it. It's definitely something I am going to do more of. I still do a (nearly) daily comic on the website and I hope to get at least one more actual comic out this year. I am still working on drawing people and backgrounds. I can draw anthropomorphic food like a mofo, though.

And Brian for you did you give Derek any pointers or just let him experience the joys, the tears, and the jeers for himself?

Brian: I just let him go at it. The highs and lows of the experience are part of what makes the process so fun. There’s no right or wrong way to make comics and Derek made a hilarious one. I can’t wait to see what he does with his next book.

Brian how has your own art progressed in the year since the last show. Any ups, downs, new breakthroughs?

Brian: My art’s been taking some giant leaps over the last year as I’ve just been overwhelmingly inspired and excited to make comics. Since last year I’ve been doing a lot of experimenting. I’ve taken on the challenge of doing a year’s worth of daily journal comics, which has been one of the most relaxing exercises I’ve ever done. It’s really freed my mind up and has just kept me motivated and inspired. Beyond that, I’ve been playing with a lot of tools that, for what ever reason, I haven’t touched for many years (such as brushes). I’ve also been doing free daily comics on our website, which has allowed me the opportunity to work with color a whole lot more. Working with color again (for more than just a comic cover) has been just a breath of fresh air. All in all, this year’s been wonderful!

What’s your go to method for production, what tools are always within reach?

Derek: I have a bag with pencils, pens, a pencil sharpener and an eraser. It looks like an ice cream sandwich. 

Brian: I love making art on paper. A pencil, eraser, a micron pen, a brush and paper (Bristol board or a sketch pad) are always near by. Once I’ve created it, I scan it into the computer and, depending on the project, I add panel boarders, letter it, and/or color it there.


Ruff Riders...

Let’s talk Ruffians. For our readers who haven’t had the pleasure, tell us about the title.

Brian: “Ruffians” is a crime comic about a hitman who is a three-foot tall blue bear wearing boxing gloves, on a revenge quest to find the killer of his best friend. Oddly enough, it’s also a very personal story that I started in an attempt to work out a lot of feelings I was having over a friend’s suicide. So, as with most stories, it’s about a lot of things depending on how deep you’re willing to dig.

Eight issues into Ruffians, what would you say has changed over the course of the run, at least from a production stand point and story?

Brian: The art has continued to grow and progress over the eight issues as I’ve continued to learn and push myself as an artist. From a production standpoint, “Ruffians” was the first time I drew a comic on large Bristol board and the first time I had a comic professionally printed. The first seven issues I had printed through Morgan Printing (who are great and also printed the Ninja Turtles) with newsprint interiors and for issues #2 - #7 newsprint covers as well. Now I’m having them printed on demand, which frees up some closet space for me and is also affordable enough for me to be able to give the books color covers again! As for the story, I’ve had the first 15 issues mapped out for some time now. I just need to finish drawing them.


The French Connection..


“La Poubelle”, what does that mean? Also why an all-French comic?

Derek: It means whatever the reader wants it to mean. We wanted to make something that could speak to each individual on a very personal level and really try to touch on some universal human experiences. It also means "the trashcan" in French.

Brian: Honestly, we thought it would be funny. It’s a weird comic that we thought would be a great way to experiment with the medium. Comics as a medium are great in that they require you to be an active participant when you read them. “La Poubelle” actually allows for several different interpretations of the story depending on if you know how to read French or not and how active of a participant you want to be in the story. Part of the fun is that even if you don’t speak French, you can actually follow the story visually and create your own dialogue.

Will there be sub-titles?

Derek: No. Not in a world in which Google translate and Smartphones exist.

Brian: Nope that would ruin the fun.

Post-SPACE what’s next for you guys?

Derek: Immediately post-SPACE: Booze. Shortly thereafter: Regrets. Long-term: more comics.

Brian: I going to be spending most of the year continuing to work on Ruffians and finish up my year of journal comics. Beyond that, we’ll probably be coming out with some more foreign language comics… and drinking booze.

Lastly tell everyone who can’t make the show where they can find you on the web.


Derek: We put up free comics every day!

Thanks Brian and Derek, have a good show this year at SPACE!



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About the Author - J.M. Hunter

J.M. Hunter is best expressed as an artist who enjoys working in many mediums. One of them is writing. In the guise of InDiY Hunter, J.M. Hunter’s focus is as an independent comics creator who interviews other Independent artists/creators and showcases their personal ideologies and stories. The “hits” and “almost-got’ems” of the creative collective that do their craft not because it’ll make them rich but because they love what they do, even when they don’t is a special kind of magic. This is the reward that keeps on giving and J.M. Hunter likes it. HE LIKES IT!


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